My grandma Dolly is a character. Even though her heritage is Italian, she really is the quintessential “American girl”. She loves baseball, golf, politics, and junk food. Some of her favorites are bread and butter, a good hamburger, avocados with bottled Italian dressing, and especially, chalupas (she loves them so much she even gives them up for Lent). When I was a kid, I loved visiting her because she’d feed me the junk foods my mom normally wouldn’t. She would take me
Virginia became my step-grandmother when I was 15 years old but from the beginning of our relationship, she never treated me like a "step". I was simply hers and she became mine. On one hand, Grandma was a true Southern lady. She was kind and lovely with a voice soft and welcoming as a lullabye. I loved when she called me girl because she stretched out that small word into three gentle syllables. Grandma, however, was not a caricature. She had grit. And she could be quie
Other than being able to recite a slightly bawdy poem about how good people become naughty and spouses go their separate ways during Venice’s Carnevale, I don’t speak the Venetian dialect. Which is my way of saying: don’t invest wholeheartedly in my explanation of what sgroppino means. Sgroppino is often translated as “to unknot” but because it’s an after-dinner drink that helps the digestion, I like to think of it as “a little release”. And what a delicious release it is.
Brie, fresh figs, walnuts, and red wine are a classic combination that I enjoy and one that I thought would work well in risotto. This dish is an elegant marriage of flavors: creamy brie, salty parmesan, the slight bitterness of toasted walnuts, the almost molasses-y sweetness of the dried figs and the crunch from their seeds, and the red wine in the background connecting every component together. Speaking of red wine, I add it in three stages throughout the cooking process