Today was Easter, obviously, which means lots of cooking in this house. Italians, whether you are a smidge Italian or a whole bunch of Italian, all do it the same way: we cook and cook and cook and cook and then we eat and eat and eat and eat. We always say that we are going to downsize, every year it’s going to be smaller and then BAM, there is food EVERYWHERE! I have been up since 6:30 this morning and after a day of preparations, I am wiped out. It started with the cleaning and then it was the setting up and then it was in the kitchen all damn day. I was lucky enough to have my mother by my side, however an Italian mother (even if she swears the Italian gene skipped her completely) has lots to say about: what you have in the kitchen for tools, how your fridge is stocked and of course, how you cook every bite of food. My vegetable peeler threw her for the biggest loop and she cursed at me the entire time she peeled the carrots. Which, I will admit was hilarious. Mom’s always great for a laugh when on a tirade. She had a stressful start to her morning, I sent her on a scout in the North End for a traditional Italian treat on her way up here. And although she ranted for a bit, she came through like a champ, finding what I was after, with one for each of the kids.
We started off our day with an amazing antipasto plate which Mom brought up. She made some delicious roasted red peppers, perfectly done roasted asparagus and brought a selection of meats and cheeses that were splendid. Provolone, sopresseta, marinated olives and some other yummy items. We nibbled on that all afternoon with some crackers and bread. I broke out some of our wine that we brought back from our travels in Italy and it blended perfectly with the food. Our main meal consisted of ham (22 lbs. of ham to be exact, ha ha), roasted potatoes and carrots, a loaf of crusty bread, scalloped potatoes and deviled eggs which my mother-in-law brought over. For dessert we had coconut cream pie, strawberry shortcake and of course, housemade s’mores. My mother-in-law rescued me by making two of the three desserts which decreased my stress level immensely. They were great and with some lovely coffee, all were happy in the room.
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
1. Butter bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.
2. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water, and let stand to soften.
3. In a large sauce pan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
4. With an electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes.
5. In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan. Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.
6. Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.
HOUSEMADE GRAHAM CRACKERS
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1. In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
2. In another bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter, dark brown sugar,
granulated sugar, and honey. Mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
3. In two additions, add the dry ingredients, letting the first fully incorporate before you add the second.
4. Turn the dough out and flatten it into a rectangular shape, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Unwrap the chilled dough and cut it in half. Leave half in the refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll the other half out into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
7. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 3×3″ squares; use a spatula to transfer the rectangles to the prepared baking sheets as you go.
8. Repeat with the other half of dough.
9. Using a paring knife, gently score each square to create a line down the middle, taking care not to cut all the way through the dough. Using a fork, pierce each rectangle with two rows of six to eight marks.
10. Bake the graham crackers, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
my mother did the holes on these here graham crackers, i’m not sure she listened to my directions but that’s okay, it’s about the taste, not the way the dots line up. thanks mom for the assistance.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE: USE BARS OF 60% COCOA, BREAK UP ACCORDINGLY
TORCH THOSE MARSHMALLOWS, ASSEMBLE & ENJOY
MACARON GIVEAWAY WINNERS
1st place winner: The author of Teeny Bikini
2nd place winner: The author of The Dancing Runner
3rd place winner: paige bonnito
For all winners, please e-mail me your official address, contact information and anything else I would need in order to mail you these treats. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Please expect 7-14 days for their arrival, as I need to bake them up, package them and send them overnight to get straight to your mouth. Congrats to all the winners and thank you for taking the time to share & like my blog as much as you did! The support is amazing! xoxo, Jenny