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

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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