03/02/11 Polenta Cookies

"Sbagliando s'impara." (One learns from his mistakes.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Pear Tart
  -Polenta Cookies

"Buona sera!" Thanks for being with us and we will continue to give you a hand in your kitchen. Please share this newsletter, if you find it useful. Enjoy this week's recipes in happiness.

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Farinata



1/2 lb (200 grams) chickpea or gram flour
2 and 3/4 cups (640 ml) water
1 tsp salt
Extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat the cooking dish

A shallow earthenware dish, about 9 inches (22.5 cm) in diameter


Put the flour in a bowl and gradually add the water, stirring constantly.

When smooth and about the consistency of pancake batter, add salt.

Cover and let rest for at least 4 hours (or overnight, if that suits).

Pour some olive oil into the cooking dish, enough to cover the base amply.

Stir the batter and pour it into the dish, stir it again so that the batter and olive oil are well mixed.

Bake in a hot oven, 425F (220C), for about 50 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty.

Slice and serve hot as a snack sprinkled with fresh ground pepper, with roasted vegetables, or salads.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Pear Tart

Pear Tart
Crostata di Pere


2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 pounds fresh pears (about 5 to 6)
Butter for top of the tart
12 whole cloves (optional)


Take a 9-inch round cake pan, grease with butter and dust lightly with bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) with a rack in the upper third of the oven.

Peel the pears, cut in half lengthwise, and core to remove the seeds.

Slice the pear halves into thin slivers.

Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl.

Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and continue beating until well-blended.

Add the flour to the eggs and milk.

Mix to form a thick cake batter.

Add the pears to the batter and mix gently until the slices are evenly coated.

Pour the batter in the greased and dusted cake pan.

Top evenly with small pieces of butter and whole cloves (if using).

Bake at 375F (190C) for about 50 minutes, or until the top is well-browned.

Let the pear tart cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing from the mould.

Remove and discard the whole cloves (if using) before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes one 9-inch tart, about 6 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Polenta Cookies

Polenta Cookies
Biscotti di Polenta


3/4 cup dried currants or dried blueberries
Grappa (or brandy) as needed
1 and 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup instant or fine polenta
3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus additional for garnish)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon


Place the dried fruit in a small saucepan, and pour enough brandy to come up at least halfway to the currants (or blueberries).

Heat until boiling, and then cover and take off the heat.

Set aside to let the fruit plump and cool.

Place the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds to combine them.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk to break them up, then whisk in the melted butter and lemon zest.

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed to combine thoroughly, about 1 minute.

Add the fruit and their liquid and beat them into the dough on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten it into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill until it is firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Lightly grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or butter or line them with parchment paper.

To form the cookies, use lightly floured fingers to pull off tablespoonfuls of dough and shape each one into a small, plump log about 1 and 1/2 inches long.

Press the log down to flatten it and pinch the ends together to taper them, creating a diamond shape.

Place the diamonds on the baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies lightly with granulated sugar.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch, rotating the sheets 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 1 or 2 minutes, then use a spatula to remove them gently to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 3 and 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.

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:

Rome Gang Sells Police Headquarters

Rome - September 22, 2010 - A Rome crime gang swindled a man out of thousands of euros by convincing him he was buying the building of the city's police headquarters before the fraud, loan-sharking, money-laundering and extortion ring was busted.

Over 200 police officers broke up the ring with a series of arrests in the early hours of Wednesday.

Investigators said the gang convinced their victims they had contacts at Rome courts handling the auctions of foreclosed properties to defraud them with fake real-estate deals. A lawyer and an accountant have been arrested for allegedly conniving in this.

The gang managed to trick a 50,000-euro deposit out of one person with the bogus sale of the police HQ. They also conned other victims into thinking they had bought the old homes of former AS Roma defender and Brazil captain Cafu and of former Lazio chairman Sergio Cragnotti.

Investigators added that even a number of police officers had fallen prey to the loan-sharking side of the operation, and the victims' shame at their plight had made it harder to dismantle the ring.

They said former members of the notoriously ferocious Banda della Magliana Roman gang of the 1970s and 80s were involved. Victims were beaten and threatened with firearms to make them to pay extortionate interest rates on loans, police said after an operation code-named 'The Game Is Up'.

"The fact that the Banda della Magliana still manages to have an influence on our city must make us reflect," said Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.

"It's remarkable that even today members of the gang manage to have a role in criminal organizations".

Police said figures from Naples crime gangs may have had a role too.

"Mamma mia, che figura di merda!" They deserve to be bilked. Maybe they'll be less stupid.

We say the gang who perpetrated this scam deserve a medal not jail time. They deserve a medal for locating stupid people. They're doing us a favor. Now, we can identify all of them, flush them out and make sure they don't breed again.

Century 21 della minchia:

Gang member: "Ah, this building belongs to my family for generations. I rent the building to the city's police for an extraordinary amount of money.
Roman Sucker: "Ah, si?"

Gang member: "Si si! And I even collect a percentage of the drug money that is sequestered from raids."
Roman Sucker: "Porca vacca, no!"
Gang Member: "Porca vacca, si!"

Roman sucker: "Quanto vuoi, how much?!"
Gang member: "I'll give it to you for 75,000 Euros, police included."
Roman sucker: "Minchia, I'll take it! Stop by my office on Monday and I'll have my lawyers draw up the papers."

Gang member: "Eh, eh, eh, aspetta! I'll need a cash deposit of two-thirds immediately. After all, I have other people coming today to look at it.
Roman sucker: "Two-thirds?! Hey, something is not right about this."
Gang member: "Eh? Don't trust me? The police is in my building. Call them..."

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