I’ll take a quick break from our European travels to mention the ultimate food holiday — Thanksgiving. Just dear husband and me at home this year with a 12 pound fresh birdie from the farmer’s market.
Fresh Roasted Turkey
The bird was juicy and delicious thanks to an easy dry brine, but the sweet potatoes were the star of the show. Delicious with a shallot vinaigrette, homemade glazed walnuts and freshly fried sage leaves … all topped with crumbled Stilton cheese. Yum!
The menu was sparse given it was just the two of us, but I also included my all-time favorite cranberry sauce and pan-fried brussels sprouts with bacon and raisins. And for dessert — why a lovely cheese plate of course. What can I say, my heart and stomach are still in France.
It’s not only my new favorite word, it’s my new favorite pasta shape. It’s a fat, solid, strand noodle made with whole wheat flour so it delivers a wonderfully nutty, almost creamy taste and texture. We devoured piles of it outside a restaurant in Venice where the chef was hand-rolling the noodles in the kitchen — delightful!
Traditional Venetian Bigoli in Salsa: Bigoli pasta with a sauce of onions and anchovies
Of course, just about ANY pasta is delicious when you’re wolfing it down while lounging outdoors along the canals of Venice. However, I would scarf up freshly made bigoli pasta in a dark, dank, smelly cave. It’s toothsome and silky and the perfect canvas for some of the most famous Venetian sauces — bigoli in salsa and bigoli with cuttlefish drenched in its own ink. We enjoyed them all. Multiple times!
Bigoli & Cuttlefish Simmered in Ink
Bigoli with Pomodoro Sauce
We have returned. We will now be eating a diet of broth and raw vegetables for a few weeks. Well, not really. But, rather than bore you with my own recipes and menus for the next few weeks, I will instead take you along on our European food and wine tour — Venice, Burgundy, Paris — come along for the ride.
Venice Veggie Boat
I will be eating my favorite picci pasta.
I will be devouring my weight in ripe persimmons every day.
I will be sampling glorious, stinky French cheeses.
And, most importantly, I will be celebrating my 10th anniversary with my oh-so-handsome and utterly amazing husband. I am one lucky lady. Love rocks!
We are now off on our 3-city European food and wine adventure. Here’s to life, love and wine and cheese for dessert every day. Oh, and persimmons.
I shall share pictures and stories upon our return …
Weird and spidery looking, yes, but wow these crispy little fennel chips are surprisingly delicious. I made them to sprinkle over anise-spiced squash and fennel soup, but these bad boys are delightful all on their own. I even made them a day ahead and they remained crispy-crunchy, which puts them squarely in the dinner party category. Love that.
Crispy Fennel Chips
The soup is equally delicious and a nice spin on a traditional squash soup with the addition of fennel and anise-seed. The color also happens to be bright and fall foliagey — perfect for an autumn meal. I followed the recipe for the most part except I used chicken stock rather than water and cooked the vegetables in olive oil instead of butter. The result was a thick and silky soup that feels like health on a spoon yet tastes as if it’s pumped up with butter and cream. Yum! This would make a nice first course for a dinner party or a very satisfying dinner when topped with seared scallops and the fennel chips, which is what I did.
Anise-Spiced Squash Soup
Seared Scallops over Squash Soup with Fennel Chips