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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why am I doing this???

How many of you are asking this same question?
Why after 5 years am I still blogging?
Why do we put ourselves through this self imposed torture of scheduling. The ever present thought of 'what to post'. Our camera's at the ready to snap a photo that we might use one day. (especially if you'd seen me taking the picture of that skinny cow!)
Once again, I have been re-affirmed by an anonymous commenter.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a photo for the photohunt 'informative'. It was a picture of my dad in his U2 uniform, with CIA 'types' standing behind him. Flying these 'secret' missions is just one of the things he did in his lifetime. He always had a great story to tell, and LoVeD to tell them.
Then I got this comment...
Anonymous said...
Your dad was one of the men I use as an example for my life. I really enjoyed being around him. Great photo.

Just a few words~ that touched me so sweetly.
It is nice to know that his words of wisdom, and stories live on, all around the world ... like glitter on a starry night.

So, I guess, that is why I blog. To have people in my life that I would never have contact with. The friends I have made over the years. You bring me happiness... and I hope along the way there is a recipe, a story, or a picture that brings joy to you.

Leave a comment when you can...but if not, I still know you are there.
Thanks y'all~

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blue Monday ~

These pictures aren't very good... I snapped them with my phone in a moving car.
You'll have to keep you eye open for the skinny cow~ on the side of a big truck. She'll make you smile!

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Photohunt ~ Cards

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'cards'.

This week was really tough!
Then I thought of a Southern saying..."You are such a card"

It goes right along with "You are acting afool!"

~ which we were! As soon as the wedding was over, we were all a bunch of cards.

Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~

Take a peak at my newest Bride and Groom couple!
They are ready for a very elegant wedding at the Historic Tutwiler Hotel in Birmingham. Aren't they Fabulous?
She is wearing a fun wedding gown of satin and feathers. I don't know if you can see her red dancing shoes peeping under all the feathers. Her fascinator is all the rage.
The groom is very dashing in a black suit and sporting a feather boutonnier (because he wants to make his bride happy)
They are tucked in their gift box and ready to travel. You can find more wedding couples at Gimme Some Sugar on ETSY Now that's a friday's favorite for sure :-)

What is your favorite today?

Y'all join in~

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blue Monday ~ It stinks

Well~it's blue.
And it's appropriate for a monday ;-)

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Photohunt ~ Informative

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Informative'.
Here on Father's Day... I can't think of a more appropriate photo.
My Dad...

Standing in his early U2 pressure suit, with the CIA guys in the background.

He had some stories to tell!
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~

One of my favorite treats while in Italy is a cooking class! I was going to do something 'serious' while in Florence... but just wasted my time away. ~Wandering the back streets, listening to the church bells, sitting at a street cafe, having a spritz in the evening~ Sigh. What a waste.
So I was glad to hear that we were having a real cooking class with Gail's Great Escape . We made our entire meal, pork roast, gnocchi, fresh picked cherry preserves, and tiramisu! The tiramisu is very simple ~Strong black coffee, eggs and marscarpone, and ladyfingers. Here I've posted a recipe similar to this. But... there is something to be said for using the freshest ingredients! The marscarpone cheese was straight from the cheese farm and the eggs from the chickens. The coffee was dark and strong... no need for rum!

Guiseppe, the owner Tenuta Santo Pietro , shows off his cooking skills. Who doesn't love an Italian man with a whisk?

Then we get to build our own cups for dessert. . .

and then the favorite part!

What is your favorite today?

Remember WhistleStop Rules... anything goes!

Y'all join in~


Monday, June 13, 2011

Blue Monday

Marcella Hazan has gotten to make Her Closing Comments on our Pomodori e Vino blog. I can only imagine what this adventure has ment to her. She wrote this cookbook many, many years ago, it is in it's 28th printing. I know how much it means to mom (and me) when someone appreciates a particular recipe from one of our cookbooks.

Imagine, after all of these years, her recipes coming to life; photos and personal stories of our adventures as the Pomodori e Vino

If you have appreciated any special recipes, hop on over to the Pomodori Blog and leave a message for Marcella and Victor. We will all be a little blue now that this adventure is over.
Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Photohunt ~ Triangle

The photohunt for this week is 'Triangle'. You'd better keep your eyes on the triangles!
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Favorites ~ Risotto

This is the greatest light summertime recipe. I started by finding some fresh wild harvested scallops at Whole Funds.

What comes to mind?
Olive oil

Browned Scallops with Lemon Thyme Risotto
1 pound fresh scallops
1 lemon
1 bunch fresh thyme
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves
1 cup risotto
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano cheese
In 2 Tbs olive oil, lightly brown onions and garlic. Add in several sprigs of thyme Stir in Rice and cook until translucent. Add wine and juice of 1/2 lemon; reduce over medium heat. Using simmering broth, stir in one ladle at a time, then cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Vigorously stir in parmiggiano until the risotto is creamy.

Meanwhile pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Brown in 2 Tbs olive oil 2 minutes on each side. When browned, reduce heat and add the juice of 1/2 lemon.
This is light, and fresh comfort food. It is a favorite for a light summer evening.
What is your favorite today?
Y'all join in~

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What an adventure!

In March of 2010, several friends from several countries decided to embark on an adventure. We decided to cook our way through Marcella Hazan's 'Essentials of Italian Cooking'. Everyday a new recipe, everyday a new adventure. We posted on Facebook and on our blog Pomodori e Vino. The rules were very simple . . . If it was your turn you made it. It didn't matter if it was tripe, cotechino, or prune gelato.
In this adventure, I was very smart to pair up with a partner. Jan and I took on Fridays; then we split the recipes. I think Jan and I will agree we were lucky with the recipe draw! We spent the next 15 months cooking Italian.
The recipes were only a part of the challenge. In 15 months . . . I have worked 2 jobs, traveled to London and Italy twice, had breast surgery, buried my father and my father-in-law, planned a beautiful wedding and watched my daughter get married, and waved my son off to cook in the wilds of Michigan. L-I-F-E in a nutshell. Though it all, we have faithfully followed Marcella's recipes and posted our attempts.
The other Huge part of the challenge was finding the freshest ingredients. I live in Alabama, where Italian is chef-boy-r-dee with a southern accent. It is near impossible to find young artichokes, whole chestnuts, or fresh ricotta cheese. My weekly trips to Piggly Wiggly were more interesting because of this challenge; I carried Marcella with me every time.
I feel that I can call her Marcella, because through this process she and Victor have been in my kitchen every week. They have followed along our journey, and commented on our progress. She has been kind and generous... and very absolute in her recipes. I cherish each comment she has made along the process. I was rightfully chastised for implying Tuscany was Italy, using chicken breasts once again, the thickness of my veal. . . but, more than once she refered to me as her talented southern cook.
Sandi, who could have imagined an Alabama belle making such deft tortelloni! You've proven that if one really loves pasta one doesn't have to settle for second-rate store bought stuff. It has to do with whether eating well is worth making an effort or not. And that, I understand, is what Southern cooks know something about.

I have not one, but two favorite memories, through out this process. The first, of course would be when Jan and I were in Venice at the same time. We were able to find Victor's favorite little shop at the Rialto market. With Jan's excellent Italian, we purchased the ingredients we needed for our recipe. We made our Botarga together in Jan's little apartment overlooking a canal... we drank a toast to the Hazan's and our fearless Pomodori. This is a moment that we will both cherish for the rest of our lives.
My second memory is my son and I in the kitchen together, making Gnocchi. Flour and potatoes everywhere, with a little wine and some gorgonzola~ We experimented together until 'alora'... we had the perfect gnocchi. I am a firm believer that making memories in the kitchen are treasures you can't replace.
More than once, Marcella commented that she wished we were neighbors. I would love nothing more than to share my polenta, and a glass of wine as I stir the risotto. She has left with each of us the treasure of 'Essentials of Italian Cooking'. It is up to us to share these treasures with others.
Jan, Marcella, and Victor~ Thank you for the journey!

Ciao y'all~

Monday, June 06, 2011

Blue Monday ~

This is just one of the hundreds of picturesque little side streets in Montepulciano... Do y'all know what I said as I peeped down this narrow calle?

"It's a Blue Monday!"

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

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Photohunt ~ Dirty

The photohunt for this week is 'Dirty'. These sheep in the field near Pienza make the most amazing pecorino cheese. Gail of Gail's Great Escapes took us to this little organic cheese farm,Where they raise sheep for their milk and make the freshest cheese.We had a fun cheese tasting and lots of wine (of course) and all went home feeling like we'd had a trip to the farm. Another memory we won't forget!
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday's Favorite ~ Tenuta San Pietro

Tenuta San Pietro is the Beautiful B&B we used in Italy.

Gail's Great Escape picked this perfect spot for our group tour
We had a group of more than 20 who had meals together, shared laughter, and created happy memories...and finished more than one bottle of Guiseppe's fabulous wine... under our Tuscan sun.

Now that is a friday's favorite for sure!

What is your favorite today?
Y'all join in~

Thursday, June 02, 2011


The poppies were just beautiful this year in Italy. Pictures just don't do it justice~ the fields of red poppies that grow wild
They are mixed in with yellows, blues, and purples of sweet peas...
that you don't even notice until you get really close.
The views are just amazing!
You can see why I love Italy this time of year.
Ciao Y'all~

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Cooking Light ~ Outdoor Kitchen

When it gets hot in the south, the best plan is to just not heat up the kitchen. So for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club we are 'Moving the kitchen outdoors'.

In the perfect world, I would have an outdoor kitchen like the one at Tenuta San Pietro where I was just last week. Alas~ the perfect world would not include making choices between Italy or home improvements.

The perfect world would include Virtual friends and Virtual Supper Clubs! So, here I found the perfect recipe on Cooking Light, something light and fresh! Grilled Scallops on Rosemary
12 large sea scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 (12-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
Hot cooked basmati rice
Garnish: lemon slices Combine scallops and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes.

Pick leaves off 6 inches of one end of each rosemary sprig, leaving the other end intact. Soak rosemary sprigs in water in a shallow dish 20 minutes.

Place 2 rosemary skewers side by side, leaving a small space between. Thread 3 scallops onto bare part of rosemary skewers. Repeat with remaining rosemary and scallops. Grill over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve on a bed of basmati rice with lemon slices, if desired.

Optional: For smoky flavor, cut slices of prosciutto in half lengthwise and wrap 1 piece around each scallop before skewering.

Prosciutto Optional??? I will always opt for some prosciutto. I made these and served them as an appetizer, while we were chilling around the pool.
Now let's see what everyone else has brought for our Virtual Supper without heating up the kitchen...
Jerry has fired up the grill for a Grilled Vegetable Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
Jamie has made Thyme Potatoes for the perfect side dish.
Val is making BBQ chicken sliders with a Pickled Onion marmalade.
MaryAnn has made dessert ~ Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.
Roz has grilled and stuffed Portebello Mushrooms with tomatoes, cheese and herbs.

Don't forget, that y'all are welcome to join in our virtual supper with the blog hop!

Y'all enjoy~

Related Posts with Thumbnails