Saturday, February 26, 2011

PhotoHunt; Almost Black

Facebook fans have already seen this photo but it's suitable for this week's theme too. Taken very early morning on the cold first of the year in Boston. It's actually shot from my car on Commonwealth Avenue for those of you who know Boston.

Happy weekend!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

PhotoHunt: Silhouette

Maybe *pushing* the definition of silhouette here. This sculpture caught my eye during one of my trips to the Italian Riviera towns.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update: The Monster of Florence

While I felt bogged down at times under the mountainous facts, dates, and names in this case, and, at times, the horrendous crimes made me squirm, the subplots woven into the one, still unsolved, murder mystery case held my curiosity. Not only was this a factual account of the gruesome murders of 7-9 (depending on whose theories you uphold) innocent people/couples, it sheds some light on the culture of the Italians when dealing with wrongdoings and the question of innocence and guilt. It also provides a glimpse into a legal system different from the US. Not to be overshadowed by these facts, the role of a journalist to write about sensitive matters and to criticize officials without fear of reprisals is central to this book.

It was a thought-provoking read.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How Italian are you?

I lack the creativity to come up with this but took it from this month's Food Network magazine. Thought it might be fun being most of us claim to be Italian aficionados.....

Photos go along with No. 15.

NO PEEKING -- ANSWERS and scoring at the end of this posting.

1. Match the city or region to its famous dishes:
Cities/Region: Sicily, Naples, Rome, Bologna, Milan
Dishes: Spaghetti alla Carbonara, panettone, cannoli, pizza margherita, lasagna

2. When you drink cappuccio? A) Any time of day B) Only before Noon C) After dessert.

3. Name the following drinks: A) a cup that consists of 1/4 foam, 1/2 steamed milk, 1/4 espresso; B) a cup that consists of 1/3 foam, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 espresso; C) a cup that consists of 3/4 hot water and 1/4 espresso.

4. Tuscan bread is typically made without: A) yeast B) salt C) sugar.

5. Semolina is a type of ...... used in pasta making. A) Round cutte, B) Flour C) Salt D) Rolling Pin

6. Which treat is not deep fried? A) Torrone B) Zeppole C) Frittelle D) Cannoli

7. How do you pronouce these words:
Gnocchi A)"knock-ee" or B) "nyoh-kee"
Reggiano A) "reh-JYAH-noh" or B) "rej-ee-AHN-no"
Ricotta a) "ree-KAH-tuh" pr B) "REE-koh-tah"

8. Match the dish to its literal translation: Calzone, Ciabatta, Manicotti, Cappellacci; slipper, trouser, hats, sleeves

9. Put these meal stages in chronological order:
Secondo, Antipasto, Digestivo, Primo, Formaggio e frutta, dolce, apertivo, caffe

10. Place these noodles in order, thinnest to widest: A) Pappardelle B) Spaghetti, C) Linguine D) Fettuccine

11) Which of these meats does not come from a pig? A) Proscuitto B) Bresaola C) Capicola D) Mortadella

12) Pasta alle Vongole comes topped with: A) eggplant B) clams C) artichokes D) egg

13) Match the cheese to the animal: Pecorino Romano, Caprino, Asiago; A)Goat B) Cow C) Sheep

14) Which of these do you have in your kitchen right now? (Here's where you can rack up the points!) Fresh parmesan, fresh garlic, pizza stone, ravioli stamp, mezzaluna, expresso maker, panini press.

15. Name the Italian pastry in the photos:

16. What color pasta is in a traditional lasagna bolognese: A) Yellow, B) Black C) Green.

True or False:

17. By Italian law, parmesan cheese must age at least 12 months before it can be sold.

18. Olive oil, like wine, gets better as it ages.

19. Small gnocchi are called gnocchetti.

20. In addition to pasta, the term "al dente" can refer to the firmness of beans, rice and vegetables.

[Strangely (!), I did exceptionally well on items 5, 6 and 14~]

1. One point for each correct answer: Milan-Panettone, Rome-Spaghetti alla carbonara, Naples-Pizza Margherita; Sicily-Cannoli.

2. B 1 point. Italians don't typically drink milky coffee drinks after noon because they believe milk interferes with digestion.

3. 1 point for each correct answer: A) Caffe Latte, B) Cappuccino and C) Caffe Americano.

4. B 1 point. Tuscan meats and cheeses are highly salted, so the bread is not.

5. B 1 point.

6. A 1 point. Torrone is nougat made from whipped egg whites, honey, vanilla ad walnuts or almonds.

7. 1 point for each correct answer: Gnocchi is B) "NYOH-kee"; Reggiano is A)"reh-JYAH-noh"; and Ricotta is B) "REE-koh-tah"

8. 1 point for each correct answer: Calzone is B) Trouser; Ciabatta is A) Slipper; Manicotti is D) Sleeves; and Cappellacci is C) Hats.

9. Give yourself 3 points if you got the entire order correct; 2 if you missed just one, 0 if you missed more than one. Aperitivo, Antipasto, Primo, Secondo, Formaggio e frutta, Dolce, Caffe, Digestivo.

10. Give yourself 1 point if you got the order correct: B) Spagetti, C) Linguine, D) Fettuccine and A) Papparadelle.

11. B 1 point. Brasaola is air-dried salted beef.

12. B 1 point.

13. 1 point for each correct answer: Pecorino Romano - C) Sheep; Caprino - A) Goat; Asiago - B) Cow.

14. Give yourself 1 point for each tool or ingredient you have on hand.

15. 1 point for each correct answer: Tricolore, Struffoli, Biscotti, Sfogliatelle.

16. C 1 point.

17.-20. True of False?
17. T
18. F
19. T
20. T

Tally your points:

0 -14 points-Italian in Training
15-29 points - Italian at Heart
20-44 points Full-blooded Italian

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Masaccio and Monsters, oh my!

I have been focusing my reading mainly on historical fiction this past year. My last read was hereabout Venice.

Historical fiction coincidentally illuminates interestingly provocative historical facts sometimes gleaned over or omitted in the guide books and history books. This is partly my interest in this type of genre. As an example, I have learned an interesting Florentine saying: "The nail that sticks out gets hammered back in." It's an enormously prophetic adage, wouldn't you say?

I am almost finished reading The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston, coauthored with retired homicide detective Mario Spezi. The book cover features the Rape of the Sabines by Giovanni da Bologna which is displayed in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence. This is what drew me to the book - along with my interest and the fact that the book might uncover local folklore or urban culture regarding Florence. It's actually an account of an investigation covering the years 1951 to 2008 which chronicles the murders and mutilations of unsuspecting romantic couples and suicide and vengeance. Along the way there are snippets of local color and history which embellishes this story. That is if one can embellish the cold, hard garish facts of the case this book brings forth.

Preston draws the analogy of the statues featured on the Piazza della Signoria as one example of Florence being a city of contrasts in what he terms the 'sublime and terrible'. In another example, he cites Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance and as the instigator of ferocious massacres and bloody wars. I don't mean to say that Preston is anti-Florence. In fact, he moved there and immersed himself and his family in its culture, history and current events.

WIthout becoming too intimidated by the abundance of facts, dates, names and events throughout the book, I am finding it quite interesting. Wondering if anyone who has read this book has a review to offer?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

PhotoHunt: Education

Most of you know I am involved in the higher education field. This is a snapshot of one of the many Gothic buildings on the Boston College campus.The infamous football, basketball chant: We are BC! Boston College Eagles, that is. And, here are a few of our illustrious alums at one of the home football games.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

PhotoHunt; Fashion

I checked and rechecked this week's theme:o) Leather, of course, is a key fashion ingredient in Florence!

Although, I can't help to include this fashion statement. Ty was very proud of these rubba slippas because he paid less than $1 for them and they lasted him over 10 years. Sadly (for him), they have met their demise!