Welcome to Wednesday AKA Over-the-hump Day.  I hope your week’s off to a great start.  We’ve had lovely weather, but that’s due to change today, with rain and much cooler temperatures in the forecast.  However, it was a lovely weekend and I got a walk in this morning, so I’m not complaining.  😉

This week’s Photo Challenge Theme is “Wanderlust.”  I know it because I have it.  🙂  When the tea shop where I was working went entirely online, I decided that I wouldn’t start a new job until September and in the interim (February-August), I’d do as much traveling as possible. Unfortunately, my husband can’t come because of lack of vacation days, but fortunately he doesn’t mind me going.  What a guy!

My most recent trip was to Southern California with a side helping of Yosemite.  I’ve shared many of the Yosemite photos on my blog since then.  The morning we left, the clouds created a most magical show, creating dazzling looks at scenery already stunning.  Here’s one of the last shots I took on the way out. To see what it looked like without the fog, just click here.

© janet m. webb 2017

Do you want real Parmesan cheese? Don’t buy it in a can.  Cheese isn’t the only thing in that can.  There can even be cellulose (not cellulite, mind you), a safe additive that’s allowed to avoid clumping, in it, as this 2016 article from Bloomberg reports.  I grew up knowing nothing but the cheese (or “cheese”) in those cans.  The real thing is as far from the canned variety as my Nebraska home was from Italy.  And the real thing is called Parmigiano Reggiano.

Every aspect of “The King of Cheese” is strictly monitored.  As the Bloomberg article states:

Of all the popular cheeses in the U.S., the hard Italian varieties are the most likely to have fillers because of their expense. Parmesan wheels sit in curing rooms for months, losing moisture, which results in a smaller yield than other cheeses offer. While 100 pounds of milk might produce 10 pounds of cheddar, it makes only eight pounds of Parmesan. That two-pound difference means millions of dollars to manufacturers, according to Sommer.

Each of those cheeses has to be turned daily and wiped to get moisture off, a dangerous job now done by machine.  Real Parmigiano Reggiano must have a variety of markings on the outside including these obvious and distinctive ones:

Stenciling band, placed entirely around the wheel, which has:

  • pre-punched dots bearing the inscription PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO acronym DOP and the inscription CONSORZIO TUTELA
  • identification number of dairy
  • production month and year

Here’s what a real big cheese looks like. (I especially like this one as it has my birthday on it!)  Grate it yourself for an incomparable taste.  If you find it on sale, freeze a chunk and grate as needed.  And toss the can!

© janet m. webb 2017

“Travel” is my choice for Sally’s “Challenger’s Choice”.  The view from Griffith Observatory is one of the top ten things to do or see in Los Angeles.  The night we visited, the observatory was open, free, and impressive.  So was the view.

© janet m. webb 2017

It’s time once again for the Oddball Photo Challenge.  While walking around Old Town Pasadena, I glanced down a cobbled alley, filled with restaurants, shops, and (evidently) an ice cream store.  This is one big cone and let’s not even look up the calorie count!

© janet m. webb 2017


Posted: April 22, 2017 in Nature
Tags: , , ,

Spring has finally flown in.

© janet m. webb 2017

We were all kneading our pasta dough.  One after another, people began getting ready to make whatever type of pasta we were making.  I was frustrated.  My dough still wasn’t ready.  Loretta Paganini, of the eponymous cooking school in Chesterland, Ohio, saw my frustration.  She said she was told she should be a pastry chef, as her hands were always cold.  Cold is good for pastry, not as good for pasta.

Although it takes a bit of time, pasta isn’t difficult to make.  Filled shapes take more time than those just cut, such as linguine.  Although little Italian grandmothers may roll the dough out with a rolling pin, it’s much easier to use a pasta machine.  And by the way, noodles are a type of pasta, not pasta itself.  Here’s the recipe I’ve been using since I learned to make ravioli, along with some photos from my ravioli-making day and the link to Loretta’s Italian grandmother’s walnut sauce.

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One of the most disconcerting things about vacation is how quickly it seems that you never went. Taking photos helps bring back the vacation experience, so these doors transport me to one of my walks to Old Town Pasadena.  After my first day, I went online to locate somewhere to have tea or one of my periodic coffee drinks.  For the latter, I found Amara Chocolate and Coffee.

Mochas top the short list of coffee drinks I like.  At Amara, there are no mochas (by name), but their cacao latte raises the mocha bar moon-high.  Add 63% dark Venezuelan chocolate to coffee and milk and it’s sheer bliss!  I made a point of stopping there again on my last day.  They’ve officially spoiled me for all other mochas and I was happy to have had the opportunity to tell that to the owner.

With that delicious thought in mind, let’s head for the doors (and you can listen to The Doors as well, if you like.)  To see more of the doors (no caps), you can take a virtual trip around the world through the portal at Norm’s blog.  Be aware that the portal is disguised as a blue froggy-like creature.  Just click on it and the portal will open.  Just hang on to your drink!

© janet m. webb 2017

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