Friday, July 28, 2006


With the help of the pneumatic hammer, Armando’s little chair, and much advice and encouragement from everyone, the wall is now finished! Art did a fantastic job, and my worries about a hole in the wall or a toe accidentally cut off by a dropped tool were unfounded.
Personally I don’t see how this can solve our moisture problem. I agree with Wendy that the moisture is probably coming from below, but with moisture/water, who knows? The area that Art cleared DID need to be resurfaced, so at least that will be done.

The Italians use an interesting technique, and maybe it’s just because I’ve never seen houses built with stucco/concrete that it seems unusual and interesting. The outside of our house is finished with a layer of concrete, not completely smoothed. The texture is just a bit rough, and the bottom section of the house is even rougher.

The rough area, about the bottom three feet of the wall, is made by flicking concrete onto the surface using a large brush. If moisture gets under this concrete it flakes off quite easily. I’m hoping that this new application will stay put for a while.


Wendy called me on Tuesday to ask if we were going to be home on Thursday, Art’s birthday. I told her yes, we’d be here. She and her boss, Corrado were gong to meet with the people who own the house in Ripavella (the one we went to see with Anna and Trevor). Wendy said she had a gift for Art and wanted to stop by. When she told Corrado of her plans, his question was “Do you think you’ll be invited for dinner?!”

In typical Italian style, or maybe typical Umbrian style, Corrado is quite reluctant to try new food, or even familiar food cooked in a different style. After bringing Wendy many, many treats to the office, Corrado finally succumbed to hunger one day and tried something that I’d made. After that he was a convert, and always hinted to Wendy how much he enjoyed the things I made.

When he asked Wendy about being invited for dinner, he asked if he would ever get to taste anything I cooked other than sweets. What could I do but invite them both for dinner?

Art knew that he wanted to barbeque some ribs, now all I had to do was come up with the rest of the menu. Since it was his birthday, I asked him what else he wanted, and after much thought, here’s the final menu:

• Celery stuffed with cheddar bacon cheese spread
• Ribs with homemade barbeque sauce
• Pesto rice
• Cole slaw
• Grilled eggplant
• Sliced tomatoes
• Key lime margarita pie for dessert

Let me say that the celery/cheese was NOT my choice, but Art’s. I had bought some cheddar cheese spread as a small gift for Art, thinking that we wouldn’t have any cheddar cheese, and that this stuff, that didn’t require refrigeration, would help satisfy his cheese craving. Serving it for company is another matter entirely! Anyway….

Everything was wonderful, and Corrado seemed to enjoy it all. We knew Wendy would like the ribs, and she did. Art’s mastery of the grill and his barbeque sauce really made the meal. Of course Corrado had never had cole slaw, but he seemed to like it.

The frozen Key lime margarita pie, made from a recipe my daughter had sent me, was quite a hit….after I picked it up off the floor! I had lined the pie pan with parchment paper…don’t’ ask me why….and when I took it out of the freezer the frozen-solid pie on a slippery sheet of paper just lid right out of the pie pan and onto the floor! Ack!!!!

The crushed pretzel crust suffered, but because the pie was frozen it survived intact. Being among friends, we laughed, I taught Corrado an appropriate use of the English word “Shit!!!”, picked up the pie and proceeded to serve it.

I think a graham cracker crust would work with this pie, but I’m assuming that the crushed pretzels are used for their saltiness, imitating the salt on the rim of a Margarita. Here’s the recipe, compliments of my daughter, with a special thanks for including the Kool-Aid in Art’s birthday card!

Key Lime Margarita Pie

1-1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice
1 envelope Lemon Lime Kool-Aid mix
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided

MIX crushed pretzels, sugar and butter. Press firmly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

COMBINE condensed milk, lime juice and drink mix in large bowl until well blended. Remove 1/2 cup whipped topping; set aside. Gently stir in remaining 2-1/2 cups whipped topping. Pour into crust.

FREEZE 6 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 15 min. or until pie can be cut easily. Garnish with reserved whipped topping before serving. Store leftover pie in freezer

Naturally I had to use real whipped cream, which I made in the milk frother our friend Nedra bought for Art last year. I have a bottle of Key Lime juice that I brought from the states….you know you have to have Key lime juice to make a key lime pie!

The birthday gift Wendy brought for Art was amazing! Not only did she bring FOUR bottles of wine, but she also brought this HUGE block of parmesan cheese! It weighs 8.1 Kg, or nearly 18 pounds! 
I have to find out from someone just exactly how to store this, to keep it from drying out. We’ll be thinking of Wendy every time we use it, which I’m guessing will be for quite a while!!!


At 7/28/2006 12:59:00 PM , Anonymous Linda said...


Barbara I love your blog and I read it everyday believe it or not. Thanks for the pie recipe and happy birthday to Art.

At 7/30/2006 03:45:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Barb--I couldn't picture the cheese untill I saw the photo!! That is fantastic!!

Happy Birthday Art!!!

Deb and Joe

At 8/01/2006 03:32:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Art!!

Hey Barb....if your pantry is still a bit damp, maybe you could store the cheese there for a



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