Toasted Sesame Cookies

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When I reflect on the speed at which my life has gone by thus far, I would say it has mostly whizzed by in the blink of an eye. But then there are times, when moments creep by as slow as molasses. I vividly remember a conversation I had with my father – weeks away from turning sixteen – expressing how I never thought the day would come. “Don’t worry,” he said “you’ll be forty (snapped his fingers) like that”.

At the time, forty was unimaginably old and impossible to fathom. Then suddenly, here I am. A year away from the big 4-0. Many things have obviously changed and grown but I still find myself driving in the car rocking out to some trendy rap song – same as I did when I was 16 – just now I am in a different town, have way too many grey hairs to simply pluck out and car seats in the back. He was right. It went by like (snap) that.

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Spring Garlic and Kale Pesto

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Spring has most definitely sprung over here in the gorgeous hills of Sonoma county. Flowers blooming, bees dancing, pollen blowing, vegetables popping, vineyards sprouting and the blue sky above scattered with stunning billowing clouds releasing seasonal showers. Rain storms are pretty frequent up here in northern California which is quite different from where we came from down in southern California. For one, down in LA, locals are majorly affected by a mere sprinkle – unsure of how to calmly go about their days within the challenges of a wet city. Here in farm county, storms are welcomed and happily embraced – grateful to be falling on the abundant fields abound.

This simple perspective on the weather, is just one of the many delightful changes we are all very much enjoying since we moved here to this small country town. In retrospect, it makes sense that a major part of my (city) life was spent impulsively and dramatically reacting to all the emotional storms that blew my way. To those that knew me though, I was not one to show it. Was more of the quiet reflective judgmental type so the rumble would ruminate on the inside to then only be fully expressed when the cork blew off on the outside. I enjoyed the thrill of the craziness though. The more heightened the drama was, the more feisty I got and the more attracted I became to the feelings that pulsed throughout my body.

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Almond Fennel Cherry Crumble

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I am in the home stretch with merely weeks away – weeks away people!!! Yes, I am HUGE and uncomfortable, as you all have been annoyingly reminded of again and again, but I’m really really really getting ready to pop her out. She is keeping me on my toes though, not surprisingly. My son did the same with refusing to turn head down. She is most definitely in the same family (obviously!) but is testing me on other levels.

For one, she is head down (woooo hoooo!!). Now, this is a position my son never I mean never was interested in being in so I am hopeful she likes it down there but have learned to be not attached. However, being that she is head down, I am surprised by all the new discomforts I am experiencing for the first time. If I were to try and express the sensation in my pelvis, I would liken it to an elephant sitting on it. Test one. Read More

Spring Morning Carrot Muffins

Spring-Morning-Carrot-Muffins-01 All my life I have pretty much been a morning person. Yes, there was that bohemian time in my early 20s when I smoked and drank and worked as a cocktail waitress in NYC and dated the cute bartender at the wine bar where I had a few to many glasses of red while write poetry before I went to sleep sometime before the sun came up. But after my Dorothy Parker phase passed, waking up early and enjoying the quiet morning became my norm. My ritual.

I would put on some soothing tribal music, make a pot of green tea and write. Long hand. A stream of conscious and not to be read. It was just a way to clear the clutter before I started my day. I looked forward to my quiet mornings. Demanded them actually whenever I had a sleepover morning guest. Read More

The Shed and Crunchy Caramel Granola Clusters

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I was born and bred in LA and let’s just say, I’ve never been a fan of that city. I always longed for something more. Something substantial. Colorful. Seasonal. Authentic. New York City was the place I escaped to when I was of age and happily remained, on and off, for years. But when I found out I was pregnant with my son, the idea of going into labor and squeezing into the backseat of a dirty taxi cab to go to the hospital or traveling in the subways carrying a newborn in the middle of winter kinda did it for me. That was the first time LA seemed enticing. So we decided to temporally move out of our apartment in Brooklyn to LA, remain out there for the duration of my pregnancy and return with baby boy in the spring. But shortly after our son arrived, we came to the realization the concrete jungle was not what we wanted to go back to. We wanted nature, country, space to explore, animals, gardens, a quaint town… Read More

Golden Mung Bean Dal with Homemade Curry Powder

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I have entered into that time when, in order to kinda sleep comfortably, I require pillows all around my incredibly uncomfortable rubenesque body. A time when attempting to have intimate moments with my husband, ends up as a physical comedy routine filled with laughter. A time that I no longer walk but – wait for it – waddle. I can not believe I have another 6 weeks to go and I am actually gonna get bigger! Oy.

When I was pregnant with my son I thought I’d be one of those fit pre-natal yoga types, remaining active and supple. But in the 1st trimester, I was so nauseous that any movement made me even sicker. In my 2nd trimester, my growing belly made those yoga positions quite uncomfortable and I kept injuring myself due to this hormone called Relaxin – which helps the whole body become looser and prepare for birth but it also makes your joints prone to over extending and for me I ended up with a painful sciatic situation. Let’s just say I stopped trying to be that fit yoga pregnant woman I thought I’d be. Deep relaxing breaths, easy stretches and walking the dogs. That was about the extent of my exercise regime and I was fine with it. Read More

Blood Orange Curd with Almond Crust

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Something bubbles within when change is about to happen. The dual between fear and doubt seem to dance around in my head. These thoughts don’t overwhelm or paralyzes me to move forward, but the feelings are most definitely present. However, when I do leap into that change, I always learn lessons I could only have learned from that particular shift. Coming out the other side a little more grown up and confident than I was when I began.

One of my biggest lesson’s was how the birth of my son went down. After trying everything (I mean EVERYTHING) to change his breech position in the final months of my pregnancy, I finally accepted the fact that he was comfortable just the way he was and was going to enter into this world how he wanted – no matter how hard I tried to force my will. I really didn’t have, don’t have, control over well any of it really. Argh! Read More

Japanese Sweet Potato & Rutabaga Soup

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We all had a rough night of slumber the other night. It started out promising. My son fell asleep at 7pm, I passed out around 9pm and my husband stayed up working until around 2am. He and I bumped bellies (for the record I am the only one with a belly!) in the kitchen right before he went upstairs to go to sleep.

Why, do you wonder, am I in the kitchen in the middle of the night?! Well, I am 33 weeks along and as of late I have been waking up in the middle of the night starving, unable to fall back asleep until I get a little nibble. My hunger isn’t specific to anything in particular, a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt or a small glass of tangy goat kefir seems to do the trick. Read More

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart

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Since we have landed in our beautiful new little town, it has been pretty non-stop. Unpacking, organizing, meeting with doctors, finding a hospital, doula, nanny, housekeeper, pediatrician, pre-school, dog groomer, dry cleaner, farmers markets, organic grocers, etc etc etc. My point: I have been full steam ahead without resting, to then pass out every night somewhere around 8pm.

But yesterday, the inevitable happened. I lost my shit in a complete and utter breakdown. For the record, I have always been the kind of person who needed something dramatic to happen in order to inspire change. Something in that heightened pressure has always helped motivate me to get off my ass and begin. And now, because of yesterday’s event, I can mark physical trauma to that category as well since it seemed to have the same affect. Read More

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Teacake

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To begin. To leap. To MOVE.

Now, moving is challenging enough but throw in a 2 year old boy, 2 dogs, and me being pregnant and there is even more of a challenge. BUT, but, in the end it’s all worth it. We have moved to a place we dreamed about being in, living in. We are done with the hustle and bustle of city living and now are about to experience the county. Not in the middle of nowhere county – close enough to a great city of course – but far enough away to really live in the country side and raise our kids in a quaint small town in the heart of Sonoma County. A very artisanal foodie driven place that I am hungry to be apart of. Read More

A Little About Me

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If someone told me this is how my life would have effortlessly unfolded, I would of told them to F off. You see, I have always been the type of woman who actually thought I had some sort of control over things. That if I just stuck with my plan, everything would become what I thought I wanted it to be.  For years, I was way too rigid in my ways. In my life, my relationships, my food and in my kitchen. Read More

Ciao # 11

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As the saying goes, you have to repeat your actions, your issues, over and over and over again until you finally get IT. Until IT, the lesson, sinks into your being fully and completely and you have your AH HA moment. Read More

Train back to Roma # 10

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I left Noci, rested and recuperated, ready to go back to Roma. I was especially excited to get back cause I had a date with a man I re-connected with whom I had known from NYC, that had been living in Roma for the past few years. He was cooking me dinner and taking me to see an outdoor Italian movie in a beautiful ancient castle. Let’s just say, I was looking very forward to the evening. Read More

Retreating To Noci # 9

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I have a few free days before I have to go back to Roma to meet my sister who will be joining me for the last few weeks of my Italian journey.  I was looking on line at a bunch of different towns and hotels and then, after many searches, I found it: Abate Masseria Resort in the town of Noci. This place sung to me through the computer. Before I left Lecce, I asked Silvestro what he thought about Noci (which means Walnut in Italian) and he said, “Noci? Why would you want to go there? It’s a farm town in the countryside and there is nothing to do?”

Nothing to do, nowhere to be, no one around, no espresso, no wine, just the sound of birds singing, wind blowing and farmers working. Perfecto. So I took the train north to a town called Bari.  Got into a cab and drove 45 minutes into the mountains of Noci. Read More

Final Fish Lunch # 8

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If I was rocking more sleep (4 hrs last night), I’m sure I would be feeling a bit better but I have not been able to fully sleep soundly this past week. And I am not one to have trouble sleeping soundly. Normally I am out like a light within minutes of my head touching the pillow. But, unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case here. It is a combination of the haunted B&B I am staying at, the fact that the air conditioning unit in my room is right above my bed so the condensation from the heat drips on my head waking my ass right up when I finally do fall asleep. Also, I have an insane amount of mosquito bites all around my right angle which seems to itch most at night. Not to mention the espresso’s, eating late and drinking like a f-ing alky. Read More

Last Supper # 7

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Yes, friends, my glorious gluttonous week at The Awaiting Table is coming to an end. It’s been so lovely but, I gotta tell ya, I am filled to the brim with food and wine. I must take a pause on all this eating and drinking! Ahhhhh… 1 dinner and 1 lunch to go…I think I can…I think I can…okay…twist my arm.

The sticky summer heat is most definitely in full swing here, so we wanted to create our final dinner dishes using the least amount of heat in the kitchen. That was the plan anyway. But as you know, plans don’t always go as planned. Read More

Bottom Dwellers # 6

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As I expressed in a previous post, I never eat shellfish and if I wasn’t here in Lecce I would not be eating any of these shit eaters. Well, that is what they are.! But these bottom feeder are pretty much everywhere around here. Especially today in the kitchen. Read More

Life in Lecce # 5

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If my life in Italy wasn’t envious enough for you – and me for that matter – I’m gonna break down my days here in Lecce. Around 10am we all meet at the café for our morning espresso drink with the locals. Afterwards, we all saunter down the road to the famers market and buy all of our fresh produce, bread, cheese, etc for making our daily lunch and dinner. After shopping we walk back to school and start our prep to cook lunch. Also, if we are making pasta, we will make 2 different shapes and we’ll enjoy one shape for lunch and the other for dinner. Read More

Italian Espresso # 3

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Well, I am here. In Lecce. The most quaint, glorious, Italian town I have ever experienced. Yes, I know this is the first time I have ever been to this country but I am still gonna stand by a statement like that. Lecce is everything I ever fanaticized an Italian town along the coast would be. The friendly locals, the delicious simple and rustic cuisine, the landscape, the vino and the…the…the ESPRESSO!  My mornings are no longer starting off with a cup of green tea. Now, I am starting my morning off with a bang. This is some good shit people.  Read More

Alone for Dinner in Roma # 2

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I must admit,  I have not been that impressed with the food here in Roma. It hasn’t been nearly as incredible as I had heard it would be. For lunch today I was taken to an old school Italian cafe and had a focaccia sandwich with sheep feta, black olives, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, fresh basil, heavily sprinkled with sea salt, red pepper, olive oil and balsamic. It was good, don’t get me wrong, just not great. I’ve had very similar sandwiches in NYC that rival it. The sorbet here, on the other hand, are fantastic. I have happily been eating it twice a day. So many seasonal flavors to choose from, so fresh, refreshing and oh so delicious. Read More

Roma # 1

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Last night was my first night in Roma and I was taken out by an American chef friend of mine Zach, chef and owner of the delicious LA restaurant Sotto. He has been traveling and training throughout Italy for a few years and, thankfully for me, he spoke Italian! Not sure if I have expressed this or not, but I speak none. Nada. Read More