14 May 2013, 19:58Winner of Mother's Day Recipe Contest - 2013
6 April 2013, 23:37Easter 2013 - Recipe Contest Winner
6 April 2013, 23:30Cooking with Nonna Star Expands Repertoire
Today is the Saturday before Easter and I am checking out Cooking With Nonna's website for those all important Easter Bread recipes and desserts such as my all time favorite "Grain Pie" as we call it in my home.
I'm half Italian and half German, and my best friend whom I've known since we were in highschool (going on 32 years!) comes from Battipaglia in Salerno Italy. I've grown up watching her Mom, Nonna Lea create amazing dishes throughout all those years for many holidays we've been lucky enough to share.
So, today I am looking for some recipes to "amaze" my family and friends with over this Easter holiday. I wish all of you and your families a very Buona Pasqua, or Happy Easter!
I have written a blog about Italian and Italian-American cuisine since 2008. I also write about gardening fresh vegetables for healthier ingredients to use in my cooking, just as the Italians do. I'm crazy about travel and also write about my adventures, including great dishes that have been enjoyed in wonderful restaurants.
My Papa is Italian, and i am so so glad about that. My mum is Aussie. We Aussies do not have much of a culture. The only culture really, is a very laid back, BBQ and beer kind of culture. Lots of young people drunk on weekends, lots of meaningless rubbish really. Aussies are not very family oriented, blood is not thicker than water. Most aussies would prefer to spend time with mates (friends) or a boyfriend or girlfriend, than with their family. Its very sad. The only Aussies who are family orientated are generally ones with european backgrounds. The aussie italians, the aussie germans, the aussie dutch etc etc. Dont get me wrong im not bagging my own kind, im just calling it like it is, and in most cases, its like that. Id feel rather empty if all i had was my aussie culture, relaxing on the beach and fishing is all very well and good, but without a good connection with your family? Without passing down traditions and so on from generation to generation...what do you have? My italian background has given me so many rich memories and joys to carry with me as I grow on and up. Im now in my late 20's, married with two young children, and I so want to pass on traditions. Recipes, the language, the culture of my italian heritage, to my kids. Unfortunately my appreciation and realisation of the importance of these things came late. Only a few years ago did I see things from a mature perspective, therefore im having to catch up with everything. I can speak very broken italian. I think its very important for me to learn it properly. I can cook two family dishes. one very well, the other, well, i can cook it...lets leave it at that haha. But I want to take up much more of what made growing up with Nonno around, so much fun. Growing our own chilli's, tomato's, garlic, grapes etc. Eating delicious authentic italian food. Massive family get togethers where we eat, drink and be merry with a game of scorba haha. Some of these things take dedication and alot of setup and i dont think ill be able to continue the tradition. For example, tomato day, the perfect excuse for a day off school. Where all the oldies get together with a billion freshly harvested tomatoes from the backyards, and get to work turning it into pasta sauce that gets bottled and put in the cellar. Enough to last 10 of our families for a year!!! I dont have the space, the energy or the confidence to pull off that one once the oldies are gone. and it saddens me. Alot of these traditions will pass away with my generations nonnas. Maybe its different in USA. It definately will stay in italy forever, but here in AU much of the Italian culture and tradition is threatened by a lack of interest and effort on the next generations part. We just dont get it, and some of us dont care. I will do what I can though. Im determined to see the italian culture live on in my children and my children's children. Its a wonderful way of life. I love how we are all involved with each other, how people you have never even met, send over beautiful gifts from italy when they hear that you have reached a milestone in your life (wedding, baptism etc), the way when you visit a Zia, you are attacked with food and multiple cheek kisses, the way the italians ALWAYS have time for family, no matter what. Its just beautiful. Im honoured to be a part of it and I hope it continues for a very very long time!
Today I made pumpkin risotto. This risotto is one of my famly's favorites on Thanksgiving day. The best way to make it is with freshly baked pumpkin, you really can't use canned pumpkin because the pumpkin purée in a can is sweetened and this recipe is for a savory risotto. I decided to make it today because I wanted to enter it into the new Thanksgiving pumpkin recipe contest but I didn't have a photo of it. I hope to get the recipe uploaded by tomorrow. I hope you will try it and maybe it will become one of your Thanksgiving favorites too.
I am in search of zucchini flowers. Since moving to Florida I have been unable to find a supplier of those wonderful flowers. The temperatures in Naples, Fl are just not condusive to growing any kind of squash or, maybe I lost my green thumb after leaving Jersey.
Here's something interesting for parents and grandparents. I call it trees with cheese please. If you are having a problem feeding your toddlers green veggies, just put them in the small kitchen Aid for 10 seconds add a little Locateeli or parm chesse and presto, You have the kids enjoying vegetables.