Friday, November 16, 2007

5 Favorite Foods

1) Pancetta: Everything's better with bacon, right? This Italian answer to bacon is salty, peppercorn-filled loveliness in cured meat form. Cut a few ounces into bits and fry it up and start your risotto with this and a chopped up onion, then finish with parmigiano-reggiano and you will be in heaven.

2) Cheese: The pecorino tartufello (pecorino with truffles) I had two years ago made a lasting impression - found it recently in a cheese shop downtown, bought a hunk and realized it is still a sensory overload experience. Also, parmigiano-reggiano. And, goat cheese (Boucheron).

3) Figs: OK, from the start of this list, it's clear I should live in a villa in Tuscany, or at least closer to the Italian Market. But figs are a proverbial feast for the senses, between the gorgeous dark exterior and the vibrant, flecked textures inside - and when perfectly ripe is just lovely cut into fourths on top of a salad (throw in some goat cheese, too, while you're at it).

4) Kettle Krinkle Cut - Salt & Pepper Chips: These things are so crispy-crunchy, and peppery, once I start eating them, I can't put them down. Crunch-crunch-crunch. We pretty much have banned these from the house, due to my inability to eat one serving at a time.

5) Hazelnuts: Love 'em in chocolate, love 'em with chocolate, don't love 'em in Nutella (too oily, Nutella is). Simply toasted and chopped and sprinkled on top of a salad, they're a nutty crunch and have a flavor character all their own. Even better, I've made chocolate chip-hazelnut cookies (Giada DeLaurentiis recipe) that were so good, during Christmastime I've eaten them for breakfast. And I am not ashamed to admit it.

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