Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve supper

A late supper for six, followed by champagne toasts into the New Year.  Welcome 2011!

Porchetta -- boned pork shoulder, rubbed with herbs, garlic, and olive oil, and roasted in a low oven, with a crackling crisp skin
Sauteed cabbage -- with onions, garlic, thyme, apple, white wine, and stock
Cannellini beans Tuscan-style -- with sage, onion, and olive oil
Noodles Alfredo -- not quite fettuccine, but with butter, a touch of cream, grated pecorino cheese, and a sprinkle of parsley

Dessert is sweet potato pie, cookies, coffee.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas morning -- zeppole

I was up early this morning -- and standing at my stove frying zeppole, small twists of dough, drizzled with honey and sugar.  These were my grandmother Catherine's specialty at Christmas.  Very Neapolitan. 

This recipe makes a lot of zeppole.  Feel free to halve these proportions.

5 c             flour
1 t              baking powder
2 c             boiling water
2/3 c          oil
1 t              vanilla

Mound the flour in a deep mixing bowl.  Add baking powder.  Pour in the boiling water, the oil, and the vanilla.  Mix well.  The dough will be sticky at first, but as it is mixed it will become less so.  Turn out onto a board and knead gently for a couple of minutes.  Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. 

Cut the ball of dough into 8 parts.  Roll each part into a long rope and cut the rope into 1-inch lengths.  Roll each bit further into a slim log, the size of your little finger and about 2 to 3 inches long.  Cross the ends into a little bow.  Set aside.
A portion of the rested dough.

Rolled into a rope. 

 Cut into small dumpling-sized sections. 

 Rolled out and twisted into a bow.  

Lined up on a baking sheet, ready to fry.

Fry the bows in deep hot oil, until lightly brown.  Do not overcook.  Drain well on paper towels.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Warm some honey to thin it out (a microwave does this best) and pour the honey generously over the zeppole.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.  A unique and delicious Christmas treat.

Frying the zeppole in hot oil.  

Draining on paper towels.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve!

I'm just done in the kitchen....made the stuffed calamari, the calzoniti, the marinara sauce and the tuna sauce for pasta.  Bringing it all over Aunt El's for our traditional family Christmas Eve dinner.  Should be great fun!

Recipes to follow....

Tuna sauce -- a once-a-year treat -- tuna, olives, capers, anchovies

 Stuffed calamari in tomato sauce.  

  Calzoniti (or "cauciun" in Abruzzese dialect) -- 
chocolate, fruit, and nuts in a fried ravioli treat

All the best for a Merry Christmas
and a Joyous New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Union Square Greenmarket at Christmas

The gang ventured up to NYC for its annual Christmas stroll through Union Square.  We go in particular for the Christmas Market, but one of the delights is also the Greenmarket, which is there every Wednesday and Saturday. 

The Greenmarket features only locally produced foods, so veggies this time of year are apples, pears, cabbages and Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, and all sorts of root vegetables like celeriac, beets, radishes, and Jerusalem artichokes.  Beyond the produce are baked goods, honey, jams and pickles, pasta, cheese and eggs.  This time of year there are also lots of Christmas greens. 

It's a beautiful place to visit.  I only wish I could shop and bring the stuff home to cook. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Apple pandowdy

Simple as pie.  Piece of cake.

Peel, core, and cut up 8-10 nice apples.  Add 1/2 cup raisins, the zest of half an orange, a couple tablespoons orange juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp allspice, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons Minute® tapioca, mix well, and arrange in a baking dish.  I used a shallow, terra cotta cazuela from Spain, about 12" across and 2" deep.  Dot with a couple tablespoons butter. 

Cut up 1 sheet of Pillsbury pie crust into strips using a ravioli cutter.  (Sure, go ahead, make your own, but on a drizzly, drab Sunday, that was not in the plans.)

Artfully arrange the strips on top of the apples.  Or just fling them on top, whatever you like.  Brush the pastry with some cream and sprinkle with coarse brown sugar. 

Bake in a 350°F oven for about an hour until the apples are bubbly and the crust is nicely browned. 

I mean, really, how beautiful is that?