Posts in Italy
Five Days of Christmas Cookies (DAY 5): Nonna Gina’s Pie Crust Cookies

The next time you realize you totally forgot about the cookie swap you need to go to tonight, make these and everyone will be asking you for the recipe.  So easy, so good and they come together in minutes - these cookies are awesome!  All you have to do is roll out some pie dough, sprinkle some really good filling, roll it back up and bake.  That’s it!  It's all the good toppings of a quality ice cream sundae rolled up in a pie crust. 

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Five Days of Christmas Cookies (DAY 4): Nonna Gina's Biscotti di Cream Cheese

Most of my most cherished Christmas cookie recipes come from my mom.  She always made a number of cookies for Christmas so we could give them to our teachers and friends.  This cookie was always in high demand so she made them every year. It’s very delicate looking because of the fringed edges, it’s dusted with powdered sugar and filled with a delicious blend of coconut, jam, dates and chocolate chips.

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Five Days of Christmas Cookies (DAY 3): Nonna Gina’s Florentines

This recipe was given to my mother Gina many years ago by a neighbor.  Florentines allegedly come from Florence Italy so one more reason to love Italy!  They are buttery, nutty and sweet from the fruit.  My mom always smears the backside of the cookie with melted chocolate.  They are pretty and delicious - a great holiday combination. 

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Five Days of Christmas Cookies (DAY 1): My Heirloom Cookies

If there is one recipe I know my children will remember me by it’s my Italian Tricolor Cookies - my husband Phil's favorite Italian dessert!  

This cookie is really a mini cake.  Its three layers of thin cake (tinted red, white and green) made with almond paste and slathered with apricot jam.  The outside is enrobed in chocolate.  You can find them in the case of any classic Italian pastry shop.  For years, he would always buy a box from the bakery near our dorm and talk about how it’s the best cookie you could ever have.  Even though he loved them, I never thought about attempting to make them at home.  It seemed complicated.

Then, about 15 years ago, my mom was sitting in a hair salon thumbing through a Good Housekeeping and came across a recipe for tricolors.  She ripped it out and gave it to me.  The recipe is perfect.  It makes the most delicious tricolor cookies you will ever have.  They are even better than the pastry shop’s version.  I have been making these cookies, every year since, for Christmas.  I hope is that even when I’m old and grey, my children and grandchildren will ask me to whip up a batch of these cookies for the holidays.

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Sweet Tooth Friday (From Nonna's Kitchen Edition): Nonna Mary's Wine cookies

This recipe comes to me from my lovely friend Claudia.  She is a true Italian girl with both of her parent’s families hailing from the old country, northern Italy and Sicily.  Even though Claudia always jokes she isn’t much of a cook, I tend to doubt it because she definitely has some incredible cooking genes.  Her father was generous to share a few of his specialties and Claudia has saved many of the wonderful recipes her mother used to make.

Most of Claudia’s mom’s recipes come from her mother, Claudia’s grandmother Mary Zeppieri.  Mary came to the US at the age of 25 from Veroli, Italy and raised five children in upstate New York.  She was a dedicated wife and mother and always cooked homemade Italian food.  Claudia has dear memories of walking to her Nonna’s house every Sunday after church for these wonderful cookies.

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Cooking with Kids: Pizza Pizza Daddy-O

I haven’t ever met a person under the age of 18 that doesn’t LOVE pizza.  Most kids will eat it any day of the week.  My kids not only love cheese pizza, but they really enjoy the process of making it with me. Homemade pizza tastes really delicious and my kids always seem to eat much more when they help with the cooking.I love how proud they are of the finished product.  Cooking with kids is fun and educational.  Roll up your sleeves and give it a try!

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Social Saturday: Anna's Heirloom Bruschetta

I’m a big fan of Tapas because you get to try a whole bunch of items without having to commit to one dish.  When I am entertaining, aside from some salted nuts, a great cheese plate and veggies with dip, I always serve bruschetta. Traditionally, tomatoes and garlic are used but if you like, get creative and other toppings like ricotta and honey or brie and apple.  With a delicious piece of butter bread as your base, it’s hard to mess things up. 

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Sweet Tooth Friday: Nonna Olga’s Biscotti

This Friday’s recipe is very special and really encompasses why I started Heirloom Kitchen.  A few years ago, my friend Gina made me these biscotti for Christmas.  Hands down, these are the most delicious biscotti I have ever had.  A delicious combination of anise and almond, they are light, crunchy, and simply perfect with a cup of coffee.  

What really makes these biscotti so special however, is not merely how they taste, but where they come from.  This recipe was created by Gina’s paternal Nonna, Olga Giovannoni and came here with her, all the way from South Africa. 

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Sunday Supper: Eggplant Parmigiana

Let’s defrost some Sunday Sauce because today, we’re making eggplant armigiana.  Eggplant Parm is another labor of love dish.  It’s a number of steps, takes some time but is so, so good.  This is another dish where Nonna would stand over the stove for hours making it for us; classic and timeless.  I should also mention that eggplant parmigiana is one of my favorite things to eat.  And, if you know me well, you know I make/eat a lot of different things.  So, when I say I LOVE eggplant parmigiana, it means something...

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How To Tuesday: Ravioli

Everyone loves ravioli.  Delicious little pockets of pasta filled with creamy cheese and laced with sauce or butter are hard to resist.  You can find them in the freezer section of any grocery store.  What you may not know; is that with a little time and patience, you can make them from scratch. 

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Sunday Supper: Pasta alla Bolognese

Last week, I shared a recipe for my mother’s Sunday Sauce.  This week, I want to show you how the Sunday Sauce can be used to make another Italian favorite, Pasta alla Bolognese.  This pasta sauce originated in Bologna, Italy way back in the 18th century.  It consists of a tomato based sauce mixed with ground meat. Traditionally, it is served on top of tagliatelle or another long pasta like linguine. 

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Sunday Supper: It All Starts With the Sauce...

Italian tomato sauce is a labor of love.  It’s also the cooking liquid for various meats that are served alongside a huge platter of pasta.  A Nonna would begin making her sauce early on Sunday morning, while the rest of us were still deep in our REM sleep cycle.  They did this because once the sauce had reached bubbly perfection; they could begin creating all the other delicious dishes that would cover the Sunday dinner table. 

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Sunday Supper: Sunday Sauce

The sauce for this dish provides a lovely topping to pasta and the ‘bath’ for the meatballs to simmer in.  Once the meatballs are removed, the sauce carries the aroma of the meat and tastes wonderful on pasta.  The meatballs should be served along side the pasta, NOT on top, as that is the true Italian way.

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Sunday Supper: Mamma Gina's Meatballs

As an Italian, I have been eating meatballs my entire life and the recipe has been passed down to me from my mother who learned it from her mother.  I believe they are the best meatballs you will ever taste. 

To make these meatballs taste just like Mamma's, you will need to make her sauce too!  Click here, for the recipe for Brodo Di Mamma.

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