Archive | February, 2016

Pollo Arrosto

25 Feb

One of my favorite things to buy at the market in Italy is the pollo arrosto, or roasted chicken.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Simply prepared and cooked on a rotating spit, it’s always crispy and delicious.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

So yesterday, when the weather service issued a warning for Chicago, I thought, why not roast a chicken? Since I didn’t have a rotating spit, I decided to spatchcock my chicken, aka butterfly it.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

I dressed it with a bit of olive oil and a bunch of herbs and put it on a v-shaped rack so that the entire chicken rested above the pan. I surrounded it with chopped onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green peppers, then let the whole thing sit uncovered in the frig for a few hours, supposedly to produce a crispier skin.

At 5pm, it went into a 325° oven and roasted slowly for two hours.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

We kind of guessed from the wonderful aroma that filled the house that we were in for a treat, and yes, in fact, we were. Buon appetito!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Makes one almost wish it might snow again soon.

Ciao,
Judy

 

The Moka Man

17 Feb

Who says you can’t take it with you? Not the family of Renato Bialetti, the man responsible for turning the octagonal Italian espresso maker, La Moka, into a global phenomenon.

© 2015 L'Italo-Americano. All rights reserved.

© 2015 L’Italo-Americano. All rights reserved.

Renato Bialetti passed away last week at the age of 93. According to local Italian papers, it was his three children, Alessandra, Antonello and Alfonso, who decided on a most fitting resting place for their father’s ashes – a large Moka.

La caffettiera con le ceneri di Renato Bialetti (foto Danilo Donadio) La Stampa

La caffettiera con le ceneri di Renato Bialetti (foto Danilo Donadio) La Stampa

Renato’s father, Alfonso, completed his design for the Moka Express in 1933. Over the next six years, 70,000 Moka units were produced and marketed in the weekly Piedmont markets. But when son Renato started running the family business in 1946, he was determined to make the Moka world-famous.

His huge marketing campaign, coupled with the addition of a new mascot, proved invaluable.  Renato added Bialetti’s now well-recognized trademark, the Moka mascot, which was based on a humorous cartoon doodle of father Alfonso. The “omino coi baffi”, the little man with mustache ordering an espresso, became the recognized symbol of the Bialetti Moka worldwide.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Why was the Moka such a success? Among other reasons, it enabled all people, not just the wealthy, to brew high-quality, great tasting coffee at home, replacing the need for expensive or primitive coffee makers, or the need to go out for good coffee.

Today, it is estimated that over 330 million units of varying shapes and sizes have been purchased. Count us among the millions!

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

RIP Renato, and may you long savor that wonderful espresso aroma.

Ciao,
Judy

 

Buon San Valentino!

14 Feb

For Valentine’s Day, I decided to go all out on family gifts this year.

For Len, the car of his dreams:

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©Blogginginitaly.com

For Benita, an easy way to zip around the city:

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And for me, because I’m kind of a free uber driver, two options:

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

So Len and Benita, make room for the new additions. Oh, sorry, I meant room on your walls for the new framed photos, not room in the garage!

Wishing everyone a very Happy St. Valentine’s Day, Buon San Valentino,

and hoping it’s a little bit sweet

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©Blogginginitaly.com

a little bit spicy

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©Blogginginitaly.com

and filled with whatever makes you smile!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

Shrove Tuesday, Carnevale in Venezia

9 Feb

Although the high today will reach about 20°, Benita invited Len and me to join her for pazcki, the Polish deep-fried donut that signals the coming of Lent. We headed to Firecakes Donuts in Lincoln Park, where we tried the raspberry ones, then took a lemon for later. Definitely worth the calories!

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Eating the pazcki reminded me of Venice’s Carnevale, the huge winter festival celebrated with  parades, masquerade balls, musicians, music, and parties. Although today is Shrove Tuesday, the official date of Carnevale, Italians like others have been celebrating for weeks.

It’s thought that the Carnival of Venice was started as part of a victory celebration in 1162. Over the years, Carnevale took on various meanings, and was outlawed completely in 1797 under the rule of the King of Austria. In the 19th century, it gradually reappeared and in 1979, the Italian government brought it back as a means of highlighting the history and culture of Venice.

Today, approximately 3 million people attend Carnevale annually. They are awed, not only by Venice’s buildings, bridges, gondolas and canals, but also by the incredible attention to detail that goes into the costumes and pageantry. On the last weekend of Carnevale, a competition is held to determine la maschera più bella  or “the most beautiful mask”. The contest is judged by a panel of international costume and fashion designers, and when you see the incredible artistry, you’ll understand why.

Many thanks to my dear friends Marco and Mario for allowing me to share their amazing photos.

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Mario in Venetian Mask Shop©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Macro/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

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Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

Marco/Mario©Blogginginitaly.com

So glad I didn’t have to choose a favorite – tough work for the judges!

Ciao,
Judy

Saturday Smiles

6 Feb

Who needs comics when truth is often funnier than fiction.

Recently, as reported in The Local.IT, an Italian newspaper, a man from the Ravenna area was summoned to the police station. Apparently, the man’s dog, a Doberman, was accused of biting a man. Now before you feel sorry for the victim, hear the rest of the story.

The dog, a guard dog, had bitten the man, a would be thief who had entered a house during the night.

dog-and-man

The story came to light through a local vet, Fabio Pansera, who wrote about his almost-burgled client’s misfortune on Facebook on January 28th.

According to Pansera’s Facebook page,

“Yesterday a client of mine, who owns a Doberman, was summoned by the authorities because the night before, a thief tried to get into his house but was bitten by the dog,” he wrote. “He has now reported the man and wants compensation for the bite straightaway.”

Pansera then joked that maybe dog owners ought to be teaching their pets good manners – such as wagging their tails at trespassers or offering them some biscuits – because if they attack, then they could end up in serious trouble.

mans-best-friend

Journalists at L’Eco Di Bergamo followed up on the post with the vet, who confirmed the story.

Ciao,
Judy

L’eco di Bergamo

Foiled-burglar-reports-italy-property-owner-over-dog-bite

 

 

What a Difference a Year Makes… Well, Five Years!

1 Feb

Five years ago, Chicagoans braced for what was soon to be known as Snowmageddon or Snowpocalypse.  In 2011, 21.2 inches of snow fell, making it the third largest total snowfall in Chicago history after the infamous 1967  and 1999 Chicago Blizzards. Over 900 cars and busses were stranded on Lake Shore Drive.

On our walk the next day, we found this:

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2011 ©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

2011 ©Blogginginitaly.com

Today, the sunshine brought 40° temperatures and on our walk, the scenery was quite different. The ice on the lake was nowhere to be seen,

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©Blogginginitaly.com

and walkers and runners were enjoying the day.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Admittedly, February 1st isn’t the beginning of spring and is a bit early for boaters and beach goers, but we did spot this twosome taking a swim in Diversey Harbor.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

As an old Proverb reminds us,
No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

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