UPDATED: To see a round-up of all the blogs that participated, see Part 1 with La Mia Cucina and Part 2 with Cream Puffs in Venice.
Nothing motivates me like a deadline.
When Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice invited me to participate in the Festa al Fresco on September 5th, I knew it was time for my salad-making butt to get in gear.
Of course, I waited until the night before the deadline to head to the market and “cook” something up. Worse yet was the second deadline – the sun was rapidly setting, and my camera needs all the natural light it can to take decent pictures.
This time, I wanted to pay homage to this lovely region that I live in, Lombardia (Lombardy). A typical cheese here is Stracchino, sometimes called Crescenza.
If you must, you could compare it to a really good cream cheese, but I don’t really feel it’s an accurate comparison. Stracchino usually comes pre-cut and wrapped in paper and then set inside small plastic container. When opened, it usually holds its form, yet some will start to settle immediately. You can see a small pool below my stracchino. It has a very quick expiration date!
I figured my best bet would be an appetizer – if it’s good you don’t care what’s next, and if it’s bad, you always have the main course. I decided to make something that could go on anything handy – a cracker, a piece of baguette, a piadina that had been baked in the oven, anything. The bread is the plate and this filling is the dish.
I chopped some of the cipolline (little onions – chives) you see above and mixed them with the stracchino. I worked it with the fork but I preferred to leave it quite chunky instead of creamy. I did add a dash of milk and a bit of salt to the mix.
In another bowl, I cut some small Grappolo pomodorini (small tomatoes) into small pieces. I didn’t use all the seeds from the tomatoes because I didn’t want the mix too watery. I then proceeded to “de-nut” some fresh olives and chopped those as well. The rato was about 2/3 tomatoes to 1/3 olives, since the olives had a very strong flavor. I added some fresh ground pepper and Pugliese olive oil from my in-laws and mixed it together.
Like I mentioned above, this can go on anything as long as it’s toasted and of course, is strong enough to hold all that you’re about to pile on top. You can toast some bread in the oven or toaster oven, or even use pitas.
In the end, this was really easy and fast to make, and it tasted wonderful (husband-rating: Ottimo), and that meant I still had pretty good light for my pictures. And then I had plenty of time to react after my sink detached itself completely. Ivonne, I’m not sure what’s worse – no oven, or no sink!
Ah, the adventures continue! Please, give me another deadline. I love it! The rest of you – you’re probably reading this September 5th, and you can still participate!
Technorati tag: la festa al fresco