Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Les Miserables, Amarcord and muddy beans and Mitch's college camo clothes

14 Gennaio
Here at Nascondiglio, other than a few exciting events such as the abrupt and accidental emptying of the swimming pool by our genius pool man, we still have a vineyard full of mud making vine pruning impossible. Raffaele reminds me that water is good for growing plants, but BASTA! In one picture, you see our newly hatched beans growing up amidst the montepulciano grapes and hopefully ready to perform their task of choking out the bad weeds.
I have used the free time to watch Amarcord by Fellini, a really good italian film, even without subtitles (I was tickled when not even Raffaele could decipher some of the Emiliano dialect). Also, I just finished Hugo's masterpiece, the 1450 page + Les Miserables. Now, barring a break in the weather, I will be forced back to my Teaching Company series about Dark Matter and Dark Energy, which though invisible and undetected as yet, make up 95% of our universe. I have to keep learning.
We celebrated Raffaele's birthday 2 days early last night at Da Vittorio, a really fine seafood restaurant in San Benedetto along the state highway. Consistently ranking as one of the top restaurants in Ascoli Piceno province, we weren't disappointed. Everything was from the neighboring sea, perfectly cooked and washed down with a very interesting Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc from 1993. I highly recommend Da Vittorio for my gourmand friends. The wine list is full of older white gems from France.
Today, in honor of the dreary, cold drizzly weather, I have fixed a cassoulet, which has been cooking around 20 hours in the oven at low temps. Here is the link for the recipe, but I must say, you could probably cook it for 6 hours with similar results and I would add a nice sausage of some kind as I did (cotechino-a traditional new year's dish) This is from the site "CD kitchen"
Alsace cassoulet
The photos are from a rare, partly sunny day a couple of days ago with our newly emptied pool, an artichoke gone to seed and an old grapevine in a neighboring vineyard,which is a prime example of why much of wine today is plonk. I salivate for these old vines, which if they were pruned down to 5 little branches from each of the 2 main truncal branches with 2 buds each would surely produce a wonderfully complex wine. Instead I counted over 50 branches on some plants. That means they left 12-13 branches with 2 buds each from each of the main truncal branches. They will harvest many more diluted grapes which will be sold by weight to the local cooperative cantina (winery) . (To give the "pool guy" an iota of credit, he will be paying for the refilling of the pool, which will happen tomorrow, and then he has promised to label the valves better to prevent a recurrence, I hope.
Finally, for those of you with Big 12 ties (and others), hunters, outdoor types, etc. Check out Mitch's link to the right for Collegiate logo camo clothes of all types.

1 comment:

Richard Badalamente said...

sorry to hear about the grande inondazione. hope it doesn't set you back too much. really enjoy your blog. photos, recipes, drama -- what's not to like?