03/19/14 Grilled Vegetable Salad

"A tavola non si invecchia." (One doesn't get old at a table with good friends and family.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Wild Mushroom Soup
  -Chicken, Vegetable and Barley Soup
  -Grilled Vegetable Salad

"Buona sera!" Thanks again for being part of the newsletter, our farm family and our larger community. If ever I've missed sending you a reply and you want to be sure you're seen, just hit reply to this or write me Angela@OreganoFromItaly.com. I never mean to miss your messages. We sometimes get buried up at the farm, and it takes a bit of effort. But you're worth it.

Thanks again for reading!

Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Wild Mushroom Soup

Wild Mushroom Soup
Zuppa di Funghi Selvatici


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/3 cup minced shallots
1 and 1/2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (such as stemmed shiitake, oyster and crimini), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/4 cup dried Porcini mushrooms, brushed clean of any grit
5 tablespoons Madeira


Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.

Add shallots.

Saute 1 minute.

Add fresh mushrooms.

Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add thyme and garlic.

Saute until mushrooms are golden, about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in 6 cups broth, potatoes and Porcini mushrooms.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender.

Return soup to pot.

Mix in Madeira and enough chicken broth to thin soup to desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bring soup to simmer and serve. Makes 12 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Chicken, Vegetable and Barley Soup

Chicken, Vegetable and Barley Soup
Zuppa di Pollo, Verdure e D'Orzo


2 cups diced cooked chicken
4 cups vegetable broth
One 28-ounce can Italian-style tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup pearl barley
3 cups water
3 cups chopped onions
4 large carrots, chopped
One 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup lentils
1/4 cup green split peas
1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried rubbed sage


Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in heavy large pot or Dutch oven.

Bring to a boil over a medium-high-heat, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

Reduce heat to medium.

Simmer until all the vegetables and legumes are tender and soup is thick, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Mix in chicken.

Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 8 to 10.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad
Insalata di Verdure alla Griglia


2 to 3 small heads radicchio, halved
3 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise
2 large yellow squash, halved lengthwise
1 large red bell pepper, halved
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large tomato, halved, seeded

5 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups sliced red leaf lettuce
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese


Place first 6 ingredients cut sides up on baking sheet.

Spritz with water.

Season with salt and pepper.

Let vegetables stand approximately 1 and 1/2 hours.

Preheat barbecue (medium-high heat).

Combine 3 garlic cloves with 1/4 cup vinegar.

Drizzle over vegetables.

Grill vegetables until tender, turning once.

Transfer to baking sheet as each vegetable is tender.

Let cool.

Reserve all vegetable juices.

Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves and 5 tablespoons vinegar with broth, basil and olive oil.

Coarsely chop vegetables.

Place in large bowl.

Pour accumulated juices into vinegar mixture.

Add lettuce and cheese to vegetables.

Pour vinegar mixture over.

Toss well.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve. Serves 4.

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:

Cheese Maker Gives His Buffalo Luxury Treatment

Capaccio - October 6, 2013 - A line forms for rubdowns as jazz piano plays out of the speakers at the exclusive Tenuta Vannulo dairy farm in southern Italy.

Some of the best buffalo mozzarella in the world starts with pamper treatment. Ducky, Sweety and Lady walk over to the sound system, attracted to the smooth Keith Jarrett tunes .

"The music helps them produce more milk because the animal feels more relaxed," said Valentina Michelucci, a stable hand, who said she wants to try out some disco hits too. "They're very curious when they hear it."

The half-ton black water buffaloes spend their days relaxing on rubber mattresses, munching on organic hay or looking forward to showers of a cooling mist from overhead pipes.

When they feel the urge, they walk into a special pen for automatic milking by a unique machine that knows the exact shape of each udder thanks to a code emitted by the electronic collars each buffalo is fitted with.

Or they can head to large round brushes that twist into action when the animals come into contact with them, providing them with a back and shoulder massage.

"Animals have to be treated well to produce stress-free milk," said Antonio Palmieri, owner of the 200-hectare farm.

"They can't speak for themselves, so it's up to us to understand how they want to be cared for," he said, sitting in a garden next to his three stables, which house 500 buffaloes.

The farm sells around 300 kg of mozzarella per day at 13 Euros a kilo ($8 USD a pound).

There is a catch: If you want it, you have to drive to the farm, 50 km south of Salerno, to buy it, as Palmieri does not bother with distribution. Around 45,000 customers visited the on-site farm shop in August alone.

A workshop on the farm even produces buffalo-leather handbags and belts, and Palmieri said he plans to open a restaurant serving up buffalo steaks.

"The well-being of animals is an important issue," said Sardo, a cheese expert, although he admitted that the link between better treatment and tastier milk is scientifically "difficult to prove."

The delicious result is a tough sell for the diet-conscious. Fresh buffalo milk is about 8 percent fat...more than twice as much as cow's milk.

"Oh, che bello!" See what happens when you give "amore" to milk producing animals? $8 a lovely pound...

It works. We keep a lovely pet goat roaming behind the office that produces fresh milk for us on a daily basis. "Ah, Madonna!" Nothing like a cappuccino every morning with freshly milked milk to start off a lazy day of writing. By the way, milking a goat is great for relieving stress and taking the edge off. We highly recommend it. (Let's see CNN or BBC match this.)

"Animals have to be treated well to produce stress-free milk...". Italian families and relatives who are reading this (you know who you are) should pay particular attention. Similar pamper treatment in the home would help relieve the stress that's murdering us on a daily basis. Like water buffalo, we can't (or we're not allowed to) speak for ourselves, so it's up to you to understand how we want to be cared for. Jazz piano music and rotating brushes for back and shoulder massages would certainly be a start for all of us to get along a little better.

Your helpful buffalo mozzarella tips (per your request):

1. Buffalo mozzarella isn't packaged like other cheeses. It comes either in a plastic container or bag filled with something watery. That's whey, by the way. It's important because the mozzarella needs to be kept moist, so don't dump it down the sink. Just drop the cheese back in it, and put it in the fridge.

Whey, by the way, can be used for many other uses, such as a hair product (shampoo, rinse, or gel). Recommend it to a family member or relative for their next dream date or public engagement. It's sure to be a topic of discussion.

2. Buffalo mozzarella should be eaten immediately. As soon as it is exposed to air, the taste immediately starts to break down. Those annoying Italian food connoisseurs that always and some how wind up in YOUR kitchen claim they can tell the difference between mozzarella that was opened last night versus 15 minutes ago.

The solution is to enjoy the scrumptious mozzarella for yourself...and offer the connoisseur a cup of American coffee with Stella D'Oro cookies in a drafty kitchen (works quite well).

3. Top-quality buffalo mozzarella should never be used for pizzas. The delicate flavors and texture will be drowned out or ruined by the other ingredients.

Enjoy the mozzarella on its own with your family on the next holiday lunch (of course, if you've made peace with the family). You will laugh, you will cry, you'll feel 5 years older, you'll lose money and you'll increase your IQ by 20 points. All in one lunch!

PS: "Porca oca," amazing how Italian families, one way or another, can find their way into a completely non-related story. There's something to be said for it.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe for free and day in and day out, 5 days a week, you'll have laughter, tears and intelligent commentary all blaring at you from your stupid little monitor. Click Here to Subscribe!

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 Baked Polenta with Garlic
 Cauliflower and Lamb Pie
 Couscous with Vegetables
 Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce
 Marbled Ring Cake
 Orecchiette with Red-Wine Veal Sauce
 Penne with Artichokes
 Porcini Mushrooms with Tarragon
 Rigatoni with Braised Lamb Ragu
 Sausage and Cheese Manicotti
 Spaghetti with Tuna & Fennel
 Veal Bocconcini with Porcini and Rosemary

 More Recipes!

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