Friday, September 14, 2012

How Cilantro Saved a Rainy Wednesday

September, for many tourist destinations in Italy, means the end of the season.  As I'd cautioned our staff, all of whom are new to working and living here, September means we work.  Hard.  Dinner is early, and we run around like crazy people for 3 hours then close up around midnight.  It's a tough adjustment for some, who were expecting the season to feel like it's finishing up, when instead they lament about working harder now then in August.  For me, it's wonderful speaking English to everybody and not feeling like a big American accent is clouding my every phrase in Italian.  Also, the temperature is in the 70's, the water is clear, the breeze is soft and the sky is full of soft clouds that make for amazing sunsets.
However, these clouds decided to empty on the past two Wednesdays, much to our misfortune.  Two rainy days off in a row mean that we got (I got) the ironing done, laundry done, caught up on movies, slept a little, and cooked.  A trip to La Spezia last Friday to help a friend getting married out with some document signing (you need to bring witnesses with you to do these things), meant I could stop by my favorite little market to ask about my favorite little herb.  The shopkeeper knows me by now, as I'm certainly the only American girl coming once a week to ask for cilantro, and his face lit up when I opened the door.

"We have it!", and hurried to get me the remaining 3 bunches.  Apparently, the cooler temperatures mean not only better beach days and happier tourists, but cilantro growing weather.  With my huge bag of cilantro, I headed home.  And when rainy Wednesday number 2 came, I whipped up every cilantro dish I could think of.

For lunch, soba noodles with avocado and a sesame, lime, cilantro dressing.  For dinner, Indian, with chana masala, baingan bharta, and a cooling raita sauce to cut the heavy hand I have with chili.

And for snack, just to keep with the theme of things Italians don't eat, peanut butter cookies.

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