Monday, April 14, 2014

I Let my Ghostly Presence Take Over

I complain that every semester is harder, more demanding than the previous one.  But honestly this time around this is more than an empty whine.  I've not felt the energy or even the necessity to write in this space.  I've given it all to my classes, my animals, my friends, my family and F.

Today I write because I've been a little down or distracted and have tried to pretend that I wasn't, but today a sound and a smell made me happy.  I put on CK One, remember that, and then I put Beck's new album on the stereo and then the scents and sounds played tricks with me as I turned the white, bright laundry on the line outside in the sun.  A mood overtook me that I thought I'd lost, like I was 15 again with so much waiting out there for me.

To a happy spring and feeling fifteen!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Extra Virgin Liars

Yes, I've been M.I.A. for awhile, but I'll get to that in another post.

I want to share this very informative expose on "Italian" olive oil, especially for those of you who've adopted it into their daily routine and lifestyle.

Extra Virgin Liars

Monday, December 16, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Just Whistle while You Work...

That's what I have to tell myself when it feels like I have so much to do.  Do you think Disney was grooming young girls with messages like this?  I had the entire set of Disney songbooks when I was young and the melodies and lyrics of so many of these tunes pop up in my mind from time to time.

But whistling while you do any kind of work is not really bad advice, but Snow White was stuck cleaning for seven dirty dwarfs(dwarves if you are a Tolkien fan), so there's that.  My new dryer is humming and it's sweet music to say the least.  It has definitely made preparing for my Holiday visit home much easier.

This is the first Christmas I'll spend in Texas since F and I married on New Year's 2009.  We are very excited to spend time with Momma Texana and my family.  There's no doubt that there will be plenty of inappropriate laughter and I need that.  I've finished another Penn semester and need some time to let my brain get mushy and fat.  I have a new book to read that has nothing to do with a course and the pages are trembling me for me to pick them up.

I'll say Happy Holidays now since I will most likely be too frantic getting my gatti all set and Nina too this year for our time away.  I hate leaving my smelly critters.  They're so lovable, but they don't help me clean like all the forest animals do for Snow White. Perhaps I'll ask for that next year, cats that clean!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Five Years without a Dryer

I paid my dues and then some and I feel no guilt at all for giving in to this selfish creature comfort.  My family, Momma Texana and D, made me the happiest casalinga of all, you know a housewife.  Sure I study and hustle around three dirty little critters, but I do ALL THE LAUNDRY too.  And I've lamented this routine since we lived in the moldy grotto in the center of Rome.  Hanging wet garments, sweaters, socks and sheets to dry in the humid Roman winter is something of pure misery.  I adjusted and accepted this fate and I even procrastinated when upon Momma Texana's visit I denied her the immediate pleasure of installing a dryer. "I'll look at them" I told her.  Weeks turned into months and then the winter came, the sun left its position in my garden for the season and our laundry became my nemesis.  The monstrous pile looming in the corner, the sheets staying on the bed for longer than I ever allowed, reusing a sweater that smelled of firewood and jeans that had gone slack, this all became the norm.  And then I got online and researched and looked and compared and studies, and there it was.  "Mom?, I found it, a dryer, you were so right...does the offer still stand?"  She said very seriously "of course, get it there as soon as you can, and that's for Christmas."  Amazingly I will really excited to return home because I will have a washer AND a DRYER waiting for me.

The Taste Test

Italians aren't an easy bunch to impress with your culinary talents.  Most feel that all cuisine begins and ends wherever their mother or nonna came from, but sometimes you can surprise them.  I think that is what I achieved last Friday night with my Texas chili and sneaky butternut squash "pumpkin" pie.  I even pretended that there was no more chili remaining just so F and I would have enough for leftovers, our "chili hangover" tradition.  And the pie, well it made me very happy, spiced pumpkin-like flavored custard with a fresh pie pastry and dollop of vanilla kissed whipped cream was a taste that I'd been dreaming about for some time.  The pie was so good, my guest of honor, a Sicilian, could not believe what she was tasting came from a garden zucca!  The pie leftovers did however part with my guests that evening.  I still have another pastry in the freezer and I think a Dutch apple pie is in order.

This is not the recipe I followed exactly as sour cream is not always readily available, I have to trek across town to get it on most occasions, but the only thing lacking in the recipe I did follow was a better kick of spice.  Next time I will follow Lynn Rossetto Kasper's of the Splendid Table, it sounds mouthwatering.  butternut-pumpkin-pie

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Another Holiday Already, but the One with "Pumpkin" Pie

Thanksgiving in Italy doesn't really exist unless you're running with a gang of Americans and since I've left the physical university atmosphere, Americans have been hard to come by.  That's quite all right, I am in Italy after all.  I do like Thanksgiving though, not necessarily the American football, but I really like all the traditional and even new edible concoctions that family come up with and I miss the ridiculous brouhaha.  We eat all day long, the kids play football in the dry grass, we walk in the crisp air after the first feast to stave off sleep, and then in the evening we pick at leftovers and manage to leave enough to last us through the week.  We close the night with a scrabble match, with incoherent bickering, wine and laughter. 

Last year I hosted a kind of Thanksgiving, I made beef roast and I don't even recall what I made for dessert, I'm thinking it was brownies, but I really wanted to prepare a pumpkin pie.  This year I didn't quite have the energy or spirit to plan a celebration that only I get tickled over, I already had to cheerlead and beg for Halloween festivities and fake cobwebs, so I knew I couldn't rustle up much enthusiasm for another American holiday.  But....I had this huge, obscenely phallic, zucca (butternut squash) from my in-laws' garden and it was and massive, not one of those cute ones that resemble Russian nesting dolls, no this thing could be eaten over an entire week.  I had it decorating the house for about two months, I liked it nestled on an old wood chair, it became familiar...and then I found a recipe, and then many recipes about how butternut squash made a better "pumpkin" pie than real pumpkin.  I took that zucca off the chair and plopped it my chopping block, it was time big buddy.

Tomorrow night I'm making Texas chili, but the grand finale is my homemade "pumpkin" pie.  Once I taste it, I will reveal the recipe I followed.  In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

It looks good, but does it taste good?