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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Poor" Dishes of my Childhood Continue onto my Adulthood

When I was growing up in Abruzzo, the cooking was simple cooking or referred to as ‘la cucina povera’ (poor kitchen). The vegetables and fruits of the region allowed for the simplicity. There was no need to hide or disguise the vibrant ingredients in our dishes. The lands produced vegetables whose savor cannot be equaled and needed no lavish sauce to disguise the taste.

Many of the foods I grew up eating have become my favorite foods and I realize how fortunate I am to never have to transition to eating healthier foods, as I was already there from childhood. Today, freshness is the first rule of my cooking. I demand that my produce be fresh, fresh, and that cooking not hide the taste.

Here is a sample of a "poor" dish. It's called (Verdure con Pizza di Granturco) or (Pizz di Grandenie - dialect Abruzzese). Simply, it's a cornbread served with mixed greens.
Cornbread cooked over hot ashes
In Italy, we cooked this pizza on a burning fireplace. The pizza was placed on the hot stones and covered with a cup (coppa) and in turn covered with ash, embers and moderate heat.

Cornbread

1 lb. cornmeal
4 cups of boiling water
Pinch of salt

Poor the cornmeal on the counter and make a well. Add salt. Poor the boiling water slowly into the well and mix with a fork until all the water if finished and a soft mixture is obtained. Place the cornmeal mixture on a greased baking pan and flatten it to 1" thick. If mixture is hot, dampen your hands in cold water to flatten the pizza. (I prefer thin rather than thick). Cook in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 50 minutes. Once cooked it will be crunchy outside and softer inside.

Cooked cornbread or pizza
Serve with Garlic Broccoli Rape: Cook 1 bunch broccoli rape in boiling water 1 minute; drain well. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 3 sliced garlic cloves; saute 1 minute. Add broccoli rape and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook 5 to 10 minutes.

Any kind of greens may be used. In this recipe, I used swiss chard and dandelions.

Pizze e Fui

Cut cornbread in chunks and mix with greens

Our favorite is mixed greens and cornbread served with a side dish of fried sardines and dry peppers.

 Pizz, fui e sardell

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