Il secondo? Insalata!


When I came downstairs for breakfast this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the ugly gray skies and ferocious winds.  I thought, “Oh my god, is it actually going to rain today!?”  You see, it hasn’t rained more than once since I arrived in Italy.  It started early-morning on a Sunday and hung around until the early afternoon.  And that was it.  No rain since.  Also, that was in Santa Margherita.  There has been nothing here.  Not even a sprinkling.  How do things grow!?  I found out.

I fed Arco and I was sort of just sitting around wondering what I would do today, since it looked like the sky was about to open up on us, when Paolo arrived.  He told me to water the plants.  “But isn’t it going to rain?”  He just laughed.  So we walked down to the garden and I showed him that I had watered all the new plants and some of the thirsty ones.  He nodded a bunch and pointed at the trees and asked, “How about those?”

No.  I did not water the trees.  Woops!  So I spent an hour and a half watering the trees lining their drive.  When I asked how much water I should give each, he just smiled and said “A lot.”  So I decided on a nice even two minutes at each tree.  I counted a million different ways to pass the time, and then started marching in place to keep the chill off.  If you haven’t counted backwards from 60 in a while, I suggest you try it.  It was more difficult than I anticipated.  I suppose your mind slips sometimes and you need to give it a bit of exercise.  Or maybe I just haven’t been in the ‘real world’ in quite some time.  Brain power!

Here is a lovely picture of the garden, after I watered it:

And another!  See those trees in the background?  Those are only 1/8 of the ones I watered!

By the time I was finished, it was sunny out.  My next task was to count the number of holes we dug in the nocciolas.  In case you were wondering, there were 134 holes.  Yikes.  That’s a lot of new trees.  And  then I finished with pulling down more grape vines.

Here’s a sick vine that has been dug up.  My job is to pull it, and all of its offshoots out of the fence and surrounding vines:

A better picture of the offshoots:

Piles of most of the vines I removed:

Paolo and Annamaria left with the kids around 2:30pm for Venice and I took the afternoon off and relaxed in the toasty sun-room.  Went for a run and then totally raided the garden for veggies for dinner.  Green beans, carrots, eggplants, tomatoes, and lettuce.

I finally had the opportunity to make myself dinner and I took this golden opening to stuff as many vegetables into my meal as possible.  Which ended up being vegetarian lasagna.  Yum.  With vegetarian Bolognese.

Lemme break it down for you.  I steamed up all of the various veggies, and chopped them into tiny pieces when they were done.  Threw them in a pan with some onions, garlic, and some tomato sauce to heat it up and put it aside.  I sliced up the eggplant really thin and steamed the slices.  Normally, I would have put all of this in a little bread pan and threw it in the oven to bake into gooey bubbling goodness.  But, when you’re cooking for one, it doesn’t really make sense to get the oven going for just a little bit of food.  Especially when it takes more time and you’re hungry.  So I built my ‘lasagna’ in a skillet and heated it up all together so the little bit of parmesan would melt.   A layer of eggplants slices, a layer of ‘bolognese’ and some parmesan, another layer of eggplant slices and so on.  The good news is that I had dinner in twenty minutes or less, total.  The bad news is when I tried to smoothly slide the lasagna out onto my plate, it flip-flopped into a PILE of vegetables.   But you know what?  It tasted just as good, if not better.  I can’t wait to try and make this as a larger, baked dish.  I will probably add thin slices of zucchini next time too, for the ‘noodles’.  I might even cook up some pancetta for the ‘bolognese’.  But it was perfect for this time of year because there are soooooo many eggplants and zukes left in the garden.

My dinner:

I like the tradition of setting the table with a tablecloth, and wine, bread, cheeses, etc, even if it was just me tonight.  It’s so cozy!

Every meal I’ve had with Italians starts with pasta, plateau’s with salad, and ends with cheese and fruit.  This meal was no different.  After all of my ‘WHY DO THEY EAT THE SALAD AFTER THE PASTA?’ these past few weeks, I had to laugh that I mindlessly did the same.  I’m so used to the swing of things here, that I didn’t notice I ate my salad second, until I was already onto the fruit!  Ohhh, this could be bad :).

Anyway, it was a great meal and I’m hoping for a few more this weekend.  Tomorrow I have a lot of things planned:  running, Alessandria, recipes, and Quargnento.  Therefore, I must get to bed so I can have an early start!

Ciao ciao,

Julianne

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