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Entries in cured meat (2)


Verona, Part the First

After rejoining the rest of the Iaciofano's in Bologna, all four of us made haste to the train station and headed to Verona.

I have to admit to being a bit disoriented, having just spent four days biking in France and getting blown over by hurricane-force winds. I kept saying "frommage" instead of "formaggio" and I couldn't get my outfits right.

Verona is a beautiful city. A combination of Medieval and Roman architecture, it's a feast for the eyes. 

We made camp at the Due Torre Hotel. Marmo scored us some prime suites with a balcony!

We were just a short skip away from the Piazza delle Erbe...and some serious shopping. And eating. Have I talked about the eating yet? I'm gettin' there, don't worry. Before there is food, there are usually some antics. You have to work up an appetite by doing something... 

So first, we visited Juliet's (of Shakespeare fame) house to find a place to put our used gum...

And then we made our way to the Roman theater surrounding the city center to check out some quality ruins, and play amongst the archways.

And then we got lost. So The Box had to pull out the map and both sets of his glasses.

Getting lost makes me hungry. So I suggested we forgo the usual tourist-infested, open-air panini cafe's and find something local. We found something local while I was getting everyone lost running them around the Verona looking for a cycling shop. Which we eventually found, along with a fancy wine bar - Osteria del Bugiardo.

The Osteria looked very local. There were no Americans inside. I could tell. This made The Box nervous. Things "outside the box" generally make The Box nervous. But I convinced him with the promise of cured meats and cheeses and perhaps even beer that it would be worthwhile.

Well, they were out of beer.

But they had wine! And LOTS of meat and cheese. I suggested to our server using my elementary Italian and some all-encompassing hand gestures (Italians love hand gestures), that we wanted enough meat and cheese for four people, a crostini sampler plate and some local wine.

Our server wandered away with what I hoped was our order (The Box was still wary at this point, perched atop his high bar stool like an owl on high alert). At this point, he and John started sketching diagrams of the perfect golf swing onto the kraft paper placemats.


And then came the crostini!

Some of these were unidentifiable! Others were just strange, like the purple one which turned out to be a cabbage slaw type of thing. All were really good! Seriously. I have not, however, developed a taste for anchovies, so that particular crostini didn't appeal to me.

This was just a precursor to the awesomeness that lay ahead in the form of:


Not a scrap of either remained. Iaciofano's young and old devoured them all....diagrams of golf physics lay forgotten underneath piles of LARDO. Yes, my favorite meat butter made an appearance on this platter. This particular version tasted slightly smoky. It was expertly seasoned with fresh pepper...and it just butter. The best I've had to date.

As for the cheeses, we were presented with a lovely arrangement of semi-hard to hard cheeses accompanied by a selection of jams. John preferred the raspberry, while I fought Marmo for the pear flavor.

The Box was now full of wine, cheese, beer, and some random crostini and acting like going to the wine bar was his idea all along.

He does that, get used to it.

As for the rest of us, we were ready to go get lost all over again, in an effort to work up an appetite for dinner...


Something Simple – Crispy Pancetta

I still need to tell you about the rest of my New Hampshire adventures...BUT we just had a hurricane. And I lost power (which included Internet connection), so I couldn't write about it and edit the photos. So you'll need to hang in there....

I was, however, able to do something very constructive with my hurricane time before losing power: I made Crispy Pancetta.

This is fabulous stuff, people, make no mistake. You should get excited about this. And it's so dang easy, you'll want to cry with joy. Bake some up, crumble it up, throw it on pizza (what I did), sprinkle it on a salad or pasta, mix it in with your morning granola - I care NOT! Just do it.

Here's how:

What You Need:

As many thinly cut slices of pancetta as you can lay your sneaky mitts on
A baking sheet
A piece of parchment paper
An oven

What To Do:
Fire up that oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper (This keeps things all nice and neat. The meat won't stick to the baking sheet, and there's no messy cleanup. Need more reasons to use parchment paper?).

Place your sliced pancetta on the parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them evenly like cookies.

Place this whole contraption in the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until crispy (and looks like the above photo).

Keep an eye on it, as oven heats and cooking times vary.

Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Crumble it with your fingers over whatever you're eating.

Commence crying with joy.