Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer time...and the livin' is easy

Oh hi hello dearest blog. I have missed you, and I will try to feed you with more words. Let's see...where to start. My cooking classes are on summer recess. It is just too hot outside to be in a kitchen. And there are far to many lovely country roads that me and my husband want to find in his convertible. I will be starting up my classes once again when the weather is more temperate - in the Fall.

I have been thoroughly enjoying the bounty of produce at the Nashville Farmers Market. Seriously I do not know how I will bring myself to buy my fruits and veg in a big box grocery store again. I bought the most pristine eggplant at the Market the other Saturday, and I made (what I called) a deconstructed ratatouille with it, served over brown rice. But don't worry, I had ice cream for dessert, to balance out the healthiness of my meal.

When I go to the Farmers Market, I also go to Lazzaroli Pasta, just a hop and a skip away from the Market in Germantown. The proprietor has the loveliest home made pasta, pizza dough, salami and cheeses. It makes my soul smile. I picked up some doppio zero flour for future pasta creations, and a bag of Italian pretzels, known as taralli. But, my main reason for visiting them on a Saturday is very important.

She makes mozzarella on Saturdays.

Have you ever had freshly made, warm mozzarella? It is a gorgeous thing. All I do is slice it and dress it with freshly cracked black pepper, and perhaps a drizzle of a good balsamic olive oil.

There is also a fantastic appetizer that I make with fresh mozzarella, that I call an Italian quesadilla. It is so simple. You heat up a large skillet with two tablespoons of canola oil. Place a flour tortilla in the oil once it is hot, and then add slices of fresh mozzarella to cover, but try not to get too close to the edges of the tortilla. Add a dash of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Continue cooking until the mozzarella begins to melt, and then add a second tortilla, and flip it over in the pan, so that the tortilla you just added to the pan is now on the bottom. This is why it is important to let your mozzarella melt before you flip. Once the bottom tortilla gets golden on the edges, remove the Italian quesadilla to a cutting board, and cut it into wedges, and serve. It is so crispy, creamy and perfect, that you may be tempted to smack your guests hands away if they dare to take a wedge, but don't. Sharing is a Kindergarten principle y'all.

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