Friday, March 18, 2011

TIMBALLO RECIPES GALORE!--AND PLENTY OF IMPROVISATION, TOO:OUR OWN VERSION OF "BIG NIGHT"





       Remember that great line from "When Harry met Sally": "I'll have what she's having" ? Well, that's what J said when he saw the piece de resistence from the dinner in the  movie, "Big Night."  Every year, he and best friend B look for another memorable New Year's cooking project. N and I are urging them to immortalize, in some form, their culinary exploits. We even figured out a title: "Two Shrinks in the Kitchen." Well, alas, this year there were two shrinks in their RESPECTIVE kitchens, which is not quite the same, so it was up to N and J to put it all together, as U and I cheered them on. This one really was a winner! As usual, J likes to try complicated things that he can research and make his own. When I asked him about his sources, this is what he said:

"This is the recipe I found on Epicurious on my iphone.  It's from an issue of Gourmet magazine. I used this, another recipe I found online, a couple of recipes in Italian cookbooks, G's recipe and my own improvisations based on having recently seen the movie (none of the written recipes had peas and meatballs and hard boiled eggs like in the film--but I included them).  It tasted very good---but the 'bomba' collapsed almost as soon as i removed it from its bowl.   Next time I'll try the pastry or rice covering to see if it can hold its shape."

Everyone who wrote back about the cinghiale anecdote asked if that's what we were eating on New Year's, and the real answer is even better than their fantasies. One of the key flavors that is unexpected but characteristic of Sicilian dishes is the cinammon that perfumes the meat:molto yummy! And who cares if it doesn't come out looking like a perfect drum? Not even our Sicilian architect-builder, G, who may be the world's best cook, gives a flying timballo about that! Buon Appetito a tutti!
              

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