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Foodie Adventures

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Rustico Toscano on a Plate

As the years pass me by (ever so quickly) I’m often times reminded more and more about the beauty that there is to be found in “The Simplicity of things”.

Yes gone are the days of clutter and collection of stuff that was crowding my life with stress and chaos. For the last three years I have made an ernest effort to purge my life of all the excess stuff that was weighing me down. This new way of approaching a more simple life has gradually crept into my style of cooking.

It all began with my trip to Italy a year and a half ago. I spent a whole month eating my way through the cities of Parma, Florence, Como, Genoa, Garessio, Venice and Tuscany. What stood out most to me is how simple many these exquisite dishes where prepared. The most glorious meals that contained no more than 5 or 6 simple ingredients. The secret was that all of the ingredients where fresh or artisanal made.

I began to appreciate the fact that “Less is More”. What I appreciated most , was many of the dishes that I was able to taste and enjoy in the region of Toscano. Once I returned home I was eager to focus on that very fresh and simple approach to meals I would be preparing at home.

So you may wonder who could one turn to for true authentic Rustic Tuscan guidance in the Kitchen? Well my friends that’s easy it comes in the form a very true Tuscan Farmer and Cook by the name of Gabriele Corcos.

Gabriele and his adorable wife Debi Mazer are the hosts of the Cooking Channels amazing show Extra Virgin. Let me tell you this is true Rustic Tuscan Cooking at it’s best! I became a fan back in 2009 when they had a little podcast called “Under The Tuscan Gun”. Each week I would eagerly plug in earphones to my ipod and for a few hours each week I would educate myself on the cooking world of all things “Tuscan”. I was an instant fan and I was hooked.

This past March I was fortunate enough to score a reservation a tasting of a very memorable Tuscan dinner prepared by Gabriele while promoting his Porchetta Tour in Los Angeles. The event was held at the ever fabulous Mauro Cafe. Here is a peek at the menu that was served that night.

 

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So let me share with you a basic Tuscan Meal 101

The Menu is as follows:

Seared Hanger Stake with Almond Sage Pesto

White Bean /Pancetta Bruschetta

Sautéed Zucchini

Sautéed Lacinato Kale & Garlic

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Seared Flat-Iron Steak with Almond-Sage Pesto
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • PESTO:
  • 1 cup raw almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • ¾ cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • STEAK:
  • Four 6-ounce flat-iron steaks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. For the pesto: To the bowl of a food processor, add the almonds, olive oil, parsley, sage, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and pepper flakes. Process until smooth.
  2. For the steak: Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan and, when it shimmers, add the steaks. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove to plates and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Top the steaks with a dollop of pesto and serve.
  4. ***Cook's Note: Remaining pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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“Tuscans have historically been called bean eaters, because they have often clung to staples that lasts longer, like dried beans. In Tuscan culture, nothing gets tossed out. Tuscan’s have been known to eat beans every day of the week if they need to and if it means more indulging in the round, buttery feel of Cannellini beans when they’re soft and lightly mashed, count us as being leaders, too. We love these beans, especially with rosemary and olive oil. – Gabriele Corcos

 

White Bean & Pancetta Bruschetta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • ¼ pound pancetta, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Baguette, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat fireplace to a medium heat. Adjust grill racks over the flame and heat a heavy dutch oven over the rack. Alternatively, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the oil to heat. Add pancetta and render some of its fat. Add rosemary and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Stir in beans, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mash the beans with the back of the wooden spoon. Don’t mash them all smooth- you want some texture.
  4. Toast sliced baguette. Serve the beans on top of the toasted bread. Drizzle with Olive oil, if desired.

Zucchini Trifolati: Sauteed Zucchini
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 6 small zucchini (very young zucchini with few seeds) sliced in half moons
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Once hot add onions and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and sauté while stirring until they are golden and soft, about 8-10 minutes more. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sauteed Kale & Garlic
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Rustic Tuscan
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Gabriele Corcos as seen on Cooking Channels Extra Virgin, season 3.
Gabriele Corcos as seen on Cooking Channels Extra Virgin, season 3.

 

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McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream

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I should start this write up by telling you that several years ago I was able to make a pilgrimage to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury , Vermont. It was fun and I got to taste lot of great ice cream during my visit. However nothing, I mean Nothing could match the Ice Cream that I had at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream.

The ice cream itself is different. I was once told that good quality ice cream doesn’t melt fast, and that is what I used as a base to measure ice cream quality. The ice cream didn’t melt quickly , the taste was spot on to what I think the flavors I choose should be. Super creamy ice cream that screams quality ingredients. I had the turkish coffee……. I left me speechless. Yes this place could easily leave one possessed and #addicted.

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They offer some of the most unique flavors imaginable. Here is an example:

Black Coffee Chip

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Churros Con Leche

Dark Chocolate Paso Brittle

Double Peanut Butter Chip

Dutchman’s Chocolate

Eureka Lemon & Marionberries

Golden State Vanilla

Island Coconut

Mint Chip

Peppermint Stick

Roadside Raspberry

Salted Caramel Chip

Sweet Cream

Toasted Coconut Almond Chip

Turkish Coffee

Vanilla Bean

 

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McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

728 State St

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Finch & Fork

With food in mind let me share with you one of the first eateries we experienced on our Cali Coast Road Trip – This took place in lovely Santa Barbara. Where our first family meal together took place at the Finch & Fork.

Many of the ingredients used to create their menu are local, homegrown and handmade. A lovely little restaurant with touches of rustic elegance.

  • Some of the plates we ate:

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  • Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings: chili caramel,pickled celery

 

 

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  •  Fennel Sausage Flatbread: roasted fennel, caramelized onions, ricotta salata

 

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  • Baby Back Pork Ribs: local grits, cipollini onion, mushroom, citrus, mustard glaze

 

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  • Baked Macaroni & Cheese Skillet: aged cheddar, bacon, breadcrumbs

 

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  • Burger and Hand Crafted French Fries

 

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  • P.S. Best deviled eggs of a gourmet kind I’ve ever had. The white is marinated in beet juice so it’s pink and the salmon is terrific.

 

 Hungry yet? Yes every last one of these plates got us all off to a very good start.

Finch & Fork

31 W Carrillo St

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 879-9100

Bouchon- My Favorite Restaurant on Planet Earth.

So here is the story of how the world of Bouchon came into my life.

I have always been a huge fan of Thomas Keller – as you may have read in the past here on the blog. I consider him to be one of my “Food Heros”. Chef Thomas Keller has changed the way that Americans think about fine food, and not since Julia Child has a single chef altered the landscape of dining in the United States. Many people will be surprised to learn that Thomas Keller has no formal culinary training. Instead, he learned to cook by doing, and after years of working hard in commercial kitchens, his career finally took off.

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As of today I have never had the opportunity to dine at his ever famous restaurant The French Laundry located in Yountville, California. Rumor has it that it, that it can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months to get a reservation. I have even heard a few crazy stories that there have been those who had to wait up to one year before they where able to dine here. Anyhow despite all of these “rumors” I have confidence that one day I will make it there and sit at one of those glorious tables and feast with Mr. Hubs.

In the meantime I have had the opportunity to eat at Thomas Keller’s other eating establishment Bouchon. With locations in Yountville, Las Vegas and Beverly Hills I’ve had the privilege to try two of the three locations (Las Vegas & Beverly Hiils). I can say with pure unfiltered honesty that “This is my favorite Restaurant on the Planet Earth” Why ? Well because to me every bite I’ve ever had here is pure “Perfection” that and because Bouchon serves French Bistro styled food customarily found in Europe .

The food served here is informal with minimalist elements.

Translation – “My Kind of Eating”

 

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  • The wait staff there is very knowledgeable about the food and the cooking process and you get five star service.

 

  • This place is a dream for foodies. Seriously, if you are a foodie and you don’t go here you are missing out.

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Bouchon’s Croque Madame can launch a million happy taste buds. No really there is not one that I have tasted here in the states that comes as close to Paris than this one. This is also my niece Kara’s favorite as well.

 

  • Here is a sampling of some of my favorite plates served here

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  •  Beignets du Jour
  • Bouchon Bakery spiced doughnuts & house-made jam

 

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  • Grand Plateau
  • 1 lobster, 16 oysters, 4 shrimp,
  • 8 clams, 10 mussels, seasonal crab, special selection

 

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  • Pommes Frites
  • French fries

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  • Heirloom Tomatoes with Burrata

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  • Steak Frites
  • pan-seared 9oz. flat iron, caramelized shallots & maître d’hôtel butter,
  • served with French fries

 

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anthology-mag-blog-foodanddrink-bouchon-1b Always a favorite! Baked Pasteries…….

The chocolate croissant…it’s “Cross your eyes amazing! The croissant is super buttery and flaky. It also has dark chocolate as the filling so it wasn’t overly sweet. It’s was basically the perfect chocolate croissant.

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  • My “Brat Kara Girl” – yes she ordered a Coca Cola with her Breakfast! It doesn’t matter I still love her…….

 

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Yountville – 6534 WASHINGTON STREET | YOUNTVILLE, CA 94599 | 707.944.8037

Beverly Hills – 235 NORTH CANON DRIVE | BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90210 | 310.271.9910

Las Vegas-  THE VENETIAN | 3355 LAS VEGAS BOULEVARD | LAS VEGAS, NV 89109 | 702.414.6200

www.bouchonbistro.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Shakes – Palm Springs

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 Gourmet Shakes & Malts

This past Friday night my foodie pal (Mr. Brodie) and I where heading out to get him a Chocolate Malt for dessert. Just cruising along Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs we stumbled upon the most amazing place that was just too good to keep to ourselves.

It simply happened with a small turn to my left when I spotted this adorable Aqua Retro looking little Shake Shop. It’s called Great Shakes and let me tell you it should be called Amazing Change Your Life Shakes.

This is carefully crafted ice cream at it’s best. Made from scratch at a local dairy you can taste all the fresh ingredients starting from the very first bite. Their sauces Carmel, Fudge and Butterscotch are all homemade! They also make their own whipped cream and marshmallows. The best part, each shake is garnished with an adorable homemade mini donut. How much more cuter could a shake get?

 

  •  Lord Help Me!! It was a very difficult task to pick a flavor………….

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  •  So here was the final verdict for me  – Carmel Coffee Creme

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This was the Most Memorable and Delish shake I’ve ever tasted in my life! I think I will never be the same, to call it fabulous would be such an understatement.

 

  • Mr. Brodie’s choice- Lemon Lavender with Toasted Marshmallows.

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Here is a sample of some of the flavors they serve up:

  • Brown Sugar Graham
  • Date Walnut
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Lemon Carmel
  • Oreo Mint
  • S’more
  • Strawberry Malt
  • White Chocolate Cherry
  • Pistachio
  • Cakeshake
  • Butter Pecan
  • Butterscotch Orange Cream
  • Brown Sugar Graham
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Peanut Butter & Banana

Other treats that are offered is a very large assortment of “Retro Candy”, Fresh Baked Cookies, Homemade Brownies and Artisan Marshmallows.

 

Great Shakes

160 S. Palm Canyon Drive

Palm Springs, Ca 92261

www.greatshakesps.com

 

 

 

Lil Dom’s

 

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  • Charming – Unique – Delish

Little Dom’s is one of my favorite places to eat in Los Feliz. They put out quality Italian fare from pasta to pizzas to seasonal dishes. The food is great and the lunch menu is affordable. The main reason I go to Little Dom’s is the cute interiors and great sidewalk seating. On a pleasant LA afternoon, nothing is nicer than having a leisurely meal outside. The waiters and waitresses are friendly and never try to rush you.
If you are going to have dinner at Little Dom’s, make sure to reserve a table in the back room. It’s classic old Hollywood atmosphere is wonderful.

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I recommend you start with the rice balls.They are moist and just wonderful dipped in marinara. Other yummy “Must Haves”:

  • Tuscan Kale Salad
  • Pizza (A must) their crust is the thinnest I’ve seen in LA. I usually order mine with Arugula , Prosciutto and Parmesan Shavings.
  • Wood Oven Roasted Littleneck Clams w/Garlic Oregano Butter & Grilled Ciabatta
  • The Grilled Artichoke
  • Affogato -vanilla gelato and a shot of espresso.

 

  • The “Amazeballs” Rice Balls

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  • The Thinnest Pizza Crust in L.A.

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  • The Grilled Artichoke

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  •  He’s not on the menu – But He’s makes an excellent date – The Hubs

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  •  The Charming Lil Bar

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  •  My Favorite Cocktail made here – Moscow Mule

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Lil Dom’s

2128 Hillhurst Ave

Los Angeles, Ca

Reservations- 323.661.0055

www.lildoms.com

 

I Married An Irish Man….

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My hubs Damon is a born California boy, but his family roots are of Irish decent. A very outgoing man that from day one has always had the “gift of the gab” (My very own Chatty Cathy) – Yes theres never a dull moment. Over the years we have traveled back to Ireland a number of times and it’s has become a very special place to the both of us.

On a recent visit trip back to Dublin I was amazed to find that this city is bursting with new eateries that has produced many new “foodies” looking for the next best eat. There is so much more to Dublin “Food Wise” than Fish and Chips, Potato Leak Soup and Soda Bread. I was able to visit the new food hall at the Guinness factory that offers an array of unique eats all made with Guinness Beer! Here are some of the delicious sights and tastes that they had over there.

 

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  • I wanted to steal this sign for my kitchen 

 

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  • My Jameson Whiskey Infused Hot Chocolate 

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  • Irish Wit & Humor

So let me let you in on something the Irish are very funny, caring, passionate, tenacious, hospitable and kind people you will ever want to meet. Some of my most gut wrenching laughs happened after hearing some of these hilarious sayings – they are so true to life in Ireland. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

 

Irish Diplomacy…

Is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip.

The Mouse on the Barroom Floor

Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor

when the pub was shut for the night.

Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse

and stood in the pale moonlight.

He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor,

then back on his haunches he sat.

And all night long you could hear him roar,

‘Bring on the goddam cat!’

An Irishman’s Philosophy

In life, there are only two things to worry about—

Either you are well or you are sick.

If you are well, there is nothing to worry about,

But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about—
Either you will get well or you will die.
If you get well, there is nothing to worry about,

But if you die, there are only two things to worry about—
Either you will go to heaven or hell.
If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.

And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends
You won’t have time to worry!

 

  The Way We Tell a Story

(Pat McCarty 1851-1931)

Says I to him, I says, says I,

Says I to him, I says,

The thing, says I, I says to him,

Is just, says I, this ways.

I hev’, says I, a gret respeck

For you and for your breed,

And onything I could, I says,

I’d do, I wud indeed.

I don’t know any man, I says,

I’d do it for, says I,

As fast, I says, as for yoursel’,

That’s tellin’ ye no lie.

There’s nought, says I, I wudn’t do

To plase your feyther’s son,

But this, I says, ye see, says I,

I says, it can’t be done.

 

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What Shall I Say About the Irish?

The utterly impractical, never predictable,

Sometimes irascible, quite inexplicable, Irish.Strange blend of shyness,

pride and conceit,

And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.

He’s spoiling and ready to argue and fight,

Yet the smile of a child

fills his soul with delight.

His eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,

Yet his strength is the strongest

to banish your fears.

His hate is as fierce as his devotion is grand,

And there is no middle ground

on which he will stand.

He’s wild and he’s gentle,

he’s good and he’s bad.

He’s proud and he’s humble,

he’s happy and sad.

He’s in love with the ocean,

the earth and the skies,

He’s enamoured with beauty wherever it lies.

He’s victor and victim, a star and a clod,

But mostly he’s Irish—

in love with his God.

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The Irish…

Be they kings, or poets, or farmers,

They’re a people of great worth,

They keep company with the angels,

And bring a bit of heaven here to earth

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Fall Equals – Comfort Food

Aw Fall….. The season I long for most. After the long hot days of summer have passed, I wait patiently with the countdown to of turning off my AC and opening up all the windows in my house and feeling that first crisp glorious breeze that spells- Autumn

Along with this joy of embracing this new season is the excitement of all the scents that I welcome back into my kitchen – Cinnamon, Clove, Allspice, Baked Apple, Pumpkin Bread, Chicken Pot Pie, Beef Stew, Hot Chocolate …………. Oh the list can go on and on. But tonight I will begin with a stew…..Not Just any stew…….A stew that comes from one of my most beloved countries -The Emerald Isle (Ireland).

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Guinness Beef Stew
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Bottle GUINNESS® Foreign Extra Stout
  • 1 LB stewing diced beef
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 1 large carrot - diced
  • 1 large celery - diced
  • 1 large parsnip - diced
  • 1 Litre of thick beef stock
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
Instructions
  1. Stir fry the beef, add the vegetables and cook till tender, then pour the GUINNESS®
  2. and reduce by half. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer very slowly for between an hour and an hour and a half. Serve with the champ potato and honey roast carrot and parsnip.
  3. Tip – This stew is always better made one day in advance!

 

 

 

 

 

There’s No Place Like Home

  • Closing Thoughts

I feel once again “Changed” by this whole experience of being away from home these last few weeks. Over and over again I was reminded that I come from a land of “excess” and “big” living and that some of the greatest joys in life can come to you when you open your mind and your heart to the ways other people in different corners of the earth live. I have been reminded that the “Simple” things in life are the best! Be it sitting at a table sharing a cup of coffee with someone , taking a hike alone on a trail and feeling the gentle crisp breeze of Fall surround you, Opening up a bottle of wine and laughing hard with friends until late into the night or being in the kitchen with your beloved and cooking something you both will enjoy together. This is true living, sharing, eating, laughing, exploring, learning and loving one another.

I am so grateful for all the special people that I met and became friends with along the way. Julia, Trudie, Tino, John and Cathlyn in Garessio. Robbie (Roberto) and Angelo in Lago Di Como. Then there’s my dear brother and close family friend of my heart, our Special Jacob in Dublin. Jacob you have truly enhanced my life for the better. You have taught me many lessons and I hope one day I can repay you with all the love you have so generously given to me and Damon.

  •  The Food

Dear Pasta, Cheese, Vino , Gelato, Olives, Torrone, Antipasti and Chocolate of Italia. You delighted my taste buds and filled my soul with delight. As I have said earlier through conversations with many different Italians about the food of their country or through the studies of Italian Cuisine through my classes my final conclusion is that “I learned that I still have a lot the learn”. But then again I never want to stop learning , I never want to stop tasting not just in cooking but also in life.

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  •  My Very 1st Pizza made in at the Academy of Food & Wine in Florence

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  • I guess my new last name is “Blewer” either way I was happy to complete the course on Pizza and Gelato.

 

  • The Plates I Ate

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  • A Conversation with my BFF Yoli

Where would us girls be without the solid and lasting friendships we have with our girlfriends. There is so much we “get” with each other. We tend to be attentive good  listeners, we can tell each other flat out “Girl you are sweating the small stuff too much” or “Hey you need to take better care of yourself”. Any which way you look at it we are grateful loving beings that are always there for each other. I am blessed over and over to have this kind of friendship with my dear Yoli. During our last night spent in Venice we sat in the kitchen and had a great discussion on travel and what it does for you. How you are forced out of your little box of the world that you live in and are forced to look at the world from a different perspective even its for a day, a week or a month. She shared this very moving and valuable piece written by Rick Steve’s a european travel expert. It was too true and precious to keep to myself so it is now that I would like to share it with you.

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  Back Door Travel Philosophy

“ From Rick Steves Europe Through the back door”

 Travel is intensified living- maximum thrills per minute and one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is freedom. It’s recess, and we need it. Connecting with people carbonates your experience. Give culture the benefit of your open mind. See things as different , But not better or worse. Any culture has plenty to share.

Travel can make you a happier person, as well as a citizen of the world. Our earth is home to some seven billion equally precious people. It’s humbling to travel and find that other people don’t have the “American Dream”- They have there own dreams. Europeans like us , but with all due respect, they wouldn’t trade passports.

Thoughtful travel engages us with the world. In tough economic times, it reminds us what is truly important by broadening our perspectives , travel teaches us new ways  to measure quality of life. Globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity, helping us understand and appreciate other cultures. Rather than fear diversity on this planet, celebrate it. Among your most prized souvenirs will be the strands of different cultures you choose to knit into your own character. The world is a cultural yarn shop, and Back Door travelers are weaving the ultimate tapestry! Join in!

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Reflecting on these past four weeks of travel and food adventure it all comes down to one thing ,“There is no place like home” and I am so happy to be back with my canine cuties (Bailey, Sasha and Copper) and to my family.

xo……Mis

 

Slow Living – Slow Food – Slow Wine – Garessio

 

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The time came to move out of the fast pace city of Firenze and into the little quiet town of Garessio. This sweet little town is a comune in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piemonte, located about 100 km south of Turin and about 40 km southeast of Cuneo. Two things where very special about this next city (1) For the very first time in a year I would be forced to slow way down and just wake up with the questions “What shall I do today”? “What shall I make in my little adorable kitchen”?  (2) I would be reunited with the Hubs after being apart for one week. He too had a long journey to get here but when Yoli and I met him at the Genova airport we journeyed out in our little car into the hills of the Piemonte region.

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  •  The Reunion with My Hubs- Mr. D – My Main Squeeze

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My first thoughts about this quaint Italian village was “Mama” I wish my mama was here with me walking these small little streets filled with sounds of little italian children playing outdoors, dogs barking on the corner, clothes being hung out to dry on makeshift clotheslines. A place where everyone knows the butcher who owns the family Salumeria, where streams flow through the middle of town. Mama has always gravitated to the dream of one day living in a little cottage in the mountains (Think Thomas Kinkade pictures). Well mama this place came very close (Italian Version that is).

When we pulled into town we where met by Ms. Julia, a very sweet and well traveled American who came to Garessio to live four years ago. This town in so quaint and sweet. To call it “Charming” is just a plain understatement. Julia Invited us to her place for some wine tasting with her friend Trudie (who was in town visiting from New Zealand) Trudie is also a lover of travel and food she is the author of the book “Secrets of a Sauce Queen”

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Then there was the handyman , cook and good family friend Tino (who has lived in this village his whole life. Tino had true and natural talents in making vino and homemade preserves from scratch.

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We all gathered around Julia’s table and ate lovely hazelnuts, cheese, fresh olives , bread and of course Wine.

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  •  Yoli and I started the week off by making breakfast. Here’s what was on the menu. It’s our “Simple Garessio Breakfast”

 

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  •  Toast – Fried Egg – Prosciutto – Drizzled with pepper infused Olive oil
  • A few pieces of fresh Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
  • Sliced Fresh Peaches
  • A little little sweet ending of something chocolate

On this morning there was no need for a huge 3 egg- sausage – mega cheese stuffed omelete with a side of hash browns topped with a stack of buttered toast. Just these beautiful fresh items and a cup of coffee. Again “Simple” but very delish!

Other delightful food finds in Garessio was fresh Oregano that Trudie picked on her afternoon hike. She also brought some fresh tomatoes and cheese with her. This is the little number we made with her findings:

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After only a couple of days I started to be reminded that “Simple is best”. I quickly settled into my adorable little kitchen and started to cook fresh vegetables.

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There where days filled with hikes and so much exploring. Like the day the Damon was able to get up to the top of this gorgeous bell tower that overlooks the city.

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Something tells me I will be back one day. Yoli said it best “You can feel your pulse slowing down now” Yes she’s right. During our week here I was reminded time and time again how loving our creator is to give us such beauty to take in and marvel at. One things for sure the next time I journey back here I will have “Mama” with me.

Love you Mama…. I miss you and Papa lots…….I will be home soon

xxoo………Mis