Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blue Monday!

This is a 'blue Monday' for me.
Of course, I'm glad to be home... but I am a little blue that I'm not waking to this view every morning.

...That I won't be eating this fresh proscuitto and melons...and that I won't be listening to the church bells in my favorite corner cafe.I have lot's and lot's of photos to organize. We'll be looking at pictures of Italy for a while!

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photohunt ~ Looking Down

The photohunt for this week is 'Looking Down'.How 'bout this shot from the walls of Montepulciano. Believe me... the picture is just not the same!
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pomodori e Vino ~ Sfinciuni

What the heck is a Sfinciuni?
and I am stuffing it with a tomato anchovy Conza?
I have been trying to learn more Italian for my trip... these are not words I thing I'd ever heard. The things we have done on our way through 'The Essential's of Italian Cooking~ Learning Italian is one of them.
So, in Southernism~ This is similar to a deep dish pizza with a top. You can just call it yummy! The pizza dough is a simple yeast dough, made ahead and allowed to rise for 2-3 hours. You will need enough dough to make 2-10 inch rounds.
The Conza is a thick sauce of thinly sliced onions, good tomatoes, and chopped anchovies. The sauce is seasoned with oregano and pepper. The anchovies will 'melt' and add a unique salty flavor~ don't be tempted to skip them.
The first layer is pressed out to a large 10 inch circle. The conza is spread to within an inch of the edge. Bread crumbs are sprinkled on top. The top layer is pressed to a slightly smaller circle. the edges from the bottom are brought up to seal the top.
It is baked in a hot oven, then allowed to sit and rest for 30minutes. The result is a thick and hearty pizza with a light crust.
Another Marcella Hazan success!
Y'all enjoy~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A day in Cortona~

We took the day to wander around Cortona. As luck would have it... we picked the perfect day. There was an antique fair going on!We missed Alessandra in her shop Girasole , but ran into her later. Like I said... a very LucKy day!
Ciao y'all~


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Photohunt ~ Cluttered

The photohunt for this week is 'Cluttered'. Should I post a photo of the leather market in Florence?Or Mercato Centrale?

Both are a fun way to spend the day!
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~ Montisi

My favorite this week is simple~ the Tuscan village of Montisi
For those of you who have followed me for years, you know Montisi is the little villiage in Italy where I spend a week (or two) with . This quiet village is such a special place. A step back in time. With the sound of church bells.and an occasional buzzing 'ape'Ahhhh~ the music of Italy!
What is your ♥ today?
Y'all join in~


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Locks of Love

Locks of love, or lucchetti dell’amore, are the padlocks fixed by loving couples in Italy. These couples will attach a lockon the Ponte de Vechio and then throw the key into the Arno River. Apparently, officials in Florence have tried to stop the practice... There is even a sign that says the fine for attaching locks to the railing is 160 euros. It doesn't seem to be working.
Especially when the vendor right on the bridge is selling cheap padlocks and replicas of the David. I wonder if Snookie and the Situation have attached thier Lucchetti?
Ciao y'all~

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The lights and sounds of Italy

The most recognized buildings in all of Italy is the Cathedral of the Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore. It is in the heart of the city of Florence and can be seen from many backstreets. During the day, the piazza is a sea of people... many brought in for day trips by cruise ships.
These 'tourist' miss the most magical time of the day. When the sun begins to set. The best part of staying a few blocks from the duomo, is that I can just wander over. I found a seat and enjoyed the light show. As the sun sets, the light bounces off the mosaic tiles and is magical.The gray, pink, and white marble shines. The facade above the central portal is a figure of Mary enthroned and holding a flowered scepter, Thereby the name Santa Maria del Fiore. The size is amazing... but the tiniest detail, even more so.The pictures just don't do it justice. Sitting in the piazza with the bells ringing. It is all just a part of the lights and sounds~ the music of Italy.
Ciao y'all~

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Florence ~ The Gelato Trail

While I am here in Florence, I have planned to be on the gelato trail. It's a tough job... but I think I am up to the challenge.
My first stop will be Grom on the Via del Campanile. This is a Piedmonte-based company, that uses only the best ingredients, with a monthly flavor list online. I hear they have the best cone in Florence.

I'll have to stop in Gelateria La Carraia located just off Santa Trinità Bridge. I've been told they have the creamiest gelato, best tangy yogurt. I will get the one euro cone heaped high... and have plenty of money for the leather market.
I have heard about the Gelateria Carapina on Via Lambertesca 118r. This seems to be a trendy place with young Florentine owner. Online they posts a calendar of ripe fruit and only makes those flavors when they are at their peak. I've have to try the Menta (mint), and Chocolate with ginger. Of course~ PercheNo! at the Piazza della Signoria~ I have to taste Crema, which is cooked in the old way with lemon rinds and vanilla and my favorite Pistachio with natural Sicilian pistachios. First... to recover from the jet lag.
Perchè No?
Ciao y'all~

Monday, May 16, 2011

Florence ~ My 'home'

One of the things I love best about going back to Florence is getting to see old frends. While I am here I always stay at Hotel Burchianti. It is a small hotel that is on Via Del Giglio, within a few blocks of the train station. It is just steps from Santa Maria Novella and a short walk to the Duomo and Leather Market.

The hotel Burchianti established in 1936 by the Burchianti sisters under the name Pensione Burchianti. The building it is in is the Castiglioni Palace...Now, my home. All of the rooms have original frescoes, and are beautifully decorated. There are only 11 rooms, so you have the feeling of staying in someone's beautiful Italian home.
I love the fact that Mario is always there to great me with a smile and a warm 'buono gionatta'.

Ciao y'all~

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pomodori e Vino ~ Prune Gelato

Marcella's gelato recipe is the perfect time to show off my Cuisinart hand mixer. After all~ I'm trying to save face after the 'no double boiler' incident.
Let me say though... Marcella commented that it was years before she had a proper double boiler :-) We know it didn't hurt her kitchen at all.
Of course... as promised I did get my double boiler for mother's day :-{). Thank you!
Now...back to my smart stick. This smart stick is a clever kitchen tool. It is a mini food processor, a hand-held immersion blender, and a whisk stick.
Which is all that is needed to make a batch of fresh gelato... well, that and an ice cream machine. As a good southerner~ of course I have one of those.
Prune gelato. Of all the gelatos in the' Essentials of Italian Cooking' to make... my luck to draw prune gelato. It is simply not my favorite. It's a good thing there is also a recipe for Banana Rum, Egg custard, Lemon and Strawberry. Those are all my favorites!
I bet I will be eating my share of gelato in Italy next week too.
Ciao y'all~

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Favorites~ Not Blogger :-(

I have a fabulous friday's favorite... but it was totally erased by Blogger.
Along with all the other posts I did this week to publish while I'm traveling.

Color me not happy today!
Y'all share some favorites today!

Y'all join in~ Sandi

Monday, May 09, 2011


Happy Blue Monday! Lula and I are Very Happy~ Because in 1 week this blue suitcase will be full of clothes and headed to Italy.

Now... if only Lula my little travel fairy could squeeze in too.

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Photohunt ~ Digital

The photohunt for this week is 'Digital'.

What did we do before we had cell phones that could take digital photos?We missed chances like this to capture a pic, without being to obvious.We spent the evening with Nick Saban at the Crimson Caravan.I was overwhelmed at the houndstooth...and the red elephants (no that is not me standing with Bill)I was busy snapping photos

Happy hunting y'all~

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