Today marks the first day of the Easter celebration.
The kitchen was bustling with activity as we all prepared for the days to come. We are open for lunch on Easter Sunday and Monday (which is also a holiday here). Luciano had his son with him today, so for the entire morning we had a very smart and hyperactive six-year-old running around. He looks just like Luciano, and was the smartest ball-breaking little kid I've ever seen.
The dish I spent the most time prepping today were called timbalino. They are miniature eggplant dishes that are encased in fried eggplant and then layered inside with sauteed vegetables, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil, and three layers of thin pasta. They look absolutely delicious. We made about a hundred of them and I hope I get to try one.
Tonight we all had an evening off. I hung around my room for a while and then motivated and went for a run. Running here makes me appreciate my surroundings so much more than when I am stuck in the kitchen all day. Don't get me wrong, I love the kitchen, but the natural beauty here is astonishing and always makes me stop and stare at it all. Between the mountains which till are frosted at the peaks, to the villages on the hilltops, to the olive groves and the forests. It's all magical. Yes I miss home, I miss a lot of people whom I love. However, my run today put it all back into perspective. I live here for now, in this magical and breathtaking Italian village. I am doing what I always dreamed of, living my life as a cook in an awe-inspiring place. I just have to keep myself outdoors and spend as little time as possible in my lonely hotel room.
So, for my night off tonight, after the run I met up with Luca and our new stagista Matteo. Matteo is 17 and is studying at a culinary school in Pescara. He is worthlessly slow and more than averagely stupid. Unfortunately, he is not a favorite around Villa Maiella but as fate would have it he is already set in inherit his own restaurant from his parents. Go figure.
Anyway, we three decided to go out to grab something to eat. We ended up at a very busy little pizza place where we ordered a meter long pizza. Yes, they came in meters. That's three feet for the Americans. The waiter actually brought out a wooden plank that he had to hook on to the empty side of the table in order to serve this thing. The pizza was great, although we waited over an hour to get fed. I snapped a picture of this giant pizza with Matteo's camera phone so hopefully I will have photo to share in the next day or so.
Until then, it is another busy day tomorrow. Luca and I have to make 300 ravioli in preparation for Sunday so I must say, Buona Notte!