Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Arancini Fail

Hey, I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy sipping espresso's and walking really ridiculously slowly with large groups of people who also enjoy taking up the sidewalk with their lackadaisical strides. In truth I've started up classes for this semester and took a weekend trip to Venice for Carnevale, good times, but mostly just walking around the beautiful city with crazy costumed people while drinking boxed wine (.69 eurocents, i still don't suggest consuming more than 2 liters in an evening) with a straw. The bellini, a persecco and peach juice (and also some soda that is particular to venice as some bellini vendor told me) cocktail, was also in abundance.

I've also been doing a lot of cooking, mainly experiments with Crepes, vegetables, hamburgers, and others. but without my camera i'm still attempting to collect those photos. One photo that I do have is of my failed attempt at making Arancini.
They're basically a rice ball with mozzarella and some meat or peas or whatever inside then rolled in breadcrumb and flour and quickly fried. I'll give you the scientific breakdown of my cooking process: Make some rice (you might want to make a bunch of rice if your serving a crowd, or planning on having the arancini as more than a side dish); the rice should be somewhat sticky so you'll probably want to use risotto as its thicker and fluffier, and not as much water. Drain the rice, put it in a large bowl and mix in an egg and flour (for stickyness and also taste). Then mix in whatever you want inside it, i used some ground beef that i had quickly fried up before hand, mozzarella fresh from the mercato dell'erbe, and some grated parmesan. I also suggest peas, and i also wanted to try using spinach, but you do not want to use too much stuffing, the rice keeps the ball together, to much additional ingredients and you will have sad looking arancini, similar to mine. After you make the mixture, roll it in a batch of breadcrumb, flour, some basil, a pinch of pepper, light dusting of salt (all measured to tast), and any other nonsense you want. Then throw a few quickly into a heated pan with plenty of olive oil and move them around, you want the pan to be really hot so that once they hit the bread crumb will bind, then you roll them around in the oil so that they evenly fry, once they're golden, toss them into plate. If you let them sit, like mine, they flatten out and explode a bit, still delicious, but sad.

tip: Arancini are typically fit comfortably in a hand, like a small orange, if you're having trouble making the balls stay together, just make them smaller dummy!

Arancini is italian for little-orange, which is what they look like... or should look like, after they've been fried.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


The food in Bologna is excellent for two reasons; freshness and inexpensiveness. These two things make my cooking excursions much more practical, and delicious.

So far I've been mainly frying stuff up, which leads me to believe that either everything tastes good fried or i'm a better cook than i realized. I've successfully made eggplant parmesan twice, once without ricotta, which turned out better than i thought, chicken parmesan, lemon chicken cutlet, and one time i fried up a whole mess of chicken and had too much egg left over so i just threw it in and made scrambled eggs with chicken breast. These recipes I learned from watching my mom cook for me pretty much every day of my growing up, Thanks Ma! The last time i made eggplant parmesan , it came out so good that Paula asked me to teach her how to make it!

The picture to the right is of Emory, Me, and Claire (claire is one of my American roommates from Georgetown, Emory [the super enthusiastic one pointing at the plate of incomplete eggplant parm] is an ol) . I have to take a picture of the food completed next time.

I also experimented with some recipes which injected me with enough america to keep on going through this peculiarly grey bologna winter, including cheeseburgers (using parmesan, egg, breadcrumb, basil, and paprika in the meat), and even a steak marinated in Jack Daniels (with helpful chunks of butter and garlic). So far I have met success, but perhaps these have not been challenging enough, i want to attempt to make some deserts, or maybe a full meal, consisting of some courses or something. I really want to make a sauce too.

cultural note: many italians have never heard of chicken parmesan or alfredo sauce, despite its plentiful existance throughout Italian american restaurants and homes.


Like most things i do, this is ill timed and poorly calculated. But now i've finally decided to start a blog for some reason, after a month of being in beautiful Bologna, Italy.
Right now I'm sitting in my beautiful apartment just outside the city to the south, in the hills, sipping some espresso. I must admit that I love this city for more reasons than just the amazing food, beautiful people, and way of life, and i'll let you know those reasons when i discover them.

I share my apartment with 5 others, including 2 excellent Italians; Paula and Matteo. The reasons for why they are awesome are many, but include that they put up with my atrocious spoken italian. My Italian language partner (provided by brown university), Pietro, is a Bologna native and shares surprisingly similar interests, not academically or hobby wise but in the areas of drinking and women. I even rode on the back of his skooter one time, and i enjoyed it, grinning like an idiot the whole time no matter how immasculating that seems in the states.

I don't have a camera, as mine was stolen from my architecture studio desk last semester (I'll find you). So any pictures i post will be stolen from facebook, thanks friends!

almost forgot to mention that the hard c at the end of Marc is too difficult for most italians, so I introduce myself as Marco.