Saturday, September 1, 2012

Italian food and Swedish dreams

Typical. As I try to get over my post-vacation hump, I find myself baking (to recreate flavors from home) and wanting to decorate (to "cozify" my place to remind me of the comfy décors of my family's places).

On the baking front, I made a recipe I'd tried in the US for calzones. We saw the recipe on a cooking show, Kelsey's Essentials, and as I love Italian food, I wanted to try it out. I simplify the filling recipe though, and you can add other things according to your tastes, like Italian sausage you've sauteed, mushrooms, spinach... In the US I used ready-made pizza dough, two packages. Here I tried an easy pizza dough recipe and rolled it out. Worked out pretty well.

Here you see the calzones ready to go in the oven. I just scooped the ricotta-cheese mixture in the dough and folded it over to get a half-moon shape. Don't forget to put slits in the calzone to let steam escape (Kelsey says so).

And here's the end result, served with some chunky tomato and basil sauce that I bought (chair de tomates). You can also just sautee chopped tomato and onion, etc.

In other baking adventures, I've made zucchini fritters (thanks Crystal), zucchini muffins and another charlotte aux framboises (raspberry and lady fingers dessert with whipped cream ). I guess when you like eating, you like cooking...

As for the decorating part, that's where the Swedish dreams come in. Nothing kinky, I swear. Though in a given day I sometimes think more about Ikea and decorating than my own husband. I've become a bit obsessed with thumbing through the catalog (last year's, haven't yet received next year's) and projecting myself into the cozy interior scenes. And thinking how I can make my place a bit comfier.

When I was in America I realized (again) that we like carpet and rugs. And with good reason. They are soft on your feet. And as we are more often than not on the floor playing with Juliette's toys, it's only logical for us to get a rug. So we did that and are now basking in post-rug-purchase glory. Saying things like, isn't it nice to walk on a rug?! To think I waited nearly four years to get a rug for our living room. Shameful.

Here's Juliette enjoying it with all (and I do mean ALL) her stuffed animals.

Even Catki seems to like it. Maybe he'll start exercising again...

The past two weeks have been a bit odd, with not so much work (and two days free this week since the summer day care was not open and I watched Juliette). But I've been trying to master the transition and remember to enjoy myself in no matter which country I'm in. Thanks for your comments and advice from my last post. Maybe the key to living abroad is not to forget the living part, even the daily living, the little things. They are what grounds us.

My British friend used to say, when you pick a flower, it wilts, as we bemoaned our situations in France and missing our own culture. Artist Mary Engelbreit says, "bloom where you're planted." To do that, you've got to set down roots, which is the hard part.

So I suppose I can love my home country but try to establish a good support system here and a home I consider just that. I'm coming up on ten years here this month, and there are some things I'm glad I never have to go through again in terms of adapting. But it's still an ongoing process. That changes as I change and grow myself.

So to all my friends and family, hope you're doing something you love today.


Lindle said...

I think when you leave your home and visit far away, you come back with ideas for your own "cozy" place. Love the rug. And it looks like Juliette and Catki do too!
Your calzones were a hit here too!
Doing those kinds of things make you feel good, don't they?

Jenenz said...

Mmmmmm....thanks for continuing the blog and sharing your recipes on life, love, and food. You've created so much and must give yourself lots of pats on the back and acknowledgement for a job done creatively well.

The calzones look delicious!

Crystal said...

Funny you talk about rugs...I was just telling Max last weekend that I want to buy a big one for the living room so the bébés don't freeze their paws off this winter.

The wall to wall carpeting is something I love about my parents' house, but I know it wouldn't work for me here. I'd be constantly cleaning up puke and other things. Tiled and wood floors are much more compatible with pets (and I would tend to think small children as well).

Those calzones look delish!