ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carolina Blue?? Not today...


           More like Carolina Yellow. Or Green. Okay- all together now. Say "YUCCH!!!"
      It's April in North Carolina and that means pine pollen time. Our screen porch becomes unuseable and our cars are all the same shade of sickly yellow-green.

This is the coffee table on my screen porch this morning- the black plastic-wrapped blob in the back is our couch which has been wrapped in a paltry attempt to salvage the upholstery. 

Look at my poor fire table! By next week there will be yellow "snowdrifts" along the base of the siding

The upside is that it only lasts about a month and then we will know that Carolina summer is here! Everything will be power-washed and scrubbed squeaky clean, plants will be put out, and our Front Porch Fridays will begin again

   Front Porch Friday started last year on our street. On Friday afternoons parents and kids walking back from the corner bus stop converge at one house- we take turns. And in our case, it's Back Porch (we don't have one in front-WAAH!) Everyone brings an appetizer or snack and the host house provides beverages. The kids run off and play while the adults catch up on the happenings of the week. Usually, we end up with pizzas made or delivered as it seems no one is in a hurry to go home.
Springtime in Long Island

That little horse and cart was sent fom Italy by my Grandparents. It was the only one in the neighborhood!

       For me, this is a recap of my childhood. We lived in a 2 family house with my grandparents until I was 12 and there was an absolute open-door policy in effect. Grandma always cooked as though company was coming (probably why I CAN'T cook for less than a dozen people!) and Spring evenings found us at the picnic table in her back yard with platter after platter brought out the door from her basement kitchen.
My Dad was King of the Grill!

This picture was actually taken at my Uncle Frank's house on the beach in Patchogue, long Island
Of course, we spent our actual summers in Italy- this is my Nonna on a road trip to my Aunt's summer home in the Italian Alps

Back to reality. We've spent the morning wrapping the big pieces and storing all the cushions, scrubbing all my ironstone planter pots and bringing in the more fragile plants. Time for a quick lunch. What else- pasta, of course. This is a favorite of mine. I had the onions roasting while we were outside. Boil the water, cook the pasta and it's done. Ray, who won't touch Gorgonzola (I know, I know- what can I say?) had a huge sandwich with the leftover Easter ham

Penne with Roasted Onions, Gorgonzola, and Walnuts
adapted from a recipe by Diana Henry

3 large onions, halved (I used red)
6 Tblsp. olive oil
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
12 oz. penne ( I used calamarata)
4 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
5 Tblsp EVOO

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice each onion half a generous half inch thick. Toss in a roasting pan with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes giving an occasional quick stir till tender and starting to char.Cook and drain pasta. Place in bowl and stir in onions and remaining ingredients. Enjoy!


         Did anyone say dessert? Years ago I learned how to "put up" fruits and veggies and sauces and herbs from a neighbor farmer's wife in the Hudson Valley where we lived. She started me collecting old community cookbooks at garage sales. This recipe was copied from one of hers. I used my homemade canned pears and Ginger/Pear preserves from last Fall.

Meringue Tart

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
4 eggs separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
 1 cup flour 
1 tsp baking powder
scant 1/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
Almond or any nut meal

Cream butter and sugar with yolks and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder alternately with milk. Spread in a well greased 10 or 11 inch springform pan. Beat egg whites till frothy at high speed. Keep beating while adding sugar very gradually till stiff. Spread over batter in pan. Sprinkle with nut meal Bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes. Cool and serve with small dollops of jam or preserves and fruit. Whipped cream optional :)

As Always,

Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. My husband and I have often thought of moving there once the kids are out of school, but oh my! I'm not sure we could handle it with our allergies! I love the picture up top! My grandfather was from Lucca and we were lucky enough to visit a couple years ago. I long to go back! By the way ....I think your lunch looks terrific!

  2. I enjoy your posts very much! gosh I love that pony cute..What a life you have had and have! the recipes look so good too..:) Thank you..I am very familiar w...that yellow dust!

  3. little more than 2 weeks- can't wait to get there!

  4. We have friends in Georgia and they are plagued by that same yellow dust at this time of year.

    Lovely old photos and loved the pony cart. It may have been the only one in the U.S.! Delicious recipes - thank you.

  5. We don't have too bad of a pollen issue here (some but not horriable). Our two major yucks are cottonwood and mayflies! When the mayflies hatch, you look at our home and you swear it is alive! you don't dare reach for an outdoor handle otherwise you will be covered in mayflies. You crunch when you walk down the sidewalk. Not pleasant! LOL

    Okay, I got a question, do you toss your walnut pieces in anything before toasting them?

    I am making this pasta dish right now...seriously. LOL Although I had to "adapt" to what I had. I got the onions in the oven but my walnuts are raw.

  6. Okay now Troy is convinced that if he is able to jump at the next recipe you post quick enough, I will make that as well.....immmediately! LOL

    This pasta dish is a major hit....oh and it is already almost gone! LOL

  7. Well, if you have that lovely yellow pollen now it must mean we will be having it in a few weeks! One of my least favorite parts of spring :)
    I just love your childhood stories. How much fun to go to Italy every summer! Have you taken your kids to Italy, yet?
    Have a great day / evening!

  8. I was at the Thrifty Groove and she recommended you! So I am here and loving this blog! That is so wonderful your whole family is living nearby! I will be back. Come join me soon! Anne

  9. Thanks for sharing your family with us.. I love strolling down memory lane.
    The pollen here in NC is actually dangerous this year. Everything is that sticky green, I wash it off and it comes right back.. yucko!


  10. We have tons of pollen here, too! It's swirling around like a fog! Love the pics of your family! And the food looks yummy as always! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

  11. I love your stories of family and food, Pattie. Your blog is a very pleasant place to visit. The pasta sounds wonderful, by the way. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  12. I love the idea of front porch friday. How fun for the whole neighborhood. And I'm actually experiencing hunger pangs from seing that yummy penne dish...

  13. Oh my how could someone not like Gorgonzola! It's truly one of my favorites!

    Don't you just love adding nuts to a pasta dish? The nuts add so much flavor, especially toasted and I've started to add nuts to rice dishes as well!

  14. Love all the old photos~what an adorable horse & cart! Front Porch Fridays, what fun, sounds like a great idea for a blog party too :-)

    Speaking of blue, is your family "blue" that Duke won the championship? My family is so anti-Duke, it adds insult to injury with UNC not in the tournament this year! Yes, the POLLEN! I'm regretting not covering my porch furniture and lamps with trashbags when I left the lake last weekend~


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