Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year From Home At Last

Wishing all of you success and happiness in 2010!
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Applewood Bacon Gnocchi

This is one of those dishes created out of fondness for a memory of a favorite vacation.

While vacationing at the Villa La Borghetta Resort in Figline Valdarno, Tuscany, we stumbled upon a neighborhood eatery that made, possibly, the best carbonara, I have ever eaten.

Rich, egg-y flavor coupled with smokey chunks of pancetta; my mouth was amazed by it's fresh flavor and faboulous ingredients. That memory has lingered for three years now and I wonder if I will ever experience this rich, golden goodness again?

My dish features locally cured bacon with a smokey sweetness and some Italian gnocchi!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Can We Open Just One Present?

When asked by Santa this year what I wanted for Christmas, I was at a complete loss.

What I truly wanted; one more Christmas with my friend Char, I knew I would never receive. I found myself feeling sorry for myself for a few days. . . missing her FRIENDSHIP! her SENSE OF HUMOR and her CHILDLIKE WONDER at this special time of the year.

Finally out of my funk, I told my hubbie, I KNEW WHAT I WANTED. We decided to go shopping together and made a night of it. We drove along . . .reminiscing about our favorite Christmases with family and friends and finally making plans for the next two days of celebration.

We planned our Christmas dinner -one that we would cook together. We found a few pounds of chestnuts to roast in honor of Ron's family tradition of chestnuts at the holidays.

I pulled out a small, pretty little fake tree and a some favorite decorations; including one from Char and suddenly I was filled with the Christmas spirit. We enjoyed a Christmas Eve breakfast, together-without the stresses of everyday life and worries over the economy. We dug for speakers for the IPOD so that we could enjoy our favorite Christmas songs with our meal tomorrow.

Ron had to run out, as he does every day but returned with the most beautiful bouquet of white roses!
AND, tickets for a night at the movies . . .our holiday date.

I asked if we might open one present from under the tree! We agreed that Christmas Eve wouldn't be the same without at least one present being opened from under the tree.

So, before I go, I wanted to share my beautiful small package from our pretty tree!!

AND, there's about a 100 more from that came from, y'all.
Merry Christmas,  Patty & Ron Gironda
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dinner In Under Thirty Minutes

Topping the list of favorite cookbooks is my 1981 Southern Living Cookbook. Chocked full of useful recipes that yield fabulous results, these hardrolls are a perfectly crunchy roll with a soft, tender inside.

I made an easy dinner of capellini with sweet little Campari tomatoes and goat cheese (another favorite) I drizzled the hardrolls with olive oil, a sprinkle of parmesan-reggiano and chopped dried basil. The easy pasta sauce was ready in a quick twenty minutes and was nothing more than wonderuful halved tomatoes and a little olive oil with more basil! Easy, breezy!
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Southern traditions are the backbone of my holiday experience. I must have a piece of Pecan Pie around Thanksgiving to jumpstart my Christmas celebration. O.K., a piece of Pecan Pie and a generous helping of Cornbread Dressing and a dollop of fresh cranberry sauce . . .if I am being truthful!

With that said, there are so many other traditions that I have adopted as my own. Pleasant childhood memories and traditions shared by others while growing up in Germany are as much a part of who I am and how I celebrate! Friendly German families eager to share their customs and traditions with me have provided a lifetime of Christmas memories.

At the beginning of December I head to the International Farmers Market in search of Pfeffernusse, Stollen and chocolates from Germany.

In the pictures (above) I have the first four steps in creating chocolate covered cherries soaked in German Kirchwasser. A tradition I first experienced as a young teen in Germany. Another favorite memory shared with me by young German friends around Christmas was a wine fortified with a rum-soaked cone of sugar, called Feuerzange Bowle. The cone of sugar was lit and slowly dripped the rum sugar into the bowl below.

Even my little tool that neatly ejects the cherry pit was scored on my first return trip to Germany as an adult. 

For all things Germany visit
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