Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ancora un' anno

It is that time again to re contract the marriage. We have been celebrating ...including this year, 28 years of matrimony. So, first thing this morning over a cup of coffee we decided to go for another year. This year's contract says more couple time. More doing things together. I wonder if that means I'll be watching more soccer games and singing Napoli songs? Or maybe Andy will learn how to knit socks and go on more gita's? We will find the way.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Feature

One box of yarn arrived this morning and another will be arriving in a couple weeks. I knit socks for my family and many of them get a new pair every Christmas. I ordered plain yarn to get a bit creative by mixing the self striping yarn with the plain. I am anxious to get started with this box of wool. First I must finish the ones I currently have on the needles. I have three pairs made plus the pair I made for myself out of yarn a dear friend sent to me for my birthday. She picked the right colors as I am into browns this year.

Leftover yarn is used for charity socks knitting. I donate these to a grab bag type table at the Falcone Fair next month. All of them are kid size. Proceeds go to Caritas House.

There is a yarn shop in town and one in the next town. They do not carry the type of yarn I use. I order from an online site in Germany*. It has English translation, so that makes it easy for me. Funny that most of the yarn I buy is made in Italy, but not offered around here. My yarn store friend in RI told me of visiting Italy and being so disappointed in the lack of yarn available.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I am still learning about the blogging social circles, but this month I have received two awards. They are heartfelt awards and I am humbled by them. Thank you Anne in Oxfordshire and David at witnessing am i .
Here is what David wrote about my blog.
<Respiri Di Vita Sharon's blog is a warm and interesting collection of old and new, universal and intimate. I love to read her take on life in Sicily and you can just tell, in each post, that this woman is nice. And she is "pleasing, agreeable," very nice indeed in all her comments too.>
You are both nice and kind to award these to me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


When you participate in any milestone of another's life you will be rewarded with a small gift. A young lady presented me with a thank you and announcement of her college graduation with the above gift. I did very little to assist in HER accomplishment. My part was to help with her English skills. She had them, I just gave support.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Feature

We had company for lunch so I headed over to the bread shop to buy fresh bread. Can't get any fresher than right out of the oven. I asked the lady if I could take a few photos and she invited me into the rear of the shop. They were just taking bread out of the oven. Too bad they don't have Internet smells 'cause this was bread heaven.

It isn't often that we purchase bread as it is a one of those things we have given up on our diet. I do go here to purchase flour. I surmise that the bakery flour has a greater turn over than the store packaged stuff.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sicily Guide Visited

Sicily isn't that large and the part we were going to travel to meet up with MariaGrazia from Sicily Guide , should have taken only 30 to 35 minutes. We planned to meet up around 1:30PM and we never got there until 2PM. My directions from an Internet map site were horrid. Asking directions along the way did not fare much better. We must have stopped 6 times and got six different sets of directions. But we carried on and met up with MariaGrazia and her Mom Lilliana.

It was definitely worth the trip, and we got to see lots of the countryside in the Milazzo area before reaching Pace de Mela. MariaGrazia is a striking and youthful woman. She has lots of energy and lots of talent. Talking with both mother and daughter, I suspect she gets her energy and sense of adventure from her Mother. We did not meet her Dad so I won't say he doesn't factor into this as well. Maria is forthcoming about herself in a quiet way. I believe she is a very understated person. There is alot more to her than meets the eye.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Poultry Section

What kind of a meal would you prepare with this?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tuna celebration

Tuna and the tuna fishing industry was celebrated in Oliveri Saturday evening and will continue tonight..Sunday September 16. The restored fishing boat was a feature but I think most came for the free tuna that was served up by local folks in the fishing industry. Years past there was a tuna factory in this town and it was on these grounds that this event took place. The canning factory has since been converted to a vacation resort. It was a delightful event. Very well planned and orderly.

Insides of restored Tuna Fishing Boat
Converted Tuna Factory into Resort

Many hours of preparation took place before this event. This careful planning was a vital contribution to it's success. During the day of the event, big screens were hoisted to show old footage of tuna fishing, the cooking areas, display areas, staging for the entertainment and cleaning of the area besides carving of the tuna fish was all accomplished by volunteers.

Volunteers prepare the cooking area

Stage and Big Screen

Carving the tuna

Besides enjoying a delicious plate of tuna and bread ..there were several exhibits. Some were local restaurant specialities featuring tuna. Another was a booth that featured tuna preserves. Along the grounds were implements used on the old tuna boats along with a photo gallery of the men and boats in the hey day of Oliveri's tuna fishing industry.

Restaurant displays

Filming of a display booth

Antique Tuna Industry Tools

There was a long line of folks waiting to be served a plate of tuna plus bread but it moved along swiftly and orderly. (Yes, it really did!) It was worth the wait. It was very light tasting. Again local volunteers served the guests.

Line waiting for Tuna

Volunteer servers

Generous plate of tuna

Included with all the above was a pleasing show featuring SuperLinea band and performers.

Special thanks to Giusy LaBella and her volunteers for a wonderful event!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Quick recipes #6 and #7

Baked salmon and a lovely lemon sauce complete one week of easy and quick recipes. We love salmon and it is good for you. Some local folks claim it is dry eating but with this sauce it is far from dry.

For the salmon(recipe 6) all you need is to preheat an oven to 350°F and cook the fish for 20 minutes. I place my salmon steaks onto parchment paper and don't add oil. If you like you can lightly spray a baking sheet and place the salmon onto the pan. No need to flip the fish.

For the sauce (recipe 7)

olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

4T lemon juice

2 T capers

1 t lemon pepper seasoning

4 oz yogurt

Heat oil in saucepan and add garlic, cooking for one minute. Reduce the heat to low and add lemon juice, capers and lemon pepper seasoning and cook for 5 minutes. Add yogurt and heat thru without bringing to a boil.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quick and super easy recipe #5

This recipe is a kin to no cookin'- cooking! A close cousin. It can be an appetizer or a side dish. All you need is fresh tomatoes, pesto sauce, parmigiana cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Spread pesto on top of each slice. How much pesto? Spread to your liking. I know that many jars of pesto have cheese mixed in but I add grated parmigiana on top of the pesto and drizzle with olive oil.

Put under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes. Presto PESTO!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quick recipe #4

So, I asked my daughter like hummus? Why don't you make your own?? She even repeated this to her girlfriend and laughed about the time it would take her to make this verses buying it over the deli counter.

Well it can be easy to make at home. It doesn't have to start with the dry bean. We have the time and we have the dry beans so that is how it is made in my home. When you make it at home you can add lots of different ingredients. I usually make it the standard way without the parsley. I have something against parsley. I should give it another chance. I do add hot pepper and since we don't have the tahini I substitute with a large tablespoon of peanut butter.


1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

additional suggestions---hot pepper, carrots, parsley

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Now that is pretty easy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Quick recipe #3

The recipe today is English Lemon Cake with twist of Italy. I admit making this cake from scratch but I have an idea that I think will work for a quick dessert. This cake calls for the juice of one large lemon. The day I made it I did not have any lemons in the house and decided to spice it up with limoncello. Delicious.

My idea is to purchase a pound cake and warm it up a bit in a microwave oven. As soon as you take it out poke holes into the top of the cake and pour over the top as much limoncello as you want. I think 1/2 a glass of the stuff would be fine for a pound cake. Let it cool and serve. How about a little limoncello to wash it down????

If you want to make your own cake here is the recipe.

English Lemon Cake
1 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Juice of 1 large lemon
grated rind of 1/2 lemon (or just use the limoncello)
1/3 cup sugar
Oven temp 350°F
Grease standard size loaf pan
Cream sugar with butter. Add eggs one at a time beating in well till mixture is light and fluffy.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Add dry ingredients to first mixture alternating with milk, beating in well. Pour into pan and cook 45 minutes.

Mix sugar, lemon juice and rind and heat in small sauce pan till dissolved. Pour over cake while cake is hot. Let cool to room temperature.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Quick recipe #2

This is an antipasto or a side dish made with three ingredients.

1 large eggplant

4 or 5 tomatoes

fresh mozzarella (I used bocconcini)


Slice the eggplant into 1/8 th inch slices. You can salt and drain but this is probably not necessary. Heat up a grill pan and place the slices onto the pan, dry. Turn and cook thru. This is all the cooking in this recipe.

Place the eggplant onto a platter, covering with diced tomatoes. You want the best tomatoes you can find. Top with sliced mozzarella and season. Looks like someone over did the oregano in my picture. Never mind it will all be mixed up on your plate. Do drizzle olive oil on the top. This is where the extra virgin olive oil is best used.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Quick food recipes

All my posts this week will be recipes for quick cooking but good taste. Eggs are a good food that had gotten a bad name. We eat lots of eggs and are lucky to have them delivered to our door straight from the farm.

Here is an easy recipe for fried/poached eggs.


olive oil or butter



non stick skillet

Heat up your skillet, then add oil or butter, your choice. Break eggs and add to skillet and wait one minute until the eggs are set up. I like to salt and pepper them now. Add about 2/3 cup of water to the skillet and cover immediately. Continue to cook for 4 minutes. Done!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Feature

September 7th is the Feast day for the Madonna Nera of Tindari. This sanctuary sits just above Oliveri. The site of the sanctuary is something remembered by anyone who has visited here. Today the faithful from miles around are walking to pay respects to this black Madonna. She is said to award miracles. It is not unusual for groups to be walking up the mountain road barefoot. One year I was invited by a group of women from this town to make the trek. We walked up the national road and it took us one hour. Some in our group did walk barefoot. It was an interesting experience and we brought along baskets of food to share breakfast after the religious service.

There is even a group on horseback in town ready to gallop up the mountain tonight for the festivities. We will be watching the fireworks that always mark the days end of these feast occasions from this town.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sicilian Lives

This summer I have read two books about the western part of Sicily. Midnight in Sicily was the first one. This book led me to Palermo and to Guttoso and the Vuccaria and to Letizia Battaglia*. It is a book about the trial of Giulio Andreotti and the past leading up to this trial. I absolutely loved this book. It was on loan to me and I shall buy my own.

The second book is Sicilian Lives by Danilo Dolci. By looking at the cover I know my family will be reminded of my mother in law. I placed the red pepper on the corner...I don't know why but I think it belongs there. Danilo Dolci is also known as the Sicilian Gandhi. You can read more about him by going here.**

The book is a series of chapter stories told to Dolci by Sicilian men and a few women. The time was in the 1950's. I read this book like an animal...rushing myself page after page. I will go back and reread it taking my time. After each chapter I would talk with my husband or my friend Angela about the contents. Always...without fail I was told..yes, that is how it was here as well. My friend Angela was in tears one day describing how hard her mother had worked for so little. She wishes her mother was alive today to have life easier. Owning 1/4 of a cow...traveling many kilometers outside of town for a day's work...waiting and waiting and waiting for the overseer to give you the pay you have earned only to find it less than you were promised.

Some of the ideas against banding together as in organizing the work force opened my eyes to the way men work in this town. Also, the politics and getting out the vote have not traveled far from the 50's. Most of the chapters were the stories of men with only a few told by women. The conditions of western and I imagine most of Sicily at that time are compared to Calcutta in India. I think it must compare with Appalachia....only worse.

*Letizia Battaglia can be tagged with many labels – photographer, political activist, feminist, environmentalist – none of which adequately convey who she is. Since the 1970s Battaglia has been documenting life in her native Sicily – its tragedies and violence, its stoicism and dignity. Rarely has an artist been bestowed with such an appropriate name: Letizia means joy, Battaglia means battle, and these two poles define the emotional territory that her work inhabits. While she started out as a photojournalist, Battaglia transcends the confines of that field and imbues every image with a timeless nobility and humanity. For several years she stopped taking pictures and officially entered the world of politics, standing for election and serving on the city council. She was instrumental in saving and reviving the historic center of Palermo, established her own publishing house and is deeply involved in working for the rights of women and, most recently, prisoners.