Tuesday, October 27, 2009

P. Diddy Performance at Versace Show at OI Fashion Rocks in RIO

This past weekend, all the who's who in FASHION were in Rio for the OI FASHION ROCKS. OI, a leading telecommunication company was the sponsor for the show at The Jockey Club in Rio, (site of Casa Cors this year also).  The following video of P. Diddy (Puff Daddy, Sean Combs) is shared here to show what a performance he can put on. Incredible.  On the way home to New York we caught up for a quick photo with my friend Laura.

The following, thanks to Fashion Windows Network:
Diddy Performance at Versace Show

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta, Onion, Garlic

Truly, one of my favorite lunches was on Crete; in a breathtaking little Grecian village:  we wandered down from the (flower-power hippie/nude) beaches and caves of Matala  and ordered this egg and spinach plate- sat under an umbrella and enjoyed  - I don't remember what we called it, or what those handsome Greek gods called it, all I know is that it's the bomb, and we probably ate  for lunch - 2 weeks straight!  A brief sidenote on Matala, Crete: Matala was chosen in late sixties by the "flowers' children" to become their "paradise on earth". Although is not likely to meet hippies any more, Matala still carries an aura of libery and "flower flavor".  The most beautiful beach in the world - still to this day, for me.  I was there in 1975! Let's go back and each spinach pie!

Allora, the recipe (as of) today:
I decided to wilt the fresh (2cups) of spinach with freshly sautéed (in olive oil/balsamic) ,chopped  mayan (sweet) onion and some garlic, first.
While the spinach is wilting, brown up some beautiful Pancetta and drain.
Preheat oven to 350, and spray a small cast iron pan with PAM.  
Place one piece of very thin swiss cheese in bottom, layer on the mixture of spinach, sprinkle on that perfectly-browned Pancetta, then break 2 eggs into the 'nest' of spinach .
I ground some fresh pepper/good french salt on top, then added one more  thin slice of Swiss, topped with a bit of Tarragon.  Bake for 20 minutes - check after 18 minutes - eggs should be firm, not hard! 

2 organic fresh eggs
2 cups of fresh spinach (from the Farmer's Market if possible: Local FOOD!)
2 T of Tarragon
2 T of EVOO
1 T of Modena Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c. Pancetta (optional)
1 large sweet Mayan onion sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, pressed, into the carmelizing  Mayan onion
Freshly ground pepper and good french salt

Do enjoy - it is incredible!! For vegetarians, you certainly may leave out the Pancetta...still delicious!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Escarole and Cannellini Soup

Craving it. Just do it.  On the weekend, I bought same very, very fresh Escarole, and had about 1/2 lb of cannellini from Milan.  Dying for that Tuscan Soup, starting to feel the Virginia fall here at the farm, although the afternoon sun is still hot on the skin, it definitely cools in the evening.  The  first time I tasted Escarole and Cannellini Sopa was at Macaluso's in South Beach on Alton Road - about 8 years ago. It was incredible: garlic, beans, escarole, broth, parmigiano reggiano.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons very good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large carrot, cut into small dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
  • 3 cups (packed) 1-inch pieces escarole (about 1/2 large head)
  • 4 cups of homemade chicken broth - (NOTE: you could use canned...but why...just plan ahead, and bake a chicken the night before..)
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked Cannellini beans 
  • 5 long thin beautiful slices of the best-you-can-afford ParmIgiano -Reggiano formaggio

Saute up the onion, carrot and garlic in the olive oil: 4 min. on med-low
Add in the Escarole (that you have already wilted in a bit of simmered hot water for 5 min)
Remove the garlic.
Add in the 4 cups of broth, and the beans.
Simmer for 20 mins.
Put those gorgeous slices of formaggio in the bottom of the soup bowl, and divvy up:
Top with another slice of the P.R. if desired: Serve!!!


If you'll notice, the wine of the night was a deep, velvety Malbec, ESTIBA-I from Argentina...I'll be sourcing this to see if we can buy it here in the states...yes it was that good!   Meanwhile, enjoy the moment and look at this hearty, yet not too heavy, soup for the beginning of fall!

Making the Food and Farm Connection at the PEC Annual Meeting

The Piedmont Environmental Council's Annual Meeting this month focused on making the food and farm connection in Virginia's Piedmont.
Workshops included: What's in the Conway River; Energy Smart Solutions; The Route 29 Solution; Cultivating the Next Generation of Farmers; Ask the Experts; Protecting Your Farm: Conservation Easements 101; Camera Capture: Documenting the Wildlife Around You; Illustrating the Piedmont Vision; Sustaining a Community Food System; and, Chesapeake Bay Restoration. I attended Cultivating the Next Generation of Farmers. This panel was young, vibrant, and very energetic with regards to growing not only vegetables, but farmers.
My largest inspiration came from Trista Scheuerlein,Program Director for the Headwaters/Public Schools Farm-to-Table program. Their mission is to teach kids in Piedmont public schools how to prepare, plant, seed, and nourish gardens with the final reward of taking home the fresh vegetables and fruits they produced. Another workshop I attended included Janet L. Bearden, Project Director of a new project for a multi-use Cannery in Madison County. Really interesting concept that will be not-for-profit, but will support the food needs of the Piedmont, and offer a place for residents to process their produce. Write to beardenjanet@hotmail.com for more info on this brave project.
Firnew Farm, the beautiful location, has quite the history; in 1812 John Fitzhugh Conway, a cousin of James Madison, built a five-room house on a beautiful knoll by the Conway River. Today, the original Federal house provides the central structure of a much larger home, which incorporates an old winter kitchen with warming oven and exposed wall. Firnew is protected in perpetuity under a conservation easement. Conservation awards were presented to Trish Crowe, Nick Kotz and Kathleen Kilpatrick. A special award was presented to Jack Snyder of Orange County for his efforts to have more than 700 acres of Montpelier placed in conservation easement.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Grand Finale for a visit to Venice!

Recently, returning from a 12 day cruise, on the decadent Oceania's Insignia, we arrived in Venice, for our final day, and overnight.  There are a couple of very fine details about making Venice one of your favorite destinations.  The finest detail, is at the end of your journey. Whether you are disembarking from a cruise (in my case), or leaving your hotel, the preferable choice of transport is a WATER TAXI.  Not only is it a very efficient way to get 'out of dodge', without question, it is an exhilarating arrivederci to Italia!  Lugging luggage over the steps of St. Mark's, onto the Vaporetto, squishing into a 12" square area with your bags, and hoping to be able to hop off at the right station is not for the faint-hearted, especially after a stunning visit in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Nor is buying into the 'excursion' fare of the ship to transport you (with hundreds of others) to the airport....Don't do it to yourself!

 My driver of the day happens to be LUCCA, my very very favorite Italian name.  Lucca, at Venice Water Taxi is your man.  24hours a day...phone is +39.041.5229040...request my Lucca, but most likely any of their drivers will indulge.  The boats are superb, spotless and it's reminiscent of   a James Bond movie in a cigarette boat....with a very fine Italian flair!...AND between 4-5 people will only run  about E25 each with a generous gratuity (read: lots of luggage:   5 girls and 12 days...madonna!!!)  I had to attach a photo of Angie from Marbella, feeling quite smug about the whole moment!  Bacione , Venezia!

Another little detail of making the most of your visit, is planning a very early visit to  St. Mark's Square. Once that's done before the crowds (that would be by 10am),  spend time over in Accademia, visiting the museums (Galleria dell' Accademia is full of top art from the Venetian Renaissance), enjoying dinner at one of the many local osterie or trattorie, one of my long-time favorites is Trattoria Ai Cugnai at 857 Dorsoduro, which is run by 3 sister-in-laws and their sons - quite a handful, I must admit!  Buy yourself a day pass on the Vaporetto, and get out of the main areas - Venice is so full of secrets and surprises. Explore!! By the way, I'd love to hear what your favorite travel wisdom is about  Venice?

Links for this jetset wisdom tip: www.venicewatertaxi.it ,  www.veniceairport.it

Monday, September 28, 2009

Treasures of the Table Series: THE ART OF THE SALUMI

Last night was the first in the "TREASURES OF THE TABLE" series hosted by SPEAK LANGUAGE CENTER.  We had the extraordinary talent  of Mr. Chris Mattera, of Belmont Street Butchery, Richmond presenting the total lowdown on salumi.  We're voting that Chris needs his own Food Network show! Bello!! Not only were we able to taste Coppa, lardo (Lardo di Colonnata), Mortadella, Prosciutto, Rigatino (a cousin of Pancetta), Salame and Spalla, but he told us passionate tales of how he would produce these products, both in a small town in Tuscany, as well as in his shop in Richmond.

We started with a  small appetizer of Rigatino over Chicken Liver Crostini. Paired with di Leonardo "Toh!" da UVE ($11.99) from the town of Manzano in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, one of the most north-eastern regions of Italy. This "Toh" is 100% Friulano, a fuller bodied grape than the Pinot Grigios.   A crostino is a small piece of dried toast with a topping, that can range to a small dab of pesto, fish and herbs, or in this case Rigatino (similar to our bacon) on a chicken liver pate.  In my cooking school in Florence, we made beautiful crostini (plural) each day with crusts from the day before, added fresh herbs with a little protein, and that usually got our day off to a powerful start!

Mortadella was my favorite.  It is very finely textured cooked sausage, almost fragile to taste, but spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and mace and studded with cubes of creamy white pork backfat (Lardo), finished with peppercorns and pistachios.  Typically it was made in a mortar....Mortadella, sometimes known as the great-grandfather of Bologna (or Baloney).
The Bresaola was gentle tasting, but firm consistency, and paired well with the Colsanto (Rosso Umbria 2004 @ $10.99!!  For many of us, the Lardo was a bit hard to 'swallow', literally.  Salt-cured pork fatback...not to be taken in large quantities...but apparently quite often served on toast in the morning....Okay...probably not on my toast...but.the Italian Lardo is cured in caves up in Northern Tuscany, near a very good friends' home in the small farming  village of Luscignano - right in view of the Carraras.

  A visit in itself, to see the humongous caves with the huge slabs of marble, brought down by massive trucks on a small winding road...not for the faint of heart, but just the same an incredible area to explore, hike, ski.  If you're interested, a great website for home rentals in a very unspoiled area of Toscana is listed below. The first time I sat on their terrace drinking prosecco, I thought the marble was snow - it is quite a majestic sight.

We also enjoyed tasting an amazing value Lambrusco.  Emilia Romagna is home, of course to Parma and Modena (you figure this out..), so their rich frizzante Lambrusco can hold up to a variety of fairly serious salumi, prosciutti and cheeses. At $6.99, Canina Social di Gonzaga Lambrusco - very nicely priced.

One of my favorites wines for the evening, rivalling Patricia Kluges' SP Rose @ $28.00 was the Rocche Costamagna Rosao Ose Vino da Tavola 2008 @ 9.99,  perfectly paired with the sweet (La Chinata) Paprika Coppa (a smaller capicola).

  Christina Ball, the owner/director of SPEAK Language Center  has moved into roomy quarters in the Glass Building in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia to provide her language students a beautiful setting  - which definitely doesn't hurt the learning!  Attendance has flourished!  But, what makes SPEAK so exceptional is Christina.  More about Ms. Ball in another post! But in the sharing,  she also invites her students and guests to attend cultural  venues -usually on the weekends. This allows students  of all languages to come together, for a bit of a social, a bit of a chat, (in the language of your choice since almost all of the instructors attend) and always a bit of an innovative wine-pairing with Robert Harlee of MARKET STREET WINESHOP & GROCERY, also in Charlottesville.  Cannot wait for the next Treasure from Christina, pictured far left....I hear it goes with the La Chinata Paprika from Spain....Manchego? Spero di si!

Contact Robert, the owner of the Market Street Wineshop to order any of the wines at wineshop@cstone.net.  Other links from this article:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Orca doing Backstroke in the Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada

Photo and video credit  of HT.

Who says you must go to Alaska or South America to whalewatch.  Just off the beautiful terraces of my friend's home in Pender Island, the Orcas come to play. Not just once in a while - often.  This becomes the favorite 'happy hour' of each day very quickly, in fact, no matter what the day holds - hiking, Victoria, going to the market, you must get home by dusk to watch for the friends that Helen has.  For those of you not familiar with Pender Island - it can be reached by seaplane in a short 45 minutes from Vancouver, and is located very close to the (more) famous Salt Spring Island.  This is somewhere to live for your soul. It is breathtaking, quiet, simple and surprisingly, very Mediterranean in climate. Pack your bags! September is one of the finest months! And I hear the Canadian dollar is not too shabby.
See the backstroke here on youtube  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW4f7yuNLqI

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fiona Sails the Northwest Passage in 2009: Back from the Ice

This just in from none other than Russ, sometime Team Member of jetset WISDOM, back from  his sail. Incredible experience, and jetset ting up and around the top of our continent on the FIONA. Bravo Russ and welcome home!
Fiona Sails the Northwest Passage in 2009: Back from the Ice

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ken Paves & j e t s e t WISDOM in 30 minutes on our Rio flight

Last week I loved shooting the spectacular scenery flying into Rio. But, life only gets better - especially with this jetset moment.  Well today, with thanks to Ken Pavés,  I had the absolute thrill of a lifetime .... getting my bangs trimmed a la Ken (also left-handed) but god, my scissors left an awful lot to be desired...he suggested we do a 'waiver' on the quality. I'm not sure Oprah would approve.... Nonetheless, if this isn't the epitomy of  what Jetset Wisdom is all about..seizing the moment!....Ken is one of the loveliest men I've met - charming, funny, very handsome, and then...he  just ran with what started out to be a bit of a joke, considering he cannot 'carry' his magic (scissors) with him on board.   My scissors, well, that's another story! Here is an article that I found on Oprah.com. It just shows how elegant this man from Michigan really is:  http://www.oprah.com/article/style/hair/beauty_hhair_ken

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eating in a Farmers' Field

Today is the day.  The "Italian Girls" are off to dine in a farmers' field - with Outstanding in the Field....more later - very excited!    www.outstandinginthefield.com 

Espressioni Idiomatiche Italiane/ Italian Idiom

Ok - this is a good one:
What do you think this means?

(Avere) Ho ben altro da fare.

Answer tomorrow - Italophiles, let's hear what you think this may mean???
Great tries!
Avere ben' altro da fare - technically means 'to have better/other things of doing
But the idiom is  

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Flying over Brazil - God's Country!

To start off the Labor Day Weekend right, I flew from Sao Paulo to Rio! Dying for shots of the Atlantic Forest, I was able to take in some great sites.  Albeit with an aircraft window between me and the subject matters, I did enhance and play with most of the photos, but I think you will agree - this is GOD's Country -how beautiful and sacred! Hope you enjoy!
And, please, when you have a moment here is the link   :atlanticforest.org/

Simplifying CURRY!

In celebration of being at Ca'del Bosco for 5 days, I tested out a very basic CURRY Recipe, and continued to make a delicious Vegetable Curry from my vegetables from assorted neighborly gardens. My favorite book, right now, is from the owners of MASALA ZONE  in London. This is one of my favorite Indian restaurants, so I was thrilled to receive this from one of my best foodie friends, Adam.  It's called "50 Great Curries of India", and, I must admit, a bit daunting, in a wonderful, creative way. However, that's why it's important to start simple. And get the basics down. Camilla Panjabi offers lots of great direction  in her book. Key is to carmelize the onions properly because once you start adding in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek (my addition) and curry powder, with of course, garam masala and paprika (I used my Spanish La Chinata Pimenta versio), it becomes almost a 'paste of onions' See my photo,  it looks incredible: Add a cup of water to the 'paste' and cook for 10 mintues. After that you can add in a couple of fresh diced tomatoes or a  can of Muir Diced and let it simmer and mix in for about 5 minutes.  Then the fun begins.  Add in your choice of vegetables:  I chose fresh potatoes from the garden (quartered and parboiled), squash, corn,and chick peas.  All diced to a bite-size.  I also added 2 cups of vegetable broth (from cooking the potatoes for about 15 minutes).  I brought this all to a boil, then let this simmer for about 1/2 an hour. At the same time, I made Jasmine rice.  Serve this beautifully seasoned curry over the rice and garnish with lots of fresh cilantro!  You've made your own first, healthy curry! I made enough to freeze 3 servings to bring to work!

4 T. OIL
1 LARGE Onion sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 sq of fresh Ginger (I only had the the l&Perrins root ginger)
3/4 t Coriander powder
a pinch of Turmeric
1/4 t. cumin powder
2 t. garam masala
1 t. paprika
2 tomatoes
chopped Cilantro leaves for Garnish
Mixed diced fresh vegetables: Squash, corn, potatoes, carrots
1 can of Chick peas
---------***** ENJOY!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sabado Festa on A. Franca at the Franca Luncheonette!

Ok, so I didn't make it too far today to explore the Mercado in Sao Paulo, or lunch at Tent of the Nile (there's always next week...this time with my camera!) but this Saturday afternoon, and apparently says the owner, EVERY Saturday afternoon, on the corner of A.Franca, a few blocks from Jardin - a neighborhood get together - everyone drinking large Brahma Cerveja - grilling all kinds of meats, right on the sidewalk of a hectic busy street - just in front of the Franca Luncheonette. Party ON! They were having so much good fun, laughing, chatting, Samba music blaring at 4:00 in the afternoon. The food smelled out of this world - an outdoor BBQ Brazilian style - Braselieros - they get it! It's on my calendar for September!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A pantry in Rural Virginia with an International Grocery List

Truth be known, it's a deliciously bad habit:  arriving at a new destination, even an old destination, and craving to get into the sync or the drum of the local gourmet food shopper.  That's it; shopping with the locals, be it a small neighborhood market on Saturdays in Paris' Algerian area, a big grocery chain store in Milano, or walking down 3 blocks to my favorite Jardin grocery, Pão de Açúcar (sweet bread)....It is what it is. Awesome.
All I know, is that the growing pantry in my farmhouse in Rural Virginia is probably, well, I hate to say it....quite enviable.  Case in point, I had family visiting from Canada last week; the one and only  potential foodie was kidding..."oh wow... let me see...bold coffee beans from (of course) Brazil, French (salted) butter from Brittany, earthy olive oil from an agriturismo in Umbria,Italy, clean strong mustard from Paris (no, not Grey Poupon...Aroma.), anchovies from Argentina, paprika from Madrid, etc. etc. -I would love to have this in my kitchen, as would my Mom" she confides with a grin. I said," but as long as you take on TRAVEL with a vengeance, you can!!!! "
But that's my gift. That's what we GET out of flying all night long, with 200+ people for 9+ hours.  We get to grocery shop. And then bring it on home and cook with our prized harvest.  Sadly, every single 'stewardess' does not cook, but when we do - we can raise the bar on any menu! With our declining US $$,  It definitely beats buying a pair of sexy sandals for 135Euro. I'm not saying that doesn't ever happen, but this soaking up the local is right up there with taking photos of sunsets from the rooftop of Hotel Unique in Sampa, Brasil, after a Caiparoshka with Lychee, as your 'take home, or take away'..  
A home version, case in point, would be this photo of the groceries from my last MIlano trip, with the Kitchen Kitty Lacy - definitely more excited than I (maybe she knew I'd be home cooking for a few days). I was very sad, this was my last trip to Milano for a while.....and I had just received my frequent shopper card at Esselunga!!  Che peccato!