July 18, 2006

There Were No Birthdays In Sicily!

While my mom was in town she treated me and J to a birthday dinner at La Medusa, a Sicilian eatery in Columbia City. J’s birthday was Wednesday and it just so happens that every Wednesday from May through October La Medusa offers a Market Menu. This menu brings together fresh ingredients purchased that day from the Columbia City Farmer’s Market (also every Wednesday). It’s a 3-4 course prix-fixe affair for $25. Such a deal, really. Everything is fresh and original.

Our meal began with caesar salad with authentic caesar salad dressing – including an egg and anchovies – and crumble of bread crumbs on top with a shaving of caciocavallo cheese. I was reading later about this cheese and it’s interesting to note that it’s from southern Italy and the name means “cheese on horseback.” One story indicates that it is believed by some to have originally been made from mare’s milk. “Caciocavallo is one of the pasta filata types of cheeses (like
PROVOLONE and MOZZARELLA CHEESE ), which means it has been stretched and shaped by hand.” Man, oh, man, I’ve got to find this cheese.

SIDENOTE: At the Grocery Outlet (affectionately known as “The G.O.”) I found an English Cheddar made with goat’s milk and it’s amazing!. Not to mention, the price was almost criminal. The block I bought was less than $3. Check the G.O. for cheese, my friends. Just mind the dates, like you would on any cheese from any store.

The entrée was one large ravioli gently stuffed with mascarpone cheese, diced beets and slices of Walla Walla Sweets. On top was a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts and just the juices from the beets and onions and a drizzle of olive oil. For dessert they brought out champagne flutes filled with a Callebaut chocolate mousse topped with cream and few raspberries. The flute was dusted with powdered sugar. Pretty decadent.

While we were finishing the bottle of Bucaro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2003 (organic to boot) and having coffee, J and I were each presented with a birthday cannolo, each stuck with a lit candle. My mom is very clever. Though we were full of food and wine, we ate those cannoli, every last crumb. Cannoli are something we never buy so it was a real treat.

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