Week 12: Wednesday, Antipasti bonanza and bra’zhul with rigatoni

So it looked like we were going to be done by 1pm today as all we had slated to do on the menu was deep fried fish with marinara sauce. But there was no way I was going to have my crew loitering outside and harassing pedestrians while looking at ways to finagle more alcohol out the staff, so I started to come up with other tasks.
Now this not the thing you want to do to Stormin who likes his time-lines nice and neat. Sorry no pictures of the time line today.
I start with lets make some pasta, maybe some ravioli or cannelloni that we can freeze to be used during the wine weeks or maybe we could make some braised fennel or gratinéed zukes or Tocchettis (eggplant, roasted red pepper and Parmesan spheres) and of course we have to pull some mozzarella curds (since we are teaching the cooking of southern Italy) or hard cooked eggs with the yolks puréed with pesto and refilled for our antipasti platter.
Well all these ideas are pouring out and I can see Stormin getting more and more annoyed as he is trying to work through his time-line for the day.
Poor guy, 4 different versions of his time-lines were created before we could settle on what we wanted to do. We planned on making braised fennel, tocchettis, Italian deviled eggs, Cannelloni topped with tomato sauce and of course the deep fried cod with marinara sauce.
And then chef Lexie comes out and says: “BTW we have a special meeting at 12:30 out on the deck.” which can mean she has some kind of regional cocktail in mind for us all to share. Anyway this throws Stormin’s time-line all to hell and he finally relinquishes the time-line to the blackboard. Throw into this whole mix a photographer who is slated to come and take photos of us in action for the website and our time-line is filled beyond capacity. Which is the way I like it.
The antipasti platters were beautiful: Affetado (salume), insallata Caprese and our platter of balsamic braised cipollinni onions, tocchetti and mozzarella roulade with roasted peppers.
As far as I am concerned the Italians, French and Spanish have it down when it comes to starting out a meal with these nibbles. There is no better way to get conviviality flowing then with antipasti, apperitif or tapas and the appropriate wine.
I was too distracted to get a shot of the braciole and of our deep fried cod filet with marinara, suffice to say that both were tasty and abundant.
We had a Salice Salentino ( a wine from Apulia) and then we had a dessert wine from the Veneto unlike any I have ever had with our Southern Italy cheese tasting.
The aroma was of cured apricots and peach and my grandmother bedclothes when she locked me in my little closet at night when I was sick…..truly haunting.
Another of many great food days.

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