Wednesday, February 24, 2010

okay, yes, more food, BUT ALSO OTHER THINGS.

It was stupid of me to make promises to diversify the blog on a Tuesday, the day before my cooking class. Prepare for some pretty serious food pornography; if you are hungry, or if you ate a salad for lunch, close the page, walk away, and come back after you've eaten something sufficiently delicious to assuage your jealousy.

This morning. despite the fact that I had no class, mind you, I set my alarm for 9:30 and woke up accordingly, so that Gillian and I could go exploring. We were kind of just walking, kind of headed for the Santo Spirito market and vaguely wondering if we could find this mysterious restaurant that Gillian swears will change our lives...if only we can find it.

It was actually warm today in Florence. Like, I put on my peacoat over my Rumblin' Tumblin' Reptiles t-shirt and I was sweating. This is the reason I finally snapped and bought my leather jacket (sorry, no pictures today...tomorrow, I promise!). It cost me an arm and a leg, but it is beautiful, and it was worth it. I needed a jacket lighter than the peacoat, but equally as stylish.

We eventually made it to Santo Spirito, a kind of alternative piazza across the river, named for the church also located there.

The market itself was kind of a bust, more of a flea market than anything else. If I ever need any super-cheap-but-questionable clothing, I'll head there. It was neat to see, though, and it was definitely a change from the catcalls of the San Lorenzo market...which I just realized I have yet to photograph for you. AHHH. So much to share!

They did have pretty flowers, though.

The piazza itself is really beautiful too, in a more understated way than most of Florence.

This bike was decrepit and sad, and I kind of liked it.

Typical. That bike is occupying the entire sidewalk while Gillian walks in the street.

This Is Italy: Vespas Everywhere.

We also met my friend from the plane, Beth, for a nice lunch at a little trattoria in San Lorenzo called Sergio Gozzi or something along those lines. I paid less than 5 euro for a perfectly sized bowl of pasta that was amazing, by the way; the atmosphere was also way more authentic than anything else I've experiened (except for Vineria, in Pisa). It was quiet, packed mostly with Italians (before a huge and conspicuous group of Asian tourists filed in as we were leaving) who were drinking wine, and having the kind of four course meals typical of Italy. Beth also took me to THE MOST AMAZING SHOE STORE EVER, where I fell in love with a pair of brown ankle boots, but after the purchase of my leather jacket, I couldn't justify another splurge.
After naptime, I went to the API office to find out if I would be able to make it to the opera tonight. My cooking class doesn't end until 8:30...and guess what time the opera starts? You probably guessed it. I was planning on going, but cooking ran a little late tonight, but by the time I got home, all sweaty and a little crazed, I didn't much feel like dressing up and running across the city in my heels, so here I am blogging for you.
In cooking tonight, we were studying the Emiglia Romagna region, which is where such gastronomic delights as Bologna and Modena are located, directly north of Toscana. We started by preparing a lasagna pasta from scratch!

1 egg for every 100 grams of flour does the trick.

After mixing, roll thin, then cut into small rectangular pieces.

Michele allowed us to sample a white wine with our meal. I took a photo because I actually really liked it! Note to self: find and buy this wine.

For our antipasti this evening, we had an affetatti misti, or mixed meat, with bruschetta (needs no explanation). The bruschetta was simple, made by chopping fresh tomatoes and mixing them with olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, and oregano. The bread was toasted and then rubbed with garlic. We sampled three different kinds of salami from the Emiglia Romagna region. I'm not a huge meat person, but it was a nice, simple start to the meal, and the bruschetta was uh-may-zing.

Our primi piatti was lasagne al forno: the previously-mentioned fresh lasagna noodles with a ragu sauce, a bechamel sauce, made from flour, milk, and butter, and parmesan cheese. The ragu was made with a sofrito, base, of onion, garlic, celery, and carrot, before adding white wine, ground beef, and peeled and chopped tomato. Michele told us that a ragu is better the longer it is allowed to cook, and then eyed us with disdain as if it were our fault that the class is only 2 and a half hours long. The bechamel gives the lasagna a creamy component, without adding more cheese.

Once again, our secondi piatti was, you guessed it...veal. This time, scaloppene al aceto balsamico. BALSAMIC VINEGAR, my love! The veal was given to us in very thin slices, but we pounded them a little thinner after removing any excess fat. They were then coated in flour and fried on both sides in butter. After they had all been cooked, all of them were returned to the pan to be boiled in white wine for a bit. After the sauce had thickened, Michele added balsamic vinegar to the pan. Mmmmmm. I must say though, after the loss of my veal virginity, I have had it three times in three weeks. A little excessive, methinks.

I wasn't initially super excited about dessert, a panna cotta, or cream custard. After all, it didn't involve chocolate of any kind. It was very simple to make: we simply heated cream and sugar with a little vanilla and added gelatin right before it boiled. I personally ladled the cream mixture into individual little tins to be refrigerated. After our meal, we removed them from the tins and topped them with a fruit mixture made from lemon, sugar, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries. The verdict? BEST DESSERT EVER, no lie. It was so light and creamy and fresh...the perfect end to such a heavy meal.

Promises for tomorrow:
1. Photos of my new leather jacket.
2. Photos of new clothing I plan to buy at the H&M and Zara sales with Sam.
Also, I added a link in the sidebar to the photobucket I created. If you are friends with me on facebook, you have already seen these photos. The link is for the benefit of those who are not. Feel free to look through the albums, which I am still in the process of uploading.


  1. you are the biggest food porno star i know....keep up checking out all italy has to offer. good idea for cheap clothing.

  2. GIRL i told you panna cotta was amazing. when are you making that for the apt?

  3. if i switch schools and go to UF next year, will you cook for me????

  4. Haha, I'm probably going to be living at home this summer, so if you come home, I will cook aaaaaaall the time!