domenica 23 dicembre 2012

Enrico Caruso, Cantique de Noël

Qualcosa che ascolto ogni anno. Buon Natale!
 Something that I listen to every year. Merry Christmas!

sabato 15 dicembre 2012

Neapolitan Struffoli

Per la versione italiana di questo post, cliccare qua:

I'm thrilled to collaborate, once again, with the wonderful foodblogger and friend, Laura Tulimiero. The English translation of her recipe you will read below; the original Italian version is at her foodblog, Matematica e Cucina.

Struffoli Napoletani

by Laura Tulimiero

In the Neapolitan home, it's not Christmas if you don't have struffoli.  And even if the basic ingredients are the same, every family has its own personal recipe and maintains that their struffoli are obviously the best, their recipe being the authentic one.  

Today I will explain to you, step by step, how we prepare struffoli in my family.  I don't know if this is the recipe for "authentic struffoli"; I know only that we've been making them this way for many years and that for us, and for anyone who has tried them, the results are excellent. 

The recipe is quite easy to remember; in fact, the amounts can easily be diminished or augmented, given that everything is "in sixes." Seeing as my blog is also a diary, I wanted to prepare the stuffoli in my mother's kitchen, repeating her same motions and using her cast-iron frying pan (which is almost 60 years old), ideal for frying.   

6 hectograms of flour (600 g, or 21 oz)
6 whole eggs
6 TB sugar
6 TB extra-virgin olive oil
6 TB seed oil (preferably corn)
a pinch of cinnamon
the rind of one lemon, grated
1 tsp baking powder for desserts
1 pinch salt
peanut oil for frying
wildflower honey (miele millefiori)

for garnish:
colored sprinkles
confetti cannellini (a white, sugar-coated candy with a cinnamon interior)
candied fruit (citron, orange peel, and little cherries) -- I didn't use them

Onto a pastry board, pour the flour and make a well, into which put the eggs, sugar, oil, lemon rind, cinammon, baking powder, and salt.

Mix it well, until you have a smooth, homogenous dough. 

Cut into little pieces and "lengthen" them with your hand, in the shape of a bread stick about a centimeter (0.4 in) wide.
Cut the sticks in little chunks about 1 cm (0.4 in) long, and arrange them on a paper plate, covered with a dish towel.  It is preferable not to add too much flour at this stage, otherwise when you fry the struffoli the oil will become "dirty" and will form an unpleasant foam.

Into a frying pan with high sides, pour the peanut oil.  Put in one struffolo, to test the temperature of the oil. 

When the struffolo rises to the top and the oil around it begins to sizzle, the temperature is right, and you can add the rest of the struffoli. 

Cook them, turning them with a fork, until golden.

In order to cook them just right, don't cook them all at once.  These were cooked in four batches. 
As soon as they are cooked, remove the struffoli from the pan and dry them on paper towels. 

Clean the pan, and heat a couple of TB of the honey. Add the struffoli to the boiling honey (here again, it's preferable to subdivide the struffoli into batches).  Stir well in order to evenly distribute the honey and to avoid burning.

Arrange them in the form of a ring onto a serving dish, as in the photo. 
Immediately after this, add the sprinkles and confetti.  You must do this immediately, while the honey is hot, otherwise the sprinkles will not stick. 

Here is the finished product.

Struffoli can last for a week.  It is said that it's better to make them a day or two ahead, to heighten the flavor. That piece of advice has been written in cookbooks and passed down through the generations.  What a shame that I cannot testify to its accuracy ... in my house struffoli don't last more than twenty-four hours!

mercoledì 5 dicembre 2012

Addio, sogni di gloria

Giuseppe Di Stefano (* 24 luglio 1921 Motta Sant’Anastasia, CT — † 3 marzo 2008 Santa Maria Hoè, LC) era un tenore smisuratamente popolare in America durante gli anni Cinquanta.  Non sono grandissimo fan di “Pippo,” ma nessuno ha catturato la malinconia e la sincerità di questa canzone meglio di lui.

Giuseppe Di Stefano (born 24 July 1921 Motta Sant’Anastasia, near Catania  — died 3 March 2008 Santa Maria Hoè, near Milan) was a wildly popular tenor in America during the Fifties.  I’m not a huge fan of “Pippo,” but no one captured the melancholy and sincerity of this song better than he.

(Scroll down for the English translation)

Quando ragazzi felici andavamo alla scuola
con la cartella a tracolla ed in tasca la mela
per il futuro avevamo un vestito di gala
quante speranze di gloria e di celebrità
ma inesorabile il tempo tracciava il cammino
e a testa china anneghiamo nel nostro destino.

Addio sogni di gloria
addio castelli in aria.
Guardo con sordo rancore la mia scrivania
cerco a scacciare ma invano la monotonia
Addio anni di gioventù
perchè perchè non ritornate più
Sono una foglia d'autunno che nella tormenta
teme il grigiore dei giorni l'inverno paventa

La donna sincera aspettai
compagna dei sogni miei
ma invano cercai cercai
amore anche tu dove sei

Addio sogni di gloria
addio castelli in aria
Prendo la penna e continuo la doppia partita
faccio una macchia d'inchiostro mi treman le dita

Meglio tacer le memorie o vecchio cuor mio
sogni di gloria addio

When we were happy children, we went to school,
with our books on our shoulder and an apple in our pocket.
For the future we had a fine suit.
So many hopes of glory and of celebrity!
But inexorably, time was tracing the pathway,
and with bowed heads we drown in our destiny.

Farewell, dreams of glory
farewell, castles in the air.
With dull rancor I look at my writing desk.
I try, but in vain, to drive away the monotony.
Farewell, years of youth.
Because, because you will never return.
I am an autumn leaf which, in a storm,
dreads the grayness of the days of winter.

I waited for a sincere woman,
companion for my dreams.
But in vain I searched, I searched.
Love, even you: where are you?

Farewell, dreams of glory.
Farewell, castles in the air.
I pick up a pen and I continue the double game.
I make an ink stain; my fingers tremble.

Better to keep the memories silent, old heart of mine.
Dreams of glory, farewell.