La Dolce Vita Series: Markets

Christine, fellow expat (and Southerner ūüôā living in Florence and blogger of Ciao Christy, recently started a fabulous weekly blog series titled ‘La Dolce Vita’. ¬†‘La Dolce Vita’ means ‘The Sweet Life’, and each week she will be posting something about her sweet life in Italy. ¬†She has invited other bloggers to do the same, so each Monday I will be joining in the fun and posting something about my sweet life in Rome. ¬†Thanks Christy!¬†¬†

Home from the market. . .

One of the greatest things about living in Italy is the open fruit and veggie markets.  Being a vegetarian, having access to fresh, seasonal food is wonderful!  I LOVE shopping at the markets, and always look forward to my shopping days during the week. 

Beautiful red, juicy strawberries. . .

Plump, fresh olives. . .
I love having fresh produce at home to prepare our meals!  I feel good knowing we are eating healthy.
Fresh fruit & veggies from the market make a beautiful, healthy lunch (not to mention delicious :-)! 
You can check out Christine’s and other expats’ sweet lives in Italy, or join in the fun by sharing your own stories of la dolce vita. ¬†Just click the banner below:

Comedy…FREE…in English…sounds GREAT!

The Miracle Players is an English speaking comedy theatre group based in Rome, Italy. ¬†They will be performing ‘The Seven Kings of Rome’ every Friday at 7:30 PM from June 24th to August 5th. ¬†Admission to the show is FREE, and you do not need tickets or reservations. ¬†The show will be held in front of the Mamertime Prison at the Roman Forum.¬†

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Why Rome?

Fiori di Zucca: A Freebie Turned Treasure

One of the greatest things about living in Italy is the open fruit and veggie markets. ¬†Having access to fresh, seasonal food is wonderful! ¬†I LOVE shopping at the markets, and always look forward to my shopping days during the week. ¬†I frequent some of the same vendors at the market each week and have developed somewhat of an informal friendship with some of them. ¬†Each week I¬†go to the same girl at the fruit and veggie stand and she always gives me¬†something extra or puts a treat in my¬†bag (not to mention a few discounts, which is always a plus). ¬†Last week she loaded me¬†up! ¬†She gave me¬†several carrots, a stalk of celery, parsley, basil (one of my favorite things), and for the kicker…a container filled with Fiori di Zucca. ¬†
Fiori di Zucca are zucchini flowers. ¬†My first thought was, “Thanks, but what am I going to do with these?” ¬†Since I have never made them before and only tried them in a restaurant once, I took the challenge and made it my small mission to learn how to cook this true Italian dish. ¬†I stuffed the flowers with a mixture of ricotta and basil, fried them in olive oil and served them with a tomato and basil relish. ¬†They were delicious! ¬†The plate of ten were gone in about 60 seconds, so I’m considering this little mission well accomplished. I have included the recipe below. ¬†
*Note – I come from my MawMaw’s (my grandmother) school of cooking, meaning I don’t stick to measurements when cooking. ¬†When baking, yes, of course. ¬†When cooking, “a pinch of this and a dash of that will do it,” as my MawMaw likes to say. ¬†
Fiori di Zucca Recipe
  • zucchini flowers (I had 10)
  • around 200 g of ricotta cheese (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 egg
  • 6-7 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated over other ingredients in bowl
  • salt & pepper to taste (this is where you put a pinch of this and a dash of that ūüôā
I mixed the ingredients together in a bowl, then used a table spoon to stuff the flowers.  I coated a frying pan with olive oil and added a little extra for frying.  I heated the oil, then added the flowers.  I cooked them until they were golden brown, which only took a few minutes on each side.  I removed the flowers and transferred them to a plate lined with paper towels to help absorb the extra oil while they cooled.  
Tomato & Basil Relish
  • red tomato,¬†coarsely¬†chopped
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 4-5 basil leaves, chopped
  • a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl and set in the fridge to chill while I stuffed and fried the zucchini flowers.  To serve, I spooned the relish over the flowers once we had them on our eating plates.
This dish was a hit. ¬†I’ll definitely buy the flowers the next time I see them at the market. ¬†It’s something fun, different and very tasty to spice up a weekday dinner at home.

Have You Stopped to Smell the Roses Lately?

Located across from the Circus Maximus

All the roses have fun, whimsical names. . .

A garden full of history, wonder & delight.

Rome‚Äôs Rose Garden, Il Roseto Cumunale di Roma, is located on the Aventine Hill across from the Circus Maximus. ¬†The public garden was established in 1931, but the space was used as a Jewish cemetery in the 17th century.¬† There are more than 1,200 varieties of roses deriving from all over the world featured in the garden.¬† The upper part of the garden contains the permanent collection, while the lower part features floral contestants from the international competition of ‚ÄėPremio Roma‚Äô, an annual competition among international floriculturists. ¬†It is a treat of beauty, peace and quietness in the heart of the city. ¬†
Entrance to the garden is free.  It is open from May throughout the summer months from 8:00 AM Р6:30 PM, although the best time to visit is during the May РJune flowering season.