Monday, September 28, 2009

Day in Dubrovnik

Approach to city
Climbing up to the top of the wall....
Finding a bit of shade....

Could this be where palm oil comes from??

What an incredible the walled old town within the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. We walked around the top of the wall from which you can see both inside the city and out to the sea.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cats in the Coliseum

Today (our last in Rome) we trekked all over the Borghese Gardens

down past the Spanish Steps

and back to the Coliseum. This time to go inside.

The outside was amazing enough yesterday….but the inside is incredible.

And, they were doing some kind of production of Cats - we realized when we heard ‘Memories’ in Italian….

Just so you know...Pentti and I have spent 3 days taking the subway in Rome. He may become a strap hanger yet....what a trooper!


My Muppet Baby requested more photos of Rome:

The Colosseum
Ruins on top of the Palatine Hill

The Arch of Titus

What's Left of the Roman Forum

Mojitos anyone?
We spent all day in this area....there are LOTS of ruins.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I could tell you how wonderful Rome has been, but on a more interesting note:

We had dinner in the hotel the first night and outside on the patio we could see a young fellow eating dinner alone. We thought. Then he started talking to someone. We couldn’t see anyone, so thought it might be a small child. Then he opened a laptop and encouraged the tyke to see the woman who was live on the screen…probably his Mamma. The fellow make all kinds of gestures to the tyke…. getting him to focus on the person on the screen.

Then he closed the screen and started talking again to the tyke….who now seemed to be down below the table….may in a carrier we thought.

Bella, Bella he kept saying…making all kinds of gestures to the child. What a beautiful child this must be, we thought!

Then what did we see, but a black lab…who came up from the floor and put his paws on the fellows shoulders… Go Figure!

We did hike all over the Palatine and Forum today and see the Coliseum.

Then lunch with 2 half liters of wine. I love eating in Rome!

We’re both exhausted now! I leave you with the Fountain of Trevi!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pie update and vacation plans!

This is all I have left of my elderberry pie. I'll have to finish it off before I leave. It is such a treat. Elderberries are hard to come by.

I also made an apple pie for company the other here's a photo of that. Yes, that's butter pats on top of the apples....Yum!

I've poured my last batch of soap and I'm just about packed.
We're off for a few days in Rome and then a 10 day cruise through the Greek islands, with stops in Dubrovnik, Croatia and Kusadasi, Turkey.

I am so ready for a vacation. It's been a crazy summer.

I'm hoping with our 'new business model' that things will ease up a bit when I return.

More about that later.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

elderberries: an antioxidant favorite

I picked the elderberry bush clean today, which also means pruning it for next year. I hope we didn't cut off too much, but it's getting way too tall for me to reach.

I have a bush that I planted several years ago. My brother, the garden expert, (he really is) told me I needed two bushes of different varieties so they could cross pollinate. So, I planted two....and one promptly died.

But, mine must be 'pollinating' with one in the wild...cause I get berries every year. The birds get a lot of them, but at the end of the season, I take what's left.

After 'rolling' the berries off in my hands and getting pretty purple fingers and nails....I'm hoping to have enough for a small pie.

If not, I'll make jam with the same formula I used for black currant jam earlier this summer: equal weights of berries to sugar. Cook till thick...and you have jam. No pectin needed for these babies, either. They have lots, naturally.

If I make the pie, I'll post photos later.
Here's the recipe, if you have any elderberries laying around.....

1 c. elderberries
1 c. brown sugar
1 small c. sour cream
2 T. flour.
Mix and pour into pie shell, top with second crust.
Bake. My recipe doesn't say what temp. I guess 400....for about 35-40 minutes.

This is a family recipe from a long time ago. I never have it more than once a year so it's always a treat.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Make the chicken. You'll love it!

I've been a delinquent blogger. Trying to make a ton of soap prepare for holiday orders.
Also getting ready for a trip that will take me away from soap for almost 3 weeks....longer than I've ever left Saipua! More about that later.

But, tonight I had the time to make the recipe that follows. I wish I had a photo for you...but it was so delicious that it's all gone! Trust me, if you like spicy'll love this.
I order it in Italian restaurants when I see it there. This is the first time I've made it. I found recipes with out the potatoes...I think they're critical. I didn't use the flour....thought it didn't need to be thickened. Some places make it with chicken breast...or cutlets. Don't.
You can make it ahead and reheat. That works really well....

Chicken Scarpariello

• 2-3 T. olive oil
• 1 ½ - 2 lbs chicken, cut into small serving pieces
o (I used thighs, cut in half with the skin removed. On the bone is important! )
• 1 lb Italian sausage, links (sweet or hot or both)
• 1 small red bell pepper, julienned
• 2 garlic cloves, minced and crushed
• 6 hot cherry peppers, sliced (bottled in vinegar)
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
• 1 cup chicken broth (canned or fresh)
• 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
• 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and diced small
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. In a skillet, heat oil. Add chicken and sausage in batches; brown on all sides. removing pieces to a plate as they brown. Cut sausage into slices after it is cooked.

2. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pan. To hot drippings, red bell peppers, sliced cherry peppers, onion, potatoes, and garlic; saute until tender.

3. Return chicken and sausage to skillet. Add salt, black pepper, the rosemary , the broth, and the wine. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes.

4. Remove chicken and sausage from skillet; arrange on warm serving platter.

5. Skim fat from mixture in skillet.

6. In a small glass measure, mix flour with 1/4 cup water until blended. Stir into liquid in skillet. bring to boiling, stirring constantly; boil for 1 minute, stirring, until mixture thickens.