Aha! Even in the ancient city of Firenze, there are CRIMINALS painting on the sidewalks and I immediately relax and feel so much more at home.
We found the butcher shop with the the tableau of four little pigs out front and decided to plan our menu there. The four little pigs had bandanas around their neck in 1988 when I first found them, they were dressed as Santa and 3 Wise Men today---- early for the holidays or just late changing the display?
I chose the Fennel Sausage, and if I was not coming down with a bit of a head cold I am sure I would remember the proper name, but it is just not there today! The eggplant (melanzane), peppers, arugula, spinach, leeks, and garlic were beautiful at the market square at the square just around from the apartment and I found fresh mozzarella, gorgeous tomatoes and panè (bread) on the way back across the river.
The menu this evening:
Fresh mozzarella on a bed of sliced tomatoes over shredded arugula- dressed with Cold Pressed Olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. As the group enjoyed the appetizer with a lovely glass of Chianti, I started the main course.
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely 3 leeks, chopped finely Saute together in a heavy bottomed pan until transparent 1 eggplant, cubed, tossed with olive oil and sea salt - let rest for at least 10 minutes before cooking Add to garlic and saute for 2 minutes Add 2 Finnochio Sausage (voila! I remembered the name!), removed from the casing and broken into small pieces. Cook until sausage is done Add 1 bell pepper and 2 small zucchini, both sliced finely. Stir until everything is nicely mixed, cover for a minute and then stir in 1 c. Fresh Tomato Puree
Serve over a bed of shredded spinach with a side of cous cous.
Season and serve with crusty bread and a bottle of 2008 Prunolo - the first wine of the vintage!
The evening I first arrived, we walked down to the Piazza Signoria and listened to the young man that sounds just like Paul Simon singing old Simon & Garfunkle classics and then walked up to view my favorite church, the Santa Croce. We returned the next day to tour the interior- which is really breathtaking and awe inspiring to stand at the tomb of Galileo. This photo is taken in the garden outside Santa Croce.
Yesterday, the group went to Venice without me but I spent the day with Barbara de Rham, a winebroker and friend that represents Cascina Castelèt, the Moscato with the butterfly label as well as many of our favorite Italian producers. We had an amazing lunch, drank 3 bottles of Bellavista Rose - did we really??? and then joined her husband and some friends to attend a soccer match at the stadium.
Now I can say I have truly experience Italy - WOW! It was a game honoring one of the national great players, Stephano Borgonovo who has been incapacitated by some horrendous condition. The second half of the match was kind of an All-Star match with the great soccer heroes of both Madrid and Florence. The crowd was wild, Florence won by 2 goals and it was really a blast.