A Day in the Life
by Sarah Jane
Here are some snapshots of my typical eats. I love all of the fresh fruit and veggies that you can find in Italy during the spring and the salad you see in the photos below actually is made with lettuce and radishes that come from Livio’s parent’s garden in their back yard. Now that’s what you call Local. Italians are really the pioneers behind the local food movement dating all the way back to the “Slow Food Movement” founded in the 80’s by Carlo Petrini. When many Americans think of Italian food they imagine heavy, greasy, cheese-laden fare that is not exactly healthy but that is contrary to how the majority of Italians eat (or at least from what I’ve seen).
I typically have a cappuccino every morning and once upon a time I had larabars but now I just have fresh fruit seeing as they don’t sell larabars here in Italy. Strawberries are extremely fresh and in season right now!
Salad with lettuce and radishes from the garden, grated carrot, tomatoes and corn topped with a piece of seared fresh blue-fin tuna. So delicious! I top my salads with a homemade dressing, usually made with balsamic or apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt pepper and whatever herbs we have on hand. We get parsley from the garden as well!
Salad with radishes and carrots and a caper-lemon vinaigrette. Borlotti beans (cranberry beans in the US) with red onion, parsley and balsamic vinegar and pan seared white cod.
Sorry for my rambling about local ingredients but I really can’t emphasize enough that this way of eating is not only so healthy and better for our local farmers, but it’s also delicious! Things do not need any chemicals or hormones to grow when they are grown in season and naturally they are better for you making you feel great!
Borlotti beans with Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 lb borlotti or cranberry beans, soaked for 8 hours (or overnight)
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin – the higher quality the better because it is not for cooking, just to dress)
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
pepper to taste
1. Rinse the soaked beans and cover them with water in a large pot (about 6-8 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Do not add salt at this step! Very important as it ruins the texture and cooking of the beans.
2. When they are cooked through (easy to bite into but not mushy) strain them in a colander and put back into pot. Immediately add the salt, balsamic vinegar, onion and olive oil while they are still steaming hot. This allows the dressing to soak in. Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes before serving at room-temperature (or slightly warm still is ok). Sprinkle the parsley on top before serving. These keep in the fridge for 4-5 days and they actually get better with time.
Livio and I eat these leftover as a cold side dish and they are great. Much healthier and full of protein and fiber compared to a traditional potato or starchy side dish. I highly recommend trying this recipe if you are looking for a new and interesting side to fish, meat, hamburgers or a new recipe to bring to a potluck.