Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baked Stuffed Pasta Shells

Baked Stuffed Pasta Shells

12 oz pkg of Jumbo Shells Pasta

Cook shells in boiling water and a little salt until tender but not fully cooked.

1 small onion chopped
1 clove of garlic smashed and shopped
2 eggs slightly beaten
8 oz of Ricotta Cheese
½ cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1 tblsp parsley flakes
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
(optional: 2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken or turkey)

2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese

In la large bowl, combine:
onion, garlic, eggs, ricotta, breadcrumbs, parsley flakes, pecorino cheese.
(You may also add chicken or turkey at this time, also)
Fill Shells with mixture.

Spread tomato sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with cover .
Arrange shells on sauce, then cover shells with tomato sauce.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Uncover, spoon more sauce over shells.
Top with Mozzarella Cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mema's Pizza Dough and Pizza

Mema’s Pizza Dough and Pizza Sauce

In a warm bowl, combine the following:

1 pkg yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 Tbsp light Olive Oil
1 tsp salt

Blend above ingredients and let stand for 20 minutes.

Flour (start with 5 lb bag)
Slowly add flour until you have a sticky ball.
Flour the ball of dough and place into a warm bowl that has been greased with butter.
Brush the top of the dough with light olive oil.
Put bowl in a warm place away from any drafts and allow dough to rise.
When dough rises, take half of dough and stretch into cookie sheet pan or
round pizza pan and form a crust around edge.
Put aside and allow to rise in pan while preparing the sauce for topping.

3 tbsp Olive Oil and a pinch of salt
3 cloves smashed chopped garlic
1 lg can kitchen ready tomatoes
1 stick pepperoni sliced thin

Heat olive oil and add crushed chopped garlic and a few slices of pepperoni
Add salt and allow to sauté for a few minutes
Add crushed tomatoes and allow to simmer for a few more minutes

Spread hot tomato on pizza dough
Add sliced pepperoni
Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until brown on bottom.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Broken Pasta Three Cheese Lasagna

Broken Pasta Three Cheese Lasagna

Sauce for Lasagna:
½ lb each of ground beef, veal, pork
1 lg can Kitchen Ready Tomatoes
1 lg can diced tomatoes
1 lg onion chopped
3 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
Sprinkle of oregano and thyme (Italian Seasoning)
Salt and pepper to taste
(you may also add a sprinkle of red pepper seeds and a splash of red wine to increase and diversify the flavor)

Sauté beef, veal, and pork until browned.
Move to sides of pan and add chopped onion to sizzle
Add garlic to onion and continue to sauté until onion is tender
(add sprinkle of red pepper seeds at this time)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and oregano and thyme
Add diced tomatoes and simmer for five minutes
(add a splash of red wine at this time)
Add Kitchen Ready tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes

16 oz Ricotta Cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
16 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
16 oz Shredded Provolone Cheese
8 oz Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

In large bowl combine Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Ricotta Cheese
Add eggs and fold to blend
Spread Tomato Meat Sauce on bottom of pan
Place noodles or broken pasta over sauce
Spread cheese mixture over pasta and cover with sauce
Repeat layers covering last layer with pasta and sauce
Sprinkle with Mozzarella
Cover and bake for 30 minutes in 375 degree oven
Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes
Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving

Savor the distinctive scent and taste of this delicious dish!
Italian Heaven for sure!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Te Quiero Mi Amor, Siempre


Te quiero mi amor, Te quiero mi amor
Te quiero mi amor, siempre

Te amo mi amor, Te amo mi amor
Te amo mi amor, con mi alma

Mi corazon esta trieste,
Porque te vas, Porque te vas,
Se tu no vas estamos junto siempre


Te quiero mi amor, te amo mi amor
Te quiero mi amor con mi alma

Tengo cuidado mucho y carino tan mas
Pero, no tengo mi amigo de amor


Te quiero mi amor, te amo mi amor
Te quiero mi amor, con mi alma

Tu no mi quieras, y no puedo cambiar
y yo no tengo mi amigo de amor

Te quiero mi amor, Te quiero mi amor
Te quiero mi amor, s i e m p r e

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oatmeal Orange Apple Pie

In my quest to find easy recipes, I am constantly mixing and matching ingredients and techniques to minimize effort and time, but to retain deliciousness.

I have been experimenting with these bread crusts as a way to minimize the time of making a conventional crust and maximizing ejoyability.

This is also a great way to entertain my grandchildren when they come to visit. They can actually get the hands on experience of making an apple treat without too much of the mess.

The ingredients can be substituted for persons who are diabetic or on a diet by using whole grains and sugar free products and light butters.

I love to experiment and I am sure you will love this results as much as my grandchildren and I do.

I just took one out of the oven and we cannot stop eating it! Deeeeeeeeeelish

4 lg Courtland apples or apples of your liking
1 stick butter (4 tbsp melted in apples and 4/6 tbsp melted in microfor dipping bread)
¼ cup brown and ¼ cup white, or all brown according to your desire or availability
¼ cup Fifty50 sugar free low glycemic diet orange marmalade spread, or any jam of your choosing.
1 tbsp of cinnamon to sprinkle on apples
5 lg slices of hearty oatmeal or 12 grain bread or even maple cinnamon bread.

Take 3 or 4 large Courtland Apples. Slice into saucepan with 4 tbsp melting butter. ¼ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup refined white sugar. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, continue to cook 5 to 20 more minutes until broken down. Turn off heat and stir in ¼ cup orange marmalade glace and cinnamon to taste and allow to cool for a few minutes.

While Apples are cooling, take 6 slices of hearty oatmeal bread. Dip first 2 slices in melted butter and place buttered side down, bottom to bottom, in a 9” Pie plate. Cut the next two slice in half and dip in butter, placing on 4 sides lining the sides of the pie plate. Dip the two remaining slices in butter and cut in strips ½ inch thick.

Spread cooked apples, with orange marmalade glace and cinnamon onto the oatmeal bread. Top with the ½ inch strips forming sort of a lattice top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Quick and Delicious Apple Pie

Make pie crust with 2 cups flour, 1 stick softened butter, baking powder, and 2 oz cold water. Mix to form ball. Flour and roll to fit 9" pie plate.

Core, peel, and cut 5 apples per pie of any type you prefer. Courtlands, Macs, so on and so forth.

Add, half cup white sugar, half cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.

Also add quarter cup flour to absorb liquid. Pile apples into 9" pie crust. Place four pats of butter on top of apples.

Cover with top crust. Brush with milk. Place in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

There is nothing more appealing than the smell of fresh baked apple pie. It has been researched to be the most sensual scent that appeals to men. So, bake him an apple pie, and he will be hooked. Easy, quick, delicious and sensuous!

Pineapple Pumpkin Pie

Pineapple Pumpkin Pie
It is Thanksgiving Morning, and I want to wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and pray that Our Lord Jesus watches over all of you and helps us all to realize a brighter future.

I was in my Italian Kitchen, this morning, fussing with the tukey, when I spotted an older 29 oz can of Libbys pure pumpkin in the cupboard. I also had an opened 20 oz oz can crushed pineapple in the refrigerator

I had a couple of frozen unbaked 9" pie shells in the freezer, and a dented 12 oz can of evaporated milk that I had picked up on the markdown counter, so I decided to create a Pineapple Pumpkin Pie.
I am sure you will love this one!

* 2- 9" pie shells
* 1 29 oz can pure pumpkin
* 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
* 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
* 4 eggs
* 2 tblspoons cinnamon
* 1 cup brownulated sugar
* pinch of salt
Crack four eggs into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt, cinnamon and brownlated sugar and wisk to mix. You may add nutmeg and cloves if you desire.

Now, add pumpkin to the bowl and wisk until thoroughly mixed. You can use fresh pumpkin if you prefer.  Next addition is the evaporated milk, wisking until mixed and smooth.

At this point, add the crushed pineapple and fold into the pumpkin pie mixture. Pour into two 9" pie crusts and place in oven at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or until center is firm. I put them in the oven with the turkey, on the top racks over the turkey, so the temperature had to be in keeping with the roasting turkey.

Creativity is the key to good cooking.  I believe this to be the most delicious pumpkin pie you will ever taste!  Simple, quick, and delish!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

La Rosa Blanca

La Rosa Blanca

Cultivo una rosa blanca,

En julio como en enero,

Para el amigo sincero

Que me da su mano franca.

Y para el cruel que me arranca

El corazón con que vivo,

Cardo ni ortiga' cultivo:

Cultivo la rosa blanca.

Poemas de José Martí

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holiday Brussels Sprouts

I love to make brussels sprouts as a holiday side dish.

You can follow the theme of Thanksgiving with orange and yellow peppers, and you can follow the theme of Christmas with red peppers.

You can save time and space, by cooking them in the pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove, lending a great flavor to the soup.

If you are making chicken soup to have with your dinner, you can put them in the simmering soup to cook. If not, you can just put them in cold water, add a sprinkle of baking soda to keep the color vivid, and bring the water to a boil and simmer until tender.

While the brussels sprouts are cooking, place a large sauté pan on a burner and turn to med high. Add olive oil, chopped peppers, smashed and chopped garlic, red pepper seeds, and salt and pepper to taste.

By the time the sauté peppers are softening, the brussels sprouts should be ready to add to the pan with a trickle of soup or water and allow to sauté for a few minutes folding all until combined. Turn off burner and allow to settle.

Brandied Holiday Yams

Benedictine Brandied Yams is one of the all time favorite side dishes at all of my Holiday Meals.

Everyone looks forward to this simple and delicious, and may I add, very healthy recipe.

Yams and sweet potatoes are among the healthiest veggie you can eat. It is total fibre, and full of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to maintain a health balance.

Peel the yams and cut into chunks. Place in pot of water and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until partially cooked, thus parboil.

Remove from pot and place into a large sauté pan or fry pan. Add 1/2 stick of butter and allow yams to sauté in the butter for about 5 mins. Combine a little of the yam water to the brown sugar and add that liquid to the yams while cooking. While yams are softening, break up with wooden spoon and maintain the chunky content.

Add a little cinnamon to the mix, folding well. Then, add 1/4 cup Benedictine Brandy or any sweet brandy that is available to the yams. Sauté for a short while longer. Plate, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Italian Food That Makes The Angels Cry

Delicious beyond delicious!

I have to tell you, this Italian dish of Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe is one of the best dishes in the whole world. It is so delicious, it makes the angels cry with joy!

Take a fresh loaf of Italian bread from an Italian bakery, together with the fresh Broccoli Rabe, and fresh Italian Sausage from your local Italian Grocery Store and you have a dinner to die for!

Fill a 3 quart sauce pan with 3/4 of water. While the water is coming to a boil, soak the rabe in colander in a large plastic bowl. Remember, when buying the rabe, always try to choose a bunch with short stems. Cut off the very tips of the stems and then cut the stems off the rabe and put them aside. Continue to cut the rabe in half or thirds and soak and rinse several times for best results. When the water begins to boil, add a pinch of baking soda to the water to keep the greens bright in color and put the stems into the sauce pan and allow them to boil for a few minutes until semi cooked.

In the mean time, take the sausage meat out of the casing and maintain the sausage shape. Place in a large sauté skillet on the adjacent burner and place the sausage meat into the skillet breaking into pieces of your liking with your wooden spoon. Add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and fresh sliced garlic and sauté until browned. I prefer hot seasoned Italian sausage, however, sweet will do, just add a few red hot pepper seeds to the oil and garlic while browning.

While the sausage is browning, add the rabe to the boiling water with the stems and continue to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked rabe to the skillet with the browning sausage, allowing some of the water from the rabe to transfer to the skillet as well. Sauté the rabe with the sausage folding the rabe and sausage in the skillet to allow the flavors to incorporate and blend adding salt to taste.

I promise you, when you sit down to eat this Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe dinner, you will sit there and cry, yourself, because it is sooooo delicious, you will not believe your taste buds. Then add some slices of Pecorino Romano Cheese and you will feel like you died and went to heaven! Hugs

Roasted Red Peppers and The Italian Rose(Garlic)

Well, today I went to the supermarket, and low and behold, steering me in the face from the mark down corner, were these beautiful large red peppers. I immediately took the 8 red peppers and placed them in my carriage along with some other good bargains like fresh green beans.

I could not wait to get these red peppers home to roast them and prepare them with the Italian Rose, garlic. This is an Italian dish that make your mouth water and will keep you coming back for more.

They also make a delicious Italian Sandwich with any other Italian accompaniment such as Italian Sausage, Eggplant parmigian, Italian Cold Cuts, and Chicken Parmigian, as well.

The next thing I did, when I returned home, was to take the 8 large red peppers, rinse them, and slice them in fours, pulling off the quarters and throwing away the seeds and stems.

As I cut them, I placed them skin side up, side by side, on two cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. I then placed them under the broiler in my oven, second rack down from the top. They broiled for about 30 minutes. Use your judgement, making sure they are truly blackened but not burned through.

Once the red peppers appear to be blackened and charred, remove them from the broiler and slide them into a doubled plastic grocery bag tying the bag and leaving them to steam for approximately 30 minutes. You then open the bag and the skin will peal off easily. If there are traces of black remaining, this will enhance the flavor. Never rinse them as you will take away the roasted flavor.  I then put them in a serving dish and slice them lengthwise in half, again.

I take a large saute pan, add enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan, turn the heat up high, slice the garlic into the oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and a palmful of red pepper seeds. When the garlic starts to brown around the edges, I add the red peppers and turn the burner off, because the electric burner continues to cook for a while. I then toss the roasted red peppers into the olive oil and garlic and seasoning until totally coated and mouth watering.

Once you taste these Roasted Red Peppers with the Italian Rose, you will never stop making them. They are delicious as a side dish, to enhance a sandwich, or for many other delicious creations.

Vacanza Cene Tradizionali italiane

La Vacanza Cena Tradizionale italiana

Questo è un blog delle mie memorie della nostra Vacanza Cene Tradizionali italiane.

Avremmo almeno venti a venti cinque membri di famiglia vengono per la cena. Come l'ospite, cominciarei la pianificazione e preparando almeno una settimana in anticipo, la drogheria facendo spese ed organizzando e tutta la pre-preparazione.

La famiglia comincerebbe arrivare a avvicina a 2:00pm portando con loro un piatto o una pasticceria. Filtrerebbero la loro maniera nella stanza di famiglia grande e giocano una piccola piscina nella Stanza da Biliardo. Quando tutti sono arrivati finalmente, faremmo tutto porta i nostri luoghi alla tavola di sala da pranzo che era principalmente usata per le cene di vacanza e l'eccedenza, di solito i bambini, sarebbero seduti alla tavola di cucina italiana. Noi, poi, inchina le nostre teste e dà grazie al Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, per tutte le benedizioni che ha accordato su noi e la nostra famiglia in ogni parte l'anno.
La tavola di sala da pranzo era regolata col più bello di Cina e col vasellame e col cristallo. Ci sarebbero il cidar di vino e mela e la soda e l'acqua col limone di bagnare la paletta, e consentire che la cena iniziare.

Il primo corso di essere servito sarebbe sia le frutta fresca con lo sherbert, o il melone col prosciutto. Questo avvertirebbe le papille gustativi che un partito mangiando stava per portare il luogo e preparare per la festa.

Il prossimo corso sarebbe indubbiamente l'antipasto o l'antipasto italiano. Questo era di solito due grandi piatti da portata ovali a ogni fine della tavola di sala da pranzo, col lettuuce di Romain tagliuzzato, il radicchio, il pepperoncini, ed annerisce le olive con gusto decorato col Salame, Cappoccoli, Supprasada, la salsiccia piccante, e Prosciutto e Provolone Romano di Formaggio e Pecorino il Formaggio di italiano. C'era l'olio d'oliva, gli aceti, ed il sale ed il pepe extra vergine condire mentre lei ha desiderato. Un cestino di pane sulla tavola era riempito di il pane fresco italiano. Questo corso ha dato l'everone che una probabilità per parlare e prendere lo stomaco in un modo digestivo.

È venuto vicino il Pollo Minestra italiana con la piccole pasta di polpette di carne ed orzo. Tutti gli ospiti, soprattutto i bambini, hanno amato questa minestra e non hanno visto l'ora di le vacanze per sperimentare il suo gusto delizioso. C'era sempre un piatto di Formaggio di Romano di Pecorino fresco grattugiato di spruzzare sulla minestra. Tutti hanno indugiato sopra la loro minestra per avere sapore il gusto e la squisitezza e passa un piccolo tempo. Una volta la minestra era tolta dalla tavola, la cena è diventata una questione seria.
Il seguito della minestra era di solito un piatto da portata di lasagne, accompagnate da un piatto da portata ovale di carni che ha contribuito alla squisitezza della salsa di tomatoe. Le Costole brevi, Salsiccia italiani, il Pollo, e le polpette di carne hanno fatto dal vitello, dal maiale, e dal manzo. Nessuna tavola italiana mai sarebbe completo a che c'era meno del genere di pasta e la carne, dunque abbiamo avuto di solito delle lasagne per vestirsi elegantemente la tavola di vacanza, e/o le conchiglie imbottite.

Approvare poi, ora che tutti è riempito così all'orlo, è ora di servire la Turchia gigantesca italiana di avvicina a 26 lbs, imbottito col Ripieno di Salsiccia italiano. Tutti porta uno sguardo all'ospite di onore, il tacchino, e se non sono svenuti ancora, sono disposto a dare l'uccello un prova. Il tacchino è accompagnato di solito da conservato in brandy Patate dolci benedettine, Bruxelles Germoglia o una verdura verde, ed un'insalata regolare di romano stracciato, Radichio, i pomodori, i cetrioli, ed il sedano, con l'accoutraments di olio d'oliva e con l'aceto e col sale e col pepe. C'è la salsa di tacchino fatta dai gocciolamenti del tacchino, e molta salsa di mirtillo in ogni consistancy come ogni jellied, ogni berried, ed ogni chutney.

A questo punto, tutti deve rotolare lontano dalla tavola ed esercita i loro membri e porta un respiro di aria fresca, mantenere qualunque senso di normalità. Questo è un'attività necessaria mentre devono fare spazio per un più corso, il dessert ed il caffè, ed il dolciume e la grappa.

Bene ora, lì lei l'ha. Questo è la Vacanza Cena tipica, Tradizionale italiana.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Traditional Italian Holiday Dinner

This is a blog about my memories of our Traditional Italian Holiday Dinners. 

We would have at least twenty to twenty five family members come for dinner.  As the host, I would start planning and preparing at least one week ahead of time, grocery shopping and organizing and all pre-preparation.

The family would start arriving at approximately 2:00pm bringing with them a dish or a pastry.  They would filter their way into the grand family room and play a little pool in the Billiard Room.  When everyone finally arrived, we would all take our places at the dining room table which was used primarily for holiday dinners and the overage, usually the children, would be seated at the Italian kitchen table.  We, then, bow our heads and give thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ, for all of the blessings he has bestowed upon us and our family throughout the year.

The dining room table was set with the finest of china and tableware and crystal.  There would be wine and apple cidar and soda and water with lemon to wet the pallet, and allow the dining to begin.

The first course to be served would be either fresh fruit with sherbert, or melon with prosciutto.  This would warn the taste buds that an eating party was about to take place and to prepare for the fiesta. 

The next course would definitely be the antipasto or the Italian appetizer.  This was usually two large oval platters at each end of the dining room table,  with shredded Romain lettuuce, radicchio, pepperoncini, and black olives tastefully decorated with Salami, Cappoccoli, Supprasada, Pepperoni, and Italian Ham and Provolone Cheese and Pecorino Romano Cheese.  There was extra virgin olive oil, vinegars, and salt and pepper to season as you wished.  A bread basket on the table was filled with fresh Italian bread.  This course gave everone a chance to talk and get the stomach in a digestive mode.

Next came the Italian Chicken Soup with little meatballs and orzo pasta.  All the guests, especially the children, loved this soup and looked forward to the holidays to experience its delicious flavor. There was always a dish of fresh grated Pecorino Romano Cheese to sprinkle on the soup. Everyone lingered over their soup to savor the flavor and deliciousness and pass a little time.  Once the soup was removed from the table, dining became a serious matter.

Following the soup was usually a platter of lasagna, accompanied by an  oval platter of meats that contributed to the deliciousness of the tomatoe sauce.  Short Ribs, Italian Sausage, Chicken, and meatballs made from veal, pork, and beef.  No Italian table would ever be complete unless there was some sort of pasta and meat, so we usually had lasagna to dress up the holiday table, and/or stuffed shells.

Okay then, now that everyone is so filled to the brim, it is time to serve the gigantic Italian Turkey of approximately 26 lbs, stuffed with Italian Sausage Stuffing.  Everyone takes one look at the guest of honor, the turkey, and if they have not passed out yet, are willing to give the bird a try.  The turkey is usually accompanied by Benedictine Brandied Yams, Brussels Sprouts or a green vegetable, and a regular salad of torn Roman, Radichio, tomatoes, cucumbers, and celery, with the accoutraments of olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. There is turkey gravy made from the drippings of the turkey, and plenty of cranberry sauce in every consistancy such as jellied, berried, and chutney.

At this point, everyone has to roll away from the table and exercise their limbs and take a breath of fresh air, to maintain any sense of normalcy.  This is a necessary activity as they must make room for one more course, the dessert and coffee, and the candy and brandy.

Well now, there you have it.  This is the typical Traditional Italian Holiday Dinner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Roasted Chicken and Sauted Red Peppers

On Sunday, I decided to go to the market and buy a roasted chicken, some sweet potatoes, and some organic spring mix salad.

It was a very healthy lunch, and my mom and I enjoyed it very much.

The next day, I wanted to do something to enhance the chicken.  I had two red peppers that needed to be cooked before they shriveled up completely, and the first thing that came to my mind was to saute them with a little olive oil. 

I cored the red peppers, removed the seeds and bottom, and sliced the peppers lengthwise into strips.  Then, I put them into the saute pan, turned the burner to high to heat up the pan and poured a few tablespoons over the red pepper strips.  I then sliced a medium onion thinly in the round and separated the rings over the peppers.  I also smashed and chopped a couple of garlic cloves adding them to the peppers.  By this time, the olive oil was heated and starting to brown the peppers.  I turned the heat down to medium and continued to saute the peppers and onions and garlic adding a little salt and pepper to taste.

When  felt the peppers were near the right texture, I added the breasts of the roasted chicken and the juice that accompanied them.  I shredded the chicken with my wooden spoon while it was warming in the pan. I then folded the peppers, onions, garlic, and chicken into each other in the saute pan.  It was not only looking good, but the scent of this combination was overwhelmingly delicious. 

So, for lunch, we enjoyed the Roasted Chicken and Sauted Red Peppers, another hot baked sweet potato from the oven, and another Spring Mix Salad.  It was a memorable lunch to say the least, and took very little time.  It was a keeper.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Christmas Turkey for Spain

Just to give you a break from the plethora of recipes you will be seeing on The Italian Kitchen Table blog site, I want to share with you an amusing story about the time I decided to take my Christmas Turkey to Spain for my Spanish Family.
My Spanish friend and I decided we would take an American Turkey Dinner to Spain for the holidays of Natividad, the Spanish Christmas.
The first thing I did was to call the airline I was flying on to get their approval of carrying a turkey with me on the airplane. We then went to our local supermarket when they were having a special on turkeys such as by spending $50, we could purchase a turkey for .28 per pound, so we bought a 22 lb turkey that was already frozen and placed it in the freezer until my travel date. I bought 3 lbs of homemade Italian Sausage from the Italian butcher and placed it on top of the turkey in the freezer along with the blue ice packs that would help keep the turkey frozen for the length of time I needed to get to our destination.
When the day came to go to the airport, I placed the turkey, the sausage, and the blue ice packs in a cooler bag with wheels that my dear friend had given to me. I also took a large bag of herb flavored stuffing croutons just in the event we could not find them in the super mercado.
I arrive at the airport and checked my luggage keeping the cooler bag with me to go into the overhead in the cabin. When I got to the doorway of the smaller prep plane that was to take me to LGA, I was told I had to relinquish my cooler bag to be put into the body of the aircraft. So, I let it go, reluctantly, as I had no choice.
When the short air travel from PVD to LGA came to an end, I waited for my cooler bag to be retrieved. It came back to me with the wheels broken off and I realized that I now had to carry the 22 lb frozen turkey through the airport. We had very little time between flights, so, I rushed to my next gate only to find that due to the weather conditions, my flight to Spain had been cancelled and the next flight out would be the next day at 6:00 pm. I was in shock, to say the least.
My first thought was to notify my Spanish Family of the delay so they would not be waiting at the airport on the wrong day. I immediately went to the airline desk to try to make a phone call as non of the house phones on the wall were responding. They told me to go to the third floor and the customer service would be able to help me. I dragged the 22 lb turkey to the third floor and was told that I was misinformed and must go to the second floor customer service. So, I dragged the 22 lb turkey to the second floor only to be told that I most go to the airline desk on the first floor window where I was in the first place. So, I dragged the 22 lb turkey to the airline desk on the first floor. I was told by an attendant, that I could not make a phone call, however, she could send and email to the Barajas Airport in Madrid and they would definitely get the message to the persons who would be picking me up at the airport. Well, needless to say, they never got the message and came to get me on the wrong day.
Because I was an international traveler, I was entitled to lodging at the airport hotel. The shuttle bus arrived and I dragged the 22 lb turkey on the shuttle bus and off the shuttle bus to the check-in desk at the hotel and then to my room where the turkey and I stayed for the evening. To say the least, my back was broken, and I could not wait to take hot shower and get into bed.
The next morning, I went downstairs for the complimentary breakfast. As I was passing by the gift shop, I saw a small piece of carry-on luggage the approximate size of the turkey in the cooler bag. So, I purchased the carry on luggage for $50. The cooler bag would not fit into the carry-on, only because the wheels were half broken of and twisted. My next stop was at the concierge, where they were kind enough to saw off the broken and twisted wheels. The cooler bag fit perfectly into the carry-on bag containing the turkey, the Italian sausage, and the blue ice packs and we were ready to roll. I was then taken back to the airport and after a five hour wait, I boarded my flight to Spain with my turkey in the overhead rack. It took two strong men to lift that 22 lb frozen turkey and place it there. The turkey and I traveled overnight and arrived safe and sound at Barajas Airport in Madrid the next morning. My Spanish Family was there to greet me and we all drove back to the house in Madrid where they had prepared a spectacular meal for me, and we talked about the traveling turkey and it's delemmas.
After a good night's rest, the next day, we packed up and traveled to visit relatives in Talarrubias, Badajo, Spain which is a five hours drive to the north west of Madrid, where we were to cook and serve the turkey for Nocha Buena/Christmas Eve. Fortunately, the turkey took three days to thaw which was perfect timing for the preparation of this turkey dinner.
Well, I finally prepared the turkey, made the Italian sausage stuffing and stuffed the turkey.
We then faced the unforeseen challenge of not having an oven that was hot enough to cook the turkey, so we had to take it to the local ciudad bakery with a fire burning oven, which took a few hours, however, dinner was not to be served until 10:00 pm, so we were right on schedule.
Turkey is not prevalent in Spain. The Spanish took their horses and chickens to America, but the turkey is native to America and, therefore, a rarity in Spain. My Spanish Family had never eaten turkey until this special Nocha Buena evening. The traveling turkey was a sight to behold and very delicious. My Spanish Family and their guests enjoyed every bite of the American Turkey with the Italian Sausage stuffing.

Italian Sausage Stuffing

Halloween, the festival of the dead, at which time it is believed, the layers between the earth and the spiritual world get thin and allow the souls and the spirits of the deceased to search for the honor of being invited home, has passed.

Here in Rhode Island it was a perfect evening for the little ghouls and goblins to dress up as their favorite characters and go out to collect their treats.

We are now ready for the Holiday Season ahead of us, for stuffing the Thanksgiving Turkey and preparing for Christmas and to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I purchase two lbs of homemade Hot Italian Sausage from our local Italian Grocery Store. I take the casing from the sausage and put the sausage meat into a saute pan with a little olive oil because the homemade sausage has very little fat and it needs a little help in the browning. As the sausage is browning I break it up with my wooden spoon and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan.

When the sausage is becoming browned, I move it to the sides of the pan and add one large chopped onion in the pan first as it will release liquid which will keep the next ingredient, smashed chopped garlic from burning. I also add a cup of chopped celery to the pan. When the celery is softened, I start to fold the sausage meat into the celery, onion and garlic and allow to saute a while longer.

In the mean time, I place one stick of butter into two cups of water and microwave for two minutes to allow the butter to melt. I then take a large bag of herb flavored stuffing croutons, pour them into a large bowl, and pour the water and butter into the croutons and mix. By that time, the sausage mixture is about ready to be poured over the crouton mixture and folded into the mix. You will notice that I do not add any seasoning because the Italian Sausage and the herb flavored croutons have enough seasoning to flavor everything.

I place the bowl of stuffing in the refrigerator and allow to stay overnight to meld and gel.

The next morning, I arise early and wash the turkey in and out with salt, removing the bag of innards that are placed in the cavity of the turkey. I place the turkey in an aluminum turkey baking pan. I then place the stuffing into the breast cavity of the turkey and into the neck cavity of the turkey. I rub the turkey with softened butter or olive oil and sprinkle thyme and oregano over the turkey, tent the turkey with aluminum foil and place it in a 350 degree oven for a time depending upon the size of the turkey.

I promise you your Holiday Turkey will be the talk of the Italian Kitchen Table, and then some.


I believe the second most important Italian dish to soothe the soul is definitely Chicken Soup.

A couple of years ago, my 93 year old mom and I went to visit my son Joey in Los Angeles, California for Thanksgiving. His better half, Kristin had gone home to Michigan, to visit her parents for the holiday, so we had free range of the kitchen. We stuffed a 22 lb turkey(Italian Sausage Stuffing) and had it all to ourselves for the whole week.

One of the courses for the meal was Chicken Soup. It is said, that necessity is the mother of invention, so, lacking a few extra burners, I created this soup, which I called, LA Holiday Soup.

The first thing I do is take four split chicken breasts, bone in, and remove the skin. I place the chicken in a pot of cold water and bring the water to a boil. I remove the chicken, wash it, and throw away the water washing any scum that has stuck to the pot. I then place the chicken breasts back into the clean pot and fill with fresh cold water and start the cooking process.

Into the pot I put a large onion chopped and a cup of celery chopped including the center tender stalks with the leaves. To that I add one pound of cleaned and sliced carrots. Being Italian, I also add a clove of garlic, smashed and sliced, and a little salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat to a medium simmer.

I wanted to have brussel sprouts as a vegetable, so I cut the bottoms and cleaned the leaves, and having no room on the stove to cook them separately, I decided to put them into the simmering soup. I cooked them until they were tender, and removed them from the soup and put them into a covered dish, drizzling them with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and adding some smashed and sliced garlic with a little salt and red pepper seeds. That solved the veggie dish and the soup had the wonderful taste of the sprouts and all of the nutrients they bring.

While the soup continued to simmer, I peeled and cut the yams into large cubes and placed them in a sauce pan to par boil. Once the yams are tender but firm, I take them out of the water and put them into a saute pan, saving the water for cooking the yams and I decided to add some of the water to the soup as some of the water had evaporated. Here, again, we have added the flavor of the yams and all of their nutritious value to the soup.

When the chicken breasts are cooked, remove and cool. Remove all of the chicken from the bone being careful not to leave any little bones behind, tear or cut the chicken into smaller pieces. Check again for bones, and return the boned chicken to the pot. When time for dinner approaches, you may boil 1/2 lb of small pasta such as bows, farfalle, tubettini, orzo, or any other that you prefer. You may also add chopped escerole to the soup just before serving.

I then add butter, to the saute pan and started cooking the yams, adding brown sugar and cinnamon, while cooking the yams down to a chunky consistency, using the yam water if I need more liquid. When the yams are just about ready, I add a little Benedictine Brandy to them which gives them a flavor like nothing you have ever tasted before.

And there you have it. All of this is happening while the turkey is roasting in the oven. Just add cranberry sauce, and a delicious salad and you have a Thanksgiving Dinner fit for a King.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Simple Italian Tomato Sauce

Italian Tomato Sauce (Salsa al pomodor Italiana) is fairly simple to make and comes in many variations depending upon the region of Italy a person originates from. I believe the northern Italians make a lighter sauce as opposed to the southern Italians who make a heavier sauce called gravy.
My paternal grandmother who came from Itri, made a very delicious heavy tomato sauce. She would start with salt pork chopped into a paste with fresh parsley and garlic. The salt pork would go into the sauce pan and melt down to become the oil and the base for the sauce.
My grandmother would make a small meatloaf out of ground veal and pork and hamburg, instead of meatballs, inside which she would put hard boiled eggs. She would then brown the meatloaf in the melted salt pork which would add to the flavor of the base for the sauce. She would then remove the meatloaf from the pan, and add 2 small cans of tomato paste, adding water to the cans to release the paste left behind, and pour the two cans of water to the paste in the pan, stirring until heated and smooth.
She would then take a jar or two of tomatoes that we had preserved when tomatoes were in season and pour them into the sauce pan and stir in until they came to a boil, then allow to simmer for hours with the meatloaf back in the pan. The gravy would be a reddish brown color and was absolutely delicious.
Today, I make a lighter, chunkier, sauce that can be varied to your liking regarding heavier with tomato paste or lighter with Italian plum tomatoes and kitchen ready tomatoes. Everything Italian starts with the same infusion of heating the olive oil in the sauce pan, then adding the chopped onions to the olive oil first because they release liquid which keeps the next ingredient, smashed chopped garlic, from burning.
This is where I add my seasoning. Salt and Pepper to taste, a sprinkle of thyme, oregano, and dried parsley, and a sprinkle of red pepper seeds, stirring to allow the flavors to meld. At this point, you may add a little red wine if you are so inclined, and allow to simmer for a short while. You may also add broccioli, pork loin, chicken, or Italian Sausage and allow the browning to remain in the pan. If you start the sauce with Italian Sausage, you will have all of the flavor you need, right from ther beginning.
I then add a large can of peeled Italian Plum Tomatoes or fresh tomatoes and crush with my potato masher. When these tomatoes have returned to a simmer, I then add a large can of kitchen ready tomatoes, smooth or chunky and bring this back to a simmer and allowing the tomatoes to simmer until I am ready to introduce to the pasta.
This is where the Italian Kitchen Table begins it journey.


La Cucina Tavola italiana, è il cuore della famiglia italiana. È il luogo dove tutti viene insieme nutrire la loro anima e le loro passioni. È un luogo trovare la forza di rifugio e guadagno dal sostegno lei troverà ed il pasto delizioso che lei mangerà.

Quando lei cammina in una famiglia italiana, lei odorerà di solito l'odore della Rose italiana nell'aria. Lei va subito alla cucina ed il loro è una pentola di cucinare di Salsa al pomodoro italiano con tutto l'equipaggiamento delizioso di broccioli, la salsiccia italiana, ed il melded di maiale o pollo nei gusti della salsa.

Dobbiamo fare sempre più di abbastanza perché esso dovrebbe essere sempre la stanza per la società, e dal tempo tutti immerge il loro pane nella salsa per gustare, lei finirà su con appena abbastanza per la pasta. Ciò è perché le persone dicono che noi italiani cucinano abbastanza per un esercito. Nessuno mai dovrebbe essere girato Dalla Cucina Tavola italiana.

Questo è l'inizio di un luogo meraviglioso dove lei troverà delle ricette per fare il cibo più delizioso italiano lei mai ha mangiato ed anche il cuore scalda e le storie divertenti della famiglia e gli amici.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In The Beginning

The Italian Kitchen Table, is the heart of the Italian family. It is the place where everyone comes together to feed their soul and their passions. It is a place to find refuge and gain strength from the support you will find and the delicious meal you will eat.

When you walk into an Italian household, you will usually smell the scent of the Italian Rose in the air. You immediately go to the stove and their is a pot of Italian Tomato Sauce cooking with all of the delicious accoutrements of broccioli, Italian sausage, and pork or chicken melded into the flavors of the sauce.

We must always make more than enough because there should always be room for company, and by the time everyone dips their bread into the sauce to taste, you will end up with just enough for the pasta. That is why people say we Italians cook enough for an army. No one should ever be turned away from The Italian Kitchen Table.

This is the beginning of a wonderful site where you will find recipes to make the most delicious Italian food you have ever eaten and also heart warming and amusing stories about family and friends.