The Pastas of Piemonte: Fantastico (fuel) for the rigors of hiking

I am Italian. I eat pasta and drink wine. Allora, I’ll never be a size 0 but it’s a small price to pay for such a joyous life.


There are over 600 artful shapes of pasta. Spaghetti, vermicelli, rotini, fusili, tortellini, linguini, fettuccine, penne, and capellini are common on every American menu and store shelf.



But I’m in Piemonte and in love with the local pasta. In this region, tajarin (tie-yah-REEN) reigns as the most popular pasta ever. It’s a thin, bright-yellow pasta topped with an earthy porcini mushroom sauce.

The allure of this pasta made with forty eggs is undeniable.

And, yes, emotion is unquestionably a part of my enchantment.  As it is with anyone who has a pulse.


World Pasta Day is the brainchild of the World Pasta Congress. Experts from all over the world come together to discuss the glories of the noodle.

I’m celebrating this momentous occasion with a day and night (ok, let’s be honest here, days and nights) of carbohydrate overload.  Should you wonder, naps are mandatory.


There is no doubt that it takes a village to feed me.  These warm and wonderful Italians are supportive folks.


Mi amici, waste no time. Gather the villagers. Make plans.

Tomorrow is World Pasta Day!

How will you celebrate?

Toni 10/24/16


Here we are, all the way into the August of another year.  The garden is exploding.

I think that a vegetable garden shouldn’t just be functional…it should be pretty to look at. So come see how my garden grows…and shows.


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And, yes, I’m here to suggest you put that salt grinder down.


Herbs.   I love.



Here’s my case for the herbal sense of taste:  Herbs add just the right tang of green to food. They may be sublime ingredients, but they’re not shy or retiring. They’re free-spirited and supernal, divinely edible and summer-sweet healthy.



It’s August 29, so let’s all celebrate MoreHerbs, Less Salt Day.   Call it a passion-raising plug for a finer solution.


Just a little rosemary, thyme, or oregano will enrich a dish as much as a heavy dose of salt.



My favorite herb is basil. It’s besiegingly lovely. Beyond utterance. This year, I’ve got a bull-moose bumper crop of Biblical measure.

Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.
– Helen Morgenthau Fox



When you make dinner tonight, instead of adding salt, use a few herbs.  Get the skinny here on Twitter.

Whatever you eat, it’s best when herbs are involved.

Summa cum yummy.  I guarantee it.



Toni 8/29/16   ps Zucchini still coming? Be an expert.  Herbs make it better with a little feta. Try this.


*Dave Barry says you can’t grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.

Sound like an outtake from The Twilight Zone?  It isn’t.  Neither is Marge Piercy’s poem.



And thus the people every year

in the valleys of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.

They’re coming on, they’re on us,
the long striped gourds, the silky
babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults
like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes!

Zucchini tempura. Creamed soup.
Saute with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion. Frittata.
Casserole of lamb. Baked
topped with cheese. Marinated,
stuffed, stewed, driven
through the heart like a stake.

Get tired of old friends. They too
have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers, befriend them
in the post office, unload
on them and run. Stop tourists
in the street. Take truckloads
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highways. Please
take my zucchini, I have a crippled
mother at home with heartburn.

Sneak out before dawn, to drop
them in other people’s gardens,
in baby buggies at churchdoors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into
mailboxes, a federal offense.

With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask among your raspy
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give
too much, like summer days
limp with heat, thunderstorms
bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle
for the too little to come.



‘Tis the season of the Great Zucchini Caper. Beware the overzealous gardener. She wears a supernova smile, is generous to a fault, and favors the drop-and-run.


Did you know there’s a holiday for the zany zucchini? It’s called Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night.


Unknown-4The brainchild of Tom Roy, it’s American-Idolish tomfoolery.

The drop spot is up to you ~

back seat, back porch, back forty.



Or any out-of-the-way place that has a sign posted. Unknown-6





Need to ward off stray dogs while you jog? Speak softly and carry a big zucchini.

Got puffy eyes? Zucchini is the new cucumber.


Think like Martha ~ spray them gold and arrange those glamazons into a festive wreath.



I have a love/hate relationship with this particular summer squash. With zucchini, as with most things, it’s the dose that makes the poison. So when life hands me too many zucchini, I go to Pinterest.


Pinterest connects everyone on the planet through whatever they find interesting. It’s a platform of inspiration and sharing, visual, addictive, and full of ideas for your summer surplus.


The ideas, like the squashes themselves, run riot. Grilled, fried, breaded, baked, sweet, savory, raw, sliced, diced, stuffed, hot, cold, pickled, marinated. In a breakfast omelet, luncheon salad, hot or cold soup, sandwich, brownies and breads.

Here’s a slap-up and savory little sweet. Zucchini, peanut butter, and flaxseed ~ it’s totally dinner. Love between the teeth, I kid you not.

Thanks, Alexis. Visit her blog Hummusapien.




Easy (one bowl, seven ingredients) and healthy (no refined sugar, flour, butter, or oil).

¾ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 cup shredded zucchini (don’t squeeze out water)
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ cup chocolate chips plus more just because 🙂

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray.
Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Dump mixture into loaf pan and use a spatula to spread evenly in pan or wet your hands and pat it down. Sprinkle top with a handful or two of chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 minutes.
Allow brownies to completely cool (refrigerate overnight in the pan once cool) before slicing.


Got a recipe for that gone-rampant plenitudinous veggie?

Share it here. Oh, and leave the porch light on.


Toni 8/18/16

*Dave Barry makes his living weaving unrelated subplots, criminal activities, and the absurdities of South Florida into best selling books and Pulitzer Prize-winning columns.