Thursday, May 31, 2007

Simple Salad

Every season brings it's favorites. Since we eat vegetables and fruit in season they are something to look forward to. Right now, we see local apricots in the markets. Yummy! I love apricot and tomato salad.
Equal parts of apricots and tomatoes chopped
Small onion finely chopped
Your best Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and oregano
So easy and yet so delicious!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Antonio deCurtis was the comedian of Italy. I suppose he still is the number one comic even though he died way back in the 60's. His humor is a cross between Buster Keaton and Red Skeleton. Not my kind of humor. In fact I am not particularly fond of Totò. It was pointed out to me that this week's TV Guide says ...that it has been 40 years (never) without Totò. This refers to his being dead for 40 years but also says never without him. And this is certainly true in this house. This guy has a film on television almost every day. On Sunday, I can be sure that someone is watching and laughing away over the antics of Totò. Andy has probably seen these movies several times. Sometimes he has missed the end or the beginning and must stay glued to the seat to recapture the entire film. Excuses....he just likes Totò.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Feature

Flowers are definitely a part of Sicilian beauty. They pop up everywhere. Even in the cracks of the sidewalks. I am not a good flower person. By that, I mean I don't own a green thumb. Both of my sisters can do magic with flowers. Often flowers commit suicide on me. But I try. I like them around me and in the house. The color and the scent makes me happy. So every year, I venture out to buy some flowers and hope against hope that they will last thru the summer.

There are several vendors of flowers close by. The one we chose had so many flowers to choose from. Geraniums grow so very nicely on balconies in this town but in the past I must have chosen the wrong ones. I picked some petunias that were already in a balcony rectangular pot. So I couldn't mess that up. It contains three different colors. Then I bought two single potted geraniums and one rosemary plant. Andy selected a miniature mum type plant. That was and is enough. We have some color and something to play with.

The lady at this shop was so friendly. That isn't often the case with clerks but I think when you work around nice things you tend to be more pleasant. Just water them every morning and feed them some food once per week...and don't forget to dead head. Huh????

Here is a look at some of the pretty things they have at this plant nursery.

Finally these houses show a look at the old and the new in Sicily. They are on the grounds of this plant nursery. I like both of these looks.

Good luck to me and my new plants and I shall go forth now and learn about dead heading!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

UEFA Champions

The Rossoneri captured the UEFA Champion League title last night by defeating Liverpool from England (2-1). I was rooting for Liverpool. A Cyber friend's Dad was hoping Liverpool would win this match and I was supporting him.

Lot's of tifosi cheering in the streets here after this match. Car and motorino horns honking, beating of drums and voices chanting and singing victory songs. It can be annoying at 11PM in the night, but I was happy to hear all of this. There isn't much to be cheering about in this world lately, so they can revel all they want.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


When still living in the USA my Sicilian sister in law used to chastise me for not washing meat before cooking it. Well those folks who I learned to cook from (mainly my parents and at friend's homes) never washed meat. They may have done this to chicken, but I had never seen anyone wash off a roast or a steak. I asked my boss who just happened to be a doctor from Ireland, if he thought washing meat was a good idea. He replied that the water you might use just may have more bacteria than the meat and you were going to kill off any bacteria in the cooking. I now believe he is right about the water.

There is a fountain in town that folks can go and fill er up. Lately, it looks like that bench beside the water tap is a good thing, as it just may take awhile. Personally, I do not use this water. From time to time it has been shut off as not potable. This cautions me not to use it at any time. But I am told that this water is perfectly healthy and checked at reasonable intervals by the health department.
Water coming into the home through the taps has had issues in the past. (This might be a good reason not to wash the roast???) It definitely is not drinkable. So we have three types of bottled water. Andy's, general use water and mine
My brand is VitaSnella. It has a low sodium count and my doctor said it was good. I listen to him. I know this is an expensive water but age has its privileges and I am getting old.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bread and Butter Pickles

The 79 cent a kilo veggie store had cukes on Monday, so I went wild and bought alot of them to make these pickles. I was all out of the ones I made last year. They are so good used in chicken and ham salad mixtures. They are so good eaten right out of the jar.

I have given jars of these pickles away in past years but now I give the recipe.

Bread and Butter Pickles

4 qts sliced cucumbers

1/2 cup salt

Ice Cubes

2 qts sliced onions

1 qt vinegar

4 cups sugar

1T celery seeds

2T mustard seeds

1T ginger

1T turmeric

Stir salt into thinly sliced cukes and cover with ice cubes. Let sit for 3 to 4 hours until slices are crisp and cold. Change ice as it melts. Drain and add onions.

Combine remaining ingredients bringing quickly to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.

Add cukes and onions and bring to boiling point. Pack at once into hot jars. Process in boiling water for 30 minutes.

Makes 8 pints.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Feature

This is the place to go for all your hair and cosmetic needs. Principato and Bonanno has three stores but this week we feature the original store. It is the place where everybody knows your name and you are pleasantly greeted by the owners and their staff.

My husband goes here to purchase supplies for his barber shop. It has everything you might need for barbers and beauticians. It is also open to the public.

Italy is well known for its designer perfumes and cosmetics. They are ALL here.
The store also carries products from other countries. My daughter loves Avral from Switzerland, Kenzo perfumes and Shiseido from Japan. This all started from P&B samples.

There is an area for sun products. My favorite is Collistar. Even the window treatments are nice to look at.

The new shop is 10 times as large as this one. But that will be another Friday Feature. It is important to start with this one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Winner Is.....

This is our new Mayor. I believe he got over 60% of the votes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 15...Birthday Time

Today we have a birthday in the family. My granddaughter turns 14. I bet she is happy about that. I am happy and I am also not so happy. I think grandmother's would like their grand kids to stay little abit longer.

This girl is a special one. She is savvy, strong, subtle, super, striking, symmetrical, SMART, (did I mention stunning...and SMART), skillful, stubborn, surprising and sympathetic (at least to animals).

She is everything I like. If I were 14, I hope she would be my friend. I love being her grandmother.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day


Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday Feature

Oliveri has many things to offer tourists and one is an ancient Castello of Arab design. I should know more about this place but I have not researched it. Years ago the castle was occupied by a Barron and he employed local towns folk to care for the farm and winery. The castle property included a vineyard, lemon groves and farm land growing produce.

(Thanks to Alessandro Governali for this photo of the Castle).

Today the castle has become a place for tourism and events. Wedding receptions are held there. Couples utilize the gardens for wedding photographs. Many of the out buildings have been refurbished for tourists lodgings.

We took a walk through the gardens to take some pictures. There is a listing of No Entry....but we wandered in and no one chased us out. There are a couple of massive trees. Andy stands in front of one of them to show it's size. In the summer the flowers and pathways create a fairyland.

For more information about rentals:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Three Guys from Nicosia

Last year when I was on a *gita to Nicosia I took photos of these three guys. One is a **Fratello at the local Monastery, one makes chairs and the third guy tends sheep.

They all look pretty happy to me and I don't think this is a pose for the photograph. Happy in your life isn't always an easy thing. Life there did not look complicated....just the simple everyday stuff. Is there a lesson here?



Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Strawberry Picking

A friend of mine (in the USA) is visiting her granddaughter (lucky her). They are going strawberry picking today. Aren't grandkids fun. Here is a picture of my Italian friend's granddaughter picking strawberries from her personal strawberry patch. Her grandfather (nonno) planted these just for her. She comes out and picks them everday after school.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Chill out

As good time as any to have a *CHILL* day. Put your feet up with a cup of coffee and read those Sunday papers. Watch your favorite sports game on TV. Are the Red Sox playing? Juventus plays this evening. Better our sock monkey friend says..have a BANANA!

Or for more banana entertainment go here...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday Feature

Da Vincenzo's is a mighty fine place to eat. Our friends and tourists are always directed to this place when they ask for a restaurant that has good food and good prices. It is located just outside the Falcone/Oliveri exit ramp from the autostrada, on Via Nazionale. Truckers stop here and the portions are designed with those big appetites in mind.

There is absolutely nothing negative about this place. Wait...just is closed on Sunday!