Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Recipe from the Zampieri's first Christmas...

Things are going to be yummy this year! Stinky, yes, but the end result is soooo worth it...

We are headed to Marco's aunt and uncle's house tomorrow morning to spend the day. There will be a TON of food and I cannot tell you how excited we are to spend the time together enjoying the bounty we will share. Marco, his parents, and I are preparing something yummy to bring to the feast and I thought it'd be fun to bring a little bit of our Christmas to you!

We have a delicious and super smelly antipasto called bagna caüda. It is basically a pureé of garlic and anchovies in olive oil, served hot with raw vegetables for dipping. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but I promise you...it's one of the most amazingly delicious things I've ever eaten. Here's the recipe...

Bagna Caüda
  • 300g anchovies cleaned/person
  • one full head garlic/person
  • olive oil
  • panna (heavy cream)
  • milk
  • raw vegetables for dipping (we like carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, fennel, and celery; fingerling potatoes and onions that have been roasted plain are also good)
Cleaning the anchovies is the biggest job. If you buy anchovies in a can or get them from the market salted they will most likely need to be cleaned at home. If you buy them already cleaned and in oil, make sure to rinse them well to remove some of the saltiness, otherwise your mouth will hurt after eating! Set the cleaned and rinsed anchovies aside in a strainer to let some of the water drain off. Clean the garlic you will be using - peel and remove the middle part where it looks like a new sprout is growing. Place all of the cleaned garlic cloves in a pot on the stove and cover them with milk. Bring to a boil and let cook until garlic is soft and can be smashed with a fork. Drain milk from garlic and set aside. Heat some oil in a saucepan large enough to hold the anchovies. Place anchovies in pan and cook until they have completely disintegrated - add oil until about half of the anchovies are covered. While the anchovies are cooking, place the garlic in a food processor and process until you have a paste. When the anchovies have cooked down completely, add them to the food processor and process together with the garlic. Add milk until the consistency somewhat runnier than hummus (you should be able to take a spoonful and allow it to easily drizzle out). The best way to serve this is in a ceramic pot similar to one you would use for fondue (with a candle underneath) so it stays warm the entire time you are eating it. Gather around the pot with your veggies and enjoy!

a good dose of garlic purée....                                                        ...and a healthy dose of anchovies!               

God Bless Us Everyone

Cucina e finita. The kitchen is done and we have arrived at Marco's parents house for Christmas and New Years. Christmas Eve is here and it will be my first year without clam chowder, minestrone, pies, stockings on Christmas morning, successfully overdoing the cookie baking (due to a single function gas oven and no baking sheets to speak of) and many other traditions which have taken their place in the Sturm/Cosentino family Christmas celebration.

But what about those new things? Like, my first Christmas as a wife. My first Christmas with a husband. My first Christmas with a new Christmas dinner menu. My first Christmas in a different country. It's all very exciting and overwhelming....

Our hope this Christmas is for the Light of God to shine. I love Christmas, truly. I love the lights, the trees, the stockings, the traditions...all of them. But more than all of these things this Christmas, I have realized the whole point of it all. Not for the first time - it is certainly something I've known - but this Christmas without all of the "normal" traditions my mind has been on other things. I haven't had the usual happenings going on all around me and I believe our wonderful Teacher has been using this time to make me so incredibly aware of His presence in spite of traditions as well. I've always known He was there in the midst of traditions, but now, without the "norm"...He's still here. And I feel more aware of Him than ever. And my biggest prayer this Christmas is for others to see Him too. To see Him more brightly as the lines and lines of brake lights that make up Christmas traffic (it's an international thing, trust me). To see Him more prominently than the realization that another year has passed us by. More than ever before I feel so contradictory in my feelings - extreme sadness for the bleak outlook that so many people succumb to during this time of year and extreme joy at the hope and life we have to celebrate this time of year.

I pray that we would look beyond the traditions and traffic, the location and the late deliveries that we would look to our families and friends and praise God for the gifts He has poured out on us.

I think Tiny Tim put it perfectly when he said, "God bless us! Everyone!"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

a little corner of the house..

So, we don't officially have internet, but I happened to, by complete accident, find a corner of this house in the kitchen which reaches some signal. The signal also happens to be a secure signal for which I can't imagine ever obtaining the password. In any case I thought this was a perfect set up for a brief update..

We're married. Husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. Signore e signora. It's awesome. The end.

We are back in Italy and I am almost legal. A few more hoops to jump through and I will be here for real. A real person with a real identity. In Italy.

We have the most amazing, warm, wooden flat ever!!!! It's cute and even has a little make-shift Christmas tree as of today....

We've been able to see some friends and spend some time praying together, catching up, enjoying being back in our community here. Tomorrow I will be able to see Mavy and hopefully have more news about the teaching situation. So far, things are looking good! 

This weekend we will be finishing some details in the house - Marco's parents and uncle will come and help us change the kitchen completely (good ol' Ikea) - something we are both looking forward to so the suitcases can be put away and we can truly settle down. Of course that is all relative because there is never a lack of something to do, and we never know what will happen from one day to the next!

We have put everything we have in God's hands. He is blessing us beyond our wildest imaginations and we are loving every minute of it. Lessons are being learned everyday of course, as is par for the course when it comes to a life of faith, but the lessons are good. Solid. And we get to go through them together. It's like having a permanent buddy system in place!

Thank you to all for praying for us, supporting us, and walking with us on our journey! For more information about news, support, or just wanting to get in contact you can email at marcolauren2013@gmail.com.

Love, Blessings, and Good Tidings to all!!!