Tuesday, April 28, 2009

enoteca

The weekend before last found us in Charlottesville for a nostalgic visit to see the Dave Matthews Band. We had a few hours to hang out on the vibrant downtown mall, a great venue for people-watching. We sat on the patio at Enoteca for some drinks and snacks- we shared a bottle of Montesel Prosecco and were not disappointed by clean sparkling flavors. After a snack of marcona almonds with sea salt and fresh thyme and bruschetta with sweet peppers, arugula pesto, and mozzarella, we had a few panini from a range of great options. I wish someone in Richmond would step up the panini choices beyond pesto and mozzarella. Mine combined a spicy soppressata, fontina, and radicchio while Susannah's combined fontina, taleggio, smoked mozzzarella and white truffle oil.

check out their website and full menus at ENOTECA.

Still Tasty

My friends from Tasting Table sent a great link today to StillTasty.com, a great resource to demistify the world of expiration dates, "best before" questions, and other tips for keeping your favorite items safe and tasty.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TORTA PASQUALINA

Ever since I lived in Italy in the late 80's, there are certain traditions ( mostly food related) that I have incorporated into my life. Every New Year's I am bound my tradition and superstition to eat cotecchino with Lentils. And most years I try to make a Torta Pasqualina for Easter. It's a dish that comes from the Piemonte region of northern Italy and I fondly remember having it with some Italian friends after Easter Mass with the Pope at the Vatican.

Traditionally, this Easter Cake is made from layers of dough ( some swear by 33 layers to recall the age of Christ when he was crucified), but in a pinch puff pastry can be substituted. This was a pinch year for me. We had three easter egg hunts and 4 parties to rotate into a busy weekend. I layer a sheet of puff pastry in a deep pie plate and then scoop the filling on top. An additional layer of dough covers the torte.

The Filling

Traditionally chard is used as the main ingredient, but spinach is a suitable substitute. I saute the greens with some garlic and finely chopped onion. I flavor the mixture with lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Once the mixture has cooled down, add a combination of one egg, ricotta and parmesan cheese.

The special treat

One of the coolest things about the torte is the next step- create little wells or holes in the filling- and drop a raw egg into the gap, taking care not to break the yolk:


The final step is putting on a top layer (or layers) of dough and sealing the edges. The torte bakes for ~ 1 hour in a 400 degree oven. When you slice the finished product, the eggs make a pretty cross section against the green of the spinach.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cereal in a Cone


Today's New York Times feautures a review of David Chang's latest venture in New York, Momofuku Milk Bar. I am a big fan of Chang's and visited his noodle bar last may.It was divine. The review gives props to the cereal-milk soft serve ice cream,but is lukewarm on the rest- high end "munchie food." For the full review, take a lick.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Fighting Demons




Need some sustenance to fight the demons. Try Momotaro Sushi, Carytown's latest in a growing pantheon of asian restaurants. Read the full review in this week's Style Weekly. Roll on !

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Baracklava


Heard an interesting story on NPR's All Things Considered this afternoon. In honor of Barack Obama's visit to Istanbul today, several bakers at the famous baklava bakery, Karakoy Gulluoglu, have crafted a portrait of Obama out of their famous delicacy.

For more on this sweet story,
click here.