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August 2009 Archives

August 1, 2009

San Barnaba


If my nephews were writing this, they’d tell you that this is, by far, the most important and most interesting church in Venice because of the fact that it was featured in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” and they would also tell you that it’s not really a church, it’s a library, and that Indy found some important clues in the “norman numerals” on the floor and that when Indy came up from underground and realized where he was, he said, “Ah, Venice!”

Because of the Indy connection, my nephews have developed an interest in going to Venice with me someday and I fear they’d be sorely disappointed when they visited this church and found no trace of the great Indiana Jones anywhere…no statue of him in the campo, no photos of him inside the church. :)

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August 2, 2009

Sunday Salads: Tropical Rice Salad

samplersThis weekend's recipe came from Palma of Palmabella's Passions.

This was a fun recipe to play with. I used Lundburg Farms Wild Blend rice, green beans instead of snow peas, and also added some fresh mint.

Because I don't like canned fruit that much, I used fresh pineapple and gooseberries. It came out great and was one of those salads that was even better the next day. I took the leftovers for lunch several days and really enjoyed it.

Rice Salad

If you're wondering what a gooseberry is, don't feel bad. I'd never had them until last week when I saw them at the Farmer's Market. The sign on the booth said "ground cherries" and when I stopped to ask about them, the farmer told me they were also known as gooseberries. He let me taste one and made a sale! They are delicious and very sweet with a bit of a floral flavor.

They come in little husks like tomatillos:


They pop right out of the husk and looks like tiny yellow-green tomatoes but are much sweeter than a tomato. They were great in this rice salad.


Palma's recipe is below. Links to other Sunday Salad Sampler participants can be found here. Only a few more weeks of salads left (my couscous salad is next week).

Happy Sunday and have a great week!

Continue reading "Sunday Salads: Tropical Rice Salad" »

August 3, 2009

The girls

Thought I'd post a few recent photos of the furry dynamic duo.

They have tons of store-bought toys (and a jungle gym to climb) but really, their favorite things to play with are empty cardboard boxes and big pieces of paper. Yesterday, LuLu and I were napping on the sofa and I heard such a racket from the sunroom; Maria was in there jumping on her paper over and over. I think she really loves the crinkly sound it makes.


LuLu loves paper too but she likes to use it to play hide and seek.

Hide and seek

Here they are together:

Playing with paper

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August 7, 2009

PhotoHunt: Low


This week's theme is "Low."

Low tide at Surf City, NC, and the beach is wide.


At high tide, the waves come all the way up to the dunes, and there is barely any beach at all.

Topsail Island

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

August 9, 2009

Sunday Salads: Couscous Salad

samplersThis weekend, it was my turn to submit a recipe to the Salad Samplers gang, and I really didn't have to think about it very long. This is one of my favorite salads. I found the recipe on the Internet a few years ago after my friend Yonnie brought me a big bag of cinnamon back from Vietnam and I was looking for ways to use it that weren't desserts.

Vietnamese cinnamon is amazing with very rich flavor, but this salad is good with regular cinnamon too. I take this salad to pretty much every summer party and cook-out, and people always ask me for the recipe. It's a fun dish to play around with too. The orginal recipe calls for dates, which are good but very sweet, and I often sub dried apricots instead. In the photo below, I'd used toasted pepitas which I almost burned. :)

Couscous salad

Recipe is below. Only a couple more weeks of salads left! Next up is Bugulu's Potato Salad.

Continue reading "Sunday Salads: Couscous Salad" »

August 10, 2009

Sant' Angelo


Sant’ Angelo is a very spacious campo in the sestiere of San Marco, and one reason it’s so large is because there used to be a parish church here, San Michele Arcangelo (dedicated to Archangel Michael). The church is gone but you can still find an oratory and a very cool vera da pozzo (wellhead).

The carvings on the wellhead are connected to the name of the oratory (Oratorio dell’ Annunziata) or oratory of the Annunciation. Archangel Gabriel is on one side of the well holding his lily, and Mary is on the other side, receiving the good news.

Annunciation (Gabriel with lily)


Oratory of the Annunciation


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August 11, 2009

Palazzo Agnusdio

I was psyched to find this cool 19th century photo (by Carlo Ponti) of the gorgeous Gothic window of Palazzo Agnusdio.


Here's what it looks like today, from below. Ponti must have taken his from the second floor window of the adjacent palazzo.


Continue reading "Palazzo Agnusdio" »

August 14, 2009

PhotoHunt: Artificial


This week's theme is "Artificial."

Artificial flowers, artificial vanilla flavoring, and artificial Christmas trees all came to mind but I don't have photos of any of those.

The dictionary defines artificial as "made by humans as opposed to nature" and that made me think of these creatures from the brand-new Dinosaur Trail at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. They are very cool-looking but they aren't real. :)




You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.


August 16, 2009

Sunday Salads: Southern Mustard Potato Salad

samplersWhen I read this weekend's recipe, it was an instant blast of nostalgia. Actually, Bugalu of the blog Whistlestop Cafe Cooking gave us two different potato salad recipes, but it was the first one that made me nostalgic since it's THE potato salad that both of my grandmothers made and that I grew up eating. It does have a slight twist (spicy mustard instead of regular yellow mustard).

I bought some small yellow and purple potatoes at the Farmer's Market and followed the recipe exactly except that instead of pickle relish, I diced some pickles I had leftover from making the Israeli salad earlier this summer. Of course, I used Duke's mayo (I've raved about this classic Southern product before). It came out great, and I really liked the spicy mustard flavor.


Links to other Sunday Salad Sampler participants can be found here. Only one more week of salad left and then we'll be moving onto to Small Bites (aka appetizers, tapas etc).

Happy Sunday and have a great week!

Continue reading "Sunday Salads: Southern Mustard Potato Salad" »

August 21, 2009

PhotoHunt: Ripples


This week's theme is "Ripples."

Three turtles on a rock surrounded by ripples.


The same pond, later in the day. I was trying to photograph the reflections of those little plants but ended up getting the clouds and a ripple circle too.


And here's a non-water one....ripples on a corrugated metal door~


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.


August 23, 2009

Sunday Salads: Tortellini Salad

samplersI can't believe we've reached the end of Slow Salads. We finished up with a great recipe submitted by Ida (Vico Girl on Slow Talk).

I only made half of this recipe since it sounded like it made a ton. I used artichokes canned in water and dry (not in oil) sun-dried tomatoes. For the pasta, I used Buitoni's three-cheese whole wheat tortellini (had never tried these and they were very good). I forgot all about the mozzarella cheese and left that out, but it was fine since the pasta was pretty cheesy. I also used Spanish piquillo peppers since I had a jar of those from Trader Joe's. I dressed it with lemon juice and olive oi. What a delicious salad.

I've really enjoyed Sunday Salads and have expanded my horizons with some recipes that I'd never made before. It's been a lot of fun - thanks to all my fellow salad makers! We'll be taking a break and then returning in September with Sunday Small Bites.


Continue reading "Sunday Salads: Tortellini Salad" »

August 24, 2009

A few shrines

This first one really made me smile. I call it the minimalist shrine. No flowers or decorations, just a stone cross with a money box on top. Many of the shrines of Venice have donation boxes with locks, and I've often wondered who goes around collecting money from them or even has a key that works (some of the locks look quite antique).

This particular box had a coin stuck in the slot. I tried to push it in but it was stuck tight. Perhaps the box was made for lira (or ducats!) and someone tried to put a Euro in?


This one is on the island of Murano so it's fitting that there's a glass vase on the table next to the Madonna and child.


A very ornate shrine inside sotoportego Corte Zorzi in Castello, with gold reliefs of grapes and ears of corn on the sides and an image of San Antonio inside. This tabernacle was made using materials recovered from restoration work on the pulpit of the nearby church of San Martino.


Continue reading "A few shrines" »

August 28, 2009

PhotoHunt: Surprise


This week's theme is "Surprise."

There's a section of the Museum of Life and Science in Durham that has several carnivorous bug-eating plants including this one, the pitcher plant. Insects get trapped in the pitchers and the plant eats them. My nephews LOVE looking for bugs inside the pitchers.



The last time we were there, we were surprised to see a little face peering out at us from inside one of the pitchers! We thought it was a lizard but then it jumped out and we saw that it was a frog. Cute little guy. Maybe he was trying to steal some bugs from the plant, but we wondered if the plant might be trying to eat him too.

Frog found in pitcher plant

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.


August 29, 2009

A Collection of Angels

This is an unintentional collection. As I wander around Venice looking for shrines, I also take photos of any angels I see but it wasn't until I got home that I realized there was a recurring theme with many of them....the finger pointing at the scroll.

This one is in the sestiere of San Marco, by the bridge behind the church of Santa Maria del Giglio.

Angel (Gabriel)

My favorite, this one is on the side of the church of SS. Maria e Donato on the island of Murano. Check out the two dragons underneath and the lion sticking out his tongue.

Santi Maria e Donato, Murano

In Campo Santa Margherita, perhaps from the deconsecrated church.


Continue reading "A Collection of Angels" »

August 31, 2009

Homer's Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey

An awesome book! I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time. It’s just one of those books that fills your heart to overflowing and makes you glad to be alive. I loved it.

You might think that reading about a blind cat named Homer would be depressing but no. Homer lost his eyes to infection when he was a two-week old kitten; a few weeks later, Gwen Cooper adopted him and the adventure began. Homer is an amazing cat with great courage and a big heart, and being blind doesn’t slow him down one bit. There are so many funny stories that made me laugh because I know what’s it’s like to live with a feline whirlwind. When tiny Homer chases an intruder out of Gwen’s apartment, you can’t help but cheer for him. At first you think that Homer was lucky that anyone adopted him but the more you read, you realize that Gwen is pretty lucky to get to share her life with such a wonderful animal. I’m madly in love with Homer and also with Gwen’s two other cats, Scarlett and Vashti.

There are so many miracles in this story – starting with the vet who decided not to put the kitten to sleep. Then there’s Homer’s incredible ability to connect with people and infuse them with his own joie de vivre. But best of all is the fact that Homer was adopted by a great writer who could tell his story so beautifully and share him with us. I hope lots of people read this book!

Continue reading "Homer's Odyssey" »

This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in August 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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