The Awaiting Table # 4

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If you have ever dreamed, as I had, about doing what I am doing, get off your bootie and do it. It’s time. And if wanting to experience an authentic cooking school in a quaint town along the Adriatic sea is your thing, the The Awaiting Table  is everything and more I had hoped it would be.

Silverstro, the charming creator and teacher welcomed us with the open arms of an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile. He’s passionate, fun and has a genuine appreciation for his Italian culture, food and wine.

I am taking this course during the schools last week of classes before the school’s summer break. It is already hot and humid here and apparently the summer just keeps getting hotter so summer isn't generally a popular time to come to Italy. Because of that, this class is small with only 3 other students — a wonderful family who live near the Canadian boarder. Dorothy (or Dot if you prefer) Jeff and their son Ted. We are all having a ball together. Learning, laughing, cooking, enjoying, eating and drinking. 

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All the recipe's we are learning and cooking are authentic, seasonal and specific to this region. And then there is an abundant amount of unbelievable local produce, meats, olive oil, olives, bread, fruits, cheese - everything simply superb.

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Today we started with our Antipasto, Mpepata di Cozze. Otherwise known as Mussels with white wine, garlic, sea salt, olive oil, touch of red pepper, fresh mint, parsley and basil. Now, I don’t ever eat shellfish. Haven’t in many many years. BUT, since I am here in Lecce, a place apparently known for there mussels, I’d be a fool not to try one. They get them from a town called Tartano, only a few miles away in the Adriatic. Well, one became many and then I soaked my bread into the unbelievably delicious cooking juice and now, I am hooked. Incredibly fresh, sweet, tender, fantastic.

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Our second course, or Primo as they call it, was homemade eggless pasta we made. Apparently, each region in Italy makes there pasta differently. Here in Lecce they use 2 different flours. A combination of 70% Semolina and 30% Barley. The combo makes it a vegan whole grain pasta which is very nice.

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This was my first attempt to make homemade pasta and I gotta say, it was much easier than I thought. Flour and water. Mix, knead, roll, cut, dry, boil, drain and serve with any sauce you like. We made Cappelletti Messicani pasta with fresh tomatoes, rugola, olive oil, sea salt and shaved hard caccio ricotta cheese. SO simple but so tastey and satisfying.

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The Secondo (and last) dish was Pesce al Cartoccio con Contorni. Otherwise known as Tuna with a raw sauce of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, marjoram, red pepper and sea salt. Tuna is also something I never eat as it is incredibly high in mercury but f-it. I’m here and this is what is in front of me and, I gotta say, it was wonderful.

After we prepare and cook everything we then all then sit down together for lunch and dinner, with amazing local wine and savor our accomplishments in the kitchen family style.

Our wine was white, Tenuta Marina 2009 from Salento.

YUM. Italia. Divine. LECCE!

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