24 June 2011


I love lavender. I love to look at it, smell it, grow it, eat it and use the essential oil for all sorts of things. It is a wonder plant. Now that it is officially summer, it is also lavender season! And there is nothing quite like seeing fields of lavender growing under the hot sun. Unfortunately, those glorious lavender fields are only found in France. But, lavender thrives in all warm climates, including here.

Last night around 11, after a chat with family about the new roundabout landscaping of lavender, my husband took me for a “drive”. Even though he likes to be mysterious, I know him well and I knew he was taking me to the next city over to go snip some of this new lavender under the cover of darkness. As we were getting on the freeway, which is also the direction to Genoa and ultimately France, he tells me that if I really wanted, he could just keep going and we could get to Provence, get some lavender and make it back in time for him to work in the morning. Hmm, a tempting offer, and as I entertain the thought, I decide it would be a much nicer evening to make it to bed before dawn. Oh, how times have changed. I guess this is what it’s like to be an adult—comfort and logic over adventure.

21 June 2011

Patriotic Dinner

On the first official day of summer, I went to the fruit and vegetable market downtown. Oh, there were so many great things! As I meandered around, I was inspired to make some delicious and classic Italian dishes for dinner. 

I started with a Caprese Salad, which is now being called insalata di tre colore (three color salad), as the official salad of Italy for it's 150th anniversary (it's a green, white and red salad=patriotic). If you are not familiar with the insalata Caprese, it is a very simple arrangement of sliced tomato, mozarella di buffala, fresh basil and olive oil.

20 June 2011

Hummus Genovese

I love to whip up a quick hummus because it is so quick and easy and you can make all kinds of flavors. This is not a traditional hummus, of course, but you can’t find tahini in Italy. In this version, I use a handful of fresh basil, however, you can make it with any other herb, or roasted red peppers, or roasted garlic, or sun-dried tomato…the possiblities are endless! And seriously, this takes less than ten minutes to make.

18 June 2011

Oggi al Mare!

Today the sun was shining and there wasn’t a hint of rain in the sky. There was only one thing to do—hit the beach! I text messaged my sister-in-law to get ready because today we were finally going to get some sun. Unfortunately, living in a port city means that there are no actual beaches to lay out on. But no worries, this is the Riviera and there are plenty of beaches to be had. 

14 June 2011

Clafoutis de Susina

My old neighborhood in Los Angeles has a bakery that I referred to as going to Paris. It is absolutely beautiful and decorated just like a little Parisian bakery, from the wrought iron and marble tables, to the big red booths along the walls, even to it being filled with writers. Susina Bakery (corner of Beverly and La Brea Blvds.) is where I would go when I had a hankering for a great croissant and cappuccino, or for one of their fantastic oven roasted tomato and onion croissants. But with all the years of going to Susina Bakery, I never knew that susinas were a type of plum much loved in Europe (and a fruit that my husband loves). 

Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

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