Friday, April 15, 2011

Ci vediamo dopo e buon viaggio!

See you later and have a good trip!

Obviously in the Military there are always people coming and going, and currently we have two friends that are heading out. One is moving to his next duty station and the other is going on deployment.

Since Nic won't be getting much authentic Italian food after his move from Italy, what better note to leave on than FOOD!

Nic working on the potatoes for our croquettes!

There's a lady here named Vera who is a wonderful cook! She is an American who came to Italy to learn Italian cuisine (and goodness did she ever!) while studying to be a Home Economics teacher. She was only supposed to be here for a few months, but as life would have it- she met the man of her dreams and the rest is history (Aw!). 40 years forward... she holds cooking classes in her basement, which is a huge kitchen!
**And she hasn't been to the states since, so it was fun talking about how different life in the states is now!

Ladies and Gents, I give you... "Cooking with Vera!"

The menu:
Bruschetta with Tomatoes (traditional)
Bruschetta with artichoke
Bresola Penne with Vodka,
Fritti Potato Croquettes
Eggplant with mozzarella and ham topped with tomato sauce.
Torta Caprese with Gelato.

Now, let's begin!

Vicky got the messy job of mashing the potatoes, that Nic previously shredded (?), with her hands.

We then rolled the potatoes up and stuffed slices of ham and mozzarella inside and set them aside for frying. Mmm!

I'm usually pretty bad at cutting tomatoes as I tend to smash them while cutting them, but at this point everyone else was diligently working so James and I volunteered to cut the tomatoes for the bruschetta. It was a success because that bruschetta was wonderful!!!

Um... if you know me, you know I don't like fish...

But I was quite the trooper and helped slice the squid for calamari.
Much to my delight, it was actually really tasty! Maybe fried fresh fish isn't so bad after all! (And shockingly, James agrees! Another success!)

Vera showing James how to prepare the artichoke for the second bruschetta which, like everything else that night, was SO delicious!

Alas- Dinner time!

Our other friend who is being deployed is Danielle. Her and her husband, Stephen, are our pals and we're going to miss her bunches! Best wishes Danielle! We hope everything is smooth and goes by quickly!

We hung out a bit before she left. But here are two fun times that I've captured:

One day our men decided they wanted to look at suits, so the four of us met for lunch and suit shopping at the "outlets." Don't get excited, the outlets here are really just like an outdoor mall, no great discounts like in the states (bummer).

James and Stephen ordered burgers... and burgers is indeed all they got-

Well, at least it had a good taste... and fries!

Afterwards we walked around and checked out all the suits stores we could find, and along the way we came to a cool fountain thing that Danielle has apparently been wanting to run through since she got here. And who can say no to a girl who's deploying?
Not us...

Running through random fountain at outlets...check!

*Enter fountain-ing...*

She surprisingly managed to remain dry. Well, most of her anyway- her feet did not come out so lucky.

We made our final stop for dessert at the Godiva store, where we combined caffe and Godiva.


Another day, the day before she left, the four of us met up again for lunch. We had chinese food, and all was normal until we were about halfway home, and their car just cut off. Stephen thought he stalled until he realized it wasn't coming back on. We were in our own car behind them, so we pulled up next to them to see what was wrong. Since none of us know enough about cars, there really wasn't much we could do on the spot. After a few minutes of reviewing our options, we jokingly decided that our beater, could probably push their beater to the base. Since we both drive "beaters," there really wan't much to lose, so the joke became the plan:

The gate guard on the base even let us push them onto the base... classic

Of course it seemed like a much longer drive than usually and was a little nerve wracking, but it came with loads of laughs! And though it was kind of a bummer for them, it was definitely a hilarious memory for Danielle to leave with. I would go through the details, but I think it's one of those times where you just "had to be there!"

Only in Italy!

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