sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

Archive for December, 2010

Italian “Tapas” and Sherry

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 21, 2010

The Spaniards have done a great thing with the word “tapas”. It communicates so much, and leaves many doors open. My wine expert friend Ramesh recently was in Spain for a course on Sherry – not your mother’s sweet pre-dinner aperitif either.

He tells me, for I know little of sherry, that there are many Sherries from ultra-sweet to bone dry. The dry Sherries work very well with the tapas we might call charcuterie – so this is my Christmas Eve plan given my mother has said we are doing only appetizers.

My plan goes as follows:

Cacciatore – sliced thick and on the diagonal

Mini-Milano grilled sandwiches – my daughter’s favourite and she will make them. (see https://jimmyprosciutto.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/cooking-with-my-kids/)

The proven pleasers, one-bite pancetta cups filled with Caesar salad, (see https://jimmyprosciutto.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/a-master-chef-from-the-canadian-institute-of-culinary-arts-science/)

And for something new will try this “christmasy” idea: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2009/11/25/holiday-appetizers-101-baked-brie-with-cranberry-pancetta-and-spiced-pecans/

And the sherry, per Ramesh’s recommendation is Lustau Amontillado, although I have had to search and source to find.

I promise a full report …


Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 20, 2010

Brussel Sprouts bitter no more

Amazingly brussel sprouts seem to still be standard fare for the holidays, even though many people find them bitter. I love them and am always looking for ways to share.

The latest LCBO magazine sautés them in butter and adds prosciutto crisps at the end – hard to argue, (it doesn’t seem to be posted on the lcbo website yet).

Two weeks ago, having no prosciutto, I cut up the brussel sprouts and sauted with a very small amount of salametti and olive oil to positive reviews. The brussel sprouts take on a nutty flavour that combines with the salami beautifully; any bitterness in the sprouts is a subtle enhancer in the background.

Last weekend I sautéed some diced pancetta in olive oil, then sauteed the chopped brussel sprouts for about 10 minutes, 3 sprouts per person. Huge hit, we ran out and am planning to do for our family Christmas gathering.

I was also thinking of adding just a bit of white wine in the pan or balsamic glaze just before serving, maybe next time. They are also great roasted in the oven with garlic.

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »