Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Notte Bianca, Cooking, and Pretty Skies

It has been incredibly beautiful in Modena these last few days.

I mean, we are are heading into a weekend of rainy days, but I sure have appreciated the recent blue skies.

This past Saturday was "Notte Bianca" ("White Night") in Modena. Pretty much every city has its own, and on this night, all the museums are free and there's a bunch of other stuff to do.

Modena's involved free museums, dancing competitions, artist open markets...

And this random street filled with random open garage-style rooms.

Normally, these rooms are closed, but on Notte Bianca, each had either a band or some weird art thing set up.

And they usually had some free wine and beer inside too. And potato chips.

AND, whether the room had a band in it or not, there was music blasting from inside. I mean that each room, at most five feet from each other, had its own music blaring into the street.

It was so crowded and so loud that it felt like I was in a club.

Look at all those people! If this was Modena's Notte Bianca, I can't even imagine what Milan's or Venice's was like...

Haha this guy in the bottom left corner looks like he walked into Notte Bianca by accident.

Italians certainly know how to party. There were a bunch of children hanging out of their windows partying along with the people on the street. I guess they start young.

In other news, I've been cooking!!!

God I missed that. The other day I made a meal for our Italian studying party. It was 50% eating, 45% chatting, and maybe 5% studying. Part of the 5% might also include bathroom trips or something...

Quinoa salad! Haven't had this stuff since I came here. It was a welcome change. Quinoa with wilted chard, thinly sliced raw carrots, grated parmigiano, and a lemon-y vinaigrette.

Roasted eggplant, roasted asparagus, mozzarella, and burrata drizzled with 35-year-old balsamic.

I wanted to make these bars, but with cherries instead of blackberries. It's cherry season over here and they are everywhere!

First, just look at these eggs.

I almost thought I was doing something wrong with the batter because the filling was so much more orange than the one from the blog.


So. It's kind of obvious that I'm out of practice. I wasn't paying much attention and should have realized some of the red flags in the recipe. First, my pan wasn't big enough. I'm used to all recipes being cooked in 8x8 or 9x13 pans and that every baking dish I buy will fit to those dimensions. Lesson 1: they don't measure in inches here, so those pan sizes don't exit.

Well, my pan was too small so the bars were burning on the outside before the center was cooked. And there was an insane amount of sugar in the recipe. Way too much. Lesson 2: Always double check a recipe for red flags. An adjustment is almost always necessary (or at least won't hurt).

I definitely want to try the recipe again with the correct pan, less sugar, and less butter.

Another day, I introduced some friends to an American style breakfast: scrambled eggs, biscuits, and hash browns.

I was very nervous about making the biscuits because my friends' oven doesn't have a temperature. You can only turn it on and off.

Asia was kind enough to test the heat for me with her hand...

They turned out well! My friend Magda had brought back parmigiano reggiano from Parma, so these were the inspiration for the meal.

Mmmmmmmm I love scrambled eggs. Takes me back to my kitchen table in New Jersey.

Here are some more shots of the pretty blue skies we've been blessed with.

I'll look at these pictures while it rains this weekend. Maybe I'll take this opportunity to study for finals.

Or not.


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