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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gratitude - A Thanksgiving Post

I guess Thanksgiving is the king of the Gratitude posts!!! It is the one day of the year dedicated to giving thanks for everything we have in our lives. I, personally, love Thanksgiving. It is a day we spend with our loved ones, and we enjoy just being together. It doesn't have a lot of hype prior to it (other than grocery shopping and preparing some food items), and it is a simple holiday that can be enjoyed with calm. Our tradition involves barbequing the turkey and therefore we spend time outdoors enjoying the warm Autumn weather and chit chatting away with our guests. Every year our menu is the same, and I think that makes it special, too. These are foods that are made just at Thanksgiving, and so I'd consider them comfort food. Other than the barbequed turkey, we have sweet potatoes and a swiss chard stuffing whose recipe was handed down to me from my 90 year old aunt!! Both are delicious and our guests always look forward to them...

Even though the feast of Thanksgiving is over, the appreciation for all our blessings remains in our hearts. Happy Thanksgiving to All!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Little Italy Gala - A Success!!!

Last night's Little Italy Gala at the Peralta Building in Downtown San Jose was a huge success. Over 300 people attended the elegant event. Upon entering, the guests were greeted by a masked woman and a glass of prosecco! The interior was transformed into a piazza in Italy. Participating restaurants brought delicious food to sample, along with wonderful wines. But the highlight of the evening was Pasquale Esposito singing traditional, as well as newer, Italian songs and arias. The crowd was dancing and moving to his music.
And then for the comic relief of the evening - yours truly!!! Pasquale had been singing on the stage, but then came out into the audience and proceeded to the stairs where he sat down. Thinking that he was taking a break, I approached him to ask him for a picture. In my polite way, I said, "Possiamo fare una foto insieme?" (can we take a photo together), and he looked at me a bit puzzled and replied, "Certo" (certainly). I thought his response was a bit stunted...but didn't think twice about it. He then stood up, and with a microphone to his mouth, proceeded to continue singing while posing for a photograph with me!!! I had no idea that he was still performing, otherwise I would have never interrupted him. Needless to say, I was totally embarrassed!!! But at least I gave my husband a good laugh :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gratitude Friday and The Joy of Helping Each Other

Today I met with a new friend and we talked about our mutual dreams of building our own little companies. I have my Italian ceramic import business, and she is planning a travel tour to Italy during the 2010 olive harvest time (you can see my post last month about her trip). We both have dreams of succeeding in our endeavors but realize that we can't do it alone. We need others to help us promote our business, and also to encourage us to continue when things don't go as quickly or as well as we had planned. We both genuinely want the other to succeed, and it felt good to want to help each other. Networking really does work, if only for the support it provides!!

Little Italy Gala in San Jose, CA

This weekend I am attending the very special Little Italy Gala - a fundraiser for the Littly Italy project of San Jose. The article in this week's Metro highlights the event. It should be lots of fun filled with wonderful food, wine, and of course, Pasquale Esposito!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Italian Easy Rider

Yesterday, I was looking for a picture to put on a friend's birthday card, and came across this one that I had taken on our recent trip to Europe. I remembered how romantic the thought of this Vespa was, and how fun it would be to ride it through all those little towns up and down the Italian boot. Zipping through the Alps, meandering the small ancient roads, exploring tiny villages perched on the slopes of hillsides, and even daring the beautiful Amalfi coastline would all be a wonderful adventure to have.

Will I ever take this adventure? Chissa....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gratitude Friday for Sophie!

I didn't grow up with a dog. I never actually thought I would ever have a dog. The kids begged and begged for one, but I got them fish and birds instead. I thought that a dog would be way too messy...way too much work! But then, in a moment of weakness, at an Italian picnic, Sophie came into our lives! She was 7 weeks old and weighed only 14 oz! She could fit in the palm of my hand - and she was the most adorable thing I had ever seen! She looked like a little white lamb...soft curly fur, 2 big black eyes that watched your every move, and the sweetest face immaginable. I took one look at her and I was hooked. My husband and the girls couldn't believe it when I told them we could take her home. "Are you sure you're feeling OK?", wondered my husband.

Sophie has been with us now for 12 years and she has been the best pet we have ever had. She has so much personality...and is SO smart. I know that all pet owners think their animal is the smartest, cutest, etc...and I never thought I would be one of those!!! But here I am! And proud of it!

Sure, she can be a pest at times. She barks ALOT - at animals on TV and anywhere that she perceives to be HER territory. But she has a personality that all but makes up for her pestiness! She makes me laugh everyday. And for that, Sophie, thank you!!

This is the day she decided to make the centerpiece bowl (which I had removed from the table because we were eating) her bed!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Last night, we tried the first of the frozen creations I made last weekend - the Polpettone! It was absolutely delicious!! The flavors were so tasty and the consistency was firm but moist. And no ketchup needed on this meatloaf - it was great just the way it was. I was so excited because it was actually an Italian recipe I found online - and I was able to translate all the ingredients and amounts for use with my American kitchen!!! I made a substitution of pancetta for prosciutto cotto affumincato (smoked ham) because I'm not a smoked meat fan, but otherwise followed the recipe. Here it is...and by the way, it freezed just fine!!


150 g crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 eggs
2 T. parmigiano
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 boiled potato, mashed when cooked
2 sausages, chopped
300 g. ground pork
150 g. pancetta
1/2 c. white wine

Saute onion in olive oil. Add the carrot, celery and mushrooms and saute for a bit. Add the pancetta and brown slightly. Add the white wine and saute for about 10 min to absorb the liquid. In the meantime, mix in a cuisinart on pulse mode, the ground pork and sausages. Put into a bowl and add the mashed potato, the eggs, the parmesan cheese, and the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Mix all together and form into a loaf. At this point, if you would like to freeze it, wrap it tightly in foil to retain the shape, and place in a ziploc bag making sure to let all the air escape. Freeze flat on a rack. If you want to cook it, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hr and 15 min or until done.