08/01/07 Sausage and Chicken Skewers from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Bacco, tabacco e Venere riducono l'uomo in cenere." (Wine, women, and tobacco reduces one to ashes!) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Crepes with Wild Mushroom Ragu
  -Peperoni alla Calabrese
  -Spiedi di Pollo e Salsiccia

Enjoy the recipes, your summer and the complimentary news article report from "Only In Italy.com".

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

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 Recipe: Crepes with Wild Mushroom Ragu

Crepes with Wild Mushroom Ragu


For the crepes:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the mushroom filling:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 cup chicken stock
Grated Grana Padano cheese (optional)


For the crepes:
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and then add the flour, water, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Beat until smooth, adding water if the batter is too thick or flour if it is too thin.

Heat a small nonstick skillet. Cook 1/4 cup of the batter until golden and set on both sides, turning once.

For the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a pan.

Saute the mushrooms 10 minutes, add the shallots and the celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock or water to cover. Let the sauce simmer until it becomes thicker, about 20 minutes.

Spoon the mushroom mixture over the crepes; roll into logs or fold into triangles.

Serve as it is, or warm in a preheated 350 F oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Grana Padano cheese. Serves 2.

That's it!

 Recipe: Peperoni alla Calabrese

Peperoni alla Calabrese
Calabrian Peppers


4 large red or yellow peppers, washed, quartered and seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce grated Pecorino cheese
1 ounce grated white bread crumbs
1 tablespoons fresh capers
1 pinch dried oregano


Pour the olive oil into a large pan and warm it up.

Cut the peppers in vertical slices or large cubes and saute them in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Remove half of the olive oil and add the bread crumbs, the cheese, capers, oregano and salt. Combine well, cook for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.

Let rest for about 10 minutes so that the flavors mingle. Serves 4 as a side dish.

That's it!

 Recipe: Spiedi di Pollo e Salsiccia

Spiedi di Pollo e Salsiccia
Sausage and Chicken Skewers


6 links sweet Italian sausage, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 lb baby gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Thread the sausage, chicken and potatoes onto skewers, alternating them.

In a large ovenproof grill pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil, or light a grill.

Season the skewers with salt and pepper, and add them to the grill pan. Cook until well-browned on all sides.

Sprinkle with the herbs, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and 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:

99 Days To Deliver Letter 500 Meters Away

Como - June 18 - We may well be living in the age of real-time and multimedia communication but this doesn't seem to apply to the Italian village of Magreglio, near Como. Here, a letter sent by ordinary mail from the local town hall took 99 days to be delivered at a distance of 500 meters.

When it finally made it to Paolo Solbiati's letter-box, the letter, containing a notice that Mr. Solbiati's identity card was about to expire, was already three months old, having been sent on March 8.

"I just couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke," says Paolo Solbiati. But the mayor of Magreglio objects.

"Unfortunately, all the letters posted in this area are forwarded to the post office of Roserio, near Milan. From here, they are delivered to the final addresses. Obviously that also applies to letters in which sender and receiver live in the same town."

The press office at Italian Mail explains that "in Lombardy, there are 9 million inhabitants and thousands of firms. Every day, we are faced with enormous amounts of letters which are sent and delivered worldwide. That explains why we may make the occasional mistake. I personally think Mr. Solbiati's letter got lost somewhere before it was eventually found and delivered. We do apologize for the inconvenience, which is however understandable considering the huge amount of work we do every day."

"Ma porca puttana...!"

Please don't blame our postal system. After all, how can it deliver mail, give stock tips and run a bank all before the 1:00 PM closing time?

Unlike some sane countries, the Italian postal service provides a vast and unnecessary array of financial services in addition to simple mail delivery (just picture asking an Italian farmer if he could milk a goat with one hand and prepare your retirement plan with the other).

Eventually, insanity sets in and it's due to the fact that it does too many things it shouldn't. Each month, for example, millions of Italians receive their pensions and salaries at the post office. Hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses have savings deposit plans with the post office. In addition, one can purchase state bonds and certificates or pay utility bills, traffic tickets, state and local taxes. Some types of special payments to the government can even be made, e.g. fees for school lunches and the annual television tax. (Yes, you read correctly. Italians pay a television tax so that they can have the legal privilege to watch a bunch of bad TV variety shows.)

If you are lucky enough to only need to mail a letter, you could buy stamps at a shop that sells tobacco. But registered letters could only be registered at the post office and, given the incredible reliability of the delivery service, it is necessary to register anything whose delivery you actually cared about.

The banking sector functions like the "Mad Cow" disease. Each payment slip has three portions: one that vanishes into an unknown hemisphere (although the transaction is also recorded on a computer somewhere in the country), one that you give to the payee to prove you had paid, and one that you are supposed to keep for the rest of your natural life.

Another exciting aspect about banking in the post office is that it means that, during the early part of the month, an office with the security of a hog farm is holding enormous amounts of cash and paying it out to little old fifty-pound ladies. This leads to regularly-scheduled muggings and fleecing of old people just outside the post office and to the national sport of post office armed robbery.

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