Flowers

Thank you for this post, I agree with this sentiment. As a floral designer and an avid lover of flowers, it makes me sad to hear people say that cut flowers are a waste of money and don’t last. But the feeling of happiness, joy and beauty they bring –cannot be summed up in a monetary value.

Shoba Narayan

I didn’t set out to link flowers to culture, but there they are.

A simple garland of flowers is a powerful cultural emblem.

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Dutch people stick tulips into vases. Brazilians arrange flowers on little pots that they hang all over white walls. Hawaiians make lei garlands out of flowers and wear them when they dance. Arabs dry flowers and powder them along with herbs for their bakhoor incense. Americans and Europeans arrange flowers elaborately in funky vases. And Indians string flowers so that they can hang that string across doorways or wear it braided into their hair. In one sense, flowers are the ultimate luxury, because they are ephemeral, beautiful and sometimes fragrant.
One of the arguments I have here in India has to do with fashion, luxury and culture. Indians of my generation pretty much wear western clothes and have adopted western ideas of beauty. We all wear lipstick…

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Buona Festa, it is festival time in my hometown!

Autumn in the eastern part of the United States is dedicated to outside festivals and I will be attending one of my favorite hometown festival some time today and look forward to drinking a homemade glass of red wine and eating delicious food from local restaurants and deli shops, not to mention, dancing, singing and encountering old friends with a cheek to cheek kiss (the greeting South Philadelphians welcome each other) whether it’s been many years or just days, we are quite a gregarious and affectionate bunch!

It is an annual affair to attend the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Italian Festival, (http://www.stnicksitalianfestival.com) held in a still very much traditional and old fashioned parish and neighborhood of South Philadelphia, where I was born and raised.

festival dancers

I attended this tiny, mostly blue-collar, Italian-Catholic elementary school (where the festival is held) from kindergarten to eighth grade and feel blessed to be able to return to my childhood every so often. What sweet memories of both my classmates and teachers I have collected over the years that helped to mold the person I am today.

Parade of the SaintsMy beautiful little church

I make the hour trip back “home” faithfully to join good friends from the neighborhood along with our children, whom have become an important element of this joyous event! It is a surreal experience to watch them enjoying the same activities and traditions handed down to us by our parents and neighbors.

Today, although the some of the traditions of the festival have remained intact, it has flourished into a diverse melting pot of nationalities and newer faces that make it all much more exciting to see it grow and continue to give pleasure for years to come!

And so we mark the date on our calendar, rain or shine and drag our daughters down with us and although they are not old enough to drive or party into the night, they may wander the few, short city block radius of my hometown with our blessing, as we enjoy some much needed quality time with a few hundred of our closest friends!

Saluti, everyone and Buona Domenica!

Almond and Pomegranate swirl Meringues

Anyone who knows me will tell you I adore pretty things and have a bit of a sweet tooth! So when I came across this wonderful recipe for Almond and Pomegranate Swirl Meringues from Silvia’s Cucina, I could not resist but to pass this along to my friends! I look forward to making these for the holidays or a birthday party! Thank you for allowing me to share the recipe for this delectable looking dessert!

Silvia Colloca

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My undeniable attraction for whipped egg whites has struck again! Yes, I am not new to posts dedicated to the ineffable and weightless world of meringues. The truth is that I can barely contain my excitement when recipes call for egg yolks only because I know I can turn the leftover whites into whimsical, frothy creations, so irresistible in their snow white perfection, or eager to be enriched by a vibrant touch of pink. And if you don’t feel confident whipping a batch of these, here are my top tips on meringue making:

1. Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature

2. Mix them in a clean and dry bowl

3. Add a pinch of salt to encourage the frothing action

4. Don’t over whip

5. Weigh the egg whites (I know, a little bit of a pain in the neck, but well worth it)

6. Be patient, bake them…

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Eight things I learned from travel

Great post on traveling! My heart has always been a wandering nomad, although I live quite an ordinary sedentary life, I look forward to the day that I may pack a few things and “see the world”!

Life After Liquidity

Travel Cover

As I write this post I am sitting in the Caltrain, passing through various suburbs of the San Francisco Bay peninsula on my way to the city. It’s comforting to be surrounded by so many familiar sites once again.

My wife and I have had quite a journey: 17 countries, dozens of cities, and countless airports/train stations/bus stations. We’ve witnessed both staggeringly beautiful phenomena (Northern Lights in the Yukon Territories) and horrifying moments (a mob beating up some dude in the streets of Istanbul) along the way. Fortunately, my wife and I came out the other end of our trip completely safe and with a lifetime of memories.

I’ve delayed writing this post as long as I could; it’s been taking me a while to process what I’ve learned from this trip. The short answer is: a lot.

I may not be able to cover all the lessons I’ve learned…

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Bruschetta Much?

An arugula, tenderloin, gorganzola-focaccia feast.

Brushetta

My version of Brio Tuscan Grille’s  http://www.brioitalian.com 

 Sliced Steak Bruschetta  Arugula/Tenderloin/Gorganzola cheese on focaccia bread.

Anything with gorgonzola cheese has my full attention and devotion. Add tenderloin and Italian bread, I turn to mush!

The arugula is lightly dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. The bed of greens holds the the tenderloin and gorgonzola with a modest amount of parmigiano reggiano tossed in for just the right combination of bite size  tang and meat flavor.

Earlier this year, I tasted this dish for the first time at Brio Tuscan Grille Restaurant. a trendy, casual-fun eatery at the exclusive Promenade Shopping Center in Marlton, New Jersey, while on a shopping tryst with a good friend.

She was kind enough to treat me and I was excited to try something I had not tasted before with all my favorite flavors. It turned out to be a win situation for me!

Itching to imitate the dish and even claim it for my own, I added chopped bits of sundried tomatoes for color and in my opinion, it jump kicked the flavor up a notch! The dish made its debut as a party appetizer served to good friends and a lovely evening was had by all!