Monday, June 30, 2008

Here are some sardines that I got from the fish man the other day. Here you cook them with bread crumbs,olive oil, pecorino, garlic, and parsley on top. ah the naps are ending. I'll seize a moment late.

Monday, June 23, 2008

not sure why these photos double posted but I am to scared to mess with photos right now with our super slow uploading time. I know everyone is sick of seeing pictures of my children and is probably dying for some cool stone houses or tuscan vineyards but my mom JUST got a computer (a mac--way to go mom!) and is really exited to see some pictures of the kids since I am a horrible daughter who never mails her any. That's Zita in the sling reliving her babyhood, incedentally. And the last one is the kids "fishing" on the first sunny day after the great deluge we had.

I am listening to Trio Medeiveal right now which is all I EVER listen to now (as well as the GREAT theme-song to Serenity) because all our old music is trapped on our dead compy and all that we have right now is what was on the ipod when compy died. Oh well it is making me sing more and at least I have a husband who plays the flute wonderfully.

Hoping to go for mushrooms again tomorrow. Angelica and I found some cool specimens up by the Campo Sportivo but they were none of them good to eat despite a few being bolete mushrooms. We actually found chanterelles but I was too stupid to pick them all since i was only bringing one home to identify. RRRRR.

In other news Berto's daughter has been giving me milk fresh from the cow and lives right in town which has been great. I have really been enjoying it. Not much other news other that we are hoping to all go to Florence this next week and I am so exited. I haven't been into the city since we got here and Ben found out that the best markets are on the third Sunday of the month. My sister's going to be away from her apartment for the weekend so we have a place to crash.

I also got to talk for a while with Don Lucca this morning who is the priest in the village. He is so young (thirty) and really energetic and great. I invited him up for dinner when Gwen comes so fun times ahead!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ah and to explain, that is Julia wearing her "buona cuoca" (good cook) hat. I thought it was fitting.

passa the pasta

All right, I know I promised some recipes. Let's talk sauces. I don't know about the rest of Italy but here there seem to be five main sauces, pesto, ragu (meat sauce) , pomodoro (tomatoe), funghi, bechamel. Once you master these you can make lots of great pasta sciuta (dry pasta as opposed to fresh) or what have ya. Of course there are some crazy sauces like sugo di cingiale (boar sauce) but as most of us don't have easy acsess to lots of fresh wild boar meat, we'll just save some things for local pride.

Now there are many varied ways to make a meat sauce. My dad once taught me an extremely complicated recipe that is quite good but as the mother of three small ones sometimes I can't spend the entire day on the meat sauce most of the time. (His is Bolognese style--but this one I learned is more simple and a bit more french. ) I think it is really neat for two reasons. First the vegetables are sautèd in butter instead of olive oil. And second, no herbs. None. You probably could give it a kick of fresh parsley but it stands just fine on its own. The trick is timing and as always fresh ingredients. Now I make no promises as I have only made meat sauce this way here and the flavors might be different with American beef.

Okay my saucy friend,

Take one carrot, one onion, and one stalk of celery. Chop very fine. (you can even grate the carrot)
Saute them in butter on low heat.
Then add, one pound ground beef and one pound ground pork. (you can use just beef if you can't find the ground pork)
Then when all the meat is brown add one cup of red wine. (bring up the flame a bit here) and let it all evaporate with the meat and vegetables. When it has all evaporated add about three fourths of a can of tomato paste and some broth (or water if you have no broth) and let her cook at a gentle simmer for about 45 minutes while the flavors blend and the sauce reduces. Make sure you salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta sciuta, sprinkling parmesean on top or use as the base for a great lasagne.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Well it is still raining here in Italy. We are going on about two months of straight rain here. Seriously it has been every day. I kid you not. I'm no climate expert but this is beyond weird. It just doesn't do this normally. Here are some indoor photos as that is where we hang out in between our quick hikes when it is not raining. I love this picture of the girls after their bath, clean for about five minutes. Oh and that's Ben's birthday cake which Angelica decorated with wildflowers.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Those are from various spring walks. There sure is no shortage of places to walk in Gravagna and I couldn't be happier. The mountains here are so beautiful, so mysterious, and they seem to never end. Most of the trees are chestnut and beech and pine here and there is practically a religion surrounding the chestnut trees. They are beautiful and many are very very old. The really old ones have these little stone walls around them built long ago when that was the main food supply around here and you feel like you can almost see the foletti or wood spirits hiding around them on a cool quiet day in the evening. They make wonderful little pancakes with the chesnut flour here, le fritelle, and you eat them with ricotta cheese.

Ben is in Florence for the weekend restocking painting supplies and my sister came up for the weekend with her various nordic friends. Mafalda and I took the girls up into the chestnut forrest and found some little spring porcini. They are not as dense and big as the fall varieties but they sure are cute. I found three and Angelica found one. I took a picture but I'll have to wait till Ben loads them up to show.

I took the girls to San Rocco this morning for mass and the women sang a beautiful hymn. I'm trying to remember all of it. It was so simple but so pretty.

Tu seì la luce, la nostra goia. Resta con noi Signor, resta con noi.
You are the light, our joy. Stay with us, Lord, stay with us.

Prettier in Italian.

Oh and Sherry I'll try to post a killer recipe soon. (congrats on number two!!!!!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Z gets a haircut

Arrivato il comupter, finalmente!

Olé, olé olé. I am trying to get used to the wacked out new keyboard on our new italian MAC which finally came today. It has all kinds of fun weird keys that American computers lack. Again I repeat, olé. Ciaò. How fun.

Well, as you can see right when the internet started to work the computer died so then we had internet but no computer which was a rather strange feeling, rather like having electricity but no light bulbs. In any event the most noteworthy event in my absence was Zìta sticking a rather large chunk of eraser up her nose which remained lodged there until Ben retrieved it with tweezers.

Otherwise it certainly has continued to rain alot. It has ceased to be funny and has turned to corner to tedious. So the sun is not shining in Tuscany this year and the presidential elections are dismal at best--but let there be cause for joy because at least the Hatke, excuse me, Hàtke computer is back (with accent marks!)