Saturday, January 14, 2017

Piaceri Invernali... Winter Pleasures...

No mater how happy I may be to start fresh in the New Year... there is always that little bit of wondering... what to do now.  Now,  during this time of not much going on.  We have had an amazing amount of rain,  which is fantastic,  but in between storms,  it feels a little  like springtime.  A little gardening is always in order and just a little crafting too... and always ,  cooking and baking.  I loved my little Christmas Wreaths on my mirrors so much that I decided to keep them,  but take the Christmas look away... so,  I ended up with little green wreaths,  with a  little bit  of purple,  as that is my color of choice this "winter" ( using that term lightly).  Sparkly Succulents in favorite tea cups add a little garden to my kitchen window.  Priscilla's favorite  Double Chocolate Bark turned into a tart,  a  Lovely Strawberry,  Mascarpone Tart with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle and a Buttery Cookie Crust,  and some adorable Teeny-Weenie sugar cookies... Focaccia,  a regular part of my cooking repertoire along with a Marinated Eggplant and Mozzarella Salad with a fresh Baguette...That should keep the winter doldrums away...

 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A New Year... Anno Nuovo...

Well,  the Holidays have come and gone... it was fun, yet busy.  Keeping traditions alive and maybe creating new ones.  Making memories ... and cookies and lots of other sweets and savories.  Just starting to put the decorations away and giving the house a less cluttered look. As happens to me every year at this time,  I'm thinking of Springtime... it will be here before I know it.  Even though we are having lots of rain and cold weather ( for us) I know that spring will be popping up soon,   and it will be fun to do some gardening.  Can't wait!



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dolci... Sweets...

Remembering Christmas seasons past... when Mom and Dad would spend a very long day at the restaurant making Cartellate for sharing with friends and family.  They got going early in the day ready to make tons of the very traditional treats ... it wouldn't have been Christmas without this tradition.  Anna and I decided a few years ago that the tradition,  which pretty much ended when Dad passed away,  should  continue.  We've only made them for three years,  and although we saw them being made for many years,  we are not quite as good at the process as Mom was.  Practice will make perfect,  if that is what we're after,  although simply making these lovely pastries,  and remembering Mom and Dad makes for a happy day,  and very special memories...





Sunday, December 11, 2016

Preparando Per Natale... Getting Ready For Christmas...

It's hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. I can't quite understand what makes the season seem so hectic,  we really try to keep the whole gift giving thing to a minimum so as to not take part in all of the craziness.   I am hoping that by getting the house decorated,  and gifts bought,  I will have more time to just enjoy the season, gather with family and friends,   and do some traditional holiday baking.


Monday, November 28, 2016

I Sapori D'Italia... The Flavors Of Italy...

It is so hard to let go of the vacation... Leaving behind family,  and friends after spending such great time together.  Keeping that feeling alive,  for me,  is best done by cooking and recreating those authentic Italian flavors.  Things really taste so good in Italy... different... The Mozzarella,  Burrata, Ricotta... the Tomatoes!!!  Too good.. We do have good products available to us here,   but,  it is not the same.  Driving along the winding country roads through vineyards and centuries old olive groves we saw dairies and  their animals grazing on the beautiful land giving the milk that makes those wonderful Latticini.  It inspires me to continue cooking the way we do and to always keep our culture alive and real.  Food is beautiful on it's own,  but embellishing is something I love to do... Using my Corzetti stamp to make pretty little pasta coins,  or pressing fresh herbs into a Pizza Rustica makes me happy.   On our day in Matera I learned about  the Timbri del Pane Di Matera.  Bread stamps from Matera.  Little works of art,   bearing the family initials  or other familial symbols,  which families would use to identify their bread loaf when they brought it to bake in the communal oven.  I fell in love with these stamps,  all made by hand,   in simple or elaborate designs,  carved from different types of wood.  Mine is the rooster which is so symbolic of Puglia,  and made from Walnut.  I have tried it just a few times so far... it will take (a lot ) of practice to really get the imprint  right on my loaves,  pressing hard enough to see the letters without deflating my loaf. The imprint is just barely visible on this loaf.  The artist who sold it to me said that it would take some practice to know exactly when to stamp my dough,  how hard etc... I will keep trying,  and whether  or not I can get it right,  it will always bring back memories of a great day in  Matera with Priscilla,  Nicola,   Chiara,  and Claudio.

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