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.



My Egg Dilemma and an Italian Hoedown
June 27, 2010, 8:23 am
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Yesterday Amber and I woke up and started our normal routine of making eggs for breakfast.  I eat about 3 eggs for breakfast every morning and Amber eats 1-2.  Yesterday was special because after we had breakfast, Rita came in and started to collect all of the fresh eggs we collect from the chickens.  She then frantically asked us where all of the fresh eggs had gone and proceeded to ask us if we eat 9 eggs a day.  Amber told her no…only 6 lol.  Rita then freaked out and was like “I need 50 fresh eggs every week because I sell them to a client!”  Shit. We didn’t know.  And we had eaten roughly 40 fresh eggs over 1.5 weeks.  whoops.

She didn’t yell at us, she was just frustrated because she only had 22 eggs and she thought we were only eating 1 egg each per day.  But it really sucks for me because eating farm fresh eggs is one of the main reasons I was happy and excited to be living on a farm.  I was eager to stand behind a chicken, watching it pop out a super fresh egg, still warm even — and rush it to the kitchen to prepare my breakfast.  I mean, it doesn’t get more direct than that!  I LOVED being able to collect my own eggs and eat them right away.  It was the coolest thing ever.  Now, I’m not allowed to eat them at all and it really bums me out.  I can’t even bear the thought of collecting the eggs, knowing some other lucky chap gets to relish in the delight of a farm fresh egg and not me.  I died inside when I realized this fact.

Rita went to the store that day and bought about 5 dozen cheap eggs for us to eat.  I have no idea where in Italy they come from and I am not able to see them pop out of the chicken’s ass.  But I appreciate the thought of her buying them for us, to make sure we can continue to have eggs even though we can’t have the fresh ones.  But I’m still really bummed about the whole thing, and I’m trying to not think about it.

Later on in the evening we had to work in the restaurant for a group of Enrico’s friends who were coming to eat dinner and do line dancing outside!  They cleaned up the patio and set up hay bales and lights and a long table for people to eat.  Amber and I were super excited to watch Italians do American line dancing and we were eager to see what it would be like.

People started to shuffle in and they were all wearing cowboy boots and some form of plaid clothing and jeans.  They were decked out to the T in perfect cowboy attire.  That was freaking amazing.  Then we learned that the line dancing instructor was there and that she was from America — Missouri to be exact.  She was seriously the tallest person in the group, towering over everyone.  She was blond and thin and cute.  We didn’t talk to her at all but she did say a few things in English to let us know where she came from.  We saw that she had a ring on her finger so we were curious if she married an Italian or what brought her to Italy to teach line dancing.  I took some videos that I will be posting at a later time.  For now, here is a funny photo of the dancing — they really try to make line dancing sexier than it is, by shaking their hips a lot and kicking their legs up high. haha

I also tried my first Italian beer.  It was good but I’ll be sticking to Italian wine as much as I can.  Barb and Joe worked the grill all night, preparing some sausages that they made on the farm as well as hot dogs and pork chops.  The ventilator wasn’t working so well so Barb and Joe were sweating up a storm and their eyes were bloodshot from the smoke.  I felt bad for them!

The night as a whole made up for the shitty morning news of no more fresh eggs, so I guess the day balanced itself out.  The moon was full and creamy yellow, the music was hilarious country pop songs and the atmosphere was just perfect.  I kept going over to Amber, wrapping my arm around her and saying, “Can you believe this is our life? This moment right now?”  It really does amaze me, the things I am able to be a part of…



Italian Recipe #1: Pasta Freddo/Insalata di Pasta (Pasta Salad!)
June 26, 2010, 9:57 am
Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , ,

I thought it would be fun to share the recipes I’m getting from the farm with you guys, so here is the first one I’ve written down.  Italian food is great because it uses simple ingredients to create super flavorful meals, and most dishes are really easy to make!  This recipe is one that Barb made up on the spot, and in the last moment decided to throw shredded coconut in it.  BRILLIANT!

Pasta Freddo/Insalata di Pasta

Ingredients:

  • Bowtie Pasta
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chopped Fresh Mozarella
  • Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Shredded Coconut (to taste)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (drizzle over top)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper Spices (to taste)
  • Coriander Powder (to taste)

Ok, so basically you just gotta eyeball it like the Italians do. There were no measuring cups involved in this preparation, just hands and eyeballs.  So just mix all these things together and add the spices to your liking…

Obviously you need to prepare the pasta ahead of time and let it cool in the fridge.  Add a touch of EVOO to keep the noodles separated.

Serve cold and with a cute basil leaf on top!  Soooo yummy and so easy to make!



Italian Recipe #1: Pasta Freddo/Insalata di Pasta (Pasta Salad!)
June 26, 2010, 9:57 am
Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , ,

I thought it would be fun to share the recipes I’m getting from the farm with you guys, so here is the first one I’ve written down.  Italian food is great because it uses simple ingredients to create super flavorful meals, and most dishes are really easy to make!  This recipe is one that Barb made up on the spot, and in the last moment decided to throw shredded coconut in it.  BRILLIANT!

Pasta Freddo/Insalata di Pasta

Ingredients:

  • Bowtie Pasta
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chopped Fresh Mozarella
  • Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Shredded Coconut (to taste)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (drizzle over top)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper Spices (to taste)
  • Coriander Powder (to taste)

Ok, so basically you just gotta eyeball it like the Italians do. There were no measuring cups involved in this preparation, just hands and eyeballs.  So just mix all these things together and add the spices to your liking…

Obviously you need to prepare the pasta ahead of time and let it cool in the fridge.  Add a touch of EVOO to keep the noodles separated.

Serve cold and with a cute basil leaf on top!  Soooo yummy and so easy to make!