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Archive for September 12th, 2009

I went on my first major market excursion today.  There’s a huge, semi-permanent haphazardly roofed, open-air market in the neighborhood of Trastevere, which is down the hill and across the Tiber from where we live.  (I still can’t get over being able to utter that last phrase!) From the outside, the market looks a bit like a temporary shelter for disaster victims.  But inside, the place is swarming with exuberant life in all forms.  Along one side, all of the stalls sell meats of every kind and cut–from legs of lamb to the most unique salame.  While I stood in line at one of these, the white-haired man running the shop handed Jack a large slice of the mid-priced proscuitto.  Grazie!

I’ll put in a bunch of pictures of the highlights I was able to photograph.  This was a bit challenging, since I had Jack’s hand in one hand, the handle of my rolling cart in the other, my purse slipping off my shoulder, and an inept vocabulary in my head.

A slice of some kind of heirloom pumpkin, anyone?

lg squash

What’s this mystery veg? (I’ll have to ask Mona, the chef here at the Academy.)

mystery veg

Chanterelles and porcini, like I’ve never seen before.

fungi

fungi

I was so awestruck by the porcini, I couldn’t bring myself to buy any. This is hard to explain, I know, but my first visit to this market was pretty overwhelming.  I’ll work up to the awe-inspiring ingredients with some practice.  Anyway,  I asked for a handful of chanterelles, along with some marinating olives.

Another awe-inspiring sight was the tomato stall.  It’s run by a farmer who grows only tomatoes.  Thirty or so different varieties.  He led our little group on a culinary tour, pointing to the tomatoes that are best eaten raw, those that are best in tomato sauce, those that are best with fish.  The tomatoes ranged in size from perfect little 1-centimeter ovoids to fist-sized ruched, wrinkly balls, and ranged in color from a blackish red-green to summer sun orange.

Next, I bought bulk wine.  A huge jug was only 5 Euros!  Hopefully, it’s not unquaffable.

vino 1

All in all, here was today’s haul.

haul

We’re having a couple of the other families over for a casual dinner tonight.  Looks like we’ll definitely start with prosciutto and melon.  And if the figs last until then, they may go with honey for dessert.  We’ll do some kind of pasta for dinner.

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