05/19/09 Chocolate Almond Torte from

"A caval donato non si guarda in bocca." (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Judging a gift negatively will anger the giver..) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Grilled Marinated Vegetables with Fresh Mozzarella
  -Grilled Striped Bass with Lemon and Fennel
  -Chocolate Almond Torte

All of us at the bakery here in Santo Stefano Quisquina sincerely hope you enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Grilled Marinated Vegetables with Fresh Mozzarella

Grilled Marinated Vegetables with Fresh Mozzarella
Verdure Marinate alla Griglia con Mozzarella Fresca


18 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

6 medium-size zucchini (about 1 lb total), trimmed, each cut lengthwise into 4 strips
4 medium-size eggplants (about 1 lb total), trimmed, each cut lengthwise into 4 strips
4 medium-size red bell peppers (about 1 and 3/4 lbs total), stemmed, seeded, each cut lengthwise into 6 strips

Two 8-ounce balls fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced


Spoon 6 tablespoons olive oil into each of 3 small bowls.

Add chopped mint to first bowl.

Add basil and half of garlic to second bowl, and add dried crushed red pepper and remaining garlic to third bowl.

Season each olive oil with salt and pepper.

Combine zucchini and 2 tablespoons mint marinade in medium bowl; toss to coat.

Combine eggplant and 2 tablespoons basil marinade in another bowl; toss to coat.

Combine bell peppers and 2 tablespoons crushed-pepper marinade in third bowl; toss to coat. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally.)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).

Grill vegetables until just charred and tender, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Arrange vegetables on platter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Drizzle each with its marinade. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Add cheese to platter and serve. Makes 8 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Grilled Striped Bass with Lemon and Fennel

Grilled Striped Bass with Lemon and Fennel
Spigola alla Griglia con Limone e Finocchi


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Two 1 and 1/2 lb whole striped bass, cleaned
Coarse salt
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely chopped fresh fennel fronds
Five 1/8-inch-thick lemon slices


Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).

Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl.

Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make three 1/2-inch-deep diagonal slits in skin on each side of fish.

Brush fish generously inside and out with garlic oil.

Sprinkle fish inside and out with coarse salt.

Stuff slits with half of fennel fronds.

Place remaining fennel fronds inside fish.

Place fish in grilling basket.

Top fish with lemon slices, overlapping slightly.

Close grilling basket (fish and lemon slices should be secured by basket).

Grill fish until cooked through, about 10 minutes per side.

Remove fish with lemon slices from basket and carefully transfer to platter. Serve. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chocolate Almond Torte

Chocolate Almond Torte
Torta Caprese


1 and 1/2 cups blanched slivered almonds
1 cup sugar
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan with two 3/4-inch-high sides.

Combine almonds and 1/3 cup sugar in processor.

Blend until almonds are very finely ground.

Transfer almond mixture to medium bowl; do not clean processor.

Add chocolate and 1/3 cup sugar to processor.

Blend until chocolate is finely ground but not beginning to clump, about 45 seconds; stir into almond mixture.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl until mixture falls in heavy ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes.

Beat in almond extract and lemon peel.

Fold in chocolate-almond mixture, then butter.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry.

Fold whites into chocolate batter in three additions.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 40 minutes.

Cool cake completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.)

Cut around pan sides to loosen; release sides.

Sift powdered sugar over cake. Makes 12 servings.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

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

An Economic Crisis Is No Time For a Buffoon to Lead the G8

Rome - December 23, 2008 - Gordon Brown saved the world, Angela Merkel saved her federal budget, Jose Manuel Barroso saved his job for a second term and Nicolas Sarkozy saved Europe. Now, as a horrible year splutters to a close amid ever more dire economic forecasts for the EU, step forward Silvio Berlusconi.

He saved David Beckham from LA obscurity by helping him get a 10-week loan at his football club, AC Milan guaranteeing him more lucrative sponsorship deals and appearances on several of the TV channels run by his Mediaset empire. Mission accomplished, he is hell-bent on saving Italy and, Gordon-like, the planet.

On 1 January, the day Sarkozy officially stops being EU president, the Italian "Presidente del Consiglio" takes over as chairman of the G8 and, with breathtaking delusions of grandeur, is already busy arranging a summit between Barack Obama and Russia's Dmitri Medvedev.

By March, when the European economy is likely to be in meltdown, he plans a G14 summit originally a Sarkozy idea to involve the emerging economies on the "human dimension" of the financial crisis.

Presumably, this is diplomatic language for growing personal debt, poverty, joblessness, hopelessness and all the usual accompaniments of mid-winter bleakness in, potentially, the worst recession since the second world war. Especially in his own country, which has been in recession for two quarters, and faces a steep rise in unemployment, sees car firm Fiat seek a partner to buy it out of its misery and, without the euro and the European Central Bank he despises, would be bankrupt.

Berlusconi, worth around $10 bn and a serial architect of judicial reforms to afford himself immunity from justice, is the political leader who called Obama "tanned" and likened a senior German MEP to a Nazi camp guard (Kapo).

His contribution to the EU's economic recovery program a 200 bn Euro stimulus package worth 1.5% of GDP appears to be tax cuts for his political supporters in small businesses and slashed penalties for tax evaders worth 1% of GDP, according to opposition politicians in Italy. The package is so derisory that most analysts believe it could even be a fiscal tightening.

Now the 72-year-old playboy of the western world wants to be president of Italy, succeeding ex-communist union leader Giorgio Napolitano, a man of great probity, after 2013. Presumably, Mugabe-style, for life and, Chirac-style, for perpetual immunity from prosecution.

This, in all seriousness, is the person who, by rotation, will chair the G8 next year, when there is likely to be an economic bloodbath around the globe.

It's time to end this stupid process and, as foreseen for the EU under the stalled Lisbon Treaty, choose a president or chairman of genuine stature and vision to head this body for the long haul. Especially as we all agree it, like the UN security council and the IMF/World Bank, should be permanently reformed to embrace China, India and the rest among the emerging economies.

It's bad enough that the eurotoxic Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, becomes titular head of the EU on 1 January (OK, his prime minister will chair the meetings). This column would rather see Sarkozy achieve his ambition of becoming long-term eurogroup president and de facto EU leader after his hyperactive success in running the EU for the past six months.

Perhaps he could take on the G8/G14 as well for the rest of his tenure of the Elysée certain to be extended after 2012 for a further five years on current form.

Or give it to Tony Blair. Anyone but the ill-suited Berlusconi, the undisputed president of Tangentopoli 2, or bribery city, that his native country has yet again become.

All hail for the Prince of Pepperoni has entered the room!

The Prince will be leading the group of industrialized nations through one of the most difficult economic periods it's ever faced. However, with Italy already in its fourth recession in less than a decade (Oh si, four!) Europeans with half a brain are questioning the relevance of the Prince's farcical leadership.

No need to fear for the Prince is determined to make a difference during his leadership and he will start by bringing to the table a proposal for a "regulation of the internet". Of course, he did not clarify what he meant by "regulation of the internet", but the mere mention of it has induced, first constipation, and then diarrhea among the Italians. The playful Prince owns a large chunk of the Italian mass media excluding the Internet which he cannot force under his rule and is causing the hair plugs on his asphalt head to pack up and leave.

FACT: The kingdom of Italy now has the third highest public debt in the world, the equivalent of 105 percent of gross domestic product. "Sta' pippa!"

Italy's social security minister and court jester declared there was a real fear in government that it might become a bankrupt state. But the Prince slapped him over his cap 'n' bells with his abacus and insisted he look at the "bigger picture." As far as financial matters, economics goes, it decides nothing. It is important that the G8 summit concludes that Tuscan wine is better than French wine.

The Prince would like to improve relations between the US and Russia, something that might prove his highness difficulty in the wake of his comments about President Obama.

Prince of Pepperoni: "I said ("chuckle-chuckle") to Dmitry Medvedev that he and Obama should get along very well ("chuckle"). After all, ("chuckle-chuckle-chuckle") they are both young, they are both handsome and suntanned ("CHUCKLE-CAZZO!")."

Unsurprisingly, the gaffe sparked outrage around the world but is the kind of thing that people have come to expect from a rich merry buffoon, who recently:
- played "peek-a-boo" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
- broke a pulpit in his impatience to kiss his lover, President Bush, and
- sparked a diplomatic fight with Helsinki by suggesting he had buttered up Finnish President Tarja Halonen by using his unavoidable "playboy tactics".

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