Simple Cooking on New Year’s Day.

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A simple celebration is enhanced anytime with bubbles. The thing I like about Prosecco is that, unlike French Champagne, it is far more affordable and fun to drink. Happy New Year to you.

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Little toasts or crostinis topped off with smoked prosciutto and gorgonzola. The Smoked prosciutto or “Speck” as it is known comes from the Alps. Not only can you notice how transparently thin the ham has been sliced but also how white the fat is . Then you walk into an Italian grocery store or Salumeria and you ask me for some Prosciutto, the first thing I’ll ask you is what kind. By the way , Prosciutto translates simply as ham.In the photo is Prosciutto Affumicato or smoked ham. There is also Prosciutto Cotto or cooked ham, which can be plain boiled or arrive flavored with herbs or truffle, for example. Then there is Prosciutto Crudo or cured ham, of which Prosciutto di Parma is a good example. The gorgonzola is called Rossini. It has been aged in grape must. Grape must is basically boiled down grape juice.With this crostini all you need is a bowl of soup.

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Almost pureed celery soup. I have always loved celery. Some of my earliest garden and kitchen experiences include celery. This simple soup has eight ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, salt, water, black pepper and bay leaf. I don’t puree it all the way. I leave some for texture and top it with olive oil only.The soup and the crostinis pair very well with each other and helps set up dinner. This is a laid back New Year’s Day.

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Potato gratin with garlic, rosemary and black pepper.

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Oven baked Codfish with home-spun Green Olive Tapenade and Roasted Vegetables. I like my tapenade or olive pesto chunky where you can see all of the little bits. My version has no anchovy. The olives that I used were Sicilian Castelventrano olives. I use salted capers. I roasted the vegetables on top of the stove in olive oil. Everything tasted great. You really have to raise your cap to all those tough fisher people that bring in all this fresh fish. And the tough farmer too.

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This is Rossini, the wine aged gorgonzola for dessert.

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Start with a white, finish with a red.

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