Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bike MI

Bike MI
We thought this was a very innovative idea. Rental bicycles are available throughout Milano, Italy. You subscribe to a certain number of days. With your rental pass you can unlock the bicycle from the lock attached to the bicycle basket which connects to an assembly on the parking rail. You can ride a bicycle to any area of the city, return it to any rail and lock it and choose a bicycle from any other rail location during your rental period.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pasta With Clams

Gnocchi With Clam Sauce Linguine With Clam Sauce
Yesterday I posted photos of men and the labor intensive gathering of the small clams used for a pasta sauce. As promised, these are the two dishes served in a restaurant of pasta served with the clam sauce.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sorting Clams

Sorting Clams

While walking along a harbor to the Adriatic Sea in Rimini Italy, we spotted these men sorting clams. The shell is about the size of a medium lima bean but the clam is much smaller. We were served Pasta with clams and gnocchi with clams in a restaurant. Tomorrow I will post those photos.
If you enlarge the top photo, near the pilot house of the boat you will see the metal "basket" which they drag along the floor of the sea to collect the clams. After the clams are sorted, the clams not used for culinary purposes are returned to the sea.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A young usher allowed me to photograph the stage and interior of LaScala the evening we attended the ballet, I Atto Da Lo Schiaccianoci. The design on the valance above the stage is the crest of Milano.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monte Napoleon

Monte Napoleon

Monte Napoleon is the trendy street of the top fashion designers of Milano. I saw this building with lights for the Christmas season which was a picture. The retail stores are on the first floor which is not photographed. The small lights were strung across the street. This is a tradition in Milan as all streets are decorated for the holiday. Each street is uniquely decorated as no two are the same.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Make It Fit

Make It Fit
Many Europeans drive small cars partially due to the fact that gasoline is very costly. As you see streets are often narrow and parking is at a premium. This driver found a very small space. When the space doesn't allow parallel parking, you make the space fit!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Iceland From 35,000 Feet

Iceland At 35,000 Feet
Most often while flying over Iceland the view is covered with cloud. Recently I had this view which was spectacular.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Open Plate Lasagna

Open Plate Lasagna
Italy is home to regional cooking. We enjoyed this dish at dinner in San Marino. It was made with spinach noodles, diced beef, tomato sauce, and cheese. This was the first time I had lasagna where the noodles were not stacked. Our son-in-law's mother makes her lasagna with a very thin homemade noodle in a sheet which is layered with meat, vegetables, and tomato which is excellent.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cappuccino or Cappuccini

Nothing can duplicate a great cup of cappuccino or if it is two cups, it is cappuccini. Men usually get a leaf or flower design while a woman gets a heart design when the steamed milk is added to the cup.

If you stand at the bar (counter) to drink your cappuccino, you pay one price. If you choose to sit at a table the price can be tripled.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Harry Potter

Harry Potter
As we passed through the airport in Milan Italy I spotted Harry built from Legos. Two reasons why Harry was of interest. We were reading Harry Potter (English version) with our granddaughter Anna and because Lego Land is in San Diego, CA. When we arrived at JFK a tall Statue of Liberty was on display made from Legos. I have to admit the displays were very clever! Anna I hope you read grandma's blog today!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

San Marino, Italy

click to enlarge photo
San Morino, Italy
San Morino, Italy is a Republic and actually not one of the nine regions of the Country of Italy. It is a separate country and the oldest Republic in Europe. Of all of my photography on our trip, this is the shot I thought was best. We had a wonderful tour of the Republic and Government Buildings by one of the Government Dignitaries.
Three castles built on the crest of Mount Titano are artistically designed in the crest and emblem of the Republic and are imposed with two laurel or olive branches encircling.
I do have several photos of interest that I will be posting.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pasta Sauces

Pasta Sauces
Yesterday I posted an article on the different shapes of pasta in Italy. Today I report there are 20 plus different sauces used in Italy. These are a few but most widely used sauces.
They are:
al funghi With porcini mushrooms.
alfredo Butter, cream, and parmesan.
amatriciana Roman-style with bacon, tomato, chili peppers.
Bolognese meat and tomato sauce
burro e salvia butter and sage
carbonara bacon, eggs, cheese, and pepper.
In brodo in broth.
marinara tomato and garlic.
panna cream.
pescatore seafood
pesto olive oil, garlic, pine nuts.
Genovese pesto add basil.
pomodoro tomato only.
puttanesca zesty, spicy tomato sauce.
quattro formaggio four cheeses.
ragu meaty tomato sauce.
sugo sauce, usually tomato.
vongole with clams and spices.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Pasta Choices
I read a tutorial about pasta while I am visiting in Milano. I learned that there are many different shapes of pasta each originating in the different regions of Italy. Italy has nine regions.
In a second article, I read there are over 500 shapes of pasta. Some of them are rigatoni, cannelloni, fettuccini, farfalle, gnocchi, linguine, penne, rotelli, ravioli, tagliatelle, tortellini, pici, bucatini, orecchiette, radiatore, troife, treccine, anolini, elicoidali, spiral grande, spiral mezze, orzo, fuscilli, caserta, scivotti mezzani, digitoni regati,, alfabeto, sidanini,, Rigatoni, stelaine, ondine, maccheroncini, penne rigatte, Penne lesce, mezze penne, mezze maniche, pipe rigate, gnocchetti, caserecce, risoni, tempestine, stelline, tofette, and spaghetti to name a few.
There are many different considerations when buying pasta.
Pasta made on old world machines is forced through copper tubes leaving the exterior with a texture which holds the sauce. If the pasta is made on stainless steel equipment, the exterior is smooth and does not hold the sauce as well.
Will the choice be fresh pasta from the refrigerated section or dried pasta from the packaged selections on the shelves?
The next consideration is the type of flour used to make the pasta. Semolina is the preferred flour but whole wheat is often a choice.
The shape is important as it must be matched to the sauce and or the vegetables or meat it is paired with.
Brand loyal is another consideration and finally the price.
Learning to cook pasta al dente is the hallmark of every good Italian cook.
I am amazed at the selections when I go to the grocery stores and see the complete aisle and five shelves high and maybe 40 feet long with the choices and brands of pasta. I will post an amazing photo of a pasta display after January 20.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bar Codes On Packaged Foods

Barcodes On Packaged Foods
Today I received a very informative article from a friend living in Arizona.  This information should be very important to all of us.    
The first numerals of the bar code identify the origin of the manufacturer of the food product.
00-13  USA or Canada
30-37   France
40-44   Germany
49         Japan
50         UK
57          Denmark
64         Finland
76         Switzerland & Lichtenstein
471       Taiwan
480      Philippines
628      Saudi Arabia
629      United Arab Emirates
690-695  CHINA
740-745   Central America
With China having been recognized for the questionable quality of their food products, they are now eliminating the bar codes on many of their products.
On August 17, 2008, I posted an article on reading the PLU Code on food.   Both articles are worth our attention when we purchase our food products.
I have this information written in a pad that will be with me when I go to the grocery store.
Thank you Barbra and Elaine for these wonderful articles that I have shared with the readers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Red Beet Borscht

Red Beet Borscht Is Colorful And Satisfying
January 7 is officially Christmas Day in Russia.  In 1917 when the Bolsheviks took over Russia, Christmas was eliminated.  It was replaced by a New Year's celebration.  These festivities include a visit from Father Frost.  Many Russians familiar with Western observances have adopted the date of December 25 as their observance. Borscht is a wonderful hearty vegetarian soup with a Russian origin.  This recipe makes 10 to 12 cups.
4 red beets cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 large carrot, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
5 cups water
2 cups red cabbage shredded
2 red apples, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 cup sour cream or plain non fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon fresh dill or parsley
Combine beets, carrots, onion, ginger, salt, and cayenne pepper, and allspice, simmer 40 minutes.  Add cabbage and apples and simmer another 25 minutes.  Add vinegar and tomato paste.  Stir to blend mixture.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkle of dill or chopped parsley.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Snow in Milano

Photo taken Tuesday evening.

Photo taken Tuesday evening.

Wednesday Morning
It doesn't snow often in Milano, Italy but when it does the "dusting" usually remains a very short time. Wednesday is the second day of an unprecedented snowfall estimated at ten inches or 25 centimeters. It is the talk of the town. The news media reports this is the largest snowfall in twenty years.
I scurried out today to get photos just to prove that when this San Diegan with Midwest roots came to Milano, the Alps sent a little snow our way. The snow continued to fall all day Wednesday. These photos were taken by a friend who shared his photos for the blog.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Brownie Chip Cookies

Today I received a recipe from Lee, a classmate of mine who said she has made these cookies several times and they disappear almost as fast as they cool down from the oven. I would like to share this recipe with my readers and thank you Lee for sharing the recipe.
Brownie Chip Cookies

1 box Brownie Mix
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Mix the ingredients well. Drop by teaspoon onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. ENJOY!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

A New Year
As a New Year begins I am approaching it with retrospect rather than creating resolutions for a new year that I know will be non-existent in a few weeks. I am trying to evaluate areas where I feel I could have put more effort and perhaps changes that I could or should have made. I read a book two years ago that has helped me to make some necessary changes in my attitudes and also helped me to better understand my shortcomings. I would highly recommend the book to everyone. This book is titled "The Four Agreements" by Daniel Miguel Ruiz. The Companion Book as it is titled was written by the same author and expounds on his first book. Having been educated in a catholic school system where you were taught the world was black and white or right and wrong, I learned late that my value system was too rigid. I hope that my New Year is filled with kindness, acceptance, and taking time to help others where I am needed.
My blog has been a creative outlet for me. I have enjoyed sharing this bit of my life with anyone who reads my postings. I have also attempted to spruce up my photography skills to enhance my postings. My blog has made me more aware of those around me and that sometimes as the song goes, "The Best Things In Life Are Free". Thank you for stopping by to read.