I’ve been home from Italy for a week now, and I can no longer claim jet lag as a reasonable explanation for my lack of posting; I’m going to sum up, with as much efficiency as I can muster, the last tidbits of the soupapolooza! goes to Italy summer.
There was a shin-dig for Ferragosto, which is an Italian holiday that has something to do with the ascension of Mary, but don’t ask me what that means since I was raised by godless heathens, thankyouverymuch. But nonetheless, Bossy and I chose to celebrate this holiday by braising a shinbone (called a “stinco” in Italian, tee-hee) and inviting our international friends over for some drunken reveling.
There were also two more trips into Florence, both unsuccessful in their promise of the now unicorn-like vintage silver gelato spoons. On the first excursion, a Sunday, we blindly brought the Cinquecento into the city center without consulting a map. It wasn’t pretty, made even less pretty when we found ourselves squeezing (and screeching) down a one-way street exactly the wrong way. We did get another excellent lunch and dinner (pizza!!!) with Beefcake and the Baron before we drove back to Panicale, dejected and stuffed.
The last trip to Florence was a detour on my way back to the states. It involved a ticket for driving into the city center without a permit, that was then somehow revoked (Italian efficiency, or is it extortion?) after paying roughly $50 to park overnight. Curious. While Beefcake hit the gym (he was paying the gelato forward), Bossy, the Baron and I walked through the almost deserted Florentine streets to the Four Seasons and had an amazing lunch of $100 club sandwiches and a hamburger; thank God I didn’t order the Franciacorta or I might not have been able to swing my rent upon my return.
And there was a private lesson in gelato-making with Silvana (the gelato GODDESS) at Vivoli, quite possibly the only place on earth happier than Disneyland (or Barney’s), before drinks and more delicious food and a sleepover in a canopy bed from the 16th century.
And, just to be really nice, here is the most delicious recipe for olive oil gelato that I know of.
Olive Oil Gelato
Makes 1 quart.
5 extra-large yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon, or other coarse sea salt for garnish
Finishing quality extra virgin olive oil for garnish
Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together in a medium bowl.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set a smaller bowl in the ice.
Put the milk, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium (4-quart) saucepan over high heat and whisk until sugar is dissolved. When milk begins to bubble, turn off the heat.
Add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the bowl with the eggs whisking constantly as you add it. Continue slowly adding the milk, whisking continuously, until you have added about half of the milk. Add the egg and milk mixture back to the pot with the milk. Return the pot to high heat and bring the milk to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (It will thicken quickly)
Pour through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl set over the ice water. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the gelato base, pressing it down so the plastic is touching the liquid.
When the gelato base is cool, remove the plastic, transfer it to an airtight container, and chill overnight.
When ready to spin, pour the base into a bowl and stir in the cream and olive oil.
Spin according to the machine instructions.
Drizzle with finishing olive oil and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top (no kosher or table salt here, please-- it’ll be way too harsh) and enjoy. (shown here with olive oil cake!)
There was nothing to complain about on our two hour way to the airport (in BOLOGNA) at 4am. At least not until I sat in the last seat in the last row (not reclining) next to the toilet on the 13 hour Air France flight from CDG to LAX. Because that part, it truly sucked. Way more than the constant stream of Van Morrison or Lucio Batisti.
But if that’s the price for “summering” in Italy (or using the word "summer" as a verb, for that matter), I’ll gladly pay.