Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Candy For The Christ Child

It was a first. Ladies Night 2010 with the Cerabona sisters and Mom was celebrated on a Saturday this year. This was our 26th year. This celebration had always been on a Sunday, but Joan sister #4, was having a Sunday Graduation party for her son, Vincent. Paula, the baby of the family, began this tradition because the women of our family ran themselves ragged shopping, wrapping, cooking, & baking during the Christmas season. We didn't take time to relax and appreciate the beauty of the Sacred Season. Paula decided to set one afternoon aside for the ladies to gather and chat, sip wine and share the blessings bestowed on us throughout the year gone by. It's kept simple. An antipasto platter consisting of salami, ham, prosciutto & provolone, a dish of ricotta salata and fresh mozzarella, a variety of olives, marinated artichoke hearts, lupini beans, crusty Italian bread, bread sticks and one special dish....maybe grilled Italian sausage or Escarole pie. Home-baked Christmas cookies and Struffoli (Italian honey balls) with coffee and cordials completes the meal.
Then there are the gifts! The first year, artsy Paula decorated a simple wooden candle with ribbon and placed a red stick candle in the center..each female received one at her place setting. And so another tradition was born. Each woman buys 6 similar gifts, wraps it prettily and places it on the table. What fun to open each present amidst oohs and ahhhs without a child needing attention, a phone to be answered, a problem to be children, no husbands, just the gals. The atmosphere is always perfect...Christmas music in the background, wine sparkling in crystal goblets, candles glowing, laughter, chatter and a tear or two as we reminisce.

Struffoli made in Florida shown via Skype
Ladies Night changed over the years, four
sisters (Terry, Judey, Joan, Kaz) and Mom moved to Florida. But the tradition continued. Judey hosts it in Florida with the same food, gifts on the table (mailed early), on the same day at the same time.
Antipasto Platter similar to Ladies' Night
(tuna & celery in center)

Now we Skype. Modern technology allows us to share the day as if we were in the same room. We blow kisses, wave, laugh and talk over each other just like we have always done. This makes it less lonely for the two New York sisters and we look forward to the day we can celebrate Ladies Night together and make more memories that will fill our hearts to overflow.
This year, Paula and I took a break and attended 5 PM Mass, then went back to her house for dessert and coffee. The Sunday forecast was for drenching rain, a perfect day to stay in and make my Christmas candy. It's an all day affair and then some. I try something different each year, but there's fudge. Silky not too sweet chocolate...raspberry and pistachio, orange and walnut, Mexican fudge with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne pepper, white chocolate (the real deal) with cranberries and peppermint flavoring, and my husband's favorite fudge-packed with mini-marshmallows. Brittle gives me the shivers, but there's nothing like its buttery taste....I skip the peanuts and go with pecans or pistachio. Brittle isn't difficult to make, but the hot bubbling sugar mixture needs undivided attention. Things can get very messy and a careful eye is needed not to burn the nuts.
Nothing is easier than chocolate bark flavored with banana, lemon, rum or sprinkled with coconut. One year, I was on a three chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick kick, another year-chocolate covered pretzels and this year....chocolate covered coconut balls topped with slivers of almonds.
I consider myself a "cook" rather than a baker or candy maker. But Christmas isn't Christmas without platters of traditional cookies, mini-paper cups of fudge, stacks of brittle and other sweet confections. I stop what I'm doing at 3 PM, which is considered the "Holy Hour", and say my rosary, the chaplet of the Divine Mercy and read an Advent reflection. It is a time to pause and remember what the Reason for the Season is....the Birth of Jesus. I count my blessings and wonder what new ones Abba will give me in the year ahead. I pray for all those I love and that no one will be missing from our Ladies Night tables next year. I ponder the gifts the Magi brought to the New Born King....and I see myself among the shepherds, the Blessed Mother & St. Joseph, humbled to be in the presence of the Holy Babe and bearing my gift....Christmas Candy For The Christ Child.

Chocolate Coconut Balls With Almonds

2 1/2 cups of Unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons of butter cold and cut thin
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
12 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
Slivers of almond

Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper or release foil. Mix coconut, sugar, butter and corn syrup with a standing or hand mixer. Pinch off a good size piece and roll into a ball. Place on baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.
In a double boiler, melt about 3/4 of the chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Remove insert and add the remaining chocolate, stirring until all is melted. Be careful not to get any drops of water in the chocolate or it can seize.
Working with a fork, drop one coconut ball into the chocolate, shake off excess and place on prepared pan. Place a few almond slivers on top. Continue until all the coconut balls are coated. Let sit until chocolate is set. Makes about 2 dozen
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Remember To Make Memories At The Table.    
Merry Christmas     Buon Natale

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Italian Stuffed Meatloaf

In my post, Meatloaf Made In America (Oct 17, 2010), I wrote about my Italian ancestors and their pride in living in America and becoming part of the American Culture. In as much as I love my  American Meatloaf with it's sweet and tangy flavor...let's not forget the bacon and cheese filling, my heart always returns to my mom's Italian Meatloaf. When I see a meatloaf with just ground beef a few spices and salt, I wonder...what is that? Plan on preparing this dish when you have cold cuts and a chunk of mozzarella cheese in the house. Mom always added one hard boiled egg to the stuffed center. It gives this meatloaf an added texture, a creaminess of sorts. The best meatloaf is made with a ground beef and pork combo, but if all you have is ground beef, that's fine. A tip: don't handle the ground meat too much...mix ingredients quickly, otherwise it will be dry and tough.

Italian Stuffed Meatloaf

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef/pork combo
6 slices of Genoa salami sliced thin
3 slices of ham  sliced thin
4-5 slices mozzarella  sliced thin
1 hard boiled egg sliced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
splash of milk

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X13" baking dish with Pam.

In a large bowl mix ground meat with egg, milk, salt and all spices. Mix well but quickly
Place meat mixture on a sheet of wax paper and flatten out. Place a layer of salami on meat mixture, then ham, then mozzarella cheese, and finally the sliced hard boiled egg. Bring sides up and to the center, then bring the ends up and to the center until filling is covered. Pat into a loaf shape. Transfer loaf into baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until juices run clear. Cool just a bit and slice.  Serves 4

Leftovers make a great sandwich! I serve this with mashed sweet or white potatoes or roasted potatoes, a vegetable, and a salad. A tasty side is sauteed fennel/finocchio/anise. Absolutely delicious!
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pork Tenderloin With Maple BBQ Sauce

I cook pork tenderloin once a month. There's nothing easier nor more versatile than this cut of "the other white meat". Now that there's just my husband and me at the table each night it is the perfect portion size, too. I buy a package of two that weigh about a pound or so. Try and buy two that are similar in thickness and length so they cook evenly in the same time span. The meat is lean so there's no cutting away fat which means no waste and a healthier choice.
The ways to prepare a pork tenderloin are endless. But I always begin with the same few ingredients. Seasoning this meat is important as it has a mild flavor much like chicken, so be sure to season it well at the very start. I begin with a drizzle of olive oil at the bottom of my baking dish and set it aside. Sprinkle both sides of the pork tenderloins with garlic powder, onion powder, salt. pepper and a light coating of parsley. Place them in the pan and drizzle just a bit of olive oil over the tops of the tenderloins.
Sauces can be a simple onion and brown or pork gravy served over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
Any fruit jam or jelly will add a wonderful sweetness to a pork tenderloin. Mix your favorite jam such as apricot, cherry, peach, blueberry, raspberry even orange marmalade with a 1/4 cup of juice (any flavor will do), a shake of garlic powder, a teaspoon of honey, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Mix well and heat in microwave for 1 minute. I serve my fruit sauces from a bowl with a small ladle, pouring it over the pork at the table.
A sauce that goes well with pork and one that I use on chicken and fish is honey, mustard and mayonnaise. 2 tablespoons of mayo, a teaspoon of mustard and a tablespoon of honey. Mix well and heat in microwave for a minute. Serve in the same way as the fruit sauce.
Of course, no sauce at all is needed. A delicious and simple preparation is pork seasoned with salt and pepper and any of your favorite herbs such as thyme and rosemary and baked to a golden color. Served over a bed of rice....yellow or white or mashed sweet potatoes is absolutely yummy.
Tonight I tried something a bit different. It came about because in September I went to a Garlic Festival (see post: The Stinking Rose Festival) and purchased a shaker bottle of Kitchen Kick'N Maple Garlic seasoning. The seasoning and many other varieties are made at Tomarc's of Troy (New York). On their website it says, 'Spice up your barbecues, sandwiches, roasts, fish, and veggies with our unique line of kick'n spices....Let Kitchen Kick'n bring out your "inner cook!" ' The site gives tips on spice storage & delicious recipes prepared with their homemade spices...they are low in salt and gluten free! A few of the seasonings that Kitchen Kick'n feature are Onion Luv'n Kick, Smoke'n Garlic Kick (hickory), Italian Boot'n Kick, Dragon Kick (with Chinese Five Spice), Citrus N' Garlic, Bloody Rub'N Kick (with horseradish powder) and many more. These seasonings will  really spice up your meal  and excite your taste buds.
For Kitchen Kick'n Spices, Recipes and more click here

Pork Tenderloin With Maple BBQ Sauce

2 Pork Tenderloins (approx. 1 lb)

Sauce: In a small bowl mix the ingredients below:
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Kitchen Kick'n Maple Garlic seasoning

Sprinkle Tenderloins on both sides with:

Maple Garlic Kitchen Kick'n Spice
onion powder
Then drizzle olive oil over the tops

Drizzle a baking pan with olive oil

Pre Heat oven to 400 degrees
Prepare sauce and set aside
Drizzle baking dish with olive oil and set aside
Season the Pork Tenderloins and place in baking dish
Bake for 30 minutes
Baste with sauce
Cook another 10-15 minutes.  Yields 2 servings.
You can cut pork in thin slices or just put one pork tenderloin on each plate.  Serve remaining sauce at the table.
I served this with baked polenta and a side of sauteed cabbage.
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Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of Food, Family & Faith (Butterscotch coffee cake)

It was a ho-hum day at the rectory where I work. Very routine. Maria DiBlasi sent her husband to our office and changed all that with this scrumptious cake. She hosted a birthday party the day before and baked this delight. Being the thoughtful woman she is, she sent slices to the "church ladies" to enjoy.
It really suites the adult taste. The texture is amazing and the most moist cake I've had since my sister, Joan's, famous Rum Walnut Cake. The ho-hum day become a day filled with oohs and sighs as we enjoyed this dessert with a cup of  freshly brewed coffee.
A few weeks later my youngest sister, Paula, invited us to a Farewell Party for her oldest son, Michael. He was leaving to train down south  for the I.C.E. unit (Immigration Customs Enforcement) and then a tour of 3 years in California. We are so proud of him....and confident that God will protect him as Mike protects our nation. He's the second of my nephews to join this unit. Joe has been making the family proud for several years as a member of  I.C.E. in Florida. He started his law enforcement career at the White House, a Secret Service Agent in his early twenties. He was there the day terrorists changed our lives...September 11, 2001.
It was only a week or so before the attack that Joe told me how routine his job was. He sounded a bit bored...the plight of a young man impatient to do great things. He was glad to be protecting President George W. Bush who remembered all his Secret Service agent's names and who inquired about their families. Joe shared that the president was considerate, calm and they could count on him and the First Lady retiring around 10 PM giving the agents an early sigh of relief. No partying, no surprises, no fights. It made it much easier  for an agent to concentrate on protecting him, the conduct all Leaders should demonstrate.
I heard from Joe after the attack when the White House was secured and communications allowed. We'd all been holding our breath as the events unfolded. Living close to NY City, I knew several victims of that horrific tragedy. Working for a local church...we had the honor and sorrow of arranging funeral Masses for citizen heroes as well as police and firefighters who sacrificed their lives that day. I cried when I heard Joe's voice. Our conversation was short....on his end, a quick assurance that he was okay, on mine- that I loved him, was praying for all involved, and my parting statement, "Joseph, I'll slap you silly if you ever tell me you want more excitement in your life."  He laughed and stated that he had enough excitement to handle. Little did I know a second nephew would follow in his footsteps.
The theme for the Farewell Party was an Oktoberfest. There was Kielbasa, Bratwurst and Sauerkraut, homemade Pierogi filled with either potato or sauerkraut that were grilled on the barbecue, Chili by Tracy, of course Italian food was included--Eggplant Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, Sausage with Onions and Peppers, Green Salad and fragrant Rolls. The dessert table was fabulous with Lorri's homemade Biscotti, a chocolate Trifle from Kristen, Strawberries dipped in chocolate by Sara, Cannoli, and my Butterscotch Coffee Cake. Beer and wine washed down the food and the house vibrated with laughter, chatter, and shouts of the men rooting for the sports team they were watching on TV.
I was able to postpone the tearful good-bye because my sister, Kaz, had surprised us with a spontaneous visit from Florida and it became a "girls" sleep over. We sisters stayed up gabbing and reminiscing until 3 in the morning, then woke to the scent of eggs and kielbasa. I got a chance to speak privately with Mike and we discussed his chosen profession...the excitement and anticipation he felt...the concern for his safety that the adults were experiencing. Yet, his final words were all that mattered, "I've been dreaming about this for years, and it's actually happening...I can't wait to start this part of my life." I forced back tears as we hugged and promised to stay in touch.
My mother raised her 6 daughters to be women of faith and to keep busy in the kitchen in good times and in bad. These are the times we are most grateful for our devotion to God as well as our passion to cook. Every member of our family needs prayer for a specific reason or no reason at all.  And everyone needs to eat! But the fact that four of our children are in police work makes intercessory prayer important. My niece, Jenna, is a police officer in Florida. This darling goddaughter, who as a child was afraid of spiders and the dark, now chases criminals. Who would have thunk it? And Geej, just a bit younger than Mike, is deciding between a local police department and the border patrol! How a family of mainly educators groomed a brood of law enforcers, I'll never know.
The life of those in law enforcement is honorable and unpredictable. Their lives are on the line, willingly, each and every day. It says in Holy Scriptures that 'Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for another.' I will not argue with this. As I will never chase a bank robber, protect our borders, or bust a drug ring, I promise to keep a welcoming light burning for the brave heroes I cherish and a cake warm from the oven when they arrive home. 

Butterscotch Coffee Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 box instant butterscotch pudding
4 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13X9 inch baking pan

Combine all ingredients for topping and set aside

Combine all batter ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes.
Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan and spread to cover (batter will be thick)
Sprinkle with 1/2 the topping
Cover with remaining batter
Sprinkle with remaining topping

Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake 35-40 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.  Makes 15 servings.
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Thank you Maria DiBlasi for this delicious recipe. And Heartfelt thanks to all who protect our great nation!
Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Sunday, October 17, 2010

MeatLoaf Made In America

Francis Reubens Bello...Grandpa Frank to me. He came to America from Italy at 17 to attend a 17! He worked with numbers and figures, very precise and deliberate, but with a winning smile and ready laugh. Tall and lanky, Grandpa Frank was on the "delicate" side. In the winter, beneath his white, starched collared shirt, he'd neatly layer sheets of newspaper to keep the chill away. Except for an occasional striped cotton shirt, worn when mowing his patch of lawn...he always wore a white dress shirt and a suit and never left home without his fedora. Grandpa will always be remembered as a kind, gentle, learned Italian who was exceedingly proud to be an American citizen. He worked hard and never expected a hand-out. When the Great Depression hit, he refused to go on the relief program, but sold lamps door-to-door while Grandma worked in a sewing factory.
Macy's July 4th by Alex Andrei
In my family, any occasion was reason for a celebration. And the 4th of July....America's Birthday was no exception. Much had to do with the gratefulness my grandparents felt for the opportunities America afforded them. They lived in the most prosperous nation in the world with God in our Pledge, National Anthem, founding documents and their home. Grandpa Frank was a proud husband, a proud father and grandfather and proud of the day he placed his hand over his heart and betrothed himself to Old Glory.
On Independence Day, Roman candles brightened the evening sky as the children twirled sparklers on the sidewalks. Nonna and neighbors gathered on their front porches and waved small American flags reminders of the democracy, equality and freedom they cherished. Italy's flag was no where to be seen....only the Stars & Stripes. To fit in, my ancestors learned English as quickly as they could. In broken English they sang the Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America and I wondered what it would have sounded like sung in Italian. Among themselves, the adult spoke their mother tongue. It was a familiar sound when the men played pinochle or the women cooked side by side in the kitchen but it was never spoken to the children either by the family elders or my parents.  Years later, I found out why, though I regret that we weren't taught that beautiful musical language.
At the outbreak of WWII, Italian was considered the language of the enemy! 1942 America-- over 1,500 Italian immigrants were arrested by the FBI, many for curfew violations, and some interned in military camps for up to two years. Over 600,000 Italian Americans would be branded "enemy aliens"-- possible fascists, loyal to Benito Mussolini. The result of this prejudice was devastating, so many in this generation did not teach their children Italian. It wasn't passed down to me or my siblings. What a shame. Una Storia Segreta (a secret story)
 But on those 4th of Julys celebrated in the Bronx (NY), I was unaware of the "secret story", I was only aware that when the last firecracker exploded in the streets it was time to gather with loved ones in my Nonni's basement kitchen. The long table groaned under the weight of sesame seed studded heros filled with salami, mortadella, ham, provolone & roasted red peppers. Beside dark pans of lasagna were bowls of fried meatballs, platters of eggplant parmigiana, huge green salad dressed with the finest olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kalamata olives and chunks of Gorgonzola, stuffed artichokes and steamed broccoli. There was always meat- maybe a beef or pork roast, roasted chicken or braciole (stuffed & rolled flank steak).
Not only did my ancestors try to simulate into American society by learning the customs and language, but the recipes, too. As familiar as pasta and chicken cacciatore were to us, Nonna & Momma enjoyed putting an "American Meal" on the table. Which proves that a good cook can cook anything! Breaded pork chops and creamy mashed potatoes, pot roast with hearty vegetables, classic mac & cheese, even tuna casserole might be on our weekly menu. I much loved the fact that my mom would make Italian meatloaf one week and an American meatloaf another week. Italian was stuffed with mozzarella cheese, slices of hard boiled egg and thinly sliced salami. Ah, but the American meatloaf was stuffed with bacon and cheddar cheese...yum! and topped with more bacon and slathered with ketchup mixed with ...well, I'll stop here. Read my recipe and see what makes my family's American Meatloaf so very special...just like the country it's named after and loved by my wonderful Italian ancestors.

American Meatloaf

1 1/4-1 1/2 lb ground beef/pork combo
2 teaspoons dry onion soup mix
1 egg
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
6 slices of bacon, cooked but not crisp
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (scant)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
 splash of milk

Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
In a bowl mix ground meat with egg, onion soup mix, parsley and milk. Mix until blended, but don't handle meat too much or it will get tough. In a separate small bowl mix together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Mix until smooth. Put meat on a sheet of wax paper and flatten it out. Put cheese in center of flattened meat and top with 3 slices of bacon. Bring sides up and to the center, then bring both ends up and to the center until filling is covered. Shape into a loaf. Place in baking pan. Make an indentation down the middle of the loaf. Pour most of the ketchup mixture into well and spread over meatloaf including the sides. Place bacon on top and drizzle the remaining "sauce" over the top. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool just a bit and slice.
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Stinking Rose Festival 2010

Steve and I were invited by his high school chums to the 2010 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY.  I jumped at the invite, but wondered how Steve would survive. Vampires have nothing over Steve when it comes to garlic.  He believes it should only be sprinkled on pizza and tomato-based Italian food. Little does he know that when I cook, I put it on pretty much everything. Yes, even on American roast beef.  If you don't tell him, I won't either.  Oh, BTW: The irrational fear of garlic is alliumphobia.
Garlic dates back 6,000 years  and is also known as the Stinking Rose. The edible bulb is made up of sections called cloves that are encased in a parchment like membrane. Three major varieties are available in the US supermarkets: the white-skinned strongly flavored American garlic; Mexican and Italian garlic, which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the white-skinned, mild flavored elephant garlic, which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek. Green garlic, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves; resembling a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb. Garlic's essential oils remain in the body long after consumption, affecting breath and even skin odor. Despite the odor, garlic is rich in antioxidants, which help destroy free radicals. Research shows promise for garlic in the areas of cancer protection and heart-related risk factors for patients. (
Over 60 varieties of garlic grown by farmers in the Northeast were displayed at this festival, a variety for every taste. I bought German Red that has a classic strong, spicy flavor, an Italian Purple great for baking and roasting & a full-bodied Spanish Roja. Many had interesting names which I wouldn't associate with garlic like the Pink Music, Georgian Crystal, Rosewood and the Temptress.  Garlic was hung in braids, was intertwined with dried flowers and herbs, carved into hand-hewed benches, decorated tee shirts, caps and baskets.
And then there was the food! I was determined to try Garlic Ice Cream and Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookies. The Ice Cream was on the mild side...even Steve took a lick and didn't faint. I did a Garlic Shot and got a "I Did It!" sticker. The "shooter" experience is followed by an immediate feeling of rejuvenation called the "shooter rush" . There was Pizza loaded with garlic, Shrimp & Clams in a Garlic White Wine sauce, A whole Pig roasting on a spit at Hickory BBQ, Garlic Knots, Sausage & Peppers, Steak Sandwiches, Kielbasa & Perogies to mention just a few. If I wanted, I could eat myself into a stupor!
Johnny Appleseed of Garlic
Vendors chatted with visitors who perused rows of condiments such as Kitchen Kick'n Seasonings...Maple Garlic, Dragon Kick, Citrus Garlic. There were country decorated jars of garlic jelly, horseradish jam-great on cream cheese or Brie or as a side dip for pork or lamb- and every berry jam under the sun sold by From My Father's Kitchen. Vinegars, olive oils, BBQ sauces, local honey, jerky, pickles, cheeses, pesto, as well as sweet-scented soaps & lotions filled booth after booth.
Chef Kevin Archer encouraged people to incorporate a plant-based diet into their lives and prepared some of his culinary specialties as Ted Maczka, the “Johnny Appleseed of Garlic” gave away free garlic seeds.
One whole section of the festival grounds was dedicated to Arts & Crafts. The finest artists and craftsmen from around the country were there with a wide variety of  hand made sweat shirts, aprons, ceramics, jewelry, paintings, pottery, woodworks and mixed media -- something for everyone! You could find cookbooks, garlic presses and clay garlic keepers, too.
This festival was a sensory delight...not only was the aroma of food enough to lift my feet off the ground, but containers of different peppers and beautiful pots of flowers graced tables sheltered under large tents.  It was truly a unique experience. I ended my feeding frenzy with a huge, hot-out-of-the-fryer Zeppoli dusted heavily with powdered sugar.
I can't think of a more fun outing then a day at a Garlic Festival. I wasn't quite sure what I'd find, but it far exceeded my expectations.  I can't thank Rich & Judy enough for inviting us along. We made memories that day with them and Victor, Nancy...their daughter Jenna and my dear in-laws...Rich and Donna.
If you’ve never been to a Garlic Festival, you’ve got to try it. Fifty thousand people can't be wrong and you are in the company of fellow garlic lovers sampling dozens of foods made with the Stinking Rose, so therefore you are completely "breath anonymous"

2001 DelRay Beach
Garlic Festival Poster

 1 clove garlic per person
1 - 2 slices lemon
Chop garlic and scoop into a cup. Squeeze lemon juice into the garlic. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of water.
Swirl cup to achieve a circling motion and drink in one gulp. Enjoy! (International Garlic Festival Cookbook)

Garlic Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 clove freshly minced garlic
1 vanilla bean, split in half
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
8 egg yolks

Put milk, garlic, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to boil and remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, blend cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Strain the scalded milk into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Return the combined mixture to the pan and stir continuously over moderate heat until it coats the back of a spoon. About 10 - 12 minutes. Cool in an ice bath and freeze until firm.
Makes 1 Quart.   (Gilroy Garlic Ice Cream at

Garlic Shrimp & White Wine Sauce

1 lb peeled and deveined Shrimp (Raw)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
4 tablespoons finely chopped basil
6 cloves finely chopped garlic
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Pasta: 1 lb. of Angel Hair Pasta
Begin boiling the water for pasta as you prepare the sauce, so it is cooked on time.
In a pan add:
- olive oil
- red pepper flakes
- Garlic
- Dash of Salt
- Generous sprinkling of pepper
Layer the shrimp in the pan so they are flat.
Note: Depending on the pan size, you may have to cook the shrimp in two or three batches.
Bring the heat up so the oil simmers. As soon as the shrimp turn opaque with a touch of pink, flip them. When the shrimp are done (both sides are opaque with a touch of pink - about 5 minutes on medium low heat), take them out of the pan and put them aside in a bowl. 
Add the 1/2 cup butter and the 1 cup of wine to the pan. Simmer for 6-10 minutes. Add more salt, pepper and garlic if desired. Do not boil.
When the liquid sauce is reduced to half of what it was, add the shrimp, parsley and basil. Stir so everything is coated and warmed up (about 2 minutes).
Drain the pasta. Put the pasta in a bowl and toss with the shrimp and half of the sauce. Put the remaining sauce in another bowl for serving.
Serve with a tomato/basil salad and a green vegetable. (

Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookies
This cookie sneaks up on you. Most people are unable to identify the “unique” ingredient until after they have eaten the whole cookie.  People are never ambivalent about this cookie. They either love it or hate it
10 - 12 cloves of garlic
Boiling water
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1tsp. salt
2 cup (or one bag) chocolate chips
To prepare garlic:
Drop garlic cloves in boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. Peel and chop. Soak in maple syrup for 30 minutes.
In mixing bowl, cream butter sugars, eggs and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Stir into chocolate chips. Stir in garlic and syrup.
Drop batter by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake in 375 degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly browned but still slightly soft. Remove from oven and cool on racks.  (Garlic Lovers Cookbook)
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