Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Italy - roasties by the fireplace

We are spending 6 nights here in our farmstay in Tuscany. As the temperatures are consistently sub-zero every night, one of the things we truly enjoy is the Tuscan fireplace. I find myself staring into the fire for easily over an hour or more each time. The warmth, the glow - there's something mesmerizing about it.

Well, last night, as everyone was already in bed and I was staring into the dwindling fire while thinking of what I'd be cooking in the next meal, it suddenly occurred to me that I could roast my veggies right there and then. I took the cut veggies out of the fridge, placed them on a roasting pan, put a grill over the fireplace and wahla! I was cooking in the wee hours of the night, sitting all alone there with the fire. I only drizzled some extra virgin olive oil infused by the farmer, sprinkled some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and left it there as the fire started to dwindle more.

I've done moonblush tomatoes before and this idea of energy-saving is not too different except it's over the fireplace instead of the oven. I couldn't wait to see how the roasties would look in the morning.

So, I woke up bright and early to see this - moist from the melting tomatoes (almost, almost tomato juice but not quite), the horizontally-cut garlic were soft, onions caramelized while the brocolli still retained a bit of crunch and texture. It was excellent. Except how does one serve this in the morning??! LOL. I kept it for dinner, of course, and got good reviews from the family, yes, even the teenagers.

I googled fireplace cooking and found there are some people who are absolutely crazy about this method of cooking and even offer recipes on the web. It was indeed fun and sexy! Real woodfire for the grilling purist. How primitive and rustic and romantic.

Was I glad to have the chance to do this, and boy, do I wish I could do this again!

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