Saturday, November 22, 2014

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again." ~ George Miller

BITE member Ellen, recently returned from a cooking trip to Italy! During her stay she took part in the Toscana Saporita Cooking School. Cooking in the morning, touring in the afternoon - green with envy! Of course, Italy was the logical selection for our November dinner and Ellen treated us to dishes that she learned while there, and in some cases (Farro Salad) with ingredients brought back with her!

I am getting ahead of myself a bit however. Chris prepared our appetizer, and we were all surprised by the mixture of flavors and the sweetness! Eggplant Caponata  a "classic sweet and sour eggplant dish is rich and sweetened with caramelized onions and raisins.." Delicious with toasted baguette!

This time I really did have the side dish! Finocchio al Forno, Fennel Baked in Cream, was a lusciously decadent choice. Sure - fennel, but then cups of cream and parmesan and then topped with cubed butter before it bakes. It looked wonderful straight from the oven, but I admit that by the time it had been transported, and then waited for our pre-dinner conversation to come to an end, it looked a little curdled. It tasted wonderful, but its looks were wanting (see it on the plate several photos below).

Ellen prepared Farro Salad and Handmade Ravioli (spinach and ricotta in a sauce of butter and sage)! The recipes can be found at the end of the post - straight from Ellen's recipe cards!

Oh My!!!!

And finally, for dessert, Tierney's Tiramisu! Fabulous, and I know that the two pieces that I snagged for my folks are making their hearts sing today!

Swoon from beginning to end! 

While we were on the Cape, and I made my annual trip to Atlantic Spice, I picked up small containers (small) of saffron for each of the BITE ladies with the intention of choosing saffron as the theme when my turn rolled around. Well, December is now saffron! I have cooked with it only one time myself and I am intrigued by what will show up when we meet again!

Here are Ellen's recipes!


  1. Thanks, Tracy! I was never a dessert person until I first tried tiramisu. If I can find the time (and the mascarpone) I think I will make it this week for my husband's birthday.

    I look forward to seeing what you can make with the saffron!

  2. Thank you so much, Tracy (and your BITE ladies) for publishing these recipes! I have to try these, and I also have to try this fennel thing, so yummy!!!

  3. Wow, I would love to eat ALL of the food pictured here right now - looks absolutely delicious!

  4. Another fabulous BITE. I am dying for the fennel and cream. How fun for your friend Ellen. A once in a life time experience. Clarice