June 24, 2010

family food

Food plays an important role in my large, Italian family.   Food is community.  Love and care are expressed through food.  Memories are created around traditional dishes.  Many of our interactions – and any major event – revolve around food.  Holidays, graduations, weddings – none feels complete without a gathering of family around a meal – or two. 

Some of my most treasured times are those I spend with my mother and sisters in the kitchen.   At our annual extended-family vacation, we spend almost as much time in the kitchen as we do on the beach.  The trip is consistently the source of several new recipes and the inevitable extra poundage that goes with a week of family cooking.

It’s probably not surprising that a 4-day visit from my parents and youngest sister was packed with as many trips to the grocery store and many more hours in the kitchen.  When they left early Sunday morning, we were all disappointed that we hadn’t had time for everything we wanted to cook together.  Rooftop grilling and goat cheese tortelli with chard, mushrooms, and honey were among those that unfortunately did not make the cut.    

After picking our guests up from the airport at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, sleeping late, and spending the afternoon at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, we treated ourselves to dinner out: Spanish tapas and sangria.
The next day we had a late afternoon snack of tortilla chips with 2 different types of homemade guacamole and were too full for dinner.

The collective craving for something healthy later on in the evening (and our latest produce delivery) provided the opportunity for me to make a raw kale salad for the first time.

For lunch on Friday, we took a drive out to Great Falls Park and had a picnic of panzanella, Italian and Spanish cheeses, salami, a country wheat baguette, sweet potato chips, and fresh fruit.

Friday night we made French gnocchi.
Saturday morning, we made Belgian waffles.

Saturday night we baked bread…
…and made a spring risotto with peas, asparagus, lemon, and basil.
Be on the lookout for recipes related to the dishes mentioned in this post!

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