Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Basics on Chocolate. At GiglioCooking on Sunday, February 12th




The course takes place at GiglioCooking school in Florence, in via del Ghirlandaio 6b, during the all day on Sunday February 12th, 10:00 am through 5:00 pm, with one hour  break at 01:00 pm.
The course is divided in two sessions:



- In the morning theory will be explained, related to a guided tasting  of prestigious chocolates from different origins.



- In the afternoon, the lesson will be hands on. Participants will learn the techniques of the lavoration of chocolate and they will manifacture pralines and moulded chocolates




for information:
info@gigliocooking.com tel 055 614  5914


Monday, January 30, 2017

Encounter of Un-known, ... With Lots of Shrimps

This story deserves to be told. It is the story of one day in  New Jersey , in the house of someone I didn't know. 



Here it is me, still in middle of the so-called “nowhere”. 
Am I really here? I asked this simple and deep questions several time to myself in these days in U.S.A.

It is Saturday January 21st, 2017.  From Penn Station, NYC, I take the train New Jersey Transit. After about 10 minutes of dark – which i suppose was a tunnel – here it is the train in  the day light. 



Iron and iron and iron around me.  Then, after e few more minutes, water. Not nice water.  Looks dark … marshy… with dead water plants, some oil, broken tires here and there, dismissed huts. Then , after a few more minutes, canards, more oil in the water, long iron bridges, then ugly buildings on the other side of the water. 
The train goes and I hope to see a nice neighborhood   with nice houses. Usually I am invited  to nice houses to cook special meals.

No nice houses around. My destination is Rahway. It comes after the station of Elizaberh and Linden. The train arrives. I get off. I see the sign that says Rahway.
Thus this must be the right place.
Just I cannot see the station.
I am on an elevated  track. The group of houses below me must be the town called Rahway.
Mr Spitzer was supposed to pick me at the station. 
As I do not see the station, I do not see Mr Spitzer either.  
Actually I do not remember the face of Mr Spitzer. But there is nobody here so I don’t risk a bad figure, in case there were some men.
 I decide to go down the elevated track. Just i do not know if going to the right or to the left at the end of the stairs. I option for the left as I see a little green roof that could be the waiting aera or the ticket office.
Nobody there.
No… there is a man, sitting on the only bench, with the un-mistake-able paper bag in  his hand and the aspect of a homeless. I am sorry for him… bug I hope that is not Mr Spitzer.
Ok.
Time to turn on the roaming and try to call. 
Fortunately I have phone numbers. Mrs Spigzer, Jeanne, answers. She says: my husband is there, try to call him, his number is like mine just replace the last 3 with 4. So i  do. 
I am secretely ready to catch the first train back….. Anyways… Mr Spiter answers.

-          Hello…Gerry? It s Marcella here. I am at the station of Rahway but… I do not see you..-
-          … know what? You are right in front of me.

Gerry Spitzer gets off a big black American car, parked right in front of me. I go forward him. I do not recognize his faces….. damn!...... ok, never mind… for sure he knows me…… after  all that exchange of emails back and forth - about 50... -  to agree on date, numbers of guests, menu……..how can he not know me?????

I had been searching for reports of his lesson, photos, receipts in my pc. Not found any… but, you know, sometimes in high season I do not have tome to take pictures and save them… I know that often I give up that part of my work. I know is the guilty part of my professionality……  but, what can i do? If I have no time…. I have no time.
So… for sure I do not recognize him, ma he knows who I am.
Otherwise it would not make sense he calls me to organize a dinner party in his house.
We are in front of each other now. We look at each other.
-          So… are you Marcella?
-          Yes I am
-          Where is your husband?
-          ….. my husband? He is in Italy
-          Ah… he is not with you…?
-          No…I am travelling alone.
Silence. Maybe only for a few seconds.
-          I was expecting two people
-      I have never told I would have come with my husband
-          Actually it is true. You never mentioned that in your email…. For some reason I thought that….. but….……………..     Are you Valentino’s wife?
-          Valentino ?!?! –
I thought he must not have understood the proper name the time we met. Actually the name of my partner can be mistaken….
 – my husband’s name is Pellegrino….like the water.
A few more seconds of silence while Mr Spirzer looks up. Then again at me
-          Can you cook?
I must have had a question mark om my face…. I do not understand the question. But I answer
-          Of course i cook
-          That’s good….. ok…. Let’s jump into the car

I was a little frick out. But i tried to conseil myself. I had spoken with a woman…hopefully his wife…maybe he does not remember my face – I don”t either – but his wife will. 
I hope.
If not…. Everyone at home knows the address I am going to…. Someone would find my body….

The conversation in the car started to become interesting. Some more short meaningful questions by him… some long answers by me.
Then finally the truth came up.

We never met.

We had never seen each other before.
Mr Spitzer even confessed me to have been afraid to have felt into a froud to steel money from him since he was trying to recognize me at the station. 

So…? What’s the matter?

It seems that Gerry Spitzer and his family were in Italy last year, precisely in the area of Lucca, Tuscany. They wanted a cooking class. So they contacted me. Then they decided to not come to Florence from Lucca for a cooking class – I don’t blame them, driving in Tuscany and coming into Florence in the summer time can be the anticamera of hell, with that un-breathable heat...!  They decided to take a cooking class with a lady in  Lucca instead. They had fun and enjoyed the experience.
Their email remained in  my mailing list that is how they got to know I was going to NY .
Mr Spizter mistook  me with the lady from Lucca. 
So he contacted me believing I was the lady from Lucca. 
At the train station he was waiting for this lady with her husband Valentino.

The rest of the ride was a long laught.




Finally we introduced to one other.
Finally I saw the pretty neighborhood with the pretty houses.
Finally I met his kind and lovely wife, Jeanne.


Finally, in  the nice kitchen, the action started.


The pretty table setting shows the care for details of..


...Mrs Jeanne Spitzer.

We prepared some finger foods in advance, so that the “cooking guests” would have had something to nibble on while working: shrimps with coriander and holed zucchini filled with shrimps , served with red sauce.
When the friends arrived, we cooked all together:



Marinated eggplants served with a good Pecorino cheese I brought from Tuscany (for this unknown family)
Gnocchi with sausage sauce
Beef stewed in wine
Salad
Tiramisu

Everybody had fun… especially after knowing the story. Everybody had good food and good wine.
I have to say: this friendly happy group was a little loud…. But they were all nice and we all laughted. I have to say also that, at the of the meal, they did not let me wash any more dish or pot. Everybody helped, without even agreeing between themselves. They all knew what to do and they did it instantly. The kitchen was again clean after a few minutes. Magic. Thank you all, guys.

I slept there, as the Spitzer family has been so trusting to offer a nice bedroom to this un known Italian woman.


The next morning we had time for a pleasant conversation before Gerry took me to Rahway to catch the train to NY. They got to know more about me, my cooking life, the people I met, some of them famous. I got to know  more about him and his family.



 I know he works for banks and also that we have a common “known person”, Mr Arthur Martinez – when you say small world…-. He was impressed by the fact that, through my job, I met many well known people: Julie Merck, Dick Wolf, Berno Hamilton. He was impressed by the fact that a couple of hours later I would have met Michael Cartellone, the actual drummer of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd and his pretty and talended wife, the soprano Nancy Meyer.

Now…well…dear Mr and Mrs Spitzer: we cannot say anymore we do not know each other. More, I want to say  that I am very happy to have met you. It doesn’t happen often to find people who welcome strangers in their house. You have something special to share: your simple way of being. Thank you. Sincerely.
  
ANELLI DI ZUCCHINI  E GAMBERI
RINGS OF ZUCCHINI AND SHRIMPS




INGREDIENTS: for 6:
6 large zucchinis
18 jumbo shrimps
400 gr ( 7 Oz) fresh tomatoes, diced or canned pureed tomatos
2 scallions
100 gr ( 3 Oz) smoked  bacon, sliced
250 ml (1 cup) white wine
6 sage leaves
2 red hot chilli peppers
90 gr ( 3 Oz) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Peel the shrimps and take out the intestine and the heads.

Make a broth with the shrimps heads and shells, scallions , the wine, same amount of water. Cook to reduce. Filter through a sifter. Gather the jus and cook the tomato puree in it. Regulate salt and pepper.

Mince the sage and sprinkle it upon the shrimps tails.

Make a hole lengthwise inside the zucchini. Toss them in boiling salted water and cook 2 minutes. Drain. Stuff the zucchini with the prepared tails.
 Wrap them with the bacon slices and put in the oven for 5 minutes at 200° (400 F)

Cut the zucchini rolls in smaller rings.
Serve them in individual “spoons “  or “little trays” for finger food with some of the sauce. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Calendar: the week Between January and February 2017

The Week between January and February 2017

MON 30th
TUE 31st
WED 1st
THUR 2nd
FRI 3rd
SAT  4th
SUN 5th
9,30 -  01:00
Pasta 1 : Dry And Fresh Pasta. Different flours. Basic recipes of simple pasta with semolina (tagliatelle, tagliolini, taglierini garganelli, orecchiette emiliane, sfrappole); pasta with mixtures of 00 flour and semolina; orecchiette pugliesi .


Basic Preparations The pre-preparation in the kitchen: broths, stocks, consommè and bisque. Lecture: Sauces and stocks: tradition and innovation

Meat 1 : traditional searing and roasting and low cooking. Traditional low cooking and modern rare-ness. Recipes: Abbacchio alla Romana; Pullus fusillis; Vitellina fricta.


Pasta 2 : Stuffed Pasta. Ravioli, tortellini, agnolotti, raviolo spiegato. Folding of pasta, stuffing, presentation from traditional to modern style. Ravioli stuffed with broth gelatine





10:00 -01:00







11:00 -02:00
Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto

Tuscan Experience: Ribollita or Minestrone, Chicken Hunter Style; Biscotti with Almonds


Pizza & Gelato: Pizza dough and toppings, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream

Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto

Pizza & Gelato: Pizza dough and toppings, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream

Tuscan Experience: Ribollita or Minestrone, Chicken Hunter Style; Biscotti with Almonds

02:30-5:30


Pizza
Gelato


Potato Gnocchi (the sauce depends on season: mushrooms in fall - winter or pesto in summer)
Peperoni imbottiti (bell peppers)
Turkey with pomegranate or grapes juice




04:00-07:00
Italian Region Experience: Risotto with Saffron (Lombardy); Tagliata (beef, Tuscany); Babà (Campania)

Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto


Sicilian Experience: Timbale “Norma”; Pork rolls; Cassata Siciliana

Pizza & Gelato: Pizza dough and toppings, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream

Sicilian Experience: Timbale “Norma”; Pork rolls; Cassata Siciliana

Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto

06:00-09:00


Pastry Class: Baking techniques (Patè a choux, Short Bread),  Tiramsù


Fish 1 : Practise: how to fillet the fish Recipes: Raw fish, Tuna fish Sicilian style; Sword fish with citrus sauce and celery soufflé; Sea bream with artichokes







Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Calendar. the Fourth Week of January 2017

The fourth week of January

MON 23rd
TUE 24th
WED 25th
THUR 26th
FRI 27th
SAT 28th
SUN 29th
9,30 -  01:00







10:00 -01:00







11:00 -02:00
Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto




Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto

Pizza & Gelato: Pizza dough and toppings, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream

Tuscan Experience: Ribollita or Minestrone, Chicken Hunter Style; Biscotti with Almonds

02:30-5:30

Paste ripiene da tre Regioni:
Tortelli di zucca (Lombardia)
Casiumzei ( Veneto)
Ravioli ( Toscana


Risotto nero
Pesce Spada alla Siciliana
Babà




04:00-07:00
Italian Region Experience: Risotto with Saffron (Lombardy); Tagliata (beef, Tuscany); Babà (Campania)



S

Pizza & Gelato: Pizza dough and toppings, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream

Sicilian Experience: Timbale “Norma”; Pork rolls; Cassata Siciliana

Pasta Making: Tagliatelle with Vegetable sauce; Ravioli Spinach and ricotta with Fresh Tomato sauce ; Gnocchi with Pesto

06:00-09:00


Pastry Class: Baking techniques (Patè a choux, Short Bread),  Tiramsù