Curious Appetite

Month: April 2013

Kinda Paleo Pasta

I’m gonna cut to the chase:

onion & olive oil. red pepper. tomatoes. spices. herbs. sausage. all in that order. starting with heat.

Grate Zucchini. mix in. Or saute alone. If alone- lay atop rucola. If with sauce- atop altogether on a bed of rucola.

Dinner. no grain, no pain.

in all simplicity- Curious Appetite.

p.s. don’t know how to make a tomato sauce? Take some tomatoes, score the bottoms. Plung in boiling water for a couple minutes. Plunge in cold water. Peel skin. Immersion blend the pulp with chopped garlic. Add olive oil. Salt and pepper. Voila! Sauce.

Big hunk of la tagliata in Florence

In my last post, I ranted for about 12 hours about getting a hold of some Italian meat for a tagliata (sliced Florentine steak) experiment. I wanted to see if you could make grilled steak at home without a grill since at the time, I only had this ceramic pan. My new best friend who is a chef told me if could be done and told me how- as long as I could find a good piece of meat.

Well this is the piece of meat I found. Chianina.

My frog oven mitten was an admitted casualty in this process. 1st the cow…now the frogs…

Then about 3 minutes on each side this hunk of love made my house smoke

Then I turned the flame off and threw on the pan cover for about 2 minutes to let the juices set in, not dry out. The point that my chef friend told me was to let the meat rest before slicing into it to. I also remember my new best friend saying to throw on the lid or coperchio (which I thought was called copricoperchio)

Last step was the sprinkle on some “grosso” sea salt (chunky flakes). According to BFF, the heat makes the salt scioglie (melt) into the carne flesh.

Final dish: sliced tagliata on some peppery arugula with sliced parmigiano and drizzed with fresh olive oil, aged balsamic and cracked fresh pepper.

Result: Delicious. Wine pairing: Rosso di Montalcino (fancy for Sangiovese. Wine speak for red wine from Tuscany). You could taste the countryside in this flesh. It was a rollercoaster of flavor. Texture: not tough but not melt in your mouth. Realization: I should have bought the meat in advance and let the muscle fibers relax for a couple of days. FISH is what you want to use up the same day, not steak. And I should have cooked it for less time. Still tasty though. A good reminder of why eating Tuscan ranged meat is way better that the corn fed confined American crap meat. I swear I could taste the Chianti the Chianina was reared on. (Chianina do not actually fed on wine grapes, that is just my food fantasy).

For the curious appetite in everyone…

Curious Appetite

Big hunks of meat and men in Italy

Meat. MEAT. It’s a controversial thing. I was however a vegetarian at one point. Not for fun and not for fashion no no. For 8 years. You’ll never guess what broke my carnal strike. Italy. 2007. Rome. Product: Free range chicken. Yep, damn skippy I ate that. And it’s been love ever since.

After a conversation about food (shocking in Italy, I know) with my new best friend who happens to be a chef was shocked that I hadn’t tasted la bistecca fiorentina yet. The Florentine Steak. I see his point but bear with me, there are a couple reasons:

1. I haven’t won the lottery yet. (America, enjoy your cheap subsidized meat while you can.) 2. I haven’t met the right restaurant.

But my new best friend tells me it’s so easy to make at home and with meat from the market. Italian meat market. ahh. ha. ha. Poor me…

So I forget the cut he tells me to buy. I speak Italian thanks to many years of studying classical writers, historians and poets in college. I might be able to recite a line from Dante’s Inferno in the Florentine dialect, but I am completely ignorant to how to order cuts of meats from the butcher. Sirloin? Flank? Howdya learn THAT?

Google was pretty useless for a meat guide. So I try to just go to the market and pick out a piece that looks like the right kind.

And as you can see, it’s pretty damn hard to decide. There is even a cut of meat called “bicchiere” which means glass (like a glass drinking cup). After talking to the meat man (ohhhh yeeeeeaaaah) the right cut is like 25 euros a kilo. In the restaurant it’s like 45, so not so bad if you can make it at home. I told him I would do a “giro” of the market and come back.

So I finally found a cut. A cut from a traditional Italian bovine race called Chianina, one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. Tuscans and tourists who know 3 things about Italian gastronomy go nuts about it for some reason.

Tonight I will endeavor this little hunk of Chianina love. So far, I have stuffed eggplant and a caprese salad to pair. Red wine as well, but of course. I decided to make the steak in a tagliata (cut) fashion with arugula and shaved grana padana.

To be continued….

Curious Appetite






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