10/29/08 Roast Leg of Lamb In An Herb Crust from OreganoFromItaly.com

"Cambiano i suonatori ma la musica sempre quella." (The musicians change but the music remains the same.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Cream of Spinach Soup
  -Crab Meat and Rice Salad
  -Roast Leg of Lamb In An Herb Crust

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Yours Truly,              
Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Cream of Spinach Soup

Cream of Spinach Soup
Zuppa di Spinaci


For the Meat Stock:
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) beef (no fat), cut into cubes
1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) veal, cut into cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 oz (50 grams) coarsely chopped carrots
3 and 1/2 oz (100 grams) leeks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped

For the Cream Soup:
1 lb and 2 oz (500 grams) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 onions, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) butter
1 and 1/2 oz (40 grams) plain flour
3 tablespoons lemon juice, strained
2 tablespoons double cream (plus extra to garnish)
Salt and pepper
Paprika, to garnish (optional)


Prepare the Meat Stock:
Place the meat in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a great meat stock.

Skim off any residue that rises to the surface and add the carrots, leeks, onion, and celery and season with salt.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 and 1/2 hours to 4 hours.

Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Then chill in the refrigerator.

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

Prepare the Cream Soup:
Bring the meat stock to a boil.

Melt the butter in another pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until softened.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, then gradually stir in the hot meat stock.

Add the spinach and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice, then transfer to a food processor and process to a puree.

Pour into a saucepan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the cream and simmer briefly.

Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Pour into individual soup plates and garnish with a pinch of paprika. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Crab Meat and Rice Salad

Crab Meat and Rice Salad
Insalata di Riso e Polpa di Granchio


11 oz (300 grams) crab meat (drained if canned)
11 oz (300 grams) long-grain rice
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
17 oz (200 grams) shelled peas
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
Salt and pepper


Cook the rice in plenty of salted, boiling water for about 20 minutes until tender.

Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again.

Pour into a salad bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a saucepan.

Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until soft.

Add the peas, season with salt and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until tender.

Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan.

Pour in the eggs, tilt the pan to spread them evenly over the base and cook until the underside is set.

Flip the omelette over and cook until the second side is set.

Slide out of the pan and cut into strips.

Pick over the crab meat and remove any pieces of cartilage or shell.

Stir the meat into the rice with the leeks and peas and strips of omelette. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Store in a cool place (not the refrigerator) until ready to serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Roast Leg of Lamb In An Herb Crust

Roast Leg of Lamb In An Herb Crust
Cosciotto In Crosta D'Erbe


1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary needles
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
4 and 1/2 lb (2 kg) leg of lamb
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 240C (475F) Gas Mark 9.

Mix together the thyme, oregano, parsley and rosemary in a bowl, add the olive oil and breadcrumbs, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Place the lamb in a large roasting tin, spread the herb mixture over it and roast for 15 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 180C (350F) Gas Mark 4, add 1/4 pint (150 ml) warm water to the roasting tin and roast for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the lamb from the roasting tin, cover with foil and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Carve the meat and place on a warm serving dish.

For a side dish, halve and seed some tomatoes, fill with breadcrumbs and chopped oregano, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes. Serves 6.

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:

Only Mickey Mouse Can Save Venice

Venice - October 1, 2008 - A proposal to turn the lagoon city of Venice into a Disney-style theme park has won a prize from a famed Venetian academy, even though it rejected the idea.

The venerable Istituto Veneto described the scheme by British economist John Kay as a thought-provoking critique of the Italian city's unwieldy tourist economy.

Kay won 5,000 euros ($6,700) from the nearly 200-year-old institute for writing that Venice would be better off as a theme park, complete with a 50 euro entrance fee.

"Only one man can save Venice: Mickey Mouse," read the headline for his article explaining the concept, published in March in a British paper. "The city is already a theme park and should be handed over to Disney. They would do a better job of running it."

Its population long dwindling, Venice's remaining 70,000 residents are far outnumbered by the millions of tourists who flock to the city every year creating an artificial economy that cheats tourists and sends locals packing, Kay wrote.

"If the first thing visitors to Venice remember is the magnificence of the setting, the second is the frequency with which they were ripped off," he wrote.

"Disney wants its guests to have a good time because it cares whether they come back. Most residents of Venice would rather that visitors didn't come back."

The academy's decision to give Kay an award for the article outraged Venice's mayor, who the Briton said should be substituted by a theme park manager.

Mayor Massimo Cacciari said he found it "simply comic" that a Venetian cultural institution should reward "the most kitsch images about Venice and its future."

"Cornuto diavolo", $1500 for a Gondola ride? Ah, plus tip?

1.) Rip Off: It's a lovely warm night. You are walking across Piazza San Marco. You're dizzy from the music that drifts all around you. You hear live classical music being played and you decide that you will have a couple of romantic drinks. Just one round. You exchange a couple of kisses and then you get the bill.

"Figlio di una mignotta", how did 2 drinks, 2 kisses and being caught listening to music cost 40 Euros?

Disney solution: For 40 Euros a couple you'll get unlimited wine served by Cinderella and be able to listen to a full orchestra play the entire production of "Fantasia".

2.) Rip Off: You wander around the small streets off Piazza San Marco. You come across a number of seafood restaurants, with heavenly displays of fresh seafood out the front, and model waiters standing in the streets who coax you into their restaurant like "Lady and the Tramp". You decide a couple of seafood salads can't put a dent in your Venice budget.

"Scassacazzo", I didn't realize the shrimp and calamari were fished by Neptune himself and that he's the one who suggested charging the salads by weight!

Disney solution: Every Venice restaurant bill is examined and calculated by Jiminy Cricket, not the owners.

3.) Rip Off: Sit back and snuggle up in a red velvet-cushioned gondola, and let the gondolier paddle you slowly through quiet side canals, under traditional historic bridges like the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto. As you gently bob up and down on the wakes of passing boats, let the gondolier tell you stories about Marco Polo. You will have an experience to tell your grandchildren someday.

120 bucks to ride in a canoe for half an hour? "Vaffanculo" to you, this lagoon and Marco Polo!

Disney solution: Gondoliers establish official rates with Mickey Mouse. Any violators are prosecuted by Captain Hook and condemned to walking the plank.

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