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Sunday Dinner

Sunday has always been my favorite day of the week because lunch (pranzo) was different than any other days of the week, and because it was a day we shared our meals with family and friends.

I remember as a child our family shared many Sunday meals with my aunts, uncles and cousins at my grandparents Rosalia and Domenico’s house. The house was small but it was never a problem, because my grandma would move most of the furniture out of the small dining room and set the tables needed to fit all of us.

Sunday’s lunch gathering was long, it would start around 1 pm and end around 6 pm, and this was our family’s time to laugh and share stories over a wonderful meal.

I can still smell the sauce simmering on the stove, and my aunt Rosetta’s Ciambella cake baking in the oven.

Today my house is “Grandma’s house” and every Sunday my husband and I share stories and laughs with friends and family over a traditional Sicilian meal. The recipes I share with friends and family is my way of connecting my past to my present. The below recipes is dedicated to the memory of my beloved Zia Rosetta. This was her signature recipe.

Zia Rosetta’s Ciambella

2 ¼ cups of flour
2¼ cups of granulated sugar
2/3 cup of vegetable or canola oil
7 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 eggs
½ cup Vermouth liquor
3 tsp baking powder
¾ cup of milk

Preheat the oven at 375

Coat a nonstick 9-inch tube pan with butter, sprinkle with flour, and place the pan upside down to release excess flour

In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder, set aside.

In another large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until and fluffy. Add the melted butter, milk, oil and vermouth, beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Beat until combined.

Spoon batter into the pan, smooth the top and bake until cake rises and turns a golden brown. Test the cake by inserting a toothpick in various parts of the cake comes out clean.

Depending on the oven it can take anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes to cook, so it’s very important that we look at the color of the cake as it bakes.

Posted on November 22, 2015

My Traveling Spirit

 One thing I’ve learned during my many travels is to make sure I bring my  “Spirit” with me wherever I go…….. if I can’t take it, I don’t worry because I can find it anywhere. I know you are wondering what this traveling Spirit might be…… VODKA!  Aside from being a fantastic drink, Vodka has many uses:

A cure for Acne:

This summer I took a 6-week vacation. I was so excited but at times miserable; I must admit an Arizona resident should never travel to Italy in August. The humidity was ridiculous, and a few days into my trip my acne flared up. The first thing I did when I arrived in Sicily was to purchase a bottle of vodka. Using a cotton ball, I applied it to my face to cleanse the skin and tighten the pores and within days my face was back to normal.

 A cure for swelling and burning pain:

My Spirit has been my hero more than once especially this summer. On my first trip to the beach, I was so happy; the water was crystal clear and warm with an intense blue color. As I dove in I could smell and taste the salty water. I swam a bit then turned on my back and started floating allowing the sun to kiss my face.

Suddenly I felt a sting on my left side, I quickly turned around and swam back to the shore, I looked at my left side and noticed some red welts.  I knew then that a jellyfish had stung me. The pain was unbearable; my sister poured some cold water on me it but did not help.

I grabbed my little bottle of vodka and sprayed the sting and to my surprise it worked, within minutes the swelling and the burning pain diminished.

Mosquito repellent

I also sprayed vodka on me every evening to repel mosquitoes; this alone was worth the cost of a bottle. The fact that it is odorless it helped me avoid an unnecessary family intervention.

Ice Pack

Vodka also makes for a great reusable ice pack. Just mix a cup of vodka and a half a cup of water in a freezer Ziploc bag and you will have a comfortable, soft ice pack, perfect for those hangover moments.

Now that I have shared with you the many practical uses of vodka, I suggest you never leave home without the “Traveling Spirit”.

Posted on November 11, 2015