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Food as An Art Form 4

Related Pages: Food as An Art Form [ 1 ][ 2 ][ 3 ][ 4 ][ 5 ][ 6 ][ 7 ] [ 8 ]

Some years ago a friend brought me a wonderful gift that I have never ceased enjoying. It is called "Allegro al Dente, Pasta and Opera". It offers a brief essay on Italian restaurants and food but in the main, it is a recipe book for dozens of different pasta dinners along with a CD of opera arias especially chosen to go with each dinner. I have entertained any number of times using this marvelous cookbook and the arias and it has never been anything less than wildly successful. Friends who never before appreciated opera grew to love this album and when I suggested they come for dinner, invariably they would ask if I could serve something from "The Book". The Limoges boxes shown below were all used as part of my table centerpiece. In season I used Artichokes before the "chokes" actually became Artichokes. They made a very interesting centerpiece and these boxes repeated the coloring of the "chokes". You will find my favorite recipe at the bottom of the page. Mangiare con Gusto!

K. The Chef's Hat Box. Unlike American chef hats, this one is soft and falls into an interesting and graceful shape. It is banded in the colors of Italy. Inside, the tiniest saucepan you have ever seen, dimensional but not removable and the clasp, a most diminutive knife, fork and spoon. Retail: About $105.00. NOTE: The Italian Chef's Hat is no longer available, but we do have a French Chef's Hat. It is the same except the color bands are red and blue. Call and ask for it. Our price: $103.90.

L.  La Livre des Potages Box.  A recipe book for soups and it comes with it’s own spoon for stirring resting on the cover.  Decorating the cover -- a selection of vegetables you might use for the soups along with a soup pot.  Inside, an opened artichoke, painted, and a carrot, dimensional and removable.  Our price: $224.90.

M.  The Really Cute Menu Board Box.  This box was wonderful the first  time we had it and when I saw it this time I thought it deserved a revival!  The chef is clutching an array of fresh vegetables and presenting his menu for the day.  His hands are full and so is the menu board.  If I had time I would stop and sample some of his cooking.  It sounds wonderful!  Oef en gelée, entre cote a la Bordelais and creme de caramel!  I wouldn’t mind that last a bit! Have you ever had a crème de caramel?  Deeelicious!  Inside a gorgeous steak, painted.  The clasp is unimportant to the box.  This, by the way, is an old PV box so you know it is great! Retail: About 225.00.  Our price: $202.90.

N. The Pasta Pot with Colander Box.   This box demonstrates the latest way to cook pasta.  It has the pasta in a colander that is removable from the pot and the water is left behind in the pot with the pasta draining in the colander.  Clever?  You bet.  I wonder why no one ever thought of that until now. So much simpler than trying to retrieve the pasta and then draining it.  The whole thing is just exactly like the pot you might use today if you were cooking pasta.  Very well done and a totally new Limoges box. The pasta, by the way, is very real and lifelike. Retail:  About $225.00.  Our price: $202.90.  

O. The I Love Coffee Cup. There is always one in the group, someone who drinks coffee constantly and almost never anything else. This is for that person, The Perfect Gift. A coffee cup filled to the brim with coffee. The white cup and saucer decorated with red hearts —for the coffee lover! --  and the cup says, "Café". Retail: Upwards of $163.00. Our price: $147.90.

P. The Leaning Tower of Pisa Box. To complete the Italian centerpiece display something tall was needed. What could be more apropos than The Leaning Tower? The lean, by the way, developed while the Tower was under construction, it was started in 1173, and has gotten a bit worse over the many centuries that it has been standing. Repairs have been made to it numerous times but, try as they may, they have never been able to correct the lean. The Tower, by the way, leans in two directions and so does the box. The detail on the box is very explicit even to the interior staircase that winds to the top of the Tower, 185 feet above street level. Retail: About $195.00. Our price: $175.90.

Fettuccine al Gorgonzola
If you have never enjoyed Gorgonzola a treat awaits you. From Italy, it is a cow's milk cheese that is blue-veined, soft and delicious. If you like Blue or Roquefort you will love this cheese. It is my very favorite.

  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 1 pound of Fettuccine
  • 2 Tbsp Parmigiano
  • Method
    Combine Gorgonzola, milk, butter, salt and pepper in a heavy bottomed skillet over a gentle heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until it melts into a thick creamy sauce. Add Cream, raise the heat a bit and cook, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken, about five minutes. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, salted water until al dente. Drain and tip into a warmed serving platter with the sauce and grated cheese. Toss quickly and serve immediately. Serves 4.

    And lastly, don't forget the music. It can be any Italian opera or something from The Three Tenors or a pot pourri of singers and arias all on the one CD. There are many of them available. Anything done by Pavorotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Joan Sutherland, Renata Tibaldi, Sumi Jo or any of a host of other fine opera stars will do the trick. It will set the stage for a wonderful evening, Italian at it's best.

    NOTE: The book and CD came from Australia and were purchased there for me several years ago. Whether or not they are sold in this country I have no idea.The publisher is William Heinemann, Australia. I do have the publisher's address if you are interested.

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