Apicius, Week Four

Umbria was an appropriate choice for this week, since I would be visiting both Assisi and Orvieto that week, and Tiffany had seen them the previous weekend. Our menu for the day:

Minestrone with Endives (Minestra alla indivia)
Lamb Leg with Eggs and Cheese (Agnello con ouva e caccio)
and for dessert...little fried candy balls. (I'll update when I have my recipes in front of me, oops.)

This week's recipes were fairlysimple, delicious, and healthy, a welcome treat after a couple of truly indulgent weeks. (See: Napoli and Trentino.) The soup was hearty but light, tinged with the delicious tanginess of endives and balanced by chewy pasta and silky potatoes. And the lamb with eggs, while strange at first, was rich and gamey; I mean, it was basically just scrambled eggs with roasted meat. It melted smoothly on my tongue without the sickening sensation of fat gliding down my throat.

There were follies, of course. First the eggs were all frozen. That's right: frozen.  At first we thought perhaps it was their location in the fridge, but after sampling four eggs from every part of the fridge, we realized that the temperature-regulation had totally failed. We managed to "borrow" some from the larger class next door, but not without some serious bargaining--they got our clean grater.

And then the onions... Tiffany had the task of washing the vegetables and went to great pains scrubbing each speck of dirt off the endives, the potatoes, and finally, the onions. Her face, when Vittoria asked her what she was doing with the onions, was priceless: a mixture of supplicance, indignation, and most of all a desire to do absolutely everything perfectly--and then we all burst out laughing. It was so typical of the two of us to bend over backwards to do everything perfectly, only to hear Vittoria whistling behind us, off in her own world, saying, "Basta, basta, so small!"

The dessert was very similar to a croquembouche, made with fried choux-paste balls and honey caramel. Except in Italy, per usual, we go a little bit over the top and coat--not dip--entire pastry balls in a mixture of caramel, almonds, candied fruit, and lemon peel. Sooo much decadence--sugar, sugar everywhere, and not a bite to eat. Ok, I had one bite. For taste.

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