Kitten update

Buona domenica everyone! Pretty weather here for the foreseeable future. This is more like the Umbrian summer I know. Although I will say there is always a hot spell or two. Now highs are in the upper 20s or around mid-80s Fahrenheit. No rain in sight and it is REALLY dry. I’d love to see a good steady rain. Maybe the vintners wouldn’t since the harvest has started and too much rain at harvest is not good.

The kitten saga continues. Mostly good news. The tiny first litter that seemed to disappear was rescued. These babies were too small to eat on their own. There were six and all are doing well after talking to the people around here. The kittens I saw in the last post are doing well. There are three. We are calling them Braveheart, Tippy, and Loony. The first name will stick. He is brave and tiny. And he has a heart on is side. They all have infected eyes. There’s no way we can help treat them so we hope they will heal with no ill affects. We alternate feeding with our South African friends here. Mornings and evenings. Today I returned from my walk to see them feeding the kittens and cats. We watched the kittens after they had filled their bellies play with each other. They even came under the gate to investigate our feet. I’ve always noticed cats don’t seem to associate us with our feet. To them, feet are individual entities. Rocky, one of our cats, to this day follows our feet to the kitchen. He stares right at them as he comes along. Anyway, the feeding will continue and I think the babes and mom will do OK. I wish I knew someone who’d adopt the kittens. Their lives won’t be the best in that feral colony.

Buona domenica a tutti! 💕

Abandoned

It seems it’s always something around here. We have neighbors who let me know there is a situation behind our houses on the edge of the woodland and river path. They spotted five tiny kittens in the empty lot. No mother in sight. This is a sad, but all too common scenario. Behind us is a “sanctioned” feral cat colony. I’m not sure why it is sanctioned, but it is. There are volunteers who take turns feeding the cats. It is not only in the woods behind us, but also along the river in two or three spots. They have built shelters for them, conglomerations of bits of metal sheeting and boxes with bedding. And food dishes. Anyway, people often bring, and dump their kittens and cats thinking they will get fed.

I went out for my walk this morning and I spotted the cats. I was happy to see the Momma cat. She is so small she’s not much more than a kitten herself. She was nursing the two remaining kittens. I don’t know what happened to the other three babies. I saw no evidence of them. I had brought a plate of wet food which I feed my own cats, along with a small jar of milk. I wasn’t sure if the babies could eat solid food. Anyway, I mixed the food and the milk and slid the plate under the fence. Then backed away. The kittens ate EVERY MORSEL. They were ravenous. When I came back after my walk the kittens were playing and so cute! So I plan to go out again later with more food and milk to give them a good boost and hopefully they will survive. The mamma has access to the food someone leaves by the fence so she should be fine. Here’s a picture. Mamma is on the left.

I try to walk early, before this awful heat gets worse. I learned a new word, afa. Nice and short. It means muggy. And it describes perfectly this weather. I was even stopped along my walk by a woman complaining about the umidità. You can guess what that means!
Along the river this morning I snapped a pretty picture.

Buon Ferragosto!

Tomorrow is Ferragosto. The August holiday which is dead center of the month. The month of VACATION!! Big parties tomorrow.

This is a mundane post. I got out early since the predicted high today is 38C. That’s 100 degrees in US speak. Hot. So I was up and out before eight. I did my shopping at our local market first thing. The high summer bounty of fruits and vegetables are beautiful. It was hard to stop buying. Here are a few pics of the deliciousness to come.

Zucchini, borlotti beans, eggplant, sweet red onion, greenbeans
Every week we go through quantities of tomatoes. And I’ve not even gotten to making sauce.
What’s better than a Caprese salad when the tomatoes are at peak? This is locally made near Montone

I ran into some friends and we had a chat. Mostly about their recent vacation to Como, and the wonderful food in the market. We shared some recipes.

I didn’t only go out to shop. I wanted to get in my walk early before the heat. And like I often do, I decided to combine my walk with an errand. I had finally gotten some more charcoal and was planning to grill. I’ve got a skirt steak that I aim to make into fajitas. It was calling out for an avocado to go with it so I walked to the so-called “Egyptian” market 😁 It is owned by immigrants and I guess people think they are from Egypt so they call it the Egyptian market. I kinda doubt that. But anyway, they have things available there that cater to the immigrant communities in Umbertide and the surrounding towns. Things like cilantro. They have it reliably. And they have avocados that are perfect, and reliably good. So I make a point to get my avocados from them. So, as part of my walk I got two avocados and while there I even decided to buy four ears of corn. I’m sure it won’t be up to my standards of sweet American corn, but I want it so badly, I’ll try anything. I’m going to grill two, for a salad, and boil two, to test how good they are. I asked where they came from and he said Sicilia. I think most of their stuff comes from there.

Here is the corn. All trimmed up.

Doesn’t look so appetizing but we’ll give it a go.

On my way back, I was amused by this little grill on the sidewalk at our little corner store that sells all sorts of things for the household. The amusing part was that it said it was a barbecue “Professionale”. Right. Looks pretty flimsy for professional use!

That’s about it. I’ll try to remember to post a picture of our dinner tonight. And the corn whichever way I do it.

Ciao for now…buon Ferragosto wherever you are! 🌈

Fidelity

This is a follow-up to a post back in July. I had to go look it up. I posted on July 17. It was about the pigeons entrappolati inside the Comune building across from our house. At that point the pigeons had been trapped inside the building for five days. That means it’s been exactly a month since then. Of course, all the pigeons inside have died by now. But I was amazed that at least two lasted more than two weeks. I tried to get them rescued but it never worked out. I’ve moved on. But not so this guy.

He sits on that windowsill all day, every day. Waiting for his mate who has died inside. Of course he doesn’t know she has died. He just knows she’s inside. I looked up pigeon mating habits and, much to my surprise, I found out that they mate for life. 😢 I feel so sorry for this guy. I hope he moves on soon. I have been an unwilling spectator to this whole drama.

Hot, hot, hot

Big heat spell here right now. Temps near 100F. No rain for months. I hope Italy doesn’t have any fires. We are pretty much managing the shutters and attempting to keep the heat out in the daytime and letting the cool (if there is any!) into the house at night. We have even been using our AC during parts of the day, and at night. I dream of a cool front coming through, or a nice thunderstorm. No sign of one 👀 Sigh.

We have no trips planned for the rest of this year after our fun trip to Sardinia. It may have been a risk. But we suffered no harm. And good memories. Luther is talking of a trip to Milano in September. We shall see.

Umbria is doing very well. We haven‘t had a death in weeks. Crossing my fingers it stays like this. We have hardly any UK visitors which is very unusual, and not many US visitors either. We seem to have German, Belgian, Holland, and the Scandinavian countries.

We are now in Agosto, August, which is the big vacation month here. Businesses and government agencies shut down. Don’t even think of getting anything done in August in Italy.

Dinners and lunches are cool affairs. No baking, no roasting. If I use heat it will be to make something ahead to use in a salad at night. Or I will quick sear a thin cut of meat. Chicken cutlets are a popular choice. Or a thin steak. Last night we had a Greek salad. Tonight we had left over Greek salad in pasta served cold and chicken cutlets in pesto from my basil. We are out of charcoal but when I get more, grilling will be an option.

Hot time! Summer in the city…

Traveling to Italy – Updates
Italy began its Green Pass mandates this week. People will be required to show the pass for access to museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, sports stadiums, theme parks, indoor swimming pools, spas, gyms, and indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants. US residents can show their CDC card and it will be accepted in lieu of the Green Pass. A person can also show a negative test within 48 hours of entering one of these venues, or proof you had Covid and have recovered. As of September 1st, the Pass will be required to travel in planes, ferries, busses and long distance trains.
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Since things have gotten so bad in the US, there is talk of the EU closing travel to US travelers. Again. They say within the next two weeks they will make a decision. Today The Local, our “go to” English language online paper, had an article with the latest. I cut and pasted since there is a pay wall. (By the way, it is not at all expensive to subscribe and it is a wealth of information.)
Here is the article:
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At the moment Italy allows arrivals from the US for any reason, including tourism. But as coronavirus infection rates rise in both countries, readers have asked if and when the rules could change.
Question: We are traveling to Italy soon and are hearing rumors concerning Italy or the EU imposing new restrictions on US travelers. Do you know if and when this is likely to happen?

As the coronavirus infection rate in the United States has now risen well above the threshold for removal from Europe’s travel ‘safe list’, there has been media speculation in recent days about whether a change to the rules is imminent.

The European Commission regularly reviews its ‘safe list’ of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed, and news reports from Reuters and Bloomberg this week have cited EU officials saying rules for those arriving from the United States could be reconsidered under the next review.

After initially saying the ‘safe list’ review could come as soon as next week, the same officials have now reportedly stated that it will happen in two weeks, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The rate of new coronavirus cases in the US has risen to 270 per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The EU’s ‘safe list’ limit is 75 new cases.

The seven-day average of Covid-19 cases in the US now stands at around 100,000 per day, up from under 20,000 in June.
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Stay safe and wear your mask. Andrà tutto bene
🌈

Sardegna — Trip Report

This is a Trip Report, so skip if you’re not interested
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We decided to do a trip while the window of opportunity is open for us. Who knows how long it will last. One of the last three regions we haven’t yet visited, Sardinia, or Sardegna as the Italians call the island. It is north of Sicily and just south of Corsica in the Mediterranean. Things are not too good covid-wise in Sardegna. 2.3% RT. And they are having big wildfires on the west side of the island. Devastating the farmers. Sadly we read these fires are arson. The people who set them are firefighters who will be hired at €100 a day to fight the fires. Despite these issues we decided to go through with the planned trip.

We opted to fly. You can drive to the west coast of Italy and take a ferry. That way you’ve got your car. But we decided to fly. We could fly out of Perugia to the southern end of the island and drive three hours to our chosen destination. Or we could drive 2 hours to Ancona on the Adriatic and fly into the airport in the northern part. We decided on this one. We had not flown out of Ancona before. It’s chock full of the so-called low cost airlines. WizAir, RyanAir, Volotea and Vueling. It was a pretty easy drive except for construction zones. We had arranged to park off airport and that all worked well. We got checked in with all the hordes going to either Olbia (our destination) or Catania in Sicily. Lots of young people flying. The plane left on time and arrived 15 minutes early. We picked up the rental car and headed north to the Costa Smeralda. Emerald coast.

Really interesting terrain. Rough, rocky and reminiscent to me of the US southwest. Susan said it reminded her of Baja. There were enormous, wind sculpted rock domes thrusting up dramatically. And in the distance serrated ridges shot high into the sky in jagged peaks. There were houses and hotels all hidden out in this desert-like landscape. The ones I could see were much like the adobe houses in New Mexico with clay exteriors painted in pastel earth tones. With flat terracotta tiled roofs.

Our hotel is called Grand Relais dei Nuraghi. It is a small boutique hotel with only about 30 rooms. Many of the rooms are in separate cottages or duplex cottages. We checked in and got unpacked. Went to the pool for a glass of wine and later we had dinner reservations.

Our hotel
Huge, rock, just next to our hotel. Good landmark!

The food was good without being notable. They do half pension so many of the guests eat there every night. It’s not open to the public. I had a very nice shrimp appetizer, a carrot soup and then the “catch of the day”.

Sunset from our table
Shrimp starter
Carrot soup
Catch of the day

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Wednesday July 28

Above was the breakfast buffet. I thought it had gone the way of the dinosaur since Covid but it’s obviously back.

Today we went to explore “Billionaire” coast. The town of Porto Cervo. This town didn’t exist until the Aga Khan fell in love with the coast in the 1950s and decided to create a playground for the rich. He did accomplish that! He purchased the land from the poor inhabitants for a pittance in the 60s. They didn’t value coastal land, they were, in fact, frightened of the water from whence all invaders came. For these people being in the mountainous interior felt safe. The Port was built in the 80s and it is the best in the Mediterranean with 700 slips. The real estate here is THE most expensive in Europe. An eye popping $300,000 a square meter (!)

We had a lunch reservation at the only Michelin One Star restaurant in the area. Ristorante ConFusion. As the name implies, it is a fusion between Sardegnian food and Asian food.

We arrived and parked in an underground lot. We walked around the shopping area which was pretty and unusual and completely unlike anyplace I’ve been in Italy. It’s like being in Palm Springs or Boca Raton.

Tony shopping area
Looks like New Mexico!
Lamborghini dealership. What else?

Towering over everything were the mega-yachts in the harbor. You could walk in and gape. Which we did! We looked up the names of some of the yachts. One is owned by a Saudi. One of the biggest was owned by a Walton daughter of the Walmart empire. These yachts cost millions of dollars.

This one you can rent for €160,000 a week – plus €40,000 expenses…accommodates eight.

After some refreshments out of the hot sun we walked to our restaurant. Pretty place that felt comfortable and not pretentious…except for the fact that they bring a selection of glasses so you can pick your shape! That was a first. Chef Italo Bassi was very friendly and accessible. There were only two other tables so he had time to chat. We decided on a la carte for two of us and the Chef specialty 3 course menu for the other two. Prices were breathtaking, but the food was too.

Here are some of the dishes.

Some of the many gifts from the chef. Along with four bread courses.
Yin and Yang. Essence of avocado.
King crab with Wasabi ice cream
Tagliolini with lobster. No skimping on the lobster!
Salmon “sushi” with morels.
Espresso served on a mirror

After our return and naps we went poolside and had drinks. It was very lovely. They bring a nice plate of food to enjoy with the wine so that was plenty. We didn’t really need to eat dinner after the mega-lunch.

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Thursday, July 29

This was the day we decided to go on a catamaran to the Maddalena archipelago. This is supposed to be the prettiest island group. There are some roads on the main island and you can ferry over with your car. There are a few towns as well. But the most popular way to see the islands is by boat. And BOY is it popular!

We left the hotel at 8:30 for the 40 minute drive to Porto Sardegna. We got there no problem on itty bitty roads to the very tip of the mainland. There we found a yacht club. A very cute yacht club. With cottages built into the rocks and hobbit bathrooms. At the bottom, a cafe. We hung around and finally boarded around ten. There were 18 of us plus three crew. It wasn’t crowded. It was mostly younger people. Plus one middle aged couple. The oddest group was a foursome of two boys and two girls from Calabria. They spoke a Calabrian dialect mixed with German. Really. Very odd.

Hobbit bathroom

We all boarded and were briefed about the boat, and how to use the bathroom. Then we took off. It was a nice boat called Alice. I know most of you won’t know this, but it is not the woman’s name…but the word for anchovy in Italian. Pronounced al-ee-chay. The boat was named Anchovy, because it skips over the waves Captain Alessandro said. There were two more crew, Ely and Sandro. Our first stop was Spiaggia Rosa. A pretty spot with amazingly blue water. We went swimming.

While here we had antipasto with bruschetta, olives, cheeses, salumi, and bread. Our next stop was Calla Vergine. This was so popular there were literally hundreds of boats of all sizes. Amazing. The water was lovely, calm and blue-blue.

I took this video to try to show just how many boats there were. Note: videos don’t usually play in the email version of this blog. To see it you want to go to NancyGoesToItaly.com

It was lunchtime and our Chef crew member Sandro, made a nice pasta lunch with rigatoni and lots of tuna. Served with beer, wine and cold drinks. It was delicious. Then we had fresh fruit, cookies, and Mirto, a potent drink made around here from myrtle.

There was one more stop. The famous pink sand beaches. I was the only person who opted out. It was REALLY hot and it was a ride on the rubber tender to the beach, then a hike over the hill and down, but you couldn’t go on the beach. The beach is protected by a full time caretaker because people were stealing the sand. No joke! One guy was caught with 3 pounds of sand and they fined him €3,000. Anyway, I decided to skip it. The rest reported I was smart not to go. I got to see the less than impressive pictures. While they were gone I went for another swim. The water is nice and cool and so salty it’s impossible to sink.

We returned at 5:45. It was really fun. I’m glad we did it. It is a thing everyone should see. The Maddalena islands are spectacular. But boy were we all whipped. It really makes you tired being in the sun and wind and sea all day. When we got back we all just opted for showers and room service. I slept very well!

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Friday July 30

Supposed to be 102 degrees this day. That is HOT. And the humidity is quite high. After our breakfast we had reservations to visit a winery called Carichera. It is one of the best and biggest producers.

We were greeted by Anna. She told us about the history of the vineyard and the family as well as the types of wines they produce. The family name is Capichera.

Next we were transported by golf cart through the vineyard to a brand new tasting facility. The entire vineyard has drip irrigation. Still, some of the vines were suffering.

Along the way she showed us some of the indigenous plants to include the myrtle, from which they make the Mirto liquor. Then the pretty strawberry bush which flowers in November and fruits in summer. The honey is said to be very healthful. It is also rare since bees often do not pollinate that late in the year so they produce little honey. Anna said the people of Sardegna are some of the most long lived in the world. This is because until recently the people only ate what they produced which is very healthy. Little was brought in. There was no globalization. Until only 60 years ago they still mostly lived in stone huts with no running water or electricity.

Strawberry bush

We arrived at the tasting room which was blessedly air conditioned. The big windows had nice views of the patchwork vineyards.

We decided to do two tastings and share. Luther and I got two Vermantino white wines, and two red. They only use the Vermantino grape in Sardinia to produce the white wine. The red was a Syrah and a Syrah blend. Very unusual grape in Sardinia.

The placemats had the names of the wines so you could place your glasses in the right spots. Look at the names of the wines above. Most are in Sardegnian dialect. It is a very strange language. When I got back, I looked up lingua Sarda. Turns out there are three Sardinian dialects. Then the top part of the island speaks a Corsican dialect because Corsica is very close. Then a small town, and area to the west speaks a Catalan dialect. Very interesting. So the wine names we’re in the Logudorese Sardinian dialect.

We had lunch reservations at Li Neuli. It’s the restaurant at a country club. It was nice. Air conditioned and a pretty room. Interesting menus with much fresh seafood served crudo — raw. To include sashimi, an octopus carpaccio and fresh tuna. I picked the octopus and a nice scampi dish. Just the right amount.

This is the Sardinian, cracker-like bread served everywhere. They even use it as a plate, putting it under cheese, fruit and salumi.

A good day. We finished off with drinks by the pool with our bartender friend Luca.
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Saturday July 31

We didn’t have much planned beyond lunch today. We breakfasted lightly because we had decided to return to ConFusion because we all liked it so much. I took some more pictures of the pretty buildings.

The lunch was wonderful as the last time. I only got an antipasto and a secondo. That way I would have room for dessert.

Lamb chops
House made vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. Rare to find vanilla in Italy.

This is Filippo. One of Chef Bassi’s chihuahuas. He was cute.

An excellent lunch. It’s probably good that this guy is not closer to where we live!

Later, when we went for our customary glass of wine at the bar beside the pool at seven, we had to say goodbye to the sweet bar keepers. Luca and Gabriele. Two young men, small in stature and dark with beards. Quite handsome. They had to dress in the hotel dark pants with shirt and dark vest with a tie. Sometimes I felt really sorry for them because it was damn hot in the sun in those hot clothes. But they were both very nice and seem genuinely to like us. Sometimes you wonder with these employees. They have to be friendly but these two seemed to be really happy to know us. Anyway, sorry to say goodbye. I wish them well in the coming times. Which could be difficult.

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Sunday, August 1

Thanks to Susan we got late checkout. Our flight is at 9:20PM. We can keep our room until six. A big thank you to our hotel. So we have this air conditioned space to share until we go to the airport.

We had hours to do things so we decided to go to the other big wine producer, Surrau. They had a three wine tasting with a nice plate of local cheeses, three meats, grapes, wine jelly and apple. Very nice. It was a big facility and very reminiscent of the California tasting rooms. Again that similarity to California.

Then we drove up into the mountains to a small town called San Pantaleo. It has the only piazza in our part of Sardinia. It also has attracted artists. Cute place. We visited the piazza and the church.

The town is full of little stone buildings. These are the typical houses that the people lived in before globalization.

The town nestles up against these massive, wind sculpted granite mountains.

We decided to have lunch here in a place called Zara Cafe. Cute family owned place. Dad is the cook, Mom and son run the front. We had fresh grilled fish. So good.

We returned to the hotel and stayed until five. Then for the horrors of travel nowadays. If we didn’t catch Covid here, we never will. Crowds of young, and, I’m sure, unvaccinated people. No social distancing possible. Everyone was good about wearing the mask at least. But it was horrible.

The flight was fine. It only takes 45 minutes. We landed at 10:40PM. Got our car just fine and decided to drive home. Only an hour and a half and it was fine. It was great to be home with our poor cats. The temperatures have been in the 100s and the house was very hot. I threw open the windows and hopefully it will cool off tonight.
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Now for my best and worst…
Our hotel. Grand Relais dei Nuraghi. There were some glitches but they work hard to fix things. And they let us stay eight hours after checkout for free. 👍
The two bar tenders, Luca and Gabriele, need special thanks for their always cheerful care.
Best foodConFusion
Best outing — Catamaran to the Maddalena archipelago.
Best thing — those brilliant, cool, clear, electric blue waters!
Worst thing — Olbia airport.
All in all a fun trip. Would I go back? Probably not. It was not the “real” Italy. It felt like the US in many ways. The landscape and architecture looked like the US desert southwest. Because of this really big difference from what we are used to, it was a great get-away if only because we felt far away from home, in an exotic place for six days. I’m glad we went. I know we missed the interior for the most part and the south. So I can’t speak to those parts. Of the two islands, Sicily and Sardinia, I’d pick Sicily.

Bye bye Sardinia

In five days we will know if we got Covid. We were hyper aware of the threat. The rate of transmission in Sardinia is the highest in Italy. And there were hordes of young people, most likely to not be vaccinated…or to follow the rules. We were in very crowded inside venues. The young people from Calabria on our catamaran tour were unlikely to be vaccinated and no one wore masks. I will report back!

Tis the season for Panzanella! 🍅

High summer is time for our favorite salad — Panzanella! This salad is ONLY made with fresh, farm stand tomatoes so it is best in July and August. For us, we get them from my favorite stand in the Saturday mercato. For some reason, his tomatoes taste like summer itself. Brilliant red and juicy. Just like I remember the “home grown” tomatoes of my childhood.

Tuscany tries to take the credit for this salad but many regions of Italy, and the Mediterranean, make a similar salad and have been doing so since tomatoes were introduced from the New World in the 1500s. It was not only delicious, it was a way to use up stale bread so it wouldn’t go to waste. Even before the tomato was introduced a form of this salad with whatever fresh summer vegetables were available was common. The main unifying ingredient for all these salads is the stale bread.

I initially wanted my Panzanella to be the classic recipe so I went looking at the many recipes online. As with most things I make, I used bits of a couple different recipes. The best thing I found was a method to salt and encourage the cut up tomatoes to give up some of their juice to use in the vinegarette. I’m not sure why since either way the juice gets into the salad but somehow it enhanced the tomato flavor to whisk the juice with the oil and vinegar. Essence of tomato! Otherwise I decided to toast the stale-ish bread for better texture and soaking ability. I also added a seeded cucumber for a bit of crunch. This isn’t in the classic recipe. But, really, if you’ve got fresh flavorful tomatoes and a good, fairly dense bread then it’s Panzanella to me!!

Panzanella Salad – 4-6 servings

  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.1kg) summer tomatoes – can be mix of regular, Roma, grape or cherry and heirloom
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning – only use kosher or check for saltiness
  • 6 cups (340g) firm bread, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    1 very small, mild onion, or 1/2 of one minced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (not in classic recipe – optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar – I used sherry vinegar because if find it slightly milder. But you can use white or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small cucumber seeded and chopped (optional, not classic)
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped

Toast the bread cubes at about 300F for 15 minutes. Set aside. Chop tomatoes into bite sized pieces and put in colander over a bowl to catch the juice. Salt with 2t kosher salt and toss. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Mince onion and garlic. Whisk tomato juice from tomatoes and vinegar. Add garlic, mustard and onion. Whisk. Add oil in a stream whisking. Alternatively you can put the juice, onion, garlic, vinegar, mustard and oil into a jar and shake vigorously to emulsify.

Toss tomatoes, cucumber and bread with the vinegarette. Let sit at least 30 minutes. Add chopped basil leaves and serve.

Green Pass

This has been a very productive week so far. The first good thing was we both managed to download our Green Passes onto our IPhones and now we should be able to show them if needed to prove we have both been vaccinated. Here is what it looks like. I blurred the QR code and personal information.

Among other things, we also managed to pick up our new Permessi di Soggiorno. As I posted earlier, it was the fastest we have ever gotten them and mine is actually good for eleven months! Amazing.

The other things I mentioned…We got our Italian taxes filed. We visited the Poste Italiene to pay a bill for a friend. Yesterday we got our hairs cut. Did you ever notice only English uses the word “hair” for plural. The word hair can mean a single hair, or all your hair. Not so in Italian, French and German. Those are the only other languages I know. So I’ve taken to saying, I am going to get my hairs cut. 😁

A special thing you can get only at this time of year is friggatelli (pronounced frig with a soft G like George) Little green peppers. They are prepared by frying in olive oil for a couple of minutes then adding minced garlic for a few seconds. Then you add a bit of water and close the pan to let the peppers steam for about ten minutes. You can eat the whole thing to include the seeds. A nice side dish with steak or chicken. I love them and eat them a lot while they are in season..

I’m not sure anyone wants to know the end of the pigeon story. But quickly I will say it wasn’t a happy ending and actually at this time, a full week and a half after the window got shut, there remain live pigeons inside. They will die eventually. I wish it would be soon. A man did come with the cherry picker truck on Monday and opened the window and retrieved 3 dead pigeons from near the window. The live pigeons, naturally wouldn’t try to fly out while he was in the window. So he closed it back up and left. I am glad that window is nailed shut now and I don’t have to go through this again. And neither do the pigeons. There are plenty pigeons left and they will find other nesting places.
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Tonight I made a seared steak that was marinated in mango purée with habanero pepper and lime juice. I made a salsa of seared tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic and cilantro. I served with corn tortillas and sliced avocado. Most of the more “exotic” ingredients (mango, cilantro, avocado) I got from the “Egyptian” fruttivendolo. Truth be told only the cilantro must be bought there. The regular Coop carries avocado and mango. But almost nobody carries coriandolo…cilantro. I also think his avocado is way better than any other source. Every now and then I must break away from Italian food…I love it..but my taste buds need a boost now and then! 😎

ciao for now!

This and that

I guess you all know the Italians won the EuroCup football championship last Sunday? Duh, right? Interesting observations after the win:

We went to dinner with a friend last night at Patrick’s Enoteca. Patrick is Italian but he worked in London for a time and speaks good English. He also (normally) attracts a British clientele at his Enoteca. He said he hadn’t seen a single English person all week. Not since the Big Game (defeat for England!…) 🧐

We just read an article that said the Italian restaurants in England have had a huge decrease in revenue since the game… Are they sore losers? I think so! Sorry to my English friends…but it’s amusing to me, to observe these reactions. I know, I know, it hurts to lose…I’m sorry. 😶
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In other news this week we received an SMS from our Questura telling us that our Permessi di Soggiorno are ready. You could have knocked me over with a feather! In the entire seven years, and seven Permessi we’ve gotten over that time, it has never taken less than 5 months to get this card. This time…just TWO! Normal situation is we apply for the new cards in about March. (The old cards expire in June.) Then we get the appointment at the Questura for fingerprints etc. After that, we normally wait 6 months for the card. It has been as long as ten months. During around six months of this waiting time, our old Permessi are expired. A big hassle for us to travel in Schengen. And to keep our Health care in force. But this year…A MIRACLE! Maybe there are less immigrants now? Not so many have been entering Italy. I’ve got no idea but I’m very happy. We will go next Wednesday to pick them up.
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I’m afraid this part is a downer. But it is part of my life and I wanted to speak of it. There is a window across from our living room into the Comune. It seems to be some sort of storeroom that no one ever goes into. The window has gotten tightly stuck shut and there are a lot of pigeons trapped inside. Also many outside trying to get in. I’m sure they are nesting in there.  It’s distressing to watch. I’m no fan of pigeons but watching them die a slow death I don’t care to do. So far I’ve asked Irene at Bar Mary to call her friend in the building. No luck. Then Luther called the Guardia (local police). They said they would come domani, tomorrow. The next morning they did indeed send a cherry picker truck which lifted a guy to the window but it remained stuck. That was on Tuesday. Luther called the Guardia again, a day later. The pigeons appear to be still lively but it’s been six days now. I finally went and rang the bell of the public works folks in the Comune. People all seem to know about it. She said Monday they’d come. I said that could be too late for the the birds. So that was my last gasp. I have exhausted all my options. I’ve covered my window now, so I can’t see them 😢 

We have a few chores and errands coming up next week. We are also planning a trip to Sardinia, leaving the 27th. One of the last two regions of Italy we have not yet visited. The whole Covid issue is getting worse here in Italy, just like it is in the US. Since we began planning our trip a couple of weeks ago they’ve begun new regulations to fly to Sardinia. It is a real hazard of traveling nowadays. Things change with lightening speed. A number of regions in Italy look to be set to go back into Yellow zones with restrictions on travel and on businesses and restaurants. What a mess. If any of you are planning travel, keep these things in mind. Things are by no means back to the old normal.

Enjoy your weekend!

2nd vaccination!

Finally, after a very long wait we got our second vaccination. AstraZenica works better with the second shot around 3 months later. So now we just wait two weeks and we can feel moderately protected. We have a paper copy of proof of vaccine, but with that we can get the EU Green Pass. Some countries (France) are now requiring the Green Pass to be able to go to a restaurant. I’m not sure how the CDC proof of vaccine will work for this. I would hope if one can get into Italy with it, one could dine in a restaurant. But that hasn’t been decided yet. And I did hear Italy will be implementing this.

The Delta variant is very prevalent in Italy. I read today the cases are really jumping here in Italy. 26% higher here in Umbria from last week, but 90% more in Lazio, 60% more in Tuscany, Lombardia and Liguria are soaring too. In the space of a week. Almost all cases are unvaccinated younger to middle age people. I knew this would happen with all this partying, no spacing, no masks. Sadly, all our hard work is going down the toilet.
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On a more cheerful note…a long time wish to make Ceviche tonight came true. A couple weeks ago I got two nice sea bass, sushi grade, from my friends at Calagrana. Tonight I made Ceviche. It was refreshing, cool, and totally yum.

Ciao for now!