September 13, 2009

I Adore September

September 1984- the month my life changed

I wanted to title this blog post I HATE AUGUST- but decided to look on the bright side!

In Italy, if anything can go wrong it will in August, when everyone one is on vacation and nothing gets done. I had paperwork in process with the Italian government which took about three months.When I finally picked up the new permits, they are only good for 3 months and need more paperwork done to make them finally permanent.

My computer hard drive blocked up so I was "crippled" until the shops reopened for repairs.

The heat was devastating and makes me go brain-dead; I over did it one day and in my exhausted state returning home on the train, I LOST my Nikon SLR- high price to pay.

So finally we are in my beloved September.
As a perpetual student, for me, September is the starting of a new year- new beginnings.
Twenty-five years ago, I bought a one-way ticket to Europe and arrived in Paris! I was hoping to find a job in France and take a break before moving up to California's wine country to open my own pastry shop. Paris, Lyon and Nice- connecting with friends or friends of friends along the way to make connections.

I had planned to come to Florence for a month to study Italian and check it out. My roommate Cathy told me, " You will love Italy and Italy will love you!".
No truer words were ever spoken.

I was not a Italophile- I was smitten with France. But the key was that France was not smitten with me. I always felt that my French was never good enough to be loved by the French.
Thirteen years of classes were not enough- one needed to be perfect!

I arrived in Italy in October- and it was love at first site. They don't have the pastries that France does, but the passion for life won me over.

So the heat has broken, I have my MACBOOK back and am ready to roll!

I also have new programs online
. Just up the hill from me is a beautifully restored villa with apartments and a house for rent where I will be holding Wednesday cooking classes and my new Kitchen in Chianti Culinary Weeks at Villa Poggiolaia. I hope you can join me in my Chianti in the hills of Certaldo with San Gimignano in the distance!

If Italy is not in your plans this year- I am coming closer to home!
I will be the guest chef at Casa Luna in San Miguel D'allende in Mexico. The place looks spectacular with this three kitchens and organic farm.

If you follow me here and are also on Facebook or Twitter I am too!
facebook Divinacucina and twitter @divinacucina

See you soon I hope!

Here is a quick little recipe I made yesterday for lunch:
When I first arrived in Florence I went up to Fiesole the hill town overlooking the city and sat outside to have a pizza. I ordered a peperoni pizza, expecting to get a pizza with spicy salami slices. Instead it was covered with bell pepper slices! YUCK! There are many of those sort of "lost in translation" mistakes that happen when one doesn't speak the language. I speak Italian almost perfectly now, but still don't like bell peppers on my pizza, but adore roasted red bell peppers.

Here is my take on turning them into a :

Peperoni "Pizza:Gluten-free
I roast the bell peppers whole and then place them in a bag to sweat, making it easier to peel them.

Cut into 1/4's, place in a skillet and top with mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces.
Sprinkle with oregano, anchovies if you like, capers and drizzle with oil.
Heat covered on top of the stove, creating an oven.

Serve hot.


  1. you just made me an immensely happy girl.

  2. I am so with you! I too don't like bell peppers on my pizza but absolutely LOVE roasted peppers. In fact, I just bought a pound of it yesterday to roast and keep for having with some salami sandwiches. YUM!

  3. "I wanted to title this blog post I HATE AUGUST- but decided to look on the bright side!"

    Although I wholeheartedly agree, complimenti on keeping it positive! lol... You did better than I could have :-P

  4. Oh, Judy, you make me laugh! I don't know how you stand the heat there in the summer, but your words about Italy are lovely. I hope I can take part in one of your classes someday!

  5. Hubby and I were in Italy for two weeks this past spring...we are smitten. I could come again very frequently if funds would allow. I love reading your blog and following your adventures. Thanks

  6. Yes, love September and the fall. Really is the best time to travel. Thanks for the recipe (and the mouth-watering photo)--I'll be trying that pizza this weekend.

  7. i, too, love fall. followed you here from gypsy's guide and glad i found you!

  8. I So LOVE that picture of the dreamy eyed, so cool, brand new Italian you!
    ... and the peppers are fab too!

  9. Cantagallo7:54 AM

    I too love September and in September 1984 I arrived for a year of study abroad in Bologna. I have family in Prato, the subject of one of your previous posts, and so study abroad became official credits at the University of Bologna and the uncredited activities of picking olives and making oil, helping to butcher the pig to prepare prosciutto and a myriad other unforgettable learning experiences provided by my family in Prato. I've been back many times since and dream of making a home there, even if only a part time one, some day. Your blog takes to back to that time when I was an American abroad and yet not truly foreign.

  10. Those peppers look fabulous. I've just ordered a copy of your book btw. I can't wait to receive it and curl up to read it with a cappuccino early one morning.

  11. I also came to Italy in Sept 1984 and that phrase "my life chenaged" certainly rings a few bells .. still here too!