Italian Night: Immersion night for CC Cycle 2, Week 5

Sì, buongiorno, sono l’ispettore sanitario.

“Hello, yes, this is the food inspector” – said all children everywhere.

Just thought I’d update on how Italian night went. We are doing Inmersion Nights to correspond with Classical Conversations, Cycle 2, and I wanted to “go to Italy or France” before we moved past these countries in this cycle. I chose Italy.

We started with crabcakes. Thank you Costco. But I made a siracha aioli to go with these – two tablespoons of mayo, a dime of siracha and the juice of half a small lime. Even my toddler liked it. My older son was all “meh” after he took half a bite. At least he tried it!

Thank you Lord for Costco. The following dish was an all over hit. It took me two minutes to cut up the pieces and arrange them. My husband said “this looks amazing!” Thank you, husband, for the thanks. And though this was my least favorite, I am feeding all males, other than myself… so, you know…

This next dish was planned to be risotto, but I didn’t have white wine, arborrio, nor chicken stock. But I did have sweet potatoes. This course is supposed to be meatless. I looked up an Italian sweet potato recipe which I modified. My older son said “ooh that’s the really fancy dish.” These are sweet and sour rosemary potatoes. They taste like dessert, with all that butter and brown sugar. I cut two large sweet potatoes into an accordion, not slicing all the way through, and then sprinkled olive oil, salt and rosemary on them before covering in foil-covered parchment paper and baking on 400 for 30 min. Mix your sweet and sour unhealthy love mix while waiting: two tablespoons of brown sugar with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 2 diced tsp butter while you’re waiting. Uncover potatoes, then pour happy unhealthy sweet and sour love mix over your potatoes at the half hour mark. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. I spooned the love mix back over the potatoes once while baking for good measure.

I made Giada’s salmon recipe. But with lime. That’s what I had. It’s basically a half onion diced, and a drained can of diced tomatoes, with a little olive oil, one small squeezed lime, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano… mixed together to sit and marry for 15 minutes before being generously poured over wild caught salmon fillets which were nestled and tented in foil-covered parchment paper pockets. Then put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Viola. Perfection.

I just roasted this broccoli for 45 min at 400f with olive oil, a lil’ salt, thyme and oregano. My older son said “come on mom, give me more than just two pieces!” At least he wanted more vegetables, because he found the salmon unpalatable, even though the rest of us scarfed it down. Well… that’s not true. The adults scarfed down the salmon. The toddler asked for more potatoes instead, but who could blame him? I stuck salmon in his mouth at first. The look of offense was real. He shook his head NO and promptly removed said salmon to the plate. However, thank you for your sacrifice, fish. Your life still filled a worthy calling.

There was no room for salad in my belly, but my husband enjoyed it with simple balsamic EVOO dressing. We will finish this tomorrow.

As if this wasn’t enough food, we are then supposed to have a seasonal fruit and cheese plate. How do Italians eat all this food? If you’re Italian, is this how you really do it?! The pears dipped in the potato sauce, by the way, was amazing.

Dark cherry lime honey sorbetto. Need I say more? Put 2 cups of dark frozen cherries, a big squirt of honey (maybe 1/4 cup), and the juice of one small lime in your vitamix and watch the aria begin. Scoop this wonder-mix into a container and stick in the freezer to harden while you’re waiting… trying to eat all this other food… just to get to this palate-cleanser. If you were fancier than I am, you’d put a mint leaf on the side. I ain’t got time fo’ that!

Strictly not Italian, we happened to make these classic chocolate chip cookies after Classical Conversations today. Math lesson, anyone? Of course, we were then obliged to eat warm fresh cookies. I froze two thirds of the cookie dough like a good girl, so we can enjoy the sugar of our labor on another special night. We don’t usually do dessert during the week. It’s 1 stick of room temperature butter mixed with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add one beaten egg with 1 tsp vanilla, mixed, to mixer. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 cup flour plus two Tsp flour to mixer. Add 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips. Scoop out with small scooper or tsp-sized balls on parchment lined cookie sheet, about two inches from each other. Place into fridge to cool. Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 9-10 minutes in the center rack. Let cool… but not too cool!

Italians finish with a fruit or herbal drink. I chose chocolate milk and marshmallows instead. Because. But this sneaky mom added protein powder with greens, and magnesium powder. Because.

Oh and there were no dishes to clean up, because guess who cleaned up as the night wore on? And I didn’t even mind.



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