Thursday, July 21, 2011

Italian Meals, Revisited: Venice, part II

So, third day in Venice. Our daily excursions consisted of the St. Mark's Basilica, Murano Island (which involved a scary water taxi ride), and the Accademia. But, let's get to the food, shall we?

Dinner, Night 3: Trattoria Da Bepi

Our first course: Pasta with olive oil and chili (me), and pasta with clams (my husband):

I ended up getting a small roasted pepper salad for my dinner because I was so full from the pasta, but my husband's meal really blew us away: cuttlefish pasta in ink! Look at it! It was the most beautiful and weird thing I had ever seen. I'm so happy that he ordered it, and even happier when he shared it with me. Amazing!

Dinner, Night 4: Our favorite, Ruga Rialto.

It's probably a sin to eat at the same place that you just visited the night before for appetizers, but guys. This place was so good. We didn't regret it one bit. Look at what we ate:

Appetizer plate consisting of: cud fish cream, calamari (again!), salmon, and squid. Divine.

First course (we split this): Spaghetti with clams (!)

My main: Grilled gilthead (the special that night).

My husband's meal: Grilled squid. Awesome.

Next up: Florence!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mark Bittman's Blackberry Pie

I get really excited when we get invited to our friend's D and T's house for the 4th. Not only do they have a gorgeous house in the middle of Midtown, they also have a swoon-worthy pool with slate deck surround, a lovely sitting area, unlimited wine supply, and a great bunch of friends who, when invited to their house, bring a dazzling array of food to share. This year someone brought crag legs. Someone else made homemade corn salad, homemade guac, and remoulade sauce. The host grilled kielbasa and steak, and whipped up a sweet tea vodka concoction to share. My husband made his famous potato salad and deviled eggs. And I declared, a few days prior, that I was going to make pie.

Now. I have made lots of sweets. Crumbles, grunts, pandowdies, etc. But never have I attempted a double crust pie. And let me tell's so easy. Yes, easy. Just roll your pie crust out either on one sheet or between two sheets of wax paper. Really, that's the trick.
(I hope I am convincing you with my confidence to go out and try this for yourself, but I was a little timid!) But really, just go for it! And my real goal (aside from the main goal of wowing everyone with this awesome pie at a party where everyone brings great food) was to get stars cut into the top of my pie crust. Priorities, right? As you can see, I pretty much succeeded. Just cut shapes out of your final pie crust (before you drape it over the fruit, while it's still on a sheet of wax paper), and then pray and mutter under your breath as you carefully position the wax paper (crust side down) over your pie, and then pray again as you sloooooowly peel the wax paper off and hope you don't tear it and have to start over. See? Easy!

I used used the flaky pie crust recipe (doubled), and the blackberry pie recipe (recipe is similar) out of Bittman's How to Cook Everything book. I increase the tapioca by 1 tbsp, as he suggested, and the filling was perfectly juicy.