Monday, April 11, 2016

Eating like the Popes: A Cookbook Review

A few days ago, I received an email from Sophia Institute Press asking if I would like to review a cookbook that they were about to release.  When they said it was a Vatican cookbook, I immediately said, "Yes!"  It arrived in the mail on Saturday, and Jeremy and I began planning Sunday's "feast."  As I glanced through the pages, I quickly noticed that I was seeing the Vatican through the eyes of the Swiss guard, and each recipe was set for special occasions...some for the swearing-in ceremony of the guards, others as Popes' requested meals, and still others for specific feast days.
I ear-marked a few pages, and I couldn't decided what all we should attempt, so I bought groceries for a few different things.  Being that we raise beef cattle, we decided to go with that spin - the Vatican meets Cottonwood Cattle Company in a sense.
I also felt we needed a side and a dessert, so our menu was finalized early yesterday morning with the following items:

Filet of Beef Tagliata - typically served at the swearing-in
Suppli - a Roman staple
Apple Kuchen - a Polish dessert for Saint John Paul II

And, away we went working on these dishes.

Sophie sampled some of the sliced apples as we were putting the kuchen together.

As the dough was resting, we started on the second item on the menu...suppli.  My sister spent a semester of her college years in Rome, and one of the food items she spoke of was suppli.  The cookbook says the name comes from the French word for "suprise" because of the surprise of biting into one of these rice balls to find cheese, or sometimes, mincemeat.  We used cheese, and it was coated with a delicious mixture of rice, ground beef and vegetables.
We had quite a few different things going on at once in hopes of getting our timing right with these new recipes, and as we saw the work that went into it and the amount we were making, we quickly made it a larger family affair by inviting my parents for lunch.

John Paul, who was thrilled we were making one of his patron saint's favorites, really wanted to help. Specifically, he wanted to add the rice.

Then Sophie had to have a turn stirring.


We used some of our beef filets for the meat dish, and it was the last thing we cooked, as we put the finishing touches on the other two items.
Two last steps, and this kuchen was ready for the oven...

Then, we finished the final step before frying the balls of rice.
 Finally, after about three straight hours in the kitchen, lunch was served.

And, the kids were a bit excited.

 They devoured it...loving each dish!  Any parent would say that is a huge success.

Luckily, I made the suppli smaller than I was supposed to (by accident), so look at what's in our freezer for when we need a special appetizer or just a way to feel a tiny bit more connected to our brothers and sisters in Christ a continent away.
The food was incredible, and it was so much fun making completely new recipes with Jeremy (and the kids!) for our Sunday lunch.  Next time, I think we'll try the mushroom polenta, spaghetti alla carbonara, or the pretzel dumplings.  

Or maybe the next Sunday will call for a hearty penne pasta all grappa, grittibanze, or cod fish borgo pio.  

Whatever it is, it will be delicious and a great way to learn more about life in the Vatican while spending quality time with my family in the kitchen.  The Vatican Cookbook will be a new staple for special occasions in the Fisk house.  Until we make our next Pope-inspired meal, I'll be escaping in the beauty of the pages and stories intertwined in this book...dreaming of a day I am actually there in person.  For now, we'll simply re-create the meals via the ranch.  

I think your kitchen is begging for its own copy!

No comments :

Post a Comment