What a week it has been! Last Saturday evening our house caught fire. The fire began in a second floor bathroom, spread up above the ceilings of the upstairs bedrooms, and through the roof. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Our house, however, sustained significant damage from the fire, smoke and water, and requires much repair.
We’ve had tremendous support and kindness from neighbors, friends and family, and our insurance company is taking care of all of our needs. We are in a hotel for the short term, and have already found a house to rent in the neighborhood while ours is being rebuilt.
Among the other logistics we’ve had to sort out this week is how to keep Due Spaghetti current. Our hotel suite has two little ceramic glass burners that we haven’t tried out yet, and our soot-infiltrated camera has been taken away for cleaning.
Simona from the wonderful blog Briciole reminded us that focusing on cooking can help regain balance and perspective. She’s exactly right – it really does.
We didn’t want to miss a post this week, but we also haven’t really settled into our tiny hotel kitchen yet. Over the past few weeks we’ve fun across a few holiday cookie contests in newspapers and on websites, we decided that we’d get an early start on one of our favorite Christmas treats, salame al cioccolato, or Chocolate Salame.
Made to resemble a real salame, this rum-infused chocolate log is an easy but delicious no-bake winter treat. Our kids love it, and adults ask for the recipe every time we serve it.
Going shopping this morning for the ingredients, clearing counter space in our mini-kitchen to work, and most importantly experiencing the satisfaction of making something tasty from scratch was a good first step in putting the fire behind us and returning to the regular rhythm of out lives.
The key ingredient to salame al cioccolato are biscotti secchi, which are a light, dry biscuit or cookie with no filling of frosting and a low fat content. In Italia, we use biscotti made by Oro Saiwa. In the U.S. we have found a Mexican biscuit called Marias by Gamesa which is a good substitute. Otherwise, use any simple, light biscuit or cookie.
Ingredients for 6 salami
600 grams (4 & 1/3 packs) biscuits, plus extra for dusting.
300 grams (1 & 1/3 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
300 grams (1 & 1/2 cups) sugar
50 grams (slightly less than 1/2 cup) unsweetened baking cocoa
1 shot glass of rum
You will also need plastic wrap.
Place the biscuits into a shallow bowl and crush them into small pieces using the flat bottom of a glass or bottle. Set aside.
Beat the eggs, and add the butter. Add the sugar, cocoa and rum, and beat by hand until well mixed. Stir in the biscuits.
Crush the rest of the biscuits in the partially used package in a food processor, and place into a shallow baking dish. Use your hands to form the mixture into logs. Roll each log in the biscuit crumbs to resemble salame, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
Serve sliced, or place on a cutting board with a knife and let your guests do the cutting, just as you might a real salame.