The Gift

A friend of mine had an important birthday and I wanted to make something special to commemorate her festive day. Think I nailed it.

Exotic Calling

Templi Indiani

And once I gave the plate to my friend, I still got to play with it. Paint.NET: ink sketch filter and some color and light enhancement.

Dettaglio Piatto Colori Splendenti

The Gift

Summer Vegetarian Ragout (and a small rant about garlic)

Ragout Vegetariano













It’s the end of summer, but Redmond is still warm enough and dry enough to ask for light cooking.

What I had in the pantry:

6 Small zucchini

2 Cups of cherry tomatoes

A handful of basil leaves (I have a big hand—just for reference)

A clove of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil (I won’t even try to measure this—I’m Italian)

habanero salt


How I made the vegetarian ragout:

I cut the clove of garlic in small pieces, very small pieces. Despite popular belief, Italians hate the very concept of a chunk of garlic swimming in plain sight in their food. We either euthanize the said smelly bulb of the lily family by chopping it to oblivion, or we removed it from the pan once it has aromatized the cooking oil. For this recipe, I golden-browned the pieces of garlic in several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil—as I previously said in another post, don’t judge . I shredded the zucchini with a grater, huge waste of time doing it by hand—if you have a machine with the shredder blade, use it—and I added them to the garlic. Salted the vegetables with habanero salt and let it cook. Meanwhile, I cut the cherry tomatoes in two/three parts and I chopped the basil leaves. Once the zucchini were thoroughly cooked, I turned off the heat and added the tomatoes and basil. I cooked the pasta al dente, one or two minutes less than whatever the instructions on the box say, and immediately dressed the pasta with the sauce. I’m not ashamed to say at least another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, of the hot spiced variety, was poured over the vegetable ragout before I served the pasta on the table. Everybody loved it, even the carnivores.

*Gluten-free pasta can be used

Summer Vegetarian Ragout (and a small rant about garlic)

PSA: Le me interviewed live

Quite sure my announcement doesn’t serve any public service purpose, but I didn’t decide the acronym. Anyway, tomorrow, Sunday September 16, I’ll be interviewed by Krista Kedrick on A Novel Idea Live at Noon Pacific/3:00 pm Eastern, and I wanted to let you know. Hopefully, I’ll manage to say nothing silly. There’s even hope I’ll say something that makes sense. I’m an unrepentant optimist.

Laughing Already

PSA: Le me interviewed live

Friday Snippet #18

This week I’ve posted on time and every day. I’m feeling rightfully entitled to boast about my accomplishment.

From X:

“What are you doing?” She felt Julius’s aura pushing her anxiety away and she didn’t like it. “I told you I need to be in control.”

“Your heart rate is too elevated. You won’t be in control for long.” Sometimes, he acted without consulting her. They had huge rows about it once or twice a month.

“Not now, please.” She didn’t want to argue with him, but her sense of smell was already dimming. “You’re blinding my nose.”

“It’s okay, your olfactory power is stronger than mine anyway. You can function even at reduced capacity and still sense more than a normal human being.” He was calm as usual and forcing her to calm as well. “Yield. It’s pointless and you know it.”

She did know. It was how she had passed all her finals with flying colors. She was prone to panicking when under pressure and he couldn’t bear to feel her anxiety building. He had let her have her way only once and she had regretted it. “Just to prove a point,” he had explained to her, when calming her down after failing an important test. But someone who she thought was her father was hiding from her just meters away and she didn’t want to listen to Julius, even though she knew he was right.

“Allegra, reason.” The pressure on her arm increased, until it was uncomfortable and at that point he repeated her name.

“You won.” Allegra emptied her mind and let his aura invade hers. For the briefest moment, she saw blue circles playing behind her eyes, then a sense of calmness descended slowly on her. Wave after wave of blue light covered her until she was in control of herself once again.

“Better?” Julius massaged the spot where his fingers had left a mark on her skin.


Friday Snippet #18

Really? What that necessary?

Those are my thoughts lately every time I open Facebook. I’m close to give up and go on a huge “friends” purge. Not that my friends list is big to begin with, but it could benefit from a drastic trim. I don’t want to see pictures of tortured dogs and dead people. Showing such images doesn’t serve any good purpose. It disgusts people with a moral compass and it fuels sick minds. I’m sure the people who share those pics act under the best of intentions; they truly believe it’s their civic duty to show the world what’s wrong with it. But, there are also people like me who, after taking the briefest of looks at an abused animal image (because I wasn’t fast enough in blocking said image) spends the rest of the week with that image carved in her/his mind. I was gifted with photographic memory and I can’t forget what I’ve seen. Regarding the habit of posting pics of dead people, it should be self-explanatory. Life for me is sacred and so is death. Please, don’t strip people of their dignity by showing the world their images when they are not with us anymore. Think of their families. Finally, whatever is your religion/skin color/sexual preference/political affiliation remember the world is full of excellent people who would give their lives for your right to offend them. Rant off.

Really? What that necessary?

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Tortillas Lasagna

Godi La vita Un Morso Alla Volta













When my son comes back home from school, he’s usually hungry. His comfort food of choice is penne al sugo. Yesterday, I prepared tomato sauce with bacon and black olives for him and then used it to spice up my corn tortillas as well. It was yummy.

What I had in the pantry:

2 Cans of tomato sauce (plain and simple just made with tomatoes, no other unnecessary spices added)

1 Can of black olives

4 Slices of bacon (I use the one without preservatives)

Extra virgin olive oil

Yellow corn tortillas

How I made the fake lasagna:

I cooked the tomato sauce in a pot with several (don’t judge me) tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the four slices of bacon cut in small pieces, the olives hashed in the blender. I let the sauce cook for a while (probably 40/45 minutes) at the slowest temperature. I prepared the corn tortillas by wetting them with water and then cooking them on a previously heated non-stick pan. Once the tortillas are golden, I assembled the fake lasagna by layering them with the sauce. For my portion I used 3 tortillas. I let the dish sit for a while to allow the ingredients to blend. It was delicious. The picture says it all.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Tortillas Lasagna