Monday, October 09, 2006

Cena de tapas - ovvero prima cena italo-messicana

Mariana and I started to teach Spanish and Italian to each other a few weeks ago. We met a few times, and I'm actually learning a lot! Soy muy contenta!
Recently, our meetings have been open to more people: together with us, there have been Lucas and Trino, also Luisa and Jorge, Crissy and Ross. Also, we started from just informal coffees together and now we organized some real Italo-Spanish speaking dinners.
The first dinner was at our place, and I suggested that everyone brought a tapas and we would all share food and language :)
It's been a great idea. We really spoke about half of the dinner in Spanish and half in English, and only a few words were in Italian. But Mariana and Luisa have started to learn Italian only recently, so we need to go a bit slow, although, they seem to be doing great. It was a bit confusing for Lucas and Crissy, from time to time, because it was hard for them to distinguish sometime if we were speaking Italian or Spanish. Poor them! Anyway, for their sake (and also in order to talk faster about some 'involving' issues), we ended up speaking for the second half of the night in English, as I said.
You will find below some pictures and recipes.

Blue tortilla chips con salsa y rollos de tortilla
This was brought by Crissy. The tortilla rolls were filled with cream cheese, and peppers. They were very good!
Per gli Italiani: forse penserete che le tortilla chips blu siano colorate artificialmente.. ebbene, vi sbagliate! Io non ci credevo, ma esiste davvero un tipo di mais che ha i chicchi blu!! Guardate qui e questo se non mi credete:

Tortilla de papas
This was made by Luisa and it's a typical Mexican/Spanish dish, similar to an Italian frittata but thicker. It's usually filled with potatoes (like in this case), but it can be filled with anything.

These wonderful bocadillos with avocado, cheese and ajillo (garlic sauce), or olives, were brought by Mariana and Trino.

Fagottini al formaggio con miele e noci
I made these 'fagottini'. They were made with a piece of fillo dough, and filled with pieces of cheese (cacio di Roma) and a little tiny piece of butter. I tied them with cilantro. I cooked them for about 5 minutes in the oven and then sprinkled honey on them, and nuts around them. Honey and cheese is a typical italian combination. The idea for this appetizer was given to me by Fiordizucca. They are really delicious and easy and fun to make.
I also prepared some shrimps with honey and sesame, but I already posted both the picture and the recipe of this in the past.

Pan de aceitunas
This was also brought by Luisa. It was really particular and delicious. It was a sweet-savory bread with olives, it had the same consistency of a cake, and some sugar was in it, which contrasted wonderfully with the saltiness of olives. She said it's a traditional Mexican bread.
Luisa also brought some absolutely delicious pork with prunes, but my pictures of that did not come out well.

Torta di banane, noccioline e cioccolato con crema di uva ConcordThe recipe for this cake that I prepared as dessert was inspired to me by Fiordizucca again. Still, I modified it quite a bit. If you want to make it, you need to mix together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp yeast, 1/2 tsp cinnamom powder, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 cup ground peanuts, 2 eggs, 1/2 to 1 cup sugar to taste, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa. Then, blend 2 bananas with 1 cup milk and add 1/2 cup vegetable oil to it, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the rest and cook for ~45 minutes at 350 F.
My sauce was prepared with Concord grapes, which are in season and locally grown. To make it, I blended ~ 2 cups grapes with ~ 1 1/2 cups yogurt and ~ 1/2 cup sugar. You should check the taste and the consistency while you make it.
Serve the cake warm, with the cream cold on a side (unfortunately I found out it was better to serve the cake warm only the day after the dinner, when I took the cake out of the fridge and heated it up for me and Lucas to eat). The warm cake was like eating one of those chocolates that have nuts and good spices in them, and the cream that went with it was really good. So I was happy of it.

And this is just one of the happy moments/cultural exchanges of the dinner: Lucas reciting the 'bumble bee' song :)

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