Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holiday Food Adventures

I can hardly believe another Christmas and 2009 have come and gone! It was a quiet, peaceful holiday here, filled with family and friends and good food and wine. Today's entry is a photo tour of some of the goodies I made over the holidays.

Homemade Italian Bread!
After talking to my cousin Nick about how his mother, my Great Aunt Katie, used to make her bread, I tweaked my usual recipe to make bread more like hers. It turned out great — crusty on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. Steve got me a great book about the art and science of baking artisan breads for Christmas. I can't wait to do some more bread baking!


Chocolate Chip, Orange Cookies, Thumbprints, Pizzelles and Gallettes. I also made Penuche (an old-time candy that my grandmother used to make for my mom and aunts years ago) and Peanut Butter Fudge. All of these are family favorites and the recipes have been handed down through the years.


Homemade Mushroom Ravioli
Using my grandfather's antique pasta machine!






... Shape!

Pita Piata — a family classic!
These large nut and raisin rolls are time consuming and require a lot of kneading an rolling. The dough is tender and flaky and has whiskey in it. I add a touch of whiskey to my filling as well, even though that isn;t in the original recipe. I made a hug batch this year and sent them as gifts. I was a little too generous with my filling (a mixture of regular and golden raisins, chopped walnuts and pecans, sugar and cinnamon) and I ran out, so I had to get creative with the last two. I made a mixture of dried figs, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon and they turned out really great. I think I will make half traditional and half with the new filling next year.


Brined, Herb-Butter Rubbed Roasted Chicken
I decided to brine a chicken like I brined my Thanksgiving turkey. The result was a tender, juicy chicken that was full of flavor. I make a mean roast turkey the traditional way and have always considered it one of my go-to/signature meals. This just takes the flavor up a notch. I have roasted several chickens in this manner since. Drop me a line if you'd like to see the recipe.


Homemade Pasta drying in my living room, waiting to be packed and shipped to family back East. This is the night my friend Erin stopped by and called the operation "Santa's Workshop for Food" between the pasta making and the cookie and bread baking. Love it! What a compliment!


Frying Shrimp and Calamari on Christmas Eve
I usually fry the traditional Italian Smelts on Christmas Eve, but I couldn't find them this year and decided to go with shrimp and calamari. I cleaned and prepared both and then soaked them in milk for about an hour. I dredged them in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic and a dash of cayenne before frying them in canola oil in my electric skillet. They were perfectly crispy and seasoned on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Could you post the recipe for the raisin nut rolls? Thanks.