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.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

CHIACCHIERE (small talk) What's the Gossip About?

During Carnevale delightful, sweet, crispy strips known as chiacchiere are seen throughout bakeries in Italy.  They are fried treats that go by many names: 
Cenci, Crostoli, Frappe, Cioffe


They are also made in different shapes: squares, sheets, strips, diamonds, knots and twisted ribbon. 

Recipe

3 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup whisky or sambuca
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Confectioner's sugar

In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar, salt and whisky until well blended.  Sift flour with baking powder and add gradually to batter until a stiff dough forms.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  Divide dough in half; roll each half as thin as possible (noodle thickness).  Cut into strips (5" x1") with a scalloped pastry wheel.

Preheat oil to 375 degrees.  Fry cookies few at a time for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.  Yields about 4 or more dozens.

What makes this timeless pastry truly heavenly and addictive is their light and crisp texture, which pairs beautifully with a coffee and dessert wine.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Italian Weddings, Confetti and Memories




Sugared almonds (Confetti in Italian) always embodies the indivisibility of the new wedded couple.  Always given in uneven numbers (five), white confetti mean fertility, longevity, health, wealth and happiness.

Many years ago, there was a popular ritual of throwing sugared almonds by the wedded couple from the balcony.  After the religious ceremony, the couple went back to the house and threw confetti to friends and relatives gathered under the balcony for the celebration.  There was never a shortage of children who rushed to collect the confetti.  I remember, few people even came with umbrellas.



Today, confetti are given to guests in the form of wedding favors.  They are tucked into pretty boxes called

bomboniere

that are personalized with the couple's names and wedding date.















Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CESTI e SCAFFALI IN VIMINI: Gioielli di Arredo

E' vero, ho un debole per oggetti di vimini.  Come vedrete dalle foto, per me sono dei veri e propri componenti d'arredo.  Uniscono praticita' e stile per contenere piccoli oggetti della vita quotidiana, per ordinarli, nasconderli o pure esibirli.  Si inseriscono perfettamente in ogni stanza della mia casa.

Vasi in vimini per piante: Ottima soluzione per creare un piacevolo angolo di verde dentro casa.



                            


Cesto nell'ingresso o foyer:  Cesto con coperchio e' un accento decorativo e nasconde qualche giocattolo dei nipoti.



Ceste in soggiorno:  la zona living e forse la parte della mia casa che piu' necessita la presenza di cesti, forse perche' e' che quella piu' vissuta.  I cesti (tipo scatole) sotto il tavolo contengono album fotografici.  Accanto alla sedia, cesto con riviste da sfogliare, e vicino al camino contiene legna.



   



Cesto in cameretta di cucito:  Cesto tipo "pic nic" e' ottimo per organizzare nozioni e forbici.


Scaffale e cesto in cucina:  I libri di cucina non meritano di restare chiusi nel cassetto.  Devono essere sotto gli occhi per poterle sfogliare in ogni momento.  Il cesto per la frutta in vimini e' ideale  permettere all'aria di filtrare e consentire una maturazione della frutta.









Cesti e scaffali per bagno.  Scaffali e cesti sono perfetti per il bagno se si desidera mantenere sempre l'ordine.  Il scaffale e' ideale come porta asciugamani e il cesto cilindrico rivestito al suo interno con in sacco di cotone e' perfetto per biancheria da lavare.


       

Per finire, se amate  i cesti in vimini come me, non c'e' motivo di non averne uno in ogni stanza.


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.