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Polenta Tactics
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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:05 am    Post subject: Polenta Tactics Reply with quote

A relative who lived near my aunt Gracie reminded me of the way that family used to serve polenta - poured onto the table.

Perhaps it was because there were six kids and it was easier that way, and I had heard of that method since then - but they are the only ones in our family that do it in that way. Or this was what they did in their homes in Italy. Is it a regional thing?

We did not have polenta often, and once Grandma Nervina asked me to stir the pot, and not to stop so it would not burn. I had to stand on a chair and felt proud to be helping her. It was easy at first but soon got thicker and harder to stir - had to call for help.

We still have a large piece of brown board, usually used for wall covering, that my Grandma, mother and aunts made pasta and cookies on. I vaguely remember seeing polenta on that.

Once in California, I saw it on the menu and was surprised to see a large square in the middle of my plate - for $5. I mentioned that this is after all, corn meal.

Of course, the difference is in the sauce and my mother, who made a bowl today, has the best I've tasted. Pork bones, beef and sausage cooked for hours.

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Gil
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We never had polenta. Well, at least I don't really remember it being popular in my family. My father's parents were from Naples & Salerno, my mother's parents were from the Agrigento area of Sicily. Maybe polenta wasn't popular in those areas. Hard to believe that both grandfathers would hate it if it was popular. I've read stories on various blogs and websites in Italy about polenta being served in the manner you described.

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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They might have not wanted polenta because they had it so much - like Spam with Monty Python. A daily diet of anything over years would turn many people off.

My maternal grandfather was from Siculiana, also near Agrigento. The Manzone brothers from Rochester also have ancestors from that area. Their uncle wrote a great book about growing up in Rochester and also visiting their parent's hometown in the the 1930.

Did your family ever have the orange salad, sometimes served during a home wake and called Insalata del Morte? We have this on holidays and lately, whenever we have oranges on sale.

Just peel and slice a few oranges, arranging them on a large plate. Drizzle olive oil and pepper over them. If the oranges are not sweet enough, add some sugar too. Let chill in refrigerator and serve. Delicious, even though it doesn't make sense with the ingredients!

Dave

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Gil
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I I went to a home wake, I was probably too young to remember. I've heard of orange salad, but that again wasn't a regular item when I was young.

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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try it, you'll like it - very refreshing with a meal or as a treat.

A new market opened here in part of the old Loblaws - another based in the South. We noticed an item labeled "Chicken Paws"

My mother said she used to eat these under another name and liked them.

Calamari, Anguille, bacala were all served in the past and I liked them - except we can't afford the first two anymore and haven't seen the last in years. Giblets are another but actually still within the budget.

My mother likes tripe and has been cooking it more often lately. I tried it, but the texture wasn't agreeable.

As always, the sauce...or gravy if you are from New Jersey

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was gravy in da' Bronx & Queens and we use the term here in CT. The most troubling thing about, not counting the price, is that calamari and and many other things are farm raised in China. We are lucky here as we are close to the ocean and even have a local fish market in a neighboring town. Sometimes they have local stuff.

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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More food is creeping into the stores and sometimes they don't identify the source, just the distributor - and that is here in the U.S. profiting from outsourcing our food now.

I always refuse to buy anything from China - nothing against the Chinese people - they are being exploited. You don't know what is being used on the land - and the rivers are polluted. They should learn from our mistakes.

Lately the original BirdsEye plant closed near here - the company from N.J. recently bought it so that brand name is suspect now. The company stopped buying produce years ago, so they had no intention to run the plant and should not have been allowed to buy it. It seems like fraud when they put the original name on a product no longer produced where it used to or by the same people, who know how to do it properly.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is late and I have to get to bed soon, but just a little on food. I saw this French guy on one of the news shows claiming that his product (truffles exported to the USA and other places) was properly labeled "Product of France" as the truffles were canned in France. They were farm raised in China or Iran. This is really getting scary.

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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a similar situation with some apple juice I was looking at while in the Dollar Tree store a year ago - the label said Made in USA but the apples came from over 5 countries, including China and Brazil.

At Aldi Market, cans of vegetables only say distributed by Aldi; when I took the label off for recycling, Product of China was printed on the can under the label. They are trying to trick us (again) as with the smaller contents and same price or higher - then adding a bit to the weight and saying "35% More" though that is still smaller than a year before.

Usually this is blamed on fuel costs, or raw materials (cocoa, wheat) that perhaps someone has cornered the market on, and when it turns out there is no shortage, they don't bring the price back down, but pocket the difference. Clever...

So, my cousin Rochelle called looking for a recipe for Easter Ricotta and Ham Pie, but my mother said she had never made it - her sister Ida always did. We have two Italian cookbooks and it is not in there. So, to the Internet and specifically Amici.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, I'll get back to you on what we have as my non-Italian wife is the cook and learned a lot of things from my mother and grandmother when they were alive.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Gil - ours was a simple thing with just ham and cheese - some of these on Food.com for example have more ingredients, more like Pizza Gain, that's how they spelled it - I remember that our relatives pronounced it like Pizza-a-Gain.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

This is the wheat pie.

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The one I am most familiar with if the first one Maria's. I'll get the names and some major ingredients for the baked macs & the Pizza Rustica from my wife later Today. One year a lady that worked where I worked brought in some Easter weekend leftovers, her Pizza Rustica was almost identical to the one my wife made from family recipes. The lady was from Waterbury, Connecticut and informed me that a lot of Italians in that city came from Naples. Later!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gil,

Thanks for looking for the recipes for me. My cousin wanted to know the ingredients and my mother could list them, but as far as quantity it depended on how big a pie.

I did find 13 recipes on Food.com - Recipezaar.com redirects there now - but most had many more ingredients, while ours was just the ham, Ricotta, eggs and Parmesan. We didn't call it Rustica as far as I remember, but my mother uh-hummed as she read the recipes.

Some were made with rice and one with wheat - never heard of that. Most were family recipes handed down, so again we have regional variations depending on what was available.

Speaking of Maria, I was going to post and PM her about the ancient Libyans - one book said they were blue-eyed and had blond or red hair. I always thought they were like the other Mediterranean (doesn't that word seem to mean Middle Earth?) peoples. So, where did they come from? Way north, perhaps Ireland, or Scandinavia?

Another mystery to research and Maria is knowledgeable about that history, especially the Phoenicians, who sailed all over.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, Are you talking about the Maria, from Connecticut, that is a member here and used to post a lot or the Maria on the recipe site?

Macaroni Pie -

1 lb Perciatelli, Bucatini or spaghetti.
7-8 Large eggs
2T parmesan cheese
Good handful of Romano cheese
Bake @375° 45 Min - 1 Hour

Cook spaghetti until nearly ready, mix butter with hot spaghetti, let cool, Mix together with, s&p, eggs and mix together. Put in 9" square pan, dot with butter and bake.


Pizza Rustica - 2 Pies

1.5 lb Ricotta, 1.5 lb cooked sliced sausage, 5 eggs, 2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 lb prosciutto cut in slices, 1/2 cup Genoa salami, 1 cup diced mozzarella, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 Tsp pepper

Mix all with a wooden spoon, Use hot water pie crust recipe (crust on top like apple pie too)
Bake @ 375° - 45 min or until knife comes out clean.

Thanks it for now.

Dave, where in Italy did your ancestors come from?

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Last edited by Gil on Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gil,

Maria from Connecticut told me all about how Palermo was settled long before Carthage by the Phoenicians - her family is from the area - and she lived there - memory says conflicting info.

My cousin sent her mother's recipe (hope it is not a secret):
Ham Easter Pizza - Aunt Ida Nervina Impaglia

1 recipe of bread dough or you can buy pizza dough Preheat oven 325

For 2 pizzas:
1 basket cheese
2 lbs. ricotta
4 eggs
˝ cup macaroni cheese ( parm)
1 ˝ lb. sliced fairly thin, ham (deli boiled fine)
Divide dough into 2 round circles. Mix ricotta, eggs, macaroni cheese, divide in half. Slice basket cheese, divide in half. On half of circle layer ricotta mixture,1/2 ham sliced,1/2 basket cheese, ricotta mix. Make another layer if you have enough. Fold dough over and seal. Make a couple of slits in the top. Tradition has that you put a couple of pieces of last year’s palm in the slits. (Small pieces). Place on cookie sheet and bake about 1 ˝ hr or till nicely browned. Time varies with size of pizza.


I will sent this and your recipes to Rochelle - she makes the most delicious cookies - fudge and nuts rolled up and sliced into oval shapes. I dream about these...

My paternal grandparents both come from Civitella del Tronto - the name was originally Ferri.

Maternal grandfather Giovanni Bissi came from Siculiana, Sicily and maternal grandmother Rosa Testa was from Sant'Elia a Pianisi, Campobasso. She was my foster mother's aunt.

Speaking of things Sicilian, years ago on the Travel Channel (when Lonely Planet had shows), I watched a bracciale being made (Maria and I went back and forth on the spelling and meaning). The lady surprised me when she rolled hard boiled eggs in the meat. We never did that; beaten eggs were used with cheese and spices to bind all.

Stan said his mother made it that way and his father loved it. She must have learned it from our Sicilian grandfather. Our mothers were sisters.

Thanks for the recipes - they sound delicious

Arrgh! I was almost finished when Firefox made an invalid stack fault. Very relieved that all was still here when I restarted.

Dave

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