Friday, June 27, 2008

Love Thursday: Love on the Rocks (a day late!)

I haven't been able to "blog surf" much lately, but I did read Bleeding Espresso's cute Love Blog from yesterday and had to laugh.  Yesterday afternoon Luigi & I were able to play a little hooky and went for an early evening swim, and I found this rock...

I am saving it for my Dad. My parents have a little fountain in their courtyard and my dad is always collecting rocks for it. I'll be giving it to him on our next visit to California in the fall.

So, I guess I had a Love Thursday as well!

On another note, last weekend marked our "inaugural" beach day at Palmaria Island.  It was fantastic to finally soak up some rays, to swim in the warm Mediterranean and have beautiful Portovenere to gaze at.  Can't wait for the repeat visit this Sunday...BUONA ESTATE!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Return of a Good Friend...

My pal, Diana, has finally re-entered into the blog world after a 6 month hiatus and finishing up a major renovation for her B&B.  

Check out her blog at

And book a room (if there are any dates left!) at her fabulous place in the heart of Piemonte:

Welcome back Di!

Lulu at Di's in March

Friday, June 13, 2008


I love beans.  Beans of all kinds: long, broad, brown, green, even lentils, you name it.  This recipe (a derivative off something my MIL makes) works for any type of bean your gastronomic heart desires:
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion (preferably from Tropea, but Maui's work as well)
  • 3 springs of fresh rosemary
  • 500 grams of your favorite beans, rinsed* (cannellini, borloti and lentils are my faves)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste**
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • chili pepper flakes
Start by mincing the garlic, onion and rosemary together like this:

Then add to a pan with some olive oil, salt and chili peppers to taste, and saute for about 2 minutes until the onions appear translucent.  

Add the beans and a tablespoon or so of water till the beans seem covered.  Let smmer a few moments and then add the tomato paste.  Stir until the beans are well coated.  Let simmer another minute or so.  

Now you have a hearty, delicious side dish for your lunch or dinner.


*If you really want to go through the tiring exercise of soaking fresh beans overnight, be my guest, but good quality canned beans work just as well and don't take some much time.  For those of you living in Italy, IPERCOOP has a great & tasty selection of their name brand beans.)
**You can use real tomatoes mashed up, but the beans tend to be more runny.  The paste keeps the consistency and just the right amount of "pomodoro" flavor.

Monday, June 09, 2008

One from the Land this Time...

I am definitely a sea-faring kind of person.  I grew up on the beach.  And I basically traded one beach (Laguna) for another when moving to Italy.  I eat lots of fish, and I mean lots (remember husband's in the fish business).  But there is a very special dish here in Liguria that I absolutely love...and it has nothing to do with the sea or fish for that matter.  It's a hearty, belly filling delight called Panigacci, which comes from Lunigiana, the valley extending inland along the border between Liguria and Tuscany.  It was believed to have been the food of the nomads as early as the Roman Empire.  

Balls of dough are laid in a small, terra cotta dish known as “testine” and stacked one on top of the other in order to flatten the dough. Then they are placed over hot coals (or in a piazza oven) and what emerges is flat, firm, almost pita looking bread. Panigacci is usually served with stracchino cheese (similar to cream cheese), pesto or nut sauce and cold cuts and of course some local red wine!

If you are ever in or around Southern Liguria, I highly recommend a trip up to Podenzana, the little village where Panigacci is served in abundance at many "panigaccerie" or even in Aulla at my personal favorite, Da Pasquino (and where these photos were taken).  E fantastico!