Well the Fall is officially here and we're even starting to feel a slight chill in the morning and evening air here in Florida. I recently returned from my annual Fall visit up North where I spent two fabulous weeks visiting my Daughter Stephanie. I love the creative way that NYC people take the smallest spaces and make them come alive as they plant their Mums and Marigolds and decorative Cabbage knowing that winter will be here soon, but enjoying that great season of Fall first. Autumn in New York is truly picture perfect. With the burst of colors, the chill of the air, smelling the first seasonal chestnuts and ordering that first cup of Hot Chocolate......oh yes....... it doesn't get any better for me. I hope I have'nt lost anybody yet with my penchant for being lost in la la land! :) I get excited to wear a sweater in Florida so when you see me in my Coat in NYC it's a big deal.....OK ....LOL!!!
I have many more pictures and stories to share of my Fall visit so stay tuned!
I’m so excited to be back in New York for my Fall visit! There is nothing like Autumn in New York for me as I like to walk through the many Parks and see the vignettes of trees in different stages of color. With a chill in the air I start to think of the nights that I miss so much with the smell of Chestnuts at so many vendor stands. Yes, food always plays a big part in all my reasons for wanting to move back up North! ;) It's always about the food and the seasons in which they coincide. I was thinking last night perhaps an apple cinnamon Martini would be great for the Fall! ;) It is still a little early in the month, but I did catch a few trees changing color in Riverside Park on Saturday as I was on my way to Pier i café. The picture above is one of them!
Actually the exciting part of my story today is that I was on my way to meet my “new” Cousin Debbie! She and her Husband Mark had been on Ancestry.com and connected on our Family tree. It’s really a small world as they say as our Great Grandfathers were Brothers. At any rate she contacted another cousin Louann who I’ve known from my childhood and Louann suggested Debbie contact me as well. She did, and through our emails we decided to meet up when I came to New York this trip. I arrived on Friday night and this past Saturday we met and spent a lovely afternoon and evening sharing Family stories and getting to know each other. She lives in New Jersey and like me has a Daughter that lives in Manhattan. When we met I was taken by her resemblance to my Dad and his family. I found myself studying her mannerisms to see if not only looks pass on but also personalities traits. She did remind me of my Dad once again as she is very organized! Although I am my Fathers Daughter that is one gene I didn’t get! ;) It was a beautiful afternoon by the Hudson and as we talked about our families, I was thinking of our ancestors and how happy they must be as well! Below are a few pictures of us. We're now looking forward to having more of our extended family members meet and share in our journey of a new generation !
Above shows the beautiful town of Amatrice before and after the Earthquake that hit on August 24th. At this time of year when we begin to enjoy the Fall Season and then the Holidays approaching, my thoughts are of the people of Amatrice, Italy. I am praying today for the people of Amatrice and all the other Towns devasted by this powerful Earthquake.
Amatrice is about an hour away from Rome by car. When we were in Italy two years ago we had decided to take the train from Rome to Naples and then the Water Taxi to Sorrento. We thought on our next visit we would drive from Rome and visit Amatrice then. I wanted to visit this town not only to taste their famous Pasta, but to have the chance to meet the locals and learn the legend of this tasty dish! Like many regions throughout Italy,Villages celebrate with Festivals that center around a particular recipe.
Amatrice would have celebrated its 50th Anniversay of Spaghetti all"Amatriciana this year on the weekend of August 28th! The devastation by this Earthquake and its 6.2 magnitude will forever be remembered. A town almost completely destroyed in the middle of the night. I'm hoping if we all remember and keep them in our prayers, the survivors will be blessed with the strength to rebuild and once again celebrate and honor the people lost.
The first time I tasted Spaghetti all"Amatriciana was in New York City in the early 80"s. My husband Rocco and I were going to see a show in the Theatre district and stopped for an early dinner in a little Trattoria on Eighth Ave. The funny thing is as Im writing this Post I don't recall the show we saw that night but will forever remember this particular Pasta Dish! ;) It was a small restaurant very nicely decorated using copper pots alongside of colorful dishes on the walls. The wait staff was so friendly greeting and thanking us in Italian which always adds a special touch to the moment. At any rate we were enjoying a glass of wine when the pasta was served and as the waiter put it in front of me I was so surprised to see it being presented in a black iron frying pan. My husband and I both had ordered it and we each had our own frying pan. It really was a unique presentation and clevor as well. They also put down a white dish and the waiter spooned some onto the plate and the rest kept warm in the pan that retains the heat. Between the presentation and the fabulous flavor it has been one of our favorite dishes for years. I use pancetta as its harder to find Guanciale (pork jowl or cheek) unless I'm in New York. Sometimes I make it with Fresh tomatoes and it's equally delicious. The secret is not to have the pasta swimming in sauce rather clinging with the olive oil being the adhesive that brings it all together. You always cook the pasta al dente and it will not soften in the frying pan while its being served.
Once again a simple meal and moment I will never forget with the surprise of a frying pan! Now remember I'm a foodie maybe some people would think serving in a frying pan is less than acceptable ...! :)
With that said I'm hopeful that after reading this you will keep the folks all over Italy in your Prayers for them to rebuild and restore their towns. Our hearts are especially rooting for the people of Amatrice hit so hard that they can come back for generations to come and savor the tradition of Spaghetti all'Amatriciana.
Recipe for Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
4 to 8 oz chopped pancetta or guaniciale, onions, garlic (opitional),red pepper,crushed tomatoes, Pecorino Romano cheese, Bucatini or Spaghetti or even Linguine. I keep my pancetta in the freezer as it easier to chop or slice. Adding red or white wine with the tomatoes is great too, just remember you need at least 25 minutes for the wine to cook out and blend with the tomatoes. Actually when I use fresh tomatoes I use about 4 oz red wine as it deepens the color of the sauce and creates a great balance with the olive and onions to coat your pasta.
Put a little olive oil in a frying pan just to coat and add Pancetta or Guanciale and then cook over low heat till lightly browned. If you have rendered too much fat remove some and save a few tablespoons of pancetta for garnish. Next add onions and garlic (optional) the red pepper and cook till transluecent. Add Crushed tomatoes and cook about 35-45 minutes stirring occasionally on a low flame. Cook your Pasta al dente and toss in pan with sauce. Serve with pecorino cheese and top with reserved pancetta . Add extra red pepper or cheese as desired.
I love all Seasons.........yet I think Fall is the prettiest! Although it has been the hottest summer I can remember since moving to Florida, I'm ready with Ghosts, Witches and Pumpkins to create the festive attitude only Fall brings. With "Any" (Im desperate) chill to the air Im pleased and immediately think soup on the stove and mulled cider in the late afternoons. I love the days as they get shorter as in the dark it looks cooler! ;) I put around lots of fresh smelling apple and mulled cider candles drape garlands of leaves and pretend I hear the whistling wind blowing them off the trees. Ok so I once again assessed the situation in Florida and booked my annual Fall trip and Carol's Halloween Party and fly out Oct 14th. I will roam Central Park and take in the color of the trees and listen to the Musicians playing (reminding me of the street players in Italy), sip cider and hopefully breath in some cool crisp air. I am so so fortunate to have Stephanie (myDaughter) living in the City who takes me in!
One of my favorite things about the City is the many Cultures of Food it offers. Instead of eating an entire meal in one restaurant , many times we enjoy grazing along the way with appetizers from different neighborhoods. Walking from the East Village over to China Town and Little Italy is one route we have enjoyed. From Indian cuisine to Ukrainian to China Town for my favorite Soup Dumplings, to approaching Little Italy where we stop at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery where we split our favorite pork sandwich. Keep in mind we are spliting one item so we're not really overeating;) or at least thats what I convince myself of! A cannoli and espresso at our favorite Pastry shop Cafe Pallermo and a visit with Ernie at E. Rossi and Company gift shop on Grand Street and then we're off walking briskly to the subway to burn some of those calories.
Another pastime I enjoy is shopping the Farmers markets and buying those special finds like Korean Sweet potatoes and fresh greens and crisp apples. I love filling my green market bag and talking with all the vendors. They are always eager to discuss ways to enjoy their produce for which they are so proud of. Artisans of food are the best! For me the access of public transportation rather than driving and parking etc are so inviting with urban living. I know there are drawbacks but for me it is what I truly enjoy. Window shopping, people watching and then back to the apartment to create a tasty meal. A simple day on a visit to see Stephanie but so many wonderful memories have been made with our City excursions.!
For most of us September 11th was a day that changed the way we think. The attack on the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and Flight 93 gave us a responsibility that we must never forget. We are a strong Nation and although we may have different 0pinions, we stand united to preserve the Great Nation we are. One that Accepts all, Respects all and Protects all!
Our hearts ache for those beautiful souls that were lost that day. Each one special and part of a mosaic that represents the values and ideals of proud Americans. We will never forget and continue to celebrate those lost in Memorials and will for Generations to come as a symbol of our strength.
Though our hands are not joined with those lost our hearts can not be parted. It is this spirit that will forever reign.
God Bless America!
Two years ago today my husband Rocco and I went on our European Holiday. It was simply the best time and looking over some of the files on my computer I found this small clip of the marching band at the Palace. I can still remember the day and the beautiful weather. We went on the tour of the Palace and the grounds, which were magnificent!
We plan to return next year and exploring the Cornwall region. I have traced my ancestors there and hope to see if there are any cousins I could contact. I've recently started emailing another "new relative" via ancestry.com and hope to meet her as well in London.
Below I added a clip of street dancing in Rome. We were at a great little restaurant and enjoyed watching these ladies dance. They were having such a good time and it added to the festive mood we were all sharing. We had been inside where they had a karaoke player and that was equally alot of fun. I just remember it was incredibly hot that evening and I thought it was so cute how the ladies were using their fans. The owner then joined in.....he was the gentleman in the suit with the glasses. Another memorable moment and this time a little sound to enjoy as well. I plan on improving my movie skills though before the next trip.
From street to street there were performers of all kinds. I see this in Manhattan but very rarely where I live in Florida. I truly enjoy the freedom of expression and the fun impromptu attitude ofthese happy people.
It's hard for me to believe my last post was August 5th and today is September 5th and we're celebratingLabor Day. The last few weeks have flown by with a very busy schedule! Starting off with a trip to New York, attending the New York Now Trade Show, lots of shopping and meeting new people with whom memories were made. The highlight of my trips to New York are always about the great people who usually are chance meetings and then a conversation turns into an exchange of emails or phone numbers and then a chance to continue as a new friendship.
The trade show was exceptional this year with approximately 2800 vendors that had everything from Home Decor to Clothing, Childrens Wear, Toys, Books, Furniture, Rugs, Kitchen items, Greeting Cards etc......everything is represented from all parts of the World.
There is a Handmade section and then the gifts and import side. The picture above is Me with my Daughter Stephanie and two of the employees of the NY Now Team! Below are some shots taken as I walked around the show.
I especially enjoy the Handmade side, as the exceptional talent of so many people are displayed. It was nice to catch up with a few people I met last year and see their new line. One such vendor is Jennifer Collier from England and her handmade Paper items. Another great Lady I met this year with a unique whimsical collection was Elaine of At-Choo. Below is Jennifers booth and a fun picture taken with Elaine.
, The last day of the show I purchased some items from a few vendors. One nice man actually gave me a rolling cart to make it easier for traveling when I left the show. It was late in the day so I accepted graciously and set out to meet my Daughter after work. Off I went on the M20 Bus headed downtown. As I got on the bus another nice gentleman jumped up to give me a seat. I accepted with a few words of Thanks and then sat down to relax. I looked over and saw a women and her Son and another two children behind them I could tell they were traveling together and once again struck up a conversation. They were a lovely family from Ireland, now living in England. As usual when I get to talking I forget everything else and sure enough my rolling cart took off when the bus came to an abrupt stop . The lovely man who I now knew was Ray jumped up and got it as it rolled down then aisle. I was laughing so hard with Fiona his wife and truly enjoying this chance meeting. It turned out we were traveling to the same stop and we all got off together, with Ray helping once agin with the cart. By this time I had been introduced to their lovely children Hannah, Erin and Sam. We walked together to the 911 Memorial and I was able to take pictures of them together as a family and even one with me. My Daughter Stephanie met me there and also was able to meet this lovely family. We exchanged emails and I promised to send them some pictures. They were continuing their Holiday in Washington DC before returning to England. We took a goup picture by the Survivor tree with a Police officer who had put his hat on my head for fun. We left after hugging Good-bye and once again a heartfelt memory was made.
This trip truly provided the opportunity for me to add to my best collection.........new Friends!!!
Before I met my husband Rocco, August 5th for me was usually just a hot Long Island summer day. Little did I know then that it would become a special day each year marked with a celebratory Mass in honor of "La Madonna della Neve" followed by a Parade around his Brooklyn neighborhood. The feast day was referred to as Our Lady of Snow. The Society located on Graham Ave in Greenpoint was founded in 1888 by immigrants from Sanza Italy to provide financial and psychological support to Italian immigrants in need.
The legend dates back to August 5th, 352. It was believed there was a nobleman and his childless wife that had been blessed with many of the world's goods. They chose the Mother of God as heir to their fortune and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius prayed that she would make known to them how to do this with some sign. On August 5th she appeared to both John and his wife and the Pope and asked that they build a church in her honor on the crown of Esquiline Hill. The sign that John and his wife had asked for, "Snow will cover the crest of the hill." Then during the night the snow fell and the rest is history... a church was built by John and his wife and named Basilica of Liberius but has since been known by Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore having been restored over the years. Back then it was also believed that the bells chimed louder and clearer than those of Paregine, in the town of Sanza in the southern Italian province of Salerno. The decision was Sanza be awarded the sacred statute of Our Lady of Snow.
My mother-in-law Rachel's family had immigrated from Sanza and thus came the tradition to be passed on. Although we no longer live up North and have lost many of those who we celebrated with us, my husband Rocco and I still mark this day with beautiful memories and renewed belief in miracles that can happen with the power of prayer.
Our celebrations started with the Mass at St Francis in Greenpoint and then we joined the parade where thay marched and pinned money on the Saint. It was so community minded with lots of pride and charity. Then people all around the neighborhood would visit and bring some food to share and certainly stories of the old days and yes later on the singing began. I have to share a really funny memory of many years ago....my husband and I used our car to pull the Statue in the parade and after the parade they parked the float in my Father-in-laws garage. The Statue had been dropped off at the Socity Hall on Graham avenue earlier. The day was exceptionally warm and the ice cold beer on tap sure quenched your thirst. Well anyway later on in the evening we noticed my brother-in-law Sonny was missing and we went looking for him. At first we could'nt find him but then someone checked the garage and to our surprise there was Sonny sitting on the float where the Statue had been, waving and singing! We still laugh and tease him to this day of that evening. He truly captured the moment forever in our minds of August 5th celebrations.
To all who are celebrating August 5th today for Our Lady of the Snow we wish you a beautiful Blessed day!
Above is the Lighthouse at Montauk Point on Long Island. I remember many happy visits to Montauk as well as the Hamptons, Greenport, Port Jefferson and so many other Long Island towns. They are all so pretty with quaint shops, restaurants and beautiful shore lines. The Harbors are like so many pictures you see with docked boats, some with colorful sails and yes those beautiful Sunsets on the glistening water. I have been fortunate to live in both the Northeast on LongIsland and now in Southeast Florida. The main difference is we only have two seasons in Florida Hot and Hotter!!! Ok I'm not always complaining but I do miss the change of Seasons most of all. My Daughter Stephanie lives in New York City and we visit often.... so we are fortunate to enjoy a taste of all the seasons. I have shared with you many New York Winter and Fall memories and now comes the lazy, day memories of the Long Island Summers where I grew up.
Although Summer officially begins on June 21, for Long Islanders it always started with the Memorial Day Parades. I grew up in East Williston where my Dad was a volunteer Fireman. Every year he would march in the Parade. I always remember watching and waving as he passed by in his dress uniform with all the other Volunteers. I was so proud! After the Parade we would go to the Village Green for a Ceremony to thank the Veterans and then off we went to our backyard barbeques. It just seems so special up North as the summer is but a few short weeks. It was also when all your white clothes were in full fashion as the protocol was white was in from Memorial Day to Labor Day and then back in the closet till the next year. These little rituals, as well as getting out the redwood picnic tables and big chaise Lounges on wheels with comfy cushions were true summer traditions!
Many weekends we would head out to Jones Beach for the day. Sometimes we packed a picnic and swam in the beach and other times we went swimming in the two big pools that were there. We loved walking along the boardwalk stopping to taste some of the tasty foods the vendors had piled high. From hot dogs and hambugers, fries, corn, clams on the half shell etc to ice cream and cotton candy. Everything tasted better at the beach as you felt the breeze of the water as you walked along the boardwalk. They also had archery, roller skating and an amphitheater that had great shows. A really great place and one that held many happy childhood memories for me. Here are some pictures I was able to find on line.
Yes. yes so many nice memories but what would a post to Britalia Way be without mentioning food! Long Island summers brought some of the best tomatoes and vegetables I ever tasted. The tomatoes grew in rich soil inlike Florida sandy soil that yes does affect the flavor. They were the deepest red and so juicy with a deliciou balance of both a sweet and tart flavor....absolutely the best. Long island corn, string beans,peppers were also fabulous. With all the farms, the vegetables stayed on the plants till ripe which is the key to flavor. Each night we would have sliced tomatoes with a little salt and just enjoy them plain to really savor the taste. There was no talk of organic then just incredibly good flavor! The only comparrison maybe was New Jersey who thought they had the best tomatoes but oh well we know the truth! ;) The one thing I did enjoy when traveling thru New Jersey and stopping at a farm stand was the white Gentlemens corn. It was always said the white corn was fed to the animals, but I actually thought it was better than yellow. The kernels were smaller and much sweeter. Of course now people like a mix of yellow and white as well.
Another Long Island treat for me was on trips out East we would stop and get Sorrell. A green not as common today but back then a part of spring and summer harvest. It is common in France and Europe as well as California. It is a hearty plant that can survive the odds ...perhaps I should try and grow it! Bright long firm green leaves, this herb had a bite which I might compare to arugula that is a staple in my salads each day. Sorrel is tasty in salads, soups, steamed or sauted. It will turn olive green when heated without changing the taste but if bright green is your color palette of choice use in salads or as a drink perhaps in green smoothies the rage of today. I will have to figure out perhaps wrapping my olives in sorrel for a twist for a dirty martini!!! I will be visiting Long Island in two weeks and you can be sure I will be tasting and cooking with the great produce they have to offer. Can you imagine the best tomato on the best lightly toasted bagel with a sorrel leaf and perhaps a schmear of scallion cream cheese..............a meal like no other......I can hardly wait!!! ;)
After many years of being tucked away in a closet, I decided to bring out my Sassy Rooster once again to look at each day and feel inspired. As with all my posts I like to share stories of special people, special times, usually with lots of food and ways I enjoy creating.
My Sassy Rooster pictured above takes center stage today. He was created by my wonderful Mom many years ago. My Mom was truly a talented artist. She always would say whether painting or sewing or even cooking, do it with your vision and taste. Observe others but try your own hand and most of all enjoy it. I can still remember growing up and experiencing the enthusiasm she put in to everything she did. She never competed to be the spotlight, rather feeling such happiness from her creations being enjoyed by others.
She began this masterpiece by using a left over piece of paneling for the background to glue the raw beans on. She then made a pattern out of oak tag and cut it out. Next she sorted the Beans and applied glue to the panel and carefully set the beans into the design. Voli`a...another one of a kind to add to her legacy items created on our kitchen table in Huntington, New York !
A simple project that over the years still brings so much meaning to her words of encouragement to me........ use your own vision to create and truly enjoy the time spent to capture the feeling and the memory of that special moment.
Although unable to hold your hand....you are in my heart forever and inspire me each day. xoxo
My Queen.......My Mom
Welcome to Britalia Way! Thanks for stopping by. Please join me as I share with you a series about food, people and experiences that are special to me. English and Italian traditions are so enticing and were the inspiration for creating Britalia Way!
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