My Reflections on Siena, IV part series

Inspired by Light

Part I of IV

Original medieval panel that I based my first stained glass project on at Glencairn Museum.

In the spring of 2007, after the completion and publishing of my photography efforts of stained glass for the 125th anniversary book for the Diocese of Trenton, I was inspired to take a week-long, intensive, stained glass course with J. Kenneth Leap, in the beautiful Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, PA. I didn’t know it yet, but I was on a journey to international travel.

The week in the museum was wonderful! Leap instructed the class on the history of stained glass, then and now. I even created my first 12×14 panel in glass of St. Peter with the keys, which is one of many original medieval stained glass pieces acquired by John Pitcairn. The museum also has an extensive collection of antiquities from Egypt, Syria, Greece, Cyprus and Italy.

After the course with Leap was completed, I was obsessed with finding someone or some where to study the art of leaded stained glass. The drawing, painting, cutting, and yes breaking of glass, consumed me for several months until I found, through endless nights of searching on the internet, a source that could quench my appetite. Then I came upon the American Glass Guild (AGG). Here is where I also found other links such as the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA). Both are great resources for anyone who is serious about learning about this craft, but it was the SGAA’s online forum and a listing in their magazine that ultimately helped me in finding a studio that offered an intensive course. The studio – Vetrate Artistiche Toscane (VAT) in Siena, Italy. My heart was filled with joy and I was now planning to go to Italy. But there was one small problem – I know very little Italian. An what I do know is what everyone else knows – the colorful slang.

Be sure to check the blog next week for part 2 of this adventure. For now, enjoy more recipes below. All recipes are from the owners and artists that work in the stained glass studio where I studied for three weeks.

If you missed my intro click here>>>

For Part II of Siena click here>>>

Message from Gianni & Massimo Bracciali – (owners of VAT studio)

Massimo, Salvadori and Gianni holding my panel I created while in their studio.

One of the best ways to strengthen a friendship is to eat together, so whenever we have had guests at home or we visit our friends, we always end up cooking something because this is a passion. As an italian proverb says ” a tavola non si invecchia” (one doesn’t grow old at the table ). Most of the time our friends enjoy the meal and ask for the recipes, other times we receive an email months later asking for the recipe of the dish we cooked.

Well, this has convinced us that to make everything easier for everyone, the best solution would be to put these recipes on-line so that they are available to everyone all the time. Many of them are traditional Tuscan/Italian dishes that have been in the family for ages (although some international ones can be found), and most are easy to prepare. Italian cooking is based on few good ingredients rather then a complicated long lists of items.
The quantities are generally for four people, unless otherwise specified.
So we invite you to take a chance and try some and if you like them please pass them on to your friends. We would also welcome feedback after you have tried a recipe – both good and bad!

If you would also like to contribute to the collection and have a special recipe to present, send it via e-mail at and we’ll be glad to include it, listing the author. Buon Appetito!

Bell Pepper Sauce
4 people

  Author: Anna B.
  • 3 medium to large peppers (red and yellow) chopped in small slithers
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped in small slithers
  • 1 medium onion chopped in small slithers
  • 3 small dried red chillis or red chilli flakes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 glass hot water – Cream (optional)


Any Young Red Wine
  Put olive oil, peppers, garlic and chillis into a pan, turn on the heat to high until ingredients begin to sizzle.
Turn heat to low and sauté for 20 mins.
Turn heat to high and add stock cube and water.
Turn heat to low and cook for a further 20 minutes until water has been absorbed.
If you are using cream, add at the last moment and reheat.
We recommend short pasta for this sauce (rigatoni or farfalle).

4 thoughts on “My Reflections on Siena, IV part series

  1. Pingback: My Reflections of Siena, Italy « Keeping the Feast

  2. Pingback: My Reflections on Siena, Part II « Keeping the Feast

  3. Pingback: My Reflections of Siena, part III « Keeping the Feast

  4. Pingback: Reflections of Siena, part IV « Keeping the Feast

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