Monday, March 31

Rally Racen'

We trekked though the mud & stood in the pouring rain to cheer on 80 rally cars!

It was a blast- mud flying on the turns as they sped around the corners - we were hootin' & hollerin' as each car passed!! We positioned ourselves along one of the last turns before the checkpoint-we were bound to see some action! We were told that Italians love the curves (turns) much more than silly Nascar where they just drive in circles.

The rally racers work their way across Italy one small town at a time - we were in Mercatello sul Metauro a nearby town & then they hit Piobbico (only 4km from us). They shut down a section of town & the cars fly through! This was our first rally race & since we are becoming Italian we are already planning our next!

Tuesday, March 25

Una Grande Festa per Pasqua! An Easter Feast!

We hosted our first festa (or food party) for Lunedi  di Pasqua  (Monday of Easter - which is a holiday here in Italy, of course it is! And everything is closed, people we spoke with couldn't believe that stores were open in the U.S. on this Monday and god forbid you would go to work! Most Italians spend Easter with family & Easter Monday with friends.) We did just that, but with a lot of work, bags of flour, 4 dozen eggs, bottles of olive oil and more than enough pork fat involved! 

(Here's the pasta makin' - everyone helped out!)

It snowed all day on Easter as we made bread, pasta dough, desserts & prepped for Monday
- we were so nervous our road would freeze & make it too difficult for everyone to come, but in the morning the sun started shinning & melted everything on the road...then the winds changed - sleet & the snow fell again & 2 minutes later the sun would shine (repeat)-the weather was just crazy all day!

There were 23 guests who all left with a full belly & a bit surprised that Jason, an American could cook such perfect Italian food! One guest even mentioned how touched he was by the truly Italian menu and the tastes of Jason's cooking.Jason created a masterpiece menu with TUTTI (EVERYTHING) made by hand:


Prosciutto & Salumi Marchigiani (local) with fresh & aged pecorino
Chickpeas salad with anchovy dressing 
Baby onions with 30-year old balsamic
Sauteed greens with roasted cherry tomatoes
Roasted red & yellow peppers
Grilled eggplant & zuchini with mint
Radish & fennel salad
Piadine - grilled flat bread (see recipe in previous blog below) 
Carrots with fennel seed & red wine vinegar
Radicchio stuffed with ricotta & walnuts
Homemade bread (see previous blog-Pane fresca)

Zuppa Pavese (broth with crostini & egg yolk-an great story of its creation for a king will come soon..)
Tagliatelle con carciofi - Pasta with spring artichokes
Rigatoni with spinach, tomato & panchetta

Guanciale di Maiale con salvia, olio & aglio - Pig cheek with sage, olive oil & garlic (this is so fat but sooo delicious most women won't eat it but Meagan & I love it! It's like the best bacon ever!)

Torta con nutella & noci - a nutella & walnut cake (think brownie)
Abbracci - cookies
Ciambella Marmorizzata - marble cake
And of course the desserts were made by Meagan our master baker!

I love Italians because they are passionate about food! When the pasta was presented they cheered, when Jason came through the dinning room the first time they all stood & raised their glass to the Chef and when the desserts appeared they were in awe (with the women grabbing for paper & pen asking for the recipes.)

We asked for 20Euro a person for this homemade feast but our guests banned together & said no- they must pay 22Euro a person! Many already booking their next meal with us.

Saturday, March 15

Introducing the Newest Members of the Ugly Club

This is hysterical- we are the newest members of Club dei Brutti- essentially the ugly club or the club of the uglies!  Immediately we thought our grandpa would not only be proud, but probably would have been a founding member if he lived in Italy!

We were at a friend's farm near Piobbico the other day & this jovial Italian showed up & introduced himself as "the Condelezza Rice of the ugly club" - he was the secretary of state for this famous club founded in the tiny town of Piobbico. Upon further inspection of Jason & I,  he quickly pulled out membership cards & inducted us on the spot.  We were then "evaluated" on our ugliness by these VIP members.  Jason ranked mediocre (getting off easy I think), I happily ranked insufficient. (Note: Meagan was unable to be officially ranked since they ran out of Membership cards.)

Needless to say, not much is required to join -  however they do have a few "rules" and sayings. Here are our favorites: (they don't translate exactly & sound much better in Italian of course)
Fight for aesthetic biodiversity - lowering the OGM of beauty
To be beautiful - what suffering!
Ugliness is beautiful!
Leave the beautiful woman to the men without fantasies!

Follow the link above (in the heading) & you too can join this international club of movers & shakers!!

Spring- in like a lion & out like a!

Ahh la primavera (spring) in Italy is not to be missed! The colors changing bring new life to the land, cherry blossoms & the anticipation of juicy fruits & tasty veggies to come! We started planting our garden a few weeks ago, cleaning out the beds,  "prepping" the land! Our cherry tree was bursting with pink/white cherry blossoms....and then snow! 

Tons of snow for a week! It was so unexpected & incredibly spectacular (we're talking heavy heavy flakes, it looked fake & right out of the movies the way the trees were perfectly covered.) Thankfully no tubbi gelati (frozen pipes).

I know the saying is that March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb- but out here it's more like a fox... cunning like a fox - a bit unpredictable - from the super windy, to snow & now wonderfully sunny & then the wind changes again & the cold air blows, here just like in the US the weather man never seems to get it right... 

BUT literally spring has brought us a fox,  we now have one living with us here at Ca'Camone. He is not timid at all! Luckily he is small & kinda cute (and we don't have chickens for him to kill!) We first saw him one morning when he jumped into the compost- we thought it was a raccoon or something. And then when he jumped out he just stared at us from 100+ feet away. We were making all sorts of noises to scare him away, but nothing-then Jason pretended to shoot a gun at him (of course not holding anything at all) now that scared the s-out of him & he took off!

Foxy now hangs around the house in the evenings & is pretty brazen coming close & not minding us at all- he really pays no attention. Its just kinda crazy to see a fox chillin' in your front yard....what else will spring bring?!

Thursday, March 13

Pane Fresco!

Most "ovens" are closed on Sunday in our area-so to find fresh bread on Sunday can be hard...not at La Tavola Marche! 

Pane fresco is made almost everyday & especially on Sunday's here! Jason has gotten the knack of the outdoor oven and how to use/move the heat. 

 He has been making pizza's of course, baguettes, the best challah ever (thanks to his Grandma's recipe & Meagan's baking) and various meats- most note-ably the 8lb deer leg (bath of chianti for a day and then roasted for hours-low & slow).  
We have the best intentions to give baguettes to neighbors & friends (since we are making 5 at a time) but, shocking - they always seem to get eaten first! Warm fresh bread, just beggin' to be buttered... it doesn't get any better than that!

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