Most people would post pictures from their Italian vacation showing them throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain, in front of the Colosseum or some other beautiful landmark. My photo folders have a few landscapes and landmarks, but I primarily took pictures of what inspired me...the food! On our third day we had no relics or monuments on the schedule so we headed to one of my favorite spots in Rome, Campo de Fiori (field of flowers), an open air farmers' market where the locals shop. Food that is simple, seasonal and about as fresh as you can get, picked either the day before if not that very morning. Tomatoes (roma tomatoes from Rome!) fresh garbanzo beans, zucchini with their blossoms begging to be filled with cheese, and a few unusual things. The bottom right picture is called agretti, which the farmer said was the leaf of a green bean - I'm guessing she knew how rudementary my Italian was because I learned it has nothing to do with a green bean. Since I wasn't equipped with a kitchen, a picture of this beautiful vegetable will have to do this time. But I have been researching it incessantly and am on a quest to find it locally and cook it. It is a springtime mediterrenean suculant that has a grassy and herby flavor and a chewy green bean texture.
At every restaurant we went to I would think back to that afternoon and order what I saw at the markets. Carciofi (artichokes) any way I could get them, romanesco (the medieval looking cauliflower/broccoli hybrid above, left) and as many tomatoes as I could possibly eat. Along with the fresh produce I would try to stick to local specialities; Rome- caccio e pepe (pasta with only pecorino romano, black pepper and pasta water) See the several pictures below - I literally ate this 6 times in 10 days! Naples - pizza (where pizza was invented) and in the seaside town of Positano I had the most amazing fish that was caught hours before by an old man in a boat a few hundred yards from the restaurant. If you look closely you can see they have even painted the name of the town on the plate- talk about pride!
Thinking back to all of the delicious food I enjoyed that trip, I was trying to figure out how I could recreate some of the dishes I loved, how I could hold on to a bit more of our trip. I made caccio e pepe a few times, tried to recreate a zucchini and anchovy appetizer my husband especially loved; but sadly, none of it tasted the same. The chef in me knew it couldn't be the lack of skill in the kitchen, so I chalked it up to the fact that the glasses of Prosecco, the sunshine and the uber-relaxation I had been feeling, the joy of spending 10 straight days with my favorite person, it was all changing the way food tasted. I was in a temporary funk thinking that all of the delicacies I had sampled were to be just a lovely, distant memory and I had better start planning another trip to taste those amazing tastes again. But then a little voice whispered to me (in Italian, I'm sure) that I was thinking about it all wrong. Instead of trying to eat like I was living in a ancient seaside fishing village or walking down the streets where toga clad Emperors once walked I needed to remember where I was: home in the Pacific Northwest where our bounty rivals the world. As I was having this epiphany I started to imagine what I could now cook: rhubarb is in season (rhubarb crumble!), the peas and beans are starting to sprout (chilled minted pea soup), and my herb garden is going crazy in the sunshine (fresh pesto - yum!). Soon the local tomatoes will be heavy and full of flavor as will the berries that we can pick by the handful on every walk around the neighborhood. And I haven't even started thinking about the fresh seafood. So many fond memories of setting crab pots at low tide so we could feast on more crab than we could crack that night for dinner on Camano Island. Whew, I get it now. Eat what is right in front of you. Whatever it is that is abundant, fresh and available will taste the best. Distant travel in diesel trucks kills the spirit and optimal flavor of produce. If you have to freeze fish to send it on a 1000 mile journey, it could never taste as good as something right out of the bay. I promise not to become a militant farm-to-table, 100 mile diet convert, but it I think that I finally realized why food can taste so good on vacations (and how to recreate it at home). Stick with what you do best and do it with love and pride.
Order by Saturday for delivery early next week.
$50 minimum weekly order; delivery charges apply.
How it Works
$16 small = 2 servings
$28 medium = 4 servings
$36 large = 6 servings
Larger sizes available.
No charge for substituting steamed vegetables for starch on items with *Add $2 per serving to add steamed vegetables to entree.
$12 small (2 lunches)
$15 medium (3 lunches or 2 dinners)
$22 large (double a small)
5 for $15 10 for $25
15 for $34 20 for $40
Come in packs of 5 of one variety. (V)=Vegetarian
Freshly washed and cut veggies (red, yellow and orange bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, jicama, and celery) in 2 large reusable containers. Colorful, ready-to-eat snack at eye-level in the fridge makes veggies an easy choice when looking for something to munch on.
Veggies are $25 and last all week.
$50 minimum weekly order
Kirkland, Bellevue: $5
Woodinville, Sammamish, Redmond: $10
Other locations will be quoted separately