Saturday, October 29, 2011

NAPLES, EAT-ILY


Mather Street, OAKLAND
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 October:  save room for Italy (Eat-ily, says Fred)



Thyme in Italy?  Yes!  in Naples!   

And what a good thyme as we were guests of the Università Degli Studi di Napoli “Lo Orientale”..  

 
And right from the inizio, Fred and I were permanently seduced by the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. (notice the cute one looking out at us?)




We had what you all have probably already had: Mozzarella + prosciutto --at the restaurant La Campagnola on the via dei Tribunali.  The combination is magic in the mouth.  Fred said it tasted like a fine cheese soufflé.  (he was on to something; but a soufflé would be a lot less expensive; unless, of course, you are eating at Café Jacqueline in S.F.’s North Beach.)

We had the highest quality water-bufalo
(not home-on-the-range buffalo) Mozzarella again at our host, Roberto’s house on the CapodiMonte, where we also tasted the smoked variety… another taste worth the trip.

On our last Neopolitan day (but on the Isle of Capri, just below the palace of the Emperor Trojan) we ate Mozzarella di Bufala lightly sprinkled with fresh thyme and then layered with tomatoes on the chewy local bread. The bread had been touched with light olive oil and just the aroma of garlic.  (Fred’s had prosciutto, too.)





Two days later, I was home and trying to relive the past. Definitely a case of EON disease (“Early-Onset Nostalgia.”)

The local clan gathered, giving the feast a deserved gravitas...

and pronounced it: Magnifico! Stupendo! Mozzafiato! Mozzarella! Sfogliatelle! Pizzaria! (Italian is so easy… it just keeps coming and it all rhymes.)


Present: Manya./Noni,  Rumeli, Dreese, the current Mather-squatters: Mikej, Alanya, Selim and Naveed; and, making a cameo appearance from Chicago:  Chef -Cuoco-Carel
Gravitas, continued.

PS to the Squatter-Report:  The View Street windows are now in the kitchen, and the ETF (estimated time of finishing) is Xmas. 




MENU

•Thyme Caprese Sandwiches (make your own)
•Italian Prosciutto
•Roasted Red Pepper Antipasto
•Green garlic olives from Genoa Deli
•Insalata Mista.
•Fresh Fall Apple Cider from the Farmer’s Market
•Torrone, a winter candy-ish roll-thing from Guy Odin on the Spaccanapoli.  Hand imported by me. (Appropriately in italics to emphasize that the “me” is in Italian.)


THYME CAPRESE SANDWICH
Crusty Sourdough Bread
            Acme’s Italian Batard is close to the Neopolitan wood oven masterpiece.
•Honest to God Mozarella, sliced
            Mine was cow’s milk, but the best that the Genoa Deli had to offer
Good organic tomatoes
            The Farmer’s Market lady recommended the “Japanese Black Trifele,” which are actually Russian, but apparently grown here in California.  They didn’t look very Capresiano, but they were intensely and satisfyingly tomato-ey.
Light olive oil with the tiniest bit of •garlic smashed in

Brush the bread with the garlic oil
Lay on sliced mozzarella and tomatoes.
Sprinkle a small amount of fresh thyme over all.  (of course, you expect basil, but ours in Capri had bits of thyme, winning it GTG status.)

Add 
•Prosciutto if you want, but I suggest you eat that separately, with a different helping of Mozzarella.
Make into an open face or closed sandwich.

INSALATA MISTA

•Zest of a small orange
•Juice of ½ the orange
•Olive oil
•Orange flavored olive oil (because I had some in the 'frig.)
•Half a can of corn kernels, drained.
       I meant to use a lemon, but the lemon that I used turned out to be an orange.
1 head soft greens

Grate the zest into a salad bowl
Add oils and corn.
Put the torn leaves on top.  Set on the table.
Mix with hands before serving.


ROASTED RED PEPPER ANTIPASTO

•Large red peppers
•Olive oil

Put the red peppers right on the gas flame and “grill” till the skins are black, turning as needed.
 
Place black peppers in a paper bag for 10 minutes to steam.

With your hands, rub off the black char… you can do this under running water.  Open and remove the seeds.

Dry on a cotton towel.  Under no circumstances use paper towels as Alanya will come to your house to stare you down till your ecology level is raised.

Cut peppers in long strips, place in bowl with olive oil. Add garlic if you want.

Instead of fresh garlic, I put the garlicky green olives next to them. Store them mixed if any is left over.


TORRONE
 In Italy and in Oakland


Chef’s comments:
 
All out winner for Italian deliciousness?

Matteo Nocera-Anselmo, 18 months.
(Fred is pretty cute, too.)

Chef's further comments:

1. The entire dinner was awarded Happy Chef status
AND
2. Clearly, Naples+Capri and Oakland are sister cities.
Mikej and Noni on Oakland Deck with full view of weeds

Carel and Fred on Capri Deck with full view of espresso, wine and  Mediterranean


Sandriz and Manya

Manya

Rumeli.. the only photo I have from this day...

Naveed, laughing at the camera


Selim experimenting for Halloween
Mikej and Noni watching the entertainment

Alanya and Dreese (suggesting that we had not followed his instructions explicitly.)

For the record:
Blessings on the eyebrows of Roberto Totolli, Lea Nocere and Michele Bernardini --and the Soggiorno Sansevero on the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore.

For the Giornata di studi su Muhammad in onore di Claudio Lo Jacono, Fred gave his talk, “From Believers to Muslims” talk (Oct. 26th.)   

For the Biblioteca del Bipartimento di Studi Asiatici -- Palazzo Coriglian, I gave my talk, “Becoming a Cultural Symbol: The Ottoman House in the Turkish Imagination” (Oct. 25th, 2011, first of Dad’s birthdays without him.)

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