Copyright Piacere - Food & Travel without rules! 2018 - Theme by ThemeinProgress
When looking for a quick but elaborate and unexpected first dish or even a main course, you don’t have to spend hours at the stove. Most Italian pasta dishes are prepared within twenty minutes with available ingredients in season. Pasta is almost always served as a first dish in Italy (primo piatto).
I like to serve pasta as a primo piatto because it is easy to make and most of the time you can pre-prepare the ingredients even if you are making the pasta fresh. Although you don’t often find foie gras on the menu in Italy, this dish is elegant and compliments meats that might follow. The rosemary gives it a smoky flavor and the richness of the foie gras makes this dish that special event star of the meal.
It can be served with red of white wine as the flavors are strong enough for either or if you really want to impress your guests serve it with a glass of Champagne.
Time: 20 minutes
3 baby artichokes, cleaned and sliced thinly
3 1/2 oz foie gras cut in medium size chunks
1/2 lb of spaghetti, boxed or freshly made
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 medium size clove garlic, chopped
10 oz celery, thinly sliced
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pat unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
Remove the leaves from the artichokes until you come to the white leaves. Cut them in half, if they are baby artichokes they won’t have any hay in the middle, but if they do, remove it. Slice them thinly.
Sauté the shallots, celery and garlic for a few minutes in the olive oil. Add the sliced artichokes, wine and chicken stock and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and taste.
In another pan, sauté the foie gras and rosemary in the butter for 1 minute and set aside.
Boil the water for the pasta; salt when it come to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Sprinkle the basil over the top and lightly toss the ingredients well. You don’t want to over cook the foes grass, keep it on the heat just long enough to mix the ingredients.
Plate the pasta and grind black pepper over the and then enjoy the rich flavors you are about to experience.
The “Village by the Sea” showed how big it was yesterday when thousands of people created a sea of green along Atlantic Ave for the St. Patrick Day Parade.
People waited for hours securing their places along the street complete with picnics and well-stocked coolers.
Dressed in costumes and adorned with green beads adults and kids cheered as the parade marched by.
The police, military, fire department, business community, and local bands as well as invited guest groups handed out hats, beads and candy to children scrambling to catch them.
The expressions on the kids faces and the families and friends who gathered for the event to enjoy the day together made it the most fun for me.
And of course the beer flowed well into the evening.
They came for a celebration and Delray presented a display well worth waiting for.
Photo’s of the people who joined in the celebration.
I typically take an evening walk in one of the three preserves near my home. Green Cay is in Boynton Beach, Florida and is the home of many species of birds as well as alligators. It has a board walk over the water of about 1 1/4 miles.
The Little Blue Heron is one of the most delicate and beautiful birds in the reserve and typically lives in wetlands. The background is duck weed, which covers the water during the summer. It creates a colorful and unusual background.
It is autumn and the sunflower fields have been newly plowed leaving about a foot of stocks protruding above ground.
The plows have made a pattern across the rolling hills emphasizing rows of yellow stocks contrasting with the brown earth.
The clouds roll over the landscape swallowing up the sun as they go. Rays of sun struggle to keep the earth lit and warm creating brilliant shadows over the hills.
It is so serene that you can hear a bird chirp or a roster crow.
It is stunning and I pull over alongside the road to take in the view and renew my love of the French countryside.
I am in the Chablis of the Burgundy region heading to the Jura. It is taking me longer then usual because I want to take mental pictures and also photograph these romantically beautiful scenes.
I want to be able to close my eyes and remember the light, shadows and shapes.
I sit there in my car and wonder who created this, where do they live, do they see the beauty that I see in what they must consider laborious, tiring work.
Do they know they have created a tableau that moves the senses and fills the mind with peace and wonderment.
How can I tell them that I appreciate their work of art.
Maybe by just recalling those autumn days with you.
Each evening as I walk through one of 3 wildlife preserves that are close to my home, I’m accompanied by a variety of colorful birds that linger on branches, fly though the air with effortless grace and fill the landscape with beauty.
The sounds of tropical birds create exotic music as I walk along the paths and cannels. They come and go during migration and you wonder where they are spending the winter and watch them return to nest to bring into the world their new born.
They become familiar and you look forward to seeing the flurry of activity that always seems to be in motion.
Meet some of these beautiful species that live in my neighborhood.
Boca Raton hosted a Chinese New Year Festival at Mizner Park last weekend. The town has announced that it will be a yearly event. It featured performers from the The Chinese Association of Science, Education and Culture of South Florida (CASEC) and the Anhui Huangmei Opera Theater in China.
I was lucky to have gone to the Bejing Opera House many years ago and looked forward to enjoying this colorful spectacle. For many Chinese as well as other attendees, this probably was the first time they had the opportunity to experience anything quite like Chinese Opera.
The performers were outstanding and the costumes were authentic, beautifully decorated and very colorful.
The children were enthralled as they lined up along the stage to take photo’s with their phones. For those of us who don’t understand Chinese I’m sure found ourselves wondering what the excerpts from the plays and opera were all about, but it didn’t matter because the performances were magical.
I was photographing as two Chinese men told me the story that was being played out. The traditional dragon dance was the hit of the evening.
Enough said it is better to view the beautiful costumes and performers, so put this event on your calendar for next year.
Human tools adapted for grasping says the dictionary. But they are far more then that as we ask for the “ a hand in marriage” or “a helping hand” .
Photo’s of the expression of hands.
Hands pulling tobacco
Visit my website at pturo.com
Last summer a number of our friends visited Paris and we had a chance to visit each other and enjoy this wonderful city together. One of our friends decided we should have a reunion here at home with a French dinner that we would all participate in. We chose to make a first dish and decided on vichyssoise. Vichyssoise is made with leeks, potatoes and cream and is served cold. It can be prepared the day before making it easy to transport and most importantly leaving you free to enjoy the party.
It was created by Chef Louis Diet (1885-1957) who worked at the Ritz hotels in Paris and New York according to the Internet. History tells another story about King Louis XV of France (15 February 1710 –1774) accidentally invented vichyssoise. The paranoid King loved his comforting potato soup but worried that someone was trying to poison him and demanded that a number of servants taste his food before he ate it. King Louis’ favorite recipe for potato soup was often passed from one servant to another. By the time it finally reached the King, it was cold. King Louis decided he preferred potato soup cold. Well whatever the story, it is a hardy soup that can be served in any weather.
The following is my husband’s recipe.
2 lbs Leeks, white and pale yellow parts only (requires approx. 3 lbs. of leeks the way they are sold)
1 lb Potatoes (Yukon gold or Idaho)
1 1/2 cups Heavy cream
2 tbsp. Butter
Fresh white pepper
Thoroughly wash the leeks. Do this in two steps: first cut the white part off about 1/2 inch from the place where the outer leave splits.
Cut the white part into half lengthwise and then cut into 1” pieces and put them in a large bowl of water.
Split the remaining part of the leeks lengthwise. Discard the green leaves and separate the pale yellow leaves. Cut them into small pieces and add them to the bowl of water. Keep the leeks in the water for at least 30 minutes to get all the dirt out. This step is critical as the dirt must be removed from the inside the leaves completely.
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the leeks sautéing them for 2 minutes. Add 2 quarts of water, slightly salted and bring to a boil.
Add the potato cubes and simmer for 30 minutes.
Transfer the leeks and the potatoes to a blender, using a slotted spoon. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Add the cream and blend adding as much cooking liquid required to reach the thickness you desire.
Season it with white pepper and salt.
Chill the Vichyssoise in the refrigerator over night.
Take the Vichyssoise out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Decorate with chopped chives.
Note: Many recipes call for a larger quantity of potatoes. In my opinion this turns the Vichyssoise into a potato soup and you lose the delicate flavor of the cooked leeks. The 2 to 1 ratio (net weight) of leeks to potatoes give the best results.
The orchid show season has begun in Florida with many exquisite specimens on display.
Growers from Florida as well as from all over the world show elegant blooms and sell them giving you the opportunity to adorn your home or garden with rare and exquisite varieties.
Orchid societies and vendors also offer workshops, classes and everything essential needed to provide orchard lovers with the necessary products to keep them healthy and blooming year after year.
The lines, forms and colors sometimes create a ghostly effect with pointed pedals and spider web type flowers bursting out of vines. Some small add exotic interest in a pot on a table.
Some are large and royal, others tall and layered with blooms adding full color to an otherwise green area.
The photos were taken at the Orchid Affair sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society.
View my website at http://pturo.com
The South Florida Fair will showcase the agriculture of Florida and offer many exhibits. This is a typical state fair with fun events from pig races, a petting zoo, rides for the kid and lots of food trucks to keep you interested, fed and entertained.
There will also be a Washington D.C. exhibition of Air Force One, The White House and other monuments.
I had the opportunity to visit the fair grounds as they were setting up the event and the following are some photos of the workers who get lost in all the excitement but are an important part of the event. The Fair runs from January 18th-February 3rd.
Little Havana is a community of Miami, Florida and the home of many Cuban immigrants. Along the main street of Calle Ocho, you will find vibrant and friendly locals whose life can be read in the expressions on their faces.
You can feel the passion in Domino Park where cards, chess and dominoes are played each day with enthusiasm and serious competition.
In all aspects of their lives, whether it be music, food, art, or just everyday discussions, their faces tell their story. This is all about the people, and to miss the people, is to miss Little Havana.
In my photography I present The Faces of Little Havana.
Paris Metro Seats is on exhibit at the Ocean Wave Gallery in Ft. Lauderdale. The opening reception is January 12, 2013 from 6PM to 8PM.
Please join us and view the work of wonderful photographers.
Umbrellas was taken in Davos Switzerland.
Under Rainy Skies will be exhibited at the Raw Gallery in Northwood, West Palm Beach the month of January 1, 2013 .The receiption is January 25th during the evening.
This intimate little zoo is perfect for families with small children. Big enough to see some real menacing cats, bears and all sorts of spirited monkeys, it is just enough for those little ones. The friendly staff keeps the zoo very clean and is well informed and ready to answer your questions. A restaurant with outdoor dinning with a fun picnic feel overlooking a tropical pond, allows the kids to run around and enjoy the atmosphere.
Enjoy some of the photo’s from the zoo.
Thirty years ago my husband and I drove along old one-lane winding roads on the edge of rugged cliffs and through stone tunnels in the Cinque Terre. The ride was unforgettable as the one-way road had little security overlooking an unbelievable view of the blue ocean. I could hardly keep my eyes open as this was beyond me, even though I’m pretty adventurous. The stone villages battered by the sea with color-faded houses tucked into the rock were breathtaking. The seascape with cliff cascading to the ocean was captivating and the vineyards, terraced along the cliffs seem to grow right out of the rock.
We decided to revisit the experience since we knew the old road had been closed and a new one built gave me the courage to relive the memories we had of this unique region. Today you can go from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore by train, which is the fastest and easiest way to visit the villages as little parking is available and it is always crowded. The 5 villages are Monterosso al Mara, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Little remains of the old original natural beauty of the villages. They have been named a UNISCO site and although funds are given to maintain these areas, most seem to be used to create tourist convinces. Restaurants and mostly gift shops, a few offering some local products line the narrow streets. New hotels have been built intermingled with the old buildings making it difficult to imagine what the villages were like originally. There are a few places where the beauty of the villages can be seen and the 5 hour walk along the cliffs connecting the 5 villages still has beautiful panoramic views of the ocean and villages tucked into the cliffs. The walk from Monterossa al Mare to Corniglia is difficult and unless your capable of walking up and down stairs, it is not recommended. However the section from Riomaggiore to Manarola is an easy walk. The Corniglia section was closed due to a landslide so here you bypass it and take the train to reconnect with the walk.
The first evening we stayed in the hills above the villages in a small hotel of Locanda “da Marco”, which also had a Trattoria and outdoor terrace dinning with a wood burning pizza oven. After driving all day from Switzerland it was getting late and since we didn’t have reservations decided not to risk looking for a hotel in the villages. Little did we know that we would discover the beautiful stone village of Pignone. The region had been hit with an earthquake and tornado in October and many of the villages in the area had lost some ancient bridges and were in different stages of restoration. As usual the personal service and the food were authentic Italian. When we saw the fresh vegetable garden in front of the house, we knew we would have a good dinner. The hotel has 6 simple but comfortable rooms and the guests were from Austraila, France, Irland and Italy. As we have often found, these evening always end up with everyone talking to each other, sharing their life stories and travel experiences. This rarely happens in larger hotels that tend to be less personal. The owners spent time in the morning with their guests giving everyone information on how to visit the Cinque Terre and their advice saved us a lot of time. www.locandadamarco.it
As we drove down to Monterossa al Mare where we spent our second evening. The hills were covered with olive trees and the farmers were spreading nets under the trees to harvest the olives. After finding a hotel, we started out and went to Riomaggiore, walked along the cliffs to Manarola and took the train to Corniglia. There are also ferries that stop along all the villages, so it is possible to walk part of the distance and also take a boat to others.
After a long day we were ready for a nice dinner by the sea. I stopped an older woman and asked her were we could have a good meal. I have found that asking the locals is always the best way to get a good recommendation. She suggested Ristorante Belvedere in the old town of Monterossa al Mare. The seafood was excellent and view of the cliffs was perfect. We sat outdoors with a warm evening breeze off the ocean to a fresh seafood dinner. Their specialty was soupe de pesce served for two in a clay pot and poured into a large pottery bowl. Consisting of lobster, octopus, squid, shellfish and fresh fish in a tomato and fish broth was outstanding.
Walking back to the main part of the village though a tunnel that was part of the original road that we drove more then 30 years ago brought back those scary memories. However I was pretty safe as now it is a walkway connecting the old town and the beach of Monterossa al Mare. I was glad we were walking rather then driving it, but I wish they had preserved more the original tunnels.
It is always difficult to go back after many years and expect to relive memories, and this was no different. For those who have never seen the Cinque Terre, it is still a unique part of Italy and worth visiting.
As we drove through the countryside towards the Burgundy from Paris, we noticed a chateau on a hill in the distance. We decided to investigate and drove up the winding hill past beautiful pastures to a small village. The large blue arched doors to the chateau were closed. My husband dropped me off on the side of the raod so that I could take some photos when a man open the large door to reveal a courtyard covered with grass, wildflowers and a chateau in various stages of renovation. I asked him if I could photograph the property in my elementary French and he happily waved me in. I gestured to my husband to join me, as he speaks French fluently and there was so much I wanted to learn. We began a conversation that lasted well over an hour.
M. Arbousse Bastide, a retired antique dealer owns the 14th century chateau that has three buildings overlooking a valley covered with pastures. Looking down over the misty fields, white Charolais cattle spotted the landscape and quite sounds of the country occasionally broke the silence from time to time. His passion is restoring antiques and he had completely rebuilt one large turret and was restoring another by himself, stone by stone. As he was telling us his story, we walked over a wood plank placed over the moat to the chateau when a lovely woman stepped out. Soft spoken, wearing a long printed shirt, ruffled white blouse and green sweater with long silver hair pulled back with a comb, she began to tell us about her friend’s efforts and love of antiques. A researcher who had worked translating Chinese Scriptures and still living in Paris, she spends the summers in this idyllic setting visiting markets in search of antiques with her friend. She was soft spoken, confidant, a woman at peace with herself and a delight to talk to. Speaking excellent English, she pointed out that there is no heat in the chateau but Monsieur doesn’t mind the cold as only huge stone fireplaces provide warmth. She said that there was a lot of property available in the area that badly needed to be restored. Many foreigners had bought ruins and taken great efforts to give these ancient structures new life and were now living in them permanently.
Monsieur, who had disappeared into the chateau to take a phone call, reappeared and immediately was joined by a crow who flew onto his shoulder and then sat peacefully on his hand. The bird loves to torment him she said, and stole two 50 Euro notes that day giving him a hard time trying to retrieve them. It was obvious that the Monsieur and the crow were friends and enjoy each others company. To our astonishment they invited us into the chateau and we walked into a time passed to an amazingly warm but ancient environment. A horseshoe shaped table facing a huge stone fireplace had church pew for seating and a red table covering. Beamed ceilings and stonewalls with antiques in different states of repair filled the rooms. Fruit and flowers in a multitude of vessels made the stone dwelling feel warm and inviting. Light penetrated the rooms from the windows creating shadows and a glow highlighted antiques. They explained to us that these chateaus were noble men’s homes that were responsible for collecting taxes and performed local jurisdiction.
The chateau is lovingly being restored it to its original state. Well, this might take him the rest of his life, but I don’t think he cared much about that. He was joyful at my amazement, as I wanted to photograph everything I saw, in every space, in every room. As we said goodbye, we gratefully thanked them for letting us snoop into their life. They gave us their email address saying computers kept them connected to the world. In this environment it seemed a contradiction as computers sat on an ancient table in an ancient room, but they were clearly also living comfortably in this century.
Connecting with people of a country has always been the most memorable part of my travels and this encounter will take its place among the many interesting people I’ve been privileged to meet.
LillieEvenings as I walk along the paths and boardwalks of the water preserves in South Florida, I am struck by the array of plants, weeds and water lilies. They create a canvas of color and design in living beauty. It is ever changing from season to season when heavy rains cover them with droplets of water or the hot sun leaves them thirsty.
I stop along the way to photograph the beauty of their graceful lines as they somehow survive the constant changing conditions. They never cease to amaze me and never become ordinary.
Henry Flagler is an example that not everyone has to take the traditional route in life to be successful. We see it again and again that some people defy the norm and do great things. Having left home at the age of 14 he pursued his fortune in the grain industry, salt mining and production business. After joining JD Rockefeller and Samuel Andrews who founded the Standard Oil Company, He helped to establish the business trust, which made it possible to conduct business in many states from a single corporate office. Flagler started the Flagler Florida East Coast Railway and was a key figure in the establishment of agriculture and tourism in Florida. Henry Flagler’s name takes a prominent place in Florida’s history.
Whitehall, his winter home was built in 1902 and designed by John Carrére and Thomas Hastings in the Beaux Arts Style. The home, located on Cocoanut Row and Whitehall Way in Palm Beach is open to tourists. There is also a Café des Beau-Arts that serves lunch Tuesday through Sunday.
Complete information on the tours and the estate can be seen on the website http://www.flaglermuseum.us.
The slide show is a sneak preview of Whitehall.
The allure of West Palm Beach and its famous and luxurious Worth Ave is world acclaimed. Its palm lined streets, quaint allies, lovely courtyards and lanes lined with orchards and statues are charming and intimate. It is well known that the Rich & Famous from Hollywood to international socialites and business people make West Palm Beach their second home. It is where Old Money meets New, and where the Who’s Who in this special social network live and party. Beach life comes alive during the winter months and Worth Ave provides everything that is needed to cater to its famous residents.
The Latin beat, aromas and vivid colors greeted our arrival in Little Havana. My friend Joan and I were invited by Miami Culinary Tours to join one of their walks in Little Havana led by Mirka Harris.
You can not pass a coffee bar without taking in the warm aroma of sweet cafecito and chatting with the locals. Venture into a cigar shop to watch the able hands of an experienced cigar maker, stretching, layering and rolling the deep brown subtle tobacco leaves and comfortable seating areas where cigar smoke fills the air as locals relax with their favorite brand. The sound of dominoes being tossed onto the table draws you to Domino Park as people play this game with intensity and friends stand around anxiously watching and playing along with their eyes as each move is made. The atmosphere is electric and game after game continues all afternoon. Little Havana is colorful from the murals painted on buildings, the vibrant works in art galleries to the Cuban culture and friendly people who are always willing to have their photo taken.
We started at the gallery of Midlrey Guillot, who was there to greet us and give us a little story of her life and how she came to paint mostly women and what they are passionate about. She says “after all it is what I know best as I am a woman”.
We visited several restaurants where we sampled Cuban food as our guide Mirka explained the traditional way it is prepared and eaten. We moved on to bakeries and markets, discovering the beautiful colors of the ingredients used to prepare these famous Cuban dishes. Like many Latin cultures food is what brings families and friends together from happy occasions to sad. It is about the deep sense of life and connections between them that make up their social world.
We tasted a cold sweet drink made with sugar cane, flaky pastries filled with guava fruit, typical Cuban sandwiches and plantain cups filed with chicken and beef. The final stop was Azurcar, the famous ice cream shop where we had the dilemma of selecting one of their many flavors. A very good way to end a culinary tour after walking around Little Havana on a sunny afternoon.