Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

April Showers bring May Flowers

April brings so many memories as a small child.  The first thing that comes to mind is my new Easter outfit.  Mom made sure that we each had a brand new dress or suit, hat, and new shoes and pocket book (purse).  She either made us new things or shopped for them. 

Easter was celebrated by going to mass in your new Easter outfit, so it was more of a fashion show involving the whole community.  A special meal was prepared for the feast.  Mom would always make the traditional lamb.  She would purchase it fresh from her butcher.  He would cut up lamb chops, roasts and the bones were saved for her sauce.

Before Easter, mom would bake traditional cookies that were called Gamelle. I have never attempted to make them, as we did not have a recipe. I did find a recipe online, so if you're interested, I will put it on my blog.  She would also make her ricotta pie (pizza dolce).

Easter was celebrated with friends and family. When it was my mom's turn to host, the kitchen was filled with aromas from cooking a feast. Lasagna was prepared and served after the antipasto.  The lamb was served with salad. After dinner, fresh fruit, fennel, fresh roasted nuts were cracked open, and there were never enough nut crackers to go around.  When I set up my home, I bought so many nut crackers...there was no room in my drawer.

After I was married and started celebrating Easter at my home, I baked and made chocolate bunnies. I made chocolate flowers and enjoyed making my mother and mother in law's traditions so that my children got to learn about their grandparents.

My father in law would prepare rabbit for Easter. Not everyone ate the rabbit. My mother in law made "minestra" which was an escarole soup made with pepperoni and mini meatballs. Another dish that was made was boiled escarole leaves stuffed with raisins, pignoli, salt and pepper and anchovies, which were tied with kitchen cord. They were then sauteed in garlic and olive oil till crusted and tender.

Flowery hats were the craze.

Gemelle, mom only made these for Easter. They were a lot of work.

This Easter bread became my traditional cake. It was a recipe from my neighbor.

Moist, delicious ricotta pie.

Here is my mother in law's easter cake called Casadella. Looks a lot like my easter cake, but this one has yeast in it.

Happy Anniversary in Heaven Mom and Dad Conte