Autumn, Ohio, & Oak Street
Most of the world uses the Roman calendar… (Yea- let’s hear it for the Italians again!) Around the office at Bosca Accessories, however, we kind of have our own calendar.
Just the other day, we were sitting around talking about how it seems that during the summer we all tend to go off on our own a bit more, wander, and coast a bit more. The end of summer just feels like the close of another year. And with the arrival of autumn, we seem to fall into new more energetic patterns…and the beginning of our Bosca Year.
The beginning of this year has started out with a major change for the Creative Team. We’ve closed the doors of our much-loved office on Marconi Blvd in Columbus, Ohio. Although a little sad, we are sooooo excited to be moving into our new building on Oak Street in the near future. (Crossing fingers on the “near” part).
Usually golden reds come with the autumn season and the dusting of white comes with winter…but I am almost positive that the City Building department may present me a heavy dose of white (hair) early.
But the end is in sight, and soon we will be moving in!!
The building is really cool. It was originally built in 1876 and has changed hands and purposes throughout the years. It definitely is/was in need of a bit of love but I knew with a bit of tender attention and renovation, it would make a fantastic creative space.
We’ve picked out some fabulous reclaimed materials too- like the 100+ year old oak flooring. These planks are planed from old Ohio barns that are beyond repair.
We can’t wait to get into our new space, spread out all of our swatches, samples, prints, drawings, cuttings, clippings. We haven’t even moved in and it’s already a happy, creative mess.
Roasted Red Peppers; The Deal Sealer
A long long time ago, in a town that little resembles the town that it once was then; I took my wife-to-be on our first date. At that time there were only a few pretty good restaurants in the area and only a couple of very good ones. Our first date was to be a very cute little family owned and run Italian place.
This was when I discovered that one of the foods that was near and dear to my heart (and stomach) had never experienced by my future betrothed NOR was she feeling any deep need or care to try them.
Well that answer just didn’t work for me… she HAD to at least TRY them.
So I ordered.
And she tried.
And then I had to apologize.
You see, as much credit as the little Italian place got for having roasted peppers on the menu, they were not what I had talked them up to be. Without going into specifics, let’s just say that I was nervous that I would never get another chance to introduce Courtney-hail-from-the-meat-and-potatos-midwest-by-way-of British-ancestry to the sensuous and comforting foods of the Italian peninsula…not to mention another date.
The date must have gone well enough because later that summer I had the opportunity to make roasted peppers for her myself. I still recall meticulously picking out those peppers from a North Market farmer’s stall…slicing and roasting them to perfection…drizzling the plate with the perfect amount of Italian olive oil.
I am happy to report that I was victorious!! Courtney fell head-over-heels in love with those peppers while simultaneously falling in love with me! (Okay, maybe I am ahead of myself there…)
Over the years, this became a signature dish for us as a couple. We served them at summer parties large and small. Sometimes we would have the peppers as an appetizer, sometimes as an accompaniment to a risotto al’asaparagi or summery lemon pasta- but always with the best olive oil we could find.
To make the peppers do the following:
Get good ripe red peppers. If you want to add a few yellow peppers for color that would be nice too. (Green peppers simply do not exist for me. They are unripe red peppers. They are not really food yet, so leave them alone.)
Place the peppers on a rack in an oven set to at least 475 degrees. Alternatively you can place them under the broiler on a rack about 8” from the top. Either way you will want a pan under the peppers to catch any liquid that drips out. The peppers can be done in an outdoor grill too, with good effect. I say “in” a grill as opposed to on the grill because if you use an outdoor grill you should put them on a rack that is raised, or placed away from the direct heat.
Cooking is not so much by time as by appearance. The skins should be largely darkened- even blackened. This does not mean that there is no red or yellow fruit showing, but these babies need to be cooked.
Turn the peppers a few times to make sure that they are cooked/charred on all sides. The peppers should be puffed up in the oven but you should find that as soon as you lift them out they will collapse easily. You can test this while they are in the over by poking them gently. We want them soft but firm enough that they are going to hold together.
When they look right remove them from the oven and put them directly into a large paper bag. Close the bag tightly. This is going to steam them just a bit, and you should find that due to this the skins will come off easily.
When they are cooled enough that you can handle them easily remove the skins with you hands. Most of the skin should, and needs to, come off but I have never made a fuss if a little bit of the skin sticks. This is your call.
Now cut a little circle around the stem at the top and scoop out the seeds. At this point I usually slice the peppers into about three equal sized parts. You can vary this depending on their use. Long thin slices make a pretty ingredient in a salad, or meat dish. For serving roast peppers as an antipasto I like three equal parts.
Meet Chris & Court
We are Christopher and Courtney Bosca.
We have been married for almost 20 years and for most of that time our love story has included not only each other, our two boys, and numerous dogs and cats including Fausto, Hugo, Tagli (short for Tagliatelle) Rudy, and Luca, but many friends and associates from Italy, Uruguay and Argentina.
Our friends consider us big travelers, but really we just travel to the same places- mostly Italy due to our business- Bosca Accessories.
For years I have spent time working in Italy in the tanneries, small factories (aziende) and design studios in and around the area of Firenze.
As often as she can Court accompanies me and participates in the inspection of leather, the design process, and in viewing the important materials trade shows.
Every trip has been memorable, but one in particular several years ago included several other members of the Bosca design and creative staff. What a blast- and how productive that trip was. The idea was to be all together in Italy so that everyone would really “get” what it is that I think that makes Bosca special and different. The trip was impactful beyond my dreams.
It was on that trip that we decided that we wanted (needed!) to bring some of life this to all of our other friends/clients, customer. So… the blog. Stories from the trenches- if you consider research trips to small companies in the hills of Tuscany, testing leather, testing olive oils freshly pressed in the grey cold autumn months, and long Sunday lunches in between work weeks “the trenches.”
Shortly after Court and I were married we traveled to Italy with our friends Mike and Lisa McDonnell (Now authors of the fabulous food blog Tarte Du Jour) Lisa wrote us a note after that trip, thanking us for sharing “our” Italy. She got it. It is our Italy- everyone can have their own version if they find it and grab onto it- but this is ours. Our goal here is to share some of “our Italy” with you- and maybe some of “our Argentina too!
Our blog – it all starts with leather and the world of leather and leathergoods- the hands-on work that we do, but also the work of design, one view on how to live life, the food that we love and new foods that we encounter, travel, and what it means to us in our lives at home. It is a version of luxury based in experience, connection, and appreciation of something that is truly beautiful.
We have had the honor of being “insiders” in a wonderful and passionate country so there are some great stories. We hope that you will follow along on our adventures as we relate these stories past and present.