Sunday, February 19, 2012

City Of (Twinkle) Lights

  So, - I have been trying for hours to figure out how the holy hell to get a video onto my bloggy. Me thinks I've done it. As these things always seem to go, the easiest way was the way. 
  I guess I just have to live with the added You Tube videos at the end, that are not mine. I checked out several blogs I follow, and they have the same thing going on. So. Here is my big test for the week...embedding a video onto Live Pronto.
  If you are reading this, I have finally figured it out, and I deserve a tiny pat on the back. 

  This is a little movie we made on our digital camera in Paris, New Years 2009/10...Let's see if it works!

To Market....

  There is nothing like the weekly markets in Italy. Or anywhere, really....
  The colors, textures and smells are always a delight. and you can't do any better people watching. The veggie displays are always full and stacked so beautifully, showing off the awesome abundance of the season. In the early spring, there is a fine array of artichokes, fave, wild asparagus and greens that have been forged from the surrounding fields and forests. The summer brings on the tomatoes, beans, and squash, and in the fall you can expect lots of mushrooms. Texture and color, texture and color....

There are lots of varieties of "carciofi" (artichokes) available. I love the purple ones
 They have a deep, nuttier flavor.

I know, it's pretty, right? This photo and the one above are from the
Testaccio Market in Rome.

 Also, there can be tables and tables of household knick-knacks, cleaning products, shoes and used clothes. Sort of like a combo thrift store/kmart. There are often local artisans showing off their wares...wood work, weaving, candle making...that kind of thing. 
  I like it when there are vendors selling little vegetable starts and farm equipment. You can get packets of really cool seeds, the packets are so pretty. I've brought some home before, just to have in my potting shed.
  Another great plus are the open trucks selling all sorts of cheeses and meat products. Though we are vegetarians, we both oooh and ahhh over the "porchetta" that is always on view. Often it is a whole slow roasted pig, stuffed with herbs and seasonings. The skin is always super brown and crispy looking. The vendor just takes off some super tender looking hunks and stuffs it between bread, then it's rolled in wax paper and handed over. No, I can honestly say I have never tasted this particular item, but as a kid I did love the crispy skin of Mom's pork roast, so I have a good idea.

Deli in a truck. You can just order a couple of slices of whatever, and it's ok.

  While in Rome last February, we strolled through the Piazza dei Campo dei Fiori, well know for it's daily market. The day started a little wet, so all the umbrellas were up, but it was nice when we arrived, and I enjoyed all the pretty "ready to take home" packages for tourists...lots of colorful pastas in funny shapes, little bottles of various liquors, spices and herbs... but lots of local Romans doing the daily shopping, too.

I love the grim dude overlooking it all.  Philosopher Giordano Bruno,
burned at the stake in 1600 for his unconventional ideas...hmmm. I best keep my mouth shut.
  I love when we stumble upon a market, and take sweet advantage by buying what we didn't know we were going to have for dinner later. This is actually the case more often than not. I have an idea of the market schedules around Panicale, but on our day trips, we just never knew where we would end up. Below are some shots from Orvieto.

All things honey. Honey elixir, bee's wax, honey mustard and more!
Love the guy with olives, dried fruits and nuts. Snack time!
  The giant indoor Mercato di San Lorenzo in Florence is fun. There is an outdoor market, famous for its leather goods, but I go for the indoor food market, too. Here is a last chance to get gifts for my foodie friends before flying home. They will package dried porcini, or whatever, so it is luggage safe. I still have porcini from last year, but I will get more this year anyway! Never enough dried porcini... a small handful in any soup adds a depth of flavor not to be missed. Don't get me started on risotto or polenta with porcini..

All grades of porcini, plus truffle oil and sun dried tomatoes. This place smells awesome.

Well, what can I say...hard to bring back home, but still fun to drool over!
I like to watch them being made in the back.

  Being as Italy is known for its "snout to tail" cuisine, here's one for all my offal loving readers. And may I just say "so sorry" to my fellow vegetarians... This is also from the market in Florence.

For Mom and Tasha, among others....