umBria 2016 — daY oNe

siamo arrivati! the Umbrian hills. Paris far behind; kilometers of tires whistling 'n me heeding the signs. Cicerone and Missy just hunkering down for the long haul. appena arrivati, not a minute do they waste, taking up their old habits in much haste

"cicerone abandoned to his bliss"

"missy up along her watchtower"

as do I, gleaning near and far!

"as the gleaning went"

in need of something easy 'n tasty 'n nourishing, what better than some farinata? with the portulaca—purslane I glean straight out of the pumpkin patch out back. the stuff grows like a weed; here and there seems sadly to be considered a weed; thus, if in one's garden, is yanked and tossed as if a weed... when in fact, as far as things go around the stove, nothing could be further from the truth! let's just say portulaca's chocked full of goodness and ready to offer it to all 'n sundry, specially through the summer months : soup, salad, sautéed, wilted, puréed... you name it. and flowers 'n stems are most allowed


"lying low 'n crawling"

"farinata con portulaca e pomodoro"

so I head into the kitchen to make my farinata. I toss a few big handfuls of chick pea flour into a bowl. slowly slowly I add cold water, smack dab in the center, swirling the whisk, constant as it goes... all about keeping it smooth. then a final ecstatic whir to bring it all together. nice and liquid. I contemplate my batter for just a few minutes then skim off the dross that always rises to the top. now it's ready to take a nap for a good 5 hours. I cover it with a kitchen towel and set it somewhere quiet for its snooze. this gives me time to do some unpacking

I head back to the kitchen and wash my portulaca. leaf it, cut up the finer stems and drop it all into the chick pea batter. lots lots of good sea salt and a couple generous drizzles of good olive oil. stir stir stir. all the time letting the oven heat up to the max: 300 ˚C | 575 ˚F, if it'll go that high. I set my baking dish inside; was looking for one with a nice glass, ceramic or cast-iron bottom, but had to settle for a thinner coated one. oh well... can't always be choosy

I slice some cherry tomatoes in half. when my baking dish is nice and hot, I slide it out of the oven and generously coat the bottom 'n up along the sides with that same good olive oil. I give my batter a final stir then pour it right into the center of the dish—in one fell swoop—listening to it sizzle as it spreads out to the sides. I checker the top with my cherry tomatoes, give it another drizzle or two of olive oil then right back into the oven it goes to cook till getting nice 'n brown 'n crunchy all around

I pull it out pipping hot. the hard thing is letting it sit for 5 - 10 mins, 'cuz I'm kinda hungry. but I manage. then it's just to slice it up. give it many many a grind of black pepper—obligatory! maybe a sprinkle or two of good coarse sea salt and... ah!! sustenance to the belly it is ,.))

portions in grams, approx 1 chick pea flour : 3 cold water. should just lightly coat a wooden spoon and/or remind you of very melted ice cream

always try to keep the height of your farinata no more than a very slight 1 cm | 1/3 inch. so for example, for a 30-cm | 12-inch baking dish, a good generous 100 gr of chick pea flour

depending on how hot you can get your oven, it will cook from 10 - 25 minutes or more

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