Archive for the ‘Minna's Favorite recipes’ category

Minna’s Favorite Recipes

November 16, 2010


This family favorite recipe was submitted to “Cooking Light” magazine a few years ago by a reader who was trying to eat a little healthier without giving up all of her favorite things.  “Cooking Light” performed a make-over on the original recipe managing to trim almost 50 calories and 5 grams of fat per piece, still with very tasty results.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
¼ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1½ cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 large)
1½ cups chopped Red Delicious apple (about 1 large)
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cups chopped pecans
Cooking spray
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
 2.  Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.  Set aside.
3.  Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add egg and egg whites, beating well after each addition.  Stir in applesauce and vanilla.  Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture; stir just until combined to for a stiff batter.  Toss dates with 1 teaspoon flour.  Toss apples with lemon juice.  Add dates, apples and nuts to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Pour batter into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 16 servings.



Minna’s Favorite recipes…Sfogi in Saor

October 4, 2010


Sfogi in Saor
Marinated Sole with Pine Nuts and Raisins
This is a very tasty recipe from the wonderful cookbook Celebrating Italy by Carol Field (author also of The Italian Baker and In Nonna’s Kitchen).  Sfogi is Venetian for sole and Saor comes from sapore, the Italian word for flavor.   A great do-ahead dish, this recipe is best made 48 hours before serving.  Makes 6 servings.
2 pounds fresh firm sole fillets    
About ¾ cup all-purpose flour
About 3 cups vegetable oil
3 tablespoons olive oil      
3 or 4 white onions, finely sliced     
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ cups red wine vinegar
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup raisins, soaked in tepid water and drained
Cut the pieces of sole in half lengthwise, and then cut again into 3 to 4 inch pieces.  Pat them dry.  Place flour in a large platter and lightly coat each slice of fish by dipping it into flour.
Heat enough vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan to come ½ inch up the sides, and fry the slices of fish until they are golden brown on both sides, being careful not to overcook them.  Remove and drain on platters lined with paper toweling.
Pour off the fat, warm the olive oil in the same pan, and sauté the onions over very low heat until they are limp and translucent, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking another 2 to 3 minutes; pour in the vinegar and cook until it has reduced by half.
Arrange the fish in a single layer on a serving platter.  With a slotted spoon distribute the sautéed onions in a second layer and then pour the vinegar glaze over all, trying to cover all of the fish with it.  Strew the pine nuts and raisins over the top. 
If you are going to serve the dish on the same day, cover and leave out at room temperature up to 12 hours.  Traditionally the dish is kept for 2 days in a very cool spot or in the refrigerator before serving. 
This dish is often served with polenta – yet another good reason to make this!


Minna’s Favorite Recipes…She’s Back

August 27, 2010




Here is a delicious appetizer recipe that I’ve been using for many years.  It’s quick, easy, and as tasty warm or cold.   Set the finished chicken pieces in a dish with a supply of toothpicks, or serve as part of an Asian flavored salad.  Enjoy!
1 pound skinned, boned chicken breasts (or the tenders)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
2 tablespoons dry sherry
½ teaspoon shredded fresh gingerroot
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Italian parsley
Chutney or plum sauce, if desired
If using whole breasts, cut each breast in half lengthwise.
In a shallow baking dish, stir together salt, soy sauce, maple syrup, sherry, gingerroot, Chinese five-spice and oil.  Add chicken and turn to coat evenly.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400F.  Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds.  Place chicken in a baking dish, with marinade, and bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until no longer pink in the thickest part; cut to test.  Brush occasionally with marinade during baking.  Cut chicken into chunks and serve warm or cold, garnished with Italian parsley.  If desired, accompany with chutney or plum sauce.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Minna’s Favorite Recipes…Chick Pea Fritatta

July 5, 2010


Frittata di Ceci
Serves 6
Here is an unusual frittata recipe from – you guessed it – The Antipasto Table!

The Antipasto Table

  It is delicious served for lunch, a light dinner, or cut into thin slices or small squares and served as an antipasto.  Don’t stir the mashed chick-peas in too thoroughly – they should appear as streaks in the egg mixture. 

2 cups drained cooked chick-peas, or 1 19-ounce can chick-peas, rinsed and drained
8 large eggs
1 large garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1.  In a bowl, mash the chick-peas with a fork or a potato masher. 

2.  Beat the eggs until well blended.  Add the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Lightly stir in the chick-peas.  The mixture should be somewhat lumpy, not smooth.

3.  In a 10-inch oven proof skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the egg mixture.  Cook, lifting the edges occasionally to allow the uncooked egg to slide under the cooked portion, until the frittata is set around the edges but still moist in the center, about 10 minutes.

4.  Transfer the skillet to the broiler.* Cook just until the top of the frittata is set, about 1 minute.  Watch carefully so that the frittata does not brown.

5.  Invert the frittata onto a serving plate.  Let cook slightly.  Cut into wedges.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Alternatively, you can cook the frittata entirely on the stove top, slowly cooking and gently stirring, allowing uncooked egg mixture to slide under the edges until the frittata is almost completely set.  CAREFULLY invert onto a flat dish large enough to extend a bit over the edges of the pan, and then slide the frittata CAREFULLY back into the pan, returning it to the low heat to finish cooking completely.  When completely set, invert once more onto your serving dish and enjoy.

Minna’s Favorite Recipes- Sauteed Peppers

June 18, 2010

Peperoni in Aceto Balsamico
Serves 6 to 8

Here’s another recipe from The Antipasto Table by Michele Scicolone.  Very tasty, very easy, but be patient and allow the peppers a long slow cooking to tenderize them and bring out the best flavor.  The amounts are easily doubled.

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil                                                                                


3 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
3 large yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1.  In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and spotted with brown, about 25 minutes.  (Do not raise the heat to speed up the cooking or the peppers will burn.)

2.  Add the sugar, salt, and vinegar and stir well.  Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes more.  Serve warm.


Minna’s Favorite Recipes…Spicy Eggplant

June 8, 2010


Melanze Piccanti
Serves 6
This is a very tasty antipasti, from The Antipasto Table by Michele Scicolone.  According to Ms. Scicolone, she discovered this recipe in a restaurant in Rome that served no hot food, “only an assortment of wonderful cheeses, cold meats, excellent wines with thick slices of rough country bread, and a few cold, cooked vegetable dishes, including these spicy eggplant slices”.   The eggplant slices are baked, rather than fried, for this recipe, which uses less oil and is lighter tasting. This recipe is easily doubled, or more, for a crowd.

2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups tomato puree
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup torn fresh basil leaves

1.  Trim the eggplants and cut them lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices.  Layer the slices    
in a colander set over a bowl, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt.  Let drain for     about 1 hour.

2.  Preheat the oven to 450F.  Brush two large jelly-roll pans with oil.  Rinse off the salt from the eggplant slices and pat them dry.  Arrange the slices in a single layer in the pans.  Brush with oil.  Bake for 10 minutes, turn, and bake for 10 minutes more, or until lightly browned and tender.

3.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook the garlic in ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes.  Add tomato puree and pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes, or until thick. 

4.  In a shallow dish, arrange half the eggplant slices in a single layer.  Spread with half the sauce and sprinkle with half the basil.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Serve at room temperature.


Minna’s Favorite Recipes….Pasta and Bean Soup

June 1, 2010


This recipe was requested by Mary C. Thank you.

Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 6
This delicious recipe is from Nancy Verde Barr’s wonderful cookbook We Called It Macaroni. 

We Called It Macaroni

 As she explains in the chapter on soups, this is considered “la cucina povera” – poor or working-class cooking…I’ll take it any day!  Enjoy!

2 ounces pancetta, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ small hot red pepper or 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small rib celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1¼ pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped*
1½ pounds fresh cranberry beans or ¾ cup dried cranberry beans, precooked, or 2½
      cups canned white beans, drained
4 cups meat broth or water
¾ cup short macaroni
Freshly grated pecorino cheese

1.  Put pancetta, if using, and olive oil in a soup pot and cook over gentle heat until the pancetta renders fat but does not brown (about 4 minutes).  Add the hot pepper, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the olive oil and cook gently 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.  Add tomatoes and salt and cook 10 minutes.

2.  If using fresh beans, shell, rinse, and add to the tomatoes, and cook together 3 minutes.  Add the hot broth or water and cook until the beans are tender (45-60 minutes).  If using precooked dried beans or canned beans, add to the tomatoes, cook 3 minutes, add the broth and cook 15 minutes.

3.  Add the macaroni to the soup and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente.  Remove the soup from the heat and let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with freshly grated pecorino cheese.

*If fresh tomatoes are not in season, use good quality canned.