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 12/02/08 Walnut and Coffee Cake from CookiesFromItaly.com

"Chi ride il venerdi piange la domenica." (Who laughs on Friday, cries on Sunday.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Ricotta Ravioli in Broth
  -Salt Cod Livorno Style
  -Walnut and Coffee Cake

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: Ricotta Ravioli in Broth

Ricotta Ravioli in Broth
Ravioli di Ricotta in Brodo

Ingredients:

For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped
Salt

For the Ravioli:
9 oz (250 grams) ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 and 1/2 oz (65 grams) plain flour (plus extra for coating)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface carefully remove and throw away.

Prepare the Ravioli in Broth:
Beat the ricotta with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Stir in the egg, flour, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into small ravioli the size of acorns.

Coat the ravioli lightly in flour.

Meanwhile, bring the meat stock to a boil over a low heat.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.

Add the ravioli and cook until light brown all over.

Drain on kitchen paper.

Put the ravioli into a soup bowl and ladle in the stock.

Serve with Parmigiano cheese. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Salt Cod Livorno Style

Salt Cod Livorno Style
Baccala alla Livornese

Ingredients:

1 lb 2 oz (500 grams) canned tomatoes
1 and 1/2 lb (675 grams) salt cod, soaked and drained
Plain flour, for dusting
3 and 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Place the tomatoes in a food processor and process to a puree.

Cut the salt cod into fairly large pieces, pat dry and dust lightly with flour.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the salt cod and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes.

Sprinkle with the parsley and garlic and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Serve hot or warm. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Walnut and Coffee Cake

Walnut and Coffee Cake
Torta alle Noci e Al Caffe

Ingredients:

2 oz (50 grams) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
5 eggs, separated
13 oz (375 grams) superfine (caster) sugar
11 oz (300 grams) shelled walnuts, finely chopped
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) plain flour, sifted
4 fl oz (120 ml) freshly brewed espresso or strong black coffee
1 tablespoon rum
4 oz (120 grams) icing sugar
Walnut halves and coffee beans, to decorate

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas Mark 6.

Grease two shallow square cake tins with butter.

Beat four of the egg yolks with 9 oz (250 grams) of the superfine (caster) sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy.

Stir in 9 oz (250 grams) of the walnuts, then stir in the flour, a little at a time.

Stiffly whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl and gently fold into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Cream the butter in a bowl, then beat in the remaining egg yolk and caster sugar, half the coffee, the rum and the remaining walnuts.

Spread this mixture on one cake, then place the other on top, aligning the sides.

Sift the icing sugar into a shallow bowl, stir in the remaining coffee and gradually add water until the mixture is spreadable.

Pour the icing over the cake and spread using a warm palette knife.

Leave to dry, then decorate with walnut halves and coffee beans. Serves 8-10.

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:

Italy Runs Scared and Moves to Protect Firms from Hostile Bids

Milan - October 17, 2008 - Fresh from preventing Alitalia being taken over by the French and Dutch, the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is acting to ensure no other Italian company falls into foreign hands at the bargain prices available on the Milan stock exchange.

On Wednesday night, Berlusconi declared in Brussels that Consob, Italy's stock market regulator, and the treasury were working to change the rules. He said he had information on an influx of cash from sovereign funds, particularly those belonging to oil-producing countries.

The finance minister in Berlusconi's right-wing government, Giulio Tremonti, said amendments would be inserted into two decrees approved by the government and intended mainly to bolster Italy's banks. According to reports yesterday, the new measures would lower the 2% threshold at which equity holdings in a company have to be made public and suspend a rule that requires companies to get "poison pill" and other defenses approved in advance by a meeting of shareholders. Tremonti said the measures would be "within the European framework".

The government's initiative won it rare plaudits from trade unionists in a society where inward investment is widely regarded as a menace. Berlusconi made defense of the Italianitą (Italianness) of the economy a centerpiece of his successful campaign to be re-elected this year.

However, he testified that most of the selling on the Milan exchange had been by foreigners or their agents.

Berlusconi, by contrast, said he "had information from oil-producing countries, which have ample funds and are making huge acquisitions on our markets". He said: "First, I got information from journalistic sources in Arab countries. Then, I got confirmation from the oil-producing countries' governments themselves.

"Many Italian companies have a share price that does not correspond to their value, so there are excellent opportunities for those who may wish to make hostile bids."

Hmmm...Let's take a casual example. The heir to eggplants, Berlusconi, is particularly nervous of one Italian company falling into foreign hands; his own. His enormous TV empire, Mediaset, is at risk of a takeover bid. Recently, its value on the Milan Stock Exchange was 3.99 Euros a share. "Sta pippa", That's a 41.11% drop in less than a year!

"Porca di quella vacca", One has to ask why on the Sicilian earth would a foreign company want to invest in Italy?

Four reasons why investing in the 'Matrix' would be more sound than in Italy:

1. Bureaucracy. Italy has a gigantic and completely useless public administration. One of the real Roman tragedies of business life in Italy is that the authorities procedure for doing anything is inconceivable. It appears to love red tape and has invented official papers and stamps for every possible occasion and purpose known to man. Just finding the right office is more of a challenge than finding the Holy Grail and when you finally find it...it's closed (many offices open on a few days per week for a couple of hours only)!

"Merda", and then there's the documents!

You need documents to obtain the documents for the other documents and the laws governing the use of those documents are mysterious and beyond comprehension.

2. Unions. The structure and power of trade unions led to Italy's thick-headed, labor-market rigidity. The 1992 Concertazione agreements between unions, government, and business gave labor more negotiating power, which unions bluntly translated into, "You will never ever be fired!"

If you fire an employee you step into Dante's hell. You'll end up in court where the judge could oblige you to rehire a fired employee...all at your expense (including missed wages and legal fees, "cazzo")!

3. Underground Economy. Especially in the south, Italy maintains a sizeable underground, or 'black' economy. Workers in the black economy receive lower wages and no unemployment benefits, but they wouldn't dream about paying taxes. The estimated size of Italy's black economy is 27 to 30 percent of GNP.

The fulfilling life of a Southerner: It is easy to remain on the unemployment list, get your subsidy check, and work in the black market for life. Two salaries that translates to double the pleasure, double the fun.

4. Foreign Investment. Poor infrastructure, lazy labor productivity, and tender and affectionate Mafia organizations discourage any type of investment even pocket-change.

"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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