Cooking with Vera

On the menu:
Bruschette with tomatoes
Speck ham with rucuola and shavings of parmsean cheese
Grilled eggplant and zucchini
Homemade tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes with braciole (stuffed rolled meat)
Sauce for rigatoni pasta
Fried peppers with garlic, olives, and capers
Roasted potatoes
Lemon cake with sliced fresh pineapple


Bruschetta… So yummy!


Speck Ham


Grilled zucchini (Eggplant not pictured)




Potatoes with olive oil and rosemary


Rigatoni pasta with tomato sauce


Freshly grated parmesan cheese!!!! (Bottles of water are overly big here…)



Taking instructions from Vera.


Here’s just some pictures from a cooking class I took with women from my bible study, PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel). More specifically I’m in a Colossians to Crayons study where we use art to strengthen our relationship with God. I’m so thankful to come into a community with wonderfully sweet people. Not only are they warm and welcoming, but they’re friendly and have given great advice to someone new living in a foreign country. Anyways, this cooking class was thrown out and I decided to join since I’ll be a housewife soon! I have been saving and looking up recipes all hours of the day because I am just SO excited to actually start cooking in our house. (Btw, we move in around November 1st since our paperwork was filed late. No Halloween in the house…) So, back to the cooking, I jumped on this opportunity because who doesn’t want to take cooking lessons in Italy?! Vera is who we took the lessons from. She has a whole kitchen setup in her garage, which is the perfect setting for large groups. We made a ton of food! The most delicious items on the menu, in my opinion, were the oven roasted potatoes and the bruschetta. The potatoes are literally so simple! Just olive oil and rosemary, but they taste amazing! I was wanting the bruschetta from the minute we put the bread on the grill. It was just as great as I imagined, but I’m a huge bread and tomato lover. Who isn’t?!

Bruschetta (pronounced “brus-ke-ta” not with the “sh” sound) just means toasted or browning of bread. For 6-8 people. We all had different stations and this is just one that I remembered from beginning to end. Pretty simple.

  1. Put pieces of bread (can even be old bread) on the griddle/grill pan.
  2. Flip once browned or toasted.
  3. To prepare tomatoes, slice and dice 5 or 6 into small pieces.
  4. Tear in basil leaves.
  5. Sprinkle in sea salt, a swig of olive oil, and a little garlic.
  6. Put tomato mixture on the bread.
  7. Enjoy!

I walked away from this class amazed with how much garlic, salt, and olive oil was used in EVERYTHING. When I put the olive oil on the grilled zucchini, I tried to put the bottle down twice and Vera kept telling me it needed more! Somehow, even after all this food, I didn’t feel overly stuffed. I think that’s the difference in the preservatives between here and the States. Everything is light here and healthier in a way. Now I truly see why Italians have dinners that last hours and hours long. You eat forever! If you plan on going to dinner, it won’t be an hour long like American’s would imagine. Patrick and I have been out to dinner for about two hours each time we go, and that’s quick for them. The waiters don’t have a sense of urgency; dinner is supposed to be relaxing and last a while. The biggest surprise to us was that Italians don’t eat dinner until 8-9pm. If we just want to pick up a pizza from a place down the street, we typically can’t get one until 8pm (depending on the place). Some places are open for lunch and dinner and serve all around the clock. Other places will close down from 1-4pm for the waiters to eat and relax. It has been fun cooking and figuring out life across the ocean, that’s for sure! I add a few of my favorite food quotes because I couldn’t help myself. XOXO

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” -Julia Child

“A meal without wine is just breakfast.” -The mantra in Italy. (I’m actually coming around to red wine. *Gasp*)

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring the soul to the recipe.” -Thomas Keller

“I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work.” -Robert Farrar Capon

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