10/05/10 Poached Cod with Tomato and Peppers

"Mettere il carro davanti ai buoi." (Put the cart before the horse.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Parmigiano and Herb Breadsticks
  -Poached Cod with Tomato and Peppers
  -Honey, Olive Oil, and Plum Cake

Everyone at our little bakery sends you our best regards and best wishes for a happy and healthy autumn season. Please enjoy this week's recipes!

Arrivederci e grazie!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Parmigiano and Herb Breadsticks

Parmigiano and Herb Breadsticks
Pane alle Erbe e Parmigiano


2 cups warm water
1 and 1/2 lbs (680 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tbs active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
2 and 1/2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt

1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tbs finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced or put through garlic press

Extra Parmigiano cheese (about another cup) to be grated over hot baked bread
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prepare the Dough:
In a mixer bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar.

Cover bowl; place it in a warm place for 10 minutes, until the yeast mixture is foamy.

Stir in the olive oil.

Whisk together the flour and salt and then gradually add to the yeast mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined.

Attach the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead at medium speed for 4 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, be soft and slightly sticky.

Transfer the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place into a warm place to rise, for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until doubled.

Afterwards, the dough down can be punched down and kept covered in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Bring to room temperature before rolling and forming the twists.

While the dough is rising, combine the Parmigiano cheese, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the olive oil and garlic.

Set aside as well.

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 400°F.

Line two large baking sheets (at least 18-inches long) with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Divide the dough in half.

Keep one portion covered with oiled plastic, while working on another one.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick (roughly 10 by 15-inch). If the dough resists to rolling, cover it and let relax for 10 minutes, and then continue.

Evenly, crosswise, sprinkle the half of Parmigiano-herb mixture over the half of the rolled dough, then fold the free dough over (like a book) and press the edges to seal.

Roll it again to a rectangle, approximately the same size as before.

Using a pizza wheel, cut the rolled dough lengthwise into quarters, then cut each quarter lengthwise into 3 long strips (12 strips total).

Twist each strip and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1/2-inch between them.

Brush the twists with the garlic-infused oil and let rest for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake the twists in batches until nicely brown, for about 25 minutes.

As soon as you remove the twists from the oven, brush them generously with the garlic oil, grate the Parmigiano cheese over, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.

Place the baking sheet with the twists on a cooling rack to cool completely or enjoy warm.

Repeat with the second portion of the dough. Makes 24 18-inch long bread twists.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Poached Cod with Tomato and Peppers

Poached Cod with Tomato and Peppers
Merluzzo Affogato Con Pomodoro e Peperoni


Four 6-ounce cod fillets
6 sweet peppers, sliced
2 tbs tomato paste
One 10.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet or stockpot over medium heat.

Add peppers and cook, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes.

Add onion and cook until union is translucent.

Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add tomato paste, paprika and thyme.

Stir well to incorporate

Add tomatoes and chicken stock.

Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

Season cod fillets with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, gently place fillets in broth and cover pan.

Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Place each fillet over a cup of cooked rice.

Spoon broth evenly over all dishes.

Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Honey, Olive Oil, and Plum Cake

Honey, Olive Oil, and Plum Cake
Torta di Miele, Olio d'Oliva e Susine


Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup honey, preferably orange blossom honey
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
8 prune plums, halved and pitted


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

Whisk in the honey until thoroughly combined and then whisk in the olive oil and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the milk, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the remaining ½ of the milk, and then the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, whisking for only a few seconds after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.

Transfer to the cake pan and arrange the plums cut side down over the batter.

Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to shrink away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.

Run a paring knife around the inside of the cake pan, invert onto a cooling rack, and finish cooling completely.

Cut into portions and serve.

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 8.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & 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:

Rome Postman Fails

Rome - August 12, 2010 - A Rome postman who ditched all the mail he was told to deliver on his last day of work before his vacation may not be able to get away after all, officials said on Friday.

Police were alerted by a number of phone calls from passers-by who noticed the mailman toss all the mail into a large trash can near Rome's Fiumicino airport.

They recovered the letters and had them delivered. Then they tracked down the man and 'delivered' their own summons.

The postman apparently got the idea after his boss told him that he could call it a day as soon as he handed out all the mail.

Italy's postmen: Find 11 reasons to do anything except deliver the mail.

1) Buy fresh bread,
2) Pay bills at post office (of course, no waiting in lines),
3) Make appointment with car mechanic for the weird sound,
4) Whiz by the piazza to for gossip news (who's cheating on who, who died, etc.),
5) Caffè? Oh, what the hell, I'll have another,
6) Give financial advice (mail recipients),
7) Explain in detail why Italy's postal services can never be improved (mail recipients and total strangers),
8) Mercato is in town; need to get warm socks,
9) Pick up child from school,
10) Ask Uncle for advice on why chickens were sick yesterday morning,
11) Skin a varmint .

Italy's post offices: Many tourists have had lengthy discussions on the inefficiency and sluggishness of our sensational post offices. Quite frankly, it's unnecessary chatter. We've learned to just lean back and enjoy it.

You enter one and immediately grab a ticket for the desired service...which we've always maintained should carry a warning sign stating, "la calma è la virtu dei forti" (the calm is the virtue of the strong). You then sit down and wait for your number to appear on a stupid flashing screen.

Now, the main problem with the post offices is not that there aren't enough windows but that few of them are ever open. On a typical day, only one "postal window" will be open, together with a couple of "financial windows". Then there's the "teaser" window which doesn't specify what service it's for. Someone will appear for a minute, pretend to work, disappear, return after 5-7 minutes, take care of one customer, then disappear again. The cycle repeats every half hour.

Italy's postal services (mailing a letter): Trying to obtain a proof of postage is the same as asking where is the best place to hunt for truffles in the deep forests of Le Marche.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe today and you'll discover why the last improvements to Italy were made by Julius Caesar and why it's been downhill ever since!  Click Here to Subscribe!

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 Adriana's Homemade Italian Gourmet Cookies; Italian gourmet almond, fig, pistachio and sesame cookies baked and shipped from our bakery in Italy to you; all natural, fresh, and baked to order. Great Italian recipes!

 Italian humor and news; visit and subscribe today and feed your sense of intellectual superiority by reading and wondering how Italy still survives after 56 governments in 50 years!
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