La Bonne Vie: Rachel visits Venturi for the first time and is reminded of southern Europe
About a month ago, Jim and I were on the verge of taking our annual spring break. My last week at work was looming; at home, we were slowly getting the laundry done and the house cleaned. On this trip, we were mostly going to places we have visited before so we were already planning some of our activities. We love hiking, museum visits, café culture and shopping for food at markets. But overall, it is a time to catch up on reading, sleeping and downtime. And while we were living through the latest snowstorm, I was dreaming of sunny skies, turquoise waters and palm trees.
On this particular night, the snow continues to fall as it has since I woke up. As soon as I get home, I start shoveling out a spot in front of our house for our car. The snow is heavy and wet, and after a few minutes I am starting to sweat. My neighbor comes over with his shovel and helps me for a bit.
As the snow keeps falling, the only sound is the scrape of the shovels and the thunk of the packed snow. By the time I’m done, I know my muscles will be sore tomorrow. But I have something to look forward to. Lately, on Wednesday nights, Jim and I have been going to some of the locally owned eateries around town. We usually are too busy or too tired to head out after getting home but, in one of our more extroverted moments, we came up with this plan. Tonight we are finally going to Venturi’s.
Through the years, I have followed the start and ongoing success of this eatery through the eyes of Troy, a friend, longtime customer and one of the owners of the restaurant. We often talk about food, lifestyle, politics, music and much more when he comes to get his lunch at Rachel’s. We even named a sandwich after him. For most of 20 years, we have seen each other off and on, through some hard times and good times. But I had yet to visit and eat at his place of business.
On this snowy night, a few of us have ventured out to eat. We cross through the door and are immediately welcomed and seated. My first impression is that I have walked into another world. I forget the snow and dark outside and get the feeling that I am already on the other side of the ocean.
We decide to go all out and order a cocktail, appetizer, salad, a carafe of wine, pizza, dessert and coffee. The timing and service is great, the food even better. We take our time, we savor, we use our knives and forks in typical European fashion. We leave satisfied and happy.
As we trudge back through the snow, I come back to this. Here in Goshen, tonight, I had a taste of where I was headed: the flavors and atmosphere of southern Europe. I am glad to have finally made it to Venturi’s. We are fortunate to have them in our town. Now that I am back from my spring break, and as some of you are returning from yours, it might be time to revisit this local spot.
Here is a recipe for a salad that we have had in southern Europe. It’s easy and flavorful.
GREEN SALAD WITH PROSCIUTTO, EGGS AND PEPPERS
Serving size: 4
- 6 slices of prosciutto
- A little bit of cream cheese, room temperature
- Enough spicy mixed greens for four plates
- 1 sweet red pepper, cut in strips
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- On a plate, spread two of the prosciutto slices with cream cheese, cut lengthwise into fourths. Then cut widthwise in half and roll them up.
- On the plate, place the salad greens on one side. Top with red pepper strips, hard boiled egg cut in fourths and sprinkle with goat cheese.
- On the other half of the plate, place the prosciutto slice, topped with a few of the cream cheese spirals.
- Serve with balsamic or french vinaigrette.