Aperol Cocktails

Aperol Cocktails

Although you can drink Aperol all year round, I think of it more as a spring or summer drink. Here are 2 Aperol cocktail recipes, one very simple and the other a little more complicated.

 

Aperol Spritz

Aperol CocktailsAperol Cocktails

Using a flute, pour in chilled Aperol followed by the chilled Prosecco. I was a bit extravagant with this one using Champagne. Nothing wrong with that. Garnish with an orange slice.

Aperol Cocktails


 

Amber Road

Aperol Cocktails

Aperol Cocktails
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a tall glass and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint.

Aperol Cocktails


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Palm Sunday 2018

Palm Sunday 2018

My family got together for dinner on Palm Sunday. It’s a special holiday for some Italians, each family with their own  traditional menu. Some of the things we serve on Palm Sunday we might only have once a year.
Dinner starts with a non-typical antipasto – Baccala Salad and Pizza Rustica.

Palm Sunday 2018

Bridget can make baccala salad with her eyes closed.

Palm Sunday 2018Kristina made enough pizza rustica to last for a few days.


The pasta course is a Napolitano version of the Siciliano Pasta con Sarde.

Palm Sunday 2018Bridget and Nicki the day before.

Palm Sunday 2018

Nobody likes to filet the sardines.

Palm Sunday 2018Our version is a red sauce.


Leg of lamb and roast vegetables for the main course with an orange finocchio salad as a side dish.

Palm Sunday 2018

Seasoned with garlic and rosemary.

Palm Sunday 2018

The dressing is just oil and vinegar.


For desert, pizza con gran.

Palm Sunday 2018


Chicken and Tomato Stew

Chicken and Tomato Stew

This is my version of a recipe that I found in Bon Appetit. It’s easy and tastes like you put a lot more effort into it than you did. The caramelized lemons are a nice touch.

Chicken and Tomato Stew

Ingredients:

Chicken and Tomato Stew

Preparation:

Stew

  • Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high. Cook chicken, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving drippings behind.

Chicken and Tomato Stew

  • Add onion to pot and cook, stirring often, until softened. Stir in tomato paste and cook for few minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often until onion begins to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes.

Chicken and Tomato Stew

  • Add tomatoes and return chicken to pot. Pour in broth (it should barely cover chicken) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until chicken is tender and juices thicken, 70–80 minutes.

Caramelized Lemon

Chicken and Tomato Stew

  • Trim the top and bottom from lemon, perch on a flat end, and cut lengthwise into quarters; remove seeds. Thinly slice quarters crosswise into quarter-moons. Place in a medium skillet, pour in water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a small bowl; sprinkle with sugar and toss to coat.
  • Wipe out skillet and heat oil over medium-high. Arrange lemon pieces in a single layer in skillet. Cook, turning halfway through, until deeply browned in most spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer back to bowl and season with salt. Stir lemon pieces into stew just before serving. Serve with Italian or French bread.

Chicken and Tomato Stew


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Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra
This isn’t about the Mafia. Cosa nostra literally means “our thing.” And in this story, the thing is how an Italian woman feels about her cooking. In New York’s Little Italy there was a Neapolitan-Sicilian cooking rivalry between housewives.

 

My Aunt Lena, a first-generation Neapolitan-American who grew up in Manhattan’s Little Italy, happened to fall in love with a first-generation Sicilian-American. This wasn’t quite as tragic as Romeo and Juliet. Really, it was no big deal—except where cooking was concerned. Shortly after the wedding, Aunt Lena’s Sicilian-born mother-in-law, Rose, came to dinner. My aunt put together an extensive menu, including a Neapolitan standard: lasagna. The basic family recipe is broad pasta layered and baked with a garlic based tomato sauce, three cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan), and meatballs “no bigger than a dime.” My mother and aunt could roll these little gems between their palms three at a time.

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra

Rose said she loved it, and sometime after that, she invited my aunt to dinner, saying she liked her lasagna so much she thought she’d serve her own version of it—of course, with a Sicilian twist. In Rose’s version, the garlicky sauce was supplemented with chopped onions. In addition to the three traditional cheeses, Rose added a good amount of provolone. And, layered with the strips of pasta, she added sliced hardboiled eggs and some sopressata. The all-important little meatballs were gone. My aunt politely ate some of Rose’s dish and commented on how good it was, all the while hiding her outrage that a family recipe should be so casually bastardized. She hoped she would soon have her chance to avenge this affront to the cuisine of Naples. She didn’t have to wait long, as March 19th was coming up. That’s the feast day of St. Joseph, when many Sicilian households traditionally serve pasta con sarde. The name means “pasta with sardines,” . . .

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra

So my Aunt Lena invited Rose for a St. Joseph’s day dinner, and said she wanted to serve pasta con sarde. Like a good daughter-in-law, she asked her for her family recipe, and Rose was happy to supply it. My aunt followed the instructions precisely, but during the simmering of the sauce, she added enough crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes (imported from Naples, of course) to turn Rose’s green sauce red. Rose, in turn, controlled her reaction to this wrong-colored sauce, and said it was all delicious. My aunt’s honor was satisfied.

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra


. . . I was twelve when I ate lunch at a friend’s home, where his grandmother served us delicious sandwiches made with breaded flounder fillets. When I got home, I made two mistakes. First, in my innocence, I asked my mother and aunt, “How come your fillets aren’t as tasty as the ones Vinnie’s grandmother makes?” Second, I forgot that Vinnie’s grandmother was Sicilian. My mother and aunt always treated me like a little prince who could do no wrong, but this time I really made them angry.

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra

“If you like Vinnie’s grandmother’s cooking so much,” my mother huffed, “you should eat there from now on.” And she wouldn’t talk to me after that. I knew she didn’t mean it, but I also knew she was very upset. When I sat at my family’s dinner table that evening, hoping the afternoon’s conversation had been forgotten, I discovered that I wasn’t allowed to have any of the pasta lenticchie and pork chops with vinegar peppers everyone else was eating.

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra

“Since you don’t appreciate the way we cook,” announced my aunt, “this is what you’ll eat from now on.” And she and my mother made a big show of serving me a baloney sandwich on Wonder Bread. When I’d finished the sandwich my penance was complete. They forgave me, and gave me my real dinner. And I was very careful to watch what I said about their cooking after that.


. . . Not being able to talk about food, or exchange recipes, or even go grocery shopping together without some subtle eye-rolling, made it difficult for the Neapolitan and Sicilian housewives of my childhood to become close friends. But they did have at least one thing that bound them together: They all looked down their noses at the Toscana housewives from the north who cooked with butter instead of good southern olive oil.

Excerpt from La Cosa Nostra

 

La Cosa Nostra the whole story from TOMATO SLICES

My Aunt Lena’s Pasta con Sarde Recipe

 Traditional Pasta con Sarde Recipe

Pasta Lenticchie  and  Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers recipes

Italian Wine Glasses

Italian Wine Glasses

I suppose any wine glasses made in  Italy can be called  “Italian Wine Glasses.” But that’s not what I’m talking about. There are traditional stemless glasses that are used in some trattorias and other unpretentious Italian restaurants and those are Italian wine glasses. Sometimes called a bacaro, it holds 5 ounces which is about what you’d get in a typical stemmed glass.

It’s a casual way of serving and I think that’s what’s good about these glasses. Wine is an everyday part of a meal and not just for special occasions.


Italian Wine Glasses

Shaped like a tumbler or highball glass but a lot smaller.


Italian Wine Glasses

They hold just about the same amount as you’d pour into a stemmed glass.


 Italian Wine GlassesA trattoria tradition.


Italian Wine Glasses

They don’t have to be plain.




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Beef Cointreau

Beef Cointreau

This is an easy recipe. You can make it on an outdoor grill or an indoor stove.  The Cointreau can be replaced with Triple Sec, Sweet Marsala or your choice.

 

Beef Cointreau

Beef Cointreau

The Marinade:  Mix the Cointreau and honey in a small bowl until the honey liquefies then mix in the soy sauce.

The Steak: Cut the flank steak across the grain on an angle, making slices not thicker than 1/4 inch by 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Beef Cointreau

Put the sliced meat and marinade in a zip lock bag and refrigerate it overnight or for at least 4 hours, turning it occasionally.

Weave the slices onto bamboo skewers and cook them over charcoal or in a ridged broiler pan until the edges of the slices start to crisp or until they’re as done as you like them. It’s a good idea to soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes before using them. It helps keep them from burning.

You can also make this without using skewers. Leave the steak whole and marinate it the same way. Fry or broil it and let it rest 10 minutes. Cut it across the grain in one inch thick slices and serve.


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Icelandic Birch Cocktail

Icelandic Birch Cocktail

My friend Bea sent me this cocktail  recipe from the Sons of Norway Magazine about 6 weeks ago. My super market finally got blood oranges but I had no luck finding Birkir Snaps. The recipe said you could substitute Bourbon with a dash of pine syrup. The Bourbon was easy but I didn’t know where to start looking for pine syrup. I substituted a dash of Retsina, a Greek wine made with a bit of pine resin. I suppose people in Iceland don’t have it too easy getting blood oranges either.
Here’s looking at you, Bea. Thanks for the challenge. It was delicious.

 

Icelandic Birch CocktailIcelandic Birch Cocktail

Put the Bourbon, orange juice, Retsina and syrup into a shaker full of ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. A splash of club soda or San Pellegrino and a couple of dashes of Angostura – done.

Icelandic Birch Cocktail

 


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Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Red Rock Shrimp  Credit: D.D.Deheyn and M.C.Allen


Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Here’s my take on Nick Stellino‘s pasta with shrimp and paprika.

 

Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Pasta with Shrimp and PaprikaPut up a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the salt and red and black pepper.  add the garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes – don’t burn the garlic.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the shrimp and paprika. Stir together and cook until the shrimp starts to color.Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Add the wine and stir and simmer simmering over medium heat, until the wine reduces.

Add the butter and stir until it melts. Drain the almost cooked pasta. add it to the sauce and pour in the stock. Turn off the heat add the optional parsley, stir to combine and serve.Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika


 

Red Wine Beef Soup

A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms – Pieter Aertsen

 

 

Red Wine Beef Soup

This soup is dark, hardy and meaty. Cotes du Rhone is always recommended for meat soups and stews. It doesn’t have to be expensive but should be good enough to drink.

Preheat oven to 350°. Season meat with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown and transfer to a plate. Pour off all the drippings from pot and return 3 tablespoons to the pot and use 3 for the roux.

In separate pot add 3-4 tbsps. drippings and 3 tbsps. flour to make the roux. If it’s too dry add some more drippings or wine.

Add trinity and oregano to Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned. Then add the tomato paste and blend. Add the roux and stir until well combined. Stir in wine and blend, then return the meat with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil.

Add all herbs and garlic to pot. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.

Cook until ribs are tender, about 1 hour 45 min. Transfer ribs to a platter and remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones.

Strain sauce from pot or remove herbs, garlic, etc. with a spider and discard.

Add 8 cups of water to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, cook until al dente and serve.

This is good served with a little prepared horse radish or parmigiana cheese or both.

Trinity  &   Roux  Instructions


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