Chef Angela Cicala’s Walnut Cake

Chef Angela Cicala’s newsletter from anticoitaliantravel.com hit our inbox and we immediately needed to bake her Walnut Cake recipe. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of tasting Chef’s desserts, they are delicate and nuanced, and never too sweet. (You can currently take classes with her at her home, and will be able to enjoy all of her pastries when the much anticipated Cicala at the Divine Lorraine opens!)

It was easy to source all the ingredients from our pantry and the 9th street market. (We found walnut oil at Talluto’s on 9th and Carpenter.) Continue reading

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How to Choose the Pizzelle Iron That’s Right For You

Making pizzelle with the Palmer Model 1000While perusing our shelves full of beautiful and intricately designed pizzelle irons, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. “Which one do I want? Which one is the best?” are common questions we encounter – and the answers to these questions will vary based on your preferences.

The most important questions you need to ask when choosing an iron are these:

“Do I prefer an uncoated cast aluminum finish or a nonstick coating?” and “Do I like my pizzelle paper thin, or a little thicker?”

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Tomato Machines – Mariella’s Summertime Tradition

Summer holds so many great food memories from my childhood in Italy. One of my favorites is the smell and taste of a ripe tomato right off the vine. Everyone in our town had a vegetable garden, and no matter its size, there were always lots of tomato plants. After all, the gravy (sauce) that we canned had to last for a whole year of pasta meals.

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Nonna Assunta with her baby, our Mamma Antonietta

My nonna loved to harvest the plum tomatoes. She cut them in half, squeezed the seeds and liquid out, sprinkled them with salt and placed them on a white sheet in the sun to dry. While helping nonna, I got to taste them as they grew progressively dryer and more intense in flavor. Yum!

My mom did the rest of the work with the tomatoes. She blanched them and ran them through a food mill to remove the skin and seeds, and then put them in jars. It was a time consuming task that was repeated a number of times during tomato season, and well worth it.

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