Monday, December 31, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Mushrooms are often on sale.
When they are, pick up a few extra packages.
Along with being great as an appetizer, they can also add oomph to casseroles.


Janice's Sunday Dinner chapter in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook, 
It's for her Vegetarian Baked Ziti.

No, I don't think Livia made this.
It was probably from Janice's hippy days.
Yeah, there's an image I'd like to forget.
No matter how Janice looked, the recipe is still good.
And, if you're feeding someone who insists on having meat, no problem.
Just serve it as a first course or a side dish.
Or prepare Carmela's Ziti al Forno - it has meat.

If you prepare the ziti a day in advance and refrigerate it, remove it from the 
refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.
A Tablespoon of dried basil will do if you don't have fresh.


                        Vegetarian Baked Ziti 

Serves 6 - 8

Place in a colander
trimmed mushrooms from one 10- to 12- ounce package
Rinse quickly under cold running water.
Drain and pat them dry.
Slice the mushrooms 1/4 inch thick.

Into a large skillet pour
1/4 Cup olive oil
Heat to medium.
Add 
1 large onion, chopped
Cook until tender.
Stir in 
the sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add
2 28-ounce cans tomato puree
4 basil leaves torn into bits
salt and pepper
Bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
Stir in
1 Cup fresh or frozen peas

WHILE THE SAUCE IS SIMMERING:
In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add
1 pound ziti
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta and place it back in the large pot.
Add 3 Cups of the sauce
3/4 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Toss well to combine.

Spoon half the ziti in a shallow 3 1/2 quart baking dish.
Spread on top
1 Cup ricotta 
Pour on
1 Cup of the sauce.
Sprinkle on top
8 ounces mozzarella, diced
Top with the remaining ziti, sauce and 
1/4 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Cover the dish with foil.  It can be refrigerated overnight at this point.

Preheat oven 350º
Bake, covered, 45 minutes.
Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.
Cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving.


Would I make Vegetarian Baked Ziti again?
Absolutely.
If I'm feeding a crowd, I serve it as a first course.
My Ma would approve of killing their appetites.
Hey, where do you think I learned that trick?


One recipe down.  Sixty more to go. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Rigatoni with Broccoli

The holiday season does bring back lots of memories of the past.
Including memories of family dinners from long ago.

Most dinners immigrant families remember weren't very fancy.
At least not on a regular basis.
Oh, there might be a roast on Sunday.
And a wonderful meal on holidays was always done.
But the only way a family could afford that was by eating simply during the week.


Junior's chapter The Soprano Family Tradition in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook
is filled with basic Italian family recipes.
Easy on the budget, delicious on the tongue.

Rigatoni with Broccoli could be served as a side dish.
Or, if you're watching your budget as well as your waist, a main course.
Vegetarians will love it.


If you want to increase the pasta, no problem.
Some extra oil, garlic and crushed red pepper would be a good idea.
Oh, and the cheese, of course.
This recipe also works with penne or any largish pasta.


This looks more complicated than it is.
It's just that, to not overcook the broccoli, you should cook the pasta 
while frying the broccoli.


                        Rigatoni with Broccoli

Serves 4

Trim and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 pounds broccoli

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add the prepared broccoli.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Scoop out the broccoli.
SAVE THE COOKING WATER in the pot for the rigatoni.

COOK THE PASTA WHILE YOU ARE FRYING THE BROCCOLI.
Bring the water to a boil.
Add
1/2 pound rigatoni
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Set aside 1 Cup of the cooking water.
Drain the pasta and add it to the broccoli and oil in the dutch oven.


WHILE THE PASTA IS COOKING:
In a dutch oven pour
1/4 Cup olive oil
Add
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
pinch of crushed red pepper
Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
You want the garlic to be lightly golden.
Add 
the precooked broccoli
a pinch salt (optional)
Cook, stirring occasionally over low heat for 10 minutes.

After you've added the pasta
Add
the reserved cup of cooking water
Cook, stirring often over low heat for 5 minutes.
Place in a large serving bowl.

Sprinkle with
1/2 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Toss and serve immediately.


Would I make Rigatoni with Broccoli again?
Sure.
It's great as is.
And, with a few slices of leftover meat, it can become a dinner in a dish.


One recipe down.  Sixty-one more to go.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Fried Mushrooms (hot appetizer)

Mushrooms are handy to have during the holidays.
They can add a classy touch to any leftover, including turkey.
They can perk up a bowl of peas or a salad.
And they're good for you!


Janice Soprano may have anger issues, but she knows the value of mushrooms.
In her Sunday Dinner chapter in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook, Janice included a recipe for Livia's Fried Mushrooms.
This is a little different from Carmela's Stuffed Mushrooms.
It's not a finger food exactly.
But, it makes a nice hot appetizer.
It's also a good recipe to add a little oomph to a leftover turkey dinner.


Livia's recipe calls for white mushrooms.
If you prefer brown, fine.

I usually wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth.
Mushrooms can absorb too much water if they are soaked.
Clean them whichever way you prefer.


                        Fried Mushrooms


Serves 4

Place in a colander
trimmed mushrooms from one 10- to 12- ounce package
Rinse quickly under cold running water.
Drain and pat them dry.
Depending on size, halve or quarter the mushrooms.

Into a large skillet pour
1/4 cup olive oil
Turn heat to medium.
Add the mushrooms.
Cook, stirring often, 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Cook 2 minutes more.  Serve hot.


Would I make Fried Mushrooms again?
Sure.
I also like to halve mushrooms and fry them with sliced salami.
This also makes a nice hot appetizer.
Don't forget the forks or toothpicks.


One recipe down.  Sixty-two more to go. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Canadian Christmas Memories by Margaret Ullrich


I wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of peace, health, joy and love.
And, of course, favourite foods.
Let's not forget television specials and Christmas music.

For those who don't know the story, the Christmas carol Silent Night was written in the nineteenth century because of a problem.      
In a small Austrian church the organ was broken and couldn't be repaired in time for the Christmas Eve Mass.  So, in a couple of hours, Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber created a simple song that could be played on the guitar.
It was called the song from heaven.
      
On Christmas Eve in 1914, the German soldiers singing Silent Night brought a touch of humanity to World War l.  The British soldiers responded with another carol, The First Noel. For a few hours, peace returned, thanks to music.


The first year I was on the CKUW radio show 2000 & Counting, Older and Wiser 
I prerecorded our two holiday shows.  That year the holidays occurred on Tuesday, the day we usually broadcasted, and we wanted to be home.
I taped each person telling a story and their favorite Christmas carol recording.
The segments filled the two hours easily. 

Normally we did our shows live and, as our listeners knew, we did make mistakes.  With prerecording, we were able to edit them.  We sounded pretty good.

      
Maybe that's the problem with modern life.
We hear recordings and see shows that have had dozens of retakes.
Sometimes they show the bloopers.
It's pretty funny to see that even big stars make mistakes.
But, most of the time, all we only see a smoothly running show where everyone always says the right thing, the dinner is cooked to perfection and all problems are resolved with everybody hugging each other within a half an hour.

It can leave one feeling like he's been cheated or that he should try harder.


The first Christmas was a stinker.  Being in a big city with no available rooms is not fun.  Add to that Mary was about to have her first baby in a barn with just a carpenter there to help.
I don't think any Christmas has ever gone according to plan.
And maybe Christmas just isn't supposed to be perfect.


A first Christmas away from all that's familiar can be rough.
Our first married Christmas was a big change.
Paul and I are originally from New York City.  Tons of people.
I came from a huge family.  A first generation immigrant family.
My parents and their siblings couldn't get enough of each other.     
But, there we were in 1972, all alone in Surrey, British Columbia.
The two of us in a basement apartment watching Perry Como's Christmas special.
It was something from home for us.
This was in the days before Skype.  We hadn't seen our relatives for six months.    
When we watched Perry Como, it was good to know our folks were watching it, too.  For an hour, we were all together.
Then we went to bed for a long winter's nap.
     
The next morning we awoke to the sound of our puppy playing.
He was happily yelping and splashing in water.
No, he wasn't in a basin or a tub.
     
Surrey in those days was very rural.  There were open drainage ditches running along the lengths of the residential blocks.  The ditch in front of our house had gotten plugged.  The rain had soaked our lawn and was seeping through three walls of our apartment.  We were rapidly being flooded.  
We piled things onto our bed.
The folks upstairs helped us carry everything else into their apartment.
Within a half hour water covered about two feet of our first Christmas tree.
We were safe and dry upstairs, sharing a cup of coffee.
Then we heard our phone ringing. 
My folks had said they would call on Christmas Day.
If we didn't answer they phone, they would worry.
This was in the days before cell phones.
Our only phone was on the table in our apartment.
Our flooded apartment.

We braved the icy water and the risk of electrocution to answer the phone.
We wished my folks a Merry Christmas.
Keeping our teeth from chattering, we made small talk.
No mention of of our apartment suddenly becoming a wading pool.
What would've been the point of worrying them?


Living in British Columbia is just a memory.   
Perry Como's Christmas specials are just a memory.
My parents, also, are just a memory.
But thanks to memories, we can enjoy a Christmas from the past.


During the holidays people often feel a bit down.
If this is your first Christmas after a major change, be gentle with yourself.
Forget 'the rules'.
Do what will make it easier for you.
It won't be perfect.
So what?
It will be real… another Christmas memory.


Merry Christmas…  God bless us, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Pears al Vino Bianco / Pears in White Wine

Christmas parties are fun.
Full of good cheer and calories.
Yes, Christmas calories are the gifts that stay with you.

Back to Jennifer's chapter Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food in 
Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Leave it to Doctor Melfi to have a classy, lower calorie dessert.


Don't make an extra trip to the store.
A teaspoon of lemon extract and a tablespoon of vanilla extract can work, too.
There's enough stress from the rage, guilt, loneliness, and food of the season.


                        Pears al Vino Bianco

Serves 6

Working from the bottom with a small spoon or melon baller,
scoop out the core and seeds from
6 firm Bosc or Anjou pears

In a dutch oven (or a pot large enough to hold the upright pears) combine
1 1/2 Cups dry white wine
1/2 Cup water
3/4 Cup sugar
2   2-inch strips of lemon zest
1 vanilla bean
Bring to a simmer, over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the pears and reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan and simmer 10 minutes. 
Turn the pears once so they coat with the syrup.
Simmer another 10 minutes.

Place the pears in a serving dish.
Turn the heat under the pot to medium high and cook the syrup 10 minutes,
until thickened and golden.
Pour the syrup over the pears.
Let cool slightly.  Cover and chill.


Would I make Pears al Vino Bianco again?
Sure.  Heavy winter meals sometimes call for a light dessert.
Pears are in season.
And this dessert can be prepared in advance.


One recipe down.  Sixty-three more to go. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Tiramisu / Ladyfingers and Nillas


What would Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook be without a chapter from
the teddy bear, Bobby Bacala?
Oh, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby…

At the start of Bobby's chapter he remembers what was important in his youth.
"Being happy meant a loving and supportive family,
a loving and supportive community and plenty of food on the table."

That's the way it was in my childhood, too.
Well, times change for us all.


Bobby's chapter If I Couldn't Eat, I'd F**king Die, doesn't waste much time
getting to the recipes.
His first choice, Tiramisu, is a classic.
Simple, yet festive enough for any occasion.

So taking a lesson from Bobby, I'll get right to the recipe.

Savoiardi are imported Italian ladyfingers.
Ladyfingers go by many names.
If you can't find them, vanilla wafers (Nillas) can be used.
If you have the time, my Ma has a recipe for Ladyfingers.

Be reasonable.
It's almost Christmas.
Go to the store and get some Nillas.


                        Tiramisu

Serves 8

Place a large mixer bowl and beaters in the refrigerator.

Lightly dip
12 savoiardi
into
1 Cup brewed espresso, at room temperature
Arrange them in a single layer in an 8-inch square pan.

In a large bowl whisk together until smooth
1 pound mascarpone
1/4 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons amaretto or Cognac

In the chilled bow, with the chilled beaters, whip until soft peaks form
1 Cup heavy cream
Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Spread half of the mascarpone / cream mixture on the prepared savoiardi.

Sprinkle with
1/4 Cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Dip into the espresso the remaining
12 savoiardi
Arrange them in a single layer on top of the chopped chocolate in the pan.
Top with the remaining mascarpone / cream mixture.

Sprinkle with
1/4 Cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate overnight before serving.


Would I make Tiramisu again?
Absolutely.  Who doesn't love a creamy dessert?
Adults appreciate the bit of a kick.
Kids will be just as happy with cookies and ice cream.


One recipe down.  Sixty-four more to go.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lady Baltimore Cake or Cupcakes (with and without rum) - Margaret Ullrich

This time of year makes people yearn for tastes from the past.
I got an e mail from a reader asking for the frosting for a Lady Baltimore Cake.
Happy to help.

If you've never tried it, it's basically a 2-layer white cake with a fancy frosting.
It's similar to Lane Cake.
If you're in a rush, a cake mix will be fine, too.
Nobody will notice the cake with this frosting on it.


I've got two recipes.
One is a fruity frosting with a dash of rum flavouring.
The other frosting has macaroons, without the kick.
You know your family and friends, so choose accordingly.


Both recipes make enough frosting for a 2 layer 8-inch cake 
or a 13 by 9 1/2 inch cake.

If you combine the nuts, fruit etc. with the total bowl of frosting instead of 
with a 1/3 of the recipe, there's enough for 24 cupcakes.
For a garnish on each cupcake:
Sprinkle a bit of the 1/3 Cup chopped walnuts
Cut the 8 maraschino cherries into thirds and place a piece on each cupcake.


Lady Baltimore Frosting with rum flavouring

Place in a large bowl
1/2 Cup chopped raisins
1/2 Cup chopped figs
2 Tablespoons rum flavouring
Set aside for 30 minutes.

Place in a 1 quart saucepan
1/2 Cup water
2 Cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Bring to boiling.
Boil without stirring to 242º F on a candy thermometer (medium ball stage).

In a large bowl whip to soft peaks
2 large egg whites
dash salt
While beating steadily,  pour syrup in a steady stream on egg whites.
Add 
1 teaspoon vanilla
a few drops of red food colouring - enough to turn it pink (optional)
Continue beating until frosting stands in firm peaks.


Put 1/3 of the frosting in a small bowl
Stir in the prepared chopped raisins and figs.
Add
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
Spread on a cake layer.
Top with the second layer.
Spread remaining frosting over the cake top and sides.

Garnish in a decorative border pattern the top of the cake with
8 Maraschino cherries
1/3 Cup chopped walnuts


Lady Baltimore Frosting minus rum flavouring

Place in a saucepan
1 2/3 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup water
1/3 Cup golden corn syrup
Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Bring to boiling.
Cover and boil 3 minutes.
Remove cover.
Boil without stirring to 240º F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).
With dampened cheesecloth wipe any crystals from saucepan during cooking.
Remove syrup from heat.

In a large bowl whip until foamy
2 large egg whites
Add 
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whip whites until stiff.
While beating steadily, pour syrup in a steady stream on egg whites.
Add 
1 teaspoon vanilla
a few drops of red food colouring - enough to turn it pink
Continue beating until frosting stands in peaks.

Put 1/3 of the frosting in a small bowl
Stir in
1/4 Cup fine dry macaroon crumbs
1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
8 Maraschino cherries, chopped
Spread on a cake layer.
Top with the second layer.
Spread remaining frosting over the cake top and sides.

Garnish in a decorative border pattern the top of the cake with
8 Maraschino cherries
1/3 Cup chopped walnuts

Monday, December 17, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Roast Pork Shoulder

There's another roast recipe in Janice Soprano's Sunday Dinner chapter in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
No picture.
No problem.

Okay… this could be a regular Sunday dinner.
Or a special occasion dinner.
Especially if you went overboard on the Christmas gifts.


Most of us remember sitting down to overcooked pork.
Janice said Johnny Soprano called it "Partlcle board a la Livia".
Trichinosis was a big fear back then.
Nice to know Livia was scared of something.


USDA recommends cooking meat to 145ºF (well-done).
You've been warned.


                        Roast Pork Shoulder

Serves 8 to 10
Place the oven grate in the lower third of the oven
Preheat the oven to 350º F

Finely chop together
8 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon rosemary

Place the chopped items in a small bowl and add
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
olive oil - enough to make a paste

Place fat side up in a large roasting pan
6 pound pork shoulder roast
With a sharp knife, score the skin, cutting 1/4 inch deep crosshatch lines.
Stab into the surface of the pork.
Rub the paste into the cuts.

Roast for 3 hours.
Tip the pan and remove the excess fat.
Roast for another 1 1/2 hours.
The skin should be crisp and a nice brown.
Transfer meat to a cutting board.
Let stand 20 minutes.
Remove the pork skin and slice the meat.
Serve hot or cold with some of the skin.


Janice doesn't mention this, but while the meat is standing, 
you can prepare the juices:
Spoon off the fat from the roasting pan.
Add
2 Cups chicken broth
Place it over medium heat.
Cook, scraping up the meat bits with a wooden spoon, 
until the gravy is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Strain the liquid into a heated gravy boat.


Would I make Roast Pork Shoulder again?
Sure.
It's more budget friendly and healthy than the rib roast.
And the guys in the meat department don't laugh when I buy it.


One recipe down.  Sixty-five more to go. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Standing Rib Roast

Some folks have serious food traditions.
The meat and potato kind of traditions.
Fish on a holiday or holyday just won't cut it.
No problem.

There's a special meat recipe in Janice Soprano's Sunday Dinner chapter in 
Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
There's even a picture of the roast all by itself.  No veggies need apply.
Yes, it's that special.


According to Janice, this was just regular Soprano Sunday dinner fare.
In those days folks knew juicy, not artery-clogging fat.
Standing Rib is juicy, fatty and a bit pricey.
Yeah, well, Johnny Soprano had his arrangements at Satriale's Market.
Most of us don't have this kind of help with our budgets.
So, this is a big deal kind of dinner.
Make sure your guests know that.


USDA recommends cooking meat to 145ºF (well-done).
Rare will give you a reading of 125ºF.
It's your call.


                        Standing Rib Roast

Serves 10
Place the oven grate in the lower third of the oven
Preheat the oven to 325º F

Place fat side up in a large roasting pan
4-rib fully trimmed beef roast (about 8 pounds)
Sprinkle it with 
salt and pepper
Scatter around the meat
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, cut into wedges

Roast: rare - 12 minutes to the pound
So, an 8 pound roast will need at least 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Transfer meat to a cutting board and cover with foil.
Let stand 20 minutes.

While the meat is standing, prepare the juices:
Spoon off the fat from the roasting pan.
Add
2 Cups beef broth
Place it over medium heat.
Cook, scraping up the meat bits with a wooden spoon, 
until the gravy is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Strain the liquid into a heated gravy boat.


Would I make Standing Rib Roast?
No.  It's a rather fatty cut of beef.
My doctor would not take it well.
He might act like one of Tony's boys.


One recipe down.  Sixty-six more to go. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Lobster Fra Diavolo / Jumbo Shrimp Fra Diavolo - Seafood in Spicy Tomato Sauce


Cards sent…  
You know there'll be a surprise card on December 23 from somebody you barely know.
House clean… It's good enough.  Just allow visitors at night and use candles.
Gifts bought… Well, most of them.
On to step 2: shop the house.

It's time to think of the big day's main course.
Twelve days to the holy feast of Christmas.
Peace on earth, good will toward men.
Yeah, right...

Back to Jennifer's chapter:
Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Lobster in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Linguine looks about right.


What is it about Artie's book and my local grocery stores?
Both flyers mentioned there were deals to be had on lobster.
Yeah, well, not in this neighbourhood.

The guys in the meat department just love it when they see me.
When I ask for something a little special it just makes their day.
Live lobsters?
North End Winnipeg?
You gotta be kiddin'!!

And a ho ho ho to you, too!

Maybe there is something hilarious about live lobsters.
Remember the boiling lobster scene in Annie Hall?
And Julie had to live with the guilt of being a lobster killer in Julie & Julia.
They just had to toss the lobsters into a pot and boil them.


The method in Artie's book is a lot more violent.
Well, what do you expect in a Sopranos cookbook?

Okay… here's how Tony's boys do the deed:
First thing:
Knock back a few stiff drinks to steady your nerves.
DO NOT remove the rubber bands that keep the lobster claws shut.
Wear oven mitts to protect yourself.

Okay… here we go:
Place a LIVE lobster upside down on a cutting board.
Hold the lobster by the tail and plunge the point of a heavy knife into the body,
where the tail joins the chest, and cut off the tail.
Continue hacking up the lobster at the joints into 2 inch chunks.
Crack the claws.
Remove the rubber bands.
That's one dead lobster.


There's more than one way to feed the family something fishy and fancy.
Frozen jumbo shrimp.
No muss, no fuss, no lobster claws, no big knives.

Shrimp is smaller and a quicker cook.
Do the frying bit until they're pink, then remove them from the pot.
Add the other ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.
Add the shrimp for the last 10 minutes.


The spicy tomato sauce is good with lobster or shrimp.
Yeah, right, the sauce is red.
Ya got a problem with that?


                        Lobster Fra Diavolo 

Serves 4 to 6

Into a large heavy pot pour
1/3 Cup olive oil
Add
2 lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each) prepared as above
2 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cook, stirring over medium low heat for 10 minutes.

Add
1 Cup dry white wine
1 29 to 35 ounce can Italian tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
a dash of salt
Bring to a simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.
Remove the lobster pieces and keep them warm.


For the Linguine

While the sauce is simmering, in a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add
1 pound linguine
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.
Toss the pasta until it is coated.
Arrange the pasta in a warm serving bowl or platter.
Top with the lobster.
Serve immediately.


Would I make Lobster Fra Diavolo?
Sure.  With shrimp.
And I better not hear any complaints.
I still have that big heavy knife.


One recipe down.  Sixty-seven more to go.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Zabaglione - Marsala Wine Dessert

Got a reminder from a reader.
Not everybody's Christmas involves inviting a whole crowd.
You're right.
That doesn't mean that a smaller Christmas celebration isn't a special time.
Or that it doesn't deserve a memorable dessert.


Adriana's chapter Cibo D'Amore in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook has wonderful recipes for more intimate special events. 

Even if you're having the whole gang over, do try to set aside some time to have a special quiet moment.

If you want to share, this recipe is easily increased.


                        Zabaglione                 

Serves 2

In a medium saucepan (or bottom half of a double boiler) pour
2 inches of water
Bring to a simmer.  Do not boil.

In a heatproof bowl that fits in the saucepan 
(or top half of a double boiler) place
3 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons dry Marsala wine
Beat with a hand held electric mixer or a whisk until well blended.
Place bowl over the simmering water.
Beat the egg mixture until it is very fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Top with
strawberries or raspberries (optional)
Serve immediately.


Would I make Zabaglione again?
Sure.
Large family gatherings are nice.
But, having cozy holiday dinners for two is one of the perks of being over 60.


One recipe down.  Sixty-eight more to go.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Links for Manitoba Food Processors l How Long to Keep Everything l Menu Planning by Margaret Ullrich

About the companies who were at that Christmas party hosted by the

There were old Winnipeg favourites, like Jeanne's Bakery.
There were tasty novel food products from NuEats.


There was a wide assortment of delicious food.
Something for every taste.
And you can enjoy their products year 'round!

Please click on the links for these companies and
enjoy Manitoba food products real soon!






























While we're at it, here are some more handy Manitoba Food links:

nutrition, recipes, links from FOOD MANITOBA




milk calendar


And here are some helpful lists...


Anna Sultana's Imbuljuta (Maltese Holiday Chestnut Dessert)


It's also been quite a while since I posted one of Ma's recipes.
Well, here's one of her Christmas recipes.

Imbuljuta is the traditional Maltese dessert served after Midnight Mass.
Or on New Year’s Eve. 
It has an aroma of spicy chocolate and citrus.
How great is that?


We always made a trip to Corona to get a few pounds of chestnuts.
Chestnuts weren't easy to find in College Point.
So, we had to make a trip.
But, it was worth it!


                        Imbuljuta 

Soak overnight
500 grams (a little over 1 pound) dried chestnuts
Remove any remaining peel.

Put the chestnuts in a pot and add
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
4 to 6 Tablespoons sugar
Grated rind of 2 tangerines
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
24 whole cloves
100 grams (about 4 ounces) dark chocolate (optional)

Cover with 
1 litre (a little over 4 Cups) water
Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, 
or until the chestnuts are tender. 
If necessary add some more boiling water.

Some folks like to add a dash of rum or brandy.
The kids might like adding chocolate bits to their servings.
Or pieces of a chocolate bar.

Hey, it is a time to celebrate!!!