Sottosopra (sot•toh•SOH•prah)…upside down. I know I am not the only one who feels like an extra in a sci-fi movie where everything in the world is upside down. Kisses and hugs can be disease spreaders, binge watching Netflix on the couch all day is responsible adult behaviour, and NOT visiting your family is a sign of love!
Everyone copes differently with the stress of quarantine. Some of us are madly productive, and others binge watch Netflix all day. It does not matter what we are doing, as long as we are doing it at home-staying home and helping everyone stay safe. If you have been hiding under a rock and this is news to you, please read these 2 posts: COVID19~Andrá tutti bene and COVID19~Insieme ce la faremo.
I am one of those ‘essential’ workers, but I am ‘freelance’ now, and happened to not have any work booked at the hospital the last 2 weeks. I have been at home, only leaving the house to buy groceries or walk to my parents’ back porch-the socially distant designated drop off/pick up point. This week I work a few days… and am not sure what to expect!
While home, I have done yoga class via zoom almost every day, and spent a lot of time in my kitchen. I made a kitchen ‘to do’ list -mostly things I am not often home long enough to attempt. Making pasta by hand is calming, almost meditative, punching dough is violently therapeutic, and my freezer is now full. It is also time for another ‘In my kitchen’ blog post. Here are some of the things I crossed off my list:
I have made a lot of stuffed pasta, but not filled with meat. Ricotta, spinach, mushroom, pumpkin…but not meat. These tortellini are stuffed with a mixture of veal, prosciutto, mortadella and parmigiano. They were delicious, so I will be making them again, although I may vary the shape.
In the spirit of using absolutely everything, I candied my orange peels, using a technique based on Domenica’s and then dipped half in chocolate. They are a small flavour explosion and a nice garnish for a cheese plate, or served on the side with espresso. I ate a lot of oranges, so made a lot of candied peel and will see if they freeze well.
I love making bread-and the kneading part is a great stress reliever. Making pane senza impasto —no-knead bread, was anticlimactic, but i wanted to try it. The ingredients were just barely mixed, rose for 24 hours, then baked in my heavy cast iron pot with the lid on. The bread was delicious, with a nice crispy crust. Unfortunately, you can only make 1 at a time.
Alumni of the University of British Columbia will drool at the mention of the legendary, pillowy soft, caramelly UBC Cinnamon buns. These were made for over 50 years by UBC Food Services and sold at all of the campus food outlets. The recipe was once a huge secret but is now available. I have wanted to make them for years, but the recipe sounded really difficult and time consuming. It was not as involved as I thought and I will definitely be making them again. There is even some kneading involved! They were so good, I had to try one, keep one for the next day, and immediately arrange for the rest to be picked up so I did not eat them all. I will try freezing them unbaked next time.
Freezer space is at a premium right now, so the frozen raspberries from my garden had to be used to make jam. In a few months there will be new berries to pick.
The south facing kitchen is the sunniest place in the house. A few weeks ago -whenever the full moon was, I planted my pomodori seeds by the window. The tomato seedlings are all looking good and growing well on the covered back porch now.
Orecchiette are not the easiest pasta to make, but they are extremely low tech. No pasta machine, not even a rolling pin is needed. Only a knife. Making them was very meditative, but also stressful, because this was the first time I ever made them without my Mamma. As a surprise, I delivered the orecchiette to their back porch.
Forza! Hang in there everyone! Check out the rest of the monthly ‘In My Kitchen’ blogging community posts from around the world on host Sherry’s blog here.
A special ‘Grazie!’ to grocery store employees, farmers and truck drivers who are making sure we have food!
Ciao, Cristina. Vancouver BC, Canada