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By Christy Martino
I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
I am led to believe that World Pasta Day 2016 is to be on Tuesday, October 25 this year. So, with this in mind, what are the eG cooks planning on "cooking up" in celebrating the day?
I will start the ball rolling.
I am going to make my standard egg yoke pasta sheets, rolled out on my now seldom-used manual pasta machine and use them in making lasagna, using my old and reliable bolognese sauce recipe layered with béchamel sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
And with the left-over egg whites I will make a few meringue bases for portioned pavlova - Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere and berries and fruit are starting to appear in the shops!
Just found out that a member of eGullet, @Cia has begun to post his short videos on Italian culinary culture on YouTube. Only one to date but I know there are more in the pipeline. While made by an Italian based in Italy the narrative is in English.
Here's the first instalment:
Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves.
50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
80 g honey
120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet)
2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon
230 g flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts)
Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
Optional: more olive oil for brushing
Heat oven to 170 deg C.
In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform.
Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix.
Add nuts and fold until well dispersed.
On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough.
With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking.
Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely.
Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices.
Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden.
Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor.
Let chill completely before removing from tray.
Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea.
By Chris Hennes
Over in the Cooking with "Eat Mexico" topic I've posted a about things I've made from Lesley Téllez's recently-published book about street food in Mexico City. I finally had time to go down to "CDMX" (as they are now trying to rebrand themselves) this weekend and went on two of the Eat Mexico food tours. On Friday we went on the street food tour, and on Saturday on the San Juan market tour. The pope was also in town this weekend which made the city crazier than usual and drove the tour selections as we tried to not be where he was, with limited success.
Street Food Tour
I have limited photos of this one because our hands were usually full! There are ten "normal" stops on the tour plus a couple of optional ones. One of the vendors was closed for the day, but we definitely had no shortage of food. I think the tour lasted something like four hours, and we were basically eating the whole time. Most of it was standing and walking, but we did stop into a local coffee shop and sit down for a short time. Our guide, Arturo, was excellent. He is from the city, has attended culinary school, and is very well versed in both the local street food culture as well as Mexican cuisine overall.
While the tour was mostly eating, we did walk through one small neighborhood market just to get the feel for the thing, and we stopped at one local tortilleria:
The classic tortilla-delivery vehicle:
We chatted up a local store owner who was making "antojitos" ("little cravings") for breakfast:
Ate some tamales, walked a bit, then had some tlacoyos: here are the condiments...
We also had some fresh juices. They really like their pseudo-medicinal juices.. we had the one that was "anti-flu" (and delicious):
For the tlacoyos I had a huitlacoche and my wife has the chicken tinga. The huitlacoche was disappointingly non-descript. The remedy, of course, was to douse it in salsa, which fixes everything. A few blocks down we had carnitas tacos:
And then some mango and watermelon with chile powder:
Arturo tried to ply us with more food at the nearby burreria, but at this point we were on the verge of exploding:
So we stopped for some locally-roasted coffee:
Then on to a burrito place (of all things!) -- the guy running the burrito place was hilarious, and totally frank about stealing the burrito thing from Texas and then "fixing it." He's had the stand for something like 20 years. We split a squash blossom burrito (squash blossoms, onions, salsa, and cheese are the only ingredients, no rice or beans) which he makes on the griddle and then covers in a cheese blend and fries until the cheese browns and crisps. Definitely an improved burrito! Yeah, no photos there. Second to last was an absolutely terrific octopus tostada:
And then a final stop for dessert (which we took back to the hotel rather than eating it there):
ETA: A couple more photos. Also, there was a turkey and pork sandwich of some kind that I have no photos of and can't quite remember where it fit into the tour. Just in case you were worried about us starving.
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