I kept the blinds drawn and slept in this morning- I love these heavy wooden blinds, it stays midnight dark in the apartment! I took off to see the NE section of the central city today and spent the better part of an hour away from all tourists and tourist oriented stores!
Ahhhhh so lovely; this city of stone and beautiful people and cute dogs!
I found several places I want to share when the rest of the group returns. The walkway along the river is really wonderful right now, the leaves are beginning to turn!
I found a market, picked up some throat lozenges and some lovely things for making soup tonight and walked home on the south side of the Arno. This photo shows the Ponte Vecchio and the walk ways that lead to the Uffizi and the Piazza with the fountain of Neptune. I loved watching the rowers and the crew boats in the river, it was a warm and sunny day and when the sun started sinking, the entire river walk was line with cameras!
The starter consisted of a bed of romaine with tiny, sweet black olives and large, salted capers with slices of aged Provolone and the most delectable soft ripened cheese called Caprice. I sliced one of the cooked beets (one of the best reasons to travel to Europe, you can buy pre-cooked beets and they are divine!) and served it with a thin bread coated in olive oil and sprinkled wit sea salt before baking- perfect with cheeses!
I started with a classic mirepoix (don't know the Italian word for it, so we'll use a little French!) but it is a simple sautè of carrot, celery and onion. You finely chop the vegs, and sautè them until they are very tender.
In a separate stockpot, bring 2 Qt. water to a boil, add 2 c. of a mixture of lentils, rice and barley and one cube of Porcini mushroon bouillon (yeah, like you could find that at home! I'll seach for an option when I return, but I think that Pacific Foods does a mushroom broth.)
Add 8 oz. cubed pork and 4 oz. pork sausage to the mirepoix, stir to evenly cook and add the entire batch to the broth as soon as the meats are evenly browned.
Cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes until the rice and barley are tender.
Just before serving, add 2 zucchini, chopped into small chunks and 1 cup fresh basil, shredded.
Cook just until the zucchini is tender to the bite.
Serve in large bowls topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and good crusty bread.
I served the soup with a simple Vino Rosso, a 2.20 Euro wine that I picked up at the market. It was soft and fruity with no heavy varietal character or oak presence and was perfect with the soup!
As 3 members of our Fiorentine troupe are dancing with the idea of head colds, it was a perfect restorative meal which it so fitting in a city where restoration is happening on every corner. I loved waling along the river and finding this restoration artist working on the hand of the statue of the war memorial.