So a few things y'all should know about this endeaver:
First, we are on a budget. There's an envelope for groceries, and at the beginning of the month it gets $300 put in it. So, this Italian cooking thing is not going to be super high end. But of course, that's not my aim. My aim is to learn how to cook like an Italian does every day, not just on special days.
Also, I put together a menu every week. It's really helped my sanity and our pocketbook to do this because then I'm never caught of guard not having what I thought I needed to cook something and I also never get home after and exhausting day and have to solve the dilemma of what to cook. I just look at my list and pick what looks good. I highly recommend it.
When I plan, I try to get some variety. I like to try for a bean dish, a fish dish ($$ permitting), a bread-y dish (like something in a dough) and often an egg dish. I don't cook non-fish meat very often (in fact the braciole from last night was the first real meat I've cooked in a while! There's only been occasional sausage coming out of my kitchen for a couple years now), so it usually doesn't get consideration in my quest for variety.
And since March of this year I have been keeping a fairly diligent notebook of what I've cooked in the past. It's great because I can always look at past weeks for inspiration! Nothing complicated, but boy does it help my planning.
Right now, all I have is the Italian Cooking Encyclopedia, published by a British company (which is fun when they talk about "aubergine" and "corgettes" instead of "eggplant" and "zucchini"), but I'm going to stop by the library today and pick up a couple other books to try before I purchase something. All of these recipes are from the ICE.
Last night, I made baked cod with garlic mayonaise. Wow! That was delicious! And very easy. Have I told you how much I love anchovies? They are so fabulous and full of flavor. My mayonnaise was not a perfect success, but it was quite tasty indeed. I will try making it in the blender next time (the food processor failed me).
Coming up soon is an egg and carmelized onion frittata which I'm planning to serve with a broccoli soup, a timbalo of rice and peas (think risotto made in to a cake and layered with cheese), and stuffed peppers. Stuffed peppers is an adventure for me. My mom made them growing up, but I didn't really like them. However, I am willing to try them again, and maybe the stuffing I make will do them justice.
I highly doubt I will keep up my current daily pace. Plus, I don't want to just write about the food, but also my thoughts about the food and my culture. I think I'll shoot for a weekly update with my menu and reflection. We'll see!