from the Bartolini kitchens

Almost everyone lucky enough to visit Italy will, at some point, sample Limoncello. This lemon-flavored liqueur is often served after dinner as an aid to digestion, un digestivo, and, when properly made, Limoncello will have a strong lemony flavor without being bitter or sour like freshly squeezed lemon juice. Though many believe that the lemons that grow in and around Sorrento produce the best Limoncello, these lemons are not available here in the States. So, with no other options available, I’ve aways used “regular” organic lemons to make my Limoncello. This all changed, however, last year.

For the first time ever, Meyer lemons were available in virtually every grocery store I entered. I’d never seen so many. Having read that Meyers were as close to the famed Sorrento lemons as one can get here, I decided to use them to make my Limoncello. Remarkably, at the very same time that…

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Two Cellos and a Cherry to Toast the New Year

Posted in 2013

Approaching the New Year December 29 2013


Approaching the New Year with trepidation.

Perchance the 13 is unlucky even in years.

I peruse my diary.

More loss than gain

The final sum.


We did have glorious times.

A Europe trip, the brightest jewel.

A writing group encouraging

Mindfulness, a book written

The final tally.


We bring with us into the new,

Not a clean slate, but the leftovers of life


A friend with cancer, fighting,

A friend missing, foul play.

Nothing adds up.


Except for the friendships

born and renewed.

Family times cherished,

Engraved on our hearts

Forever multiplied.

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Bushy bluestem turned fluffy

Portraits of Wildflowers

Bushy Bluestem Turned Fluffy 2261

From late fall through winter and even into spring, the fluffy seedheads of bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus, are a common sight on damp ground throughout central Texas. This November 19th view is from undeveloped land along US 183 in Cedar Park, a fast-growing suburb to the north of Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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Ḥalāl to the Left, Haraam To The Right: British Store Allows Muslim Employees To Refuse To Help Customers Buying Products With Alcohol Or Pork



200px-MARKS_&_Spencer_logo.svg170px-Burgundy_bottlesThere is an interesting controversy in England over a policy of U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer, which has allowed Muslim employees to refuse to help customers buying dishes with pork or alcohol. The result was long lines of shoppers who were told to wait for a non-Muslim employee to check them out. With huge numbers of people buying champagne for the holiday, customers are irate as they stood around for another cashier without religious objections to appear. There is now a Facebook page to boycott the store over the policy. However, the Obama Administration is supporting a similar claim in a U.S. case.

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Posted in 2013

A Christmas Miracle December 2013

It is a miracle that I am ever ready for Christmas.

Although it is true that I have had 364 daysnevaeh tree
To prepare, I find myself as usual,
Checking my list,
 Wishing for more time at my disposal
I spent it frivolously, obviously,
Because I feel unready for the gathering
 of family and friends,
Presents not purchased, wrapped.
The faux turkey not baked, no snacks!
I suffer all the angst around me,
People drowning in their distress.
They have done the same.
Rushing to and fro, they seek a savior.
I recount 60 Christmas’s past in my favor.
 How perfectly I remember them as
Ready or not, they warmed my heart.
Troubles faded in the aura of goodwill
And cries of “good enough!” filled the air
Peace, Peace, Peace on Earth, we were there.