Roasted Pumpkin Soup
1 medium cooking pumpkin, about 3 ½ – 4 cups roasted pumpkin flesh
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped leeks
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups whole milk
1-2 teaspoons honey
Chopped chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet with sides.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Fill the pumpkin wells half way with water and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool and then scrape out the pumpkin into a bowl. Set aside,
Pour the olive oil into a Dutch Oven and heat over medium-high heat.
Add leeks, celery and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the pumpkin, broth, pepper, salt and spices. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Process with a hand immersion blender in the saucepan or transfer half of the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor; cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture. Return all of the pureed mixture to saucepan.
Stir in the milk and heat through, but do not boil. Stir in enough of the honey to sweeten the mixture to taste.
Serve warm garnished with chopped chives. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.
Don’t forget to save the bone for soup.
6 lb ready-to-eat, cooked ham, bone-in, uncut (NOT spiral cut), shank end or butt end
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon country whole seed mustard
Heat the oven to 325° F.
Place the ham, fat side up, in a roasting pan.
Bake the ham for about 20 minutes per pound, about 2 hours for a 6 lb ham, or until an instant read meat thermometer registers at least 140° F (60° C), the safe minimum temperature for a fully cooked ham.
In a medium bowl whisk together the apricot preserves, brown sugar, apple cider, mustard and thyme.
About 30 minutes before the ham is done, spoon the glaze over the entire ham.
Cover the ham loosely with foil and let it stand for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
You can also put this dish in the oven with the ham at the lower temperature to cook the two dishes at the same time. Put the gratin in the oven when the ham has an hour and a half of cooking time remaining.
2 pound rutabaga (peeled, thinly sliced)
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Coat a 7×11 or an 8×12 baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the sliced rutabaga in a saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.
Cook for 3 minutes in the boiling water, drain and set aside.
Combine the cream, garlic powder, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper with a whisk.
Pour one-third of the cream into the bottom of the baking dish.
Place a layer of rutabaga slices on top, followed by one-third of the cheese. Dot with one-third of the butter.
Continue to layer ending with a layer of cheese.
Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 30-40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Sautéed Green Cabbage Steaks
1 small head green cabbage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Celery seed for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Immerse the whole head of cabbage in the boiling water until the outer leaves begin to loosen.
Remove the cabbage from the water and drain. Cut the stem end off and carefully peel away as many outer leaves as will come off easily, usually 8 to 12 leaves will be large enough for stuffing. Reserve those leaves for another use.
Cut the remaining cabbage in half and cut two half-inch thick slices from the cabbage halves.
Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage steaks, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
Turn the cabbage steaks over with a wide spatula, sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes more.
Sprinkle lightly with celery seed and serve.
Cosenza is a province in the Calabria region of Italy. The province, one of the very few in Italy with coastlines along two different seas, includes the beautiful Sila mountains with their 3 lakes, Cecita-Mucone, Arvo and Ampollino and the Pollino National Park, founded in 1993.
Cosenza’s roots go back to early man. The province was conquered by the Normans, Saracens, Byzantines and the Spanish. The rich history is reflected in their architecture and their culture. Roman ruins, ancient castles, Norman towers and festivals, like the Montalto Uffugo’s Saracen Festival, mesh the past with the present.
An ancient legend exists in the province dating back to 410 AD about King Alaric, King of the conquering Visigoths. The legend states that once the King conquered Rome, he headed south, conquering and collecting treasures. Once he reached where the Crati river and the Bucenta river met, he died suddenly. These rivers meet in the heart of Cosenza. It is said that his soldiers, along with the help of slaves, buried the King under the river, along with his horse and the treasures, by redirecting the river long enough to build the tomb. His troops then killed all the slaves so no one would know where the treasure was buried.
In the centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, several towns in the Cosenza province refused to acknowledge the new government of the Visigoths. Instead, they built strong city walls and small garrisons to hold out for centuries as semi-independent enclaves until the invasion of the Germanic Lombards in the 560s. In 1500, in spite of resistance, Cosenza was occupied by the Spanish army. In 1707 the Austrians succeeded the Spanish in the Kingdom of Naples, followed by occupation by the Bourbons. From 1806 to 1815, Cosenza fought hard against French domination. In 1860, Calabria became part of the new Kingdom of Italy.
The province contains the Cosentian Academy, the second academy of philosophical and literary studies to be founded in the Kingdom of Naples (1511) and one of the oldest in Europe. To this day, the area remains a cultural hub with several museums, theaters, libraries and the University of Calabria.
The cuisine has been greatly influenced by past conquerors. The Arabs brought oranges, lemons, raisins, artichokes and eggplant and the Cistercian monks introduced new agricultural practices and dairy products.
Tomatoes are sun-dried, octopi are pickled, anchovies salted and peppers and eggplant are packed into jars of oil and vinegar.
The chili pepper is popular here and is crushed in oil and placed on the table with every meal to sprinkle over your food. The chili was once considered to be a cure for malaria which probably accounts for its extensive use in this region.
The cuisine is a balance between meat-based dishes (pork, lamb, goat), vegetables (especially eggplant) and fish. Pasta (as in Central Italy and the rest of Southern Italy) is also very important.
Some specialties include Caciocavallo Cheese, Cipolla rossa di Tropea (red onion), Frìttuli and Curcùci (fried pork), Liquorice, Lagane e Cicciari (a pasta dish with chickpeas), Pecorino Crotonese (Sheep’s milk cheese) and Pignolata (a soft pastry covered in chocolate and lemon flavored icing).
Recipes To Make From Cosenza
Serve with Calabrian Bread
2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into slices
1/8 cup of salt
2 roasted oil-packed Calabrian chilies, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Salt the cut eggplant and let it set for 1 hour.
Rinse the eggplant thoroughly under cold water.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the eggplant for 4 to 5 minutes until tender.
Lay the slices out on a towel to dry.
In a medium size bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, chili peppers, garlic, oregano and pepper.
Place one layer of the eggplant on a plate and drizzle some of the oil mixture on top.
Place another layer on top and repeat until all the eggplant is used up.
Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hour and serve chilled.
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast with a quarter cup of the lukewarm water. Pour into a large bowl.
Mix in the flour, sugar, salt, and remaining lukewarm water and mix in until a dough starts to form. If too sticky, add a bit more flour.
Turn out onto a flat surface and knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with a thick towel, and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, divide in half and shape into 2 oblong loaves about a foot long each. The bread can also be shaped into a ring.
Put the loaves on cookie sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise again for 40 minutes. Loaves will double in width.
In a small dish, beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Make 3 slits in the top of the risen bread, a quarter of an inch deep. Brush with the egg wash and put the cookie sheets in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F Then lower the heat to 400 degrees F and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until golden and baked through.
Lagane E Cicciari
Lagane is a flat, wide, fettuccine-like fresh pasta
2 cups all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1/2 cup of water
Add the salt to the flour and mix well.
Slowly add the water and knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the dough on a floured surface, using a rolling-pin to form a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
Continue to roll and thin the pasta. (Cutting the circle in half will make it easier to handle.)
Roll the dough to form a long log
With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 1/4 inch strips.
Unroll the strips and lay them on a clean, flat surface.
Cook as directed below.
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
One 15 ounce can chickpeas, undrained
One 14 oz can chopped Italian tomatoes, undrained
8 ounces lagane (recipe above) or broken lasagna noodles
In a small saucepan, combine the garlic, oil, red pepper flakes and rosemary.
Over low heat, cook the garlic until it begins to brown.
Add the chickpeas with all of their liquid and the tomatoes.
Simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Boil the pasta in at least 3 quarts of water with 1 heaping tablespoon of salt for 2-3 minutes if fresh pasta or longer for dried.
Just before the pasta is done, remove about half the chickpeas to a bowl and mash them with a potato masher or with an immersion blender. Return the mashed chickpeas to the sauce
When the pasta is done. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Combine the pasta with the chickpea sauce in a large serving bowl. Toss well. Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water if the pasta is too dry. (It should not be soupy, however.)
Serve very hot with either olio santo (hot pepper oil) or extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top.
Galletto alla Diavola (Devil’s Chicken)
1 whole chicken, cut up
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mustard
1 carrot, minced
1 red onion, minced
1 3/4 oz uncooked ham (capocollo), finely chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup dry Marsala wine
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix the eggs with the salt and pepper and mustard.
Dip each chicken piece into the egg mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs.
Grease a baking dish with a little olive oil and then add the chicken pieces.
Pour a little bit of olive oil over the chicken pieces and bake for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest piece reaches 165 degrees.
In a skillet cook the carrot in oil with the onion and ham.
Season with salt and pepper, then add the white wine and Marsala.
Reduce the heat and let simmer until thickened.
Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, then pour the sauce over and serve.
This coming weekend is Memorial Day and the official start of BBQ season. That means lots of ribs, burgers, steaks, kebabs and corn on the cob. If you are going to invite friends over, it will take some planning. What if you are not in the mood for cooking for lots of folks this weekend? Well don’t. You can still have that BBQ shindig, but for just 2 or 3. This is what we will be having at our Memorial Day BBQ.
Grilled Ham Steak with Pear Topping
I am not a huge fan of ham steak, but my husband is, so over the years I have worked on making ham steaks taste good. I learned that to make the meat tender, it is important to marinate the steaks overnight. To avoid a dry end result, cook them quickly on the grill and make a flavorful topping. Here is my recipe and it works for us.
- Juice of one orange – (save the orange rind for the braised carrot recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 fully cooked boneless ham steak (1- 3/4 pounds)
- 1 Bartlett pear, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup of pecans
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the marinade ingredients. Add ham; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat an outdoor grill. Brush the grates with oil
On a sheet of heavy-duty foil large enough to hold the diced pears, place the diced pears and pecans in the center of the foil. Dot with the butter and sprinkle on the brown sugar and ginger.
Close the foil into a package and place on the grill Cook for 10 minutes before placing the ham on the grill.
Drain the ham from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Rotate the pear packet on the grill.
Grill the ham steak over medium-hot heat for 3 minutes on each side, basting frequently with the reserved marinade.
Remove the pear packet and spoon the pear sauce over the ham.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt and pepper; make a well in center of flour mixture.
Whisk together the buttermilk, honey and eggs. Add to the flour mixture and gently incorporate the dry ingredients. Mix in the cheese.
Place the butter in an 8-inch baking pan and place the pan in the oven until the butter melts. Remove the pan from oven and tilt to coat bottom and sides.
Pour the batter into the buttered pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let cornbread cool 15 minutes before cutting.
Braised Carrots and Fennel
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¾ lb carrots (1 fresh bunch; about 6 or 7) – cut into matchsticks
- 1 fennel bulb – ends trimmed, bulb cut in half, each half cored and cut lengthwise in 1/8″ slices
- 2 strips of orange zest – 1″ x 4″ long
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds – crushed in a mortar
- 5 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the butter, olive oil and honey. Stir well and add the carrots, fennel, orange zest and fennel seeds.
Toss until the slices are well coated with the oil. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the fennel starts to soften, tossing occasionally.
Add the orange juice, salt and pepper. Toss quickly and reduce heat to between medium and medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Uncover the pan. Raise heat to high and fast-simmer until the juices have all evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove orange zest and stir in the dill.
Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
- 18.5 oz pkg. Lemon Supreme cake mix
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and very soft
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Cupcake liners
This frosting is very stable and does not melt or weep at room temperature like many standard whipped cream frostings or change in any way under refrigeration.
- One 8 oz pkg low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- 2 cups cold heavy (whipping) cream
- Sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Coat muffin cups with cooking spray and place a cupcake liner in each.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake ingredients. Then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Using an ice cream scoop fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting
Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and coconut extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.
While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times, while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.
Spread each cupcake generously with the frosting and top each with sweetened coconut. Press the coconut lightly, so it sticks to the frosting. Chill until serving time.
Tradition is important in the Italian-American culture. Second only to Christmas Eve in the way of Italian-American traditions, Easter is a big holiday and, as such, it is centered around food—as most Italian-American celebrations are. From Easter breads and ricotta pies to roasted lamb and asparagus, there are numerous dishes on the Italian American table. Here are some recipes for just a few of them.
Also, called Easter Pie. There are as many recipes for this dish as there are Italians. Most pies contain ricotta cheese, eggs and some type of Italian meat. Italian Americans love to make this pie for their family members. I remember vividly, my father visiting his family at Easter time and coming home with pies made for him by his sisters and sisters-in-law. It twas a bit overwhelming.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 3 or 4 tablespoons icy water as needed
Put the flour and salt into a food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to mix the dry ingredients.
Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and drop them onto the flour and pulse the machine in short bursts about 10 times. The mixture should be crumbly.
Put in the eggs and pulse a few times to mix the eggs into the dry ingredients.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water on top of the dough. Pulse 6 times for just a second or two. The dough should resemble cottage cheese. Pick up some dough and press it together. If it doesn’t hold together, add another teaspoon of water until it does.
Scrape the dough onto a floured board and knead together just to form a smooth, tight dough.
Form a flat disc and wrap the dough in plastic. Refrigerate for a few hours before using.
- 32 oz. ricotta, drained
- 2 eggs
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cut in a ½ inch dice
- 4 oz diced Prosciutto di Parma
- 4 oz sopressata cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 cooked sweet Italian sausage link (4 oz.) cut into ½ inch cubes
- Egg Wash (1 egg beaten with one tablespoon of water)
In a large bowl combine the ricotta, Pecorino, pepper and eggs.
Add the mozzarella, prosciutto, sopressata and sausage and mix well into the cheese mixture.
To Assemble the Pizza Rustica
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan or a 9 inch deep dish pie pan.
Cut off 1/3 of the dough and set aside.
With a rolling-pin, roll out the remaining pastry dough to about 15 inches in diameter. It should be about 1/8 inch thick.
Flour the board and top of the dough to avoid the dough from sticking.
Place the dough in the pan and pat the dough to cover the bottom and sides. If the dough breaks just patch it.
Pour in the ricotta mixture.
Tap the pan on the board to ensure the filling settles.
Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. (You can also cut the dough for the top into lattice strips.)
Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively.
Brush the egg wash over the entire pastry top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.
Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve.
- 12 ounces ground chicken
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 large egg, whisked
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 3/4 cup orzo or ditalini or other small pasta
- 1 cup 1/2-inch rounds of peeled carrots
- 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
- Chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix chicken, bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, egg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
Form into 1/2-inch-diameter meatballs (I uses a melon ball scoop). Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the meatballs on the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced leek to the pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
Add the remaining garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil.
Stir in pasta and carrots;turn heat to low and simmer about 8 minutes.
Add meatballs; simmer until pasta is al dente and the carrots are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add spinach and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese; stir until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional Parmesan, if desired.
For the white sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- Salt & Pepper
In a medium saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat. Stir in flour and cook the roux, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add milk in a steady stream and bring mixture to a boil, whisking until thick and smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer sauce over low heat, whisking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer sauce to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap.
- 32 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb.mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
- White sauce, recipe above
- 12parboiled spinach lasagna noodles
Mix the ricotta with the spinach and the remaining filling ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna.
Completing the Lasagna
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish.
Spread about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish and place a layer of noodles on top.
Spread one-third of the sliced mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and then one-third of the ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella; top with another 1 cup of sauce.
Repeat the layers twice, then top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the top layer of pasta.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle the top with extra parsley for color.
Italian Baked Ham
- 3 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 jar fig jam
- 1 large ham (8 to 10-pounds bone-in, spiral cut or 4- to 5-pound boneless)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together the rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and juice and olive oil.
Set the ham on the rack and rub the ham with the rosemary mixture. Season with salt and pepper and cover with foil.
In a small pot, heat the fig jam with a couple of tablespoons of water.
Bake the ham for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and glaze the ham with the fig jam.
Continue brushing the ham with the glaze every 15-20 minutes with a pastry brush, for another hour or until heated through.
If the ham starts to get too brown, loosely cover it with foil. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
Easter Lamb Cake
- 1 pkg store-bought chocolate or vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup water (use 1/4 cup less than the package directions-my cake mix calls for 1 1/4 cups of water)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Whipped Cream Frosting, recipe below
- 1 lamb mold
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare the lamb mold by coating it with vegetable oil. Let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel.
Then grease (use a solid shortening) and flour the lamb mold, making sure to get all the creases.
Place the front of the mold on a baking sheet.
Prepare the cake batter according to the cake mix directions.
Fill the mold to the top for the front of the cake, do not fill the back side of the mold.
Place the back of the mold on the front and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake tests done. (Test with toothpick through a vent hole in the mold.)
Remove the mold from the oven, wait 10 minutes and remove the back of body mold.
Stand the cake up and gently remove the front of the mold. Have clean towels rolled up and ready to support the head of the cake, while placing a rolled up towel in back of the cake to support the that part also.
Place a dab of icing on a plate and stand the cake in an upright position. Frost and decorate with jelly beans, raisins, cherries, or chocolate chips for the eyes and nose.
(Best results cool cake in the refrigerator before frosting, this makes a firmer surface for the icing.) Place green tinted coconut around the base of the lamb; add jelly beans and a colorful bow at the neck, if desired.
Whipped Cream Frosting
This is a great whipped cream recipe because it does not weep after it sits on the cake.
- 1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a electric stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.
While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.
The Province of Campobasso is a province in the Molise region of Italy and is situated in eastern Italy on the Adriatic coast. It is bordered in the north by Abruzzo, in the southeast by Apulia and in the south by Campania. The terrain is varied and extends from the mountainous Apennines, down through hills, lakes and inland rivers to the Adriatic coast.
The province’s mountains offer beautiful views and the forests are a natural habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including wolves and rare birds of prey. The province is also known as the perfect location for mountain climbing and for exploring a network of caves that have been carved into the limestone. Among the province’s most renowned places is Campitello Matese, part of the Municipality of San Massimo and a leading ski resort with outstanding courses and modern lifts.
Campobasso boasts two nature reserves, the LIPU Oasis in Casacalenda and the WWF Oasis of Guardiaregia-Campochiaro. Those who love the seaside will appreciate the 24 miles of Adriatic coastline with its host of resorts.
Beans, potatoes, grapes and olives are primary crops of the region. Durum wheat is also important to the region, so pastas are both hearty and abundant. Polenta dishes are common throughout the region. Because animals have been generally raised for sale, recipes are often vegetarian or use very small amounts of meat. Most dishes are prepared simply and use few ingredients.
Appetizers include soups made with legumes grown in the area, such as lentils, pearl barley and beans, especially fava.
Caponata is the dish that best characterizes Campobasso’s cuisine. It is made with wheat (tarallo) dampened with water and vinegar and flavored with tomatoes, celery, peppers, anchovies, black olives and boiled eggs.
Crioli con le noci is another specialty, dried cod cooked with chopped nuts, as is tacozze e fagioli, homemade pasta sauce with beans and pork rind.
Campobasso is also home to delicious sausages and cured meats: capicola or seasoned pork, ciccioli pork rinds, ham, pork sausage, salami, torcinelli (roulade, essentially of the “rest of the pig”), and pork belly.
The area’s woodlands are ideal for producing a variety of mushrooms, among them porcini, field mushrooms, gallinaccio and, of course, the renowned truffle.
Cheeses include caciocavallo, burrino, mozzarella and pecorino. Among the province’s most famous wines are Biferno (white, red and rosé) and Moscato.
Bread with Broccoli Rabe
- 14 oz (400g) stale durum wheat bread
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ¼ lbs (1000 g) rapini or broccoli rabe
- Pinch salt
- Black pepper or chili pepper
Slice the bread into ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick slices.
Wash and clean the broccoli rabe.
Boil for 3 minutes in water to cover, add the bread and drain immediately.
Arrange the bread in layers along with the broccoli rabe. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or red chili flakes).
- 1 ham bone
- 1 cup bite-sized ham pieces
- 2 large onions, halved
- 1 whole large garlic, skinned and cloves smashed with the side of knife
- Fresh or dried basil or both (to taste)
- 5 large bay leaves
- 5 large carrots, sliced
- 2 whole celery stalks and 4 stalks sliced
- 3 medium potatoes, cubed
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 lb dried navy or great northern beans, soaked overnight
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Salt & Pepper
Simmer in large soup pot approximately 1 1/2 hours: the ham bone with enough water to cover, onions, garlic, basil, bay leaves, 2 whole celery stalks, salt & pepper to taste.
Drain beans and place in a large pot covered with water by three inches. Add the baking soda. Simmer for 45 minutes, then drain and change the water. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add more water if necessary. When the beans are almost cooked add 1 teaspoon of salt, drain and set aside.
Strain the ham broth and discard the bone and vegetables. Add the broth to the cooked beans, ham pieces and all the remaining ingredients. Simmer for approximately one hour.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pork is preferred in the mountains, while the coastal areas are mainly characterized by seafood dishes.
- 10 ½ oz (300g) fresh egg pasta, Tagliolini
- 3 oz (80g) ham, julienne or peeled medium shrimp
- 1 hot chili pepper, minced
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 ¾ oz (50g) olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
Cook the pasta al dente and reserve some of the pasta cooking water. Drain
In a skillet, heat the oil and fry the chili with the onion. Cook at moderate heat till soft, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Add the ham or the shrimp and heat it quickly.
Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, the minced parsley and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Serve.
Old Style Ricotta Pie
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 pounds ricotta cheese
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening plus 1 tablespoon shortening, chilled
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
For the filling:
Beat the 12 eggs, the 2 cups sugar and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta cheese. Set aside.
For the crust:
Combine the flour, baking powder and the 1 cup sugar together. Cut in the chilled shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Mix in the 4 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease two deep-dish 9 inch pie plates.
Roll out 2 of the balls to fit into the pie pans. Do not make the crust too thick, as it will expand during cooking. Do not flute the edges of the dough.
Roll out the other 2 balls of dough and cut each into 8 narrow strips for the top of the crust.
Pour the ricotta filling evenly into the two pie crusts. Top each pie with 8 narrow strips of dough. Brush the top of the pie with milk. Place foil on the edge of the crust.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove foil. Rotate pies on the rack so they will bake evenly. Continue to bake until a knife inserted in the center of each pie comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes more.
Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate until serving.
When it comes to holiday entertaining, you’ll want to serve your guests food that is not only delicious but also looks beautiful on the plate. However, you want to enjoy the holiday and not be stuck in the kitchen.
The recipes below are not complicated and some of the accents and flavorings can be prepared in advance. These special entrees can go in the oven and cook while you enjoy visiting with your company.
Pork Loin with Orange Wine Sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the salt, pepper and coriander and sprinkle first 3 ingredients over pork.
Combine parsley and the next 4 ingredients (through thyme); rub over the pork.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork to pan; cook 7 minutes, browning on all sides.
Place pork in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink). Remove the pork to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes.
Place pan over medium heat. Add shallots to the pan; cook 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup (about 3 minutes).
Add chicken broth and orange juice; cook until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup (about 8 minutes). Serve sauce with pork.
Baked Steak with Mushrooms
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
- 1 lemon
- 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- One 2-lb, 2-inch thick sirloin steak
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Heat oven to 400°F.
In a roasting pan, combine the mushrooms, celery, lemon, onion, oil and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix well
Season the steak with 1⁄2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, sprinkle the garlic over the steak and place on top of the vegetables.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, lemon juice and Worcestershire.
Spoon the ketchup mixture over the top of the steak and place the roasting pan in the oven.
Roast to the desired temperature. (125°F for medium-rare, 30 to 35 minutes.) Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let for rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Chicken in White Wine Sauce
- 4 medium red-skin potatoes, quartered
- 4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 onion, cut in eighths
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-lidded pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
Add vegetables, garlic, herbs and white wine to the pot; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 4 minutes.
Return chicken, skin side up, to the pot; add broth, return to a simmer, cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 20–25 minutes. Uncover; continue to cook in the oven until the skin begins to crisp, 8–10 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter; cover with foil to keep warm.
For the gravy:
Skim fat from cooking juices; strain juices into a large measuring cup. Add butter to the Dutch oven and let it melt. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add cooking liquid. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Serve chicken and vegetables with the wine gravy.
Honey Glazed Baked Ham
- Half of a ready-to-eat, cooked ham, bone-in, uncut (NOT spiral cut), shank end or butt end, about 9-10 pounds
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dry)
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Remove the ham from the refrigerator a couple of hours before you intend to cook it so that it is room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Place ham, fattier side up, in a foil-lined roasting pan. Score a diamond pattern in the fat with a sharp knife, about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch deep.
Prepare the glaze:
Mix the thyme in with the hot melted butter and let sit for a few minutes. In a small saucepan on high heat, let the cider vinegar reduce down from 1/4 cup to 2 tablespoons, remove from the heat.
Whisk in the butter and thyme. Add the honey, the brown sugar and the Worcestershire sauce.
Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the ham. Only use about third of the glaze (reserve the rest for later in cooking). Work the glaze into the scored lines.
Place ham in the oven. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours (check after 1 hour) or about 10 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature of the ham is 110°-120° (use a meat thermometer).
(Note that ham is already cooked when you buy it and you just want to heat it.) Baste the ham with the glaze a couple of times during the cooking.
When the ham has reached the desired temperature, take the pan out of the oven and brush the ham all over with the pan juices. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Spice-Crusted Roast Salmon
This dish makes such a pretty presentation for the holidays.
- 2 1/2 pound beets (about 8 small to medium, a mix of red and gold if available), peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the parchment paper
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 whole side (about 3 pounds) boneless salmon, skin on
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place beets on a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle with ginger, fine sea salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to coat.
Place black peppercorns in a spice grinder and pulse once or twice until cracked, or place them on a cutting board and crack with a rolling-pin. Add pink peppercorns, coriander seeds, rosemary and coarse sea salt; continue to pulse or crush until the mixture is very coarsely ground.
Line a second large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, oil the paper and place salmon on top; fold the thin tail section under if the fillet is too large for the baking sheet.
Brush salmon with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with peppercorn mixture.
Roast the beets in the middle of the oven, stirring once or twice during cooking, until tender and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
After the beets have roasted for about 15 minutes, place salmon on the top rack of the oven and roast until just lightly pink in the center, about 12-15 minutes.
Loosen salmon from the parchment with a spatula, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer salmon to a serving platter. Spoon beets around salmon and sprinkle them with chives and parsley.