I’m just no good . . .

. . . at cooking fish. I don’t know why? I either over cook it, undercook it, over-season it or under-season it. Once, I did manage to cook fresh catfish. I used a Ruth Reichl recipe for blackened catfish. It was amazing. That was two and a half years ago. I blame it on the fact that it’s so hard to buy fresh fish in Kentucky. Oh sure, I could drive 50+ miles to Louisville to Whole Foods but that’s a lot of expense to go to and my husband just wouldn’t understand. So, I keep trying. I will not let this get the best of me. If you have any tips or great recipes please, help a girl out, would ya?

I have managed to conquer shrimp and scallops. I attribute that to the very short cooking times. It’s really easy to see when it’s properly cooked. It’s almost fool proof really.

So, chicken it is. We eat a lot of chicken. The challenge before me though is how to make it differently every time. If D had his way we’d eat it fried every time. Obviously that’s not doable. I’m so tired of chicken.

Oh man, this is one boring post. Sorry about that.

Did I tell you about all of the clams and mussels we ate in Italy? I’m telling you they were amazing. We had them on pizza, as au gratin, with pasta and by themselves happily steamed. There is a reason fresh is best. I can’t bring myself to buy clams or mussels here for just that reason. Fruits de la Mer was everywhere and we ordered it as often as we could.

fruits de la mer – photo from Flickr

I need to get off of my tuckus and be inventive in the kitchen. Right now all I’m thinking about it not eating sugar and white stuff until my birthday. I have eleven days to go. It’s been hard and I’ve not been entirely successful but I shall persevere.

Oh the food in Italy!

If you’ve read my earlier posts you may remember that my beautiful husband took me to Paris and Italy for our honeymoon. We spent eight glorious days in arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Amalfi, Italy – View from our hotel balcony. AMAZING!

See. What did I tell you?

One of my favorite parts of the trip, of course, was the food. Oh . . . the food.

Well, aside from getting food poisoning on the plane and throwing up four of the eight hour flight to Paris. There is nothing more romantic than holding both hands over your mouth while frantically looking for a bathroom in the Paris airport. If you’ve been there you’ll know that THERE ARE NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS in the airport and therefore you will have to toss your cookies up into the recycle bin while sympathetic tourists and employees stare aghast at your misery. Let me tell you that a cab ride in Paris with a stomach turning circles is NOT a good time. My first day in Europe was sadly marred by a tummy revolution but I would not let that spoil my attitude. I was in Paris after all. If one has to be vomitus, Paris is not a bad place to do it.

After a long nap and a long walk exploring the streets of Paris we found a bistro to have our first meal. I ordered a penne with gorgonzola sauce. WOW. There are no words to describe how very good it was.

a Paris bistro

Miraculous maybe.

The meal which stands out most for me was a mushroom risotto I had in Firenze. It’s flavors were layered and rich. The serving was huge and I honestly could have eaten more.  The trattoria was called Il Porcospino (the porcupine).

Il Porcospino Trattoria

It’s in a building older than the US. The restaurant is situated in S.Lorenzo neighbourhood, in front of Cappelle Medicee and is on the ground floor of Benci Palace built in the XVI century. It was beautiful!

We ate outside on the sidewalk and were seated next to (not surprisingly) Americans who were preparing to move there. They knew the wait staff and it was so much fun. We talked and drank to much and honestly had one of the best dates we’ve ever had. Here we would have the first Lemoncello of our trip.  We are converts. Yum.

So, the point to this blog was to tell you about my attempt to make risotto. Trader Joe’s had a box of Arborio rice with a recipe. I should have followed Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe.  It was good but lacked the depth and richness of Il Porcospino’s.

What I learned about the food in Europe. Ingredients matter. Fresh is best. Oh my goodness, yes.