Ciao, buon giorno! Ho cucinato con il cuoco, Luca della Chiavari, un regione da Liguria. Abbiamo cucinato la focaccia, la frittata, le polpettone, le torte di riso, e l'insalate di mare.
In other words.... I cooked with a chef, Luca of Chiavari, a region in Liguria. We cooked focaccia, frittatas, a potato bake, rice cakes, and salads of the sea.
What does that all mean...a lot of amazing Italian food.
We cooked it up at my Italian teacher's home in Charleston, which has a beautiful kitchen overlooking the Stono River in John's Island, Charleston.
Chef Luca from a restaurant called Luchin in Chiavari, Italy, came with his Italian flour, fresh & conserved anchovies, and of course the best ingredient being his love, passion, and respect for the food.
Chef Luca says it best:
"Simple food is actually the most complex. Indulgent meats like steak and veal are easier to make because it is delicious by itself. It is easy to say 'cook simply', but it is more important to never ever have too much confidence when approaching food. You have to respect the ingredients."
The frittata has many eggs, along with swiss chard, onions, garlic, turmeric, and marjoram. The type of food we made for this College of Charleston Italian department event is considered to be Italian "street food" that the workers ate in the fields. Chef Luca describes it as "finger food" because it is easy to eat at room temperature any time of day.
L'insalate di mare has octopus, calamari, shrimp, and mussels mixed with a little celery. Chef Luca likes to mix it with a citronette, which is a citrus and herb based vinaigrette. It is the freshest salad I've ever had! You should see how he works the knife when cutting together the herbs and garlic. The two chopped together introduces a whole new aroma, completely different than the garlic and herbs separately.
Here is Chef Luca with some of the focaccia! He lets the dough rise five times. He emphasizes patience. Overall... there were about 14 focaccia. The toppings ranged from marinated onions to olives to sea salt flakes. I have to say, the onions were my favorite because the way he marinates them makes them extra flavorful. The marination technique is top secret!
—Marinated onions atop the most lush focaccia. Massaged with olive oil, this is sure to please.
I felt inspired to cook up some Italian cuisine of my own, using Maureen Porzio's pizza and pasta sauce, called Porzio's. Here is a video of that:
—Now We're Cookin'!