31 December 2007
Happy New Year everyone! I'm writing to you from not-so-sunny-at-the-moment Mexico where unfortunately Mr. Moctezuma is having his evil way with me. Well a few margarita days of distance have given me new perspective: I'm going through Italy withdrawal symptoms. I imagine it is like getting off of an addiction. All I want is a little pizza and some decent coffee none of which are in my immediate future. There is a place down here that has DOC Mozzarella on their pizzas but to tell you the truth I'm scared that they'll mess it up and at 250 Mexican pesos ($25 US Dollars) that is an expensive risk. But if I start shaking I've instructed my husband to give me a hit.
Speaking of which, I just downloaded my last photos of Italy. Take a look at our last Pasta Fagiol' in Naples -it was bar none -divine!
27 December 2007
- trucker strikes delay the movers
- movers all act in unison to give us HIGH quotes to move our stuff back to the US
- getting the EU Passport for my pet was a real PITA with lots more money to pay
- huge collection of books got donated to library (this is the only feel good part)
- finally get some movers and after the pack up they quote us DOUBLE the estimate
- Telecom Italy decides that we need to be shut off early to close our account (no internet, no more email account and no phone)
- our local town decides to shut down the electricity for 4 hours while the movers are packing
- our stuff gets carted outside and rained on
- baby starts the terrible two tantrums with lots of 'NNOOOOOOOO's thrown in for good measure
- we don't sleep more than 4 hours a day
12 December 2007
So here I am sitting in my house still purging things left and right (it is OBSCENE how much this international move is costing us) with not a hope of getting a mover here this week. Right now they are telling me maybe early next week. This is where it gets hard living here. It feels like there is always something to get you -fuel strikes, garbage emergencies, transportation strikes, water shortages, the list goes on and on.
Yes, it is a big PITA but on the other hand the upside of that is you learn to live day to day, you become flexible, you enjoy conveniences when you get it, you help out/know your neighbor more and you learn to pray for the best but buckle down for the worst.
So, I'll just keep packing -and when this place gets decent enough I'll take some photos for you! Until then keep some positive thoughts for our move -we're going to need it!
07 December 2007
This is my front entrance and my dog is ready to great you. Unfortunately, living here has left me with only one pet out of three and she's now 14 years old. We will be taking her back to the States with us (where she was born) and she'll hopefully have plenty of time to enjoy some sunshine in her retirement. As you can tell even though it is winter here everything is still pretty green. Ok, now if you want to see the first room you have to hop over to JetSetBaby. See you there!
06 December 2007
05 December 2007
This is a great video that discusses environmentalism from a logical standpoint. It is very interesting and worth watching whether you love soaking up all the fuel possible or whether you would rather live in a tree. Enjoy![Thanks Amy I. for the tip!]
Napoleon the III's apartment at the Louvre in Paris! His place is incredible and worth a visit -it is in my favorite wing of the Louvre -Richeleu.
The grandeur of everything is truly amazing but then again what would you expect from a man with this kind of family and history?
And just take a look at the view from the apartment:
04 December 2007
What were you cooking/baking ten years ago?
I was in grad school back then and definitely on the Ramen Noodle diet. Here is how I ate it: add frozen chopped broccoli (or any other veg cut up very small) and 1tbsp of peanut butter to the boiling water (let it cook) then add noodles etc. as directed. Top with chopped scallions or the growing part of the onion. It is pretty good!
What were you cooking/baking one year ago?
I was teaching a friend how to make pasta from scratch. I was also making a lot of Tuscan bean & cereal soups on the hot coals of the fireplace.
Five snacks you enjoy:
1. tortilla chips
2. anything with dark chocolate
3. popcorn with either chile & lime or with yeast flakes
4. fresh fruit
5. English biscuits (I prefer shortbreads)
Five recipes you know by heart:
Most recipes I know by heart because I cook with my heart.
1. Dal (Indian style lentils)
2. Macadamia Nut Pesto
4. Chocolate Mousse (vegan)
5. Vegetarian Chili that has knocked the socks off of meat eaters forever.
Five culinary luxuries you would indulge in if you were a millionaire:
1. a staff of chefs with me all the time
2. grow my own organic heritage vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains
3. I would pay to feed all the children (and anyone whose in need of company or food) in my community a healthy, organic, delicious hot vegetarian homemade meal anytime they wanted -no strings attached (I would probably need a pretty big table and a house)
4. I would set up a free school to teach the importance of good nutrition and how to cook as self defense
5. I think the above answers would probably suck up all of my budget so I’ll leave this one empty.
Five foods you love to cook/bake:
1. vegetarian chili
3. Mexican mole (love working with chocolate)
Five things you cannot/will not eat:
1. I can’t eat meat
2. mushrooms or pearl onions in a jar
3. badly cooked okra
4. any veg that has been canned and then boiled
5. Durian (I only eat it if I can’t smell it)
Five favorite culinary toys:
1. pressure cooker
2. cherry de-pitter that i use for olives too
3. mandolin (the Vslicer is WONDERFUL)
4. salad spinner
5. my french paella pan
Five dishes on your “last meal” menu:
Since all bets are off and I can have anything:
2. A lot of champagne
3. Lots of cheeses (French, Greek, Dutch & Italian)
4. Enmoladas (Mexican enchiladas in a mole sauce)
Name five happy food memories:
1. When my 2 year old Little Man helped me make pumpkin pie a few weeks ago. It was his first time helping me. He had the most careful coordination in stirring and pouring. He was involved in every step and honestly it was the best tasting pie I’ve ever made.
2. My mother was a fantastic cook and could make anything delicious in no time and with barely anything in the cupboards. I was most impressed when she taught me how to make tortillas from scratch (we were literally grinding the corn).
3. First time my husband’s grandmother sent me a batch of komish bread -I felt so special.
4. Making lasagna for my G-d daughter and seeing the expression on her face at the first taste. She has NEVER forgotten that moment (she was 3!) and she’s always asking me to make it for her.
5. Ok, this one isn’t my happiest food memory it is my husband’s (and it is too sweet not to mention): the first time I made pancakes for him. It was of course from scratch. He was so impressed that I didn’t need a recipe or a mix. He tells me that that was the day he knew I was for him.
03 December 2007
The grand staircase to the apartment:
The bedroom of the owner:
02 December 2007
There is nothing better in the morning than some, "Caffè alla Napoletana." There is NO other place in the world that coffee is this good. Watch this video of a guy making it in a real Neapolitan coffee maker (and witness why men don't usually make it at home) ;-)
Entry way into the apartment.
The foyer: the afternoon light really highlights the dark raspberry velvet wallpaper.
Every detail in this apartment is amazing: all the drawer pulls on this commode have blue agate cameos on them.
01 December 2007
Muji is Japanese for Brandless Brand. The irony is that Muji, the store, is anything but generic. For those of you who aren't familiar with Muji it is a Japanese retailer that sells housewares and clothing. They keep the design of everything they manufacture to a minimalist aesthetic with no logos. Pretty simple huh?
Well, this store has a cult following and I'm afraid I too have succumbed to the no logo store. They have some very clever puzzles and stationary (I LOVE stationary). Only problem is that here in Italy there are only 3 stores: 2 in Milan and 1 in Torino. Those northerners get everything! So, Paris is where I get my fix. Take a look at what they're doing for the holidays:
30 November 2007
29 November 2007
The polenta dish she made and I'm going to have to borrow the recipe because it was too good not to duplicate. As for the Pear Mousse Tart -that was a special order. I wish I had photos to share with you but of all things my camera's battery died out the second day we were there (sorry).
However, I do have a few good photos to share here and over on Jet Set Baby. The first is the plaza next to the Center Pompidou. Notice how creative this space is in mixing old, functional and whimsical. I love it when art comes alive like this:
On a different note, I don't know how Parisians keep any money in their pockets. Every time I turn around there is another cute store begging to be explored. I found one too many of these stores and it is almost impossible to leave without a little something (even if you have an impending move -ahemm). This being the holiday season the stores had displays of grand chandeliers and lots of cool gifts (did you know that almost every store will wrap a present for you for free or practically free?!).
We of course had to pay our respects to an old friend too -check out his digs. Anyone know who's apartment this is (he's kind of famous)?
Just back from Paris and one of the biggest things I'll miss about leaving Italy are the cheap airfares to other places. We are always just back from a trip or just leaving for one and with these prices -who can blame us?
I'll post tons of photos from Paris later this evening so stay posted!
21 November 2007
Ok, just one more post before I go. So I've got 24 hours between trips and you might wonder what the heck do I do for fresh wholesome food?
Pizza. One of my favorite pizzerias is out in the country and it is called Bella Napoli. For 3 Euro I can get a full round of Pizza Margherita (tomato sauce and mozzarella) . Great price for something that is made from scratch and baked right in front of you. We usually also walk out with a bag full of fries -don't ask me why it is just tradition.
Here's a general hint on how to find a good pizzeria: look at the counter to see that all is fresh and check out the Pizzaiolo (professional pizza maker) to make sure they are plump (don't trust one that is skinny -I don't know why it is just tradition).
By the way, aren't the free carts at the airport so cool? I wish they would offer these carts in America -and yes free because I'm only borrowing it not taking it home (although this one would be very cute as a laundry cart). FYI of all the airports I've been in it is always the ones in the US that want you to pay for the use of the carts -why is that?
14 November 2007
P.S. Check out my friend's cool photos from Rockefeller State Park outside of NYC (the photo's link)
12 November 2007
Chocolate! Real, pure and fresh. While there is a push in America (cost cutting) and FDA approval of no cocoa butter in "chocolate" bars -here in Napoli I'm blissfully happy. I am a fanatic for chocolate and I am not happy with the way things are going in the American food "industry" -as they call it. I'll miss my chocolate (drug) factory.
I don't like Gay Odin (it is in all the guidebooks) because it tastes as old as they claim the store to be. Also, I found out that some friends of mine worked there for two days. They said the conditions were terrible and that they only got paid 30 Euro for two people for two days (crack of dawn until well past dusk).
The place I do like is called Dolce Idea and they have an excellent chocolate. I've taken it as gifts as far as India and everyone has always loved it. It is made fresh and well with no questionable items in it. The maestro has won many many awards (the store is wallpapered with the awards!). So if you are ever in town -pick some up! However, be warned that the maestro isn't the friendliest of people.
P.S. In the photo below you are looking at over 3 kilos (over 6lbs) of chocolate -you can tell I'm preparing for another trip.
09 November 2007
07 November 2007
Ok, so you've seen what my Italian Anna prepares now I think it is time you see what I'm cooking up. Today we are feasting on Sri Lankan style Dal (split peas) with curried mixed veggie rice. Also on the plate is roasted Capsicum (peppers) and potatoes with onion and curry.
Eating Italian food is wonderful, healthy and tasty. However, on a day to day basis it gets very tiresome. I've traveled and lived too many places to ever be satisfied with just one cuisine -I suppose this is the downside of seeing the world. So if you don't mind every now and then I will surprise you with a little world cuisine. In a few months I'll no longer be here in Italy so until then I will try and squeeze out as many purely Italian foods as possible after that I'll be giving you some interesting cuisine. A presto!
04 November 2007
Here are a few rules:
- It is common practice that if you should whizz by your exit it is no problem -simply go in reverse!
- Speaking of whizzing -that is also an acceptable and common view on the side of the highway (I like to call it al fresco peeing). Though now they say it is illegal I've never seen anyone get ticketed.
- Brace yourself when approaching an exit because you never know when someone will be passing you on the left to cut you off to make it to the exit on the extreme right.
- When approaching a red light slow down and determine whether you can beat the traffic, the cop, or the old lady crossing the street and in all likely if you can STEP ON THE GAS AND GO
- If there is a police car flashing lights behind you let them through (they need to get to mama's asap because they told her to "buta la pasta")
- If a cop sticks out an over sized lollipop on you then you must stop or he'll shoot you (really)
- During traffic hours there are double the amount of lanes than are drawn on the road so be prepared for full contact with scooters too
Photo is of an actual taped up Fiat going full throttle down the highway. If you look closely the driver's side door is taped to the passenger side to keep it closed. So does this mean those people won't be able to get out?
02 November 2007
I've lived here for EIGHT YEARS. There have been a lot of really good moments: we’ve welcomed in the millennium here, I gave birth to my first child here, we've met some extraordinary people here and we've traveled so much that there is not a bit of room in my passport for another stamp. There have been really low points too: my mother dyeing without a chance to say goodbye, having my house broken into twice (the last time we were in the house and I was 9 months pregnant) and having to put my dog down this summer.
I’m still trying to make sense of it all (if that is even possible). I’ll miss so many things and yet I think it is time to move on.
My favorite! Eggplant "meatballs." These little fried wonders are filled with eggplant, pecorino cheese, bread and spice. They are are savory and oh so good hot! The side to this is more eggplant with tomatoes.
For the next course we had fresh mozzarella di buffala with plain salted salad in balsamic.
For the dolce we had fruit. It wouldn't be a complete fall meal without the Kaki (persimmons) -take a look at this little slice --mmmm. Buon Appetito!
30 October 2007
There is a lot to see and do in this area including great shopping for presepe/creches, good luck charms, great pizza, good museums and a really good look into the chaotic streets that I have become immune to.
Adorable Friend was amazed by the amount of everything and I was amazed by the things she pointed out that I don't even notice anymore. I don't notice the laundry hanging from everywhere, the stay animals, the trash piles, the dodging of the scooters, the level of noise, the amazing fall sunlight and sky, the rich smells of the ragu cooking, the pungent fruit stands with melone, kaki (persimmons), melograno (pomegranate) and all the other fall fruits. So here are a few pics for you to enjoy the short tour full of saints and sinners.
It turns out that good Roquefort is moist not dry and crumbly like they sell in other countries. What a taste revelation! Spread some Roquefort on toast with toasted walnuts and you have a savory sandwich that will be begging to be eaten! While strong it isn't overwhelming (like blue cheese is).
Mmm... and the other cheeses..... well spread the love on some bread and I'm in nirvana! Such a lucky girl and even Little Man loves the cheeses!
28 October 2007
Sorry, it has been awhile since my last post. Things have been crazy around here. The two biggest things happening have been my BFF's (Best French Friend) visit and the news that we will be moving to a city that's burning down as I write! More on these two later...
For now take a look at this gorgeous plate of Scarpariello (pronounced around here as Shh-kar-PA-RRiell) and that is Anna running around the in the background (at the speed of light of course!).
For the next course we have Aurichio cheese and roasted peppers in olive oil. Buon appetito to your eyes! If you'd like to check out the bread that goes with this meal check out TableBread where I'm guest blogging while the baker is out.
17 October 2007
How about we have a little blog love fest? I have a few blogs on my blog roll* and would like to grow the list a little. So, if you have an interesting blog shoot me a comment and let's see if we can make a little room for each other.
*of which I would love love love a little reciprocity -per favore?
- makes the beds
- sweeps the floors 3 times
- washes the floor twice (the whole house)
- vacuums the floor (every chance she gets)
- dusts all items from the walls to the flowers
- washes all the windows and the shutters and the window sill
- cleans the stove top 3 times
- cleans up the sinks 10 times
- bathrooms get cleaned three times (top to
- bedrooms thrice as well
- cooks from scratch lunch and dinner (and any other snack her man child should want)
- cleans off all the glass top tables 4 times (at least)
- washes 3 loads of laundry then hangs it out to dry
- irons ALL laundry items (including the rags used to clean "so that they sit well folded in the drawer")
- goes grocery shopping (at the dry goods store, at the veggie man, at the butchers, at the fish mongers and at the cleaning supply store)
- picks up the children and drops them off at least 3 times
15 October 2007
This is my little "shout out" to the environment for Blog Action Day. I'm going to list some easy things YOU can do today and everyday:
- ride a bike or walk to do your errands
- use your pockets! don't use a disposable bag for just one or two store items
- go vegetarian! ok, hard core meat eaters just do one meal without meat
- turn off the water when you're soaping up in the shower
- eat local food (mmm)
- pick up just one extra piece of trash a day (yes even if it isn't yours)
- avoid white clothing (to avoid over use of chlorine)
What wonderful things are you doing to help our environment last? -leave me a comment!
[big thanks to Sognatrice and msadventuresinitaly for letting me know what day it is]
So what do quasi Neapolitans eat when they get home??PIZZA of course! It is tradition that we either eat pizza or pasta as soon as we get home because nowhere else in the world is it as good. My favorite kind is a simple Marinara with fresh rocket (arugula) on top. Just the wonderful tomato sauce, garlic and fresh olive oil --mmmm... Little Man and his father prefer the pizza ai quattro formaggi.
[sorry I would have taken a photo of the yummy pizzas but I was just too hungry to stand there and not eat it up]
08 October 2007
Like they say over here, "Si non non c'e pane non c'e cibo." [If there is no bread there is no food -aka a cupboard without bread is a cupboard without food]
07 October 2007
Hint #1 It is a special hideout
Hint #2 Here is a photo
Winner of this contest will get some Italian Chocolate Kisses (or if you are here in Italy then I will offer you your choice of U.S. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups or a bag of Tortilla Chips -yes, it is very hard to get these items here!). Residents of any other countries may get their choice (of course where legally allowable).
To enter leave me a comment with your winning answer and your email or way of contacting you. Good Luck!
*Sorry, this contest is not open to cheaters (friends and family that I've taken to this special place).