Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Did It, a Favicon!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Drink Wine With Me

Name: DaCastello Barbera
Year: 2010 Spring Collection
Description:  At 4 euros a bottle this wine safe bet top take to a dinner party because no matter what you are cooking it's going to go with it. Why?, because it's a mild but lovely blank canvas easily paired with anything. Yes it will fade into the background but sometimes you don't want a strong wine with a kick and a bite to take over the meal, and when you want a wine that goes down light and easy, you will love this one. A table wine for the masses. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Door Series #57

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flea Market Find

  I was so thrilled to find this wood framed vintage wine advertisment at the flea market this weekend. It was covered in dust but I saw it's potential in my kitchen right away. I love how it has both red and white wine images!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Flavor of the Month: Sicilian Cannoli

  The flavor for the month of March at Grom is Sicilian Cannoli.

So like a cannoli (which means "little tubes" in Italian) the gelato starts with a sweet ricotta base with candied fruits and chocolate chips added. Then crumbled pieces of the fried connolo pastry are incorporated, which become soft in the gelato mix.
It was a fun and delightful new flavor to experience on it's own, but it didn't really taste like cannoli. I say try it if you like these flavors together but don't expect to be transported back to your favorite Sicilian pastery shop.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tram Tragedy

  Yesterday I watched a women being pulled out from under a tram in front of my house in Piazza Castello, Torino. I was out with my dog when several fire trucks and an ambulance sped by but then stopped right in front of us. This was such a change to what we are used to seeing in our usual celebratory piazza normally full of parades and consorts. A minute later the tram was blocked off, a crowd had gathered and 10 firemen were under the now parked tram, I realized that they were assessing the situation trying to figure out the best way to get a women out from underneath and get her into the ambulance. I don't know what happened, if she fell or was just trying to cross the street. When the men pulled her out she was unconscious. EMT's took her into the ambulance but they did not leave the scene for a long while so Im not sure of her injuries or fate.

View from my window of the tram and the blocked off area with the Italian police and CSI's, the woman is already in the ambulance.

The newspaper was only a little more helpful with just slightly more information than I already knew: Torino, donnatravolta da tram in piazza Castello
 I hope the paper or news follows up on this accident and I do hope that women is ok. I actually worry about this happening all of the time...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Tour of America at McItaly?

  What's new this month at McDonald's in Torino? The Chicago Burger! A burger topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, onions, and a fried onion and mayo sauce on a sesame seed bun. As always, I had to try it.

Nothing about this burger screams Chicago to me but perhaps they figure the Italians don't know that. My burger had waaaay to much sauce on it. That paired with the double cheese make it a little gloopy. And I really looked hard and could not find any trace of the fried onion straws that were susposta to there.
I won't be ordering this burger again mostly because the flavor wasn't there. McItaly is best when they stick to the local ingredients. The burgers with classic Italian ingredients like the Parmesan burger or the Mozerillo have been more successful flavor wise than the Chicago supreme or the 1955 Burger. Hay, McItaly!, how about a pesto mozzarella burger or a prosciutto pecrino burger...I would eat that!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's the Everyday Things that Make Being an Expat so....

  It's the little everyday things that make being an expat so challenging.....or rewarding depending on your view. This week I had to take my little powder blue Fiat Seicento into the shop to renew it's registration. In Italy you don't go to a mechanic. You go to the place where you just test all of your cars functions and if there is anything wrong then you have to leave, go to the mechanic, get it fixed and go back to the testing place. This was the second attempt to renew my registration. The first time I went they couldn't test my car or anyone's for that matter because there was some sort of strike in Rome!?? This time the strike was over so I watched threw the window as they poked and prodded my little car. 2 guys in jumpsuits, 15 minutes, and 75 euros later I was on my way but I was conscious of how worried I was about getting there and speaking Italian, possible union strikes happening, and solving any problems that arise, things that I wouldn't even think twice about in the U.S. As an expat it's those pesky little things...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Check this out: Know Your Pasta

There’s two kinds of people: Italians and people who want to be Italians.
Mario Batali, on The Chew

(Recent article found in The Guardian):
Pasta is the ultimate store-cupboard staple – a dash of olive oil, some parmesan, a few finely chopped anchovies and you have a delicious dinner. We make our pasta from scratch in my restaurants but I don't have time to make it at home, so I go for brands such as De Cecco or Barilla, whose pasta is bronze-extruded (which improves the texture).
Pasta comes in hundreds of different forms, but does it really matter which sauce is paired with which shape? It is mostly a matter of personal preference, but here is my advice on how to get the best out of some common – and a few less familiar – pasta shapes.
Spaghetti Always drain the pasta around 20 seconds before the end of the cooking time, because it continues to cook as it cools. Serve it with a hot sauce – clams, or garlic with chilli are both perfect. The one thing I would never serve with spaghetti is bolognese: I just don't think they go together. Spaghetti works better with olive oil-based sauces that coat it rather than drown it.
Linguine This is flatter than spaghetti, so absorbs more of the juice, and, like spaghetti, goes best with oil-based accompaniments. I also love it with prawns, fresh tomatoes and chilli.
Fettuccine I have seen good dry fettuccine on sale in both Waitrose and Carluccio's, but it is much better fresh. Just cook for a minute or two, until it rises to the surface. It is best with bolognese – or, as the Italians call it, ragú. I also like mine with a creamy sauce: reduce your cream, then add some cooked ham and peas.
Ditalini These tiny pasta shapes are a real favourite of mine. When I am feeling rough, I find that nothing helps quite as much as a handful of ditalini cooked with a stock cube for an easy, warming broth.
Farfalle This goes well with anything chunky. I usually serve it with vegetables such as peas, broad beans and mint; sautéed aubergine, tomato and a pinch of cumin; or roasted courgettes, garlic and a dash of cream.
Rigatoni I have always thought of rigatoni as manly, for some reason. I'd put it with a good, thick, meaty sauce.
Penne This classic shape is great with a tomato-based sauce, a meat sauce, or pesto.
Orecchiette This originates from southern Italy, where pasta is cooked without egg (using just olive oil, wheatflour and water), which makes it whiter. It is delicious served with tender-stem broccoli, garlic and some grated, dried ricotta, or in a cold pasta salad. Make sure you season your pasta salad with vinaigrette while it is still hot: if you do it when it is cold, it won't absorb as much flavour.

And on a side note....

 Italian Food by Shel Siverstein

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops–I think I split my jeani.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lucio Dalla

  Lucio Dalla, beloved Italian singer, died last week only 3 days before his 69th birthday. Dalla’s songs spanned over decades, creating the soundtrack for generations of Italians, who loved the diversity of his music, and the poetry of his lyrics. He was a very prolific songwriter, and his music showed influences of jazz, folk, pop, classical and opera. I was lucky enough to have seen him in concert last summer in Piazza Castello which I blogged about here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Little Place in Tuscany

 Now you can own a piece of movie history for only $9.5 million. The villa where the film version of Frances Mayes' 1996 book Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed is up for sale in Cortona, Tuscany. The home which is 6000 sq feet on 3 floors has 10 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms and includes an ancient Roman fountain, is currently owned by an American couple from California. Take a photography tour of the georgous property here.

The real villa from the book, Bramasole, is still owned by Frances Mayes which means she would be your neighbor.

       Villa from film:
                                                            Frances Mayes villa:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Drink This: The Spritz

  The hottest cocktail in Torino right now is the Spritz. It's defiantly not new, it's been around since 1950 but it's had a resurgence and has taken over aperitivo hour in the city. It's a bright orange flavored concoction that looks like it would be tangy like orange juice but really is a touch bitter making it a pleasing unisex grown-up cocktail.

A couple of months ago my good friend Jen (hi Jen!) took me for a birthday drink and we both ordered Spritz(s). When we sat down we realized that everyone else had ordered a spritz as well. The entire bar had neon orange drinks at every table. This is when I knew the Spritz had taken over our city.

 Still puzzled as to just what it is? Here is the description from the Aperol website: "The name says it all: Aperol is the perfect aperitif. Bright orange in color, it has a unique taste, thanks to the secret recipe, which has never been changed, with infusions of selected ingredients including bitter and sweet oranges and many other herbs and roots in perfect proportions. Aperol’s strength is in its low-alcohol content of only 11 percent."



3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash of soda or seltz
Ice, half a slice of orange.