02/05/04  Abbacchio alla Cacciatora from

"Buon Giorno!" Hope you are all doing fine on this cold day? Well, what will warm the hearts for most of you is the coming of Valentine's Day!

It's hard to say when or how Valentine's Day began. Some observers reach back centuries for clues.

A widely believed origin of Valentine's Day is one involving Claudius the Cruel. This legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emporer Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

According to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first valentine greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that this Saint Valentine fell in love with a girl, possibly his jailer's daughter; who visited him during his confinement. Before he was killed, he allegedly wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine."

That more recent history of Valentine's Day is what some more cynical folks may latch onto in seeking their answers to the day's origins.

"I think there was a Valentine who worked at Hallmark," said Judy McGuire, who writes about sex, love and relationships for the Seattle Weekly. "It's just a day that makes people who are alone feel like big losers and people who in relationships feel inadequate because the day never lives up to expectations."

I hope you enjoy the 3 new recipes in this week's issue. They are 3 tasty and succulent meat recipes that are guaranteed to satisfy. Try them out especially the "Costoletta alla Valdostana" which is a popular and simple dish that you'll find in your favorite Italian gourmet restaurant.

This week's complimentary news article from "Only In" explains about the problem Venice had this week with a missing water bus and the "Hunt for Red October".

Enjoy the issue!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

 Important News for Retailers and Wholesalers:

Thanks to all our customers worldwide, Adriana's Bakery has taken the initiative to produce a special cookie gift box that will replace the current plain box and give that special touch to retailers and store owners who would like to proudly display and sell Adriana's Italian Cookies. We expect our new boxes to be complete and available in the early spring.

We will also be putting a wholesale section on our site where retailers will be able to order our Italian cookies and have them air shipped to them fresh and on a weekly basis. The cost of shipping will no longer be a problem because we are also currently negotiating with a shipping company that will give us the most advantageous and cost efficient air shipping rates for orders of 15-20 kilograms and up (4-6 days to anywhere in the USA).

Stay tuned!

 Recipe: Abbacchio alla Cacciatora

Abbacchio alla Cacciatora
Baby Lamb Cacciatora


3 lbs. baby lamb, combination of leg, shoulder, ribs and kidneys
4 salted anchovies
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3/4 cup good white vinegar
3 cloves garlic
4 tbs. olive oil
2 oz. vegetable shortening


Cut the baby lamb in equal pieces, each about 2 oz. Rinse them to remove bone splinters and dry thoroughly.

Sauté 2 cloves of garlic in 4 tbs. oil and shortening in a saucepan large enough to contain all the pieces of lamb in a single layer. Discard the garlic. Add the pieces of lamb, turning the meat until all sides are evenly browned.

In the meantime, wash and fillet the anchovies. Mince the rosemary leaves finely, together with the remaining garlic and the anchovy fillets. Pour the resulting mixture into 3/4 cup vinegar, mixing well.

When the meat is browned, add pepper and a small amount of salt (remember that the anchovies are salty) moistening first with the vinegar mixture and then with water and continue to cook, over a medium heat for 30 mins.

When the baby lamb is ready, arrange the meat in a pre-heated serving platter together with its cooking juices and serve.

That's it!

 Recipe: Arista di Maiale con Cannellini

Arista di Maiale con Cannellini
Pork Loin with Cannellini Beans


3 lbs. pork loin center cut, with or without bone a few cloves
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lb. cannellini beans
1 garlic head, whole
Olive oil
Black pepper, freshly ground


Spike the meat in the very center with a battuto prepared with garlic, rosemary and cloves. Brush the meat with oil, add salt to taste and set aside for one hour.

After soaking the cannellini overnight, cook them in slightly salted water. Set aside but keep warm.

Place the pork in a greased baking pan, roast in oven at 450ºF for 2 hours, turning the meat frequently in its own fat. When the arista is ready, remove from the cooking pan, slice and arrange on serving platter.

Serve with the warm beans dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Arista is also very good if served cold. Frequently the cooking juices from the meat are used to cook bitter broccoli or black cabbage, which are then served with the arista.

Note: Arista can also be cooked on the spit.

That's it!

 Recipe: Costoletta alla Valdostana

Costoletta alla Valdostana
Veal Chop with Fontina


4 veal chops
4 oz. Fontina
1 egg, beaten
White breadcrumbs
3 oz. butter
White truffle (optional)


Butterfly the veal chops, leaving them attached to the bone. Flatten them slightly and place slices of Fontina in between each two pieces of meat. Add salt and pepper to taste and pound the edges together with a mallet.

Dip in the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs. Melt the butter in a skillet. When hot, place the veal chops in and cook for 2 mins. on each side, then 3 more mins. in the oven at 450ºF. Remove from oven and place in serving platter.

Add a shaving of white truffles over and serve.

That's it!

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 It Could Only Happen in Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure, a sample of today's edition.

Italian PM 'almost immortal,' doctor says, dispelling rumours of failing health.

February 4 - ROME - Silvio Berlusconi's doctor said yesterday the Italian Prime Minister is "almost immortal'' with a genetic make-up "exceptionally'' disposed to longevity. Though rumours have abounded that Mr. Berlusconi is in failing health and may be forced to stand down, Prof. Scapagnini said the opposite was true.

He said the Prime Minister is a picture of health who knows how to control stress and observes a high-protein diet, which makes him look 12 years younger than his 67 years and gives him the "mental and sexual activity of a 50-year-old.''

Prof. Scapagnini, an endocrinologist who is also Mayor of Catania, Sicily, said three factors determine lifespan -- genetics, stress, and nutrition -- and Mr. Berlusconi is particularly fortunate in all three. "Genetically he is exceptional,'' he said. "And he has a brain that is truly extraordinary. He has an incredible capacity for concentration and work." The Daily Telegraph

Boy, am I going to sleep good tonight knowing my super, "almost immortal", Prime Minister is protecting me and my country.

Hmmm...he must be "almost immortal" because I once heard he bit the head off an Italian rat to save a whole family's spaghetti from the plague.

Ahhh...Italy! No other country can begin to compete with our incredible parade of pointless politicians, our frightening array of senator freaks, and our ridiculous excuse for a government headed up by our absolute worthless team of Ministers and mutton head, "almost immortal", Prime Minister.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe today and feed your sense of intellectual superiority by reading and wondering how Italy still survives after 56 governments in 50 years! Click Here to Subscribe!
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