31 May 2008

Soggy still, but the show must go on

Never let the weather stop you is what we use to always say when I lived in Summit County Colorado. You wait a minute and it's sure to change. Well, that was pretty true most of the time. We are still waiting for the rain to stop, but I must say that is has subsided.
Our valley made national news 2 days ago because our rivers had reached flood water stage and things were a little tense. I am happy to say that our valley didn't receive too much damage from the swollen river, other than it filled up like I have never seen it before and I think we have clean the river banks of a few trees and debris, a bit of damage to some of our older bridges, but most everything is intact. Unfortunately our neighbors in Prali and Torre Pellice, weren't quite as lucky, with damage from mud sliding and rocks falling. The helicopters were busy shuttling assistance to and fro and the sound of the rivers thundering down the valley where hardly a whisper is normally heard made for a very amazing Friday night serenade. We were all quite worried that there was going to be worse to come, but fortunately the rain has subsided to an occasional sprinkling or sudden short down pour, instead of the steady pounding were receiving last week. So the rivers have crested and shrunken back down but are still fairly impressive all in all. We can still hear a gentle hum of the Chisone and our little streams that feed into it, but the birds are singing and the bees back to doing their duty so all is well in the kingdom of Savoy.

26 May 2008

A Soggy View

Well I must say the garden is well watered and all is lushly verdant if not rather soggy. We have needed the rain as it has been scarce the past few years, but now the creeks ad rivers are starting to rise so a bit of sunshine would be most appreciated. on on that rather soggy not I thought last night's diner was a swimmingly good choice. Not exactly fish and chips, but along those lines.

We had found a nice Branzino or sea bass that tucked in to a blanket of parchment paper with some fresh lemon thyme, sage, and oregano with a clove of garlic and bay leaf. I drizzled some oil over all and sealed it up before popping it into the oven. The piece of puff pastry that I had left over from my tried and true "to the rescue" tartlettes from breakfast, made for a simple and satisfying antipasti. The addition of fresh asparagus with some gorgonzola and parmesan as a base and glue for the asparagus to the puff dough made for a quick trip to the oven with the fish. Complimenting the fish with a giant potato cake which cooked while the other was in the oven and dinner was served.

Finishing off our simple supper, we drizzled balsamic vinegar over some soggy strawberries, added fresh basil and polished them off in record time.
Simplicity at it's finest.

19 May 2008

Open "Olympia" Room!

OK, maybe it doesn't look like much to you, showcased by my limited photographic capabilities, but believe me it is a very exciting and satisfying time at Bella Baita. Fabrizio has literally transformed our "disco" into the "Olympia" room at last. Tearing out, ripping, shredding, drilling, insulating, plastering ceilings, raising local massively heavy wood beams, laying pipes, tile, stones, electrical, lights and painting it all by his lonesome, are just a few of his winter time idle time ventures. Fabrizio, the working machine wonder, worked like a man driven with an internal clock ticking the doomsday deadline. He met the May challenge, ready to cook, eat and enjoy.
He made it and we are using it.
We have maximized our modest means to get this big ole dinosaur whipped up into a much more usable space for our guests and cooking classes and other future offerings simmering on the back burner. We still need a variety of furnishings, appliances and wish list items, but we have moved from darkness to light, warmth and space to spread our wings, or well, ahem, at least all of our stuff! We're using what we have been given and leftovers from the "La Baita" era and we're grateful to have them. Now we'll have some time to work in the space and have a better idea of what are true needs are as we go along.
We did inaugurate the space with meals, cooking classes and general "hanging out", not a moment too soon, as the weather hasn't always been cooperative, as mercurial as springtime in the alps can be. If you are interested in our Cooking Together Classes and some photos of other guests adventures click here too. Here are some photos of the past couple of weeks goings on. I hope to get to some recipes and regular posting again now that we're starting to settle into the space, but we're still doing quite a few km back and forth between our flat and the "Olympia" room as we shuttle our utensils and supplies to and fro. Keeps it interesting.
First a spin around the market

Finishing off with coffee and pastries before the hard work starts later

Pasta fun

with new friends and family

The beginnings of cinghiale filled agnolotti

and ricotta and stinging nettle ravioli

"La Dolce Vita" class to comfort the sweetest toothed guests

Marie didn't know where to begin the sampling,
but she worked her way round pretty quick

as the rest of us did too
Thanks for stopping by
See you soon

01 May 2008

May Day, May Day

or the May Day in Italy is a time to head out somewhere, anywhere, to picnic, walk, frolic at the beachwork on the garden at the family mountain holiday house. May day though out most of Europe is the equivalent of Labor Day in America. All the factory workers are off of work and many ofthem march around waving flags and perhaps protesting the way things are these days. Our acrobatic air force jets are out painting the sky red white and green. It's just a celebratory day.

So happy May Day to all of you.
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