sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

Posts Tagged ‘italian food’

Barbequing to beat the heat

Posted by Jim Carfrae on July 23, 2012

I had a few friends over for an afternoon of sun, swim and shade. Not wanting to heat up the house I went for the super simple: fire roasted tomato bruschetta (BBQ) on slices of a toasted baguette. To round it out I served some pâté, a bottle of crisp sauvignon blanc, and sliced up a Mastro Siciliano salami chub.

I can report there was only pâté left over. I think I used a bit too much onion in the bruschetta, and no one seemed to mind: http://www.sharemastro.com/recipe/fire-roasted-bruschetta/

Fire Roasted Bruschetta

Last week my wife perfected cooking a pizza on the BBQ: get it up to 450-500, turn off two burners where the pizza is places, leaving the other on high. If the temperature drops to 350, turn on the middle burner and rotate the pizza every 5 minutes to minimize direct heat, (you might need to adjust temperatures a bit, I would not rely on the BBQ thermometer). There were some enjoyable adventures along the way: trying to balance the pizza on the upper rack led to a huge droop and much of the contents falling to blackened end; and the burnt Frisbee of course.


Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A little Italian – the inside out mortadella sandwich

Posted by Jim Carfrae on January 16, 2012

Awhile ago we shared an appetizer, “prosciutto sushi”. It became the inspiration for mortadella rolls, where the mortadella is wrapped around the toasted bread. It is definitely not classically Italian, and still tastes great.

I’m guessing I need to get a sushi mat or something, because mine were falling apart. Everybody did like them – once they got it in their mouths.

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

December is still Prosciutto Month

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 20, 2011

I was at the deli on Saturday getting some prosciutto sliced, and casually mentioned “I guess you know December is prosciutto month”. Her response was “I know, almost every person is ordering some”, it really is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.


I was serving a group of friends, one of whom has Celiac disease, (no wheat products). I decided to try something new, prosciutto wrapped around polenta and basil. (Polenta is basically corn meal that is boiled in water until it becomes thick; I suppose it is the Italian version of south western grits. I could be wrong here, it was only my second time making the polenta, and the response was just as mediocre as last time.)


The texture of the polenta just didn’t work with the prosciutto. Even though I fried up the polenta afterward, is remains soft inside; I think crispy like a bread stick works well with prosciutto. To salvage the situation, I put covered the rest of the polenta in gorgonzola cheese – which worked great – and draped the prosciutto in a pile for people to eat straight up – which also worked great. My friend brought champagne, which was a perfect pairing.


Christmas Eve I have been assigned a wheat-free prosciutto appetizer, (different person). I plan to go with the prosciutto sushi – around asparagus, around cantaloupe and for something new I am going to do a version wrapped around figs if I can find them.

Posted in What is it? | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

magazine browsing – December is Prosciutto Month

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 6, 2011

I was leafing through a great French cooking magazine, Je Cuisine, and came across this great photo in the December issue. It looks easy and tasty, so I contacted them for a translation. If you look at the crostini in the right corner, they have folded the prosciutto to look like a flower – I am going to try this, does anyone have any experience on how to do this fancy fold? Oh, an here is the instructions, I hesitate to say recipe, it is so simple.

Crostini with mashed avocado and prosciutto

½ baguette cut in 12 slices
15ml (1 soup spoon) avocado oil
1 avocado
10ml (2 tea spoon) lime juice
10ml (2 tea spoon) pesto
Salt and Tabasco to taste
6 procuito slices cut in half lengthwise

1. Put the oven to grill mode
2. Drop the baguette slice on a hotplate and brush with oil on both sides. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool.
3. Crush the avocado in a bowl; mix the lime juice, pesto and seasoning.
4. Spread on the baguette slice with the avocado mixture and add a prosciutto slice on each slice.

Thank you to Je Cuisine for the image and translation.

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

December is Prosciutto Month – Share a little Italian with Smoked Prosciutto

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 5, 2011

You might have heard of speck, it is a ham that is coated in 11 different spices, including juniper berries, coriander and pepper for two weeks. The ham is smoked with natural hickory for 2 days and then aged for six months. We also sell it as San Daniele Smoked Prosciutto, and you can see it is really much more than that.

My wife shared smoked prosciutto crostini at her hockey party last week to huge success. She made them at the start so people could watch during preparation; they were surprised at the ease for such an amazing taste.

While we usually do most of our preparation beforehand, I am starting to realize that people really enjoy watching simple food preparation and love to talk about the ingredients. Perhaps this is the impact of all those hours of The Food Network. Do you usually prepare in advance or on the fly?

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

December is Prosciutto Month – Share a little Italian

Posted by Jim Carfrae on December 1, 2011

More than any other deli meat, prosciutto is served for guests. Given its nickname, “the king of deli meats”, that probably isn’t surprising. As we enter the holiday season I have stocked up. Just yesterday my daughter set up draped prosciutto around the outside of the plate with cantaloupe balls in the middle.

Last holiday season I served Prosciutto Sliders, I still think it is the ultimate appetizer for a large group of people, say 20+. We were recently at the Gourmet Food and Wine Show where we served over 7,000 slices – proof of high volume ease. And yet, perfect for any weekend lunch.

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A little Italian – prosciutto any day

Posted by Jim Carfrae on November 21, 2011

More than any other deli meat, prosciutto is served for guests. However, two out of every three times it is eaten within the home; that is, not with guests. So lately I have taken to asking people how they eat it; so here goes:

• Straight out of the pack – multiple mentions
• On bread with provolone cheese – a few mentions
• With buffalo mozzarella cheese, olive oil, fresh basil – multiple mentions
• With bread and grilled vegetables (out of a jar)
• Rolled around provolone cheese and stuffed inside a chicken (in place of stuffing) – two people
• Wrapped around a breadstick, the kids especially love this – multiple mentions
• On a baguette with spinach and tomato
• In bread, by itself, nothing in the way
• In a sandwich with bocconcini and grilled vegetables
• In a bun with provolone cheese, tomato and basil
• Wrapped around figs and walnut, gorgonzola cheese on the side
• On pizza (put on after the pizza comes out of the oven)

What we eat with our family is usually the best tasting or the simplest, how do you eat your prosciutto?

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A little Italian – the mortadella sandwich

Posted by Jim Carfrae on November 11, 2011

Mortadella is the classic everyday food for Italians. Rarely is there more than thinly sliced mortadella on a fresh Panino. The premium cuts of meat and spices are slow cooked in clay ovens. The sweet, buttery taste comes with the most beautiful aroma. If you’ve never … you are invited to give it a try.

We provided mortadella Panini as part of a school fundraiser; some of the kids were good enough to talk about it. It was really fun to share something that was new for many of the students.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A little Italian

Posted by Jim Carfrae on November 10, 2011

Many years ago I came across a book called How to be an Italian by Lou D’Angelo, published in 1968. Amazon rates it 4.5/5, okay so only 5 people did the rating, and yes I am one. (The only person not giving a 5 did so because of the condition of the book, the content is indisputable.)

Some people achieve greatness; others have it thrust upon them. Then there are those people who are born Italian.  If you are not an Italian, don’t be despondent. You can become an Italian. You can learn to look, dress, walk, gesticulate, think, and talk Italian by mastering a few simple rules….


Amazingly he missed the one thing that everyone returning from Italy raves about, the food! The easiest way to become Italian is to enjoy the food and share it with others.  Food plays an important role in the Italian culture, and that means sharing it and the conversation around the food is one of the staples.

I am rediscovering my Italian heritage and invite you to be a little Italian, if only once a week. Think about the food you are eating, share it with others – there are more than a few ideas here, and maybe try a hand gesture or two – carefully.

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Daughters know

Posted by Jim Carfrae on February 15, 2011

My daughter has invented the ultimate “gourmet” KD, disagree at your own peril.

Her secret ingredient is Mastro Salametti Hot:

The outcome:

If I ate KD, my secret ingredient would be pancetta.

Posted in Enjoy and share | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »