I would say I didn’t waste any time getting back into the kitchen, but that would be a lie. Lacking a routine upon my return home, I lost all motivation to be even remotely productive. The most interesting part of one day was watching a bunny in my backyard build her nest. In order to remember what it means to be a normal human being, I had to force myself to make something.
I turned to my new best friend, Dorie Greenspan. I borrowed her book from the library earlier this summer and fell in love. It wasn’t until I had to return it that I realized I never wanted to be without these recipes, so I promptly bought my own copy. Flipping through the pages, I came across a cardamom crumb cake that seemed the perfect compliment to a morning mug of coffee (which, I have to admit, I sorely missed in Italy).
It was a great success! Not only was the cake delicious but I was no longer being a little lazy-pants.
Since then, I’ve tried my hand at lingue di gatto, or cat tongues, a delicate little sugar cookie that also gets along wonderfully with coffee. (Seriously, I love being able to drink coffee all day long again!)
I helped my mom make her famous rib-meat pasta sauce.
I had the very important job of chopping garlic. I’m only slightly sarcastic when I say this. Because garlic truly rocks my world.
Would you rather… have a house smelling of garlic and olive oil cooking on the stove or of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? Honestly, I think I’d chose garlic and olive oil. Although, cookies would probably make more friends. These are the deep philosophical questions I ponder late at night.
Finally, I officially began my quest to recreate the delicious taralli my family would eat last time they were in Italy. My mom and all of her sisters are obsessed with these little looped crackers made with olive oil and white wine. My first two batches turned out pretty well, I think. They’re not quite right yet but they do have that addictive quality to them, (can you guess what I ate for dinner?)
The secret to their texture is not only the wine, but also the fact that they are boiled first and then baked. Fascinating.
Next stop: the East Coast to visit some friends. I can assure you I won’t be going empty handed, which is why there is cookie dough currently chilling in my fridge.