La Piena

29 03 2009

I love to walk with my Contessa down by the Tiber River.  Chestnut trees line part of its course and only the spring leaves emerge a small dog can almost smell the new green.  The river is low now.  It hasn’t rained for a few days.  The walkways that line the river’s edge are visible.  Here and there, a few homeless make camp on the borders.  But it is a dangerous thing to do.  In just an hour the water can rise if it’s raining somewhere upstream.  What makes a dry, convenient home for the night may be under water come morning.

We had just such a thing happen last December. The bridges were closed for a while, and those waiting to cross took refuge in bars for more than just a quick cappucino.

Note the two views of the Ponte Sisto:

Ponte Sisto by gianmarco giudiciIra Tiberis #10, Tiber spate, la Piena del Tevere by il_rinforzino / Topo Zorro


The flood came with damageWrecked by Wiingy, and all sorts of interesting things left behind by the high-waterAfter the Flood / Dopo la piena by fbnm

Oh, to be taller than a small dog.


Rome, Anyone?

26 03 2009

Springtime in Rome is the best.  Spanish Steps by MegabeastFresh flowers on the Spanish Steps, serious sunshine and the odor of newly sprouted leaves in the air.

Most people do Rome as part of a tour.  I don’t recommend it unless you are seriously time-restricted.  To really appreciate the city, at least a week must be spent.  Rome Passage by Mike G. K. (Flickr break)Even in a year, you’d not see everything there is to see, let alone all of the most important spots.

If you have the time, buy Georgina Mason’s extraordinary book on the city (if you can find it), The Companion Guide to Rome, and set out on one of her suggested walks.

She has a marvelous and unique way of defining the city and informing the visitor.

Here’s a little taste of the high points, but keep in mind: ninety-nine percent of the best of Rome is not mentioned here…

And remember to take your dog…or maybe someone else’s…Rome -- curious dog in Piazza Navona -- PICT3501 by georgeogoodman


Lost in the Sauce

23 03 2009

There is a difference between pasta served in Italy, and pasta served nearly anywhere else.  Outside Italy, most pasta swims in whatever version of classic salsa or sugo, pseudo-Italians pretend to pass off as originale.

But the key to authentic Italian food is simplicity.  Kitchen sink versions of pasta sauce fly nowhere in Italy.

Italians do not lose their pasta in the sauce.

Less is always more (unless you’re talking about amore).♥Heart♥ by ♥madolina♥

Grazia was in the cucina again today.  Primavera in the kitchen: spring has sprung and heaven waits.

Penne with Rapini and Sausage, serves four humans, plus one small dog:

Trim, rinse and chop coarsely one bunch of rapini (bitter broccoli rabe), about 2+ cups.  Rapini by cococelloBlanch in salted boiling water 2-3 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Uncase the meat from 2 large Italian sausages. Italian Sausage by seriouslygood1 Break up the sausage into 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown.  Drain.

Cook 1 pound penne in salted, boiling water, according to directions.  Meanwhile saute drained and dried rapini Rapini with garlic by Debbie C.B.'sin 2 cloves thinly sliced garlic and 4 tablespoons olive oil until hot.  Add browned sausage.  Drain penne and toss with rapini and sausage.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Sausage and rapini pasta by letitia & steveHappy spring.



19 03 2009

Focus is, well, the focal point for any dog.  It comes in different degrees. And it’s not discipline, it’s DNA. DNA rendering by ynse
Like an Olympic sport, Olympic Medals and Reflections by Kevin is the giving of one’s complete attention to the present. And, just like any competition, the results are always mixed. 
Take the squirrel.  Curious Squirrel by ::novocainated::As a dog, I follow a simple tenant: What goes up must come down.  I sit at the base of the tree, attention rapt on the teetering rodent above, saliva beginning to pool in my jowls.  The squirrel must come down, no?  So, I sit, drool whisping at my chin.
Alas, focus and eye-sight are seperate matters.  When the squirrel flees from the branch of one tree to another, all I see is a blur of fur and trembling needles from the pine above.
I sit.  I stay.  Darkness fades the outline of the tree and I remark to myself at the resolve of the squirrel to remain in limbo.  I refocus on food, the kind that comes from the cucina.La ricetta della pasta: Bucatini alla puttanesca by max - iogenovese
It’s not discipline.  It’s DNA.

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