Sunday, January 22, 2006


I've Been Tagged!

The beautiful and talented Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice has tagged me to come up with 10 interesting things about me.

1) I took a course in sculpting from a local museum just for the fun of it and discovered my inner Michelangelo. I started out working in clay and learned how to make portraits and then the art of making plaster casts of the heads. A very complicated and exacting procedure. I took private classes with a Boston sculptor who had taught at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts school. Under Peter Abate's guidance, I learned how to carve in soapstone, alabaster, African wonderstone and marble. I also learned the art of working in sculptor’s wax, making figures, portraits and abstract forms that would be cast in bronze through the “cera perduta” method. (lost wax). I belonged to several art associations in the New England area where my sculpture was exhibited and had my work in private galleries. Several of my pieces are in private collections in the US, France and Italy. I was designated a Copley Artist by the country’s oldest art gallery, located in Boston, The Copley Society.

2) In the late 1980’s I was fortunate to travel to Pietrasanta, Italy, in Tuscany, to work in a bronze foundry (Beani and Caccia). I lived in a charming pensione and walked to the foundry every day where other sculptors from around the world worked in wax to compose their pieces. After a month of working, I produced two wax sculptures and was ready for the “fusione” which is when the foundry takes all the pieces and makes molds of them and places them in a huge furnace so the wax melts out. Then a combination of metals is melted in the furnace and poured into the molds, which, after a day or so, cools into the bronze. The molds are broken with a mallet (that’s where the expression “they broke the mold” comes from) and the raw bronze sculpture is left.

3) I’ve also worked in metal, welding pieces of copper together to form abstract shapes, and I’ve carved wood.

4) In addition to my work in sculpture, I write. In fact, I had been writing before I started sculpting. The two art disciplines actually complement each other. I write poetry and short stories and have been published in small literary mags and college publications. In 1997 I was awarded the Grolier Prize. The Grolier Prize is sponsored by the Grolier Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., the oldest poetry-only book store in the US. Several of my poems were recently published in “Kiss Me Goodnight,” an anthology of poems written by women who lost their mothers when they were young.

5) My brother-in-law, who is an artist, and I put together a book of poems for all the children in our family, sons, daughters, nieces and nephews and self-published it.

6) States I have spent lots of time in: Massachusetts, California, Florida.

7) Countries I have visited: France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Mexico, Barbados, and Canada

8) While visiting Italy in the ‘90s, I made a Verdiana pilgrimage. I started out the day visiting the town where Giuseppe Verdi was born, Roncole Verdi (a short distance from Parma in the province of Emilia-Romagna), then went on to Bussetto, where, under the guidance of his patron, Barezzi, he studied music. I then visited Verdi’s estate, St. Agata, where, when Verdi became a successful operatic composer, he lived with his second wife, the soprano, Giuseppina Strepponi. In the evening of that same day, I visited the hotel in Milan where Verdi died, January 27, 1901. A legend surrounding his death is that the people of Milan covered their carriage wheels in blankets so that the noise in the streets would not disturb the dying maestro.

9) I am now in the process of putting together a group of poems for publication. And have sent out a manuscript for a book of children’s poems.

10) I maintain two blogs: The Hungry Blogger, here, where I post original and traditional recipes in Italian and other cuisines. My political blog is Progressive Eruptions where I post under another nom de blog: Shaw Kenawe.

I'm tagging P.A.Moed at

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Pasta Puttanesca

Ciao amici!

Happy New Year! Isabella has been so busy that she's been unable to post to her blog. How sad.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays and that 2006 brings you all good things.

I made this sauce today and served it over farfalle (butterflies) or bowtie pasta.

The sauce is named puttanesca (from the Italian root word puttana, meaning prostitute) because it's hot and it's quick. Yes. I'm not kidding. Many recipes call for anchovies, so I'll include them here, but you don't have to use them.

Remember, cooking is all about improvising and using what you have at hand.

Enjoy this wonderful classic Italian sauce. And to my female friends, serve it while wearing a black lace bustier and black net stockings. Just to enhance the ambience.


Puttanesca sauce:


2/3 cup pitted black olives, sliced
4 boned anchovy fillets, optional
3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 tablespoon rinsed salted capers or rinsed and drained capers in vinegar, minced
four or five ripe plum tomatoes, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
A pound of bowtie pasta (or pasta of your choice)

Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil, add the anchovy fillets if you are using them, saute for a minute until melted into the onions and garlic. Add the tomatoes and mash down until cooked (about 3-4 minutes) add the capers and olives. Simmer for a minute. Salt and peppers to taste.

Serve over pasta of your choice.

Fast and hot!

That's the way to do it!


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