Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baking Easter Bread + Enrico + My Sister = (Good Food, Great Times)*10

My beautiful Easter bread...
 My idea of heaven includes a space with a big airy commercial kitchen, vats of great wine, scads of fresh ingredients to cook with, good food to nibble and great company to share it all with. I’m not looking to get in to heaven any time soon so I’m awfully glad when I get a taste of it in the here and now. My lovely sister took me along to an Easter Bread Baking Class with Enrico of Enrico Biscotti in the Strip and my oh my did we have a good time (and eat well, to boot)!

Wish you were here?
The evening started out in just the right way-- antipasti (olives x 2, spicy banana peppers grilled and floating in fruity olive oil, chevre, herb crusted sheep chevre, an orange blue, white cheese with almonds), creamy butter, crusty bread, eggplant parmesan, polenta (topped with garlicky white bean puree, garlic and mushrooms or tomato sauce) and a hearty dose of beans and greens.
Drat, wish I had remembered
to bring some home!
But what else? Wine, really yummy wine, made in-house and apparently Pittsburgh’s only in-city winery (sold under the label Carlo’s Garage). In the spirit of good journalism, I tried every variety that passed my way, they were all good but the Merlot was a favorite between me ‘n my sister. The food, wine and chatter flowed and we all enjoyed Enrico’s great animated folklore, stories and trivia about the food we were about to make.
Enrico, y'know, Larry, talks dough...

Ceci, a fellow classmate and master
Easter bread maker...
We then moved into the kitchen where we watched, step-by-step, how to prepare our bread dough. Great stories, tips and tricks were tossed out to the audience. We were given dough of our own to braid and swirl and even an egg to make it authentic.

Julia, my sister, provided a ton o' fun...

While the bread was resting and baking we got busy making Easter meat pies. There are so many ways to make pie dough; I never get tired of watching someone else do it. We each got to make our own mini pie stuffed with sausage, capicola, salami, mozzarella, provolone, basket cheese, parsley, eggs and cream. Then, off into the oven with that lot.

Mmmmmm, meat pie...mmmm....

What did we do while everything was cooking? We talked and we sipped and we ate flourless chocolate cake and we listened to the tales told by the several generations represented in the room. Generally, what we did was make merry.
My cooked mini meat pie.
If you haven’ t been, I’ve gotta say you must trot on down. They do lunches, they do brunches, they do classes, they do biscotti. Any way you eat it, you’re going to have fun.

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