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Monthly Archives: May 2012

In Milan, I was told that I couldn’t enter the Duomo because I was wearing a tank top and didn’t have my scarf with me to cover my shoulders. Instead, Luisa and I decided to walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuale.

  

From floor to ceiling it is quite detailed. Where the two arcades meet in the center, there is a mosaic of a bull on the floor. Tradition holds that you place your heel where the bull’s testicle would be, and you spin three times for good luck.

Well, of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate! Both Luisa and I stomped and spun, and I’m glad we did. I’d say that it was a combination of our new luck and Luisa’s Italian persistence (I truly believe that she could talk her way into or out of anything) that made it possible for me to enter the Duomo, sans scarf. Good luck balls indeed.

  

Sometimes I joke about “eating my way through Europe.” As of this moment, I’m not kidding anymore. I had some delicious pizza in Milan, focaccia in Santa Margherita Ligure, and the most amazing artisanal gelato to be found — ANYWHERE — made by Lucy, my friend Luisa’s mom. (Insert a belly-full sigh here.)

Luisa and I are traipsing about her town of Santa Margherita Ligure and buzzing around the surrounding areas. I say buzzing because it’s the closest I can get to the sound of her super-cute moto. We are totally smart badasses in our helmets. Mom, we are always wearing our helmets.

Mom, we always wear our helmets!   S. Margherita de Ligure   

One of the more notable towns next door is Portofino. Immortalized in Petrarchan script and visited by the stars, Portofino is a small harbor on sparkling emerald-blue waters. The restaurants along the waterfront are beautiful and inviting, but be warned that even a small lunch and only water to drink will still pack a punch on your wallet. We decided to walk up to the view at the chiesa di San Giorgio, overlooking the sea. Perhaps you can make out the horizon better than I could?

      

We live in a time when we are told to believe that we are separate — or perhaps think of ourselves as separate — from the earth. In truth, we are intimately connected to one another and to our natural surroundings. The decisions we make daily have a large impact on the future of our environment, including the way that we vote with every dollar we spend. Watching this film has reaffirmed my passion for supporting the regeneration of the earth through compassionate means, and for protesting the irresponsible and harmful procedures that are in effect today with the sole purpose of increasing monetary returns.

“Arise” is a beautiful testimony to the kind of thought-shift and commitment that people are showing around the globe. No action is too small or insignificant.

Please see this phenomenal movie.

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Every time I come home I can count on taking a trip to the “countryside” to drive and revel in the natural beauty that is Colorado. There are several landmarks I must visit — like the “crickly-crackly road” and “the tree” — but most of all these drives have a history of providing exactly what is needed in the moment, whether it be an escape, time to converse, process, or just to sit in silence.

On this particular day, my mom and I went out for a walk at one of our favorite spots. At some point during the stroll, mom looked over at a group of familiar plants and told me to check it out. She was right, there it was:

Wild asparagus! It’s rather late in the season for there to still be any worth picking. Usually the prime time to go is around Easter. This was a real treat to have found so much!

We decided to make a delicious meal with our lucky discovery: Cream of Wild Asparagus Soup.

Ingredients: (this was for two of us, but we had some left over)

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, washed and chopped.

1 small shallot, minced

1 pkg. mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

3 c. low-sodium vegetable broth

1 stick (8 T.) of unsalted butter, divided in half.

4 T. flour

1.5 c. milk

1/2 c. white wine (optional)

4 sprigs fresh thyme, in tact

5 T. of freshly grated Gruyère cheese

olive oil

sea salt

pepper

seasoning salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Dress asparagus with a little olive oil and sea salt,     and roast asparagus until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Next, melt 1 T of butter on medium heat in a saucepan and add the shallot. Wait about 30 seconds and add the rest of the butter. When it’s melted, whisk in the flour to make the rue.

SLOWLY, ever so slowly, pour your vegetable broth into the pot, whisking constantly so that it doesn’t clump. You’ll see that it immediately thickens each time you add broth, but it will eventually have to a slightly creamy consistency once all the broth has been incorporated. Here, we also added the whole milk. **If you decide to add milk, temper it by spooning some broth into the cold milk, bringing it to a warmer temperature before you add the lot.

Reduce the heat to medium low. To this base we added 1/2 cup of wine, 4 sprigs of thyme (they’ll be removed later) and a bit of gruyère cheese.

Whilst the soup is warming, caramelize the sliced mushrooms along with the other 4 T of butter, pepper, and seasoning salt. We like ours with a nice brown all around. (This is also a good time to remove the thyme from the pot.)

Finally, when the asparagus is fork tender, place all of it into a blender with enough soup to cover it and puree. Add the mixture back into the saucepan, and combine. To serve, ladle a healthy portion of the soup and garnish with some of the mushrooms and homemade croutons.

Enjoy!

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