Friday, October 8, 2010

Cooked to perfection....

Today was perhaps one of the best days that I've had since moving to Rome over a year ago. It was a crazy adventure and I am so glad that this is my life for now...

I have a long list of things I 'have' to do before I leave Rome/Italy to move back home. This list includes things like visit Cinque Terre, go on wine tour, visit the Lakes district, see Sicily, stay at an agrotourismo, visit an olive farm, and take a cooking lesson. I can now cross 'take a cooking lesson' off of my list! (Of course after today, I may just add it to the list again because it was just that good!)

I found the name of a cooking class here in Rome after someone sent me a link to a video a bunch of American students in Rome made while participating in the same class. The class looked like great fun, it was in my favorite area of town: Trastevere, and the chef seemed to be not only engaging, but knew what he was doing. So, I sent out an email a couple of weeks ago inviting anyone who wanted to come as well. Lynda and 4 students responded and so I made our reservation. I was beyond excited!!!

The students, Lynda, and I planned on leaving campus at 9 am this morning in an attempt to miss traffic. HA! How is it that I've managed to live here for over a year and forget that this is Rome, that this is Italy, and nothing ever works like it should?! We were about 10 minutes late getting on a bus and I was freaking out because I was convinced that we were going to be late. (Punctuality is an American trait that I don't see going away anytime soon!) So, we booked it onto the next bus once we made it to Termini only to sit there for another 10 minutes. Finally, the bus began to make its way around Piazza Repubblica and down Via Nazionale. Traffic was slow moving and I was stressed...well, I shouldn't have been stressed by traffic because as soon as we began to move the bus flipped a u-turn and began heading back up the way we just came! What!? Well, it turned out that there was a demonstration of high schoolers in front of the Ministry of Education and that was causing all buses and trams to come to a standstill. Where was this demonstration? Practically right where we needed to be. There was no way we were getting there via public we walked.

The bus was diverted to the Center and we weren't that far away really, but it felt that way as we raced through the streets of Rome. When all was said and done, we were about an hour late. Gotta love Rome...and you have to take it in stride because otherwise you'll go crazy! Below is a picture of the demonstration that kept us from using the buses:

Anyways, we arrived at the restaurant and found the chef, Andrea, and the other woman, Nan, joining us chatting. Nan's husband Bernie was late joining us because of the demonstration so we didn't miss anything. Hooray!! 
Chef Andrea was AMAZING! He was funny, approachable, knowledgeable, and obviously has a passion for teaching others to cook. This made the lesson fun and educational. He put us right to work as we were running late and had 3 courses to cook. On the menu: gnocchi spinaci, eggplant parmigiana, and tiramisu. Well, the eggplant and tiramisu are by far two of my favorite dishes and while I like gnocchi just fine...I could take it or leave it....that is until I tasted what we made.     
Gnocchi. AMAZING! They melt in your mouth.
Chef Andrea only uses ingredients from the Lazio region, the region Rome is located in, and the ingredients are all fresh. What a difference this makes in the taste of the food! Everything was so vibrant and so delicious!! We chopped, diced, peeled, beat, fried, sauteed, mixed, mashed, and everything in between. The result: one of the best meals I've ever was almost as if heaven opened up at that moment and the choir of angels sang "ahhhhhhhhhhh". Seriously. It was that good! 
By far the most incredible eggplant parmigiana I have ever had in my entire life!!

And finally, tiramisu. Perfection!

All in all, it was an amazing day. The students had a blast, we cooked with some great new friends, I learned a lot, and I got to cross something off my list that I've been wanting to do for a long time. I am so blessed!!!
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  1. Kris
    This looks SOOO amazing! If I come to visit we must go, my belly is hungry even as I think of it! Love you!

  2. I loved reading your post - reliving our day/meal - it was so fun! I'm so glad you sent me your link - I've loved reading about your adventure in Italy - you are so stinkin' lucky!! Can't wait to read what you do next! I want to do everything you have on your "to-do" list so I'll just have to live vicariously as you cross them off your list! xo, Nan