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May 27, 2019 | Rome, Italy

American the beautiful

By | 2018-03-21T19:49:19+02:00 March 31st, 2016|"In Provincia"|
On the American road with the delighted author.
W

inter can be much ado about nothing atop my magical mountain, something I’ve mentioned a lot in my writing. This year I finally decided to do something about the winter doldrums. I flew myself all the way to the United States to publicize “A Kitchen with a View,” the cookbook I published last year.

Honestly, I’d never dreamed of going in for something so exotic — at least to me. Plus, I’d be on my own.

True, in my previous, scientific life I’d go to the U.S. for conferences and on business trips. But the only exciting moments came five minutes before a presentation. That’s when, just before the moderator called my name to introduce me to a few hundred people, I’d get an irresistible urge to rush to the restroom.

But writing a book and talking about it changed everything. I wanted to rush in, not run away. I made pasta in a Palm Springs plaza and tried throwing fresh noodles at unsuspecting onlookers dressed in flowery pants. I attended a salsa night in an old ballroom school in Seattle where most of the women were Chinese and most of the men Latino. I danced the Mambo Italiano during a cookbook dinner in Nashville. I shopped for four hours with one of my hosts in search of the perfect organic chicken. I went to a dinner hosted by the Boise Italian American Association in the presence of 67 grandparents (one was 95). First they had their dinner of chicken fettuccine, then they came to hug me and compliment me for bringing my story to Idaho.

I even met, and hugged, a real, live American policemen who specialized i computer forensic not to mention two huge firemen who wanted me to cook for the entire brigade.

I felt saw enough smiles to last me a lifetime. When you cook and talk about food, everyone loves you. Try it some time. It might send you off to another continent where you can share little bits of joy. You never know.

Savory profiteroles

Ingredients

  • 60 grams (1/2 stick) unsalted butter.

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) milk.

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.

  • 1 teaspoon salt.

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) water.

  • 120 g (4 oz) flour.

  • 2 eggs.

  • 75 g (2.5 oz) grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

Preparation

Choux pastry: Place butter and water in a pan and melt over a gentle heat, then bring to the boil.

— Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the flour, mustard and salt. Beat well, until the mixture forms a ball in the pan.

— Allow to cool slightly, then gradually add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. (I actually transfer the ball of dough in the food processor, start the blades on high then add the eggs one at the time. add the grated cheese.)

— The dough needs have a stiff, droopy consistency. Different flours tend to absorb variable amounts of liquid. You may need to adjust the number of eggs depending on the kind of flour used.

— Place small spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheet, about the size of a small walnut. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-to-20 minutes.

— When the profiteroles rise and take shape, acquiring a golden brown look, remove them from the oven. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Assembly: Using a serrated knife, make a slit in the side of each profiterole, then fill each one with cream cheese or mortadella or salami.

This recipe will produce 20 profiteroles. Serves four or five as a small appetizer.

About the Author:

Letizia Mattiacci
A former behavioral ecologist, Italian-born Letizia left academia with husband Ruurd to renovate a 500-year-old Umbrian farmhouse they turned into a B&B and cooking school named Alla Madonna del Piatto . She maintains a blog and in 2015 published a cookbook called "A Kitchen With a View." She is on leave.

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