September 12, 2011

How can you miss me if I don't go away?

ready for the grape harvest

My summer was not a happy one, I spent most  of August  in California with my brother and sister, closing down my mom's house. We had the burial while I was home, sold everything at an estate sale.
It drained me emotionally and physically. I came home empty inside.

While I was in California, I was not allowed to cook in the kitchen as the whole house had been taken apart to do the estate sale there. Not being able to cook and living among boxes I felt homeless, which I guess I am now in California, the family home is being sold.

Arriving back in Tuscany, I couldn't wait to cook and get my mojo going again in the kitchen. Classes have already started and as well as finally sleeping through the night, I am finding my Tuscan cooking soul once again.

parmesan cheese bowl for our gluten-free pasta

I was also blessed to be invited to attend a wine festival in southern Italy as part of a press trip. There is nothing I love more than food and wine festivals in Italy. How can you not adore a country that celebrates food in so many ways? We spent the weekend down in Benevento and did a full immersion in the wines and foods of the region.

I now have my batteries recharged and am ready to dive into Fall, my favorite season to cook. Wine Festivals go on all month all over Italy. October is the EuroChocolate festival in Perugia and then the olive oil harvest starts, October in Sicily and November or later in Tuscany.

Salt flats in Trapani

November is also my Sicilian Kitchen tour, I have space available and hope you can join me.
 I adore Sicily so much, I hope to move there for at least half the year and teach day classes as well as organizing more week-long programs in 2012.

As soon as I get home, I am going to see how the figs are behind my house. I need to prepare more of Francesca's fabulous figs to serve with gorgonzola!!! My new drug!

When I get my computer hooked up at home, will post about my fabulous weekend in Benevento. Learning about new areas in Italy is like finding a treasure. Although I have been here for over 25 years now, I doubt I will have time in my lifetime to visit all the places on my Italian bucket list.

What towns or regions are on your list?

Once you get the biggies down, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples--- then? Sicily? Puglia? Le Marche?

Do you just return to the same places you loved or risk and explore?

It is always an adventure.

chili peppers  are ready

I hope to find my chili peppers ready to harvest when I get home and from the markets will buy some to make some sauces to kick up winter. Mostly hang them to dry in my kitchen and just cut off pieces as needed. The chili peppers in the foto are tradtionally boiled in vinegar, then hollowed out and filled with anchovy and caper. The gentlemen that was selling these chilis said to make a breadcrumb mixture. I will do my homework and post my recipes.

Thanks for following me-- always nice to have friends hanging around the kitchen-

cook for someone you love


  1. Ben ben BEN tornata! SORELY missed. Kept checking but ... well, FINALLY! Am dying to read about your time in Benevento. When you're up to it, we'll meet for an aperitivo and "summer news" exchange program. For now, it's just very good to have you back!

  2. I have been a follower for only a short time but have been missing your posts, too, lately. Some times in our lives are just sad; the only way to make it better is to help someone else somehow. It isn't easy but I have found that's all that seems to work. I am looking forward to more recipes and pictures from your kitchen in Italy, wherever you may be.

  3. Ah, you're BACK!! Missed your postings. Michael and I have just returned from 2 weeks in Colombia, with its fairly dull food, but incredible fruits, the likes of which we'll never see in the US. And delicious papas (potatoes) and excellent super fresh chicken. Had almost nothing green, so we are eating a lot of vegetables right now!

    Welcome back to your home. Am sure Andrea is a happy man!

  4. Missed you, Judy! So sorry for what you've been dealing with. Glad you are back in the kitchen. I would so love to do the Sicily trip with you. I wish I could sneak in there without my Sicilian relatives knowing I'm there! haha!

  5. Bonnie B5:47 AM

    Welcome home, have missed your posts. We are loving your cookbook!

  6. Sorry to hear about your difficult summer, and losing your mother most of all. Glad you're back home and getting back into your routine :)

    My bucket list would have to include Abruzzo, Basilicata and Calabria, and if I could swing that trip when le cipolle di Tropea were in season, even better!

  7. Anonymous12:28 PM

    I am very glad you are back! Last year i lost my mom. You were in my prayers. Its wonderful that you found your Mojo again. I just love all the pictures you take and your adventures you have. Can't wait to go to Sicily and spend a week with your cooking class. Keep the pictures going and share your stories.

  8. Lovely tribute to your mother by living your life through your passions. It definitely brought a lump to my throat. Having lost my parents quite a few years back now, I can fully relate to the lost of the home tie even if you live here now, it's hard, period. Una grande abbraccio. Your plans to go to Sicily for a while sounds great too. Will follow along vicariously. Piano, piano and be gentle with yourself. Oh yes, lovely photo of you in the vineyard!

  9. Thanks @bellabaitaview- time heals all!!! as does being by the sea

  10. I have always wanted to go to one of those places to see how wine is made and see the grape harvest, I think I will go this summer to Italy and see that once and for all