Month: September 2009

“My European Adventure, Part 5,” Hybrid Mom Blog, September 23, 2009

My European Adventure…Part 5 Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 We met at 11:00 am to head to The Santa Maria Cathedral in Florence where inside is the famous fresco called The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors by the early Italian Renaissance painter Massacchio.  This is the most celebrated work of Masaccio beside the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel. Opinions vary as to exactly when this fresco was painted between 1425 and 1428. It was rediscovered in its entirety in 1861, after being hidden in the sixteenth century by a Vasari altarpiece and a stone altar. The Holy Trinity The work was taken up by nineteenth-century critics as a revelation of Brunelleschi’s principles in architecture and the use of perspective, to the point that some believed Brunelleschi to have had a direct hand in the design of the work. When it was executed, no actual coffered barrel vault had yet been constructed since the Romans. The cathedral was beautiful and it was so interesting to see how these enormous paintings, frescoes and altars were truly displayed.  When you see them in museums you can’t really imagine how they would be but when you see them in person, they are so grand, but appropriate…breathtaking, as they seem like they should be. Santa Maria Cathedral We left the Cathedral and headed to the Boboli Gardens A little history: The Gardens,...

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“My European Adventure, Part 4,” Hybrid Mom Blog, September 17, 2009

My European Adventure…Part 4 Thursday, September 17th, 2009 To start the day we took another beautiful cab ride back to Bennedetta for a 10:00 am class.  I had mentioned to her how I loved Panna Cotta, especially after the coconut one we had the first night in Florence so this morning she said that would be the first thing we would learn.  Thank God we brought along our trusty college student who is so adept at note taking, because nothing was typed out.  Everything came from her memory. Panna Cotta: 2/3 c sugar 7 yolks and 1 full egg 2 c heavy cream Mix all ingredients together and pour through a sieve. For the caramel: 1  1/2c sugar…for dark caramel cook by itself.  For light caramel cook the sugar with a little water and lemon juice.  Put in skillet and bring to a boil.  When it turns dark and the bubbles get big, turn off the burner.  As the bubbles get smaller, pour a little bit in the bottom of ramekins or aluminum cups, filling about 1/8 of the cup.  Pour the egg, sugar and cream mixture to fill the cup.  Place the cups in a lasagna type pan. Add water ½ of the way up.  Cover with foil and put in a pre-heated 220 degree oven for 90 minutes, remove foil and continue baking until firm…never let come...

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“My European Adventure, Part 3,” Hybrid Mom Blog, September 10, 2009

My European Adventure…Part 3 Thursday, September 10th, 2009 One of the great treats at the Brunelleschi (www.hotelbrunelleschi.it) hotel in Florence was the huge breakfast that was spread out every morning…Beautiful cheeses, salami, prosciutto, scrambled eggs and hot meats. In addition to all of that there were a variety of breads and croissants with butter and jam, fresh juices and the most amazing coffee. The coffee in Italy is so much better than here in the states – dark, rich and flavorful – not to mention they bring it with steamed milk…YUM! A great way to start the day. Our adventure was now in full swing and we were excited for the day ahead. Carolyn had arranged a tour at 11:00 so we ate, showered and headed out. Our first tour was the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo of Florence. The church is particularly notable for its 44 stained glass windows. They are the work of the greatest Florentine artists of their times, such as Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno. http://www.youtube.com/user/HybridMom1#p/u/35/e3PdZWsM9EE We then went to the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s statue of David. The David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, Michelangelo’s most famous piece of work portraying Biblical King David in the nude. We also viewed Michelangelo’s ‘Prisoners’. This is something not to miss. These sculptures were intentionally...

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“My European Adventure, Part 2,” Hybrid Mom Blog, September 3, 2009

My European Adventure…Part 2 Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 (If you missed part 1, be sure to go back and catch up) Katie, Carolyn and I sat in the bar at Gatwick airport waiting to check in, talking about plans for our arrival in Florence and our anticipation for the cooking classes we were set to take with a famous Italian chef, Benedetta Vitali.  At 6:00pm sharp we headed to our check in for Meridiana airlines.  To our astonishment there was a big CANCELLED sign for our flight.  There were many passengers mulling around, but no one from the airline to give us any information.  Finally after about 45 minutes someone from the airline came to tell the, now very frustrated, crowd that everyone would need to stay together and be re-booked on a flight to Bologna Italy the next morning. From there we would have to then take a bus to Florence, arriving at approximately 2:00pm the next day.  They put everyone’s name on a piece of paper and proceeded to make arrangements for us all to stay in the airport hotel and then to board the flight the next day.  It was crazy, this whole flight full of strangers shuffling around together. Carolyn and I were scrambling trying to come up with alternatives.  The way this airline operated so far it seemed unlikely it would actually turn out as...

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