Though the date says it's the end of summer, I was secretly keeping my fingers crossed for a few more nice days. Yesterday I got my wish -- a simply gorgeous day with temps here in the 80's! A perfectly fine day to celebrate National Estuary Day and Punkinfiddle Festival. It was the last of my outdoor shows, excluding a few more weeks of farmers market--but then the growing season comes to an end :( What a fabulous season it's been for gardeners. I still have more cold crop & root veggies left in the garden and way too much kale, chard and turnips left, but I'm looking forward to preparing those comfy Autumn meals I love so much. This morning I picked my corn stalks and a few pumpkins to decorate the entryway and then it began to rain.
So I decided to make the rest of the day a me day. You know--those days you steal away from your everyday lists of things to do. and simply take a long overdue break. Italians have an old expression--il bel far niente, which means “the good do nothing.” As I reflected on recent past weeks of events I was reminded how good my life has been. A great family, close friends-the kind you can really count on, wonderful memories, and no regrets. Well, perhaps one itty bitty one. But hey, there's always next year. Real life occurs to us all, and includes all the ups and downs and in betweens that go along with it, right?
This week we were suppose to travel back to Tuscany for an anniversary trip, but then real life stepped in, so we've postponed those plans. It just wasn't in God's plan this year. But, I believe with all my heart, next year for certain. Nod your head if you're listening god.
So I'm taking the day off, re-reading one of my fave books and remembering our last visit to Italy. I wasn't even planning to cook a meal today -- but then just had a hankering for mussels and pasta.. The summer's disappearing and we simply love mussels prepared any way. but my favorite is mussels marinara. Quick and easy and you only need a few ingredients, So instead of meal planning, I went back to Italy today-- here's a few of my fave pics.
If you should get hungry along the way make yourself a big bowl of mussels marinara and dream of a hill town in Tuscany; Panzano, San Gimignano, Montepuliciano, Cortona, Siene, Rhadda in Chianti, Lemole. Be sure to stop at every gelato shop and try a new flavor too! Or head south and take a drive along the amazing Amalfi coast,. Be sure to stop in Sorrento to sample the limoncello and sample the quiet out of the way family run ristorantes, Positano perhaps.. a small quaint, and remarkabley hilly town ( you'll really get your daily workout ) with lovely shoppes or a cozy dinner in Rome-- historical, cosmopolitan with fountains galore! Vatican City and Sistene Chapel -- Michaelangelo's work of art simply breathtaking. Be sure to toss your lucky coin in Trevi Fountain. You'll need a great meal after all the sightseeing you'll be doing while there or in Florence for that matter--known for it's world class fashion, by their own world class designers. If you're into art you won't want to miss Uffizi Gallery and of course no one misses a visit to the Duomo and Bell Tower, or Statue of David and be sure to pick up a trinket or two or three :-) when you visit the Ponte Vecchio's which spans the river Arno. Maybe you'd love a visit to the romantic Isle of Capri. Rent a boat and let the local fisherman give you the tour. Nothing beats the pizza and pastries in Naples... but then I'm partial. Memories -- they sure beat working on your list of things you should be doing today :+)
2 lb mussels, rinsed & bearded
4 garlic cloves, smashed & minced
2-3 TBLS fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup pinot grigio
11/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup clam juice
In a large pan heat olive oil. Add garlic, mussels, tomatoes, wine, clam juice and hot pepper flakes. Cover and cook until all the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened. As the mussels are cooking toss your pasta into a boiling pan of water and cook til just al dente. Once the pasta is ready, drain and pour the mussels and tomato mixture over the pasta, sprinkle on the fresh parsley and toss well. Serve with crusty peasant bread and enjoy!