A Very Happy "Buon Giorno" to All!
It's been a few months since we last heard from each other but all of us at the bakery sincerely wish all our subscribers and customers have been doing fine and are in good health. To begin with, we have decided to increase our web site activity starting with the distribution of our newsletter in HTML format. Since we will soon be welcoming the New Year, we felt that we should start the celebrations by issuing our newsletters with just a dash of more flavor but without overdoing it, of course. We will also be adding many more traditional Italian and Sicilian recipes.
Secondly, I would like to give a special and warm thank you to all our customers who came to our town and bakery to visit this past year. We certainly enjoyed your company and hope you will come back to visit us soon. Better yet, we would like to invite the rest of our customers and subscribers to also stop by and visit on your next trip to Italy. We are located in a small town called Santo Stefano Quisquina which is in the province of Agrigento; the best of Southern Italian hospitality!
All of us here at the bakery hope the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons gives us more serenity and better attitudes of thankfulness instead of stress and destruction that we've seen too much of. We certainly give thanks to all our special customers around the world who have made our bakery and web site flourish. Thanks to you our web site, CookiesFromItaly.com, continues to be one of the most visited cookie sites on Yahoo! We deeply appreciate all the compliments we have received and we will continue to do our best for all our customers around the globe.
In addition to our traditional Italian almond and fig cookies, we have added 2 new cookies to our web site menu just in time for the holidays. Please keep in mind that Thanksgiving orders must be placed before this Sunday, November 17, at midnight EST.
"Whole Pistachio" Cookies: Adriana is again to announce the permanent addition of her "Whole Pistachio" Cookies. It is a simple but very tasty combination of egg whites, flour, sugar, and pistachios. There are no preservatives, artificial colors nor flavors.
Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 17.99 Euro plus 8.26 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 26.25 Euro ($26.15-$26.35 U.S. Dollars).
"Almonds and Amarena" Cookies: It is a brand new cookie that has started a trend here in Sicily. They are round cookie balls made with natural almonds, eggs, sugar, flour, and Amarena flavored cherries. There are no preservatives, artificial colors nor flavors.
Example Order: One order to anywhere in the USA costs 15.99 Euro plus 8.26 Euro for Global Priority Mail shipping (7-8 days) for a total of 24.25 Euro ($24.15-$24.35 U.S. Dollars).
We have gift packaging available for the Thanksgiving holidays and/or for any gift giving occasion for just an additional .80 Euro (80 cents). We will gift wrap your cookies and add a holiday or greeting card with your personal hand printed message. Just type in the comment box on the checkout page exactly what you would like to appear in the card; it could be in Italian or English. We will happy to do the translations In Italian for you!
Sicilian Lentil Salsa
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and garlic. Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add lentils and 3 cups water to vegetables. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 45 to 60 minutes.
3 Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. If necessary, add more water to keep the sauce from sticking. Be careful not to dilute; the sauce should be quite thick.
Fettuccine with Artichoke Pesto - Fettuccine con Pesto di Carciofi
6 large or 8 small artichoke hearts, sectioned and steamed
In a blender or food processor, place the prepared artichokes, cashews, parsley, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Turn on and add the olive oil slowly, a bit at a time, until the blender blades spin freely, creating a hollow in the center. Add more oil if necessary. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and keep warm on the stove.
Meanwhile, cook the fettucine until nearly al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water on the side. Return the pasta to the pot and sprinkle in the diced prosciuto.
Spoon in the pesto, adding a tablespoon or two of the reserved pasta water as necessary to assure that the sauce coats the pasta evenly. Stir over low heat. Make sure it doesn't stick to the pot; use all the reserved water if necessary. When the ingredients are well mixed and the fettuccine coated with pesto, the dish is ready.
Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.
Chicken with almonds - Pollo con le Mandorle
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (3 to 3 and 1/2 lbs)
1. Brown the chicken in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over low heat. This will take about 15 minutes. Drain the chicken and set aside.
2. Pour the remaining olive oil into the pan with the tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup warm water. When the sauce begins to boil, add the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed almonds. When the sauce returns to a boil, add the chicken pieces, lower the heat, and cook, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes, adding a little water if the sauce starts to get too thick. Turn the pieces of chicken over at least once.
3. Arrange the chicken on a platter covered with some sauce. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top. Serve warm in winter and at room temperature in summer.
When some of our customers came to visit our little town this year many had asked us what are the proper ways to act in Italian public (theaters, cafes, pubs, piazza, etc..). I came up with this very interesting list in which I hope can help anyone who intends to visit Italy in the near future feel more at ease.
1. Generally, the Italians prefer third-party introductions whenever possible.
2. You will always be introduced to older people and women first. Moreover, when introducing yourself, you must also follow this protocol.
3. Upon introductions and departures, shake hands with everyone individually in a group; the American "group wave" will not be appreciated.
4. Frequent warm and vigorous handshakes can be common for both business and social occasions.
5. Italians will not hesitate to greet people they know with an embrace.
6. You'll notice that the Italians are often very animated and like to gesture with their hands while talking. In most cases, they gesture good-naturedly to emphasize a point or feeling.
7. While passionate gestures are common, exercise restraint (but not the point of appearing lifeless!) until you get to know your Italian counterparts well.
8. Upon your arrival, it is considered common courtesy to greet people in the workplace, stores or restaurants with an appropriate daily greeting such as "buon giorno" or buona sera" and "arrivaderci" upon leaving.
9. You'll also observe people (i.e. men with women, men with men, and women with women) walking arm in arm or holding hands in public. This often occurs in the evening, during a customary stroll known as "passeggiata."
10. Don't be surprised if you experience some gentle pushing and shoving during line-ups. Moreover, it is not uncommon to see a person walk right up to the front of a line at a bank, restaurant or store and get served first because of the relationship he or she has with the clerk.
11. On public transportation, younger people should give up their seats to older people, while men should still give up their seats to women.
12. Eye contact remains direct and is the way Italians show their interest. Be aware that looking away may be perceived as a sign of boredom or outright rudeness. A romantic interest is usually implied when the eyes of two strangers meet and linger.
13. Do not presume to seat yourself at a gathering; whenever possible, wait to be told where to sit.
14. Placing the hand on the stomach signifies dislike, usually for another person.
15. Rubbing the chin with the fingertips, and then propelling them forward, is a gesture of contempt.
16. Contorting the fingers and hand to resemble the devil's horns pointed outward is an obscene gesture. Pointing the fingers inward, however, is a sign to ward off evil.
17. Pointing with the index and little finger is a gesture used only when wishing someone bad luck.
18. Whenever possible, avoid raising your hand or fingers.
19. Slapping one's raised arm above the elbow and thumbing the nose are both considered extremely offensive.
20. In public, behaviors such as gum chewing, leaning, and slouching are unacceptable.
Say Merry Christmas in Italian: Buon natale.
Dolce di Fichi
Pesto alla Trapanese
Torta di Limoni
Torta di Ricotta