105 years ago today, in a village in Vizzini, Sicily, a baby girl was born. She grew into a lovely, brave young woman who travelled across a huge ocean with her older sister and brother and started a new life in a huge, strange new world. She married a handsome man from the old country who she didn't know very well and together they worked long, hard hours and raised 3 strapping sons. She made sure they got good educations, and more importantly, good values. She instilled a strong sense of family and tradition in her boys and cared deeply for her family and friends. She was absolutely thrilled when she had grand-daughters to spoil and spent many hours passing down her memories of the old country, family stories, recipes, her love of linens, lace, and flowers, and again, those important values.
She was thrilled when her sons married and gave her "daughters"....
Grandma Josie with 2 of her daughters-in-law at her third son's wedding
She was SO delighted and proud to welcome any new additions to the family
Holding her second great-grandchild....
She LOVED family parties and having fun...
her 75th birthday....
cutting the cake for her 2 anxious great-grandsons (my 2 oldest boys)
My Grandma Josie was my best friend.
I love you Grandma.
This is what we were doing this weekend
Painting the kitchen elicited a few groans from Mr Bramasole, but when I announced my plan to paint the ceiling....
Well, let's just say I wasn't too popular
This house isn't exactly my dream home (I'm an old house lover) and when I get the itch to paint, I tend to forget that open floor plans generally mean LOTS of painting- the walls just run into each other!
I do love it, but the only pictures I got were at the end of the day (I didn't think you needed to see the "in-process" disaster) so they're a bit dark
He did a wonderful job, as he always does
Hmmm, don't know where this glare came from- it was starting to get dark!
Today, for Grandma's birthday and Meatless Monday, I made one of her favorites (and mine!). Frittatas are an easy, and delicious way to use up those bits and pieces in the fridge (no good Sicilian mama EVER throws away good food!) and they are so versatile. Meats, veggies, cheeses, even pastas can be added to make a hearty, substantial, healthy, and delicious meal.
I'll just tell you the process as there really is no recipe for this particular frittata.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I heated a bit of olive oil in a cast iron pan and sauteed some chopped onions and zucchini. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, I mixed up 8 eggs, some chopped roasted red pepper, some leftover cooked orzo (diced potatoes are good too), some chopped herbs from my pots (marjoram, thyme, and basil today), salt, pepper, fresh grated parmesan cheese, and just a bit of cream (or water). When the onions and zucchini started to brown just a little, I poured the egg mixture on top and plopped in small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese randomly. Then I sprinkled with small cubes of fresh mozzarella, lowered the heat just a bit, and let cook for 5-7 minutes (without stirring) till it starts to set on the bottom and around the edges. Put pan into oven and bake for 20-30 minutes till top is set and center is jiggly, but set. Slide a thin spatula around the edges and slide frittata out onto a plate or board. Serve hot, warm, room temperature, or cold. Molto Gustoso!!
For dessert, I used a recipe from one of my favorite blogland friends, Val at morethanburnttoast
If you've never visited Val, you're missing something special, so head on over and say hi.
In this house, as in most Italian households, Nutella is a mainstay and mascarpone is a staple. When I saw this recipe, it was a given that we'd try it and Val, it's a hit! I barely got the picture taken!
Mascarpone Brownies with Nutella and Toasted Hazelnut Topping
from Valli at morethanburnttoast
1 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
3 large eggs, at room-temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan.
Add the chopped chocolate to a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and bring it to just below a boil. Pour the hot butter over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
Sift in the sugar and cocoa powder (I do this through a sieve, not with a sifter). With a wooden spoon, beat in the mascarpone, eggs (30 minutes on the counter brings them to room temperature) and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Gently fold the flour and salt into the batter. Add chopped hazelnuts, reserving 1/4 cup for decoration.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly--this is important since, if the batter isn't spread evenly, it won't bake evenly. Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean (45 minutes did it for me).
Place pan on a cooling rack and let brownies cool for 10-15 minutes.
Spread Nutella over entire surface of brownies or cut into slices as I did and spread each piece with Nutella separately. Decorate with remaining chopped hazelnuts.
For the record- I did not add the chopped nuts as my parents have a difficult time with nuts
We also made chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, but you don't really want to know how to make those do you?? :)
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie