January 25, 2013

the villa gone wild then vile

Blogger's Note: I'm bringing Reading in the Kitchen back in house (easier maintenance). So, I'm posting a couple of the recipes that ran on the other site to have them here. This is post one of four in my attempt to recreate a meal from Nora Roberts' The Villa.

See how big of a hot mess I am in this photo?
And this was only half a glass of wine into
the cooking project. Oh, if I would have only
known then what I know now... I would've
bought a second bottle!
Is it just me, or does it ever seem like these dishes I make always come together quite well? I would never say perfectly, but for a while there I was on a roll. I mean, I did not make one thing that sucked and usually it was pretty damn easy.

That will not be the case, this week.

The recipes I will share with you tomorrow and Sunday took so much time and energy while proving way more challenging than expected, it put me off Reading in the Kitchen for a couple of months.  I couldn't even write about it.

Sounds major, I know. And it was. Believe me. I was there. I saw it happen. I lived it.

Channeling the Nora Roberts goddess that I pray lies within me somewhere, on Labor Day I decided to make a couple of dishes inspired by her book, The Villa. I thought it would be fun to do a Live Tweet, which -- THANK GOD -- it appears just about no one followed. Things got a little crazy, and I can't be entirely sure what I said at the time. I was under duress.

Back to the inspiration. If you haven't read The Villa, then you don't know it tells the story about two wine making families brought together through the marriage of the matriarch and patriarch of each family. One side is Italian. The other is... I'm not sure, probably Irish or Scottish, because it's a Nora Roberts book. But the Italian side does most of the cooking, and I went that route.

In one subplot scene, while trying to impress her boyfriend's teenage kids, the MC's mom makes an amazing homemade dinner. It leaves them all raving and tears down some of the walls erected by the boyfriend's daughter -- who, if I'm being honest -- is a bit of dick. I'll be damned if I didn't want to do the same and make a family uniting, dick-kid converting dinner.

Plus, the book centers around vineyards and wine, people. Sure there's the odd little mess of murder and corporate espionage, but at the end of the day there is wine. If you're a bit of a lush like me, the prospect of cooking with and drinking wine is almost too much to handle.

After successfully making pasta last year, I decided to do homemade baked manicotti, marinara sauce and tiramisu. With a carefully constructed plan, I wanted to make it all from scratch and wow the socks off you readers.

As you will soon find out, it did not go entirely to plan. I could lie to you and say I made everything perfectly and from scratch, but I would never do that to you, because we have a relationship. I would never betray our mutual trust or shun our love by defiling it with lies. Well, probably not.

Instead, I'll admit I did some cheating. I made a frantic, last minute run to the grocery store to buy pre-made replacements for the parts I biffed, because at the end of the day, I cared about creating a complete dish that tasted good even if it meant boxed ingredients.

Mission accomplished. The final products were delicious, and even my broomie enjoyed the meal I set in front of him.

It was just a major bitch getting there.

I've decided I need to give these dishes a mulligan. If you check back in January, I'll walk you through the different parts of the cooking process. And hopefully I'll get it right. At the same time, I'll tell you what went wrong the first time around. Of course, I'll share my recipes so you can make my bastardized homemade Italian.

And somehow, we're going to get through this together.

Receive Change the Word's latest updates in your Inbox. Subscribe by entering your information under "Follow by email" in the sidebar. Follow me on Twitter @lmchap or "Like" Change the Word on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment