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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

O' Rosemary Tree , O' Rosemary Tree

It is hard to believe that rosemary is actually a member of the mint family as it tends to look and taste like it is more closely related to a pine tree. As insulting as that may have sounded, I actually enjoy rosemary on certain foods, three to be exact; chicken, potatoes and lamb other than that I tend to be a bit of a rosemary snob. I remember I had given my mother a rosemary Christmas tree during her time in the nursing home. The tree was about 2 feet tall and very full and fragrant. My mother kept telling me that I should take the tree when the holidays are over and dry it so I would have plenty of rosemary for all my recipes. I laughed; I said Mom if your tree was made out of basil and parsley I would take you up on that offer but being that the tree is made of rosemary it would take me the rest of my life to use it all. So the rosemary tree stayed in her room, we took very good care of it and it joyfully saw her through two holiday seasons.

Roasted Rosemary New Potatoes

3 lbs. sm. red skinned new potatoes
3/4 c. butter
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, grated
2 tsp. rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Quarter potatoes and arrange in baking dish in single layer. Salt and pepper the potatoes, combine butter, lemon juice and lemon zest in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted.

Pour mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle rosemary over potatoes. Bake until lightly browned for 30 to 45 minutes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cardboard Never Tasted So Good!

Baccala` is Italian for salt cod which is usually one of the traditional fishes used during the Feast of the seven fishes. Baccala` actually looks and feels like cardboard in its dried state. It is interesting the difference in flavor going from fresh cod which is very mild to the salted preserved cod which when soaked and reconstituted has a much more intense flavor. Due to Baccala's more intense flavor it can stand up well to much bolder flavors such as; olives, capers, lemons and tomatoes more so than its milder counterparts without losing its own unique qualities. Baccala` tends to be an acquired taste, it is not for everyone but for those of us that do enjoy it, it truly makes for a much anticipated holiday treat!

Baccala` With Tomatoes and Olives

2 to 3 lbs. Baccala` (fish), totally submerge in fresh cold water for 3 days, changing water morning and night
1/4 c. oil
2 cans whole tomatoes, chopped or you can use stewed tomatoes
6 med. onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. sweet basil
1 can pitted black olives, small or cut the large ones in half
1 small jar of pimento stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon of capers
Cut up Baccala` into good size chunks or strips
Juice of half a lemon; sprinkle on at the end of cooking to brighten the flavors.

FYI- Salt has been omitted intentionally due to the saltiness of the Baccala` even after soaking. Taste at the end of cooking and only add salt if necessary.

Lightly sauté the onions, garlic, and celery in oil then add the tomatoes and herbs to mixture. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add Baccala` and cook another 20 minutes, then add olives and capers sprinkle with lemon juice serve and enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Share The Sweets

It's that time of year when the candy and cookie making bug hits. I know every year I have these great delusions of all the varieties of candies and cookies that I am going to make to share with family and friends. I would love to actually do that and there have been times that I actually have but extra time is a rare commodity these days and so are the extra dollars to spend on the rising cost of ingredients.
That is why I am always happy to find recipes that don't take a lot of time and give you a great deal for very little money. It's nice to know that we can still have the pleasure of making and sharing homemade goodies with our family and friends. It is recipes like these that always seem to make the holidays that much sweeter!

Easy Butter Cream Candy

1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
4 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. chocolate chips, for coating candy

Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl until smooth. Blend in sugar and vanilla. Chill 1 hour - shape into 1 inch balls and chill overnight.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or use your microwave and dip each ball using fork or toothpick. Dip each ball in chocolate until completely coated. Place on wax paper, parchment or silicone sheets to set.

Place candy in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Farfelletti Dolce

I can almost get by merely writing; "Fried Cookies", what more does anyone really need to know beyond that. Fried cookies pretty much tells us that these are delicious, addictive and yes got to have them right now! I grew up with these during the holidays even on my mother's side of the family they did a Polish version called;" Krusciki or Chrusciki they always were divided on the spelling so I am not sure which is actually correct.
The best way to describe these cookies to all of you would be those fried waffles that you would find at an amusement park or carnival. These cookies are crispy, a little greasy (in a good way) and pleasantly sweet without going overboard.

Italian Fried Cookies

6 eggs
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. orange extract
Frying oil
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, softened

Cut the butter into the flour as though you were making pie pastry or biscuits. In a separate medium-size bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, extracts, and salt. Combine all and knead until you have a smooth ball. If the dough is too sticky, gradually add in a little flour.

Divide the dough into 4 or 5 sections and work with a small bit at a time, leaving the remainder covered. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with a wavy edged pastry cutter into 6 inch by 1 inch strips. Tie each one into a bow shaped loose knot.

Deep-fry bows until lightly golden brown, drain on paper towels. Sprinkle well with confectioner's sugar.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wasting Away Again In Bourbonville....

Searching for my lost shaker of salt....okay we really don't need a shaker of salt in Bourbonville but hey if it was good for Jimmy Buffet. I am not a huge margarita girl, don't get me wrong I am not opposed to drinking them and will rarely turn one down but my true love is bourbon. Bourbon is the nectar that warms this girl's heart and everything else for that matter after she has had a few. I usually drink mine as a double shot gently caressed by one little cube of ice but on some occasions I like to pour two generous shots of bourbon in a big tall glass and top it with Guinness aaahhhhhhhhhh, now that makes me happy.
Here is a nice gentle way to give bourbon a try that is actually quite good. Over time just keep lessening the club soda and before you know it you will be living in Bourbonville all happy and smiling, all happy and smiling, all happy and smiling...oops sorry, I guess one should never type while visiting Bourbonville.



• 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
• 1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
• Club Soda

Mixing instructions:

Combine ingredients, except soda, in shaker with ice, shake and strain into glass. Add soda. Options, twist of lime.