April 7, 2014

Cududua - Italian Easter Cookies

These cookies were a Sicilian tradition in my family while I was growing up. My grandmother, a Sicilian native, made these cookies faithfully every Easter. Cadudua,  remind me of her every year. She was the best Sicilian cook I've known in my lifetime and am lucky I got to watch and learn as I was a child, how to cook some great Italian food. You can alter this recipe to your liking. My grandmother would frost them with the basic Italian cookie icing and colored non-pariels and used white, hard-boiled eggs.


6 eggs (well beaten)
1/2 pound butter, softened (or melted, then cooled)
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (you can cut this down to your likingsugar)
2 Tbs. Baking Powder
2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Touch of Cinnamon
4 1/2 cups of sifted flour
White or Easter-colored, hard-boiled eggs

  1. Heat oven to 375
  2. Beat eggs until yellow and frothy
  3. Add touch of cinnamon, vanilla and sugar, a little at a time; mix until sugar is dissolved or just about dissolved
  4. Add butter and mix well
  5. Followed by adding flour and baking powder and mixing intermittently Add enough flour so that soft but not sticky (may have to add more than recipe calls for or less)
  6. Let dough rest for an hour in refrigerator or on table - can be room temp  Take piece of dough, about the size of a small handful and roll with your hands on flowered surface into round rope-like cylinder while leaving the center thicker
  7. Press center down with heel of your hand. this is for the egg
  8. Place on cookie sheet, then put hard-boiled egg in that spot.
  9. Place two small strips of dough (like a cross) on top of egg to hold it to the cookie
  10. Pinch the top of the dough and slit the tips for decoration
  11. My grandmother would braid them acrossthe top of the egg
  12. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until light golden
  13. Remove from oven and cool; frost with frosting and sprinkle with colored non-pariels

You can make any design you want on the cookie - Buona Pasqua!



February 1, 2014

Traffic Ahead: A Rant & Rave Set off by Flashing Sign

Over the past week, I am realizing that the Massachusetts State Police are physically monitoring traffic in one of Greater Boston’s most busy intersections, Wellington Circle in Medford.

How do I know this? Well, today I saw a sign flashing in the middle of this intersection that reads “Don’t cause grid-lock. $100 fine.” And I see at least 2 state police cruisers, with flashing lights. Sitting. Stationary.

OK - anyone that knows this intersection can tell you this crazy convergence of busy roads has been a clusterf*ck for years. It’s an antiquated, huge rotary with at least 6 different traffic lights that change in the matter of a minute sending traffic in all different directions. Wellington Circle, we’ll call WC, is the result of one of the worst civil engineering jobs of all times.  Not to say when it was first laid out, that it was this bad.

WC is estimated to be over 110 years old and was probably built to handle a few hundred cars, max, at that time of the early 1900’s, people.  Today, this behemoth of an intersection handles tens-of-thousands of cars in which it wasn’t built to handle. There is traffic at WC till all hours of the night. One can pass thru WC and you will never be alone.

WC is the convergence of extremely busy Rts. 28 (north, south – which is also the end of the Mystic Valley Parkway) and 16 (east, west – which is also known as the start of the Revere Beach Parkway), but also branches off in different directions to shopping centers, apartments, train stations, eateries and more. The suburbs that surround this area are Somerville, Medford, Malden, Everett and are a pass through for cities and towns of Revere, Chelsea, Melrose and Stoneham. The biggest pass-thru is its link to the City of Boston.

The “circle” is a huge rotary (circle, round-a-bout, road that no other parts of the country would ever build today because they are antiquated, based on the English which brought them to the states with no purpose). It contains incessant traffic in all directions, most of which are coming to and from the huge metropolis, Boston.  Rt. 28 leads right to Boston from WC and is just under 1.5 miles away – Rt. 93. Rt. 93 carries Rt. 28 right into Boston and beyond.

I was curious over the days as to why are there flashing lights on state police cruisers at this intersection? Did someone die? Are they trying to nab a terrorist? Is this the next Sochi? Of course, what does anyone do that is driving a car when you see flashing police cruiser lights? You slow down. Not that the traffic is bad enough and there is no way you could be going over the speed limit anyway, but traffic is being slowed down by the presence of these state police cars with their flashing lights; oh yes, to hand out $100 traffic tickets.

Let’s revisit that illuminated sign that the state wants us all to pause and look at: “Don’t cause grid-lock $100 fine.” I hear you – and TRUST, I don’t think anyone driving through this ridiculous circle wants to sit in, nor cause a grid-lock! It begs to ask the question: Why is the state penalizing and resurrecting a law that drivers can’t control because of an antiquated highway system?

Are we trying to raise money to redo this road? Are there plans to improve this out-of-date rotary, circle, call-it-what you will? Clearly, WC is 50+ years out-of-date. I have no idea what the plans are, if any, for improving or ridding the citizens of this state of this horrible convergence. But to spend state police time, tax-dollars and posting flashing signs like this are not the solution.

The solution is to work with these cities and towns and bring these roads from the twentieth century, into the twenty-first century. Fining innocent drivers that have no control over poorly planned roads with out-of-control traffic volumes is not the solution. The solution is waiting to be heard from the Mass DOT on what the plan is. There could very well be a plan, but I’ve lived in this general area on and off for decades and all I’m hearing at this point are crickets.

October 1, 2013

Apple Turnovers ~ Recipe


This recipe yields 4 turnovers, which is a lot of work for just four. I doubled the recipe and got 13 out of it and could have easily reached 16 turnovers. You just have to add more cinnamon and cut up a couple of extra apples if you double the recipe (2 apples, double is 4; but cut up 6 or 7 and add a bit more sugar and cinnamon).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • FILLING:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 2 medium tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons beaten egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in 1/4 cup butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-in. x 6-in. rectangle.
  2. Cut remaining butter into thin slices. Starting at a short side of dough, arrange half of the butter slices over two-thirds of rectangle to within 1/2 in. of edges. Fold unbuttered third of dough over middle third. Fold remaining third over the middle, forming a 6-in. x 4-in. rectangle. Roll dough into a 12-in. x 6-in. rectangle.
  3. Repeat steps of butter layering and dough folding, ending with a 6-in. x 4-in. rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll dough into a 12-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Fold in half lengthwise and then widthwise. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Add apples and lemon juice; toss to coat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring often. Remove from the heat.
  5. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Roll dough into a 12-in. square; cut into four squares. Brush with half of the egg mixture. Spoon about 1/4 cup filling on half of each square; fold dough over filling. Press edges with a fork to seal. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with remaining egg mixture. With a sharp knife, cut three small slits in the top of each turnover.
  6. Bake at 450° for 17-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over turnovers. Serve warm. Yield: 4 servings.
Nutritional Facts
1 turnover equals 456 calories, 24 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 94 mg cholesterol, 537 mg sodium, 58 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Recipe is adapted from Taste of Home.

August 27, 2013

Summer Season-ending Shows at the Provincetown Art House

Megan Mullally, Patti LuPone, and Chita Rivera End Provincetown Season with a Bang (via SBWire)

Three of entertainment’s leading ladies give superstar lineup an exclamation point! Provincetown, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/26/2013 -- Megan Mullally is a two-time Emmy-winning star of TV’s Will & Grace, and recent star of Broadway’s Young Frankenstein…

July 30, 2013

Quick & Easy Iced Mocha

Here's my latest summertime go-to for delicious make-at-home, Iced Mocha using your Keurig Machine.

Silk has a Dark Chocolate Almond Milk that is perfect for things like this and it's low in calories. You can use that or your favorite mocha mix, soy milk, etc. I find this particular product to be perfect as it's really chocolatey, not too sweet and a good consistency.

First pick your favorite K-cup pack and set your Keurig to iced-setting or espresso setting (you want lower water/oz. as you will brew over ice) and fill a tall plastic tumbler or tall travel mug with ice and brew.

Once it's done brewing within seconds/min. add the Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk almost filling it, but topping off with more ice. You can seal/shake it up if you have a tight lid/cover; add a straw and you're good-to-go! Quick & easy. Enjoy!





June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day, Dad!



It’s Father’s Day! And sometimes it coincides with my Mom’s birthday, and that’s just the case this year. But this is a note about my dad, who I have the honor of sharing his first and last name. I am not a junior.

No dad is perfect, and my father was far from perfect. But after my father passed away did I realize the values and life’s lessons I learned from him and what a wise man he was. My father spent the majority of his married life providing for my mom and his 5 children. Most of the time, we never went without, unlike the struggles my father and mother experienced growing up in times when there wasn’t a lot.

Although I never said it enough, this is just a “thank you” to my dad for helping me stand up for myself and giving me courage. For always watching over me, and my siblings. For giving me memories of a fun-filled childhood. For doing everything he could for me even during his own personal struggles.

I look back and think of the many times my father was right in his advice to his children. And what he did for us as we were growing up, even as young adults, he never stopped providing for us, or believing in us.

Although you’re not here today to hear this, “Thank you and Happy Father’s Day, Dad!” I love and miss you every day! 

XO

 

 

June 1, 2012

Reach The Beach Relay: MA 2012 Team Vansome

Congratulations to my niece Genevieve and her friends who formed #TeamVansome in the Reach The Beach relay from Wachusett Mtn., to Westport, Massachusetts.


 

The team is trying to get their entry paid for for 2013 Reach The Beach Relay, so if you would kindly click "Like" on the YouTube landing page; the most team likes on YouTube will get a FREE entry into next year's race.

Congrats TEAM VANSOME!


And yours truly on Twitter; follow me! @product19

Thanks for your support! Lenny XO