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Author: oliviadonofrio

Mediterranean Eggplant

A couple of months back we watched Jamie Oliver make this delicious eggplant dish in Italy with Gennaro. Naturally, we had to try our hand at it from what we recalled from memory. Here is the recipe but keep in mind it's all about tasting as you go, if you need more or less spice, feel free to adjust. I didn't take any good pics but I will update the recipe with one next time we make it. :) What you'll need: 1 large eggplant1 tsp of cumin1 tsp of paprika1 clove of garlicSalt & pepperRed onion (chopped)2 cups cherry tomatoesPinch of parsley Half a lemonYour favorite couscous Your favorite tzatziki Optional naan bread! Directions: Cube the eggplant (skin on)Heavily salt and let sit for an hour (takes the bitterness away) Prep couscous while the eggplant is salting.Boil 1 cup (approx.) water,...

Calabrese Zeppole

These delicious fried appetizers are another fan favorite within our family. Remembrance Day marks the tradition to have these as it's also the Festa di San Martino. The fall, particularly September, is the winemaking season for many, and November 11th marks the first time the homemade wine is tasted. To celebrate the wine and harvest, these savoury treats are made, some families also make nocatalli and in Italy chestnuts are roasted as they are in harvest. Enjoy! Ingredients: 2 cups flour 1 cup mashed potatoes (riced) 1 envelope of yeast in 3/4 cup of lukewarm water with 1/2 tsp of sugar 1 tlbs salt Sardines (optional) Instructions: Boil the potatoes, when cooked run them through a ricer then let cool. Mix your yeast, sugar, and water and set aside. Mix flour, potatoes, and yeast together and mix with your hands. Heat some vegetable oil on medium...

Tomato Sauce (Sugo)

Growing up as a kid the end of August/Labour Day weekend always brought upon the nerves of going back to school and also the big production of making “the sauce”. As a kid I used to dread helping to make tomato sauce, it was a full day production which meant not hanging out with friends at the cottage. Not to mention the times you got a splash of the burning sauce on your skin or steam burn from the giant pot of sizzling tomato juice. Now that I am older, I value those memories and traditions. Every family has their own traditions and different way of making the sauce that is special to them. For the purpose of the blog I included a very quick how-to guide below. Keep in mind it's a bit more complex than I...

Almond Twists

    It seems everyone is making two things in isolation, bread, and cinnamon buns. I understand why, I have definitely enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, it's one of the only exciting things happening during the quarantine. If you already made cinnamon buns and are wondering what to try next, try these almond twists, they're basically a cinnamon bun cookie. They are perfect to keep in the freezer for guests (when we are able to entertain again lol) and to enjoy with your coffee. My mom is known for these cookies and often makes them for any family occasion like baptisms, showers, etc. Ingredients Dough: 2 cups of flour 2 tablespoons of sugar 1 tablespoon baking power Pinch of salt 1/2 cup of soft butter 1 beaten egg (with the fork ) 1/2 cup of milk Filling: 1 bag of chopped pecans 3 tablespoons of cinnamon 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar Icing: 2 cups of...

Nocatalli – Italian Christmas Donuts

Christmas time means fresh Nocatalli, an Italian sugar donut, paired with your choice of coffee for dunking, homemade cured sausages or just as is. A memory I have of Nocatalli was from the church Christmas pageant at St.Rita's. My cousins and I would star in the play and on the show night all the parishioners would bring baking. My nonna always brought the fresh Nocatalli and we would rush to the table post-show to snag a couple. This is a pretty difficult dessert to make, I joined my mom making them for the first time and couldn't believe that my nonna's and aunts would make them by themselves and for the whole family. We used my aunt Teresa Fabrizio's recipe from her cookbook which features all the traditional goods. Watch this video to see how it turned out and if...

Christmas Tree Hunt

One of my favorite traditions is our annual tree hunt! Since I was a little girl I remember this day and looked forward to it every year. We all meet at my Nonna's house, get into cars and back in the day, we used walkie talkies to communicate in-between vehicles. We would travel to the tree farm (or farms) and wander the rows of trees in search of the perfect one. One that wasn't too big, or too small, or too wide, or too narrow. You can imagine how this process was a slow one at times. Once the tree was selected my aunt Zia Gisa had this great idea to hold hands around the tree and sing 'Yahoo Dore' from the grinch, this tradition has stuck all these years later. Once the trees were packed and in the...

Liquid Gold – aka hot pepper oil

My uncle Arnie Spina is known for many things, but his hot pepper oil is definitely top on the list. Friends and family all know that he has the best hot pepper oil in the game and no one wants to even attempt making it themselves. Why you ask? Well, it’s a pretty intense and dangerous process of fermenting peppers. One wrong move could land you in the hospital- true story!  His grandmother taught him this specialty from a young age in Pesche, Italy. He has carried on the tradition as an adult living in Woodstock.  He has introduced it to his friends and family, sharing a very limited supply of jars with select few.  Caution, the step by step process is only for those experienced professionals. We, at Olivia D’Onofrio, do not assume responsibility for any side effects which...

Wine Making

I am a bit delayed on this post as it’s been a busy time for us adjusting to life outside of the city. Autumn is a season of the harvest.  For wine lovers and our culture, the fall is known for making homemade wine. As a child, this was always so much fun to be apart of. We would gather around my Nonno Ciccio’s shed and watch as the brothers and my other Nonno would take turns crushing the grapes. We were sure to never sit still because the wasps would gather and attack you! Somehow I don’t ever remember anyone ever getting stung though.  When the grapes were crushed, and the juice put into barrels, my dad always stored them in our laundry room near the cantina because it was cool. The smell of the wine fermenting was...

Hot Pepper Potatoes

Watch my aunt Zia Laura share traditions about her mother, Filomena's, signature hot pepper potatoes. This recipe and tradition comes all the way from Pesche, Italy where my aunt and her family grew up. At any family function, you can be sure to see these hot pepper potatoes on the table, and they taste like perfection every time. Side note, if you are not one for the heat, you may want to stay away from this recipe. :) https://youtu.be/hSTb41wAgyg You will need: Four medium red potatoes, use red because they're firmer Salt ¼ cup olive oil2 dry red chili peppers 1 tsp red chili flakes  Instructions: Boil the potatoes skin on Once potatoes are cooked peel the skin offSlice them very thin Season with salt Sautee olive oil in a pan with chili peppers roasted the pepper a bit and then add chili flakes Pour the mixture on the potatoes Mix...