Monday, June 29, 2009

Have I already told you guys about the melanzana? Excuse me if I'm repeating myself but I can't remember and I'm too lazy right now to read my old posts.

Anyway, this is a melanzana

Well, that's what's left of my melanzana after my dinner tonight. Yeah, melanzana means eggplant or aubergine, depending on where you're from or if you're trying to be pretentious.

It was one of the days when Augusto was here working that I planted the veggies in my garden. Having seen Augusto's veggie garden, I was smart enough to ask him a little advice before I put the plants in the earth. Having never seen my hands in the dirt, Augusto took a break (and a beer) and watched me plant my tomatoes and peppers, telling me how to do it.

After the zucchini were in he said, "you need a melanzana."

"Aren't they hard to cook?"

"NO! You need a melanzana"

small note here: Augusto would have no idea if melanzane were hard to cook or not. He only sees them in two stages 1. hanging from the plant, 2. on the plate. Everything between those two points of the eggplant's life is quite a mystery to Augusto, I'm sure.

"I'll bring you a melanzana tomorrow."

And he did.

He even put in in the ground for me.

Last week it gave me food. Just like that! One day it was just a plant and the next day there was this big, beautiful, purple, fleshy fruit hanging there. Ok, it wasn't THAT big. And it probably didn't happen over night...I might not have been paying too close of attention.

All the same, I had a melanzana with no clue what to do with it. So I drew a few left handed sketches of it but then figured, well, it has a higher purpose than that. I should probably eat it.

So when I was at the Maberga mass and I saw Augusto's wife, Lina. She knows the melanzana in its phases between plant and plate. So I said, "Lina, I got a melanzana from the plant Augusto planted!! Now what do I do?"

She then launched into a 10 minutes explanation for fried melanzana meatballs that involved meat and eggs and bread and whole bunch of verbs that I had never heard before. She must have seen my eyes glaze over because then she said, "or you could just make a sugo (sauce) with it."

"How do you do that?"

When I said that she gave a sideways glance to her cousin who she had just introduced me to who was visiting from Calabria. Lina's cousin was a little less subtle about my question. She shot her eyes, wide open (her mouth was open too) at Lina with a look that said, "did I just understand this American correctly?! She doesn't know how to make sugo with melanzana?!"

"I'm a bit of a disaster in the kitchen." I explained.

So the very nice cousin, in very slow and explicit Italian described to me how to make the sugo.

I won't embarrass myself further or insult your cooking sensibilities by writing out the insanely simple recipe. Let me just say that, even I couldn't screw this one up. (if there are any of you fellow kitchen disasters out there who would like the recipe, send me an email and I'll write it out for you).

Tonight I made the sugo and it was freakin awesome. Sorry, no photos. While it was delicious to taste, it wasn't so photogenic. Instead of a photo of the food here's a photo of Q being pissed off because I wouldn't share more of my dinner with her.

I probably won't ever impress anyone with my cooking prowess, but I am able to make other stuff. For example, some freakin' awesome leg warmers

(free pattern found here. the yarn in Swish Bulky from KnitPicks - I love this yarn)

I don't know if Lina's cousin from Calabria would be impressed by these but Ruff was.

With the left over leg warmer yarn I made these mitts that are quicker and easier than malanzana sugo.

(pattern from "Weekend Knitting, aka: my favorite knitting book) They are so fast that they can be made while listening to one Timber Rattlers game.

With the studio up and running again, I've been prolifically producing jewelry.

Check my Etsy shop if you're in the market for some Italian bling. I can promise that they are even better than my sugo - much nicer to look at and way easier to put in your ears.

I've also been making tons of these...

Yep, that's a friendship bracelet knotted together from embroidery thread. Yep just like the kind you used to make in the third grade (or high school if you were bored). I can't quite explain where the urge to make these came from. It must be some reflex to hearing the theme song to "Charlie's Angels" and "Thriller" over and over and over again on the radio in the past week. RIP Farrah and Michael.


  1. Anonymous2:24 AM

    So can you share the Mitts pattern... would love to try that one. I'm so glad the sugo worked out better than the cherry cobbler, perhaps I should have sent you the recipe in Italian? :) I've got sugar snap peas and lettuce ready in the garden. Couple of green peppers are close, but I'll let them get a little bigger. I'm trying not to get too anxious. I should be posting some pictures this week. I'll let you know when.

    xoxo Carrie