I have another sad. This time it’s because around this time last year I was preparing myself for a semester in Milan. I still haven’t unpacked a bag from when I got back in May. Anyways, today my mom set aside an article in the New York Times about Parma, which of course, made me all googley and nostalgic as Parma was where I spent my 21st birthday. I was skimming along the article on “Stendahl in Parma” from today’s paper and found their summation bit “Where to Eat”, on the last page: ”Meals are a delight in Parma; if you’re on a diet, stay home. Lunch for two, with wine, of course, should cost you about 60 euros” (Begley, Adam. “Stendahl in Parma.” New York Times Travel Section, December 27, 2009.).
EXCUSE ME!!!??? 60 euros my ass! Anyone who thinks that a lunch anywhere in Italy should “of course” cost 60 euro can kindly blow it out their ass. That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard! Perhaps this is part of the death of the newspaper/magazine in our culture. There are so many television shows, blogs, etc. showing that good eating doesn’t mean you have to be made of money bags. These writers need to get some perspective because I’m sure, besides me, that people in Parma are dying laughing at the idea of 60 euro lunches.
1. Grabham’s Chocolates — local spot, awesome chocolates like WHOA, specifically candied orange peel cocooned in dark chocolate.
2. Gas stoves and new recipes — jam and doughnuts: picked up a recipe for sufganiyot from Martha Stewart and a raspberry jam recipe. I tweaked the recipe using 8 small packs of raspberries, only 3 cups sugar (I’d use less next time), juice from 2 navel oranges, a tablespoon of orange zest and a tablespoon of ground ginger. The ginger balances the sweetness SO well. Boiled the hell out of it for a long time, and I didn’t strain out the seeds. This was my first jam and to blatantly brag, it was gohgeous. Oh and the gas stove bit is partially about my pyro tendencies but mostly about the fact that the inventor of electric stoves is in a very deep ring of Hell.
3. Oystah Stew and Osso Bucco — Mama made the osso bucco tonight for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner and I made our traditional oyster stew for Christmas Eve. All you need is a small saucepan, 2 tablespoons butter melted in it, add 2 cans of oysters and their juices. Simmer until the oysters’ edges curl then add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 cups of milk. Serve when it gets frothy. Winter warmer fo sho.
4. Sleeping ’til 5.
5. Wanting to get out of the States and go back to Milano with my lovely roommate for many aperitivi.
6. Wanting desperately to lose myself in a market in Barcelona or Parma, run into a dashing European man who instantly falls in love with me.
7. Human seatbelts made from a big brother — I got trapped for a while under the heavy feet of a passed out big brother today, almost made me late to the grocery store for my jam provisions.
Over my birthday weekend, the program I was studying with in Milan took us to Parma for a Culture/Cuisine Trip where we toured the Parmigiano Reggiano factory and watch the magic unfold. I bought a solid 5 lbs. of cheese but the only thing that was missing was a good tart sour ale like Jolly Pumpkin Perseguidor, Rodenbach Grand Cru or perhaps an impy like Victory Storm King Imperial Stout. Here’s a quick run through of the process that goes into parmesan cheese:
The head cheese of the Parmagiano Reggiano factory, separating extra whey to be fed to the piggies.
Skimming the cheese with a wooden rod to check consistency.
Bagging the cheese in cloth to drain before being pressed into the molds.
Brine bath where the proteins and little fat basically cure and harden until aging begins.
Cheese cheeeese gloriousss cheeeeeeseeeeee!!!
Back in the States, I’ve had some very good cheese from La Cave du Vin and Whole Foods. At La Cave I ordered a bleu and brie board with a Great Divide Hercules IPA. The maximum hoppy happiness of the pint worked well against the funky and very sweet smooth cheeses. From Whole Foods I enjoyed a beautiful smoked creamy gouda with a Cantillon Gueuze.