Autumn’s Adventures


Italian Recipe #2: Basic Pesto and Mint/Arugula Pesto
July 8, 2010, 4:47 am
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Oh my dear lord pesto pesto pesto!  Here I will list 2 variations of the wonderful stuff, both family recipes from this farm.

Basic Pesto

Ingredients:

  • Pecorino (sheep) cheese, aged medium – 50-80 grams
  • Parmesan cheese – 50-80 grams
  • Fresh garlic – 3-4 cloves
  • Salt – big pinch
  • Basil – medium sized mixing bowl of fresh leaves (LOTS OF LEAVES)
  • Parsley – a sprig of leaves (about 30-50 stems)
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 3-4 tablespoons
  • Butter – 125 grams (roughly)
  • Walnuts/Pecans – 130 grams
  • Black pepper – big pinch

Mint/Arugula Pesto

Instead of basil and parsley, substitute mint or arugula (don’t put both in the same recipe — it is competing flavors!)

Instead of parmesan you can substitute one quart of ricotta cheese.

Instructions:

mix all together in a blender.  Add cream if the taste is too strong.

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Gardaland Water Park
July 8, 2010, 4:47 am
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On our first day off this week, it was going to be 90 degrees.  We decided to find a source of cool water to dip our bodies into, but one with a little more excitement than the pool we lounged at the week before.  We set our mind on a water park outside of Milan and we hoped for the best.

It took us 2.5 hours, 1 train, 1 metro, and one bus before we made it to the water park, but in the end it was totally worth it.  There were so many awesome slides and pools and since it was a Monday, not many people were in the park so it wasn’t crowded.  Amber and I were like kids in a candy store, trying every slide and splashing around in the water!  There was a giant bucket that filled up and poured water all over everyone, and there was even a mushroom fountain.  I just LOVED every second of it.  And of course I rocked my American flag bikini.

It was a relaxing day and exactly what we needed on such a hot day.  On our way back home, the train from Milan to Varese was delayed, so we ended up sitting on the train for 1.5 hours before it left, and then it took another hour to arrive.  Since it was late, we missed the last bus to the house and had to get picked up in center.  We got home around 10pm, exhausted and starving and just wanting our beds.  It was still awesome though!



Gardaland Water Park
July 8, 2010, 4:47 am
Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , ,

On our first day off this week, it was going to be 90 degrees.  We decided to find a source of cool water to dip our bodies into, but one with a little more excitement than the pool we lounged at the week before.  We set our mind on a water park outside of Milan and we hoped for the best.

It took us 2.5 hours, 1 train, 1 metro, and one bus before we made it to the water park, but in the end it was totally worth it.  There were so many awesome slides and pools and since it was a Monday, not many people were in the park so it wasn’t crowded.  Amber and I were like kids in a candy store, trying every slide and splashing around in the water!  There was a giant bucket that filled up and poured water all over everyone, and there was even a mushroom fountain.  I just LOVED every second of it.  And of course I rocked my American flag bikini.

It was a relaxing day and exactly what we needed on such a hot day.  On our way back home, the train from Milan to Varese was delayed, so we ended up sitting on the train for 1.5 hours before it left, and then it took another hour to arrive.  Since it was late, we missed the last bus to the house and had to get picked up in center.  We got home around 10pm, exhausted and starving and just wanting our beds.  It was still awesome though!



Lake Como and Bellagio
July 6, 2010, 8:44 am
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We finally made it to Lake Como and Bellagio, and although it was stunningly beautiful, it was pretty much the same as Lake Maggiore, in terms of the wow factor.  I was kind of disappointed because I expected it to be like walking on the moon or something, but it was no different than the lake or lake towns we had seen the previous week.  It makes me wonder why Bellagio was chosen over Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore…since I really didn’t see much of a difference.  Luck, maybe?

Regardless, Amber and I still had an awesome time taking the ferry to Bellagio (2 hours long) and then eating gelato and walking the hilly cobblestone streets.  The weather was perfect and it is just so nice to be on a lake in the summer.

The villas on the lake were stunning and the landscaping for some of them were truly impressive.  In Bellagio, Amber and I were window shopping and trying on straw hats that were awesome but way too expensive for being made out of straw.

In the city of Como we took the cable car to Brunate for a hard to find view of the city of Como below.  Once we found it though, it was kind of nice.  After, we had our first Italian pizza from a restaurant and it was delicious.



Loungin’ by the Pool
July 1, 2010, 6:05 am
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Amber and I had a half day off today and we decided that we wanted to go swimming since it was 80 degrees outside.  Barb helped us find a pool, which ended up being at a private sports club, and then she drove us there instead of making us hike up the driveway and take 2 buses to get there.

The pool cost 9 euros for the day and we arrived at around noon, so half the day was already wasted!  There were actually 2 pools, just square and simple but really clean looking.  When we arrived we saw a young couple there that we had seen on the bus a few days earlier.  We recognized them because they were sitting across from us on the bus, making out and fondling each other…and we noticed them also because he looked much older than her and she looked about 12 years old.  Well anyway, they were there, all over each other again but this time with much less clothing on…and we were like HOLY HELL VARESE IS SMALL.  They awkwardly stared at us on and off while we were there, mostly because they recognized us and partially because the girl kept being shy about her affection with her boyfriend and thought we were watching them (which we were, buy very covertly…haha).

I was very excited to be wearing my new American flag bikini.  I was hoping for some reactions, good or bad, but I really got none for it.  I’m in LOVE with this bikini on so many levels, and I don’t care what people think of me (be it my friends in America who are embarrassed for me, or anyone else!)  So far, the foreign people I’ve told about my bathing suit, and shown, have thought it to be awesome.  Point proven that patriotism can be cool and I’m totally going to rock it.

So the pool is cold and the only way we could manage to fully immerse ourselves was to jump in — so we did.  The water was wonderful and the pool was incredibly clean, which we noted with fascination.  I started to do hand stands and diving, soaking my hair in the water and letting it float around like octopus legs.  Everyone at the sports club knew each other because they were all members.  Amber and I were the only ones wearing stupid wristbands…standing out like the foreigners that we are (and my bikini, ahem…).  They were staring at us swimming and we couldn’t figure out if they were envious of our youth and mobility (since most of them were old) or if they didn’t like what we were doing.  After about 10 minutes, the young couple followed suit and jumped into the pool, doing as we did.  After a while this old woman said to us “shower cap” and showed us her shower cap for her hair.” We replied “no thank you!” and kept diving under the water.  When we got sick of swimming we got out of the pool, rinsed our bodies off at the outside shower, and go tan for a hot second.  It was bliss.

During our second round of swimming, someone who worked at the club came over to us after we had done our normal “jump in” routine and politely informed us that we needed to rinse off our dirty bodies before getting into the pool and to also wear a shower cap to ensure that hair does not fall out and float in the pool.  Whoops!  We are such grungy Americans that we didn’t even realize these 2 things — no wonder the pool was sparkly clean! No wonder people were glaring at us and the only ones to swim like us were the rebellious teenagers!  No wonder all of the old people were wearing shower caps and showering before they got in the pool! We just thought they were strange.  After this news we were a bit embarrassed and a bit bummed that we couldn’t keep diving unless we wore a stupid swim cap.  We had been there for a good 3 hours so we just decided to rinse off and leave.

But all in all we had a wonderful time swimming and soaking up the sun.  It was awesomeeeeeee.