Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Dogs of Naples and Pompeii

The highlight of our trip to Italy was venturing south to Naples and Pompeii. We had no idea what to expect in Naples, other than great pizza and the ruins of nearby Pompeii. What we were NOT expecting were DOGS!!! Dogs were everywhere! Dogs were at the outdoor cafes, dogs were in the piazzas, dogs were all over Pompeii and they were all happy!

We saw dogs on patrol, dogs digging for ...who knows what, dogs on patrol and more dogs sleeping!

Here we see them doing all of those activities, just as they have been for over 2,000 years!

We saw a dog that looked like she was the cousin to our girl, India and another that looked like a cousin to our little guy, Tasso.

I wonder if the the little fellow in Pompeii (or as the Italians pronounce it, "Pom Pee") snores and makes all kinds of noise when he dreams?

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again!

I am thrilled to be blogging again! We are busy with all kinds of things, one of which is the garden! Farmer Jeff and his garden elves planted over 250 tomato plants (36 varieties), 200 peppers and chiles (5 varieties), green beans (3 - 60 ft rows!), a 60 foot row of yellow beans, a 60 foot row of rainbow chard (silver beet) , a 60 foot row of collard greens and then squash!
(The picture above is of the squash rows covered with green plastic)

There are 70 foot rows of squash ...4 rows. We have 8 varieties of summer squash including some named "8 ball", "1 ball", "flying saucer", "star ship", Romesco, and yellow patty pans. (This is a picture of flying saucer squash)

We have also planted basil "Genovese", opal basil and lots of sunflowers! Just this year we also started raised beds in aluminum horse troughs! We have 8 troughs with arugula, raddichio, red romaine and red leaf lettuce. It is such a treat to pick greens and eat them just minutes later. My favorite salad these days is red leaf lettuce, arugula, thinly sliced fennel, tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, then topped with shaved parmesan. YUM!!! It tastes like summer ...and Italy!

Some of our other pursuits, all in our spare time, of course, included giving a cooking demonstration at the Windsor Farmer's Market on Sunday, May 13th (Mother's day).

Farmer Jeff showed how to make a swiss chard, bacon and goat cheese frittata, in honor of our trip to Italy.

I made Migas which is a breakfast dish made with sauteed corn tortillas, onions and peppers with eggs scrambled into it.

We topped it all off by making strawberry mint agua fresca.(A Mexican beverage) It is so easy to make! You can really make it with any fruit. We especially like Watermelon Agua Fresca.

Strawberry Agua Fresca – makes about 8 servings
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
3 sprigs Mint
6 cups Strawberries, washed and hulled (or any other fruit, such as melon or pineapple)
Juice of 1 ½ to 2 Limes, or to taste
Ice water – about 4 cups

Heat sugar and water together to create simple syrup. Drop in the mint sprigs once the sugar has melted. Cool.
Put strawberries in blender and pour 1 cup of simple syrup over the strawberries. Blend.
Add the lime juice. TASTE!
Add ice water and/or simple syrup until desired consistency and sweetness is reached and it tastes balanced.
*There is no exact measure as it all depends on the sweetness and water content of the fruit.

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