Filed under: Feast
I am now 5 days into my “extended week” end-of-the-summer vacation. And not much has changed. In fact Walshy is over, Mike is in the kitchen being drink mix master extraordinaire, Grover is on Walshy’s lap, the music is playing throughout the house and outside and I am barefoot in the kitchen. Tonight however, I am here on the computer as opposed to whipping up dinner. 5 days in and it is the first night I have not cooked for either a gaggle of people or just the two of us in my newly named Cape Cod Pizza Kitchen.
The weekend was absolutely gorgeous. We spent Saturday at the beach and did not feel like showering or getting dressed for dinner. I had just flipped through one of my favorite cookbooks (Barefoot Contessa Parties!) and decided I wanted to make grilled pizzas.
I have never made my own dough and do not own a pizza wheel, pizza peel or pizza stone. Or dry yeast for that matter. So bikini still on, I headed to my second most frequented place in the area Williams Sonoma (Starbucks scoring number one slot) for a pizza peel and then to the grocery store for the dry yeast and all my toppings.
The recipe told me to put all the ingredients into the electric mixer with a dough hook. Oopsie. Do not own either of those. Don’t even know what a dough hook is or what it looks like. Who knows maybe I do have one floating around. I do however own a very old Betty Crocker hand mixer and two good hands. So I hand mixed and then kneaded away. My whole wheat flour dough turned out just fine. And bonus this dough only needs to rise for a half an hour. I made 3 balls and then rolled them out. Cornmeal (had to purchase that too) on the pizza peel is key here. Throw your circle of dough down on top of the cornmeal and grill for about 2 minutes. Now the fun begins.
You can basically add any toppings you wish or whatever is hanging out in your fridge. We made 3 pizzas that night. 1. Tomato (I made my own sauce), ricotta, chicken saugage (I cooked it before) and basil. 2. Tomato, mozzarella and basil (classico) and 3. Red and yellow peppers, sliced prosciutto and goat cheese. Add your toppings and then fire them up on the grill again until your cheese starts to melt. All delish!
So delish that we are going to do it all again this coming weekend for a houseful. This time I plan on making 6 to 8 pizzas. And for dessert . . . cupcakes for my cousin Susie’s birthday and Wide Eyed Vinny’s! Stay tuned for that explanation in my next post.
Cape Cod Pizza Party!
Filed under: Uncategorized
NYC or bust. I have now traveled to New York just about every way possible. This week, I added to my list of modes of transportation , not preferred mode mind you, another way to get from my home to what seems like my home away from home. On Tuesday morning at 7:30AM I boarded the Megabus. More on why and seriously why below.
First, let me tell you about the preferred modes. By air, and this may come as no surprise to you all but my favorite way to travel is private. I have been fortunate enough to hop a ride from time to time on a friend’s jet or a corporate jet. It doesn’t suck. I am also a fan of the shuttle although in the summer this can be tough with all the “isolated t-storms.” Getting stuck at LaGuardia is a major pain, if you get stuck on a Friday afternoon, it is sheer torture. This happened to me about a month ago and like just about everyone else who was stranded, I hit the airport bar. That particular night I made some new friends. And we even managed to get the bartender to pour our remaining wine into “to go” cups to take with us for our trip home. Private or roadies aren’t so bad. Another benefit, this new friend and I are having lunch after Labor Day to talk about ways to work together. Got to love shuttle networking.
And by land, a preferred method is by train. This one I like to take when traveling with someone. It is a long trip. People argue that time spent door to door, train versus plane, is just about the same. I am not so sure about that one. The first two and a half hours go by pretty quickly. But bonus there is a cafe car and they serve wine. With or without an adult beverage, that last hour or so for me is not so good. I become very antsy and just want out. This basically applies to any trip that stretches beyond 3 hours. Ask Mike, he has been dealing with me and this little quirk for quite a while now. But it has definitely become worse in the past 3 – 4 years for sure. Part claustrophobic, part ADD, part fear of flying, part I can’t really sit still.
I also don’t mind driving, however have not done this in years. But with a companion, lots of snacks and great tunes, it can be kind of fun. I think roadtrip automatically means you can stock up on junk food (Sun Chips are my favorite here – oh, and stopping at McD’s for fries) and stuff you would normally never eat during the day, and especially in front of a companion. One time I drove back very late at night and managed to seize the engine of the car. My saving a few bucks by driving turned into getting a tow all the way from somewhere in CT to Boston and then a new Lexus engine. Should have just chartered a jet at that point. Come to think of it, that was the last time I drove to NYC.
And as I mentioned a few paragraphs back, this week I boarded a “luxury bus.” The three hour plus thing, the motion sickness tendencies, the fact I can’t sit still – all pushed to the side. A one way trip on this bus costs anywhere from $1 – $15 depending on when you book. It is run by Gray Line/CoachUSA a new partner of one of my upcoming events. In a few hours I am off to meet with the Director of Marketing. And I can now proudly state that yes I have been on one of your buses. That is the why.
The ride honestly was not that bad. The buses are clean, I did not get motion sickness and the other passengers were pretty normal. My client and I did not exactly blend, but it was nothing like I imagined. It is however very long. And even with one rest and stretch stop, I was losing my mind by the fourth hour. So that was probably my first and last bus ride.
If you have megabucks, go private. If you want a leisurely (that is for the Director of Marekting) ride and would rather spend your cash once in NYC on something fierce to put on your back, you can always take the Megabus.
Filed under: Fierce
This past Friday was my friend Stephanie’s (2nd from the left) birthday – to refresh your memories, Steph was my room mate at BC, you met her in my post “Squirt & Flirt.” I sent her a funny card and email and have been thinking about her and how much fun we had that spontaneous night in June in NYC. And this morning when I logged into my Facebook account, I saw another old friend/room mate. The three of us and three others shared alot more than a beach blanket in our hey day.
This photo was taken somewhere between 10 – 14 years ago – who really knows. I know it could not be more than that because we were all at my Cape house, but feel like it was a few years into my marriage and our summers here, so I am going with ten years ago. It sort of fits my decade theme from my last post too. So about ten years ago, these girls and their boyfriends or husbands all visited us for a reunion weekend.
Back to the bikini clad babes in the above shot. One of us girls is not like the other. Flo must not have received the “wear your turquoise blue bikini” memo. That was just like our Florencia from Argentina, or as I affectionately called her, Flobee Gobbee. Although some of the girls you may not recognize, this 5 x 7 photo is truly famous here on Cape Cod. It resides in a beach themed frame (how appropos dont you think?) in the bathroom of our pool house. On top of the toilet to be exact so every time anyone goes in to pee (guys definitely have the operational advantage here) they get a private viewing. Anytime a ”new” guy comes across the photo, they always exit the pool house with the photo in hand and a shit eating grin asking various questions. It was even kidnapped a few years back by one of the Farrelly brothers. He thought it would be better served in his possession and mentioned something about making us all movie stars. Tried sneaking out with it under his shirt a few times.
Another male houseguest of ours also thought he should “have” the photo or at least one or two of the girls in the photo. The Rescue Me boys all stayed here one weekend and the probie drew the short straw (or as he saw it a place of his own) and landed in the cabana. I actually found him the next morning sound asleep with the photo on the table next to the bed. He had moved it from the bathroom to the side table. I did not dare ask why and simply put it away.
Cut to last weekend….. we had friends over for an al fresco dinner. Eating outside means using the pool house bathroom – it is geographically convenient. Walshy, who coincidentally also went to BC, came out holding the prized photo. I think he was wondering where we all were when he was at Boston College.
The stars in order left to right are as follows: Renee, Stephanie, Kim, Florencia and yours truly. There are two missing, Andrea and Kelli, and that was my college posse. The majority of those four years, we lived, learned, loved and grew up under one roof. Now that was a reality show.
Although these girls are still in my life, I do not get the chance to spend as much time with them as I would like. I don’t know why. Families, careers, no excuses, it is what it is. I do know that when I do get to see them and spend quality time catching up, it is almost like no time has passed at all. Sure there are a bunch of monkeys running around, our left hands are heavier, we have earned various titles and accolades and have a lot more spendable incomes and different zip codes. But we are the same crew.
While Cape Cod may never be the same again, this is an open invitation to everyone pictured above. Too much time has passed and we need another reunion. Hey. Wait. I’m the event planner.
Summer 2009. Save the date. ”Beach Blanket” photo redux.
Filed under: Events
The other night I attended a milestone birthday party of the husband of a good friend of mine. I also attended another milestone birthday of his a decade ago. As I looked around the room, I could not help but remember all the things that have happened over the past ten years.
As the night went on and the wine continued to flow (I was out a wee bit late that night), I became both melancholy and inspired. Di and I were seated at the head table , more for decoration I am sure, but also to support our friend. I figured it was our duty as “head table guests” to make a toast, and as I mentioned, I was now inspired to share my feelings. I spoke of how and when I met the couple, the crazy vacations and stories we shared and then the people gathered in the room. There were so many familiar faces and there were so many new mugs too. The birthday boy has many old and new friends.
I highlighted this character trait and then spoke of the effect of this unbelievable ability. It takes a certain type of person to bring people together and in my opinion, this is truly a wonderful skill. Last night the ages ranged from 8 years old to over 75 years old, and yet everyone seemed to belong.
Try to stop and think of all the people who have entered your life in the past ten years and then mix them with the people who have surrounded you your entire life (or what seems to be your whole life sometimes). I am willing to bet you that they too all seem to belong. I think as we get older and wiser, we recognize who and what are important to us and most importantly, why. And we learn to rid of all the energy vampires. This by the way is one of my all time favorite expressions that was taught to me years back by at a one time visit to a “clinical hypnotherapist/nutritionist. I stress one time visit and request that you don’t ask me to elaborate. What is left is the people who really get and embrace you and what makes you tick. This and these people will support and inspire you and become a part of all your future memories.
Happy Birthday Richie – thanks for reminding me how fortunate I am and for giving me something to look forward to for decades to come.
Filed under: Events
It is late Sunday afternoon, and the weekend with my BFF’s (featured above with two of the next generation) just ended and our home seems so empty. Our house guests, 4 adults and five children under age 6, all checked out of Camp DiCarlo leaving me, Mike and Grover alone in the family room wondering what to do with ourselves. It’s funny, although this house is quite large for us, all summer it never seems empty or, for that matter, quiet. But after the 3 ring circus that just pulled out, there is not much going on under our big-top now.
We have been looking forward to this weekend for weeks now. Candy and Susie are two of my bestest and oldest friends (Candy and I have been friends since we have been 5, and Susie and I since college) and I do not get to see them or their growing families as much as we would all like. In fact, only one of Candy’s three monkeys have been to our Cape house and the last time Susie was here, she was preggers with her first. So technically that counts. Nicholas was here once before.
Before the monkeys invaded our worlds, they used to come down all the time. Camp DiCarlo had a much different meaning then, not saying it was any better, but our schedules sure have changed. We used to be late to bed and late to rise, and now we are early to bed and very early to rise!
Candy, Dave, Gus, Max and Tess (the Gatti’s) checked in Friday late afternoon. Candy was the most excited because every time she and Gat-Monster (nickname for her husband) stayed here before, for some reason they always ended up shacking up in the twin bed room. This house has five bedrooms, but only three are truly sleeping rooms now. This time, CandyPants got here first and claimed what we call the quilted room. I have to say this bed is comfy – and the best for guests. Her boys, Gus and Max, took the twin bed room leaving Tess who just turned one, to sleep in her pack ‘n play with Mom and Dad. So far so good – everyone had a soft place to hunker down.
Friday started off pretty routine for me. I went to pilates and then to the grocery store. Then the rest of the afternoon I spent taping a movie. Our friends from Spain (they summer here for two months) have six children. Each year, the girls ( age 15 and 20 ) and one of their friends write, produce, act and edit a summer flick. And these are no ordinary home-movies, they are full on award-winning feature films. This year, they asked me to make a cameo appearance as both a dance instructor and a relative. I had a blast, but had to run out because Candy phoned from our gatehouse. I rushed to the gate and beeped and honked (security guard just loves me) to get their attention. When I finally did, there were lots of excited shouts and then just scared stares and a look of panic. I was still in character. The long lost relative I played in the movie was from a dark cult, and in my excitement and rush, I neglected to take off my make up. This is how I greeted my house-guests.
I think I scared poor Max (who turned four that very same day) the most. But he got me back later, doing his best impression of a chocolate clown. We all ventured out to the Raw Bar for an early dinner, a few adult beverages, an outdoor concert, mini-golf and then ice cream. But when we got home, we had yet another fun activity. Well, fun for everyone but Grover. It was bath-time for him. Gus, Max and I bathed the dog and then turned the hair drier on him. Now that was a jam packed day.
We must have slept really fast because Saturday morning came really quick. It was a gorgeous day and we decided to beach it for the day. Susie, Dave, Nicholas and Ava (the Gilo’s) arrived and we immediately got on our suits and hit the sand. I have to admit, the beach with 5 kids in tow is not my typical routine, but nonetheless we all managed to have a blast and catch some rays.
When we got home, the guys immediately started drinking and taking the kids for rides on the golf cart. I guess the drinking and driving laws do not pertain to carts and the girls began to prepare dinner. Saturday night we feasted on homemade lamb burgers, my brown rice and veggie salad, fresh from Sprout Farm cucumber salad and Mike’s now famous and requested sangria. We had a wonderful day and dinner.
Bedtime was very interesting. Now we had four additional guests that needed a soft place to call it a night. And two of them were on completely different schedules than the other three. My idea of turning the twin bed room into a boys camp (throw the mattresses onto the floor, add a blanket or two and call it a fort) was not going to work. Good theory though don’t you think for someone who has no kids? Our best solution was to turn the pool house into a guest suite. The pool house has seen lots of action (and I mean all kinds)in the past 15 years, but I think this is the first time anyone under the age of 3 has spent the night out there. If those walls could only talk. The Gilo’s, all four of them, ended up taking that space over and manged to get a good night rest. But the pool house only has a mini kitchen sink and a shower, so we decided to give Nicholas and Ava a bath in my tub aka mini swimming pool. Featured below is Tess ready for bed (and totally posing with her “photo time expression”) in the quilted room and the Gilo bath time. My tub definitely got the most use these past few days.
This morning we had a mini birthday party to celebrate all the kids birthdays. We got cupcakes for everyone and sang and ate out on the back deck. I think the adults had more fun eating the frosting. I love to lick off the tops and then put back the rest. Susie tried to make me eat the whole thing. Then it was time to take some photos. We said all along that we needed to get some current group shots. We got four of the five to officially pose and tons of great other shots to help us remember the weekend. And then, as if that was not enough activity for two days, we packed up and went to the local farm. There we ate lunch and then picked beets, more cucumbers, radishes, cabbage and even got a fresh egg from the hen house.
In a few hours we are headng over to our friends home for a private screening and release party for the movie I taped Friday. It is called ”Lina Lei. ” But until then I am going to relax. I just got back from a late afternoon run to clear my head and my butt of the butter cream frosting and now I am going to crash on the couch to catch up on my reading. I am finishing “Water for Elephants”, which ironically enough is about life in the circus.
To the Gatti’s and Gilo’s, thank you for bringing your circus under our bigtop. That was the best weekend and the most spectacular show on earth.
I miss you all already.
Love, Aunty Coco