I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A poem for those of us who may have over indulged just a little bit this holiday season.......

The Week After Christmas
Author Unknown

'Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales, there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber),
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt,
I said to myself, as I only can
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"
So -- away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruitcake, every cracker and chip,
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
'Til all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have a cookie -- not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore –
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all, and to all a good diet!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hope you all had a delicious Holiday!

These bars are addictive. They are crispy, chewy and loaded with flavor.
My grandmother makes them for us all the time, probably because we eat the entire batch every time we are there.
It really is a very easy recipe. I'm sure your family and friends will truly enjoy.

Date Bars

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1/2 cup unsifted flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped dates
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup flaked coconut
2 eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla


In a medium mixing bowl thoroughly stir together the flour and baking powder; add salt and sugar and stir well again. Add dates; mix with fingers to separate dates. Stir in walnuts and coconut.
In a small mixing bowl beat eggs enough to blend yolks and whites. Add to flour mixture with butter and vanilla; stir to mix thoroughly.
Turn into a buttered square cake pan 9”X 9”. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean – about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into bars or squares; remove from pan while still warm and finish cooling on wire rack.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Italian Pizzelles

These pizzelles are light and crisp. Serve them plain or dusted with powdered sugar. Also, they can be easily shaped while still hot right off the iron and formed into a cone, cylinder, or even a cup and filled with your favorite filling. To keep them crisp, store them in an air tight container.
My Grandmother makes about 60 pizzelles a week. We all love them, I ask her to purposely leave a few pizzelles on the iron longer. I like mine almost burnt, they just taste toastier. I'm always going for the darker ones!

3 eggs
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. anise seed or extract (opt.) may also use almond, lemon, whatever you like.
1/2 c. butter - melted (do not use more than a 1/2 cup, must be exact/do not use oil as a substitute).
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat eggs and sugar. Add cooled melted butter and vanilla and anise. Sift flour and baking powder and add to egg mixture. Batter will be stiff enough to be dropped by spoon. Batter can be refrigerated to be used at a later time. Makes 30 pizzelles.

VARIATION PIZZELLE CON CIOCCOLATTE(with chocolate): Add 3 tablespoons cocoa and 3 tablespoons sugar to the basic Italian Pizzelle recipe. If desired, you may substitute chocolate flavoring instead of the vanilla and anise flavoring.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Feast of the 7 Fishes It is tradition that the Italian people have a 7 fish dinner on Christmas Eve. Some think that it is perhaps one representing each day of the week, but most traditions come from the observance of the Cena della Vigilia, the wait for the miraculous birth of Christ in which early Catholics fasted on Christmas Eve until after receiving communion at Midnight Mass. In later years it became a penitential day, meaning that all foods except meat were allowed. Other theories included are that there would be served three fish dishes representing the three Wise Men or the Holy Trinity while in some there may have been as many as thirteen, one for each of the apostles plus one for Jesus. In any case, let's just say we consume alot of fish on Christmas eve. But when the clock strikes midnight we fry up some Italian sausage and drink sparkling wine (Prosecco, asti-spumanti or champagne works just fine).

In our family we usually have 2 shrimp dishes(one fried and one steamed/usually shrimp cocktail). Clams casino,Linguini with red clam sauce and 2 calamari dishes one in butter and garlic and the other with tomatoes(Calamari con Pomodoro).

3 lb. box of frozen squid-cleaned and cut into strips,4 tbs. of olive oil,1 tbs. parsley-chopped, 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup of red wine, 2 garlic cloves sliced thin or chopped add salt and pepper to taste.

heat oil in sauce pan/saute garlic do not brown or else it gets a bitter taste/add squid and saute about 10 minutes/add salt, pepper, wine and cook about 10 minutes more/add tomatoes and parsley, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes

Friday, December 8, 2006

The Offal Truth.....

.... it's really offally good!
Today's offal ingredient is none other than "TRIPE", yes....the lining of a cows stomach.
Just don't think about it.

Tripe Italian Style
4 or 5 pounds tripe that has been boiled for about 2 hours
3 or 4 links of hot italian sausage remove casing(sweet if you prefer it less spicy)
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 Large onion chopped
Lots of garlic chopped(at least 4 to 6 cloves) personally I use alot more
1 large can of crushed or chopped tomatoes
1 small can of puree/or other type of tomato sauce
fresh basil leaves (at least a dozen fresh leaves) yes I use more! If using dried about a teaspoon
A ladle of good rich meat broth(canned is fine, but homemade from beef marrow bones is even better)!
Grated Parmigiano/romano to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Rinse and drain the tripe, and cut it into thin strips. Heat the oil and butter in a large pot, then add the chopped onion, garlic and crumble in the italian sausage. After about 10 minutes add the tomatoes, and basil leaves. Once the mixture has cooked long enough for the onion to become translucent add the tripe and mix well. add seasoning to taste, stir in the broth, cover, and simmer over a low flame for at least three hours. Serve steaming hot with grated cheese for your guests to add to their taste. ( Don't forget the crushed red pepper flakes for those that want to add a little more spice).
All you need is a salad and some crusty chewy bread for dunking in the sauce....so good.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Unique Find

How clever is this! This cute little guy is called;" Luigi Spoonrest", you should
see his cute girlfriend; "Gina Pasta Fork". You'll really find some great novelty items.It's so hard to find something different to give to those we love, like, have to work with (you know who you are)!All kidding aside, even if you don't buy, it's just a fun online catalog to look through.

Just click on the picture of Luigi and....

Monday, December 4, 2006

Sometimes you just need a Deep Dish!

There is nothing like a deep dish pizza or how about a deep dish apple pie.
Sure...I wouldn't pass up a thin slice of pizza or a shallow piece of pie.But there is something to be said for those extra layers.With those layers comes extra flavor, texture, dimension. A depth of character that you can't help but be drawn to.
You can almost parallel it with the people we encounter in our lives. Some people have a tendancy to be shallow, living life on the surface. It's just easier for them. It's not that they are bad people, they just like to keep things a little less intense.
However people like that tend to be a little unfulfilling in our lives and leave us hungry for more.
So, we turn to the people in our lives that have some depth.Those that are not afraid to scrape the surface and see whats hidden underneath.Those that hit reality head on and season it with gusto and imagination.
Sure, there is nothing wrong with needing 2 or 3 slices of something to feel full. But sometimes isn't it nice to get everything you could possibly want or need all in one slice....