April 11, 2015

change conquers

A great reminder, clear the static, "Change Conquers" ! 
Love my new mug by Wordologies.

ciao! fabiana

April 8, 2015

book review : eating rome

I just finished reading one of my favorite new books, Eating Rome by Elizabeth Minchilli.  I am absolutely in love with all the recipes in this book. Elizabeth shares the most typical and essential Roman cuisine and food culture with her readers. 

Recipes like Carciofi alla Romana (Roman artichokes), Umberto’s Funghi Porcini (porcini mushrooms), and Insalata di Riso (rice salad), which are all staples in the Roman culture. 

Her words and photos transport you right to the streets of Rome where one can imagine the hearing the lyrical language and city noises emanating from its core.

 All the insight that Elizabeth gives on places to see 
and visit in Rome are given from a perspective that 
only a long-time  resident could share.  

Elizabeth is a well-known American-born author and blogger who loves to share her everyday life in Rome with the rest of the world. She has lived all of her adult life in Italy and married an Italian with whom she raised two daughters in Rome. 

One thing to remember, when in Rome, it's important to do as the Romans do!  No kidding around! 

Elizabeth explains the proper way to order coffee in an Italian bar, tells us about the unspoken rules to follow while shopping in Rome and when, where and how to eat as to not offend the locals. 

She shares with us the authentic culture of each meal, shopping, drinking coffee, different pastas and even how to feed your dog!  

It’s an exclusive peek into everyday life in Rome.  Food is a way of life for Italians, and Elizabeth explains in detail all the facets of everyday living and eating in Rome. 

Great photos and anecdotes really make this book come to life.  

Here's one of the yummy recipes....


6 large artichokes
Zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 large untreated lemon
3 tablespoons and 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 small onion, chopped
1 and 1/4 teaspoons sale, plus more as needed
1/2 cup water, plus more as needed
2 cups fresh shelled peas
1 big bunch fresh mint (about 1 and 1/2 cups mint leaves)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 to 1/3 cup grated mild pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1 pound (500 grams) strascinati pasta, or pasta of your choice
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the artichokes by removing the outer tough leaves and the sharp tips. Cut away any bright green bits until you get to the soft heart. Slice thinly and put in a bowl of water to which you’ve added about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and cook until the onion has softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Drain the artichoke slices and add to the pan, stir, and add about 1/2 cup of water. Simmer until softened, but not browned, adding a bit more water if needed. When the artichokes are almost done, add the peas, and cook until tender.  Taste and adjust with more salt if needed, but remember the pesto will also add flavor.

Put the mint, garlic, almonds, lemon zest, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small food processor and puree until smooth. (You may have to add a bit of olive oil to make it blend.) Then add all of the 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is well chopped and combined. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and add the grated cheese. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, check the artichoke mixture and reheat if it has gotten cold. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and toss with the artichoke mixture. If the pesto seems very thick, add a ladleful of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out a bit, and then add to the pasta, tossing to mix it well. At this point, you can also add a bit more of the reserved cooking water to loosen things up and make it a bit creamier if desired. Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper.

ciao! fabiana

photos courtesy of Elizabeth Minchilli

April 7, 2015

fun new vintage items for my table

Last week was a good week for finding a few little treasures.  I found a set of nice cowrie shell napkin rings on ebay (there are lots on ebay!) I love how they remind me of leopard print! These will come in handy for future table settings.  I also found a set of silver plated fork and knife napkin rings. They were kind of cute, and a great price, so I couldn’t pass them up! The yellow napkins were found at World Market and the dog napkins were from Crate & Barrel.

Cowrie shells have such pretty patterns. 
Did you know that cowrie shells are used as money 
in certain parts of Asia and Africa?  
Well they were a bargain here in the U.S.! 

I also found a vintage set of bamboo cutlery on Ebay.
These will be so much fun for summer entertaining!
{striped tea towel found at World Market}

I hadn’t been to my favorite neighborhood thrift store in a while, so I was happy that I picked the first Thursday of the month to visit.  The whole store was 50 percent off! 

I found a couple of black and white plates to add to my collection.  I'm thinking of creating an outdoor, black and white plate collage. The plate on top is a famous Russian monument, I found out via google.

This lovely Asian brass bell was only a couple of dollars,
and it polished up beautifully!  

Where do you think it's from?

ciao! fabiana

April 6, 2015

herb basics

Healthy herbs have been prized since ancient times, and today, we're starting to realize that they help to purify our body, mind, and soul.  Herbs contain unique anti-oxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and other nutrients, which help our body fight germs and toxins.   They boost the immune system.  Start by adding fresh herbs in small amounts while preparing recipes. They actually, provide flavor rather than substance to the food we eat.  Chopped, fresh herb leaves can impart richness and can enhance the flavor and taste of vegetables, chicken, fish and meat dishes, as well as soups, salads and almost anything you create in the kitchen!  Tell me what is your favorite herb?

ciao! fabiana


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