This is the upcoming exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi scheduled for March 3 through July 15th! I am really excited about it. This year, 2012 marks the 500 year anniversary of the death of Amerigo Vespucci, and Florence will be celebrating the strong ties between the Old World and the New.
The exhibit focuses on American artists who spent some time in Florence and are well known, and others that deserve to be better known. I can’t wait to see it. If you are planning a trip during this time, consider seeing this exhibit. Believe me, it will be a nice break from all of the Renaissance art!
Don’t turn your nose up because there is no meat! Try it, you’ll like it! It’s best to put it together the night before you are going to cook it. It’s great for a dinner party because it is prepared and all you have to do is pop it in the oven! This will easily feed 8-10 people. I usually only make 1/2 the recipe in an 8 x 8 pan for 2 meals for 2 people.
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 (16 ounce) jar tomato sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 package of frozen spinach thawed
2 cups chopped raw vegetables (I suggest mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini)
1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese
Oregano, basil, salt pepper, parsley
Saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms (if used) in olive oil. When the onions are soft, add the can of tomatoes and the tomato sauce. In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and the spinach. Add salt and pepper to the ricotta mixture. Add the spices into the tomato mixture and the other vegetables that you have selected. Let some, of the liquid cook out, but not all (about 20 minutes)
Cook the lasagne noodles according to the package instructions. There are some that you do not need to cook before putting into the lasagne. These work just fine.
In a large 13 x 9 baking pan, put a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom, and then a layer of the noodles. Follow with a layer of the ricotta mixture, a layer of mozzarella and then half of the tomato sauce. Repeat with the noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, tomato mixture and end with a layer of noodles and a tiny bit of tomato sauce. Top with Parmesan. Cover with foil and put in fridge overnight.
In 425 degree oven bake for 45 minutes covered with the foil. Take off the foil for the last 15 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes after cooking so that it is more firm when you cut it. Enjoy!
Every 10 years, the Italian Government conducts a census, much the same as in the United States. 2010 was the year of the Census. I received the booklet in the mail, but not until after the deadline had passed. This was primarily because I moved during that time. I had read that there was a Census, and that I, as a resident was required to complete the form, but had not located one until my prior landlord brought my mail, delivered to my old address to me.
Along with that mail was a letter from the United States consulate in Florence indicating that I had not completed the form, and that 70% of the Americans living in Florence had not completed it, and that I risked losing my residency if I did not complete it. The deadline had been extended, and I had an additional 2 weeks to complete it.
The form is 63 pages long, which was overwhelming, but I quickly discovered that many of the pages were for additional family members so it didn’t all apply! Yeah! Of course it is all in Italian, which thankfully, I could read. The letter from the U.S. Consulate gave some information, which I investigated, and found to be entirely incorrect. Thankfully, the form included a website, and the website had instructions and additional information, in English! Yeah!
These are the types of things that cause me stress these days….there are things in the day to day living in another country that you have responsibility for, and it is not always clear, or apparent what you are to do. You must stay attentive to the news, local publications, expat sites etc to stay abreast of these things, and try to “follow the rules”. I am sure that there are many people who do not do this, but that risk of “losing residency” is a big one for me!
The first time I went here, a new friend invited me to this relatively new restaurant located in San Frediano, across the river, (take the Ponte Carraria). It is a little larger than most restaurants in Florence and surprisingly has a bar area, which is unheard of. The dining room is very pleasant and upscale.At lunch, I enjoyed a wonderful piece of Rambo, a mild white fish fillet, sautéed in olive oil and lemon juice, and spinaci saltati, which is sautéed spinach with garlic and salt. My friend had a wonderful salad with greens, cheese and walnuts, and a contorni (side) of cannellini beans. There aren’t a huge number of restaurants opened for lunch, so this makes a nice option, especially with it’s 10 euro menu for a primi, second, side and beverage.
Last night, Ben and I went for dinner and enjoyed a 4 course meal! I bought the deal on Groupon for 29 euro, a 130 euro value. We ate well! For the antipasta, we enjoyed an insalata di polpo, which is octopus, and patate puree con bacala. The potato puree was a real winner! Creamy (and I mean real cream) potatoes, with salted bacala mixed through. The 1st course was a gamberi e zucchini risotto (shrimp and zucchini) and taglietteli e tonno (pasta with tuna)…Both of these were great!The secondo featured Gamberi (shrimp grilled) and Rombo with a light breading. Again, bother very good.For dessert there was a coffee bread pudding! Yumm! We both enjoyed everything that we had and felt that this Groupon deal was tremendous. I am not sure I would feel exactly the same if I had paid 130 euro for it, but fish restaurants are not easy to come by in Florence. I would recommend giving it a try!
A nice wine list also!
You can find it at:
Borgo San Frediano 25
50124 FIRENZE tel.+39.055.295311
Every Thursday evening at 8:30, there is music in the Caffetteria delle Oblate. This is the public library on via dell’Oriuolo, 26, in the vicinity of the Duomo. You will recognize the entrance by the red neon lights by the door. The Caffetteria delle Oblate is small, but has a nice bar, tables and chairs, and a wonderful view of the Duomo.
On Thursday evenings, there is a nice appertivo which costs 8 euro, or you can just have a drink without the food for the cost of the beverage. We drank wine, which cost 5 euro per glass (more in the evenings than the daily price).There was Jazz music the night that we went, but the schedule shows quite a variety of styles. The crowd was mixed with students and some older folks, so we felt comfortable there. I am sure this changes with the style of music. The music is loud because it is in a small place, but there is no cover charge, and it’s really a bargain for a two hour show!