Friday Night Dinner 5

What We’re Eating – Carrot Ginger Soup/Oven Baked Plaice

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The temperature is slowly creeping up in Bologna and the scent of spring seems to be about to fill the air. The gelaterias (ice cream shops) are opening in the afternoons, and seeds, flowers and gardening supplies are popping up in local stores. I don’t want to get too excited about it yet, since I’m told the weather in March is still pretty erratic, but just in case, I’m feeling the need to squeeze in some more winter soups before the weather inspires a different menu. So this week, we’ve had a green veggie soup that we love, and tonight we’re going for another family favorite, carrot ginger soup. Here’s a recipe from Jamie Oliver that’s similar to the one I use. I skip the nutmeg, and either skip or substitute orange zest for the orange juice. We also like our soups thick, so we use 4 cups of stock instead of 5. Lastly, it’s delicious with or without crème fraîche! After the soup, we’ll have breaded and baked fish with roasted veggies. In New York, we often used tilapia, but here it’s much more common to find plaice or platessa in Italian.

Christine: The ‘s’ word will not be uttered on my side of the blog until we experience a daytime temperature that breaks 40°(F). Since last Friday, the highest the mercury has climbed is 36°(F), and that was for about 45 minutes on Tuesday. The low was -2°. Needless to say we are still firmly entrenched in WINTER here and our food choices reflect as much. Root vegetables, soups, (heavily) buttered bread and potatoes–comfort foods, all–appear at our table every night, so your soup sounds delicious and delightful and warm. I was thinking about that green soup you make just the other day and wondering if there is a recipe for it, as I recall it is an amalgamation of green vegetables AND that your kids love it. Maybe you can send along the recipe to that one, too? 


What We’re Talking About – Tonight I Listen

This is the lovely officer that helped me with my “denuncia di furto” a report I filed with the local carabinieri, after some parking lot scammers stole a few things out of my car this week. I love the poster of the young officer stopping to have a chat with a beautiful lady on her bike, who in turn looks adoringly at him! And of course, there’s Mother Mary too. Oh, you… Italians.

One of the comforts of the Friday night dinner routine with our good friends is that there’s no pressure to be prepared with anything other than a good meal and a bottle (or 2 or 5) of wine. You just need to show up, even when your brain feels like it’s been sapped of all its content, and your body just wants to lay down. Preferably you should be clean and clothed, but this too is optional.  This Friday, Christine, Ray and Noah, would  likely find us at home, looking a little worn and donning our best American Apparel sweats – I know you miss Stefan’s bright green number with the matching t-shirt! We’d be propped up on our stools, ready and happy to listen. Sure, we’d probably end up sharing about our trip to Switzerland, Italian Carnival, How much it sucks when someone steals your stuff from right under your nose, upcoming trips and gripes about schooling and our overly busy schedule, but this week, I’d really love to hear about what’s happening with them. We’ve barely exchanged an email this week, so I’m wondering what’s up over there. How was substitute teaching this week? Any new thoughts on what you want to be when you grow up? What is happening with Ray? I think I saw that a cycling event is coming up… What’s keeping Noah busy after school recently? Zoel wants to know which Artemis Fowl book he’s on… If spring doesn’t arrive soon, will you be considering a move to the equator for next year?

Christine: Oh, the green sweat suit. Yes. (I think there’s a red one, too? Or at least a red jacket.) I remember those nights when we all were doggone tired but canceling Friday Night Dinner (FND) was not an option because we knew that just sitting in the same kitchen together, basking in fellowship and conviviality, would palliate our weary bones from the inside out. Interesting and important conversations were sure to follow the first glass of wine and, though we might call it an early(ier) night, sleep would come easy and untroubled because of the hot soup in our bellies and the warm solace of friendship in our hearts. That said, we are busy here this week! Ray has a million irons in the fire (as always). I’ve subbed twice (to my own joy and weariness–more about that on my side) and on Saturday Noah will be showing off his drumming skills at the All County Band Festival. (You can let Zo know he’s on the 4th Artemis Fowl book as of tonight–though he’s burning through the stack with abandon.) Oh, and yes. I’m looking in to which Caribbean Island is the friendliest to Yankee ex-pats. 

Sleep well, my friend! 


What We’re Drinking – Tizzano Barbera

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Keepin it local tonight. It’s going to be an early one!

Christine: One day I’ll post the photo I have of the bunch of us lugging several (4 was it?) cases of Tizzano down the winding vineyard road to your house for Thanksgiving. Our eyes were bigger than our, um, livers that day but Yum! We like that wine. Cheers!

















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