Author Archives: Rowena

A glorious spring day for Street Food

We’ve waited long enough to satisfy our food truck ‘fix’, so here goes round no.1 for a new year and season. The food truck culture has grown to such epic proportions in this country that my sagra and festa Google alerts are being outnumbered by street food this and street food that. This past weekend at Albese con Cassano (Como), we revisited one of our favorite trucks and added some new ones to the roster.

Al Michettino

Of the newbies, there was Al Michettino. The scrumptious sandwiches use a type of white bread called michetta [wikipedia]. While its origins trace back to Austria, michetta is found especially in Lombardy. There were 4 options for fillings, not a huge choice, but there’s no need when you’ve got quality ingredients. Simple and tasty is what we like.

Al Michettino 'Pulaster'
The Pulaster with chicken strips (marinated in beer and spices), provola and honey. YUM!

Another newbie to us – Pappa’s Cucina Itinerante. The menu was a bit more varied, with both panini and gnocchi to choose from. They also had arrosticini (lamb kebabs) but we couldn’t miss out on the gnocchi with alici, capers, tomatoes, and mint.

Pappa's Cucina Itinerante

Pappa's gnocchi with alici
Gnocchi with alici, capers, tomato and mint

And last but not least, an all-time favorite – Las Bravas. They had me with their patatas bravas that I tried last year, but when I learned that they were also serving padron peppers (when in season), I just had to try some. Wow! Fried and served with chopped serrano ham, they were an absolute treat. We’re both pepper addicts (piccante or not) but you can’t find padron peppers in local supermarkets. Gardeners rave about the flavor and I’ve always wanted to try to grow them but never found the seeds until this year.

Las Bravas muy bueno

Pimientos del Padron
I need more of this dish. Like a BIG BOWL with lots of beer to wash it down. Padron peppers are like crack.

Gingerbread mendiants

Dreaming of Christmas? Making gingerbread is probably the furthest thing from any sensible cookie baker’s mind (shouldn’t it be sugar cookies now?), but apparently I am the only one greedy enough to bring these 2 holiday favorites together at the onset of spring. My love for these spiced cookies translates into baking them throughout the year, and topping them with a tiny mendiant turns plain cookies into a treat that goes well with afternoon tea.

Gingerbread rolling

The recipe that I always turn to is by Joy of Baking. The cookies bake up crisp and store well for a week in an airtight container. I cut the dough into 3 cm x 7 cm strips (approximately 1.5 by 3 inches) with a serrated pasta wheel. The recipe yielded about 6 dozen after combining and rolling out the scraps.

Gingerbread mendiants

Happy 12th Birthday Maddie

So NOT liking that musical candle one bit. Each time I tried to slide the food bowl next to her, she scooted backwards and gave me a look that said “I absolutely refuse!” These days she’s beginning to feel her age, and it makes me a little sad, but despite the weakening eyesight, arthritis, and deafness (selective hearing, I’m sure), she still is the sweetest and friendliest little dog you could want to meet. We are so lucky to have her in our life.

Not liking that musical candle at all