Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Little Taste of the Old Country...

Last night my mom pulled out one of her Italian recipe books, Italy al Dente by Biba Caggiano and we decided to go through it and look up how to make pasta for manicotti from scratch- which is one of our favourite things to do :) 

So we flipped through it and came across Biba's recipe for Tortelloni with Swiss Chard, spinach, ham and ricotta- or to us Italians- Tortelloni con Biete, Spinaci, Prosciutto e Ricotta. And we decided to try it out!

So my sister and I set to work making the pasta dough and the impasto (filling) and ended up with very tasty tortelloni for dinner.  From start to finish, it took us about 4 hours but it was soo worth it because there is just nothing better than fresh home made pasta. 

Here are some pictures of our delicious masterpiece.. Enjoy!

This is how it all begins.. 

Pretty Dough Ball :D

This is the way we kneed the Dough...

Make sure you wrap your dough in cling wrap (plastic wrap)
and let it rest for at least 20 mins before rolling

All the little Tortelloni in a row

Remember to graciously flour your plate or the pasta will stick and you'll  have wasted time and effort to end up with nothing but a giant gooey gluey mess.

A simple sugo finto (light fresh tomato sauce)
suits any pasta wonderfully

Keep an eye on your pasta when cooking, because if you don't stir occasionally, it'll stick together in a big clump or to the bottom of your pot.

Biba suggests that a large wide rimmed shallow pot is best when cooking this kind of pasta (along with gnocci, tortellini, capelletti, ravioli etc)

ooooo soooo shiny....

Its best to pull one tortellone out to test if its cooked enough.. 

Strain them a few at a time and dump them directly
into the sauce as its still simmering... yum!

This book was published in 1998

This is the recipe we went off of... FYI we Italians do not appreciate or endorse the replacement of prosciutto for "ham"... ugh!

Thanks Biba!!!!

If you're interested in knowing how to make sugo finto, here are some simple steps to help you out.  P.s you'll never go back to Ragu again! 

You'll need:
-Canned whole Italian tomato's (aka plum tomatos)- 2 cans with serve 4-6 people
-fresh garlic
-olive oil
-salt and pepper
-fresh basil 

-Crush your whole canned tomato's in a bowl with your hands, or put them through a manual tomato sieve or crusher. 
-Add a 1 inch wide circle of olive oil into a large skillet/frying pan and warm, add crushed and chopped garlic (minced or slivered) and brown- FYI if you burn your garlic, you CANNOT use the oil, it's disgusting! so pay attention to your garlic and don't have the heat on too high. If you don't like to eat garlic you can take it out after its browned, or replace the garlic with chopped onions (pay attention when browning onions too.. same grossness issue if they burn).
-Add your now squished tomato's and bring them to a simmer. 
-Carefully drop 3-4 medium or large size fresh basil leaves in the center of the pan and drop a tiny bit of olive oil onto each leaf (this helps infuse the basil further). --
once the basil leaves have turned dark, your sauce is pretty much done (you can also pull out the basil if you don't like to see green things lol) 
-Add your salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer on medium to low heat for about 10 minutes. 
-Stir and add your pasta
-The longer you leave the sauce on low heat, the thicker it'll become.  
-Keep in mind, the joy of sugo finto is having a thinner, lighter sauce with tomato chunks.
-Pull your pasta out of the boiling water and put it right into the sauce and toss it.  When you drain your pasta completely and it dries, it won't absorb the sauce as well. 
-The sauce will be ready to use by the time the pasta is cooked (although keep in mind that certain pasta's take a little longer than others i.e spaghetti versus tortelloni).

Anyway, thats my sauce- Hope you enjoyed my post... 


p.s Drop me a comment, if you want the full recipe or just wanna say HI.. always look forward to getting an e-mail as well. So don't be a stranger! <3

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ugh.. Sick again!!

I may or may not have mentioned previously that in December I caught a bad cold (see my post about Halls encouragement packaging), and that it dwindled out with a lame cough and then disappeared completely.  Well, last week this cold reappeared in my system and my cough has returned with a vengeance.  I had also been fighting cold sores previously to this cold and then once my cold came out, I had three big cold sores take up residence on the left side of my mouth. You might ask yourself, Is there anything worse than a cold sore?? I'm here to tell you that yes, yes there is something worse than a cold sore... three cold sores and the flu!!!

Apparently the cold/flu that's going around this season can last up to 100 days in your house if you let the germs circulate... As a result, none of your family members and probably not even your pets or house plants are safe from it. And 9 times out of 10, it's viral, which means that the doctor's can't even do anything for you.  That's right, you've just got to rely on your immune system to fight it off. Interestingly enough, I believe that I caught this cold again because my immune system went down while I was at home over the Christmas holiday... and right now I feel like I'm still waiting for it to reboot. Ugh!

All 4 members of my household- myself included in the 4- have had a run in with this annoying flu and we've been actively cleaning and sterilizing and airing out the house in order to rid our bodies and our surfaces of the germs. I don't know how effective it was but we all did feel better after getting rid of the stale sick air. The biggest issue that this cold brings is a suppressed cough that resurfaces weeks later and sticks around to keep you up at night and annoy you and everyone around you.

Sound like Fun?? I hope and pray that YOU dear faithful reader- where ever you may be- do not ever experience this cold.  Right now as I type, I am wheezing and coughing and hacking up a lung -figuratively- but I'm hoping that with expectorating, I'll be breathing easily soon enough.

If only I didn't hate cough syrup so much... Buckley's is disgusting although many of my family members swear by it and drink it straight from the bottle when they're sick.  I'll stick to my Advil Cold and Sinus Plus and Buckley's daytime/night-time cold and flu Pills.

Random question: if you've used the Buckley's pills before, have you noticed that during the first fever and chills part of a cold, taking the daytime ones (the yellow ones) makes you feel even colder and more fevered and shaky and gross?? My sisters and I have all had this experience with them... You're nose stops running but you feel even worse... Weird right?

By the way, it's January 16th and there is NO Snow here in the Southern part of Canada.. It's a lovely  blue sky day and 3 degrees Celsius... The grass is green and the ground is dry. It's absurd for winter!! The other day is was 13 degrees above zero, which was record-breaking for us.

Anyway, I've got to get back to reading but aim to post again soon

Ta Ta for Now!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013.. A New Year For Change.

       My cousin google'd "Ways to be a Better Person" and found a list of about 50 things... She chose the best 20 that suited her needs and I think that these ways might benefit all of us to be a better person for 2013 so I thought I'd share it with you:

1- Forgive those who have offended you, even if they are not sorry.
2- Thank those who have helped you, even if they never thank you.
3- Be kind to those you need nothing from. 
4- Care how stranger feel, even though they dont care how you feel.
5- Watch what you say and do and how it affects others. 
6- Never use lousy emotions to justify lousy behaviour.
7- Be the change you want to see.
8- Do good without anyone doing, when no ones looking and don't do it for the praise.
9- Let go of anger and don't use it as an excuse to act poorly.
10- Let go of selfishness by loving others as much as you love yourself.
11- Let go of self abuse and love yourself enough to love others.
12- Learn to love the loveless.
13- Accept that others have the right to disagree with you.
14- Accept your choices and actions and life's circumstances.
15- Tell the truth even if it hurts you.
16- Don't gossip. 
17- Give up something you love to help someone in need.
18- Care more about learning what's right than being right.
19- Great things take time. 
20. Let it Be.

          If everyone tries to make this change, we will all be better people and then society will be a lot better in general. My cousin suggests that you keep this list somewhere visible to you- on your fridge, on a wall in your bedroom, on your cell phone- and read it daily.  We can change the way we act and ract, if we work at these 20 changes even a little at a time.  If you recognize that you need to make these changes, you're one step ahead of the game and already have your feet pointing in the right direction. 

It isn't easy to make these changes but if you can, you will be greatly fulfilled and each small change will not only benefit you but everyone around you. 

So put your best foot forward and have a great new year!!!!!