Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Monday, February 12, 2018

LA MIA UNICA BAMBOLA E IL STRACCIVENDOLO

Foto dal Web





L'unica vera bambola della mia vita mi era stata regalata dalla mamma a Natale all'eta' di 5 anni.








Era il dopoguerra, tempi duri e non c'erano abbastanza soldi.  Erano pochi che potevono comprare dei giocattoli.  Di quei tempi, venditori ambulanti percorrevano a lungo vendendo bambole e giocattoli  nei rioni dei paesi, senza mai richiedere il prezzo in moneta, ma accettavano tutto cio' che veniva a loro offerto:  stracci, ferro, rame (baratto).  E' così che mia madre è riuscita a comprare la bambola.

Foto dal Web

            La bambola era fatta con il corpo di pezza e la testa di gesso o argilla.
Un bel giorno, mentre giocavo accidentalmente la testa della bambola ha colpito' l'angolo della tavola di cucina  e si fratturo' in molti pezzi.

Foto dal Web


Quante lacrime!  Ho pianto cosi' forte e a lungo che dopo settant'anni sento ancora.


Q\





Wednesday, February 7, 2018

SAY YES TO BOTANICALS AND CHINTZ !

I did from the late 80's to this day. Who doesn't need a bit of color and bloom in the winter.  Chintz, botanicals and live plants bring the beauty of the garden in any home.
          
Here I started with an arrangement of framed botanical pictures.  I love the use of gold framing.


          I always add easy growing green and flowering plants to my indoor landscape to keep the gardener in me happy until the first flush of spring flowers arrive.  "Living energy in your home is positive energy."


 

   
             




And now to Chintz!

To  me, cotton chintz is a timeless classic.  I like to use it sparingly, as an accent via floor or sofa pillows. This neutral sofa is punctuated by chintz pillows.







Cotton chintz shower curtain in guest bathroom


If anyone likes cotton chintz like I do, avoid the following:
  • Avoid dated colors like hunter green, brown and reds in chintz
  • Avoid finishing pillows with ruffles.






Friday, January 12, 2018

CIME DI RAPA, Friarielli, Rapini, Broccoletti - Whatever the name, they are delicious.

Cime di rapa is a slightly bitter green, very popular in Italy and is very popular with Italians living in America. 












There are many simple ways of bringing broccolini to the table.

There are many that love them al natural, simply boiled and seasoned with olive oil, salt and lemon.

There are those who prefer them braised with olive oil, garlic and peperoncino.




Others prefer them with pasta



As a side dish to meat (pork is my choice).


Ciff e Ciaff

If you only want a light and fast dish:  cime di rapa and eggs is the answer.




Adding greens with loads of garlic and a jolt of red pepper flakes, brakes up all that creamy lusciousness of the eggs.

So many choices....so much healthy delight.



Friday, January 5, 2018

My Italian Immigrant Home: 2 kitchens and a Cantina (La mia casa di immigrante Italiana: 2 cucine e cantina)


Being a first generation Italian immigrant my home has two kitchens: one on the first floor and the other in the basement.  Why two kitchens you may ask?  To me, the basement kitchen is a liberating space:  a place in which I can cook, do laundry, crafts and move freely as I please without having to feel constrained or worry about cleaning the stoves and mopping the floor. 

Basement kitchen
It's a practical space:  to do messy food preparations and seasonal food preservation and finally, it provides direct access to the cantina.

Ravioli

        
        Canning
What is a Cantina
Cantina is a small, dark room below the ground level where our cured meats, damigiane di vino, jars of pickled food, canned tomatoes and other Italian staples are stored.

Cured Meats

Wine
       

Why first time Italian immigrants have a cantina?


La cantina represents the importance of food to Italians and a way of bringing Italy into our American homes.  Similar to a basement kitchen, it's the control center or the heart of the house.  It shows how hard the immigrants work and the pride we have and share with the family.  Like our obsession with the fig trees, la cantina represents tradition, continuity with the past and, above all, identity.





La cantina is disappearing but it will forever remain a link to our roots and to our history.










Thursday, January 4, 2018

Stuffed Chicken - Pollo Farcito

     Stuffed chicken is a great classic in the kitchen. For the filling one can really indulge. Our preferred stuffing is sausage.   A great dish to serve on Sundays when the whole family meets.   Whether cooked with potatoes or with a lighter side of mixed vegetables, the result does not change: the stuffed chicken is a dish that helps to increase joy and intimacy.


Sausage stuffing for Chicken
1 lb. sausage meat
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon sage chopped
1 teaspoon thyme chopped
½ cup Parmigiano

Heat oil in a large skillet, add onion and cook until soft, add broken chunks of sausage meat and brown lightly. (or substitute cooked giblets). Add celery and cook for 10 minutes in low heat. Remove from heat, add egg and Parmigiano and mix well.



Dry chicken thoroughly inside and out with paper towel.

Sprinkle salt and fresh ground pepper inside the cavity and all over the outside.

Place chicken in a roaster.

Loosely pack the stuffing mix into the main cavity and any left into the neck cavity folding the skin over it.

If necessary secure the neck skin with a pick.



 Place extra fat over the breast.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and cook whole chicken for 10-15 minutes.

Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 20 minutes per pound.






Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Let's take the "MEAT" out of Meatballs

I have several recipes but I will start with my childhood favorite -

Pallotte Cace e Ova (Cheese and Egg Balls)
Pallotte is dialect Abruzzese for Balls






Country style bread






Ingredients

• 1 pound stale country-style bread , crusts removed and cut into thick slices
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 3 large eggs
• 1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
• 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, leaves chopped to yield 2 tablespoons
• 1 bunch basil, leaves chopped
• 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
• Salt and pepper
• 1 cup olive oil or vegetable
• 2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce, recipe follows


Directions

In a large bowl add the bread slices and milk. Let sit until the bread is soaked through, then squeeze dry. Crumble and tear the soaked bread into smaller pieces and process in the food processor, using quick pulses, to yield 4 cups soaked crumbs.

Mix the crumbs in a bowl with the eggs, cheese, herbs, and garlic, adding salt and pepper, to taste. Form into round balls about 2 inches in diameter. Set aside on a rack or plate to dry for about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil to frying temperature, about 360 degrees F, and fry the bread balls until brown on all sides. Remove the balls as they brown and drain on a rack covered with paper towels. Have the tomato sauce ready. Arrange the balls on a platter and lightly cover with sauce. Serve immediately. 


Tomato Sauce:

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1  onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
• Parsley sprigs
• Basil sprigs
• Salt and black pepper

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, parsley and basil and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.



Other recipes to follow.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PRANZO DELLA DOMENICA (Sunday Dinner)



Il pranzo della Domenica:  Il momento in cui la famiglia si reuniva e si stava tutti insieme (television spenta e no smart phones) l’intrattenimento erano le chiacchiere. Mamma faceva i "piatti della domenica" lasagne, braciole, ravioli e arrosti.  Col tempo le cose sono un po’ cambiate, il pranzo domenicale si è ridimensionato. 




    Oggi niente e' piu come una volta!  Dove e' andato a finire il profumo del sugo con braciole?.  Dove sono le mamme che al mattino preparano la pasta fresca tirato con il matterello?



     Eppure, il dolce della domenica non dovrebbe mai mancare. Ritengo che sia un giorno libero da passare tra gli affetti piu’ cari e riscoprire l’importanza della famiglia spesso dimenticata nella quotidianità degli altri giorni.






    Percio', continuo a preparare lasagne, il pollo arrosto e cotolette per la mia famiglia perche' sono convinta di farli felici.


  Perche' in fondo, non dimentichiamolo che Domenica e' sempre Domenica!