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Florence: Day 31

Today was an incredible food day! I have included a lot more pictures than normal because I just couldn’t decide which ones to leave out.

It was another gorgeous day that we spent walking around the city. For lunch we decided to finally try a sandwich stand that Joe has had his eye on since we first got here. We got the Bollito which is boiled beef. It had a salsa verde on it that tasted of fresh herbs. This must be the sandwich that the Italian beef sandwiches in the states are derived from. The bread was so soft and the meat was so juicy. It was delicious and a bargain at only €4.50!

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Tonight I had my fourth cooking class. This time I returned to the Giglio cooking school with Marcella. Her classes are definitely my favorite so far! The entire evening is such a fun experience. Whereas the last class was a technical class focused on making gnocchi, this class was focused on the seasonality of ingredients. We prepared and shared a wonderful four course meal.

When I showed up to her place, there were so many beautiful fresh fruits and veggies out, I couldn’t help but get excited.

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We prepared as much as we could to the point of plating each course, including:
Making the pasta sauce

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Baking the crostada

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And braising the veal

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The colors of this meal were just incredible and Marcella always sets a lovely table.

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To start, we enjoyed a lettuce, zucchini and almond salad that was simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We used a vegetable peeler to make thin strips of zucchini and soaked them in ice water before draining them and adding them to the salad. This made the zucchini wonderfully crispy and refreshing.

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The second course was penne pasta with a sauce made of roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, capers and olives. Simply the juice from the ingredients plus some extra virgin olive oil created a silky sauce that coated the pasta beautifully!

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Our third course was veal which we pounded thin and rolled around a combination of taleggio and smoked mozzarella cheese, and steamed asparagus. Once wrapped, we dusted them lightly with flour and then browned them in extra virgin olive oil. Once browned, we added white wine to the pan and let them simmer until cooked through. Some of the cheese melted into the oil and wine while cooking and made the sauce extra rich and delicious!

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For dessert we enjoyed two types of crostata – strawberry and quince. Marcella had made the quince jam ahead of time, but we made the strawberry jam and made the crostada crusts by hand. It was surprisingly easy to do (I always get intimidated by baking), so I definitely plan to make crostada again!

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As with the gnocchi class, the dinner at the end was such an incredible experience. I love that Marcella stresses the importance of enjoying and celebrating the food once we are done. That’s the entire point of cooking! I will be taking another class with her in two weeks and I can’t wait.

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