Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

November 2021 Newsletter

November is here and all I can think about is how close the holidays are. Holidays can be very depressing, thinking about our loved ones who are gone and loved ones who live far away. When I was very young, my mama would do all her food shopping at local stores.

My mom had a reputation for being very difficult when choosing her produce.  She was constantly helping herself to what she wanted instead of having the vendor pick out the vegetable or fruit. "Hey signora, I told you not to touch the fruit." She would reply, 'shut up" (wth an Italian accent) as she continued picking what she wanted.

I would be soooo.......embarrassed.

This is the open market place where we shopped.

Addeo Bread...original bread store.

Bread, bread, bread

This was one of the many bread stores in my neighborhood. If you go there today, it is exactly as it was in 1956. The aroma of bread was intoxicating. They would only sell round loaves, long loaves, rolls, frizzle, pizza dough, bread crumbs.

Bread salad (Panzanella)

When my mom had stale bread, she would never throw it away. Instead, she would arrange the bread slices on a plate in one layer.

Sprinkle the bread with cold water, not too much, onto the bread. Drizzle with good olive oil, salt, thin slices of red onion, about 3-4 ripened Roma tomatoes, fresh basil. Let it sit out for a few minutes. Enjoy with a glass of wine, some provolone and olives. It becomes a feast!

Ingredients:

Approximately 6-7 slices of stale bread (preferably Italian style)

Red ripe Roma tomatoes*

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup cold fresh water

3 TBS red wine vinegar

1/4 cup good olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh basil leaves

*Very important step - take halved tomatoes a rub it into the bread (this is what my mom did.)

 

 

Roma tomatoes ripened to perfection.

Traditional Panzarella Salad

It all starts with the bread. The crust crackles when you cut it.

My first turkey......eek

What a nightmare! It was 1983, I decided to make my first turkey. I bought the big bird, soaked it in a big basin. Salted it inside and out. I took raw sausage and bread along with lots of seasonings. I stuffed the Dickens out of the turkey. The bird must have weighed 30 lbs before I cooked it. I started cooking it early in the morning. I cooked it for over 6 hours. I kept testing the stuffing. The stuffing was still pink. 

My company was starving. It was my in-laws, celebrating my first Thanksgiving. My mother in law felt so sorry for me. My potatoes stayed in the hot water too long; they turned to mush. I was crying in the kitchen. My husband helped me remove the stuffing and cook it separately. No one really wanted any. We picked at the burnt turkey for a slice for everyone, but the whole thing was thrown out. Lesson: Never stuff anything with raw meat. As a matter of fact, cook the stuffing separately. My mother in law made delicious stuffing, more like a juicy meatball stuffing with pignoli nuts, raisins, garlic, grated cheese (recipe on the blog). You learn from your mistakes. My mom never cooked a turkey.

 

Don't let this happen to you....