Monday, March 15, 2010

Italian Feast, and a painting

11x14 inches, watercolor on Yupo

I started this watercolor on slick Yupo synthetic paper in January, then put it aside until now.  The reference photo was from Google Street View, and I was delighted as we were walking in Florence last week to realize that Street View had given me a general ideas of where all the things I wanted to see actually were, and that I recognized this view.  Based on that I was able to figure out how the shutters on the ochre colored houses work, and revise my use of color a little.  It's loose, but gives the idea of the narrow dark streets and how the sun hits the upper stories. The only thing missing is scooters, which were everywhere.

Last night Dick made us his Italian feast, with a bottle of chianti, an antipasto plate, and the bean/bread soup we enjoyed so much. This platter had provolone cheese, marinated mushrooms, kalamata  olives, cherry tomatoes, a roll of cheese and prosciutto, and capicola ham.  I had loved the appetizers we got with crispy bread and fresh cold meats, and this was pretty close.

I am not as big a fan of soup as many people I know, but this was good and filling.  We saw Rebollita soup on menus everywhere, and had a very satisfying and warming soup on a cold and rainy day in Siena.  I think a person can make his or her own recipe, since it's just a vegetable soup with white beans and stale bread.  In Tuscany I think they mostly use chopped kale, but Dick substituted some fresh spinach instead.  I asked for his recipe, and he fudged, saying what he wrote was sketchy, and it was.  Here's what he wrote:

Rebollita, Tuscan Bread Soup

onion and garlic (leeks)     carrots
white beans                      zucchini
chicken broth                    basil
kale or spinach                  a couple tablespoon tomato paste
celery                               salt and pepper
parsley                             olive oil

Saute the onion, garlic and leek in olive oil.  Cook everything else in the chicken broth.  Add some stale bread or croutons last. You can drizzle more olive oil on top, or add grated parmesan cheese if you want.

He never added leeks to this soup, and I know he used croutons for the bread.  I also know he made his own chicken broth, though I'm sure canned would do.  We never had cheese on the table in Italy, and rarely salt or pepper, though sometimes there was a bottle of olive oil. I think this is the sort of soup you make with what you have, and the more it simmers, the better.  I suspect today the reheated leftover soup will be even better.


laura said...

MMM, I love soups and will definitely try this recipe. And that is a fine-looking antipasto platter!

The painting is divine! Classic scene and I love your color choices and the architectural flourish in the right foreground. Beautifully done.

Sharon said...

Yumm! Bread soup and bread salad are two of my favorite dishes. And the antipasto plate looks very appealing, too. Your husband is a keeper!

Beautiful colors in the painting. Your "Yuppo control" is impressive.