Posts Tagged ‘Pizza’

A Little Bit Of This and That

We spent a week in Pineto supposedly at the beach.  However we were disappointed to discover the beach was not around the corner and too far to carry the necessary equipment to avoid sunburn.  We also didn’t have beach towels, probably something we should have remembered to bring!

Barbara broached the subject over dinner one evening and said she really wanted to go to the beach.  She had researched several of the surrounding hotels and found one nearby with a reasonable rate and with the prerequisite chaise lounge chairs and umbrellas.


Now This Was Living the Good Life!


And I got to realize a wish – to see and swim in the Adriatic Sea


View from our window

Parking in Italy is as much a pain in the ass as it is in New York City but one of our best parking spots was at The Abruzzo Hotel when the clerk said, “Just park under the lemon tree”.

Enough sun, it must be time for lunch.  Ah hhh Aperol Spritz, the preferred cocktail in Italy and our new summer favorite!


Sun, Sand, Sea and a Spritz Perfetto!

One morning we went out for coffee at a local Bar and were pleased that we didn’t have to go through elaborate explanations as how to make a Caffe Americano which is very different from ordering either caffe or American coffee.  So that part was great but we went crazy for the spoons!


Made in Italy


Look how clever this is!

So we asked Mr. Good-Looking Italian where did he get these spoons? Unfortunately he said he couldn’t remember because he got them a long time ago and hasn’t been able to find anymore.  Also he only had about 5 left – No wonder since the thought of nicking two of them fleetingly flew through our minds!

Pizza and Pasta are mainstays on the menus of most of the local restaurants in this little seaside town and we indulged in accordance.


Spaghetti Vongole per me


Pasta del’ la Mer per Barbara

And speaking of pasta, we took a trip to Rosetta degli Abruzzo, home to the Verrigni pasta company.  I had done some research on the company before our trip and had written to the firm asking if we could visit the factory.  Unfortunately due to insurance, the answer was no but we would be welcome in the showroom.  The GPS helped us get there along with some directions from a local man;  thankfully I understand destre and sinestre.


The Verrigni Pasta Factory

The Verrigni family has been producing artisanal pasta since 1898. What Barbara and I saw in that showroom was quite spectacular. There were bags and bags of pasta in all sorts of shapes, pasta made with whole wheat flour, pasta made gluten-free, pasta made with durum wheat flour and are bronze cut.  The company also produces a line of government certified organic pasta and a refined line of pasta cut with gold. Yes, gold.  I purchased a bag of chitarra, a unique cut of long pasta associated with Abruzzo.  The nice young man who spoke English tried to draw a picture for showing me the difference between linguine, spaghetti and  chitarra, but I’m still not clear. This year the company  came out with a new shape, calamarata.


It does look like calamari doesn’t it without the sauce?

Our favorite cute place where you could get gelato or an Aperol Spritz, two of life’s greatest pleasures and the owner was a friendly man who liked to practice his English with us.


A Great Little Bar in Pineto


Wine, Beer, Gelato, Caffe, Aperol Spritz -It’s all here

We stopped in the night before we left for a last Aperol Spritz.  When we got back to the apartment we had no lights! No electricity! I called our host, texted her.  We had two candles.  Good thing we had packed during the day.  Of course now the food in the refrigerator would be spoiling and worse of all we couldn’t recharge our phones which I felt would be essential for a 3 hour drive tomorrow.  We went to bed early like what else were we going to do?

By morning as we were packing up the car, the host had contacted the next door neighbor who came over speaking Italian (naturally), and even though we had flipped all the circuit breakers, there was an extra something in the closet that needed to be pushed or pulled.  Nice BUT we were outta here.

We were off on a long journey to Umbria and spent some of that trip deciding what we might write in our review in Airbnb.  If you recall…we had a morning of no gas, a half a day of no water, and a night of no electricity!

Perugia here we come!

To Be Continued…




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We never saw the Duomo in Penne (I walked as far as I wanted to in the heat) nor did we get to see the famous Divine Judgement painting on the wall of the church in Loreto  Aprutino, a town very close to Penne. The church where the fresco resides, St. Mary in Piano, was destroyed in th last earthquake and has yet to be restored.  We walked around a bit to see if the Olive Oil Museum was open but it probably wasn’t and we didn’t locate it anyway. The town was very nice and clean and we rested in a shady piazza before we headed back.

SO, this day we decide to drive to Atri and perhaps we will see a few frescos.  It wasn’t that far, and we found a parking spot right away ( probably a bad omen ).  We walked into this huge piazza, with some shops (all closed naturally) on our left and on our right, a very large church with two open doorways,


We are in this huge piazza and only the gelato place is open.

Possible frescos? We follow a lady through one of the doorways only to come up against another old wooden door. I cautiously pushed it open and  in we went and weren’t we surprised to find the church absolutely filled!  We found two seats and sat in respectful silence not understanding the Italian.  We waited for the appropriate moment and then made a hasty retreat from the church, because we realized fresco or not, we definitely did not want to attend this funeral!!  Once we were back in the sunlight, we saw the hearse, well enough of that.  Let’s go into that other doorway. We did and found ourselves in a chapel at right angle to the funeral mass.


This impressive chapel was behind another old wooden door.

Once out in the sunlight again, we walked up a winding street looking in the windows of closed shops and pretty alleys.


It was tempting to wander down one of these streets.


Inviting us to wander down

We must have been on the main  road in the town because there were many smaller alleys branching off to the left and the right.


Flowers flowers everywhere

Being in Italy and visiting small villages, the vast amount of flowers everywhere always thrilled me as well as ancient or unusual doorways.


This brilliant color was glorious with flowers.


Blooming Color in Shades Of Rose


I find these doors intriguing – what lies behind them?


Barbara leads the way. Note how clean the streets are!


The amount of flowers surrounding this house was amazing!


We found this little shrine niche. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is universal throughout Italy

Barbara and I have our own Italian mantra, “It’s finally four”.  As in 4:00pm and the shops are open again.  We learned that Atri was famous for the production of licorice and some licorice liquors and when we came upon a store window featuring a lot of bottles with mysterious names, we went in.  Oh my, there were big glass canisters of licorice in various shapes, boxes of flavored licorices, strands of licorice hanging.  I bought a small bag of pieces on the semi-truthful pretense that I needed something to suck on for my wicked sore throat.  We hemmed and hawed and in the end Barbara bought some fabulous candy but neither of bought the liquor – why? Basically our suitcases are already pretty full!

However I did spot something in the store I thought photo worthy.  What with all the talk of racism at home and politically correct language, this jumped out at me.

Hard to believe in this day and age!

I found a jewelry shop and had to add another troll bead to my bracelet.  I like to take my part in boosting Italy’s sagging economy.  A quick gelato and a walk through a lovely park and then we went on the hunt for a particular restaurant.

I set the GPS for the address ( which is always a 50/50 chance of success). We went back and forth, she sent us down private driveways and actually in the wrong direction. When I was screaming that I was done with this because I was headed down a road directly to hell,  I looked across the road and there was the restaurant! You see she had us the wrong side of the road!!

The restaurant was just what we needed at that time. First of all it had a fresco ( of sorts)

Look a fresco!

And pizza!

Barbara LOVED her arugula pizza bianca

And I love my authentic Neapolitan pizza

Look no cheese!

Just another day of adventure in Italy.

To be continued…






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Thursday morning the alarms went off and we were out the door to meet Tina ( our friend from Molise/Campobasso), who was kind enough to join us on our trip to Caserta, but also to drive.

Tina is gracious, generous and the kind of Italian mother you’ve heard about….She has two sons who she loves dearly and within two minutes in her company, Joel became a prince.  If he wasn’t finished with his coffee, we would wait, because this was to be a free fun day with no rules!  You know that was music to his ears after 3 days with me, who was trying to get him up early to eat breakfast before noon!

We got in the car to go and Joel thought he should go back in the bar to get water.  Not necessary – Tina has bottles of frozen water packed, along with lunch for a picnic on the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Finally I was making the trip to Caserta to see The Royal Palace, the House of the Kings of Naples. Up until today, I thought the king was in Naples because Naples was the capital of Italy at that time. WRONG!  There was no unified country known as Italy, there was a kingdom that bordered just south around  Rome then looped northeast to what  might now be Abruzzo or Molise and included the entire southern peninsula and at times the Island of Sicily.

It was a warm sunny day and surprisingly there were no crowds at the Palace. We were so lucky.  Hot as it was outside, it was nice and cool inside and walking on marble floors within marble walls makes for a pleasant temperature on a hot day.

First picture of the day taken by Tina


I can’t believe you want me to walk up all those stairs!


Joel and Tina on ONE of the magnificent marble staircases

Did you know?  That this palace was designed in the style and fashion of Versailles? That it is the LARGEST royal palace in all of Europe?  Bigger than Buckingham Palace and bigger than Versailles and it has this magnificent garden planted in the shape of a violin.  I tried to get a good image of the garden which surrounds the Palace but was unable. Here is a photo taken as we traveled up the neck of the violin.


Angels adorn the neck of the violin and fish swim in the water.

And inside the grandeur continues to excess…


It might be a little much for our apartment.

For such an important king, such a small throne,


The King Of Naples throne

If you were not Michaelangelo, no one knows who painted al these magnificent ceilings.


Every Ceiling was a Masterpiece

All that glitters is not gold BUT IT IS MARBLE underneath!


All That Glitters…

And what could be better than a picnic on the Royal grounds?


Tina, A Wood Nymph

Joel hardly enjoyed his pizza.


Chowing Down a Slice.


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We have to get silly every once in a while at least that’s what my husband reminds me.  I’m much more serious than I should be and I wish I had my sister-in-law Juanita’s capacity to laugh and laugh heartily.  She really has the most contagious laugh!  So today I giving you at least 10 totally useless facts to do with what you will.  Next time you’re at a cocktail party and need to start a conversation, maybe one of these will spark the talk.  Thanks to my consistent content contributor, Gail – she sent me this Buzz Feed post.  I have just decided to put initials after Gail’s name;  From now on she’s Gail C.C.C. !

  1. The founders of Hewlett-Packard flipped a coin to see whose name would come first in the company’s name.
  2. People with higher incomes prefer their toilet paper to roll from the top whereas people with lower incomes prefer it to roll out from the bottom.  In a 1989 book, Barry Sinrod and Mel Poretz revealed that 60% of people making more than $50,000 a year preferred the toilet paper to come over the roll, while 73% of those making under $20,000 preferred it to go under.   

    Toilet paper Español: Papel higiénico

    Toilet paper 

  3. The lint that collects at the bottom of your pocket actually has a name, gnurr.
  4. Some animals like the Western Spotted Skunk are able to delay their pregnancies for months.  In these cases, the embryos cease developing for a certain period of time before attaching to the uterine wall. Other animals with types of delayed pregnancies include otters and kangaroos.  
  5. Sigmund Freud once believed that Cocaine could be used to treat Morphine addiction.
  6. Flamingos get their color from the carotenoid pigments in the foods that they eat, like algae and shrimp.  Once their feathers shed, they quickly lose their color.   

    Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink

  7. The line between the two numbers in a fraction is called the vinculum.
  8. The U.S. pizza industry serves up to 100 acres of pizza every day.  GTY_pizza_dm_130807_16x9_608
  9. If you type in 52.376552, 5.198303 on Google Maps, you can see what is allegedly two guys dragging a dead body into a lake. 
  10. A standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different possible configurations.  

    Go Figure…

    Go Figure…

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OH my, somehow I’ve been bitten by the March Madness bug.  I am writing this post and listening/watching the Syracuse/Michigan game.  I can relax during this one because it was assumed that Syracuse would win and right now they are leading by 22 points! “Oh how sweet it is”.  

I was going to make Thursday’s Top Ten about the crazy stunt taking place in Brooklyn this week where Franny’s is creating March Madness Pies.  Starting at Sweet Sixteen, they will be offering 16 different pizza pie toppings with cute names.  I thought the names were going to somehow correspond to the teams but they don’t so I’ve opted out of using Franny’s for my post;  Besides, I only like the purest of Neapolitan pizza – rich tomato sauce, some basil and oregano and some blobs of mozzarella with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!

I found this CAKE vs PIE tournament bracket and thought it was too cool!  HEY GUYS, THIS WOULD REALLY BE FUN IF YOU WOULD COMMENT WITH YOUR CHOICES and advance the bracket till we get to the WINNER.  If you don’t help me and I do it all by myself, I can tell you right now that Ice Cream Cake would probably win.  So let’s do it!!

Tasty Treats Oh So Sweet Bracketology

Tasty Treats Oh So Sweet Bracketology

I’m not sure exactly who I should be crediting for this bracket which appeared in 2010.  I think JEZEBEL.com, Jessica Coen and Gawker Media are all responsible for this so THANK YOU!

I’m starting it off since today is ROUND 1 in the NCAA Tournament.  I pick Birthday Cake and Apple Pie.  What are your picks?  You might want to copy this and play with a group of your friends.  I hope you’ll play along with me…By Saturday we move to Round 2. 


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I figured that headline would be a grabber! Alright, so your guests have showered and they don’t smell but you are tired of cooking, serving and cleaning up.  I happened to have received an email from Grub Street , daily food news from New York magazine and the article featured was Hosting Duties:Where To Take Out-Of-Towners Visiting New York.  So if your holiday guests are still visiting, you might want to consider dining out at some of these places.

If the house guests are his parents or yours and they are paying, consider trying to make a reservation at the hot new place in Midtown, Rotisserie Georgette.  I had the opportunity of dining there recently and the place was jumping.  The menu is not extensive by any means and most of the dishes seem  to center around chicken.  The food was delicious, the service was attentive and our waiter was more than eager to make suggestions.

Everyone knows that pizza is a New York staple and by the slice mind you!  Your out-of-town guest loves pizza and is dying to sample real New York pizza.  There a couple branches of Motorino in Manhattan and unlike most pizzerias, Motorino serves up appetizers and dessert.  There’s another nice little twist to getting a slice here, the pizza is cut upon request; nice touch!  Or Joe’s Pizza on Carmine St. where pizza rules;  No garlic knots, no heroes, no concoctions on pizza, just perfect pizza.  Traditionally thin crust, bold sauce and cheese that doesn’t taste like rubber.

If your sister is in town with her 3 little kids, you need to find a place that’s casual, fun and if the kids cause a riot, you won’t be embarrassed.  Try Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue or Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, the names speak for themselves, the kids will be happy.

New York has its share of celebrity chefs and if your guests can’t wait to go home and brag about whose restaurant they ate at, then hop on downtown to Lupa Osteria Romana, Mario Batali’s trattoria.  The restaurant is extremely popular and is always crowded in the evening.  Take them out to lunch for some Ricotta Gnocchi.  If it’s famous that they want, Tom Colicchio’s Craft may be the place to go.  Chef Colicchio is a fanatic for fresh ingredients and has set the standard for the new wave of restaurants that are conceived, presented and eaten in this Green Market era.  

Grandma and Grandpa are still in town and want to take you out so pick a place that’s not too stuffy but is quiet and accommodating.  Maialino, which means Little Pig and is Danny Meyer’s version of a trattoria has a beautiful view of Gramercy Park.  Porter House New York is a well-heeled steakhouse overlooking Columbus Circle and would be a very nice choice.

The article on where to take who has many more recommendations;  I suggest you check it out at http://www.grubstreet.com/2013/12/guide-to-taking-out-of-towners-to-dinner.html – copy and paste.

Porter House New York

Porter House New York

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I LOVE peanut butter and I LOVE tomatoes.  Of course if you are a regular reader of this blog you already know that.  The blog is a testimony to Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, my favorite, my kids favorite and now my adorable granddaughter, Finley’s favorite.

 Tomatoes, especially Jersey Tomatoes are a passion of mine.  I eat them all summer long and as far into fall as I can.  Once there are no locally grown tomatoes, I literally STOP eating fresh tomatoes!  I have vintage tomato salt and pepper shakers, a tomato-shaped tea pot, tomato sugar and creamer, tomato cookbooks, a collection of cans of Italian tomatoes and best of all, a tomato tattoo.  Well now that’s out there to the world.  I was born in New Jersey and I often describe myself (to my husband) as “one hot Jersey tomato” – that’s me.

And as if Big Boy, Beefsteak, Arkansas Traveler,Bella Rosa, Brandymaster Pink, Charger and hundreds more varieties weren’t enough to tantalize your taste buds, add Heirloom Tomatoes!  You’ve seen them with their bulbous, knobby, colorful shapes.  Sometimes they look weird, misshapen and in a palette of colors not necessarily in the red family!  They don’t always look appetizing, however, they are sweet and flavorful.   They come in a variety of sizes and add great interest to your summer salads.  But don’t let their use just end up in a wooden salad bowl – here are two Heirloom tomato recipes you will love to make and serve.

Heirloom Tomato Pesto Pizza

Heirloom Tomato Pesto Pizza


1 lb pizza dough

flour for dusting

4 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup basil pesto

1 lb Heirloom tomatoes thinly-sliced

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Divide dough into 4 balls, dust work surface with flour and roll each ball into a 9″ circle.  Brush both sides of the circles with olive oil,  place on baking sheet. Working with one circle at a time, place on grill rack and with tongs rotate the crust so it cooks evenly, browned on the bottom and air bubbles on top, 3-4 minutes.

Transfer pizza to baking sheet browned side up. Spread 2 TBS of basil pesto on crust and top with sliced tomatoes. Don’t cover entire pizza or it will be soggy.  Season with salt and pepper and dot with the cheese.  Slide pizza back onto the grill, close the cover and rotate pizza so it cooks evenly and cheese begins to melt – about 3 minutes.  Lift back onto baking sheet. Repeat with each pizza.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Butter

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Butter


1 very large or 2 medium-sized red Heirloom tomatoes

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1TBS chopped thyme or oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the paper. Roast until the skins are wrinkled and blistered, and the tomatoes are very soft, 30-35 minutes depending on the size. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Place the tomatoes and any juices in the bowl of a foodprocessor. Process until very smooth and no seeds or large pieces of skin are visible, 2-3 minutes; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently.

Add the butter, salt, and pepper, and process until blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, 2-3 minutes. Then, stir in the thyme and scrape into a small bowl and cover. (Or, make a log of butter by spooning it onto a sheet of waxed paper, folding the paper over the butter and rolling it gently until you have a sausage shape; twist the ends to seal.)

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days. You can also wrap the log in foil and freeze for up to 3 months; thaw it in the refrigerator.

**Melt this concentrated compound butter over grilled steaks, toss it with flame-kissed vegetables, or freeze some for a burst of summer flavor in the winter months. Use very ripe, very red tomatoes for best color and flavor.

Thanks to Gail for sending me the article on Heirloom tomatoes!

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