Last night, John and I went over to my brother's house for dinner. It was one of those nights when nobody felt like cooking, so we all agreed on something uncomplicated. Steve's wife, Elena, had just come back from a recent trip to Washington D.C. to visit her mother, and had found herself back in an old Italian deli that she had visited often as a young girl. She brought back with her a variety of mouth-watering Italian deli meats, like Mortadella and spicy Ham- and with that in mind, we decided on a dinner of Italian-style sandwiches, with wax peppers, pepperoncinis and olives to snack on the side.
We layered thick slices of freshly baked Focaccia bread (from local breadmaker Brio) with buffalo mozzarella, provolone and the prized deli-meats, and then topped it all off with a sweet-and-spicy chili-pepper spread and lettuce and tomato. Mine disappeared rather quickly, and I couldn't help thinking how lucky I was that in my family, this was considered an "uncomplicated" dinner. It was absolutely delicious. And then, of course, I had a never-ending supply of hot peppers to chose from- which as you might already know, makes me very, very happy. My brother and I both have a special place in our hearts for spicy food, so I can always count on getting my fix at his house.
Between big bites of food and a few cold beers to wash it all down, we chatted about the World Cup, laughed until our stomachs hurt, and discussed my upcoming trip to Europe (two more days!). While we chatted, Steve and Elena's kids- Nico and Natalie- popped in and out of the conversation, eager to show us a new toy (Natalie just acquired her first set of golf clubs), or just to ask for more yogurt (Nico's favorite). It was a great meal, with great company, and I couldn't think of a better way to say goodbye to my brother and his family before leaving for my trip.
At this point, I'm sure you've guessed that I have no recipe for you today, but I hope you can cut me some slack, since I technically could be packing my suitcase, instead of writing on here. I guess, since were on this subject, I should also say that I can't promise I will be posting many recipes on here during my trip- but I can promise you lots and lots of photographs of food, and stories of my adventures along the way.
I'll be back in the States in about a month, so in the meantime, I'll keep you all posted, and wish me bon voyage!