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SATURDAY DINING OUT

Published April 10, 2013 by Tony

SATURDAY NIGHT IN NAPLES and NEW YORK

Standard of living and lifestyle have influenced and still influence the way how people spend their weekend. If we take as a reference two medium families, one from Naples and another from New York, both formed by working parents, with one or more adult children, probably in a month the Neapolitan parents spend one Saturday or Sunday to dine out, while the New Yorker parents spend three. For New Yorkers the Saturday “evening dining out” was, until recently, an obligation, especially for couples with both engaged in work. Due to the popular demand, in order to go to a restaurant or pizzeria in New York, a Saturday evening reservation even was necessary. Where the New Yorker didn’t go out to dinner, as an alternative there always was a dinner party hosted by some friends at their home or in a pub. A lifestyle difficult to eradicate, even in view of the fact that wives were not inclined to spend weekend at home, between cooking and dishes.
Aside from this substantial cultural difference, there was another of economic nature, because an average Neapolitan family certainly did not have the same economic opportunity of the overseas peers.
Although a normal dinner in a normal restaurant in the Neapolitan hinterland costs less than the one in a similar restaurant in New York, the average Neapolitan family culturally is more “conservative” and traditionalist, with wives, who, although involved in work, have not lost their  “housewives” identity, preferring to stay at home during the weekend.  In Naples, there has never been a “dining party” culture, and instead of Saturday dining out, if anything, the custom of a Sunday lunch away from home has always been more in vogue. But occasionally and not as a weekly habit. The Neapolitan wife has always been very attached to the house and the children and  weekend is just a chance to spend more time at home with family, and attend to all those household chores that she has not been able to do during the week.
Our habits have not changed much over the years. The economic situation has led, if anything, to renounce to some Sunday lunch at the restaurant and be thriftier in foodstuffs purchase.

Americans, instead, after a hard week spent at work, look forward to weekends, planning in advance for them.  For many weekend means going out with friends or relatives, outdoor activities or watching a game in a stadium.
In the past, one of the largest changes in American eating habits was the increasing reliance on food eaten away from home (FAFH). FAFH increased from 33% of total food expenditures in 1970 to 47% by 2003. Most of this is at table service and fast food restaurants.
Much of the growth is attributed to the rising value of household time, especially as induced by more female labor force participation, and rising household incomes.
As a 2009 Zagat Survey showed, eating out was a way of life for many Americans, with 50% of all meals prepared outside the home. In short, restaurants became the family kitchen for the busy two-career families. According to Zagat Survey CEO Tim Zagat, “Americans are still eating out in restaurants, they are just making smarter choices.”

Recently, the economic downturn, occasional jobs and financial turmoil in America have made it difficult for people to find enough money to afford their “dining out” habit.
Lately, Americans are making family dinner more often than dine out, a trend that slowly took root before the recession. Mostly, they’re cooking with and eating a narrow range of foods — and relying, to some extent, on prepared, frozen, and canned items to feed their families quickly and economically. “It’s very boring. That’s the sad truth,” says Harry Balzer, chief food industry analyst for the NPD Group, a national market research company. “For the most part, we’re looking for what’s the eaesiest way out of this, what’s the cheapest way out of this.” Balzer said, the number of restaurant meals an American family eats — dine-in or takeout — has been flat, at just under 200 a year, correlating to plateaus of both women in the workforce and household incomes.

Even the New York Times supported the thesis of the “end of the dinner party” because people do not have more money, time and wish to do so.  Someone else says that beyond the crisis there is a lack of good manners and savoir faire, with people no longer able to have a conversation and that’s why lately “finger food” and “standing up” are preferred to dinner party.

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TOMATO IN SALAD

Published March 10, 2013 by Tony

A SIDE DISH

It may seem superfluous if not useless to give a recipe for a simple “tomato salad”, but I cannot know if overseas we prepare them the same way we usually do here.
The tomato salad recipe that I am going to show you is simple, but if you do not know it I guarantee you that this recipe will make you appreciate this vegetable as never before.
This salad is a good side dish and an accompaniment to many meat or fish dishes, as well as a tasty starter.
You can choose any type of tomatoes, even if the larger and pulpy ones are better. Generally two or three tomatoes are sufficient for 2-3 people. About oil, do not be stingy in the amount!

Ingredients

Tomatoes (Better Boy, Heirloom, Beefsteak, Brandywine, Plum, etc.)
Olive oil to taste
Less than half white Onion
Salt to taste
A few pinches of Oregano (this is a necessary ingredient)

Preparation

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into thin slices in a small container.
Add the onion in small slices
Add salt, oregano and then the oil.
Turn gently and serve.

A tip for you, soak a slice of bread in the juice and taste it …. yummy

Tomato in salad

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Chinese Penis Fish

Published March 2, 2013 by Tony

EDIBLE WORMS

Urechis unicinctus

Apart from a very small worm that grows in a famous Sardinia cheese, called “Casu Marzu“, and that some eats with the cheese, I had never heard of other edible worms, at least in Western culture. It is known that in Asian and Eastern countries anything is eaten, including insects and larvae, but to know that in Korea they eat some giant worms, well… those images have particularly disgusted me. Although the thought of eating worms and insect larvae is rather shocking for many of you, I guess!
The worm, to which I refer, belongs to a species that lives mainly in the Yellow and China Sea, and its scientific name is Urechis unicinctus, a species of marine spoon worm.

It is widely referred to as the fat innkeeper worm or the penis fish that lives in burrows in sand and mud.

Why penis fish? Well… look at the pictures and you’ll understand!
The spoon worms or Echiura, are a small group of marine animals similar in size and habit.
This spoon worm is commonly eaten raw with salt and sesame oil in Korea and in parts of Japan. It is also used for fishing bait.
In Chinese cuisine the worm is stir-fried with vegetables, or dried and powdered to be used as a savory taste enhancer. In particular, the worm is considered an important ingredient in Shandong cuisine and is used in numerous recipes.

Looking at its pictures, it looks soft and tender and the given “penis” name truly suits it!
By hearsay, people prefer to eat it raw because the heat would make it inconsistent.
How about… do you want to taste it?
And how do you prefer it, into small pieces or put it all in your mouth……

Chinese Penis Fish

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SANDWICH WITH TUNA

Published September 24, 2012 by Tony

EASY-TO-MAKE SANDWICHES

About food, I want to show you the sandwich I ate today. I suppose you Americans, who may never get over your obsession with amazing hamburgers and fully stuffed, could turn up your noses in front of a so simple recipe. Often, especially for artisanal sandwiches worth to choose few ingredients to taste the full flavor of the selected ones. In any case, I challenge you to try this new one, in view of the fact that it is easy to prepare and with ingredients we usually already have at home, also if we Italians usually use the loaf to make sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS

1 canned tuna (better if in olive oil, nearly 2 oz per can).

2 or 3 mature cherry tomatoes.

Wash the tomatoes and open the sandwich then pouring the tuna with a bit of its oil, add the tomatoes mashing or cutting them on the tuna. Close the sandwich and eat……….. yummy!

POPE’s DIET

Published June 4, 2012 by Tony

What does Benedict XVI eat?

What are his favorite foods?

As native of Bavaria, Joseph Ratzinger should have been eating sausages and sauerkraut and instead he turned out to be just a new discovery for us. As son of a female cook, Joseph has always been a lover of simple dishes, well cooked. They say he likes the Kaiserschmarren, a kind of crepes cut into strips, much loved in South Tyrol and in High Bavaria, but he likes citrus fruits too, which he appreciates the juice and mandarin ice cream. The oranges seem to be his passion, so much so that in the restaurants where he went when a Cardinal, the waiters still remember him for his ordering, and so he was captured with a cup full of orange juice in a documentary aired on History Channel.
From the Holy See, we learn that Ratzinger has breakfast with coffee and milk, bread, butter and jam, sometimes he accepts donuts or cookies that visitors give him as gift. Lunch and dinner are prepared by the so-called “guardian angels”, laywomen who deal with his private apartments, while the kitchen is in the hands of two Apulians.  Loredana who does the shopping at the Vatican supermarket and furnishes the fresh vegetables harvested by the Castel Gandolfo gardens. Carmela who is in the kitchen and cooks the cakes more loved by the Pope: strudels, pies, and tiramisu of fruits. Under the guidance of nutritionists and such cooks, the diet could not be different from the Mediterranean one, with plenty of pasta and chicken.
Ratzinger also likes “spaghetti carbonara”. In fact, for many years, when still a cardinal, he ate every day in a nice “eating house”, a stone’s throw from its old Roman house, as the owner of that restaurant say, adding that he also favors the traditional Neapolitan dishes. The “Neapolitan pastiera” never is missing on his table on Easter Sunday. When Ratzinger was a guest of the Archbishop of Naples, the Sisters of the Neapolitan Curia prepared him “spaghetti with clams“, scallops or roast chicken with potatoes, besides the mozzarella. He prefers to drink water or the orange drink Fanta. Anyway, although he loves very much Roman and Neapolitan cuisine, Benedict XVI did not give up his Bavarian origins.
At Christmas, at the Pope’s table were served Knödel, the weiss sausage with sweet mustard and lebkuchen, the typical Bavarian gingerbread. Leaving the walls of St. Peter, when the Pope is on a mission, he must experience the local recipes, like pasta with pesto when in Genoa, or as the weissbier tasted for his birthday in the recent trip to Germany. “Sobriety and no fish” are his only directives, by a cousine “good but simple”.

Christmas and Zodiac preferences

Published December 24, 2011 by Tony

FOOD AND GIFTS FOR THE ZODIAC SIGNS
The zodiac at the table, the right gift for each of the 12 signs

Zodiaco

Time for gifts and meals and as always, it is not easy to make the right choices. Given the characteristics of each sign, this guide can help you in these choices. As if to say: “Tell me what’s your sign and I’ll know what you like!”

Aries

Zippy and impulsive, Aries is a real eater, eats a lot careless of lunchtimes. He loves good food and in the kitchen knows how to prepare delicious delicacies in an instant with just a few ingredients. This sign do not have a refined palate but knows what he likes. He has a penchant for strong flavors, spicy and tangy. Traditional and perfectionist, wants everything at once and the result must be perfect. Generally simple and direct at the table, Aries likes the informal atmosphere as the one coming out among relatives and old friends. Dynamic and generous, the Aries usually love to travel, novelty and adventure. To make them happy it could be sufficient to organize a big surprise party, a tour to some exotic location, or, for lovers of sport, a subscription to the gym or the stadium. Male or female, the right gift will be everything that underlines his ability and his personality that leads to reassure them. For example a painting or an expensive frame. Having no memory of the past, because his memories are born with him, photo-cameras or video-cameras would be appreciated. With the Aries woman, in particular, you can choose from jewelry, real or fake, important that they are large, heavy, a bit primitive such to let him remember the beginning of the primordial life with which Aries has unconsciously a unbreakable bond.

Taurus

Taurus is the zodiac Gourmet, a bon vivant and a good cook for which the table is a beautiful gratifying ritual to have in a relaxed atmosphere. Tenacious, patient, capable of bearing the hardships of life, but he also enjoys the pleasures that life gives him, remaining optimistic, however. Although refined, loves delicate sauces and soft flavors. Delicate flavors and soft and creamy cakes allure him. Take him by the throat is not easy and for a real Taurus the dishes should not be only good but also beautiful to see. Traditionalist and lover of comfort, Taurus is phlegmatic and romantic with a strong sense of family and as the Cancer, they then love to eat and drink together relatives and close friends. At the same time practical and pleasure-seeking, a solid Toro might want a dinner at a fine restaurant, or a nice comfortable and elegant piece of clothing. Household objects are very appreciated, especially about kitchen, while both men and women, prefer everything home-related. Not being world traveler, with strong roots, this sign prefers beautiful things and quality, often expensive, to make his home more beautiful, getting satisfaction looking around him and seeing what he has achieved. Classy ornaments, design, paintings, pillows, an old frame and so on, are all OK. Keep in mind, however, that the Taurus likes long-lasting objects that can pass from father to son and not frivolous not-in-fashion items.

Gemini

Bright, cheerful and talkative as this sign is, everyone wants his lively company. His food choices are oriented more towards snacks, pretzels and peanuts, sandwiches, chips and sweets, who likes nibbling throughout the day. The way to eat is capricious as his temperament. Gemini at table is divided into two categories: the master chef and the denied. The first does the pleasure of the food the purpose of his life, and wants a different dish every day. The second, instead, barely remember to sit at the table and eat: he prefers to feed on other, as is so busy. The most ironic and curious Gemini likes the variety and quantity, although not averse a good meal, at all. In addition to food quality, selective and cerebral as they are, appreciate novelty and surprises as some exotic recipe accompanied, however, to traditional dishes. Gemini loves to spend the holiday together with friends, acquaintances and partners, because they hate loneliness. Curious and ‘culture lover’ will be happy if you give them a book, or a ticket for a major cultural capital. He needs support and kindness and any intriguing gifts that make him smile will be appreciated. At this restless self-seeking sign, you can give him everything: boxes, cigarette lighters, bucket, ice holder, bottle opener, liquor, holder pills, suitcases, briefcases, handbags, anti-snatching purses. And if tied-up, organizers, agendas, diaries, pens. Gemini by profession or hobby are good writers in genera so, let us help him to note down his thoughts giving him pen and paper together with a book to read, even though he basically thinks that the real good book is what he will write one day.

Cancer

Shy and unsure, is the most sensitive and susceptible sign of the zodiac. Cancer is an excellent gourmet and if has in mind to make a romantic dinner invitation, knows how to prepare delicious dishes. Can listen to the problems of others without getting tired, be patient, but woe to disappoint his expectations, because it can become irritable, intolerant, and then close in its shell without possibility for you then to understand his feelings. The laziness sometimes brings him to fall back on ready-made foods and if he is sad, unhappy and depressed, then consoles himself with cake, pastry and ice cream. The kitchen is always neat and perfect, in fact, his motto is everything at its place, a place for everything. Very traditional and attacked to the family, the cancer at the table has very classic tastes and loves sweets and pastries, being very greedy and needy of attention by all. Reserved but very pleasurable and passionate about good cuisine, are real connoisseurs with simple tastes, but well matched. For the sentimental and moody Cancer the ideal would be a delicate perfume, some object of an ancient craft or a book. Related to childhood memories and fascinated by history, poetry and photography, Cancer would love models and ornaments, as well as books of poetry and photo collections. To make a gift to a typical male or female Cancer, I’d recommend to visit a shopping Mother or Household department where you will find something that can quench his insatiable thirst of love towards children and home. For those who live in search of security and feel not-protected, who are generally more moody sensitive and imaginative, then the choice is more difficult. You can oriented yourself on music (record players, records, tapes, tickets to concerts, history music books) or on poetry and history books. These native, in fact, reliving the events of the past through their link with the great mother, retrieving the necessary security to do so live well.

Leo

The Leo is the king of the zodiac: God help us if it is not the center of attention. Cocky, worldly and chic has generally a good appetite. He manages to make amends for his self-centeredness with incredible bursts of generosity; if he invites you to his house and cannot cook, order everything at the restaurant and then pretends to have done all by himself because he hates failures. With the stove, gets along well, wants to gather all the friends at home and no one should dare to go snooping in his royal kitchen. The great attachment to tradition is satisfied at table with stylish and luxurious things: porcelain and sparkling crystals, damask tablecloths, table worthy of a king. Energetic and passionate, Lions have a preference for large dinners laden with gifts and with many people. Warm but selective, a creature of habit and conservative, the Lions love abundant and spicy food. Generous and convivial, the natives of this sign of Fire feel attraction for everything that is bright and stylish at the same time, and also at Christmas prefer substantial and well presented dishes, that will make them very happy. The brilliant ambitious and passionate Leo love surprises, while having a certain inclination and habit to traditionalism. They like precious objects (earrings, bracelets and necklaces for the lionesses), invitations to exclusive parties and social occasions, elegant clothes and gifts, however, of a certain value. Our friends Leo (men or women) are demanding and difficult to please. The Leones are rich or wealthy, tending to live in comfortable beautiful surroundings, and often already have everything they need. But as they shine with its own light, don’t see others, those around them, so they are often alone. They, therefore, need an act of kindness and appreciates a gift; but if you want to make him really happy, try something that highlights the important his personality and family. For example, will be appreciated books of heraldry, or the stories of the country of origin, that shed light on his family. About objects, it is important they are sumptuous and contribute to make the native shine. Give your prefernce to jewelry adorned with many colored stones and agudy parures. If you are intimate, can also make a gift more personal, like a garment: the Lion always appreciates a scarf, a purse, a pair of gloves, a scarf, a tie, a belt, provided they are signed and slightly eccentric.

Virgo

Rather suspicious, Virgo is a health fanatic. Not the type who loves the news, especially if they have to do with the food. He loves to conclude lunches and dinners with steaming cups of tea, and in his tidy pantry never can miss whole and macrobiotic meals. Very simple and frugal, Virgin loves indulging in habitual routine that gives him great confidence. Very precise and meticulous, is often considered a bit tedious and troublesome, and even if in on the sly, the Virgin is good-hearted, ready to do his very best for the others. In his house there is always a relaxed and comfortable environment, and on the table never miss flowers. The food preferences are oriented generally on the simple and inexpensive one. Meticulous and fussy by definition, the Virgin prefers the simplicity to the exaggerations and in their innate moderation rarely exceed even at Christmas. So, for this reserved and measured sign, well-known for his hypercritical vein, only simple and light recipes will conquer their delicate intestines, as well as a table with around a well-selected group of friends. Elegant and witty, the Virgin loves the simplicity and useful gifts. For example, the classic agenda for the new year, a nice pair of comfortable shoes or any technological accessory (browsers, phones, computers, tablet) will meet with acceptance, because ideal for a sign that knows how to combine aesthetics and practicality. The Virgin, man or woman, is not really one that is easily satisfied: it is a complicated native. Versatile and educated he is never under the spotlights. They will be appreciated sophisticated tools to make jams and pancakes, garden tools, plants and tools, from the simplest to the most modern tools, but also everything that can enrich an insatiable mind; erudition and the love for the nature appease that anxiety that this sign hides well.

Libra

Polite, accommodating and always smiling, is the more diplomatic sign of the zodiac. He does not like to force the situation, always wants to live in perfect harmony, at peace with himself and with others. At table is formal and measured, and also in the role of chef is up to the job, but eat more with their eyes than with the taste buds. She can cook perfectly soft fragrant meals, that look good and taste good, and then also relaxing and have fun together with relatives and friends. Shy and a little cocky, is able to the others do whatever he wants. This applies also and especially in the kitchen. The preferences are oriented towards delicate flavor foods such as bouillon, pasta with vegetables, white meats, shellfish, soft cheeses, vegetable broths. He loves being surrounded by exquisite objects, beautiful and elegant. The Balance people are the Zodiac dandies: they have sophisticated tastes, but are diplomatic friendly, and enjoy whatever is beautiful and refined. For example, jackets for men and evening gowns for women, or valuable perfume. However, the work of a great writer can make inroads in Libra, the sign characterized by strong cultural interests. Both man and woman, the balance is distinguished by his love for beautiful things, art in general and objects that have a history. The obiect can also be cheap but its design must be original and taste-expressing. The Balance wants to be loved and the gift – small or big – must represent your affection towards him. So, choose your gift for your friend with the heart first: a small print, an art book, a high-class perfume, flowers, a curious item or books about music, poetry, literature.

Scorpio

It’s a sensual, alternating periods in which is very attracted to the food and periods in which there is almost no need for nourishment. Refined, but also shady and suspicious, has the reputation of being number one in terms of eros and breathtaking surprises. Helped by a healthy appetite, prefers strong flavors, savory sauces and spicy foods. His tastes are very specific and usually eats everything without prevention. When ventures in the kitchen is a perfectionist, very able to adjust the flavor with a pinch of herbs or spices. Scorpion rarely becomes a chef, he prefers to invite friends and grant them carte blanche, and this explains the popularity of its meetings. By the food he wants instant gratification, and being very reserved and passionate, even at Christmas always appreciate a little of originality in the dishes and something special and mischievous if possible. Magnetic and mysterious, the Scorpion likes special gifts. Exotic objects, original ornaments, esoteric books, thrillers and essays about psychology too. This troubled Water sign prefers gifts embellished with an ambiguous and sensual touch. Even the cinema and theater are among their main interests: a ticket to a show or best drama might be a good choice. It could also be fine a black humor and eroticism book, even though the game that excites him most is the mental. For older people might be interesting anything that can detach his mind from the body’s needs. So you could also buy books that tell the life of a saint (better if a previous sinner). Scorpio likes intelligent and unconventional gifts, something that encourage him to overcome his innate instinct of self-destruction and punishment. At this level, are good all readings that carry towards high mental states: religions, yoga, mysterious cults. Or stories of spies, murders, war stories: everything that leads man to the threshold of death and risk. Equally interesting any good game that require mental application, such as chess and some sophisticated puzzles.

Sagittarius

Idealistic, tenacious and unstoppable, sociable par excellence, Sagittarius has the reputation of being a good fork. His appetite is very strong, and is a great taster who loves the taste, the smell and the sensation of fullness that a good meal gives. In his imagination the joys of the table have a privileged place, and when sit at the table is serious, and it is better not to tempt its susceptibility with beautiful plates, but poor in substance, even if he dislike to spend much time sitting at the table. Adventurous and enjoyable, the fearless Archer does not move aside when it comes to food, and at Christmas lunch – as for starters – abounds greatly. Curious and experimental, they mix constantly tradition and innovation while it is not difficult to see them happy if next to a traditional dish also can taste an exotic specialty. We have two types of Sagittarius, even alternating one another in the course of life. The first is a person pleased with himself and about what he did, pleasure-seeking, pleasure-loving who appreciates the more jovial side of life. The second is the Sagittarius, who dominated by Neptune, is still in the grip of a search for happiness and far havens. For the friends of the pleasure-seeking, the choice of gift is easier, because the enthusiastic Sagittarius gives a value to everything, and whatever it is, will be appreciated, not for what it is but for what he represents in his imagination. Sagittarius is also very athletic, so every article in this field will be appreciated. If your friends, men or women, are the second type, I would recommend to visit the various shops with items from far lands: the gift more distant and more will be appreciated. Ok, then, for colorful kites, the burning oriental perfumes, ritual masks: better yet a plane ticket, a cruise, so that our native goes by itself to take what he likes best. In general, however, the Sagittarius, rich in ideas and imagination, loves big an unusual gifts, as well as does not disdain something precious and beautiful. The sign is very demanding, and cannot stand the restrictions in every aspect of daily life, especially at Christmas.

Capricorn

Discreet, prudent and hardworking, the attitude toward food of Capricorn is very balanced and very demanding, because the table is not uppermost in his thoughts. On his watchful eye nothing can escape, it is better not to improvise with him, especially when you want to invite him. He loves the poor and popular cuisine, prepared with simple ingredients. Simple and not-talkative is the type who looks to the point. His appetite is generally robust, although not the most demanding palate. The Goat is a cook that leaves nothing to chance, but follows closely to the letter all the instructions in the recipe, collecting applause and acclaim. As a strict nature and a little too severe, Capricorn, like the Virgin, prefer quality rather than quantity. So at Christmas, he will allow himself some recipes little more elaborate than usual, always within the limits of his usual caution. Practical and essential, the Capricorn loves as gifts any knick-knacks for the home and everything useful for office and work in general. Very refined, a bit cautious and sober, Capricorn shuns luxury and look to the reality of things. Generalizing, we can say that the Capricorn typically do not receive too many presents, first of all because they are shy and the obligation of gifts, even those of the closest occurrences, is deleted and forgotten and, therefore, they receive gifts only from people who are loving them a lot. Grumpy as they are, they never really tell if a gift is welcome or not. Capricorn is all aimed towards their intimacy and den, even if their home is unadorned: the only things that can warm up his room are the books, but with fine bindings, possibly leather. The technique fascinates him, and Capricorn men and women will appreciate boxes and big boxes with tools, for cutting, sawing, to make frames, woodwork and other materials being their preferred hobby; and taking account of this you could help them to enrich their private workspace.

Aquarius

Idealistic, innovative and unconventional, but never without appearing too, the Water Bearer has a natural inclination in finding new ideas. Only he knows how to be truly a free spirit and for this he eats at random, even though likes the variety and would like to change the menu every day, because disliking the routine. The appetite is usually not very pronounced and towards the table has an attitude a bit distracted and without obligation. He prefers simple-course, lightly cooked meats and fast food that does not take away time to his commitments. About food, the Aquarian is uneven and unpredictable as in life, while preparing meals should not be a duty but a pleasure. The genius is his forte but not the punctuality. Eat at times very flexible, sometimes almost impossible, and sometimes he forgets everything. Unconventional, unpredictable and creative, Aquarians are interested in technology and innovations in all fields, from artistic to the scientific one. Any unusual and particularly issue attracts their attention and excites them, while do not like too classic and traditional gifts. Phones, personal computers, but also paintings and art books are among the most suitable gifts for this sign. First you need to take account of the great openness of Aquarius, a wise sign : the culture and novelty from anywhere, provided that they are bearers of wind renovator, fascinate them. Books that talk about big ideas, political, books that tell of man’s journey to the mythical freedom. So any technical object, no antique, but useful items, essential, practical, long linked to the latest inventions of technology: radio, record player, audio, alarm clocks, calculators. And because the music is able to let him dream, don’t’ forget new CD compilation, MP3 or headphones that let him isolated from the real world for a while.

Pisces

Sweet and romantic, always engaged to pursue their dreams, Pisces are generous unselfish and prefer to cook more for others than for themselves. Equipped with the most refined tastes, their preferences go to the substantial and elaborated main courses and, as they are as good as bread, are often “prey” to some scroungers and opportunists friends. The Fishes know how to welcome guests with warmth and sympathy, putting everyone at ease. They consider the food a basic need as well as joyful and rewarding opportunity to enjoy the gifts of the earth, while their bigger passion are the cakes. Sweet tooth, such as Cancer, the fatalists Fishes give great importance to the aesthetics of the dishes because people with good taste, intuition and observation. Elegant and a little detached, attach great importance to the quality of food, however, preferring to refrain in eating more to give way to cakes, especially if they are the classic chocolate cake, which will erase their pain. Dreamers and sentimental Pisces are able to develop a strong sense of friendship. More spiritual than material, to them matters most the thinking behind the purchase than the gift itself. Although they know how to be diplomatic and delicate are quite difficult but appreciate works of art, books, painting, and music the great passion of this dreamer sign, as well as a nice trip to some exotic island. It is not easy to make then a gift : they are so complicated. Pisces, with the Moon in exaltation, are pure fantasy, and the gift must be a game that transports them on that plane of unreality in which they seem to feel so good. On this basis, any kind of art object is appreciated: with its great sensitivity Pisces understands the true art even in the simplest objects. A beautiful papier-press, a tinplate can, a liberty frame will have a place of honor on thier desk. As for the music, remember their sensitivity and turn to melodic CDs . For an unusual gift are also fine coral and shells of distant seas.

A  U  G  U  R  I

ALBERO DI NATALE

TOMATOES BUNCH

Published January 21, 2011 by Tony

PIENNOLO DI PUMMAROLE

Neapolitan tomato bunch

It is the time here to use some food stored in the basement as like as some particular small tomatoes tied together to form a bunch.
I think that this particular species of tomato is characteristic of some specific regions of the southern Italy only and of Naples city especially. In fact it refers to a specific seed far-back bred along the Vesuvius side mainly. The plants, cultivated as any potato plant, produce small and pointed tomatoes harvested from June to August when any cluster is handspun to obtain a thick bunch we Neapolitan call “piennolo” (derived from the Italian word “appendilo”, meaning hang it)

Any piennolo then is stored in a fresh aired place to ripen slowly till to become dark-red, ready to be sold. The first harvest gives back a smaller and dried tomatoes good to be used in the short, while the biggest and watery ones can be stored longer and used first they start to become rotten. Generally they can be kept for many weeks depending on temperature. On average, any bunch (piennolo) is nearly 5 Kg.

People start to buy this tomatoes in September but we can find them in December too though their purchase price raises because – drying up – their weight decrease in the time.

Every year I’m used to buy some piennolo before Christmastime and keep them hanging out my balcony. The taste of these characteristic tomatoes is very peculiar, the flesh is more dried compared to other tomato and not as red colored as the peel – looking pink even – but, quite sweet with a delicate unique taste.

For these distinctive characteristic this tomato is used to prepare simple dishes and the best way to taste its flavor is to prepare a simple tomato-sauce with spaghetti. I like to use them with Vongolas,  an Italian fresh clams (Venerupis decussata) …… very delicious!


(for 2 people) Place a small saute pan (frying pan) over medium heat; add a finger of olive oil and a clove of garlic. Leave garlic to golden and in the meanwhile wash with water about 15 tomatoes. While tearing put them in the oil. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down and dry over a lower heat if the case. Mash a few with a spoon too and add some pinch of salt. It needs not more than 10 min to cook these delicate tomatoes. To taste their flavor you shouldn’t add anything else but, if you like can add some fresh leaf od basil at the end of the cooking. In the meanwhile cook 6 ounces of spaghetti in salt water according to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over spaghetti and…. yum…. yum…..