"Cappuccino di Aspargi: Chopped asparagus stems that were sautéed with shallot, a surprisingly yummy veg stock and tips that were halved and sauteed in butter. The top is plain whipped cream." from thisismolly at Flickr.
Welcome to the second edition of Miss Molly's cooking adventures at Montali, a vegetarian restaurant and inn in Umbria.
Today: cappuccino, warm panini with buffalo butter and Mexican Death Oil...
In the kitchen. Make caffe, cook breakfast, make ciabatta (I think I might be the best ciabatta maker in the world now, but I'm not sure) and panini (not the sandwiches, the rolls). Set the kitchen for service for breakfast for 2 to 8 people, wait for chef to tell us that night's menu.
8:30 - 9:30
Wait for guests to come, drink CAPPUCCINO (my new favorite drink... I'm convinced every coffee lover needs to go out and buy Lavazza brand coffee). Turn bread and clean clean clean (PS: cooks do dishes, clean glasses, sweep floors... no porters/dishwashers here. The servers help out, but since there is not a dedicated position for the task, pretty much everyone does it.) Clean up after breakfast service.
9:30 - 1:30
Get menu from chef and start prepping. Bake off bread. Clean, make lunch for 7 people unless guests request lunch.
1:30 - 2
Eat lunch. Roman bought habaneros and made "Mexican Death Oil" which we put on EVERYTHING. We usually eat leftovers from the night before, or pasta, or leftover pasta. We snack on warm paninis with buffalo butter. Usually we eat pasta though. And eggplant. And sometimes pasta. But usually, it's pasta.
2 - 3:30 or 4 or 4:30
SIESTA!!!! This is usually when I shower, read or nap. We are totally cut off from the outside world. I have no idea what's going on in New York or the world. Josh checked the Times on his day off and reported back that more troops have been killed in Iraq.
4:30 - 5
Cappuccino! Cappuccino! Cappuccino! Someone told me that when I go to Italy NOT to order a cappuccino after breakfast-time. That the Italians would look at me like I was crazy. I can't help it though. They are sooo good. My favorite part is eating the foamed milk at the end with a spoon. MMMMMmmmmmm foam.
Finish everything for dinner and set up for service. Usually we have a glass or two of wine or some spirit like housemade Limoncello. And we drink this while we work. According to Alberto, we have the most expensive and best wines.
Start service. I wish I had more pictures of the food.... I'll take more this week. Anyway, check my photo site and hopefully I'll have been able to post my new ones. Mostly they're of the views and the grounds, and to you they might look all the same. Anyway, they are really pretty to me.
We also try to start cleaning at this point too, so we can get out as early as possible. We make guesses as to which time we'll leave and it helps with the morale and camaraderie amongst the cooks.
Of course, Alberto is always there saying something to prolong our work period because "No one works as hard as me or my wife" and "She works 20 hours a day for seven months without a day off" (which isn't true at all, well not the extremities of it anyway) and "My wife is here before you and after you..." and "My wife my wife my wife...". She does work very hard, though, and she is great at what he does. I've never heard her complain.
The earliest we've finished is at 10:30 and the latest around midnight. I'm really really enjoying this. The people are nice, the chef is nice, and the grounds are beautiful. The food is DELICIOUS and refined and rich and technical and creative and approachable, and 100% artisanal and lovely. I kinda wish I had signed up for the whole season... but maybe next summer I will find myself in another part of Europe making prosciuttos and salamis.
I sleep really well every night. I eat well everyday. And I write everything down and put as much as a possibly can into my work day so I won't lose a drop when I leave here. It's really really really cool.
I wish I could share the yumminess with you all. My words do not bring it to light. Uuummmmm... until next time?