Monday, September 28, 2015

Vegetarian Cooking: Peperoni verdi

700 gr peperoni verdi "frigittelli"

Olio extravergine d'oliva

Sale marino

Lavate i pperoni e asciugarle   

in una padella profonda, scaldare l'olio d'oliva: friggere

le   Peperoni in olio d'oliva riscaldato su entrambi i lati 

Asciugarle con carta 

Cospargere il sale del mare sulla parte superiore e una 

coppia con un vino rosato.

The English Version

700 gr green peppers “frigittelli”
Extra virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Wash the Peppers and dry them.
In a deep pan, heat the olive oil: fry the Peppers in the heated olive oil on both sides
Dry them with paper

Sprinkle sea salt on top and pair with a Rosé wine.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Italian American Expat in Florence

Italian American Expat in Florence

Italian American Rachel Vermiglio Smith Mason 
lives in Florence and is contributing to the Expat Series.   
I met Rachel in Florence while doing interviews for a blog project last year.  She generously shared her favorite pizza restaurant with me,  Mama Napoli pizzia.  

Her Italian American Story:

"I first fell in love with Italy when I was a little girl.  My grandfather, a winsome southern Italian man who  called every woman a 'broad', shared stories and tidbits of a magical country, a faraway from his typical American home.  As I grew up, sometime between dancing to the Tarantella and stealing my parents' wine, Italy became my Disneyland."

"To say I am (and was) obsessed with all things Italian is to put it mildly.  Then one day when signing up for my first college classes, I took my infatuation from childish enthusiasm to serious stalker status and declared my major as Italian language, literature and art history."

"Since 2005, I have lived on and off in this beautiful, mystifying, welcoming, harsh country.  It is a land of contradictions, both maddeningly frustrating and achingly gorgeous. "

How long have you been an Expat in Italy?
I first came to Italy for an extended period of time when I studied abroad in 2005.  I was here for 6 monthsand knew then that I would be returning to live here someday.  I did return as panned and was here from 2009-2010 and again for a part of 2011.

What made you decide to no longer be a visitor, but to be a resident in Italy?
 I have always loved Italy.  I loved it when I had never even seen it, from hearing about it from my family.   I loved it before I spoke the language or had friends here or a life here.  Now, I voe it even more for all of those things.  For me, at the state I am at now I really cant' imagine living anywhere else.

Any reason you wish  to share, for selecting the city/town you live in?
I studied abroad in Florence in basically a dice roll between here and Rome.  I think the fates chose correctly, because it was love at first Cupola.  I still remember seeing the Duomo for the first time and just being in awe of the sheer size of the place.  I had never seen a church so big or beautiful.

I was a die hard adopted Fiorentina from that moment on.  In the end , it has worked out great since I have a MA in art history with a focus on the Italian Renaissance but if I am honest, I fell in love with Renaissance as I fell in love with Florence.

Did you speak Italian before you moved to Italy?
I was an Italian major in college and my family spoke dialect, so not really.   I studied a lot in school but studying and speaking are two different things.

What is or was the most difficult part(s) of expat life?
A lot of tourist say, "I could live here"  when they visit Italy but they have no idea what living here is actually like.   In many ways it is a hard life.  People work all the time, for very little pay, for example I have 5 jobs and am constantly running all over the city.

Simple tasks, like going to the doctor, calling a plumber or going to the post office can turn into all day, confusing, frustrating affairs.  Nothing is easy' here, you have to work hard all the time- not just at your job, but at home.

I am lucky to live in a modern luxuries, but still everyday, I climb 84 steps just to return home.  I carry groceries for blocks and blocks, navigating tourists and motorini.

I wait in long, disorganized lines.  I hang my clothes out to dry, then do the wash again when a pigeon poops on them.  I deal with bureaucracy that would make any sane person want to cry and then do it again and again when they lose, misfile or "misplace" my inform.

People come here and see the beauty, the art, the food, and these are of course part of life here, but when you're in the trenches of the day to day, there is just so much more that goes into having a real life in Italy.

What is the most rewarding parts of expat life?
So despite my long list of difficulties, I actually enjoy working 5 jobs.  Unless I am exhausted, being on the top floor of a 15th century palazzo has it's perks, and while many of the other things I will never learn to love, I have learned to let go.  My life here is more honest and authentic than it was in the US.  Every day I do things that make me happy.

I feel like I live my life for me now, and no one else.  It's rewarding in a way I had never found in the US.

Do you have dual citizenship with Italy?
Yep.  Thank goodness- it makes my life a lot easier.

To stay long term in Italy, what documentation is needed?
Americans can stay up to 90 days in Italy in any 180 day period, without a visa.  This means, 90 day in 90 days out.  There are a lot of misconceptions and terrible information out there saying if you leave for a few days outside of the Schengen region your clock resets but it DOESN'T.

I cant't stress this enough, it is very clear, 90 days in, then 90 days out.

You can stay any combo of 90 days in any 180 day period, but that is it.  If you want to stay longer, you need to get a visa.

Do you plan to remain in Italy long term?
Let's just say, I have no plans to leave.  My life here is just what i wanted it to be.
Sure I wish I only needed three job instead of five, or that electricity didn't cost more than some mortgages (add that to the dislike list) but my life is really beautiful in Italy and I don't plan on changing it anytime soon.

Most recently as of 014, I have been living permanently in my family's homeland and making a serious go of turning Italy into a real 'home'.
I have also started a new website, launching soon,

There are a ton of expat websites out there, but I find that they are often lacking in some of the harder, meatier aspects of life here.

It's great to know places to eat and how to do simple things, but what about the tough stuff?
I didn't find any resources in English when I moved here so I am hoping to create a space for that online plus share aspects of Italian culture and daily life as seen from a slightly different perspective of an Italian American Dual Citizen.

Contact Rachel at:

twitter:        theitalianista
instagram:  theitalianista
pinterest:    theitalianista

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Italy: Laundry Day

                    Hanging out the wash


Not all apartments in Italy have the numerous appliances Americans are accustom to.   We don't mix, slice, dice or cook without mechanical assistance in most American kitchens.      Dryers are not common in Italian homes so it may require some inventive clothesline installations.
If you grew up in the 50' and 60's you may remember the fresh smell of clean clothes after they were taken in from the clothes line.   You probably had the chore of handing the wash on the line and bringing it in when dry.   I can still remember the smell!  

Venice laundry day

Copy right Sheila Ford

Copy Right Sheila Ford

For memorable photos of Italy
Well the neighbors will get to see what you wear under that coat every day!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Italian Vegetarian dishes: Stracciatella Cheese


            Today they cook vegetarian

                  With Ylenia Sambati, Owner of the 
                        Cooking and Wine School in Puglia

                                                       HOME MADE CHEESE STRACCIATELLA

Today Ylenia Sambati , the owner of Cook in Puglia and the new series, Italian Vegetarian Cooking That is featured on Home to Italy shares another recipe for healthy vegetarian food, Italian style


La stracciatella è il ripieno della tipica burrata pugliese. E’un ottimo piatto che può essere mangiato come antipasto oppure accompagnando una bella insalata, un piatto di orecchiette e delle bruschette “puglia style”.
Prepararla in casa è molto semplice, servono davvero pochi ingredienti:
-          300 g mozzarella freschissima da sfilacciare
-          ½ bicchiere di Panna cremosa
-          Un pizzico di sale
Sfilacciare la mozzarella freschissima
Aggiungere la panna cremosa
Un pizzico di sale
Lasciare riposare in frigorifero per almeno un’oretta prima di degustare

Our Inglese Version


Stracciatella is the filling of the typical burrata (mozzarella filled with stracciatella) from Puglia. 
It is a very nice recipe That can be eaten as an appetizer or with a salad, on top of orecchiette pasta or bruschetta "Puglia style".
It is very easy to make it home made. All we need are very simple ingredients:

300 g fresh mozzarella cheese That we will separate strings
½ glass of cream

Separate the mozzarella cheese into strings
Add the cream
Pinch of salt
Leave it in the refrigerator for about one hour before eating.

Join a cooking adventure in Puglia, Italy

Contact our Healtheatarian Cooking Instructor at Yle Sambati:   
Photo credits: Yle Sambati

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Vatican train to Papal Estate from The Guardian

"Vatican launches rail service to papal 

summer estate

New papal portrait gallery in Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo features oil paintings of popes dating back to 16th century

Castel Gandolfo train service
A train leaves St Peter’s railway station in Vatican City. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA          

With a deafening whistle and a plume of smoke, an antique train departed from the Vatican railway station on Friday to inaugurate a weekly service to the papal summer estate in Castel Gandolfo, which Pope Francis has opened to the public.                      

Starting from Saturday, the public will be able to visit both papal estates – the Vatican museums and gardens in Rome, and a new papal portrait gallery in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo – travelling on the service launched by the Vatican and Italy’s railway, Ferrovia dello Stato.       

The portrait gallery features oil paintings of popes dating back to the 16th century and their vestments, thrones and even the enormous slippers of Pope Clement XII. It also has on show the fancy costumes of the onetime papal court, officially abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and now exiled for good to Castel Gandolfo by the simplicity-loving Francis.                                 

Tour packages run from €16 to €40 (£12-£30) and must be booked online in advance through the Vatican Museums.                  

For the inaugural press run on Friday, Ferrovia used its century-old, coal-burning locomotive to pull historic passenger cars. The regular service will use modern trains.

Popes past have kept Castel Gandolfo as a summer getaway, and Benedict XVI closed out his papacy there on 28 February 2013 when the big wood and bronze doors on the main palazzo slammed shut after he left the Vatican for the last time as pontiff.   

Photograph Vincenzo Pinto AFP Getty Images
Francis, a workaholic and homebody who hates being alone, has decided not to use Castel Gandolfo, preferring to spend his summers at the same Vatican hotel where he lives.       

Last year he decided to open Castel Gandolfo’s gardens to the public, in part to help offset the economic downturn the town has experienced now that popes are no longer holding weekly Sunday prayers there in summer."

Above is a repost from a facebook post today

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Oggi Cucino Vegetariano: PARMIGIANA BIANCA

Today we cook vegetarian 
Vegetarian recipes in Italian and Inglese

From Cook in Puglia   Ylenia Smbati
Our Italian Vegetarian Cooing Series brings you:

Parmigiana White
Potatoes and Zucchini 

1 kg di zucchine
4 patate grandi  
200 gr parmigiano grattugiato 
8 fette di formaggio scamorza affumicata 
sale e pepe. Condire
olio d’oliva.
Menta fresca 
Basilico fresco 

Per la besciamella 
60 gr di burro 
1 Lt Latte fresco 
60 gr di farina (Flour 60 g) 
Erbe aromatiche

Affettate e grigliate le zucchini  
Lessate le patate e affettatele
Condite le zucchine grigliate con olio d’oliva e menta fresca    
In una terrina: olio d’oliva, patate, zucchine grigliate, formaggio affumicato, parmigiano, besciamella per tre o 5 strati. Nell’ultimo strato, coprire con parmigiano, pangrattato, basilico, menta, sale e pepe. Condire con olio d’oliva.
Infornare per 40 minuti circa.
Servire tiepido 

Our Inglese Version

1 kg zucchini
4 large potatoes
200g grated Parmesan cheese
8 slices smoked cheese  
Bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh mint
Fresh basil

For the sauce

60 g butter 
1 liter fresh milk 
60 grams of flour

Slice and grill the zucchini 
Boil the potatoes and slice 
Season grilled zucchini with olive oil and fresh mint
In a pan: Layer sliced ​​potatoes, grilled zucchini, smoked cheese, Parmesan, bechamel sauce olive oil, for 3 or 5 layers.
On the very last layer cover with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, basil, mint salt and pepper
Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees
Serve warm

A Vegetarian Cooking adventure is possible with

Ylenia Sambati
Healtheatarian Cooking Instructor