On the Road Again …

On the road again… Virtually speaking, at least for now.

My good friend, Judy, Savoring Today, recently underwent surgery and asked a few of us to write guest posts for her while she convalesces. How could anyone refuse? Not only is her fantastic blog filled with plenty of mouth-watering recipes, Judy is about as nice a person you’ll meet in the blogosphere. Of course I agreed to help out and scheduled a post about making garganelli at home. Well, events got in the way and, with an unexpected bounty of fresh ramps in my possession, I was suddenly creating ramps pesto and a post detailing the recipe. Being ramp season is so short, I substituted the pesto post for the garganelli. You can learn how to make this earthy pesto for yourself by heading over to Judy’s blog to read my recipe for Ramps Pesto.

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Ramps Pesto Preview *     *     *

One more thing. The Kitchens will remain closed for several weeks while I do a little touring. Consider this a belated 60th birthday gift to myself. You can learn a bit more of my upcoming travels over at Judy’s place.

Take care and I’ll see you soon.

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140 thoughts on “On the Road Again …

      • I am sure she will! And if you have time, when you will pass by my hometown (Roma), you should ask your friends to bring you in a special bakery in Via Trionfale, 34/36, called Panificio Bonci, where you can taste the best bread and Roman pizza (also plenty of sweet cakes and cornetti) I ever ate in my life…

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    • Thank you. This pesto was a pleasant surprise and I hope you’ll like it. Remember, you can add basil or parsley to “sweeten” it a bit. You’ll see what I mean when you taste it. 🙂

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  1. I think you made a typo when you typed 60! Never! I think you meant to say 40. I will miss you while you are away but look forward to you sharing your wonderful adventures.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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    • You are too sweet, Mandy. No, believe me. It’s 60. I’m used to the idea now. Remember, my birthday was in January. This trip to Italy is my belated birthday gift to myself. If I hit 70, I’m coming to South Africa!!!

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  2. Have a wonderful vacation! I haven’t posted the recipe yet, but the dandelion pesto that I made was a nice change in the pesto department and fantastic on a pizza!

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    • Thank you. I am very interested in seeing your dandelion pesto. I bet it’s delicious! We love our dandelion salads in the Spring and I’m sure your pesto will be well\-received.

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  3. We have many wonderful things Down Under – I don’t think that includes ramps, but you mentioned the magic word ‘sale’, and baby leeks are on sale this week 🙂 ! And conchiglie were last week, which should give me a variation of your dish! Meanwhile happy landings, fine weather, fabulous food, even better wine, good friends, loving family and see you when you return!!! Am not on any other media so it will all be new to me !!!!!!

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    • Thanks, Eha. I think conchiglie would work very well with pesto. If you use baby leeks, be sure to taste it, You may need to “sweeten the pot” with a little basil or parsley. That’s easy enough to do. Thanks for all the well wishes. I’ve done very little on other social media, so, this is going to be a learning experience for me, too. I just hope I get it right. We’ll all know soon enough, I guess. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Michelle. I’m reacquainting myself with uploading pics to my iPad for storage and to Instagram and Twitter. I’m doing this instead of brushing up on my Italian. Oy vey! 🙂

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    • You are so kind, Silva. I will fly into Bologna and then drive to visit my family in San Marino. From there, I’ll go to Florence to meet friends. We’ve rented a flat. We’ll leave for Rome and depart from there a few days later. All 3 of us have been to Italy a number of times. You are very kind to offer us assistance. I think we will do fine. Mille grazie!

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  4. Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!!!!! I anxiously wait for your report with pictures and as usual, your delightful text!

    now, I am a little disappointed because I had a surprise planned for you – Sunday at midnight, a post about your lamb shanks… I hope you can find a way to see it, but if not, it will be there waiting for you…. (sniff, sniff)

    Have a fantastic time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Thank you, Sally. You’re too good to me. Although I’m closing down the kitchens, I won’t be leaving until next week. I’ll make sure to read your post. I can’t wait to hear what you think about those shanks.
      If you don’t mind, I’ll answer both of your comments here.
      My birthday was in January. This is my belated birthday gift to myself. When your birthday is in January, if you’re going to give yourself a trip, it’s best to wait for warm weather or go to the tropics. I opted to wait for warm weather. 🙂

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      • John, a accidentally un-followed your blog today and then re-started following it (or at least I hope I did!) I was trying to find out when I first subscribed to your blog. I hink WordPress provided that info in the past, but apparently they changed something. Clicking here and there I ended up unfollowing you… silly me! Anyway, nothing personal, the order of the universe has been restored! 😉

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  5. Enjoy your travel John – I hope that they are relaxing as well as exciting. Hmmm, seems like lots of surgery going on with bloggers (I’m getting a new hip today). I wonder if it has anything to do with being parked in front of a computer for long hours?

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    • Thanks, Cecile. I cannot wait, as you very well can imagine. I’ve so much yet to do around here, though. The time is going to fly by until I find myself on the plane. 🙂

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  6. Bourno Sera John! Happy Birthday and I am so happy for you and your travels. This will be the best foodie/family tour ever! I hope you are eating light now as you are going to need the room once you visit your relatives. They will think you are starving living in Michigan and need to make up for all of those lost meals. LOL I am heading over to your guest post now as I have never cooked with ramps so excited to learn more. PS…unplug whilst you are gone and just enjoy the moments as it is really good for the soul. Take care, BAM

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    • Buongiorno, BAM! I’ve not seen my Zia and Cousins in at least 45 years. We’re all in for a surprise when I arrive. 🙂 She was always such a nice, happy person. I really cannot wait to see her again. This will be fun — and filling!

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  7. Dear John, I have to say that I had to look ramps up! So, it is a wild leek, right? Very interesting, I wonder what they smell/taste like. As you may recall, I love pesto and so I would definitely be tempted to try this version of the lovely green sauce!
    I am excited for you about your forthcoming trip “back to the roots”, so to speak 😉 I am sure you will have a wonderful time and plenty of culinary (and wine-related, of course!) stories to tell us all about. What’s your itinerary, if it is not a secret? Safe travels!

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    • Thanks, Stefano. No, it’s not secret. I’ll fly into Bologna and drive to San Marino to visit family. From there, I’ll drive to Florence. I’ll meet 2 friends who will be in Sicily while I’m in San Marino. We’ve rented a flat in Florence. The 3 of us will then travel to Rome. I cannot wait. 🙂
      Some call ramps wild onions, others call them wild leeks. In reality, they taste a little like both, though milder. Even the leaves have flavor, though milder still. I remember your comments about trofie pasta and looked for it. When I couldn’t find it, I chose Vesuvio instead.
      Thank you for the well-wishes. I’ll “see” you soon. 🙂

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  8. Happy Birthday John! Have fun, and many adventures 🙂 The blog world feels empty without you, so will look forward to your coming back.

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  9. Happy Birthday, John! And have a great time touring. I love Judy’s blog, and am on my way to check out your post right now . . .

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    • Thanks, John. Back in February I alluded to a part of my birthday that I had yet to realize. It was this trip. As I said to Sally, when your birthday is in January, either you go to some place in the tropics or you delay the trip until it’s warm. I delayed the trip. 🙂

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  10. Aahh…a delightful belated birthday treat to yourself, John! I’ll look forward to seeing and hearing about all of your adventures in the homeland! I wish you safe travels, happy eating and joyful experiences. 🙂 One final though,t from personal experience…do not try to “sneak” a whole prosciutto home in your suitcase…they tend to frown on that at US customs. They will not only destroy it, but charge you $300 to do so. 😉 It was the most expensive prosciutto I never tasted! Heading over to Judy’s…enjoy the trip!

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    • Oh, thank you so much, Nancy. Believe me, I’ll do my best to make sure all of your vacation wishes come true. Your prosciutto foibles remind me of the time Lucy tried to bring back cheese from their European tour. First she pretended it was a baby and, when a fellow passenger got nosy, she stuffed it in Ricky’s band’s instruments. Too bad you weren’t traveling with a band. 🙂
      I’m sure you can laugh now but it wasn’t such a funny matter when you lost the prosciutto AND the fine. And you know one of those guards went home with a very nice prosciutto that evening. Grrrr….

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    • Thanks, Ronit. Judy is such a kind person that I jumped at the chance to help out. Thanks, too, for the well-wishes. I’m looking forward to conducting some in-depth recipe taste testing while I’m there. 🙂

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  11. What a nice idea, helping out a convalescing blogfriend by writing a guest post.

    Have a great trip! The scenery won’t be as beautiful as Oregon, of course, but I hear the art’s not bad. And I bet the espresso is even better than Portland’s.
    Okay, I can’t fit any more tongue into my cheek. Bon voyage, and safe home.

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    • Hehehe. You’re so right. Italy, Rome especially, would be so much more beautiful if they would just get rid of all those dilapidated buildings and marble chunks littering what would be prime real estate. As for the coffee, at least there are McDonald’s everywhere so I’ll know just what I’ll be getting. 🙂
      Thank you for the well-wishes. “See” you when I get back.

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  12. Thanks John for introducing me to Savoring Today, it’s a lovely blog. I really enjoyed your writing in this post on ramps, as well as your photos. I need to try me some ramps! Have a great time in our Motherland… can’t wait to hear all about it. Ciao! xox

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    • I’m glad you liked my post, Lidia, and, more so, that you enjoyed Savoring Today. I’m sure you’ll like that blog even more as you get to know Judy better.
      Thank you for your gracious compliments for this post. You’re so supportive and I so appreciate it. Thanks, too, for the vacation well-wishes. It won’t be long now. 🙂

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    • Not to worry, EllaDee. I don’t do much on either, too. I thought, though, that these would be the easiest ways to send photos back home, being that there will be staying much of the time in free WiFi areas. Now I just have to make sure I take pictures worthy of sending. 🙂

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    • I just left you at Judy’s. Thanks for your kind words, EllaDee. Judy is such a kind person that I was eager to help. Glad that you liked the pesto recipe.

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    • Thank you, Betsy. I’ve just left you at Judy’s place. Thanks for the well-wishes and for taking the time to comment on both sites. “See” you soon. 🙂

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  13. I followed you over to Judy’s put pesky comment thingy wouldn’t work. Great recipe, and ransoms grow where else but Much Wenlock, on the old railway line, beside the Linden Walk (as in photo in my post about writing). And it’s a great recipe. So happy sixtieth, and happy safari. Cheers, John.

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    • Thanks, Tish. I’d love to find a spot where ramps grow but I’ve yet to find one. I’m just thankful to be able to find them in the markets. That’s not always the case. They’ve grown so much in popularity and restaurants grab as many as possible. It’s a case of “Enjoy them while you can.”

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    • Thanks, Abbe. If anyone were to stow away, believe me, it would be Zia. How she would love to be able to come with me! You’re right, too, about traveling’s effects. It’s the Fountain of Youth for me, too. Unfortunately, the effects are short-lived and I’ll be a cranky old man on the flight home. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Ken, it really wasn’t anything and I was more than willing to lend a hand. I really did enjoy the ramps pesto and am looking forward to cooking with it.

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  14. How wonderful for you John, and I love the idea of a special birthday gift to yourself. What better than the gift of travel. Warmest wishes for this milestone year, and I can’t wait to see the kitchen creations that are bound to result from your trip.

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    • Thank you so much. I’ve been to these cities several times. Free of “needing” to see the tourist sites, I’ll be able to concentrate on doing “research” for the blog. I can hear myself now. Yes, I’ve had enough to eat but I must try the tiramisu/cannoli/torta “for the blog.” 🙂

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    • Thanks, Norma. I really cannot believe I’m going. Though it’s been planned for months, this trip was so unexpected. I know Ill be there when I sit down to my first plate of pasta. 🙂

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  15. You are really such a generous person, can’t wait to read your guest post over at Judy’s blog. Hope you’re travelling up our way, we’d love to reciprocate your hospitality.

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    • Thanks, Eva, but I it really was a pleasure to lend Judy a hand. I do have to figure out a way to get up to see you both. I’ve always wanted to see Toronto and have heard nothing but great things about your city. I’ll get there. 🙂

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  16. I really enjoyed your guest post, and I hope that you have a wonderful trip. Looking forward to hearing more about your travels – and another recipe – in the coming weeks…

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    • Thanks, Kathryn. This will be my first trip where it’s not so much the number of days I’ll be gone but the number of meals to be enjoyed. There are no similar figures for gelato, by the way, unless “lots” is a defined quantity. 🙂

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    • How far are you from Birmingham, Claire? By my estimation, we’ll be flying overhead at about 9:30 am, local time. It may not be the standard motorcade but I will, nevertheless, be looking out a window, hoping to catch a glimpse of you and your flag. I’ve never flown over such fanfare before. What a thrill! 😀

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  17. Have a great trip, John, and enjoy your birthday! Once in a while, it is actually good to take a break and just spend some quality time with friends and family. Would love to see the photographs on your blog once you come back.

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  18. ciao e come stai, John? bene… I do hope so, as I haven’t heard from you for a while… I’m back from Fuerteventura – another wonderful Canary island! 🙂 my very best, have a pleasant weekend and c u asap… cheers, Mélanie

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  19. I’m rather late to add a comment here John but I do hope that you are having a fabulous break. I also hope that your lovely friend is getting much better, I hadn’t visited Judy’s blog before so it’s a privilege to make a new blogging friend! As for this pesto? Yum!

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