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.



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
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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!