Monday, October 19, 2015

A Little Bit of Cozze On My Plate.... A Little Bit of Rice and Chicken, Too.

 “If more of us valued food and cheer and 
song above hoarded gold, it would be a 
merrier world." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

 Cox Cable has been running the most annoying commercial to advertise their fast internet speed; taken from the Broadway musical, Oliver!, the song is "Food, Glorious Food," and what the heck it and 3-D printed food has to do with anything Cox-related is beyond me. I'm just grateful that for the next two weeks, I won't have to listen to the stupid thing as I want to throw my computer through the television every time I hear it starting to play. (And, because I brought it up, I'm going to be singing that stupid song in my head all night.)

At any rate, as much as I despise that commercial, I love food. And as much as I love food, I'm a pretty picky eater in some ways. Unlike my father (who never met anything edible that he didn't like), there are certain things that I just can't swallow—literally. As such, I do tend to miss out on a few things that I just might enjoy eating.
 If you know me or have read this blog for some time, you might know that I won't eat fish. I do eat shellfish (as long as said shellfish is not staring back from the plate), but I usually eat only the shellfish I know—shrimp, crab, lobster (NO FACE), clams (only in soup or sauce), and scallops.  As such, I have not had oysters, crayfish, marlin, salmon, tuna, mussels, or the like.

Actually, that all changed the other day. My good friends, Cesar and Lilli, took me to Gardenia, a Sicilian restaurant, for dinner.  Cesar ordered cozze and arrancini (top two photos in respective order), two things that I had never eaten.  I was a bit nervous when the waitress brought out two bowls of cozze because, quite frankly, I was afraid I'd lose my nerve (or lunch) when I ate one. (Cozze are Mediterranean mussels.)

"Do you like cozze?" Cesar asked me as he opened one and ate it.  I hesitated.

"I've never eaten one," I probably mumbled. Both he and Lilli were shocked.

"You never ate one?" he exclaimed.  I shook my head; they both showed me how to open the shell and slurp it down.  I took one, opened it, counted to three in my head, and slurped it down.  I not only survived, I liked the cozze and ate a few more.

The arrancini, or rice ball, was absolutely phenomenal.  Named for the orange (arrancia) because of their size, shape, and color, arrancini are more of a southern Italian dish. They apparently surfaced in Sicily in the 10th century, but lately, they have become a fast food fad all over Italy.  If you don't know, arrancini are stuffed rice balls that are coated with breadcrumbs and fried. The filling can contain meat sauce, ground meat, fresh mozzarella, peas, or any combination of them. The one we had was ground beef and peas.

Pollo a la brace with salad
 The chicken was absolutely delicious, too. 

 "Do you think you'll have mussels again?" Mike asked me when I told him I'd enjoyed the ones we had the other night.

"I might," I informed him, " because they're just big clams, I think.  I can tell you, though, that  I won't turn down any arrancini that find their way to my plate."

And I hope some find their way to my plate again pretty soon.

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