Thursday, June 2, 2011

New York to Italy, via Long Island

My best friend from high school tells me I'm pretentious (she often points to my blog as evidence). And I have feeling she's right, because the delight I took in escaping to the East End for Memorial Day weekend, Great Gatsby-style, was all too palpable when I walked into Elvira's house. Okay, so it wasn't the Hamptons, Montauk or Fire Island, but Elvira's town of Shoreham is the quintessence of suburban delight. Even after only a few days in the city, I was happy to escape away to spend some quality time with friends... and of course, food.

Elvira's family is from a small town of 800 in Calabria and despite being an ocean away from home, her mom brings Italy to the dining table every day. Over the course of my four nights there, I had three different types of pasta: spaghetti with a zesty nut sauce, farfalle with zucchini and penne with eggplant. On the last night there, it was a Mediterranean smorgasbord of prosciutto and melon, cheeses including the deliciously pungent pecorino (which sparked quite the heated debate) and grilled eggplant with mint (as simple as it sounds, but exponentially more amazing). I had been transported without ever having to risk a flight with Alitalia.

I myself had two contributions that weekend: the lemon sabayon with berries and grapefruit that I helped Elvira make for Sunday dessert, and the pitcher of mojitos I made for a trip to the beach. I thought both went off without a hitch, but Elivra complained that the sabayon tasted metallic and Taida insisted there was not enough alcohol int he mojitos. Turns out sometimes you are not your own biggest critic.

When we weren't eating, Elvira, Taida and I were either on the beach, napping, taking 4-mile runs or watching movies. A beautiful weekend away from the buzz of the city that left me delighted and obsessed with Italy all over again. Ciao, ragazzi!

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