Italian Travel and Food

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Notes - Italian Cooking - Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera - quick, easy and good.
Primavera means Spring in Italian, hence the dish contains many vegetables.

Can use any vegetables you like -- carrots sliced thin, green/red peppers, eggplant, asparagus, green beans, mushroms, tomatoes (add at end) etc.
Cut up vegetables. Fry garlic and onions until soft in pan with olive oil and 2 tbp butter. Add vegetables -- some take longer than others (esp. peppers, carrots) fry them first. Fry to your liking - some like them crisp, some like them softer. Salt, pepper to taste. Serve over pasta -- penne, farfalle (bowties), rigatoni, etc. Add parmesan cheese.

For variety, add chicken broth, heavy cream or half/half, or red spaghetti sauce at the end of the process. Buon apeitito.

Notes for Episode 22 - Planes, trains and automobiles

A quick synopsis of my new Episode -- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Planes -- about 8 - 15 hours from US depending upon location, stops, etc. Generally overnight flights. Fairs now $800 - $1200 in season. I wouldn't bother using Planes to travel within Italy. Use the trains. Itakes a long time with planes because of security. Cost about $200-$450 depending upon season.

Trains -- Highly recommended. Fast, efficient, relatively inexpensive, go almost everywhere, comfortable if you get a 6-person birth. You can buy a reserved ticket for a small added price to guarantee a seat. Great place to meet other travelers. Trains may be a bit late, because Italians can be a bit late.

Automobiles -- Good for traveling to small towns, wineries, etc. Fast especially when using Autostrade. But, very expensive. $500 - $1200/week depending upon size. Also must purchase insurance. Gas is about $6/gallon now. Tolls on Autostrade are expensive. Price is OK if you're traveling with several people.

Busses -- Busses are, well, bussess. Go everywhere, but take longer. Intracity busses are great to get around, and you buy tickets at Bars and Tabacchis - sounds weird, but true.

Monday, September 25, 2006

2 Pasta Sauces

Here are 2 quick, easy and delicious pasta sauce recipes.

Pasta al Gorgonzola (great with tortellini and ravioli)
2 tps butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
Melt butter in pan. Bring cream to boil over low heat. Add Gorgonzola and melt. Serve hot. Salt, pepper, and grated parmegan cheese to taste.

Tomato Basil Spring Sauce (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, etc.)
1 large can of diced tomatoes, or 1 can whole tomatoes cut up
Half a bunch of basil (leaves) about 20-30 leaves
Olive oil, garlic
Fry olive oil and garlic over low heat until light brown. Add tomotoes and bring to boil. Add basil and boil for 10 more minutes, until some water has boiled out and sauce is not to "watery". Serve hot. Salt, pepper, and grated parmegan to taste.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Squidoo Lens

Check out my new Squidoo lens, which is a web page with lots of different information related to Italy.
www.squidoo.com/italyjules

Monday, September 18, 2006

Creating Odeo Channel

EPISODE1 - Florence

My Odeo Channel (odeo/fb5a78791441d700)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Florence - My Favorite City

Here are the Top reasons why Florence (Firenze) is my favorite city in the world.
1. You can walk anywhere in the town center in about 20 minutes
2. Unbelievable Italian Renaissance art. Uffizzi painting museum, Bargello for sculputure, Academy (David). All the great masters Michelangelo, Rafaelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Giotto, etc.
3. Great sight seeing. Palaces (like Palazzo Vecchio). Ponte Vecchio for shopping. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens (I'd guess around 30 acres). Many churches - Duomo, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, etc. etc. In the summer, plenty of small concerts, exhibitions, etc.
4. Great people. Friendly. Some speak english. If not, they'll sure try to talk to you anyway they can. The dress is stylish, yet very casual.
5. FOOD!!! Not too creamy like in the North. Not too spicy or hearty like in the South. Ribolitta soup, Tortellini alla Panna, Ravioli, Lasagna, Steak Fiorentino, Veal Piccata, Tiramisu...
6. Great shopping. Especially leather, shoes, clothes, lace, and gold jewelry
7. Easy access to nearby cities like San Gimignano, Siena, Chianti region, Assisi, Pisa, & Luca.
8. And ... Beautiful Italian women, and I suppose for women -- attractive Italian men. My wife's Italian, so I'm biased.
What don't I like? It can be a bit overcrowded with tourists in mid-summer. It's a great city, so people flock there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Veal Piccata Recipe for 9/13 Podcast

Veal Piccata Podcast (Talkcast) Link
Ingredients (can also be made with chicken - cut chicken breast in half to make 2 thin slices)
1 pound veal sliced and pounded very thin
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup white wine (the rest of the bottle for the chef)
Juice from 1 large lemon
1 Tbs butter
2 Garlic cloves
2 Tbs capers
Salt, pepper, chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Serves 3-4

1. Heat oil and fry garlic over a low heat. Remove garlic when browned
2. Fry veal for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown. Remove veal - set asside.
3. Add wine. Scrape pan to loosen any fried bits. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes
4. Add lemon juice, butter, capers. Simmer 2 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.
5. Add veal to sauce. Cook for 30 seconds each side to re-heat the veal. Add parsley, salt and pepper.
6. Serve veal and pour sauce (every bit) over veal. Buon appitito.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Great Website for Italian Festivals

I recently found a great website for Italian festivals in Italy
http://www.hostetler.net/italy/italy.cfm

Check out My Podcasts

I have been creating podcasts for about 6 months, related to Italy. I've been using a website called TalkShoe (www.talkshoe.com) which makes it easy. TalkShoe also lets live listeners call into the show while it's recording, which I've done a few times. Check out my Talkcasts on the TalkShoe website, or on iTunes under podcasts.

Traveling to Italy -- http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=10
Italian Home Cooking -- http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=2

Florence - My Favorite City

Florence is my favorite city in Italy, and in fact in the world. I've probably visited 100 medium and large cities outside the U.S. For me, Florence has everything:
  • Walk to everything in a 20 minute radius of the city center
  • Fantastic food (of course avoid the tourist traps)
  • People are genuinely friendly
  • Enough English spoken in the city for travelers
  • Museums galore
  • Best Renaissance art in the world - painting, sculpture, architecture
  • Plenty of churches filled with wonderful art
  • Easy quick busses to the surrounding hills with magnificent views
  • Great shopping, especially leather, gold, shoes, & clothing
  • Reasonabe prices
  • Worldwide travelers you can meet
  • Pretty Italian women, and I assume for women, Italian guys

So what don't I like?

Since Florence is so wonderful, over the years it has become a prime tourist destination. I don't like seeing the occasional mobs of people from the tour busses during the day. But, I'm from New York, so tourists don't really bother me that much.

Introduction to my Italy Blog

This is my first post on this blog, which will be about lots of things Italian. One topic is information about traveling to Italy, including cities, what to see & do, when to go, food and eating, and even some basic Italian language for travelers. In addition, the blog includes information on cooking good and easy Italian food with recipes, and tips and tricks. I hope this information proves interesting a valuable to you.