Monthly Archives: August 2009

sunday lunch

just a few shots from lunch

the zucchini came out devine



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My neighbor and I share so many of the same traditions, food memories, Italian idioms… If I re-tell her a memory from my childhood, she understands. If i say “my dad used to go to a Capozzelli party a few times a year” she knew what that was. Trippa, mom frying zucchini flowers in the early summer, bread and gravy on Sunday. These memories, are what define me and connect me to my past.  Certain smells, certain foods will bring those memories back in an instant.

So this is how this particular cooking lesson came to pass. My neighbor brought over a small serving of her leftover zucchni that her mother had made. I took one bite and it reminded me of something my mom used to make! OMG how silly I must look, standing over the kitchen sink eating gagootz, oil dripping down my chin and crying!!  The funny thing is, I make zucchini all the time, so many different ways, but this one was different. The taste…the little bowl it came in…and someone made it for me…

I asked for the recipe and when I did,  my neighbor invited me to her Mother’s home with loving and open arms… “Come! My mother wants to meet you! Please, she will show us both how to make it!” I went happily.

We laughed she told stories of her travels to NY from Sturno, Italy when she was 17. She came over on a ship, and was sick the entire time from her small pox vaccine. I told her about my family. My father’s family was from Padula and my mother’s family was from Bosco Tre Casa. (just outside of Naples) Both are near hear village, so, many of our recipes were similar.

The recipe is so simple. I have not made it yet, hope it’s as easy as it seems. I will let you know. I will also add that when i got home with this big bowl of zucchini (she insisted I take all of what she made!) I managed to eat the enitre bowl throughout the course of one day. My husband, who is not a lover of zucchini had a small bowl and could not get over how yummy it was. Truth!

Split zucchini lengthwise, then cut in half moons about 1/4″ thick.
Start with a large saute pan, heat about 1/2 cup or so of olive oil.   Saute about 6 cloves of garlic smashed, 3-4 whole dried red peppers, about 1 tsp of red pepper flakes & salt. (She was very particular about the whole dried red peppers.  She does not like the ones here in the states, and has people bring them to her from Italy.  She likes them to be very soft, not too long,they should be very fine and crumbly NOT tough.  I am going to check out the Italian import store in Chelsea Market, might be a good sorce…)  Saute for  a few minutes. From a can of 28 oz crushed tomatoes add about one cup at a time and let this fry up in the oil on med/high heat. As it reduces add more tomatoes every 5 minutes. Then add your sliced zucchini. Stir, do not let it stick. Let is sit another 5 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup water. Let cook another 10 minutes or so maybe more, stirring occasionally.  You want zucchini to be tender, cooked through.

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dream of my father

me and my father

me and my father

i had this dream a few nights ago. how special and magical it was to hug and kiss him again after all this time, eight years, wow… very hard to lose a parent and even harder to lose both…not a day goes by that i don’t think about them or talk about them. we were very, very close. they dedicated their lives to their children and i will always be grateful to them, I will alway aspire to be like them and, I will ALWAYS keep them close…

when i woke up…i immeditaly wrote my dream down (typed it actually!! 🙂 ).. and this is what i wrote:

i had a dream last night that i saw my father

i went with jennifer to the foot doctor. she was having surgery and she wanted me to come. but i knew that she was doing it for me, she did not really need to me to come with her
but she took me with her. she asked me if i would be comfortable going into the OR with her and i said yes. the OR looked like an OR, but was very casual. there were docs and nurses around a table but the nurses had long fake french nails and were not wearing gloves, did not scrub hands. and doctors kept running to the corner of the OR with a half lit cigarette butt and a car lighter to light and finish cigarette. we realized how addicted they were to cigarettes and we knew that it was weird and gross that they were smoking. i wanted to tell jen but i did not want to embarrass her, i was also pretty certain that she was seeing what i was seeing. then i looked down at my hand and i was still holding my old cigarette butt, extinguished, but i still had it in position.

then jen took a small device with a metal hose and sprayed her pinkly toe with it, this was the surgery. she sprayed some more and then told me ” all done it will fall off”.
i told her and the nurse that this was crazy could the doctor please come over and help her! i think she said yes. then nurse nicely asked me if i would come with her to a new place. i went with her, but they asked me to take a little child with me, who i pushed in a wheel chair, but it was more like a stroller, the child sat on top and was arching back and squirmy and i was afraid of her falling out so i pushed the chair while holding her. walking thru this hall i kept seeing my father. and time would slow down and we would stop and latch eyes and turn to each other and hug so tightly. he was slim and wearing nice slacks shirt and tie. his eyes dug into me reminding me and telling me, screaming at me how much he loved me always, please never forget me. my mia how much i loved you. i saw him maybe 3 more times, big hugs and kisses. the last time i saw him i kissed him and hugged him and screamed to him as he started to move backwards ” i will love you more than anyone in this lifetime!!!!!” and he smiled back at me…. i woke up

my mom and dad

my mom and dad

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heirloom tomato, beauty in its’ imperfections

i am a lover of tomatoes! when i was a little girl my favorite sandwich was sliced tomato with lots of mayonnaise (hellmans)…or italian bread with tomato, salt and really good olive oil.
my local farm is harvesting some of the best tomatoes i have ever tasted. absolutely spectacular!! juicy and sweet!!



my tomatoes in my garden are not quite ready yet, i planted maybe 4 varieties…the cherry’s have started to come in and are pretty good…waiting on the others…

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fresh produce makes me smile


i happen to be incredibly blessed to live just a couple of miles from a local farm. it’s family owned and operated and the setting is just breath taking. i went yesterday, i was craving fresh healthy produce….after a weeks vacation, away from my kitchen, entrenched in an “all you can eat fest” of heavy unhealthy food my… body was craving real nourishment! as a mommy to 2 little ones I was desperate to get some quality food into their little bodies!!

my purchases included: lettuce, heirloom tomatoes that were absolutely sweet and juicy! zucchini, string beans, peaches, plums (green and black), apricots, corn and fresh cut flowers.

i made an italian giambotta (not exactly the way my mom used to make it, i omitted the potatoes) it’s sort of a vegetable stew with onions and garlic and zuchnini and stringbeans stewed with tomatoes. i also made cod (3 different ways for varieties sake…)on the grill in foil (i prefer parchment but was not sure it could handle the direct heat)

a visit to the farmstand is uplifting and oh so healthy!

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