Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marinated Carrot Sticks

There are a few items we make and serve on the tours that people go absolutely nuts over, which amuses us quite a bit because everything we do is fairly simple and easy to replicate at home. We're flattered, sincerely, that people like our cooking, but the amusing part is that people seem to think we're like top chefs or something. :)

The marinated carrots get gobbled up and people are always asking for the recipe. So here is how to make them (From Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking):

  • 1/4 pound carrots
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
1. Peel the carrots, cut them into 2-inch lengths, and cook them in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. The exact cooking time will vary depending on the thickness, youth, and freshness of the carrots. For this recipe, they must be cooked until tender, but firm because the marinade will soften them further. To cook them uniformly, put the thickest pieces into the water a few moments before the thin, tapered ones.
2. Drain and cut the carrots lengthwise into sticks about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a small, but deep serving dish.
3. Mash the garlic clove with a heavy knife handle, crushing it just enough to split it and to loosen the skin, which you will remove and discard. Bury the peeled clove among the carrot sticks. Add the oregano, salt, a few grindings of pepper, the red wine vinegar, and just enough olive oil to cover the carrots.
4. If serving them the same day, allow the carrots to steep in their marinade for at least 3 hours at room temperature. If making them for another day, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until 2 hours before serving, allowing them to come to room temperature before bringing to the table. If keeping for longer than a day, remove the garlic after 24 hours.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Jack-of-all-trades, master of none frittatas.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Word of the Week

This week’s word is slightly more advanced, in that it’s not just Italian, it’s dialect.

It means ‘sea glass’. It’s also the name of one of our favorite cafes/bars. Up until recently we flailed horribly at trying to pronounce this word. With some tutoring from my step-father, we finally got it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Word of the Week

Last week's was lavastoviglie, which means 'dishwasher'. A word you'd assume one should come to know pretty quickly, but it's a toughie and hard to wrap your mouth around. Carrie and I learned this one last week when trying to buy dishwasher soap tablets at the market and I made a point to remember it.

So, Word of the Week is born.

This week, it is stuzzicadenti, which means 'toothpick'. Another common one, yet difficult to remember and to say. I think we've mastered it!

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I'm in a really weird space, quite an odd, transitional period in my life. I don't really know who I am anymore. I mean, I sort of know.. I know what I believe in, what I stand for, that sort of thing, but I have no idea who I've become or what my place is in the world.

In a way, I feel like a ghost. I float through life, going through the motions, but a shadow of myself. I have no idea what people think of me, how I come across, where I'm going, what my place in the world is. I feel almost like I don't exist. If I didn't have interactions with people, I would think I wasn't really here at all.

I feel void, empty, not me, not anyone. I don't like this feeling. Generally, I've been feeling kind of down on myself. I feel like I'm not myself. I don't even get the kind of reaction from other people that I'm used to. It makes me wonder, again, it's like, do I really exist? Who is this person people are talking to? I'm not sure I know her.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Every time I come here, I think maybe this time, I'll be able to blog. The truth is that when I'm here, I am simply too busy and, consequently, too tired. The past week has been a bit of a blur. Carrie left to attend her grandfather's funeral right before I arrived, so I had to hit the ground running despite jet lag and a complete lack of enough sleep.

We have been so freaking busy, it's nuts. I was cooking and cleaning up after two tours a day, by myself. Thank god Carrie returned, but then she had to leave again to attend a friend's wedding in England.
Anyway, I've been pretty much busting my ass since I got here, much of it by myself. I am so glad Carrie's back and now I have company and help!!

It's hard to complain when I'm in one of the world's most beautiful places. I feel ungrateful, actually, for having anything other than Oh my god, I am so lucky! thoughts. The truth is, this is kind of my personal hell, albeit a really beautiful hell?  I don't know, I come here and I have to surrender myself, work my ass off, and be bossed around by my mother whenever I'm here. Everyone is always like, Oh, you're so lucky to get to come here for vacation! and I want to reply, Uh, yeah, it's not really vacation for me, is it?

We have mostly been doing tours and such. Other than that, I've done some work on our small farm (orto). Seeing that my mom's been gone for almost a year, everything is really dirty, cluttered, and in need of elbow grease. Angelo kept turning away the lady who usually cleans the house, telling her "my house is clean!" (*cough* bullshit *cough*). Thankfully, we've gone above Angelo's head and now she's begun to work on reversing the deep dirty mess this house has become. My mom would die if she could see it, haha. The truth is, the tours are a ton of work and there really is no way to do that and keep the house in order. I started, one thing at a time, and within three days each part I cleaned was back to its filthy state. Very frustrating.

I can't believe I've only been here just over a week. It feels like a month already. Carrie says she's pretty much over it, since she did this May-October last year, and will probably be leaving in July, when my mom returns. This SUCKS. I rely on Carrie for fun, for someone near my age, someone to balance the craziness that is my family. Even if she wasn't working and helping with the tours, I would want her around as someone to commiserate with.

Anyway, my date of freedom is August 12. I am looking forward to that date like you wouldn't believe. It signals the beginning of my new life in California, on my own, without having an overly-controlling mother breathing down my neck. Getting my life back on track, doing things for me, and being in charge of my own life. With Mom on a separate continent, as I like it. ;)