Below are photos from a dinner hosted by my friend Domenico while visiting him in Rome. What a meal! Ranging from marvelous speck to sublime smoked ricotta, freshly picked tomatoes from his garden, chile from his father's garden in Calabria... words can't do justice. And the warmth of friendship, grazie, my friend. See you in New York.
Spending the weekend at my mom's house, taking advantage of late summer sweet white corn, we made humitas. Cousin to tamales, humitas are corn cakes often filled with with scallions, and cheese. Using corn husk for the steaming, it leaves a wonderful flavor that permeates throughout. Eat them hot, and if you have leftovers, toast them for a crisp and caramelized flavor.
Selinunte is a Greek archaeological site in Sicily. Visiting it with my friend, Castelvetrano miller and baker Filippo Drago, he proudly pointed out that it is the largest ruins of Greek temples anywhere. Like the ruins I had seen while visiting Troy in Turkey, it really gave me a sense of awe. The place is not so much haunted as animated by the ghosts of history. For my buddy Filippo, it seemed a spiritual place, bringing him back to the ancient grains that landed here with the Greeks which he still uses today.
Below are photos of Sicilian miller Filippo Drago, along with Esmeralda Spitaleri and Jacopo Nardo, a wonderful couple from Northern Italy I met while touring Castelvetrano in Sicily. It was part of a visit to Filippo's operation, Molini Del Ponte.
Esemeralda is a beer brewer and baker from Bologna. Jacopo is a wine maker from Venice. After Filippo gave us a tour, we had lunch together and Jacopo shared a wine he'd made called "juice." Made from Nero di avola and Tempranillo grapes, it was definitely juicy. Delicious! Engrossed in a seafood lunch and great conversation, it was sad to part. I look forward to meeting up with them all again.
The rabbis might call me "umvisndik" (yiddish) but my Jewish ancestry has not made me big on the religion, all to say I appreciate the holy days more for the cheerful spirit and the food than for the rules. Which given it's the Jewish New Years made me want to bake challah. Reading up on the holiday, its all about renewal, so I renewed my take on sourdough to make a round challah. It was hard to braid as challah tends to be sticky dough, so I kept it simple. As is said, "shona tova!" Happy holidays to all.