Friday, April 30, 2010

Grandma Victoria's Eggplant Parmesan Pomodoro Recipe


I really can't decide which way I love better in this crunchy sub roll or a layered mile high style eggplant parm...both are so good!

The thinner cut eggplant is crispy but yet so tender. Fresh tomatoes sauce and cheese so delicious~




Amazingly enough there are so many versions of how different we all make eggplant, breaded, floured, plain, broiled, baked, fried. I have done them every way and love them all.
This one is pretty basic to us and simple. Grandma never measured anything so this is as close as I can get it. It's shook in flour, fried, and if they happened to make the baking dish without being totally being eaten first, then they become Parmesan. So here it goes I bring you our Roman way of Eggplant Parmesan, Grandma Victoria's version.
This has Traditional Sunday Sauce and grated Romano, Parmesan blended cheeses layer with mozzarella.




1 eggplant washed and sliced thick, leaving partial skins on striping effect(for sandwich slices cut much thinner and fry)

1 1/2 cups of seasoned flour
1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water
seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of each, salt, pepper,parsley, oregano, garlic powder, basil
1 pinch of fennel seed (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
oil for frying
grated cheese long Parmesan and Romano blend
shredded mozzarella
favorite sauce
Heat oil in large fry pan. In a large plastic bag add flour and seasonings. Add eggplant slices to the egg mixture,(if you prefer a lighter coating moistened eggplant in plain water and shake in seasoned flour ) shake wet eggplant into the seasoned flour. Drop into hot frying oil about 1/2 inch of oil, fry each piece until golden brown. Spread out on paper towels to blot the oil.
At this point you are ready to layer the eggplant. Eggplant, sauce, cheese, Parmesan cheese mozzarella, then repeat. If you prefer to bake these, bake on a sprayed cookie sheet, dot with olive oil on each slice of eggplant at 425 degrees until golden brown.
Take several fried pieces and layer a greased baking dish, starting with one layer or eggplant, add sauce, grating cheese and mozzarella. Second layer, top with another layer and repeat, until all eggplant is gone. Top with more sauce mozzarella grating cheese. Bake until cheese is melted throughout and bubbly, around a half hour on 350 degree oven.....
For an eggplant sub, I cut thin slices of eggplant and fry till golden. Toast a sub roll butter on both sides and sprinkled with garlic powder. Top with favorite sauce, mozzarella, wrap in foil and bake until cheese is melted.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Chicken or Turkey Marsala Pot Pie Recipe

Homemade Pot Pie with Chicken Marsala and a medley of veggies, a comfort food that doesn't get any better than this.


2 chicken breasts cooked in olive oil until lightly brown...cool chop into square pieces (Or use cooked left over turkey around 2 cups)
chicken gravy either homemade or canned
1 large potato
1/2 cup of crinkle carrots
1/4 cup of vegetable of choice broccoli, corn, mushrooms, pea's, green beans and/or medley, work well.
Microwave raw veggies in a glass bowl for 10 minutes till tender.
1 top and bottom pie crust
Line pie plate with crust brush with butter. Layer chicken, veggies, and gravy. Fold over crust on top. Dot with more butter. Bake at 350 until browned.

Home made gravy
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika, black pepper, parsley
1/2 cup Marsala wine and 1/2 cup chicken broth ( 1 cup chicken broth if you don't want the marsala.)
mix till smooth and cook till thickened .
Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt Mix
2/3 cups shortening cut in
4 1/2 tbsp ice water

Mix till dough forms a ball...Roll out on floured board two 9 inch crust and line pie plate.
Brush bottom of crust with 1 tbsp melted butter

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grandma's Old Fashioned Italian Homemade Pasta Egg Noodle Recipe

I was six years old when I can first remember grandma making me help put the strands of noodles on the back of a chair to help her. Amazing these strands of dough ended up being one of the most favorite homemade pasta's I can ever remember. But this was an art. I didn't have the knack that she had or patience. She could roll that dough out to perfection every time. I never seem to get this down to a science, I usually fight with the dough. I know practice makes perfect. Then, I tried the pasta machine, that was much more uniform and professional looking, however, I hated taking it out, cleaning it later, so back to cutting I went. Old fashioned and stubborn. Taurus is my sign, and very true.

Although they don't all come out the same length and size, they taste the same. So I don't care. Its worth all the fuss, mess, and time. I love these little strands of golden tender pasta dough. Always a treat. Every batch I cut was a little different its not easy to get them all the same size.




I have made both with and without semolina, my opinion is the semolina comes a little lighter in texture. Both are very good recipes. I tend to make the one without the semolina since I don't keep it in the house all the time. This happens to be with the semolina, and the first recipe on the post below as all the pictures reflect .

The dough will stretch easier if you let it rest, that's the secret she use to tell me and get it thin. Semolina will have a bumpier looking dough because of the grain.


Old Fashioned Grandma's Egg Noodles
2 cups semolina flour
2 cups flour
6 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt

If mixing by hand, mix 2 flours together and make a hill of flour on a clean board. Make a well in center of the flour. Beat eggs in a large bowl and add in olive oil and salt. Pour egg mixture into flour. With your hands,mix flours and liquids together and knead until you have a ball of dough., I use my kitchenaide mixer and start with the flour first. Add cold water to moisten dough, if too dry. Dough should be firm not sticky. Add more semolina if its sticky a little at a time. Make dough into shape of tennis ball size and wrap individually, this will be easier to roll out when ready. I find that smaller portions are easier to cut and manage. Cover with plastic wrap and allow pasta dough balls to rest 45 minutes to an hour. This will help the dough while stretching and rolling it out to make it easier.
To roll: Use one ball of dough at a time. Keep others underneath a covered bowl wrapped until ready to roll. Roll out on a slightly floured surface, first in one direction, then in the other to form a rectangle. When the sheet is almost translucent, it is ready to be cut.
To cut: Dust the sheets with flour to prevent any sticking. Use only one sheet at a time, keeping the others covered. Roll the dusted sheet loosely from the edge like a jelly roll. With a sharp knife cut the roll into thin slices, (1/8 inch for angel hair style or 1/4 inch for fettuccine). Unroll each noodle carefully, and place flat on a dish towel or on the back of a high back chair. Hang until ready to cook. Boil in salt water till they float to the top do not over cook. I have never saved any, we always cook them fresh.
This is a quick egg noodle recipe for two people, quick and easy to add to soup, or add sauce to, less time consuming, and no semolina. noodles are great with this dough. Use same method as above instructions for cutting.
For dough:
2/3 c flour
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp water if needed
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all the dough ingredients together starting with the eggs and flour. We need to make a well in the middle of the flour and drop in the eggs in the center. Combine it all together with the flour using your hands. Add the oil. Use the water if the dough is too dry. Knead for about 5-10 minutes. Then we wrap it in cloth and let it sit for an hour. This will help the dough when stretching.
Roll, cut and hang till ready to cook. Proceed as above instructions. Boil in salted water and stir and keep the noodles separated. They are cooked when they float to the top, drain and serve with your favorites sauce.

Pasta, Scallops With Italian Bread Crumbs Scampi Style Recipe




I just love scallops, I usually add these small ones to
Italian Seafood Chowder Soups, or a pasta like this one. The small ones are plentiful for a plate of pasta and actually a quick seafood dish that's so easy to make.

Hard to capture a good picture of small scallops, you can easily mistake them for chick pea's since they are so small... these little gems are aphrodisiacs from the sea, sweet and so tender.


Toasting the bread crumbs in garlic and olive oil..... equals so much flavor!



You can choose any pasta you like, I like an easy to pick up pasta, no twirling of the fork here..... most of the time you have the ingredients to make this recipe already in the house.


1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 1/2 cups Italian flavored bread crumbs
1/2 cup parsley fresh or dried
Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
2 cups of bay scallops washed and dry
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup Chablis wine
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound penne pasta, rigatoni or your favorite
1/2 cup Romano cheese
wedges of lemon
To a large skillet preheated over medium heat, add 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan, and minced garlic. When the garlic is golden by sizzling in oil add bread crumbs. Stir bread crumbs until golden brown. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer bread crumbs to a dish and reserve. In the meantime boil pasta in salt water set aside.

Return skillet to heat and add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan. Add butter,scallops, wine and red pepper flakes to the pan cook over medium heat 2 or 3 minutes . Add hot, cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with cheese. Add bread crumbs to the pot and toss thoroughly to combine and evenly distribute the mixture. Serve with wedges of fresh lemon and twist juice over top of scallops and pasta, sprinkle with parsley, more cheese and serve. This pasta taste great even served cold as a salad!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shrimp Mostaccioli & Nutella Birthday Cake Dinner

One of my favorite pasta dishes is a nice light Seafood Mostaccioli. This one is simple, a nice fresh sauce with just shrimp, using the same sauce recipe as (Click > Italian Mostaccioli Primivara ) without the veggies and assorted seafood. This simple Shrimp added to fresh sauce is just a perfect pre birthday dinner, tomorrow night we will go out for my real birthday. I decided we would celebrate tonight with my son since we all worked today and my husband would be home much later (lovely retail!) We needed a quick dinner, this was ideal to spend with my youngest son (my oldest one couldn't make it over tonight) and then leave my husband the "famous plate" or the photo shot (that's what he calls what I saved for him, when he finds his dinner on a pretty plate in the refrigerator, instead of a paper plate, he is too funny). My husband and I are both off tomorrow and planning a nice day together. So glad I won't have to work or cook tomorrow, that's a great birthday gift in itself!!
I got to spend some quality time with my baby, he hates that being in his twenties now, but still my baby!!!! Curt can make some mean > chicken wings and > potato skins! I am taking a raincheck from him for my birthday dinner, he told me tonight when he is off next, he is making me > homemade cavatelli another one of my favorite pasta dishes we have made together!




Then of course one of my favorite cakes is the dark triple chocolate > Nutella Madness cupcake recipe, so I made that into one big bundt cake. The filling is so delicious. Just hollow out the center and fill it with the Nutella filling. Add the ganache on top, and I won't find this in any restaurants.


This is a chocolate piece of heaven for me, of course I would burn the house down if I had to put that many candles on it!



The candy on top is my favorite, I love Ferrero Rocher. ( I have a confession to make, I hate putting this candy on the cake and sharing it!!! I can eat the whole box and tell everyone I forgot to buy it.....na I would feel guilty lol )






Amazing how fast the time goes by, not sure where all the years have gone but I am truly blessed with good health, the love of a great family, wonderful friends and readers...thank you :)


That's the best birthday present anyone could have! thanks for reading....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sesame Chicken Teriyaki Over White Rice

One of my favorite marinades to make is with pineapple juice,the freshest fruit off a pineapple, and making a rich Teriyaki Sauce with it, makes this chicken fall off the bone. Grilling foods daily, is the most common source of cooking here in Florida so no wonder, I do use it frequently and have adapted many of moms recipes for the outdoor cooking. This use to be a one pan stove top recipe. The smells of wonderful outdoor cooking can be detected for miles around the neighborhood, sweet and fragrant. Not an Italian dish, I know, but one of my mom's favorite alternatives in cooking in our home, she loved cooking with pineapple and of course garlic. So this was one dish she would like, dad wasn't so venturous, he was traditional, so she had to be careful not to mix too many ingredients together.

Chicken thighs are what is shown here, tender, falls off the bone and with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.



I love to serve this on plain white rice, the sauce drippings from the chicken juice, sweetens the rice perfectly.
During our recent family reunion, I purchased two pineapples to use in mixed drinks and smoothies. The leftover pineapple was perfect to make this dish. Putting it on the grill with the chicken gives this a delicious flavoring to the rice as well. Before I leave for work, I put everything in a big dish, and marinade this all day. Then come home, its all ready for the fired up grill. All that is left to do, is boil the plain salted white rice and serve the chicken over the top.

6 Chicken Thighs(or whatever pieces you prefer)
2 cups of fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup of pineapple juice canned
Toasted Sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Teriyaki Sauce
Recipe:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup canned pineapple juice or water
Mix all but cornstarch and 1/4 c pineapple juice or water, in a sauce pan and heat. Mix cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to sauce in pan. Heat until sauce thickens to desired thickness. Pour over Chicken add pineapple and juice, sesame oil and one tablespoon of sesame seeds, in a large bowl. Marinade for 6 to 7 hours or overnight.


On a hot grill(method used above), grill chicken, adding pineapple the last 10 minutes. Cook till browned on both sides, thoroughly cooked and clear juices inside. Serve over a bed of rice with toasted sesame seeds on top.
Note: If you prefer or don't have a grill. Pan cook or bake the Chicken in a little olive oil. If using Chicken breasts it will take 1/2 hour per pound in the oven, around 1 hour 20 minutes to bake four, basting every half hour. Pan fry in olive oil, till all the juice that runs out is clear.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Italian Style Garlicky Pasta and Fives Cheeses

Of course there's garlic in here are you kidding me? Who can eat pasta that's claim to be Italian without garlic somewhere in the recipe? Wonderful cheesy mac and cheese with buttered Italian bread crumbs ..... ( on just a side note, I make this rarely due to the high calorie content) but this mac and cheese is sinfully loaded with flavor and when you want to be bad with calories this is the one! Another side dish at my family reunion, when all else fails with picky kids, they'll love this one!




1 pound of elbow macaroni or shells
1 can of cheddar cheese soup
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 cups of half and half, equal parts mixed of evaporated and heavy cream ( or last resort whole milk)
1 8 oz package of sharp cheddar cut up into small pieces
3 tablespoons of cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices of provolone cheese cut into small pieces
1/4 cup of Romano grating cheese
1 teaspoon of parsley
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, black pepper
1 cup of Italian flavored bread crumbs
4 tablespoons of melted butter
prosciutto chopped fine optional
In a glass microwave proof bowl add both milk, cheddar cheese soup and all the cheeses, microwave until cheese is melted and well blended with milk.

In the meantime boil the macaroni in salted water al dente. Drain. Place in a large baking dish that has been butter generously.

Place cooked macaroni in the dish. Add all herbs, minced garlic and spices to the milk mixture ,stirring together. Add to macaroni dish. In a separate bowl add bread crumbs and melted butter and mix. Sprinkle on the top of the macaroni and cheese mixture. Bake at 375 until browned and bubbly. Sprinkle with more grating cheese and prosciutto on top.
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Godiva Chocolate Chunky Monkey Mousse

This was a huge hit at our family reunion
Godiva Chocolate Chunky Monkey Mousse, is the name my niece Alicia gave this dessert at our reunion that day. It had no name and I waited to see who would come up with a name, this was perfect! Thanks Alicia!



Chocolate mousse flavored pudding



An easy layered dessert. Cookies, banana's, miniature chips and a light fluffy chocolate filling.




6 to 8 bananas, sliced

1 box vanilla wafer cookies

2 3/4 cups milk

2 boxes instant chocolate pudding

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese softened

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12-ounce) container chocolate flavored whipped topping thawed

miniature chocolate chips

Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Directions line the bottom trifle bowl with half the cookies and layer bananas on top sprinkle with chocolate chips. In another bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Sprinkle each layer with Godiva liqueur over the cookies to your liking, (I use one shot to each layer) Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas, then add another layer of cookies, chocolate chips, banana's and whipped mixture, cover with the remaining cookies and lots of miniature chocolate chips.. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Printable Recipe

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Yorkers Have Arrived Family Reunion 2010

Melbourne, Florida April 18th 2010...... a day to remember!



The Upstate New Yorkers have arrived! This is my family from Upstate NY, I have three nieces, three great nieces, three great nephews and all their significant others, and the kids, my nieces mom, Mom and Grandmom, Theresa Colenzo. They decided to take their vacation here in Florida.
(Also in the picture my two sons, Chad and Curt Iffert, husband Nemo Lamascolo, and my brother from Dania Beach Fl., John Colenzo.)
My first born niece Alicia, her son Ryan and Alicia's significant other Bill. Niece number two, Mary came ( she hated being the middle child) with her three children, Vanessa, Dominic and Adriana her significant other John and his son John. My youngest niece Pamela and her husband Bruce with their two children, Vinny and Samantha.
Can you imagine, this clan of 14 people bought this bus with the New York Yankees emblem on it and drove 19 hours straight. Actually the bus is quite roomy, and even had an LCD TV in, quite a luxury bus. I have been so excited knowing this trip was planned for weeks now, and couldn't believe it was finally here. I'd been preparing all kinds of foods,

Roast Leg of Lamb, Baked Spiral Cut Ham, Chicken Parmigiana, Pasta with Traditional Sunday Sauce, Meatballs and Sausage. Then there were several desserts, cookies, cakes, a Amaretto Strawberry Cream Tart and even a dessert I left for them to name, that one had chocolate, cream and banana's in it.... that will be in a later post, its was named by my niece Alicia, Godiva Chocolate Chunky Monkey Mousse.

What a huge surprise we all had when John popped the question to marry, Mary, in front of all of us after dinner. We are all so over joyed for the new couple's happiness, congrats to the future Mrs. John Guarascio, may you have a wonderful happy life and new exciting journey together many many many happy years ahead!..... Welcome to the family John!

John and Mary Congrats!

So many tears of joy and wonderful excitement, we broke out the Raspberry Champagne my brother John from Dania,Florida brought with him and toasted the happy couple. What perfect timing with all of us together. A reunion to remember that will last a lifetime.

It didn't seem to be quite enough only three bottles of bubbly, so out came the Pina Colada Lava flows, I had been waiting for a special occasion to make these and this was the perfect time. A Pina Colada with fresh Strawberry puree inside...We ended up with about four pitchers full. 

46 oz pineapple juice
1 can coco lopez coconut cream
1 pint half and half
Bacardi White Rum or
Coconut Rum
ice
frozen strawberries in syrup put through the food processor or fresh 2 pints pureed with sugar added to the food processor  set aside
plastic fancy cups
In a blender add the juice with 1 can of coconut cream, pulse  ad few time then adding the half and half till blended pulse again. Add about 2 cups of ice or more and pulse till desired thickness.  Pour the coconut mixture in a plastic glass, top with strawberry puree, top with a shot of desired rum marblize by stirring with a stir stick, straw or fork. Enjoy!

Adriana, (Mary's three year old daughter) and Samantha,( Pamela and Bruce's daughter) love to dance to Beyonce "Single Ladies". They are both so adorable!
They both took a little dip in the pool to relax after all that dancing.

The last time they all visited us it was a sad time. My mom had passed away. Everyone drove down that year, in 1999 (some missing in the pictures not born yet) and some couldn't make the reunion this time in the picture below. Amazing how the time passed, but we still had part of mom here through all of us, we celebrated Christmas and Easter today and I made her Cassata recipe and Honey Balls Struffoli. Grandma Victoria's Easter Bread was on the table as well. Family is so important and it is so hard to live 1900 miles apart. Although we missed out on many events in each others lives we still cling to awesome memories of years past and that old fashioned traditions. You better believe the old adage blood is thicker than water, we couldn't be any thicker than this crew! One of the most happiest times for us all is having each other and this time around, many blessings were shared, but most of all we had spent quality time together and didn't waste a precious moment today. Love all you guys. Thanks for this awesome day, mom and dad are both looking down on all of us so proud today keeping the memory alive with our children that they instilled in all of us!

My brother John Colenzo, had this cake made with a lemon cream filling surrounded by a whipped frosting and slivered almonds. This was made in a South Florida Bakery, just the perfect sweetest ending to this amazing reunion. The picture featured on this cake was taken the day mom passed on, 11 years ago, time has passed so quickly, mom your not forgotten...we all love you......and wish you were still here with us.
After full bellies, good food, the love for great conversation, making new memories, many desserts and several drinks later, it was that unfortunate time to load the bus. A full day for all. Off they went, all 14 people boarded their NY Yankee Bus, back to their vacation and headed to Orlando for the rest of their stay.
Thanks for reading our precious moments in time......... love to you all! xxxooo

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Amaretto Strawberry Cream Glazed Tart

A big family reunion gathering on this day, had to make some special desserts, and this was one of them. A delicate flavored homemade butter crusted tart filled doused with Amaretto, filled with a special Italian pastry cream and topped with Strawberries and Raspberries .

Arrange fruit on top of tart last, then a light melted jelly is the glaze.


Add pastry cream on top


Pour Amaretto onto crust, then line with raspberry seedless jelly, or your preferred flavor.



Bottom of baked crust


Place on top of almonds in this removal bottom tart pan



Roll 1/2 inch thick


Line bottom with sliced almonds they will toast while baking.


Tart Crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup salted butter softened
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Sliced almonds
For bottom of Crust:
1/4 cup Amaretto
1/2 cup Raspberry or Blackberry seedless jelly

Mix all together first four ingredients and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Roll out on a lightly floured board lined with wax paper with a rolling pin around 1/2 inch thick. On the bottom of the sprayed removal bottom tart pan, add slivered almonds to line the bottom of the pan. Place rolled dough onto the removal bottom tart pan on top of the almonds. Shape into pan making sure edges reach the top for shrinkage. Bake at 350 until edges start to brown. Cool, remove from tins on to wax paper.
Sprinkle cooled crust with Amaretto, add jelly on top.

Italian Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon Amaretto
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil . In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated with milk and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Using strainer into the saucepan, pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Amaretto. Let cool slightly. Chill at least 2 hours

Glaze:
Fruit can range from strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, orange slices, grapes, mango, banana, etc.
Use 1/2 cup of any kind of jelly that is similar in color, above is seedless red raspberry, place in microwave for 25 seconds until melted and brush over sliced arranged fruits. Start at the edge and work to the middle layering the fruits. I always put a center of fruit of the same thing last. I clustered raspberries in the center of this one to even off as you finish arranging fruits depending on the size it may be uneven so the center is a good place to fill that space to even it off.