Our 2nd cooking course was hosted by Ice Cream Grrrl (on the right). I love this girl! She always makes me laugh and she's a non-coffee drinker like me. Quite honestly, I've never met an Italian who didn't love a shot of espresso but Ice Cream Grrrl is in a league of her own. Instead of drinking coffee, she has a cup of ice cream every morning. lol! Love it! She says it helps her wake up... "so cold & refreshing". About a week ago, I dragged myself out of bed at 4am to do a flea market and guess who was at the market? Ice Cream Grrrl. And she was eating a bowl of ice cream at 5:30am despite the weather being in the 50's. Franchi, her other Sicilian girlfriend brought it for her. How sweet is that? When I see these Italian women together it reminds me of a big group of loving sisters. I once asked Ice Cream Grrrl how much Ice Cream she goes through... her answer, a few containers of ice cream per week!
Not only can Ice Cream Grrrl polish off ice cream without gaining an ounce but she can cook too! For our cooking class she showed us how to make Polpotte di Melenzane and Franchi showed us how to make Croccante. The food was amazing!
While Ice Cream Grrrl was cooking, Sardegna Grrrl explained to me that eggplant is a very common ingredient in Sicilian dishes.
To make Polpotte di Melenzane you need eggplant, parmesean cheese, bread crumbs, fresh parsley, and an egg or two. And of course some garlic from Italy.
When I asked about the measurements for the various ingredients I received some sketchy answers so I believe it depends on how much you're making. I suppose it's a bit like your grandmother's cooking. You eventually learn how much to put in based on taste & experience.
Once all the ingredients were mixed, everyone shaped the dough into little patties that were later fried.
Don't these look amazing!
Franchi made the Croccante using sesame seeds, almonds, honey, and sugar. She toasted the sesame seeds and almonds until they were a deep rich brown color.
While the nuts cooled off, she carmelize the sugar. As she mixed the sugar in the pan, she poured the honey into the middle of the pan & gradually mixed the two ingredients together.
Once the sugar carmelized, she added the nuts. Working quickly she covered the nuts with the sugar mixture.
Then she poured the mixture between two sheets of wax paper and with a rolling pin flatten the mixture. This step requires some muscle as the mixture hardens quickly.
Once flattened to about 1/2 inch, Franchi cut the mixture into little rectangles.
For lunch, Ice Cream Grrrl served penne with tomato sauce and some melenzane she fried earlier.
The pasta was really delicious and yet it was a simple & healthy dish to make. Perfect combo in my book. I loved it so much I made it for dinner except I baked the eggplant.
The conversation at lunch was lively and fun! Sex was the main topic which always makes for an interesting conversation! About 70% of the conversation was in Italian but I had a good idea what they were talking about. But the Turkish woman in our group was a bit lost. So when she asked what they were talking about Sardegna Grrrl said.... "we are talking about sex and how we have it". lol!
Thank you Ice Cream Grrrl for an amazing lunch!