31 December 2007

Greetings from Moctezuma & clowdy paradise!

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

The Big Escape from Shitaly

So during this time of great silence from me you would NOT believe what has happened. In short order:
  • 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
So in short this move has been a nightmare. As mad as I am for all of the typical BS in the Italian Beaurocracy of getting out of here in the end I miss it. Since we left Italy we haven't had a good meal or a good night's sleep. I miss home.

12 December 2007

Italy on Strike

I know most of you have no idea that right now in Italy there is a MAJOR strike. Everything is on hold and there is no fuel to be found. The store shelves have run out of milk and bread over here -it is really getting crazy. Last night when I tried to find a gas station on the way to a friend's house they either had 4 city block lines of cars or were completely out of fuel.

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

Welcome to my house!

We are now beginning the house tour! First of all, please excuse the moving mess. It is really crazy over here now that we have less than a week left before the movers come. So each day I'll treat you to a different view in the house. Feel free to ask questions in the comments sections. Here we go!

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

What's for lunch in Napoli today

Cavolfiore e pasta! I say cavolfiore first because there was a lot more of that than pasta (you can tell pasta prices are up). Then the next course my Italian Anna prepared a locally caught trout in "acqua pazza" crazy water. 'What in the world is crazy water?' you may be asking well it is more than just water from the tap. It is water, garlic, a few small tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil and parsley. Pretty yummy stuff!

05 December 2007

Put your thinking cap on

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!]

Paris Apartment...the answer is...

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

I've been Meme'd in a Culinary Way

Thank you Lewis from Table Bread for meme'ing me. As he says, "it is the equivalent of a blogger chain letter or questionnaire" ment to let the reader know a little about you. So, I’ve answered all of the questions and I’ve realized that it is very personal and I didn’t think it would be. I’m a little shy about this but here it is...

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
3. Pancakes
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
2. coffee
3. Mexican mole (love working with chocolate)
4. lasagna
5. Moussaka

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:
1. Taramosalata
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.

So now I meme you! What do you think -what are some of your specialties??

03 December 2007

Famous Apartment Part III

Ok, these are the last photos of the fab apartment in Paris. Tomorrow I'll reveal the face of the owner. Enjoy -and keep the guesses coming!

The grand staircase to the apartment:

The bedroom of the owner:

One of the views from the apartment:

Franco-Italo time (with some Puerto Rican power)

I love the French "Star Academy" and they always have some good guests. Enjoy!

02 December 2007

What I'll miss about my Italian life

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) ;-)

Whose Fab Paris Apartment?

More pictures from a great apartment. You saw the dinning room earlier on this blog now I'll show you some more. Here's a hint: very famous French citizen that wasn't born on the mainland.
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

What I'll miss about my Italian life

The tomatoes here! There are no words to describe how good tomatoes are over here -the volcanic soil adds a taste that is pure heaven. Here is a photo of some "sun kissed" (slightly dried) tomatoes.

Evolution at Muji

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: