June 8, 2015, posted by Michelle – Le Monsieur and I just returned from a weekend in Italy. Gina and I have an Italian cousin who lives in the small town where our great-grandmother was born. The town is in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy and it’s just a 4½ hour drive from Lyon. For several years our cousin has hosted a party at her house on the first Saturday in June. She’s a great cook and she does all the cooking herself while her husband gets the garden and the house ready for guests. I found some similar recipes online for a few of the dishes she made and provided links. She served copious amounts of:
Cauliflower with Anchovy Sauce
Green Bean Salad
Risotto Cakes with Ham and Peas
Cold Farro Soup with White Beans
Cherry Tomatoes in Oil and Vinegar
Zucchini and Eggplant Casserole
Celery with Gorgonzola Cheese Dip
Thinly Sliced Roast Beef
Artichokes in Olive Oil (more about these below)
Breads and Grissini
Mascarpone and Ricotta with Cherries
Pineapple with Rum Sauce
…and an obscene amount of wine! You can see why there were enough leftovers to feed six people for dinner.
I mentioned above that I would tell you more about the artichokes in olive oil. You could never tell from the very ordinary, humble looking jar of them below that they are in the process of becoming a very lucrative enterprise. A couple from Tuscany brought a few jars to the party. They make their own olive oil and grow the artichokes and noticed that friends and neighbors liked them so much they started asking for a few jars. The couple decided to try to sell them to shops and as of now they have orders for 14,000 jars! The artichokes are slightly firm but not tough and the oil is divine. Maybe you’ll start seeing these at a store near you soon.
Do you have a “specialty” that everyone always asks you to make? Are you hosting any casual summer parties? Let us know! Just click on the title of this post to open the comment form and leave us your thoughts.
Wow, it sounds like a feast. I am hoping you were able to get photos of more of the food and the garden? Or should I assume the wine took over?
I wish I could say I had photos of the food but the reason I don’t is a good one. Gabriella and Christian were so happy we were there that they couldn’t stop introducing us to everyone and people were trying to talk to us in Italian, German, French and broken English. Every three seconds someone would shout “oh, she’s from the cousins who went to America! or “Memphis!? Does she like Elvis? She has to sing a song!” and then come over to kiss and hug me. Gabriella made our plates and brought them to us and then, as you know, she whisked me up on stage with an Elvis statue and we sung “Are You Lonely Tonight”. After that I just wanted to die. Tomorrow or the next day I’ll have another Italy post with some food pictures. Am I fired?