Friday, August 01, 2008

I had an amazing day yesterday! One of the best since leaving for this holiday.

I spent most of the morning writing and making some connections with work colleagues in my never ending agenda to fill my life with project after project. I had two little ideas sprout throughout last year, that have, given the space and relaxation of the holiday, germinated into full blown baby-ideas. The first is to start a Brussels'-based Veg Association. One that meets monthly, has a resource booklet and can support new comers to the transient-by-nature city. The second: I want to run an International Women's Day (March 8th) next year in Brussels. We'll see what happens!

For lunch I played with some beans that I had never worked with before, and had only barely seen in markets outside of China town, but that I noticed at a market stall the other day in Montalto. The Chinese long bean is a bit daunting at first, with a ankle's width and an elephant's trunk in its length (!) one hardly knows what to do with them.

Long Green Bean and Roasted Fig Salad

-1 bunch of long green beans, cut into smaller bits and boiled
-4 roma tomatoes, cut into coins
-2 Italian cucumbers, cut into coins
-2 bunches of parsley, diced
-4 fresh figs
-olive oil
-juice of one lemon
-balsamic vinegar

After cutting them into 1/8s and covering them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I put the figs in the oven for about 30 minutes, while I prepared the rest of the salad. I boiled the cut beans, drained them and added them to the rest of the ingredients, topped it all with the figs and served it to a hungry K. Yummy! Next time, I might try something more daring with the long green beans, feel like I copped out with cutting them up. I want to note that covering the figs in oil and vinegar was inspired by Dreena at Eat, Drink and Be Vegan.

After our little lunch time snack, we hit the road for some afternoon fun. We went straight (though nothing in this part of Italy could be called straight - one hair pin turn after another) to Fermo and paid for a museum ticket that got us passes into the one room archaeological museum, which was amazing and full of little pieces of evidence from the lives of pre-romans, and the 'picture gallery'. This "picture gallery" had to be unlocked by someone working downstairs and felt more like the provinces attic, if that makes sense. It was filled with treasures that were dusty and valuable at the same time. We saw a Reubens, who K and I both really dig, and the biggest globe EVER in the municipal library, which is hidden behind a locked room on the top floor of the museum (loaded with books from the 14th and centuries).

The coolness did not stop there. We then had a guided tour around some 1st century BCE Roman cisterns. They were remarkable and made me marvel at the engineering ability of that civilization. We then wandered around the Fermo antiques and crafts market, which took over the whole upper town. There was some really cool mini-food crafts that were so cute, I had to take a photo of them. I couldn't stop being a geek and killed myself laughing at my lame joke: Femo in Fermo!!!!!!!! hahahahaha. Okay, lame.

K had spent the early part of his day researching health food/bio shops in the area and after our playdate in Fermo we headed for GreenBio and they had an amazing array of organic goods, most of them made and produced in Italy! We capped the night off with a dinner out at a great restaurant in Ortezzano, where, cooly enough, we were one of four tables of non-native Italians (Americans, Germans, and Dutch folks like pizza too!!). The vegan pizza was great, again really thin, but the pre-dinner green salad was gorgeous and, for me, the best part of the meal.

I want to end with a thank you to everyone who commented so kindly on my last post. It means so much to hear how other people have dealt with missing their families and being away from home! It means so much.


Lily said...

Those Chinese long bean are amazing *__*

I imagined how hard is to be far away from hom but in other hand you're discovering and learning a "whole new world"
And it makes your life more remarkable, thanks for sharing your experience and pictures :-)

julie said...

Could your beans be tied into knots or used for the same purpose as string? If you are roasting vegies, you could tie a variety together using the beans. Picture carrots, parsnips, celery, and any other long variety tied together with several long beans and then roasted. It might be more wintery but I saw lots of good choices at the market today that would work, but I am in Brussels not Italy.

PS- I would definately come to your Internatioanl Woman's Day!

julie said...

Oops...I meant to write veggies not vegies!!!

VeganCowGirl said...

thanks so much for your comment! Euro vegers rock the world! :)

Julie - Cheers for the idea of using the beans as ties - that is wicked. and I think that parsnips can be eaten at any time of the year, they are just too yummy! So glad to hear that you are up for the IWD!!! And since you are in Brussels you will have to join me for the first Brussels Vegetarian Association dinner! Maybe we can tie up some parsnips! :)

Lori- the Pleasantly Plump Vegan said...

oh wow, that salad is so bright and cheery!

VeganCowGirl said...

Thanks Lori! The salad was divine.

Amanda said...

Hi there! I just recently found your blog. I think the Veg association idea is great! Would have loved having that when I moved to Brussels about 8 years ago (have since moved to Amsterdam), so good luck with it! I hope it turns into something great and really gets the, well...moving in Brussels!

aTxVegn said...

The veggie display is gorgeous. No wonder you had such a great day.

VeganCowGirl said...

Amanda, thanks for the comment. I am glad to hear that people think it is a good idea. Amsterdam! I am jealous. I adore Holland, and Amsterdam has one of my favourite vegan stops (I think mostly for the cat).

ATXVGN - it was really amazing how much details they were able to include on such tiny, tiny things.