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 11/25/08 Spicy Christmas Cookies from CookiesFromItaly.com

"Chi non ha buona testa ha buone gambe." (Who lacks a good brain, has strong legs.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Swordfish Steaks in Balsamic Vinegar
  -Sole with Thyme
  -Spicy Christmas Cookies

Thanks again for subscribing and enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday!

Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       


 Italian Cookies for the Christmas Holidays

Cookies have always played an important part in Italian cuisine, whether you have them for breakfast with a cappuccino, or nibbled with a quick cup of espresso at a mid-morning or afternoon break. It is at holiday time however, particularly Christmas, when cookies truly shine. In almost any Italian home, whether it be in Italy, or in North America, most families treat themselves to traditional cookies each Christmas, and often these cookies are from recipes that have been handed down through their families for generations.

If you are interested in ordering your own Italian cookie tray this Holiday season for your family or close friends, you might be interested in the following deadline:

All orders must be placed by Friday, December 12, at 6:00 PM EST. Click here to order!


 Recipe: Swordfish Steaks in Balsamic Vinegar

Swordfish Steaks in Balsamic Vinegar
Pesce Spada all'Aceto Balsamico

Ingredients:

4 swordfish steaks
3 and 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) milk plain flour, for dusting
7 oz (200 grams) oz butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 clove
3 and 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Put the fish in a dish, add the milk and set aside for 10 minutes.

Drain and dust with flour.

Melt half the butter in a frying pan, add the fish and cook over a medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

Season with salt and pepper, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.

Melt the remaining butter over a low heat, add the cinnamon, clove, cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is fairly thick.

Pour it over the fish and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sole with Thyme

Sole with Thyme
Sogliole al Timo

Ingredients:

4 sole, cleaned, trimmed and skinned
4-5 fl oz (120-150 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and white pepper

Directions:

Place the fish in a pan, add water to cover and a pinch of salt and bring just to the boil, then lower the heat and poach until tender.

Drain and place on a serving dish.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Put the thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl and gradually stir in the olive oil.

Spoon the thyme sauce over the fish and keep in a cool place until ready to serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Spicy Christmas Cookies

Spicy Christmas Cookies
Biscotti di Natale Aromatici

Ingredients:

4 oz (100 grams) Amaretti biscuits (almond macaroons)
l oz (25 grams) dried figs
2 and 1/2 oz (65 grams) superfine sugar
2 oz (50 grams) plain white or Italian type '00' flour
1 oz (25 grams) ground almonds
Dash of vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 an unwaxed lemon
1/4 teaspoon (2.5 ml) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
1 oz (25 grams) sultanas
1 egg white
4 tablespoons (15 ml) dry white wine
Icing sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas Mark 4.

Grease several large baking trays.

Finely grind the Amaretti biscuits and chop the figs.

Put in a bowl with all the remaining ingredients except the egg white, wine and icing sugar.

Make a well in the center and add the egg white and wine and mix to form a stiff dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead vigorously for about 10 minutes. (The dough will become stickier when kneaded.)

Shape the dough into flat cookies, the size of chestnuts, and place on the prepared baking trays.

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until dry and the surface is slightly cracked.

Transfer onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar before serving.

Store in an airtight tin. Makes about 28 cookies.

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:

Italian Cabinets Approve Fiscal Federalism

Rome - October 3, 2008 - The cabinet on Friday gave the green light to a so-called 'fiscal federalism' bill - a system whereby regions collect and spend their own tax revenue rather than sending it to central government.

The bill, drawn up by Simplification Minister Roberto Calderoli and Regional Affairs Minister Raffaele Fitto, also gives greater autonomy to city councils and provincial governments to manage revenue and spending. Fitto said that the bill, which was agreed with regional, provincial and city governments, is still "necessarily generic" at this stage but that the cabinet approval was nevertheless "a historic moment".

Calderoli said that the government's task was now "to add the numbers" to the bill. Calderoli has hit out at critics who say fiscal federalism will benefit the highly productive north at the expense of the underdeveloped south, stressing that the bill also foresees an equalization fund to help regions with lower income. But opposition politicians reacted with suspicion to the bill, which they claimed was too vague.

"They're telling us that with fiscal federalism the north, the center and the south of Italy will benefit - something's not right here," said Democratic Party MP Giuseppe Berretta.

"Our priority is that federalism is connected with renewed attention for the south and a guaranteed respect for service standards for all citizens, whether they be from Veneto or Sicily," he added.

The president of the southern region of Calabria, Agazio Loiero, also urged caution.

"I would avoid blowing the trumpets (prematurely). We are just at the beginning and we only have an outline of the idea," he said.

"There's still a lot to clarify and a lot of work to avoid perpetuating Italy's north-south divide," he added.

The devolutionist Northern League party, which forms part of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, has fought a long battle for fiscal federalism. Parliament is now set to examine the bill as part of the state budget, which will be voted on by the end of the year, although Calderoli said it would take "up to 24 months" before fiscal federalism could be put into motion.

Federalismo Fiscale = Napolitani, Calabrese, Pugliese e Siciliani Fottuti.

Understand, the major differences between the North and South boil down to the management of time, finances, relations and the kitchen. Whether all of this justifies a separation of North and South, the future will tell. One thing is for sure: splitting up Italy seems to be a lot easier than trying to unite it.

1.) The border between North and South Italy is not clearly defined:

The Northerners: "Tuscany is the southernmost part of the North. Rome is accepted to be positioned centrally, but we claim Rome is already part of Southern Italy considering the level of corruption there. We have no reason to cross it other than for beach holiday purposes."
The Southerners: "The Northern borders are constantly open like the legs of a "mignotta" and have allowed the entrance of aspects of just about every European culture. This is why they are not real Italians."

2.) Occupation and Industry:

The Northerners: "We associate Italy with design, science, industry and prosperity. The Southerners do not even work hard enough to call themselves Italians."
The Southerners: "Life in the North is all about work, not about living. We live for life. However, we are not afraid of hard work...just low-paying hard work."

3.) Language:

The Northerners: "The official Italian language is Dante's Italian which comes from the Tuscany region. Northern Italian is much closer to the ideal Italian than Southern Italian. Southerners often speak repulsive Italian. They make lots of mistakes, even if they are not speaking their regional dialect."
The Southerners: "But you understand "Vaffanculo", don't you? So did Dante."

4.) Stereotypes:

The Northerners: "Southerners will always be "Terroni", which presents them as ill-mannered peasants attached to the countryside. The women are less punctual, less patient and more hot-tempered."
The Southerners: "We prefer to call them "Polentone", for the fact that they eat tasteless corn-based Polenta, which we do not consider proper Italian food. And why are they so vicious to the South? They act surprised when they see us wearing belts instead of rope to hold our pants up."

"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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