SHE SAYS:

Our house in New York has been our family home for 24 years.  It is essentially the only home our children know.  We knew that when we built our house in Arizona that it would someday also be our home.  Would we ever feel comfortable in two houses?  Our first winter in our Arizona home is now a memory and we look forward to many more memories there.

Much of our time in the last three years was spent supervising and agonizing over the building process of the house. Over the last year, we worked with Stephanie, our interior designer, to select furniture, window treatments and other furnishings.  We took pictures of the progress and imagined what it would be like to eventually live there.  Little by little the house took shape.

When we first arrived there in January, it still seemed like we were visiting the house just as we did during the building and decorating phases.   On the first weekend we arrived, our three sons and significant others were there with us, but by Monday, we were on our own.

In January and February we started getting used to this house and its little quirks and creaks, but almost every day, someone had to come to fix or tweak something.  Because we were living there full time, we noticed more things that needed to be fixed.

Almost everything in the house is new, but in some cases we purchased items for this house that were identical to things at ‘home’.  Little things like the coffee maker, the stand mixer and framed family photos to name a few.  That helped build a sense of security and familiarity for us as we settled in to our new environment.  Every day, there were new sounds, new dishes, new pots and pans, new morning routines and a new style of living.  Just when we started to develop a routine and felt more comfortable, we left for a two week trip.  We no sooner returned from that trip and had to go home to New York for our son’s wedding.

Upon returning in April for a month, we had company for nearly the entire time until we left in mid-May.  I think this time period was a turning point for us.  All of the entertaining we did with family and friends really made the kitchen feel like mine.  I have heard the saying that ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’.  I believe it.  To me there is nothing more rewarding than cooking and feeding everyone!  It must be the Italian in me.

My mother visited and stayed through Easter.  On Easter weekend, our son Michael along with his girlfriend, Jacque and 7 more of their friends joined us.  I cooked and baked all of our traditional family dishes for several days before their arrival and we enjoyed wonderful food all weekend, but the real treat was on Saturday morning.  Twelve of us did what usually our family of six does each year for Easter.  We made home-made ravioli, 185 of them to be exact!  Our doubly long assembly line gave everyone a task and the process was flawless.  Of course, we had to adapt to our new environment and a larger team, but suddenly, we were at home.  Creating a holiday memory with this large extended family all weekend, helped make the house feel like a home.  The ’kids’ even dyed Easter eggs later that day.  The weekend was so much fun!

Ravioli Assembly Line

Let me share our ravioli recipe with you:

Ravioli

Ingredients:   (approx. 150 – 160 large Ravioli)

DOUGH:
36 Large Eggs
3 Cups of Water
10   Pounds of Durum Semolina Flour (approx.)

FILLING:
6 – 8 Pounds Ricotta Cheese
10 – 12 Large Eggs
2 Cups Grated Romano Cheese
¼ Cup of Parsley (approx.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

A.  Divide the dough ingredients into two equal amounts and make the dough in two batches.  Beat the eggs and water in a large bowl.   Add flour until the dough is stiff and slightly sticky.   Turn the dough out of the bowl on a counter, board or table and knead for 5-10 minutes.  Cover with a towel and let stand for 30-40 minutes.

 B.  Thoroughly mix the filling ingredients in a large bowl.

C.  Cut the dough into uniform pieces and run through a Pasta Roller Machine (electric or mechanical) three times until you reach the desired thickness.  After each pass, fold the strip in thirds and then place through horizontally.

D. Drop about 1 Tablespoon of the filling along the middle of the strip and fold the strip over itself.  Cut evenly between each one.  Carefully seal all of the edges by crimping with a floured fork.

E.  Cook fresh or freeze.

Note:   When freezing, place in single rows in a cookie sheet (without over-lapping) on wax paper and corn meal so they do not stick.  Partially freeze, then place in a large sealed freezer bag and return to the freezer (depending on size, usually 12 to a bag).

Ravioli

After Easter weekend, some good friends from home visited for a few days, we went to Las Vegas with them for two days and then my best friend came to visit for two days.  Finally, Matthew and Erika joined us for Mother’s Day weekend.  Our daughter, Julia surprised me that weekend too and then spent the last week with us because her final exams were over.  She needed the rest after a tough semester.

It was the perfect way to end our time in our new ‘home’.  Julia is our youngest and she is the most resistant to a new home, but after moving the furniture around in ‘her’ room and helping pick out a large urn with flowers for the Great Room and some decorative sconces for the mantel, even she had to admit that it was starting to feel more like home.

After all, ‘home’ is where the heart is!

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

Easter Morning

Easter Morning

Ravioli Simmering

Ravioli Simmering

 

 WHAT DO YOU SAY?