Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Most of you know that come 7 o’clock, a cocktail is what I’m thinking about. Sometimes a perfect martini will do, sipped while I make dinner. But while on vacation, or up in Todi, the cocktails usually come with the perfect garnish: a view. One definitely improves the other.
And while I live in Rome, and often take the city for granted, I realize that most of world comes here for vacation. And so are probably expecting views with their Negronis.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Lately, in my "summer is
During the winter, in the mornings, I usually swing between oatmeal/cereal or eggs.
In other words, I'm pretty American when it comes to my first meal of the day.
Domenico, however, is pure Italian. There’s nothing he likes better than a handful of cookies he can dip into his caffelatte while he reads the paper. Yes. Italians eat cookies for breakfast. While in the States you have entire supermarket aisles dedicated to cereal, in Italy you can walk down breakfast cookie lane.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
You are all aware of my affinity for non-recipes. You know, the whole smoke-and-mirrors thing that makes it seem like you are putting a lot of effort into something, when really, it’s mostly just a bit of chopping and a hefty dose of styling?
Well, here we go again.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Remember when I couldn’t stop talking about/eating/photographing artichokes? Gorgeous vegetables in season will do that to a girl. Fried, stewed, roasted...it was all about the artichoke.
Lately my lens/stomach/thoughts have turned to zucchini. Zucchini this and zucchini that. But I realized that I’ve never written about the zucchini dish I make and eat most often: fried zucchini blossoms.
It’s hard to avoid them this time of year in the market. And in my garden too, they are all over the place. Beautiful, bright yellow and orange flowers, ready to be taken into the kitchen and fried.
Because even if there are other delicious ways to eat them (see Melissa’s cheesy version here) in Rome they get deep fried. Every time.
Monday, July 23, 2012
There are a lot of reasons that Gillian and I are friends. Although we originally met through Twitter, we are now neighbors in Rome and of course proximity breeds friendship. And while we share common interests like food, travel and teenage offspring, our friendship is based on something much deeper.
Yes, I’m talking about cocktails.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
If our first beach day in Positano was all about ease and comfort, our second beach day was a bit more adventurous. Gillian kept saying we were going to the ‘hippy’ beach. When I tried to pin her down about what made it ‘hippy’ all she could come up with was the fact that is wasn’t like the fancy hotel-run beaches like San Pietro. And that the main reason to head to this beach was for the restaurant.
Sounded good to me.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
If daytime in Positano is all about the beach, sunset is all about the passagiata. Be forewarned: a Positano passagiata is all about the steps. Up and down, and round about, this is no easy leisurely stroll. Positano is located in a ravine that snakes its way to the sea, with the houses and shops stacked one on top of each other and connected by tiny alleys and steep staircases.
But that’s actually ok with me. Because I think it sort of balances out the beach experience. Since the beaches are small and pebbly, you don’t end up taking long walks during the day. So come night time, when things cool down, I actually looked forward to a bit of a work out while poking in and out of shops on our way to dinner. (Coach G. are you happy now? It's not all cocktails and lounging)
But of course dinner is the point of this blog post.
Monday, July 16, 2012
As promised, today I start my posts about last week's trip to Positano. This was not my first trip to the Amalfi coast. I’d been there about 10 years ago with Oldways, and had a glorious time. But since it was off season, (there was rain) and I with a busload of colleagues, it wasn’t the idyllic beach getaway I’d always imagined.
Last year Domenico and I managed a weekend at a completely over-the-top fabulous house he had worked on in Ravello. This was definitely the upscale, jet set image I had of this part of the world. But still...no beach. We stayed ‘up at the villa’ (which was pretty great), but never even got our toes wet.
So this time, as I headed to Positano, I knew beaching it was my first priority. I’d never been to Positano before (oddly, many of my friends in Italy haven’t either) but Gillian, who had invited us, had been many times before. And she promised to lead us to some of her favorite spots.
Friday, July 13, 2012
I had the extraordinary good fortune to spend three days in Positano this week. My friend Gillian had rented an adorable apartment. Not only did it come equipped with a huge terrace with an breath taking view out over the coast, but (more importantly) there was an extra bedroom for guests. The apartment actually belongs to our friend Diana, but it was Gillian's for two luxurious weeks.
Thank you Gillian, inviting me over to play.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
See that beautiful photograph below of my vegetable garden in the morning sun. Notice all those perfect lettuces in the foreground? Well, go a little closer. All is not as it seems.
A lot of those gorgeous patches of green are not lettuce at all. Or any other kind of green we planted. Those would be weeds.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Since we have a home in Umbria, I get a lot of questions from people asking about restaurants in the area. The problem is, we don’t go out much once we settle in. In the winter we have the fire going, and in the summer there’s the pool. Just hard to get up the energy to get in the car and head out.
But last weekend Domenico and I decided to stay for one extra night. We usually head back on Sundays, but last Sunday - what with the big game and all - we decided we just couldn’t face the possible chaos in Rome if Italy won the European cup. (we needn't have worried)
Since we were half in a city mind set already though, we actually felt like heading into the Umbrian version of civilization. That would be Todi, which is about a 10 minute drive from our house.
Monday, July 9, 2012
While I love having a vegetable garden, I admit it’s a lot of work. The planting and the watering of course. But it’s all worth it in the end, when you harvest that first zucchini of the summer.
Then there’s the dark side of having a vegetable garden. I call it vegetable guilt. Or glut. Take your pick. Having so much that it’s hard to keep up in the kitchen. And as everyone who has ever planted a garden knows, the zucchini get out of control real fast.
I always think I’m going to learn from past years, and plant only two or three zucchini plants. But each year it’s the same thing, and before I know it we are taking care of the enchanted zucchini forest.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
When I tell people I lead Italian Cocktail Workshops they think I’m making it up. “Right. You and Domenico head up to the terrace, have a Negroni or two, and call it a workshop. Nice.”
I mean, yes, we do often (too often?) head up to the terrace for a Negroni (or martini, or whiskey sour or gimlet). But the cocktail workshops really are work. I swear.
But I’ve always been a big believer that work should be fun. And that learning should be fun too. I’ve tried to combine both of those personal mottoes in my life, and am happy to spread the wealth.
So, with that in mind, I started leading Food Workshops. And while folks can kind of get their mind around a olive oil, balsamic vinegar or even grappa tasting/workshop, cocktails usually throws them for a loop.
Posted by Elizabeth Minchilli at 7:26 AM
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
It’s that time of the year again. It’s hot hot hot in Rome. While I may not enjoy the high temps so much, there are other things that the warm weather brings out that I do enjoy.
This is the time of year when temporary restaurants start popping up along the river and in the parks. I can’t wait to get myself over the Festa dell’Unita, near the Baths of Caracalla. But my favorite location by far is always along the banks the Tiber Island.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Being a default photo stylist for the last 15 years has been a great advantage when it comes to lazy time ‘cooking.’ I am proud to say that I can take almost any ingredient, cut it, garnish it and plop it on a pretty plate and make it look like I’ve spent a lot more time than I did preparing it. Yes. I aim to impress.
Sometimes this slight of hand is just that, and the food tastes exactly as it would have if I had left well enough alone.
Other times though, the whole styling process results in an entirely new dish that surprises even me.
Posted by Elizabeth Minchilli at 5:48 AM