Life Long Passion for Food Part 4: Pasta Fagiole Recipe

Due to a request on my previous post about Italian food and specifically Pasta Fagioli, this post is about how to make the soup.  I wrote about a funny anecdote about Ron first tasting pasta fagioli at my mom’s place. There is more. We stayed at my mom’s that night and the next morning, my mom asked us what we wanted for breakfast. Ron says “Do you have anymore of that soup left?”. I about fell over. Did my mom ever love that! And of course she had some soup because she cooks for a gazillion! At that point, I knew that if Ron and I split up, my mom would go with him. read...

Life Long Passion for Food Part 3: Abruzzo

In my last post, I mentioned my Italian mother. My grandparents came from the Abruzzo region of Italy. It’s a region to the east of Rome and part of the region borders the Adriatic Sea. My grandparents were from the mountains in Abruzzo, a little town called Castel Di Sangro. Italy has many different regions and many have their own dialect and their own food traditions. For us, it was making sauce with different kinds of meat for a very rich, deeply flavored sauce, cavatilles (also known as gnocchi), pasta fagioli, Italian wedding soup, scamorza (a cheese similar to French Raclette), ricotta cheese pie, and Italian Wedding Cake. I can’t forget biscotti either! read...

Life Long Passion for Food Part 2

In my previous post, I talked about getting started cooking. In this one, I’ll continue on with my lessons from mom. My mom was one of the cooks in the family. Her sister, Aunt Louise, was not.  Aunt Louise cooked but she did it out of necessity. Mom enjoyed cooking and loved to feed people who came over. We always had chops, cubed steaks, and ground meat. My aunt had a drapery shop. Between the decorators, workmen and sometimes clients, they would often get some venison too. I grew up eating lamb, pork, and beef. We ate liver and onions which I still love but rarely eat anymore (more on this later). read...

Nature or the Cacophony of Man?

One weekday morning a few weeks ago, I went out on the deck to have coffee. I sat and closed my eyes. And the following came to mind about the experience. “As the wind brushed across my face, hair began to tickle my cheek. My body was enveloped in the warmth of the morning sun. Birds twittered and chirped. Soon the world awoke. Man made noises soon overwhelm the sounds of nature leaving only the soft touch of the wind and the warmth of the sun to sing the song of nature.” j.case I had done this a few years ago but I had done it on a Sunday morning and the difference was that nature prevailed. I wrote a blog about meditating with the wind. The sounds of nature were more prevalent and man made drumming interrupted for a bit but faded away. It’s the quieter times I cherish, the times when nature comes through more insistently. read...

Are Judgments Just Recycled Thoughts?

I work on watching my thoughts most of the time, especially judgments. I find it interesting that Wikepedia defines Judgment as the evaluation of evidence to make a decision. My husband, Ron, and I had gone to a party a couple of months ago. I didn’t realize how much I had been watching my thoughts. I felt really good about it because I was catching myself on things. Yet what startled me was the automatic judgments. Say what? Yes, I found myself doing these automatic judgments and I thought “whoa, where’d that come from?”.  In light of the above definition, I was evaluating what evidence to make what kind of decision?  I started paying more attention and sure enough, I caught a few more. read...

Wine Blending by Rodney Strong Vineyards – Part 2

When I entered the room, my eyes saw a sea of wine glasses. I saw 8 glasses at each place. Five of them had small amounts of blending wine along with bottles to replenish the glasses. The sixth had the Rodney Strong Symmetry wine to give us inspiration! Two were empty: a water glass and a glass for the blend. Robert Larson, the Director of Communications at Rodney Strong Vineyards, gave us the information. He spoke about the history of Rodney Strong from his dance career to founding Windsor Winery to starting his own winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards. Rodney also saw great potential in certain acreage in Sonoma County, one being Chalk Hill which eventually became the Chalk Hill Appellation. read...

Do You Know How to Blend?

So what is a blend? According to the free dictionary, a blend is “to combine or mix so that the constituent parts are indistinguishable from one another” or “to combine or mix so that the constituent parts are indistinguishable from one another”. And in this case, I am referring to blending wines. Will it be smooth and easy for a nice lamb dish? Or sturdy and vibrant for steak or spicy dish like Cajun meatloaf or flavorful Indian dish? Or fruity with some toast to create a dynamic  Chardonnay? Are there rules for blending? Or is solely a matter of what tastes best to the winemaker? What is the main purpose of blending? read...

Constructive Criticisms or Being Judgmental

A friend recently reposted a blog by a mutual friend. Her comments caught my attention since it started out with “Stupid, dumb, lazy, retarded…” (What’s that tell you about me? ) I continued to read which lead to reading the blog about people who criticize others for not using words like their, there, they’re in the proper context or using its and it’s incorrectly. These criticizers appear to also assume the writer is stupid or lazy or lacks education when, in fact, it’s a function of the way their brain works. They are dyslexics and I’m married to one. (Which may explain to many old friends why he married me!) read...

Poetry Writing: Good for Immune Boosting?

When I can, I do hospice work with Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association. They do in home hospice and hospice in board and care facilities as well as nurse services. Volunteers attend a 8 week class. You learn the best ways to interact with with the patients and what to expect. It teaches you far more than you can even imagine. Once a year they have a retreat and I went this year. It’s at a beach home and it’s a lovely time of getting the soul nourished. This year they had a Registered Poet Therapist. I didn’t even know there was such a category. Her name is Dr. Perie Longo and she is amazing. She gave a great talk and did some poetry reading for caregivers. She also taught us exercises on how to write as caregivers. read...