All posts filed under: San Marino

Monday Meal Review: San Marino

Neighbors. I’d already planned on talking about neighbors last week, but when the grief of Newtown, Connecticut struck, I realized how much more urgently this message needs to be said. Abe Lincoln called the people of San Marino his “Great and Good Friends,” despite being separated by an entire continent. There was such tenderness in his words, but this particular weekend they struck me hard. Why? Because so few of us know anything about the people who live in our very neighborhoods, let alone an ocean away. Did you know, neighbor Sandeep Kapur, who lived two doors down from the killer (who I shall not name out of respect for the grieving), stated that he had never met the family, despite the fact that he’d lived there for three years? Three years, without so much as a hello. Unfortunately, this is not unusual. Listen, friends: my only platform is love. Love, love, love. Always more love. Do you know who lives near you? Are situations like these keeping you from finding out? Listen. We can’t …

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Pork braised in Milk & Fresh Herbs | Maiale al Latte

It’s fun to let a recipe go “wrong” on purpose.  Maiale al Latte is one of those dishes: pork braised in milk for hours, until the milk gives way to tender, nutty, herb flavored curds. Some will tell you this “curdled milk” is a mistake. I’m here to tell you what everyone in San Marino and Italy already know – this is homemade cheese ripe for the snacking, an epic byproduct of an already amazingly tender roast, soaked with sage and rosemary, garlic and bay leaves, milk and wine. Outrageous. Once strained out of the sauce, I’ve read accounts of the curds being spread on toast. What a guilty pleasure. Yum. But let’s back up a moment. This isn’t about cheese. That’s just the cherry on top. This is really about a braised, tender pork shoulder… fit for any gathering of happy friends. The Sanmarinese and Italians love milk-braised pork. And today, we’re about to see why. Let’s dive in, shall we? Recipe adapted from Gourmet. Serves 10-12 Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil 5 lb boneless pork shoulder, a.k.a. …

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Fig & Honey Apple Polenta Cake | Bustrengo

Sometimes life calls for  a little something extra-ordinary. A toothy smile on a cloudy day can be enough. A favorite pair of fuzzy, polka-dotted socks can even do the trick. But on other days I want something a smidge bit … well… gourmet. I want something that says this day – this meal – this time – is more special than you know. That you’re more special than you know. And so, it’s not without a little irony that Bustrengo fits the bill. You see, this Fig and Honey Apple Cake is traditionally made in San Marino (and Italy) after dinner chatter dies down, while sitting around the embers of a dying fire. In this way, she’s a real casual sort of affair. Something to satisfy that sweet tooth, without going to too much of a fuss. As easy as a smile but as tasty as good love. Inside you’ll find all manner of diced apples, dried figs, golden polenta, olive oil, and pools of honey. Oh, and curls of orange and lemon zest. No biggie. These …

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Swallow’s Nests | Nidi di Rondine

What being a grown up has taught me: There’s no way to turn couch surfing into exercise. I cannot be a mermaid for a day, no matter how hard I will myself to grow a tail. Superman isn’t going to swoop down out of the sky and carry me away with him. Heck, he can’t even find a phone booth these days. That being said, there are lots of good things I’ve learned as a grownup. Making my daughter guffaw makes my heart happy Eating around the table with loved ones is worth a pile of dirty dishes. There are superheroes in every day life, like my husband who quietly shovels our neighbor’s drive when he thinks no one is looking. And now… thanks to the tiny country called San Marino… I’ve finally learned that I can have the best of two worlds: lasagna and cinnamon rolls.  The dish is called Nidi di Rondine, or Swallow’s Nests. Think fresh sheets of pasta spiraled like a cinnamon bun, but layered with bechamel sauce, cheese, and ham …

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Menu: San Marino (with Giveaway)

Here’s something you might not have known: Abraham Lincoln was made an honorary citizen of San Marino in 1861. This made him happy, as he believed that San Marino demonstrated how a “government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring.” (Read the whole letter) What he doesn’t mention in his letter to his “Great and Good Friends” is their food, likely because he never had the opportunity to sample it. Personally I believe that any “secure and enduring country” has to have great food. Thankfully, San Marino delivers like a champ in this department. This menu is a little like cooking Italy all over again (northeast Italy, anyway)… but with a flair distinctly Sanmarinese. Each bite of this menu is comforting, rich, and perfect for the curious stovetop traveler on a wintertime journey through the rugged mountains. You’ll notice a lot of milk, from the bechamel to the pork roast, as well as typical ingredients like polenta, honey, and dried figs. Consider serving this menu with some …

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Guaita fortress and part of the city (view from above Monte Titano). Photo by Ricardo André Frantz.

About the food of San Marino

Let’s dive into Italy, right over the mountains, into the tiny 24 square mile country of San Marino. In this small enclave, there is no level ground. Indeed, every sunny vista is filled with the jawdropping scenery of a life “away from it all.” In this land, tenacity is the name of the game. Whenever San Marino comes up in conversation people like to ask how they managed to stay independent within Italy all these years. Why aren’t they just a part of Italy, they ask. For one, I think the difficult mountain terrain has provide a natural barrier (both physical and somewhat cultural), but also the people seem to be filled with good ol’ tenacity. One simply has to look at their determination to grow food in the rubble-like soil. Almost miraculously, they manage to produce a bounty of chestnuts, barley, fruit, and wheat in this small land. The food is typical of Northeastern Italy, with specialties like Swallow’s Nests, spirals of filled noodles coated in bechamel and Parmesan [Recipe]… and then there’s pork slow cooked in milk and …

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