Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vegetarian Italian via Yle Sambati


                  Oggi Cucino Vegetariano 

The past three years Ylenia Sambati has been a great collaborator with Home to Italy, sharing the unique and the beautiful 
Italian life in the Salento. 



"You never know who you will meet that can change your direction"   
Our casual conversation on line led to my first visit to Lecce in Puglia and the launch of Yle's online Italian Vegetarian Cookbook   ©yleniasambati2015  


Our collaboration often makes me laugh because Yle is the
 CEO of the only Wine and Cooking School in Puglia and I do not cook.     But we have created a platform to share 
her program for cooking Vegetarian Italian food.    
Video cooking lessons and more will be available soon.    
You can also practice Italian since all recipes are featured in our native language.  

Oggi Cucino Vegetariano 
Vegetarian recipes in Italian and English



Click each link below to see our most current postings.


 Cold Pennette with Ginger






Tomato Sauce                               
 in August, a family affair











Bocconcini di Zucchine 
 Zucchine Balls  







Spinach and Spelt        

                                         


Vegetarian Cooking with Ylenia Sambati

Today We Cook Vegetarian


Today Ylenia Sambati teaches us
 how to make. ....................

 Spinach and Spelt


MATTONELLA SPINACI E FARRO
100 gr farro
500 gr spinaci
1 cipolla tritata
1 spicchio d’aglio
1 noce di burro
3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva
3 cucchiai di farina integrale
70 gr di pinoli schiacciati
1 uovo
3 cucchiai di formaggio parmigiano grattugiato
1 cucchiaio di pangrattato
Sale e pepe nero

8 foglie di menta fresca tritata
        




CEO of the only Cooking and Wine School in Puglia
-       Fate cuocere il farro in acqua salata
      In una padella saltate l’aglio finemente tritato e la cipolla fino, quindi aggiungete gli spinaci, un pizzico di sale e lasciate cuocere
-   Scolate il farro e aggiungetelo nella stessa padella degli spinaci: mescolate e saltate insieme per un paio di minute   Lasciate raffreddare e passate bel mixer farro e spinaci fino a ridurli in purea. Incorporate anche la farina integrale, il pangrattato, l’uovo, il formaggio parmigiano, la menta tritata, il pepe nero e un pizzico di sale, i pinoli, il burro.
-       Preriscaldate il forno a 180°
-      Ungete uno stampo per plumcake
-  Versate il composto nello stampo e trasferite il tutto in una pirofila capiente riempita di acqua per metà. Fate cuocere in forno a bagnomaria per circa 30 minuti o finché il composto si sarà rassodato

-       Lasciate raffreddare e servite tiepido.


The Inglese Version

100 g spelt
500g spinach
1 chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1 knob of butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons wholemeal flour
70 g of crushed pine nuts
1 egg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
Salt and black pepper
8 fresh mint leaves, chopped
  
Cook the spelt in salted water
In a pan saute garlic and onion until finely chopped, then add the spinach, a pinch of salt and cook
Drain the lighthouse into the same pan and add spinach.
Mix and toss together for a couple of minutes
Let cool and spelled and pass through a ricer and spinach mixture to  reduce them to a puree
Stir in whole wheat flour, breadcrumbs, egg, Parmesan cheese, chopped mint, black pepper and a pinch of salt, pine nuts and butter
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Grease a mold pan
Pour the mixture into the mold and transfer to a large bowl baking dish filled half way with water
Bake in this water bath for about 30 minutes until the mixture has hardened
Let cool and serve warm


Cooking adventures can be arranged for your next trip home to Italy
Contact Yle for details and suggestions on how to make your Italian adventure special.
You can tell her your dream and she can create the adventure !






Sunday, August 16, 2015

Vegetarian Cooking with Ylenia Sambati


OGGI CUCINO VEGETARIANO


Ylenia Sambati is an accomplished cook and the CEO for the only Cooking and Wine school in Puglia, Italy.

She is also a vegetarian and has agreed to share with 
Home to Italy readers some of her vegetarian recipes.

Today we cook zucchini 'balls' and it looks wonderful!





Practice your Italian or scroll down to the English version


BOCCONCINI DI ZUCCHINE 

5 zucchine
120 gr di formaggio pecorino grattuggiato
2 uova
4 cucchiai di pangrattato fine
2 cucchiai di prezzemolo fresco tritato
2 cucchiai di menta fresca tritata
olio per friggere
sale e pepe nero



- lessate le zucchine in acqua bollente salata
- scolatele e lasciatele raffreddare
- tritate le zucchine finemente (o schiacciatele con la forchetta)
- mettetele in una terrina con pecorino, uova, pangrattato, prezzemolo, menta, sale e pepe
- infarinatevi le mani e formate delle palline che passerete nel pangrattato
- scaldate l'olio e friggete i bocconcini
- serviteli caldi 


For those of us still learning Italian, here is the English version:

 ZUCCHINI BITES

5 zucchini
120 grams of grated pecorino cheese
2 eggs
4 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Oil for frying
salt and black pepper



- Boil zucchini in boiling salted water
- Drain and let them cool
- Finely chopped zucchini (or mash with a fork)
- Put them in a bowl with cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, mint, salt and pepper
- cover your hands with flour and form small balls that pass in breadcrumbs
- Heat the oil and fry the pieces
- Serve hot


Cooking adventures can be arranged for your next trip home to Italy.   Contact Yle for details and suggestions on how to make your Italian adventure special.   You can tell her your dream and she can create the adventure!
 www.yltourpr.com



Friday, August 14, 2015

Calabria: an expat returns home, part time



As part of my Interviews with Expats in Italy series
Cherrye Moore
is sharing her expat life in Italy and the USA


I met Cherrye Moore on line via her newsletter and web site for My Bella Vita.     Southern Italy does not often receive the same attention as other tourist dense parts of Italy and I found her descriptions of the towns, villages and seaside of Calabria engaging.  

From online posts about life in Calabria, renovating a home to a BnB Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast, travel tips and Calabrian destinations an entire travel service company has emerged.  More personal updates, recipes and facts about life in Calabria are  posted on the subscription site, Questo Mese in Italia, a complementary newsletter, be sure to subscribe.


My Bella Vita Travel offers culinary experiences, yoga retreats and heritage
tours in Calabria.    This year travel events are September small group heritage tour, Calabria Yoga Retreat and Calabrian Table Tour.   Details and dates are on her web page.   Cherrye describes
My Bella Vita Travel as  " Our company, My Bella Vita Travel, specializes in custom vacations and heritage travel to Calabria and southern Italy."

Contact information:    http://mybellavita.com    cherrye@mybellavita.com 

Photos courtesy of Franco Muia

Our online interview:
 How long have you been an Expat in Italy?

I lived full-time in Calabria for nine years and recently relocated (at least) part-time back to Texas.
I loved living in Calabria. My husband is from there and my son was born there and it very much feels like home to me.
Our long-term "family plan" always included us splitting our time between southern Italy and southeast Texas so this recent "move" was part of the bigger plan.


Prior to becoming an expat did you live in Italy for any length of time?

 No! I had spent time as an expat just outside of Paris, which is where I met my husband, and I thought I knew what being an expat was all about. :-)
Talk about culture shock!  

 What made you decide to no longer be a visitor but to be a resident in Italy?

My husband and I met while we were both working for Disneyland Paris and living in France.
We had "the talk" a few months into our long-distance relationship and we knew that someone would have to make the move.
I have always loved adventure and liked the idea of living in southern Italy but always knew that one day I'd want to go home (to Texas).
I grew up in a big Catholic family - I'm one of 26 first cousins - and I wouldn't trade that crazy family dynamic for anything.
So, I knew one day I'd want to move back to Texas. Now, we are in a position that I never dreamed would be possible.
We kept our home in Calabria and recently bought a home in southeast Texas. I'm so very blessed!

 Any reason you wish to share, for selecting the city/town you live in?

It's funny how sometimes life chooses you. I moved to Italy "for a boy." :-)
And that boy happened to live in Catanzaro, the capital city of Calabria.
But, I gotta be honest. The first several months were tough. Unlike more tourist-friendly towns, there is little English spoken in Catanzaro. Everything still closes in the middle of the day. We hang out our clothes to dry... .
It's a very different way of life than I was accustomed to in Texas.
But slowly things started to change for me. I started making connections, learning the language, adapting to the differences and I wouldn't change it for anything.
There is nowhere else in Italy I'd want to live.

 Did you speak Italian before you moved to Italy?

Very, very little. Ok. Let's say no.
I remember though when I started feeling comfortable in Italian.
I had gone to a shop down the road from our house and I felt ... light. Confident.
I couldn't really place the feeling until I realized that I was feeling relief. Peace.
I knew I'd be able to communicate with someone if they approached me without getting flustered or embarrassed.
I held my chin a little higher and smiled as I walked.
Then, I remembered I'd gone to the store to buy Q-Tips. And I didn't know how to say that in Italian... . 

What is or was the most difficult part(s) of expat life?   Be free to list anything from on dishwasher to the amount of time errands take….etc

Difficult?? Hmmm..., bureaucracy.
Everything taking longer than you think it should.
Not being able to make a dr. appointment on the phone but having to go in person to make the appointment, then going in person to pay (in advance), then going again for the appointment.
Then, again to pick up the results. It was so tedious.
Also, I found it much harder to make friends with non-expats in Calabria.
Many of the Italians I know have had their same friends since childhood so there isn't a lot of "room" for new friends.
Then, people get busy - have jobs, have kids and family and it's harder to make a connection with people who are new.

The most rewarding parts of expat life?

I love being able to fully experience a new culture. You can read about it, learn about it and get insight while you are on vacation but living in a country exposes you to so much more. You see the good, the bad and the ugly and at least for me, I love it anyway. I have always said there are different kinds of expats. Those who know their expat life is short-term, those who make permanent moves and have their families as an expat, those who are students, moms, dads, short-term employees, etc. All of these personal elements affect our experience and each of those is rewarding and unique in different ways.

My first expat experience was 15 years ago when I lived outside of Paris. I was young and never expected to have a family or live in France any longer than I did.
That experience was fabulous but it was much different from my next expat experience, which was southern Italy.
In Italy, I got married, had in-laws, gave birth to my son, built a home - all normal real-life experiences but it wasn't like being on vacation every day. (in comparison to my experience in Paris, for example)

Do you have dual citizenship with Italy?

Not yet, but I'm eligible. It's on my list. :-)

To stay long term in Italy, what documentation is needed? 

I'm not sure, I think it varies depending on what you are planning to do in the country.
I was married to an Italian so this process was different from expats who are seeking citizenship based on their heritage, people who are there for work, etc.

Do you plan to remain in Italy long term?

That's a harder question than it initially seems. As I mentioned, we have bought a home in Texas and are planning to split our time but we also kept our house in Italy.
We have strong ties there and I don't ever see us breaking those or not wanting to spend a considerable amount of time in Italy.
We want our son to feel Calabrese, to know his family and the culture and the language so yes, I think a part of us will be there forever.
I love Italy and I miss it every day that I'm not there but I also love being an American.
I love being close to my family in Texas and having our son in close contact with his family in the states.
Maybe that's the best part of being an expat. Being able to have it all - to have the best of both worlds.
At least that's what I'm hoping.
Photos courtesy of Franco Muia


About

My Bella Vita Travel, LLC was created by Cherrye Moore, an American travel writer who has lived in southern Italy since 2006.
The company specializes in custom vacations and ancestry tours to Calabria and regions throughout southern Italy.
My Bella Vita Travel is registered as an LLC in the state of Texas and all business, banking and legal processing is conducted in the US.
You can join Cherrye for the Calabrian Table Tour, an 8-day cooking, food, wine and culture tour of Calabria held 2-3 times a year



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tomato Sauce in August is a family affair



Today they cook vegetarian

a new feature from the Cooking School in Puglia
Ylenia via Sambati





August is the time to make the annual tomato sauce in the Salento and it is one of the most beautiful summer happenings. Just as beautiful as fiestas (festivals), grape harvest (start in August) and lights (the special Salento lights).



It is another anche simplistic, yet divine poor cooking recipe, eating healthy and living well, of the farmers living according to Functional cycle of the seasons and celebrating the earth through simple food.












It's one of the most beautiful tradition Involving entire families and friends from the elderly to the children and grandchildren.



You might be interested on how to make the classic tomato sauce from scratch. If you're invited by the Salento locals to join this experience, please do, it's a lifelong memory.



One thing is very important in making the tomato sauce and it is the quality of tomatoes, the oval-shaped plum variety. You can buy amazing boxes of red plum tomatoes at any local food market or at local farmers.

Wash the tomatoes first, and cut in half before putting them in a big saucepan. Sprinkle with salt, add the onions and fresh basil. Then cover the saucepan and let the tomatoes simmer over moderate heat, stirring from time to time. After about 20 minutes, they softened and Should Have Just Begun to melt.


A mill is used to pass the pulp through in order to remove skins and seeds positioned over a large mixing bowl.

Rotate the handle until all you have left in the food mill are skins and seeds: there will be either a little or quite a bit of liquid That will have drained into the bowl. Discard it before proceeding. 

It's now time for bottling.



Sterilize the jars and to make sure you keep them cool and clean until you are ready to use them. Fill tomatoes with the mixture. Seal them tight and then boil the jars for a good 45 minutes.

In a couple of days When the bottles would have cooled down to the touch, they will be ready to use, stocked and stored up over the next year. Families making bottle usually you pass four hundred bottles each!



Ingredients

fresh and ripe tomatoes
red onion
extra virgin olive oil
sea ​​salt
basil leaves
red pepper flakes

The taste of tomato sauce made ​​with freshly made ​​past is truly delicious

This and more experiences are arranged by www.cookingpuglia.com

Plan your adventure in Puglia with Yltour.com to see and learn the Italian perspective.


to read the English version, continuous

Vegetarian Italian Cooking from Cook in Puglia

Our contributor Ylenia Sambati 
the CEO of yltourpr.com  shares another great vegetarian recipe

In Italian as well as English!


Yle shall share vegetarian recipes from her Italian Cooking School, so be sure to follow each week

  OGGI CUCINO VEGETARIANO



PENNETTE FREDDE ALLO ZENZERO
per 4 persone
cottura: 15 minuti


English version at the end of story
 
350 gr di pennette integrali
250 gr di peperoni rossi (privati dei semi e tagliati in quattro)
250 gr di melanzane tagliate a fettine sottili
250 gr di zucchine tagliate a fettini sottili
1 cucchiaino di zenzero grattuggiato finemente
4 foglie di basilico fresco spezzettate
1 cucchiaio di menta tritata
6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d'oliva
sale e pepe nero

1. Lessate la pasta al dente in abbondante acqua salata
2. scolatela e lasciatela raffreddare
3. grigliate i peperoni finchè cominceranno ad ammorbidirsi
4. disponete le melanzane e le zucchine su una griglia unta di olio e grigliate fino a quando compariranno le strisce nere della griglia
5. tagliate grossolanamente tutte le verdure
6. condite la pasta con tutte le verdure in un'insalatiera capiente
7. unite il basilico, la menta, lo zenzero grattuggiato
8. condite con olio, sale e pepe.
9. mescolate e lasciate riposare per 2 ore prima di servire

Ylenia Sambati
Healtheatarian Cooking Instructor
www.cookinpuglia.com


OGGI CUCINO VEGETARIANO
a healthy food project promoted by Ylenia Sambati (Healtheatarian and PR in Puglia, www.pugliatravelconsultant.com and www.cookinpuglia,com


Check back every week to see a new recipe here at www.hometoitaly.blogspot.com

*****************************************************************************************************

We love to share the Italian version of all Yle's recipes so you can enjoy the information in the native language  as well as in English






COLD PENNETTE WITH GINGER


4 people
coking: 15 minutes   
350 gr whole pennette
250 gr red bell peppers (without seed and seized in four parts)
250 gr sliced aubergines
250 gr sliced curgettes
1 tea spoon of grated ginger
4 basil fresh leaves divided into pieces
1 table spoon of grinded mint
6 table spoon of extra virgin olive oil 
salt and black pepper


1. Boil the pasta al dente (should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of a bite and firmness) in plenty of salty water 
2.
Ladle out and let il cool down
3. Grill the bell peppers untill they soften
4. Arrange aubergines and courgettes on an oiled grill and grill them untill you can see the cooked stripes
5. Roughly chop all the vegetables

6. season pasta with all the vegetables in a big bowl
7.
Add basil, mint and grated ginger
8. Season with oil, salt and pepper.
9. Stir and let it cool for two hours before serving



Ylenia Sambati
Healtheatarian Cooking Instructor

 
Ylenia Sambati
Healtheatarian Cooking Instructor
www.cookinpuglia.com



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Florence: Hammered Gold Jewelry: an ancient tradition

                                                                                                                                  

Generations of Skill at the studio of  Nerdi in Florence Italy


Early in the morning, the Ponte Vecchio is still waking up. 
Shop owners  are removing the shutters and the dazzling glint of gold challenges the sunrise.   The mobs of tourists  and window shoppers will soon fill the street but for a short time it is quiet and almost deserted.

This is a wonderful time to walk the ancient streets of Florence.
If there are no cars on the back alleys and lanes, you can imagine you are back in the middle ages.


The Medici family put all the craftsmen and artisans who worked for the family in this former monastery and it continues to be the 'house of the goldsmith'.    Casa dell' Orafo


On the first floor a simple wooden door leads you into the studio of the Nerdi family.  My visit was arranged by 'Italian Stories' and I was warmly welcomed by Daniella, Silvia and Luca.

This is a working studio where not much has changed over the years  Perhaps the showcases for the fine jewelry pieces have been updated, but the work bench and many of the tools have not changed in decades.
Since 1948 Paolo Nerdi has worked in the studio when he was not much taller than the work bench he has used his entire career.

  



Today at the age of 81 he arrives every morning via scooter, even in winter!  He scrutinizes all the materials and gives advice based on decades of experience.     I was fortunate to meet him the day I visited.   Sig Nerdi's warm smile and greeting makes you feel as if you are a friend who has dropped in for a chat or to drop off a bracelet that needs repair.    


Today the workshop is run by Daniela, Paolo's daughter in law and "maestra d'arte orafa'.   A graduate of the Art Institute in Florence, Daniela and her colleague Luca, a 35 year veteran gold- smith,  create original pieces, engravings, where ancient jewelry can be restored, modified and renewed. 



Nerdi's does work for local jewelry stores, commissions, repairs as well as redesign for customers who want a new look for pieces they may have had for years.  There were a number of wedding rings being engraved today, happy work.





The hand engraving work is stunning and I fell in love with the piece in this photo.   Every stroke by a sure hand, every tool fitting the hand of the maestro as a glove.   





 Silvia was kind enough to translate for me as Paolo demonstrated some of the techniques used to create such fine works of art.  

The traditional method of crafting find pieces is still practiced in the studio.  Work done by a skilled hand reflects the years of training that is required.




A collection of more modern looking gold chain necklaces, bracelets and earrings caught my attention.  Silvia told me the studio was well know for the old style and technique of hammering gold.

I found little written about the technique but many interpretations on line.    Silvia supplied additional photos to demonstrate the process.










                                Hammered Gold 
                                
The technique and styles are the same used by craftsmen centuries ago and secret...




The gold is melted and from the liquid metal a golden plate is formed.  Slowly it is transformed into a golden thread:  passing through a sspinneret and it becomes thinner with every passage through the machinery.  

When it is thin enough it is passed through a spiral to create chain mails(circles).  The chain rings are closed and welded then hammered.   Now they are reopened and joined together to form the necklaces, bracelets or earrings you see here.  

The technique and the tools are part of the decades of experience that goes into each link.










Necklaces in different lengths, bracelets and earrings can be ordered directly from the studio.  Contact the studio for prices. 

             









Silvia was my patient translator for my visits to Nerdi's studio.
She graciously answered countless emails and questions.  
The historic information and photos of hammered gold are from Silvia.    Make an appointment to visit the studio and perhaps learn more about one of the many techniques the Nerdi studio specializes in.
The studio is open Monday to Friday

Nerdi Laboratorio Orafo Incisore
Vicolo Marzio 2
tel +39 055 292382

                                    https://customers.withgoogle.com/intl/en-gb#card-story/546189004609945


Additional history