Drops of Jupiter…And a Little Bit of Heavenl

Fattoria della Talosa–Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Ornellaia–Super-Tuscan, Cordella–Montalcino   In May 2018, I spent a delightful week in Tuscany.  I wasn’t alone, though.  Melody, author of the blog, Meals With Mel accompanied me on this little adventure around Florence and the Tuscan countryside.  We had a fabulous time wandering around the beautiful city of Florence and marveling at the many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture—including the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. We visited The Galleria dell’ Accademia which displays Michelangelo’s, “David” sculpture as well as the Uffizi Gallery which exhibits Botticelli’s, “The Birth of Venus.” Once in the countryside, we enjoyed lots of sunshine and blue skies while truffle hunting at a beautiful farm and vineyard called, Fattoria Santa Vittoria.  And, of course, we had some of the most beautiful wines in the world—mainly, but not entirely, comprised of the Sangiovese grape, an Italian red grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jupiter.” For those of you who may not be familiar with the wines of central Italy, The Apennine Mountains, which run the length of the Italian Peninsula, dominant the wine regions of this area. Grapes are planted in the hills and valleys of this mountain range with altitude providing a moderating influence on the hot climate.  It’s also important to mention that the coastal areas on both sides of the country […]

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Georgia Caprese Salad

This is the second recipe I’ve shared from the fantastic cookbook, Southern My Way—Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox.  However, I have to say, this Georgia Caprese Salad with Lime Vinaigrette is my very favorite.  Not only is it simple and delicious, but it also makes an elegant entree to serve to company. This Southern spin on an Italian classic screams summer.  And, when it’s made with fresh, local peaches, you can’t stop it.   Georgia Caprese Salad with Lime Vinaigrette *Use organic ingredients when possible Prep Time 15 minutes Yields 4 servings Ingredients: Dressing Juice and zest of 1 lime 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil (Everyday Sommelier’s Bramasole olive oil from Tuscany is perfect) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint Salad 2 (4-ounce) balls fresh, water-packed mozzarella cheese 4 (room temperature) ripe peaches, unpeeled, each cut into 8 wedges 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves Method: First  To prepare dressing, combine lime juice, zest, vinegar, water, honey, and salt.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and set aside. Next  Cut cheese into 1-inch pieces and gently toss with peaches and basil leaves. Last  Whisk mint into dressing and toss about 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) with salad.  Season with freshly cracked pepper and serve.   The vintage linens and lovely rose print plates belonged to my grandmother, Lois McManaway Rieley.   Also, this peach caprese […]

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A Summer Classic

When I think of summertime, there are a few things that always come to mind—mostly, because I grew up in the rural South.  But, there’s just nothing like the sound of cicadas singing in the trees on a warm summer evening, a night sky so dark that you can see the Milky Way and almost every constellation. And, of course, fresh tomatoes picked right out of the garden—sliced and enjoyed between two pieces of bread with a bit of butter, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper…the classic tomato sandwich. My first memories of this iconic Southern treat were made while visiting my grandma. As a child, I would spend a week with Grandma and Grandaddy Dooley every summer. Grandma was a Sunday School teacher for many years, and she taught Bible School during the week I visited. I still remember the experience so clearly: riding the church bus around curvy, back country roads to Mt. Zion Baptist Church; listening to Grandma tell us a Bible story about Jesus and making a special craft in her classroom; singing “This Little Light of Mine” during choir practice; and, running around the old church cemetery as the sun set chasing lightening bugs with the other children. Anyway, it was during one of my week long summertime visits that I encountered the tomato sandwich. Most everybody in this rural area had a garden, and Grandaddy Dooley took pride in his tomatoes.  So, there were plenty to […]

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Tuesday Tunes: A Girl Like You

Birth of Venus  by Sandro Botticelli, 1486 Uffizi Gallery Florence, Italy         Liberty of Poetry by Pio Fedi, 1870 Santa Croce Florence, Italy   Atop playwright Giovanni Battista Niccolini’s tomb in the basilica of Santa Croce is a statue remarkably similar to New York’s Statue of Liberty. Both depict a woman in neoclassical robes with a crown of rays, standing on a broken chain, her right arm uplifted.  Pio Fedi started to design the Florentine statue, known as Liberty of Poetry, in 1870.  It was the same year in which Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, designer of the New York Statue of Liberty, was in Italy, fighting alongside General Garibaldi during the Franco-Prussian War.   The Coronation Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Unknown English artist oil on panel, circa 1600 National Portrait Gallery London, England   Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss Front view Marble by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) Musée du Louvre Paris, France   Venus Bordeaux, 2001 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte by Jim Dine (American, b. 1935) Bordeaux, France   The Kiss Bronze by Auguste Rodin Outside the Musée de l‘Orangerie Paris, France  

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A Summer Classic

When I think of summertime, there are a few things that always come to mind.  I guess this is partially because I grew up in the rural South.  But, there’s just nothing like the sound of cicadas singing in the trees on a warm summer evening, a night sky so dark that you can see the Milky Way and almost every constellation, especially the Big Dipper.  And, of course, fresh tomatoes picked right out of the garden, sliced, and enjoyed between two slices of bread with a bit of butter, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper—the classic tomato sandwich. My first memories of this iconic Southern treat were made while visiting Grandma Dooley. As a child, I lived nearby to both sets of grandparents, visiting with them often.  Every summer, I would spend a week with Grandma. She was a Sunday School teacher for many years and also taught Bible School.  While at Grandma’s, I attended Bible School with my cousin, Kim.  I still remember the experience so clearly:  riding the church bus around curvy, back country roads to Mt. Zion Baptist Church; listening to Grandma tell us a Bible story about Jesus and making a special craft in her classroom; singing “This Little Light of Mine” during choir practice; and running around the church cemetery with the other children—after having the customary refreshments of Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid.  But, I’ve gone off on a tangent. 😉 Anyway, it was during one […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Drops of Jupiter…And a Little Bit of Heaven

Fattoria della Talosa–Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Ornellaia–Super-Tuscan, Cordella–Montalcino   Last month, I spent a delightful week in Tuscany.  I wasn’t alone, though.  Melody, author of the blog, Meals With Mel accompanied me on this little adventure around Florence and the Tuscan countryside.  We had a fabulous time wandering around the beautiful city of Florence and marveling at the many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture—including the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. We visited The Galleria dell’ Accademia which displays Michelangelo’s, “David” sculpture as well as the Uffizi Gallery which exhibits Botticelli’s, “The Birth of Venus.” Once in the countryside, we enjoyed lots of sunshine and blue skies while truffle hunting at a beautiful farm and vineyard called, Fattoria Santa Vittoria.  And, of course, we had some of the most beautiful wines in the world—mainly, but not entirely, comprised of the Sangiovese grape, an Italian red grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jupiter.” For those of you who may not be familiar with the wines of central Italy, The Apennine Mountains, which run the length of the Italian Peninsula, dominant the wine regions of this area. Grapes are planted in the hills and valleys of this mountain range with altitude providing a moderating influence on the hot climate.  It’s also important to mention that the coastal areas on both sides of the country benefit […]

Read More →

Georgia Caprese Salad

This is the second recipe I’ve shared from the fantastic cookbook, Southern My Way—Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox.  However, I have to say, this Georgia Caprese Salad with Lime Vinaigrette is my very favorite.  Not only is it simple and delicious, but it also makes an elegant entree to serve to company.  I’ve already made it twice this summer:  a few weeks ago when I invited a friend to have lunch, and tonight for a simple weekday dinner. This Southern spin on an Italian classic screams summer.  And, when it’s made with fresh, local peaches, you can’t stop it.   Georgia Caprese Salad with Lime Vinaigrette *Use organic ingredients when possible Prep Time 15 minutes Yields 4 servings Ingredients: Dressing Juice and zest of 1 lime 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint Salad 2 (4-ounce) balls fresh, water-packed mozzarella cheese 4 (room temperature) ripe peaches, unpeeled, each cut into 8 wedges 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves Method: First  To prepare dressing, combine lime juice, zest, vinegar, water, honey, and salt.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and set aside. Next  Cut cheese into 1-inch pieces and gently toss with peaches and basil leaves. Last  Whisk mint into dressing and toss about 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) with salad.  Season with freshly cracked pepper and serve.   The vintage linens […]

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The Weekly Bleat: Sheep Thrills

Sheep Thrills Italian Non-Vintage Red Blend and 2016 Pinot Grigio   A couple of weeks ago, I was grocery shopping at our local Kroger when I spotted these whimsical wine labels featuring sheep attached to parachutes with the name, Sheep Thrills.  Although I didn’t know anything about the brand of wine, the bottles were too cute to pass up, so I bought […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Celebrate!

Basilica di San Lorenzo Chapel of the Princes Florence, Italy     “You can turn this world around And bring back all of those happy days Put your troubles down It’s time to celebrate Let love shine And we will find A way to come together And make things better.” ~Madonna   *A very special thank you to our good […]

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