Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pente Cose (Five Things) Italiano-Elleniko

Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything Once has tagged me for a fun meme, choose 5 things that you have eaten that you love so much, you think everyone else should try too. This is really hard, though. I LOVE food as much as I LOVE music. I never have an answer when somebody asks me what my favorite band is so I usually just go with who has been obsessing me for the past few days. If you ask me something specific, like what my favorite punk band is, I can answer: it's The Clash, Post-Punk? The Pixies, Salsa? Ruben Blades, klezmer? The Klezmer Allstars. So with food, I'm limiting this to Italian and Greek (Elleniko) since Italy is where I live and Greece is where I've been for the past 3 weeks. Here Goes:

1.) Fresh Figs. Shocked, are you not? See the 2 previous posts to find out why.

2.) Wild Blackberries picked yourself. Imagine escaping the over-crowded beaches of the August Greek Isles and going wild- blackberry picking in the mountains! I love the glorious taste of these huge tangy-sweet or minerally-sweet fruits that are in my mouth only 1 second after being picked. They must be the most nutritious thing that way. See my next post on blackberry picking and preserves with Valeria and Sue.

3.) Novi's Italian Beef Only to be had in Chicago, Italian Beef is one of my favorite street foods. Paper-thin slices of roast beef swimming in a spiced au-jus (spices include fennel seed, red-pepper flakes and dried basil for sure) are layed into chewy Gonnella bread and then, if you know what you're doing, everything is dunked whole into the jus. As you eat it, it's so delicious, you don't even care that jus is dripping down to your elbows and bits of beef have fallen into your lap. Oh, and Novi's, the very best place to get Italian Beef, is on the corner of Ogden (Rte. 66) and Oak Park Avenues in Berwyn.

4.) Sea Urchins, aka "Ricci di Mare". You may have had sea urchin sushi at some point, but this summer we (well, "we" meaning Valeria and Simone) hunted these pointy little critters at the "lythos" (a tiny island we call the rock) by the house and after a killing-and-cleaning assembly line, we all ate them with spaghetti, lemon, mentuccia and olive oil. Yuhuhuhummmm! Again, tune in soon for the blog-post report complete with video of an escaping sea urchin.

5.) Fresh Porcini Mushrooms. What else? When anyone asks me what my favorite thing about Italy is, I always say, "fresh porcini mushrooms!" Before moving here, I'd never even seen one fresh. Since this blog began only last November, I haven't yet had the opportunity to give you fresh porcini recipes but their season is almost upon us! So tune in.

And now, I tag:

Estelle of My French Cuisine
Paz at The Cooking
Adventures of Chef Paz

Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice
Lotus at Lotus Reads
M.O.T.S. at Not Again!


Blogger Estelle said...

Hey Susan! Welcome back on the blogosphere! Sounds like you had a great time in Greece. Can't wait to read more about it.
Thanks for tagging me: I'm game for the meme :-)

7:39 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Estelle, Great! I can't wait to see if there are any new French things I should try.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Estelle said...

Yeah, I think I'll go with a French selection since it's the subject of my blog. It's going to be hard to narrow it down to 5 though...

7:00 PM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Thanks, Susan, I'd be delighted to play, but I'm with Estelle, it's going to be really hard to narrow the foods I love to 5 items, but I will try! :)

Mmmm, those wild blackberries, they sound soooo good, wish I had some to nibble on, unfortunately, all I have in my fridge are strawberries so they are going to have to do!

Novi's Italian beef also sounds so delicious - that's definitely going on my list of things to try when I visit Chicago next.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Haalo said...

Such a great list! Look forward to seeing those porcini recipes!

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...


Thanks for tagging me! I love your list. I've tried the first two but not the last three so I've got some new foods to try!

5:19 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Lotus, Can't wait to hear about new (Indian? Canadian?) things to try! And DO get an Italian Beef next time you're in Chicago!

Hi Haalo, I'll be sending the porcini recipes throughout the month of September at least!

Hi Ivonne, I hope you like them when you try them.

10:52 AM  
Blogger rowena said...

Ricci di mare......Yessssssssssssss!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Paz said...

Love your list! Would love to try some of these!


1:44 PM  
Blogger Paz said...

p.s. Thanks for the tag. I'll post it soon!


1:48 PM  
Anonymous rowena said...

Oh, and I forgot...regarding your question on the cheese---no, we don't have an extra fridge in the basement. We simply suffer the "blast" when we open the fridge door. We've invited the neighbors over to help us whittle down the loot.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Paz, Can't wait to hear what you come up with!

Hi Rowena, I asked about this extra fridge because one day after a trip to Switzerland where we bought delicious and very smelly Vacherin cheese, Gabriel came home with a colleague for a drink. I opened the fridge to get the water out and our guest was treated to the most disgusting blast of stench ever! I'm sure she thought we had never cleaned the fridge ever!

5:39 PM  

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