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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rolly Polly

Rolly Polly Zucchini and my hand carved bowl

Many years ago my Father carved this solid walnut bowl for me.  My Father's carving was not smooth.  It shows every single chisel mark that he made.  It gives his pieces so much character.

One of these days I'm going to treat myself to a deep fried zucchini blossom

See the simple detail my Father carved into the rim of the bowl?  Isn't it absolutely perfect?

I showed up just in time as my Father was finishing my bowl.  Can you see the "handles" on the side of the bowl?  They are removed at the very last.  They are used to hold the carving in place.  It took me a while to convince my Pappa to leave the "handles".   I like them.  don't you?

Rolly Polly Zucchini are my most favorite Summer Squash.  Harvest them when they are about golf ball size.  Even when they are larger, they are still excellent.  Just saute them, cut up, in a little unsalted butter and olive oil.  Season simply with sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.

The perfect little Rolly Polly

My Father was a very fine Master Woodcarver from the Old  country.  When I was about 8 years old he asked me to come into his studio.  Fastened to the carving bench was a piece of very thick alder wood.  He instructed me on how to carve a bowl.  I carved and I carved ... until I had carved a hole through to the bottom.  I was not invited again. 

But my Father took me on many painting expeditions.

My Father signed all of his pieces.  Once they were finished I would sneak into his studio and with one of his chisels would carve "my mark" in an inconspicuous place.  On his 80th birthday I fessed up to my misdeeds.  He first looked at me in disbelief and then he threw his head back and he laughed and he laughed. 



  1. Gina, I think I told you before..your father is - like we say in French simply génial ! meaning extra fabulous and wonderful...I can just imagine how much you must cherish this piece and every mark on it...
    Now..about the zucchini flowers...I wish I could find some around here. My mother used to fry them, well just like tempura really..
    Mmm...give me a shout when you make these fried zucchini flowers..!

    ps : lovely picnic table :-)

  2. Your father's bowl is truly a work of art - I love that you convinced him to leave the handles on.

    I made zucchini blossoms only days ago, at Corey's, filled with a strip of buffalo mozzarella and anchovies, then dipped in flour and egg and pan sauteed in a little olive oil. One of my favorite vegetable recipes.

  3. A really special bowl. I have a chunk of olive wood I've saved to try out carving, but I don't have any tools (nor time, really, but that's another matter) and I don't even know where to get them.

  4. Gina,
    I would be very interested in learning how to disable the right click and adding a copyright message instead. I would be very grateful for any hint or tip. Thank you, Merisi

  5. Dear Lala, I'm going to try the tempura style zucchini flower. Probably a beer and flower batter. I also like Merisi's (below) recipe. Who knows you two may have started me on something new to love.

  6. Dear Merisi, I like the idea of pan frying the zucchini blossoms rather than deep frying them. I don't deep fry anything. Wouldn't know what to do with the left over grease.

    As far as removing the right click option. I searched google a few weeks ago and there were several options. I will try and find it and send the instructions on to you.

  7. Dear Francesca, Love the crocheted curtains from Portugal you have been featuring.

    The carving tools can be purchased on line. Gene inherited my Father's carving tools. They are now over a hundred years old.

    Knowing how clever and artistic you are I can see that olive wood bowl already.

  8. Your father's bowl is simply gorgeous! And the zucchini too. I remember my grandma used to fry them stuffed with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and a caper. Too bad they are so hard to find at the stor in each-I will have to plant my own zucchini soon. :)And the small ones are wonderful stuffed and baked-yummy!

  9. Hi Benedetta, Wish I could send you a bunch of zucchini blossoms. I have so many. I can't believe that I have waited so long to try the fried zucchini blossoms. They are fabulous!

  10. Gina, wonderful tribute to your father. I love the bowl, the texture. I'm much more interested in *touchy, feely* things!

  11. Your photos are so deep and colorful. Very professional. Cute story about your "mark".


  12. What a wonderful post. The photos are amazing but the sentiments are extraordinary. How lucky to have such a wonderful treasure of your father's handwork. Thanks so much for being a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  13. Hi Snap, I also like texture, texture in everything. Thank you for your sweet comment...it is so appreciated.

  14. Hi Pat, Aren't the new cameras wonderful. We can instantly have our pictures to share with the rest of the world.

  15. Hi Tablescaper, Thank you for leaving such a nice comment and thank you also for letting me join your party.