Monday, October 30, 2006

Frutta e Verdura

After lunch today we took a walk to the garden. We came home with our bags full! We picked asparagus, chicory, potatoes, kiwi, mandarin oranges, fennel, parsley, and rosemary. The grapefruit, broccoli, and cauliflower are not ready yet.



Broccoli and red Cauliflower

Mandarin Oranges

Olivi Nero

The other day, in the garden, we collected the olives. I forgot my camera that day, but picture the scene from Under The Tuscan Sun when they were all out collecting their olives. There were people on tall ladders combing the branches, while the grapes fell to the material covered ground. Now, take everything that is Hollywood away and that is what it was like.

We are now letting the olives rest in salt until they are ready.

Happy Halloween!

It’s not a tradition here to get all dressed up and go door to door collecting treats, but I wanted to make a little something for my nieces and nephews. Candy treats wrapped in spooky outfits! I have noticed in store windows, however, more and more Halloween decorations.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


A perfect Sunday activity, chestnut picking on the mountain! The air was fresh, the sky was clear, and an abundant amount of chestnuts were waiting for us.

For as far as I could see, the land on the mountain was terraced with chestnut trees. Knowing that at one point in time, men built each wall rock by rock, and worked the land every day, made me really appreciate the labour and sacrifice the people of this land had. It was their life.

Una Passeggiare…

Fungi Risotto

Mushroom Risotto
We had a large package of dried Porcini Mushrooms, so it was a perfect time to make Risotto.
First soak the mushrooms in a pot of water to soften, and then bring to a boil.
In a pan, begin to sauté an onion in a small amount of water.
Once the onions are cooked down, add the softened mushrooms to the cooked onion pan and a portion of the reserved mushroom liquid.
Add the risotto to the pot. (100 grams per person)
• Have a boiling pot of vegetable broth on hand to add to the risotto when it cooks. Depending on the amount of risotto, you may need an extra 3-4 cups of liquid. Bullion cubs are fine.
• You will not need to add salt to the dish because the bullion cubs have enough. Taste to see if you prefer more.
When risotto is tender, mix in a tbsp of butter, turn off the heat, and let sit covered until you’re ready to eat.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Today we purchased stucco for lunch, dried cod fish, that had been soaking for days and ready to cook.
First cut the fish into pieces and rinse under water.
In a pan, cook an onion in a small amount of water.
Once the onion is cooked, add the fish, a potato and two tomatoes.
Have the heat on high, and once you see vapours coming out of the pan, turn the heat down to slowly cook the fish.
At the last moment add a few black olives for an extra flavour.
We serve the fish with it’s broth and cut up small pieces of hard bread. It’s delicious!

The terms "dried cod" and "stockfish" express two different ways to treat the same fish, the codfish. The sea waters off Norway, Iceland, the Baltic Sea and Newfoundland are extremely rich of this fish, because the sea waters in these lands are very cold and limpid. During the cold northern winters the fish is dumped on the shore and brought to drain for months on wooden hurdles at a temperature near to 0°C. The fish is then exposed to the cold atmosphere and the feeble sunrays of the Northern skies. As a result you get the "stockfish", whose name derives from the german word "stock", meaning a staff (or cane) which shape and hardness it resembles. In the summer, when the temperature is raised, this method, for obvious reasons due to the deterioration of the codfish flesh, cannot be practiced and the solution is in the salt + barrels method. Once the codfish has been caught, and got rid of its head, fins, tail and interiors already on the fishing boat, it is immediately put into barrels, and generously covered with salt, that guarantees its draining and a long preservation. This is the "dried cod"..

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Buon Compleanno Mamma!

For her birthday, everyone came over and enjoyed the pizzas we made. We used two bags of flour, 2 kilos, one envelope of yeast, and added water gradually while kneading the dough. We discovered the secret, and that was to let the dough sit for over three hours. The dough was perfect! Every one enjoyed the night and not a piece was left over…

Bellissima Giorno

I wanted to share a glimpse of what I see every morning, looking out my bedroom window.


I have to admit, I was a little grossed out with this one. But, after I regained my courage I was fine. To begin, you need to clean the little fish, which consists of removing the head and spine. Honestly, easier said than done!

Once clean, layer the fish in a pan.
Add parsley and parmesan cheese. I know what you thinking, “cheese with fish”? But, with this recipe, it’s ok.
Make another layer of fish and add a small amount of EVOOil.
Cook on the stove until the fish is white and tender. This doesn’t take long.

Ce Ci e Pepe

Chick Peas
Soak at lease a kilo of Chickpeas over night in water.
• When you buy them, you want them to be big and round.
Place fresh water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the beans.
To the pot add carrots, celery, and an onion.
Boil until the Chick Peas are tender.
• We used a pressure cooker, but any pot will work.
When garnishing the plate, add cut up pieces of hard bread and drizzle with Extra virgin olive oil.

Cooked Peppers
We had a lot of small peppers on hand, so instead of roasting them, we sautéed them in a pan.
This is very simple, first cook the onion in a small amount of water.
Once cooked, add sliced peppers.
Once the peppers are cooked, serve with salt and EVOoil.

"I milinciani cini" (le melanzane ripiene)

Stuffed Eggplant
In a pan with little water, steam 8-10 small eggplants.
Once cooked (very mushy), cut in half, scoop out the center, and save the skins.
Meanwhile, cook an onion in a pan with a small amount of water.
• Water is a healthier alternative to Oil.
Add sausage to the onions and cook.
We then added a hard boiled egg, but you can add a fresh egg.
• This is a recipe to use up items in your fridge, add what you like.
Turn off the heat: Add a small amount of oil, bread crumbs, ham, cheese, and basil.
Then fill the skins with the mixture and cook in the oven.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Un Giorno alla Campagna

A day at the Garden
We could not have asked for a prettier day! Sunday we gathered Cauliceddi, and it was everywhere. I know what I’ll be having tonight for dinner! In every direction there was something for the eyes to see. There were fig trees, olive, peach, orange, and a beautiful view of the sea. The fig tree is still making fruit, and nothing is sweeter than eating right from the tree.


A friend brought these cornetti to us. I have never seen them so big! In the summer when coming back home, around two or three in the morning, the one place open was the bread maker. He always had warm cornetti filled with cream, chocolate, white chocolate, nutella, and marmalade waiting for his hungry passer-by’s. And yes, the store was always packed!


On Saturday night we decided to take a walk in Taormina, a town perched high in the clouds. This place is always alive, and the one location where I can hear English being spoken! Five star hotels, and restaurants galore around every corner. Every store you can imagine in nestled tightly into the tiny street. I just love to window shop and stroll under the blooming balconies. I have a lot of memories here…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Involtini Carne

We let the butcher know that we’re making involtini for lunch, so he cuts the meat nice and thin.

Gather together the came ingredients as you would if you were making Carne Maginata: bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley. In addition add ham and soft cheese.
Sprinkle the mixture on the meat and layer ham and cheese over the meat. Carefully roll the meat and cut into pieces.
Place the pieces on a baking sheet and bake in the oven.

Rolled meat