Slices of Italian Life ~ Ann & Gina

Some Italian stuff just for fun.

Gina sent this beauty.
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Ann thought she would tease us with this beautiful beach from The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

It’s August and you know what that means: Ferragosto! In this week’s “Un Minuto con…” blog post, learn about the origins of this month-long vacation that so many Italians take each year at
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Ann! You forgot to tell me where I can buy one of these!
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Gina needs to know this.  I need to find the number for Sicilian Breakfast Delivery!

What do Sicilians eat for breakfast?

Do you know what Sicilians usually eat for breakfast? When I decided to create a food blog I loved the idea of posting not only mere recipes, but also stories, origins and any other information that can be interesting about our way of eating and our habits. So that is what this article is about: our breakfast!
As Sicily is a part of Italy (can’t stand those who say the opposite only because it’s an island!), Sicilian breakfast at home is like the Italian one: strong black coffee, with or without milk, with few biscuits or some sliced bread with butter and jam, possibly homemade. But if you do have breakfast out things change. It’s still true we can’t live without the black espresso from the bar or the lovely cappuccino; (like the pic above)  
We also love fresh orange juice (squeezed in that moment!) and we usually have some delicacies with it.
The most traditional ones in Palermo and its province are: treccine (twist shaped), millefoglie, ciambelle and brioche; (up above the picture of a ciambella and a treccina).
(You’ll also find the international croissants and similar stuff such as Danish pastries with custard cream, apples, ecc, like in the rest of the world… I suppose.)

The dough of this four things are similar to one another, the first two treccine and millefoglie (here above a millefoglie) are baked and have sugar on top, they only have different shapes, plus the millefoglie has got raisins as well. Ciambelle (pic on top) are fried and very similar to donuts, at least in their shape, but are bigger, softer and with caster sugar. Needless to say they are the best and all the kids love them!
I remember when I was a child and I had to go to the doctor for blood exams with my empty stomach, after that horrible experience (as a kid) only a big soft rounded ciambella could make me smile again!!! :-)))
Finally there are the briosce or brioche, the word comes from the French. Careful when you use this word in other parts of Italy because in the north (like in Milan) they call briosce a normal croissant, while we don’t because as I’ve just explained for us are two different things!

Our brioches are plain baked buns (oval or rounded like above) and we eat them in many different ways: you can have an empty brioche with your cappuccino in the morning, then a briosce with ham and tomato for lunch, and even a brioche with ice cream for dinner or during the afternoon! This is how Sicilians love to eat their ice cream in Summer!
So basically they are suitable for every need… ahah :)))
Talking about the hot season I have to add that there are many Sicilians who prefer to have a lemon granita (I think the correct translation should be shovel or ice shaved) with the brioche instead of the hot cappuccino in the Summer mornings, but this is up to everyone’s taste and habit. I like my cappuccino even in the middle of July!

So now you can understand a little bit more about our first meal, and when you come to Sicily you will definitely know what to ask for breakfast!

Ann, I know another word with a silent “G”!

The Italian – Sicilian – American Page
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Oh Ann…No you didn’t!

Did you hear about the Italian chef with a terminal illness?
He pastaway.
Cannoli do so much.
Now he’s just a pizza history.

Ann, the next time you send me something like this please send a sample.  Thank you in advance.

Here are the surprising origins of 8 Italian-American dishes, according to Michael White, the NYC-based chef behind Michelin-starred restaurants like Marea and Ai Fiori. Which dish is your favorite?
Story by The Huffington Post
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The Surprising Origins Of 8 Italian-American Dishes

Sometimes the greatest food creations come from adapting to necessity.

Gina!  This sounds so good!  I think you should make some for all of us.

Italian Limoncello Recipe – How To Make Limoncello


If you have ever been to Italy, you’ll instantly know about Limoncello. Lemons seem to be one of the important staples in the food of Sorrento. The most famous product is Limoncello. Every store or restaurant has it’s unique or favorite brand of Limoncello for sale or to taste. It is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drink. Limoncello is the generic name for an Italian citrus-based lemon liqueur that is served well chilled in the summer months. Limoncello is now considered the  national drink of Italy and can be found in stores and restaurants all over Italy. Keep your bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients are simple and few, and making a batch doesn’t require much work, but you’ll need some time. In most recipes, Limoncello must steep for (80) eighty days.

aaa ann6History: It has long been a staple in the lemon-producing region along the Italian Amalfi Coast in Capri and Sorrento. The Amalfi Coast is known for its citrus groves and narrow winding roads. Authentic Limoncello is made from Sorrento lemons, which come from the Amalfi Coast. Families in Italy have passed down recipes for this for generations, as every Italian family has their own Limoncello recipe.
Check out more delicious Limoncello recipes:

Italian Limoncello 2
Italian Limoncello 3

Italian Limoncello Recipe – How To Make Perfect Limoncello:

This is my (Linda Stradley) personal recipe for Italian Limoncello that my husband and I make every year.

 Recipe Type: Lemons, Beverage and Cocktail
Cuisine: Italian
Yields: Serves many
Prep time: 20 min
Total time: From 40 to 80 days


Using 100-proof Vodka:

15 lemons*

2 (750 ml) bottles 100-proof vodka

Simple Syrup:

4 cups sugar

5 cups water (filtered tap water or distilled water)

* When choosing lemons you want to use organic if possible. They won’t have wax and pesticides on the peel. Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest. The lemons must be yellow and not tinted with green.

Step One:
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Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.
Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello.
Step Two:

In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar with lid), add vodka.
Add the lemon zest as it is zested.
Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place. The longer the mixture rests, the better the end taste will be.
There is no need to stir – all you have to do is wait. As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.

Step Three:

Make a Basic Simple Syrup using the 4 cups sugar and 5 cups water:
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; bring to a gentle boil and let boil, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture.
Add cooled sugar mixture to the Limoncello mixture (from Step One). Cover jar and allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.

Step Four:

After the rest period, strain the Limoncello; discarding the lemon zest. NOTE: Coffee filters or cheesecloth work great for straining the mixture. Moisten the filters before beginning the straining process. Pour strained Limoncello in bottle/bottles (of your choice) and seal tightly.
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Ways to serve other than just drinking (drinking is my favorite way): Refreshing and light, it is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drinks. It is an incomparable digestive, and with tonic water it is a sweet, tasty refreshment. It’s also great with champagne or mixed with juice as a cocktail. t even does well simply drizzled on ice cream, fruit salads, or fresh strawberries.

Thank You Gina and Ann for finding these little items for us.  

Why wasn’t I born in Italy?  I like the food.  I like the drink.  I love the beauty of the country and  I sure love 3 of its sons!  Maybe next time.

20 thoughts on “Slices of Italian Life ~ Ann & Gina”

  1. I’m packing my bags today and moving to Spello, Italy. I want to live on that street, Gina!! What a fun article. Bonnie, please have a lemoncello for me when you get to Italy next week! And breakfast has never looked so good! I’ve always loved seeing what Piero eats for breakfast as he has shown us his table many times. I’m afraid I wouldn’t eat as healthy as he does, unless they start putting vitamins and minerals in pastry! 🙂

    1. Jane, from my point of view the Italians do everything right. I’m sure those goodies are filled with good-for- you stuff and no carbs. Just like pizza, spaghetti and wine.

    2. Jane ,you don’t have to go to Italy for Monticello. You can have some tomorrow night while we watch the PBS special.There is some in my freezer right now.

  2. I love all things Italian (I’m looking at your Piero) But I swear the Italian breakfast would probably kill me.. Sometimes I feel like the only American who is allergic to coffee ( its the oil not caffiene) and then all those sugary things I’d be bigger than a house in no time. I think I will emulate my darling Piero and stick to his healthier meal minus the coffee, Oh and LOVE that first photograph! Gorgeous! All in all a delightful post. Oh and I swear Limonchello is the jet fuel of Italy. My freezer is currently empty of that beautiful elixir . I’ll make sure to have some on hand to pour you a glass should you ever visit me!

  3. I will introduce you Slovak cuisine,varies slightly from region to region across Slovakia. It was influenced by the traditional cuisine of its neighbours and it influenced them as well. Cuisine heavily dependent on a number of staple foods that could stand the hot summers and cold winters. These included wheat, potatoes, milk and milk products, pork meat, sauerkraut and onion. To a lesser degree beef, poultry, lamb and goat, eggs, a few other local vegetables, fruit and wild mushrooms were traditionally eaten.Typical pork products include sausages, a local kind of blood sausages, smoked bacon, and lard. Our popular dishes:
    Halušky((potato dumplings)
    Bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings with bryndza – a sheep’s-milk cheese)
    Lokše (pancakes made of potato-dough baked directly on the stove)
    Bryndzové pirohy ((cheese filled dumplings)
    Široké rezance s tvarohom a slaninou: tagliatelle with quark (farmer’s cheese) and fried bacon
    Zemiakové placky (potato pancakes fried in oil), also called Haruľa in regions Horehronie, Pohronie, Kysuce and Orava
    Granatiersky pochod or granadír, also known as granadírmarš and grenadírmarš
    Segedin goulash (a Hungarian dish consisting of pork stew with sauerkraut and cream or sour cream, usually served with steamed dumplings (knedľa).
    Rezeň (breaded schnitzel)
    Kapustnica (soup made from sauerkraut and sausage) -traditional meal for Christmas
    Kapor so zemiakovým šalátom (fried carp and potato salad) – traditional meal for Christmas
    Pork with milano sauce and yeast dumpling
    Chicken dish with dumplings and cream sauce
    Soups:Fazuľová (soup made of beans)
    Kapustnica (soup made of sauerkraut)
    Rezancová (chicken soup with noodles)
    Zeleninová (soup of different vegetables)
    Pork, beef and poultry are the main meats consumed in Slovakia, with pork and chicken being the most popular Among poultry, chicken is most common, although duck, goose, and turkey are also well established. A blood sausage called krvavničky, and sausage with rice called jaternice (traditionally called “hurky”). Hungarian influences in Slovak cuisine can be seen in popular stews and goulashes. However, these have been given Slovak touches. Chicken paprikash is typically served with halušky and Hungarian goulash (spicy beef stew) is served with slices of a large bread-like steamed dumpling.
    Sweets and cakes:
    Buchty (Buchteln)
    Parené buchty (steamed dumplings with various fillings (jam, plum, curd, poppy) topped with poppy seeds, sugar, butter, sourcream, breadcrumbs or nuts)
    Laskonky (fluffy dough with walnuts and creamy filling)
    Žemľovka (bread pudding)
    Mačacie oči (cake named “cat eyes” )
    Ryžový nákyp (rice pudding)
    Orechovník (a sweet walnut roll]
    Makovník (poppy seed roll)
    Bratislavské rožteky (Bratislava rolls)
    Trotle (two layers of cookie-like round tarts filled with chocolate cream and half-dipped in dark chocolate)
    Medovníky (gingerbread)
    Medvedie labky (Bear paws)
    Puding-(pudding-vanilla pudding , chocolate or caramel pudding, can be supplemented with fruit and whipped cream and biscuits
    Palacinky or similar lievance (pancakes)
    Trdelnik or Skalický trdelnik, a traditional cake baked on a rotating spit over open fire , from the Slovak town of Skalica.

    1. Years ago when we were stationed at Ft. Knox, Ky and lived on Base
      was the year that it was a big craze to make your own wine. Everyone went out and bought the equipment. Huge big bottles, siphoning tubes and concentrate starters. It took a while to ferment, clear the liquid by straining into another big bottle and let that stand and ‘age’. You could use any fruit or leave that ‘rot’ and could make wine. Beer making was another craze at the same time. Our neighbor did something wrong and his bottles blew up. Best product my husband made was pear wine that turned into a liquor. Good old days of being young and willing to do foolish things.

      1. I remember that Gina! In fact my sister gave me a little booklet about students living cheaply–my husband was a graduate student at the time–and one of the chapters was How to Make your Own Wine. We came across that booklet recently while looking for something and had a good laugh. 50 years ago if it’s a day.

  4. Oh and I forgot on Slovak drinks. Žinčica is a traditional Slovak product from sheep milk. The best kind is called Urda, it is denser than normal salty or sour žinčica.Kofola is soft drink similar to Coca-Cola or Pepsi.The main ingredient of Kofola is Kofo syrup that consists of 14 natural ingredients (extracts from cherry, apple, currant, etc.), caramel and sugar.Vinea is grape-based carbonated soft drink.Slivovica, borovička and Demänovka are typical Slovak aperitifs.Slivovica is a spirit made from ripe plums by fermentation, distillation and treatment of water. Slivovica is a classic noble spirit, which is produced by complex procedure with different results. It has a strong fruity aroma and taste with a bouquet of pits.Borovička is an alcoholic spirit, the Slovak national drink. It belongs to a group of fruit spirits; it has the refreshing effects with strong support for metabolism. It has a typical taste and aroma of juniper.Demänovka ( I like it) is a herbal liqueur with sweet, delicate honey aromatic taste. This beverage is produced in two types, Demänovka herbal liqueur Demänovka 33% and Demänovka herbal bitter 38%. Liqueur is made from 14 kinds of herbs, honey and water from Tatras.Slovak beers are generally Bohemian-style lagers, made 100% from barley.The best Slovak wine today is made by small-batch vintners – primarily in the Small Carpathian (southwest) and Tokaj (southeast) regions.Tokaj is most often a sweet, after-dinner wine, made with grapes that produce a fungus called “noble rot”, which gives Tokaj its distinctive rich flavor.Slovak wines have many sorts of different tastes: Green Veltlin, Italian Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Rhine Riesling, Red Traminer and Muscat Ottonel.
    White wines: Sauvignon, Chardonnay
    Red wines: St. Laurent, Blue Frankovka
    International red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon.
    Maybe one day you will go on vacation to Central Europe, so these informations will be useful to you. 🙂 I think that also this part of Europe has many beautiful places, beautiful nature, mountains, castles, caves, historic cities, spas, aqua parks… 🙂

    1. Ahoj Lydko,chtěla jsem ti odpovědět a moc mě potěšilo,že si tě chlapci vybrali.Chtěla jsem tě poprosit,jestli to máš nahrané,neb.o kde bych si to mohla stahnout.Skusím poprosit Marii o přímý kontakt na tebe.Po přečtení dnešních příspěvků obdivuji tvoje znalosti v různých oborech.Slovensko je nádherná země,to mohu potvrdit,je malá ale je tu tolik přírodních krás,jakých není na světě mnoho.I rodinné vazby jsou podobné jako u Italů – srdečné a upřímné.Chybí snad jen moře -ale není problém někam zajet .Jsou zde i 4 roční období a každé je krásné jiným způsobem.I život zde je klidnější,pohodovější – ne tak uspěchaný jako v Americe.Moc ráda jsem k vám jezdila i já a mohu to všem doporučit,Slováci jsou pohostinný,přátelský a veselý národ.A pěkné,urostlé muže také určité potkáte,stačí zajít do některé krčmy ,kde vám kromě výborných jídel a vína zahraje i slovenská kapela – cimbálovka – a nějaký pěkný Slovák vás naučí,jak se tancuje čardáš!Poznáte milé dámy,že se vám zatočí hlava nejen z vína.Temperament mají Italové i Slováci podobný,je dobré se přesvědčit osobně.Zdravím a snažím se přežít ta strašná vedra a sucho,jaké u nás nikdo nepamatuje ! Měj se hezky Lydko,ráda si zas něco přečtu.Z.

      1. Translation: Lydko Hi, I wanted to answer, and I’m pleased that you guys vybrali.Chtěla I ask you, if you have it recorded, neb.o where I could get it stahnout.Skusím ask Mary for direct contact tebe.Po read today Posts admire your knowledge in various oborech.Slovensko is a beautiful country, I can confirm, is small but there is so much natural beauty, which is the world mnoho.I family ties are similar to Italians – cordial and upřímné.Chybí perhaps the sea – but there is a problem somewhere to go .Jsou There are 4 seasons and each other způsobem.I beautiful life here is calmer, more relaxed – not as hectic as in Americe.Moc glad I went to you and me, and I recommend it to everybody, Slovaks hospitable, friendly and cheerful národ.A nice, burly men also meet some, just go to some tavern, where you besides excellent food and wine will also play Slovak band – cimbalom – and some nice Slovak teach you how to dance the czardas! You will know dear ladies that are to die for, not only from vína.Temperament Italians and Slovaks are similar, it is good to convince osobně.Zdravím and try to survive the terrible heat and drought, which in our country nobody remembers! Have a nice Lydko, I like something again přečtu.

      2. Ahoj Zdenka,
        ja mám pocit, že Slováci sú málo hrdí na svoju krajinu, tak sa ju snažím trochu propagovať , aj na tomto mieste. 🙂 Ale všetky informácie som si overovala, aby som napísla pravdivé veci a opis našich jedál bol tiež celkom náročný, teda ten preklad do angličtiny. 🙂 Niekedy si však myslím, že až takí srdeční ľudia v SR nie sme, ani rodinné vzťahy nie sú také, ako bývali niekedy, aspoň ja to nepoznám v mojej rodine a okolí. Mne sa páči , keď vidím veľkú súdržnosť v rodine, lásku, úctu, porozumenie medzi jej členmi, v tomto obdivujem Talianov, ktorí majú veľmi pekné vzťahy v rodinách, ako je to vidieť aj na Il Volo príklade. Tie horúčavy sú naozaj neznesiteľné, aj ja sa ich snažím prežiť. Už sa teším, ako sa ochladí ! 🙂 Každý deň min. 33 stupňov , veď to je akoby sme žili v tropickej oblasti…. No a k tomu mesto, kde je všade betón, rozpálené ulice, málo zelene.. utrpenie.
        Neviem, či si chlapci vybrali moju otázku :-), mám pocit, že skôr ju vybral niekto z eurovízneho zázemia. Hoci rada by som vedela, kto ma vybral a prečo ? Veď tam bolo toľko veľa otázok….. Ja som si ju uložila v PC a mám ju aj na mojom Disqus profile, ale ten mám privátny. 🙂 Tu je to video:

        Ďakujem, že si sa ozvala 🙂 a prajem príjemné a snáď už aj chladnejšie dni. 🙂 Maj sa čo najkrásnejšie ! 🙂

      3. Lydka, translated by Bing:
        Hi Zdenka,
        I feel that Slovaks are a little proud of their country, so get to it somewhat promote, even at this point. 🙂 But all the information I can verify that I write things and truthful description of our dishes was also pretty challenging, so the translation into English. 🙂 Sometimes, however, I think that when people are so heart in Slovakia we are, even family relations are not as such ever lived, at least I do not know in my family and surroundings. Like me, when I see a great cohesion in the family, love, respect, understanding among its members, in this admire Italians who have very nice relations in families, as well as to see Il Volo example. These flashes are really unbearable, I was their struggle to survive. I look forward, as cool! 🙂 Every day min. 33 degrees, because it is as if we lived in the tropics …. But if the city where everywhere is concrete, hot streets, little green .. suffering.
        I do not know if you guys chose my question :-), I feel that rather it chose someone from Eurovision backgrounds. Although I wonder who chose me and why? After all, there were so many questions ….. I have it imposed on the PC and have it also on my Disqus profile, but I have a private one. 🙂 Here is the video: (see above comment for video)
        Thank you for taking the said 🙂 and wish you happy and maybe even cooler days. 🙂 Bye the most beautiful! 🙂

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