02/16/11 Italian Hazelnut Cookies

"Una volta un ladro sempre un ladro." (Once a thief always a thief.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Fresh Tomato Soup
  -Lamb Chops with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon
  -Hazelnut Cookies

All of us at the farm are grateful for your participation with us through this newsletter. Thanks for everything you're doing and we'll continue to find recipes to help your kitchen shine. Please share this newsletter, if you found it useful. Enjoy this week's recipes in good health.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Fresh Tomato Soup

Fresh Tomato Soup
Zuppa al Pomodoro


For the Chicken Stock:
1 chicken or boiling poultry, skinned and trimmed of visible fat
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick

For the Soup:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes
Salt and white pepper
5 oz stale bread

10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Grated Parmigiano cheese
Extra virgin olive oil for serving


Prepare the Chicken Stock:
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large saucepan and add a pinch of salt and water to cover.

Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for at least 2 hours, occasionally removing any unwanted residue that may rise to the surface.

Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl, leave to cool, and then chill in the refrigerator.

When the fat has solidified on the surface, remove and throw it away.

Chicken stock may be served as a broth with gnocchi or julienne vegetables. Serves 4 to 6.

Prepare the Soup:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

With a serrated knife, cut a shallow 'x' into the bottom of each tomato.

Working in batches of 4-6 each, blanch the tomatoes until the skins start to peel, approximately 30-45 seconds per batch.

Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and allow them to cool slightly. The skins should now peel away very easily.

Discard the peeled skins.

Quarter the tomatoes, remove the stem core and seeds.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and garlic.

Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Turn down heat to medium-low.

Add the tomatoes and any collected juices, to the onion and garlic mixture along with a big pinch of salt and some white pepper to taste.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Tear the stale bread into small pieces and add to the soup in stages. The bread will absorb the excess juice and give the soup a "rustic" consistency.

Using a stick (hand) blender, puree the soup. At this point add 14 oz of chicken stock to adjust the consistency. Depending on your preference, you may add as little as a quarter cup of stock for thicker soup, to the entire 14 ounces for a thinner result.

Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Lamb Chops with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

Lamb Chops with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon
Costolette di Agnello al Rosmarino, Aglio e Limone


8 lamb chops
3 cloves of garlic
1 lemon
A few sprigs of rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper


Place the garlic in a pestle and mortar and mash it until it becomes a paste.

When it is a soft paste, add some olive oil and mix.

Add some lemon juice.

Place the lamb chops in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it.

Close and leave in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour.

When you are ready to cook the lamb chops, remove them from the bag and brush off any excess marinade.

Heat a griddle pan until it is very hot and grill the lamb chops for about 2 minutes or less per side, turning only once. They will cook quickly and are best if kept at medium-rare or under. Serves 3-4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Hazelnut Cookies

Hazelnut Cookies
Biscotti Alla Nocciola


2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Position 2 racks as close to the center of the oven as possible; preheat to 325F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

Pulse nuts and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Do not process nuts for longer than necessary to get them to a fine consistency.

Scrape into a large bowl.

Beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture.

Add vanilla and gently but thoroughly mix until combined.

Drop the batter by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. The runny batter will spread quickly, so make sure you leave space.

Bake the cookies until golden brown, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.

Gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the baking sheets are thoroughly cooled, repeat with the remaining batter. Makes about 2 and 1/2 dozen cookies.

Note: Toast whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350F oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. Let the nuts cool for a few minutes, then rub together in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the papery skins.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure, a sample of today's edition:

Kidnapped Naples Businessman Surprisingly Found Alive

Naples - September 14, 2010 - A businessman with alleged ties to the mafia who was kidnapped Sunday night outside Nola, near Naples, was found Tuesday morning by Carabinieri police.

Antonio Buglione, 54, who with his brother Carmine runs a private security firm in Nola, 20 km (12.4 miles) east of Naples, was found by police chained up in Marigliano, near Nola. Another brother, Carlo, was said to have received a ransom demand Monday for five million euros ($6.4 million).

After combing the countryside around Nola, Carabinieri found Antonio Buglione's abandoned car. Buglione is also the brother of Rosa Buglione, the mayor of a town near Nola called Saviano where the firm has another base.

The security entrepreneur is said to have had past ties with the Neapolitan Camorra mafia and has also been involved in probes involving local politicians.

According to prosecutors, for several years from the late 1990s top Camorra boss Carmine Alfieri used Buglione's security guards and private surveillance patrols to keep tabs on police movements. In 2008 Buglione was accused with a regional councilor of the center-left Democratic Party, Roberto Conte, of fraudulently inflating rents in the Naples area.

In 2010 the businessman was placed under investigation along with a Senator of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party on suspicion of money laundering and fraudulent bankruptcy.

Buglione's first brush with the law came in 1993 when he was wounded in the face in an ambush. Two years later, in 1995, he was arrested in a probe into alleged irregularities in the concession of licenses for security firms. Ex-Naples police chief Umberto Improta was also involved while a PdL MP, university medicine professor Carmine Mensorio, committed suicide after being named in the probe.

It was at this time that Buglione's alleged links with the Alfieri clan first came to light and the security manager was accused of attempted extortion.

WARNING: If you are a proud Napolitano and get easily offended, please, do NOT read and go listen to a Nino D'Angelo CD.

We're going to say it again...There is no law in the land of Naples. It’s 'Spartacus' with bad Napolitano music and people should come to terms with it. How can one live in a city where people say, "Eh, excuse me. I'm going out to get some fresh fruit and red peppers...cover me!"

If you run a business in Naples, happen to get kidnapped, and then you're miraculously found alive...you're not going to encounter the most sympathetic Italian law enforcement officials. A typical question a victim should receive is, "Antonio, who were these criminals and what did they want?"

No no, not in Naples...prepare yourself to be humiliated:

"Antonio, you were really asking for it, weren't you?
"Antonio, what did YOU do to deserve this?"
"Antonio, why didn't they shoot you? Ah, they ran out of bullets, right?"

What if your Naples business needs protection and security? Well, you can do two things:

You could hire the extraordinary services of the "Buglione Brothers", Antonio, Carmine and Carlo. Try to disregard their alleged ties to the mafia, the ransom requests, the occasional kidnapping, investigations on suspicion of money laundering and fraudulent bankruptcy, and the sister who's a mayor in a nearby town and happens to have a face that could stop a sundial.

Or you could take your cars and circle your company like covered wagons in order to avoid being attacked by savage Naples Indians.

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