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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Green Olives Italian Style

My fondest memories from my visits to Grandma & Grandpa Carbone's House all seem to revolve around the delicious food they always prepared for us.  You simply couldn't visit Grandma & Grandpa without eating something.  They were certainly the quintessential Italian couple - they were truly happy when they were feeding someone!  Grandma always seemed to have fresh-baked bread, biscotti and spaghetti sauce in abundance and she generally sent you home with a bit of this and a bit of that too.  I remember the waxed sandwich bags she filled with Biscotti and the tiny loaves of bread she often made - just to share.  My kitchen cupboards been blessed with a wonderful stock of Grandma's bread pans (ALL sizes), cast iron skillets, a dutch oven I remember her using for spaghetti sauce (my favorite for the same task to this day) and my dining room is home to the large dining table (we had the chairs too, but they are gone now) where the whole family would sit down to eat on holidays and special occassions.  I know many people who don't enjoy even spanish style green olives, much less any of the more bitter varieties such as Greek Kalamata olives, but Grandma had an olive connection and cured jars and jars of beautiful, jumbo, Green Italian olives.  I grew up eating them and I'll always remember seeing the jars of olives, jam and other preserves Grandma made stacked neatly on a shelf in their basement.  I've missed those olives, so I was very excited to find this recipe in the collection!  It's the recipe of Barbara Scornairnchi (not sure on the spelling folks, the writing is so small), and it's noted V.G. - of course! 

I've found a supplier of fresh olives online, here's the link:  .  Of course I don't really know what variety of olive Grandma used, so it will be a case of trial and error, but it's olive season right now, so I'm going to order some and give this recipe a try.  I'll be sure to post how it's going and the final results for you.

Green Olives Italian Style

Smash olives with pits. Soak in a crock or other large container for a period of 6-8 days, changing water everyday.  Test after the 6th day by taking a few & mixing with a little salt to see if they are "sweet" enough.

Make a brine of 1 gal. water to 1 cup table salt.  Boil 3-5 minutes.  Let cool.  Preferably make the brine the night before.

Mix the drained olives with 1 handful of oregano & chopped garlic, about 1/2 a head.

Pack loosely in jars & pour brine over them & then seal.  (10# olives)

Note:  1 gal. brine is just the right amount for 10# of olives.

Chris' Note:  I was glad to see Grandma's added note regarding the ratio of brine to olives. Penna sells their olives by the 10# box, so that's perfect!

Update - December 22, 2012 - We first tasted these olives back on Thanksgiving 2011 - and boy, were they bitter!  After that, I have to admit, I was afraid to give them another try.  However, on December 2, 2012, when a group of us got together to make Scalile, we decided to brave opening another jar and seeing if they had improved after more than a year.  I'm so glad we did!  They are quite tasty, no longer bitter, and instead having a nice, briney, garlicky flavor - nice and firm, we ate the entire jar and a couple more since.  We'll be taking a couple of jars with us to my niece's place for Christmas dinner and I hope to make another batch in fall of 2013!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rhubarb Freezer Jam

Want to try something new with all that Rhubarb from your garden?  How about Rhubarb Freezer Jam? 

There are no notes of Grandma's source on this recipe - but like a lot of the recipes I found in her collection, there are 3 copies, all identical (and all marked V.G.).  I don't recall ever trying Rhubarb jam, but it sounds good.  My mom used to make a rhubarb sauce to spoon over pancakes, waffles or french toast and I always really enjoyed it, so I thought this jam would be good too.  With the late summer we had, there's still time for putting up jams and things, so it seems timely.  I hope you enjoy it.

Rhubarb Freezer Jam

5 Cups cut up rhubarb
3 Cups sugar
1 - 3 oz. pkg. strawberry Jello

Mix rhubarb & sugar & put in saucepan over low heat - stir until sugar is dissolved.  Bring mix to a boil - cook 10 minutes.  Remove from heat & stir in Jello.  Continue stirring until well mixed.  Skim & pour in glasses. When cool put in freezer.

Do you have a family jam recipe you'd like me to include on our recipe blog?  Please feel free to post your recipes as comments!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Family Reunion

We had a great time at the annual Carbone Family Reunion yesterday.  Jennifer & Butch did a wonderful job of planning and Butch did a great job grilling dogs & burgers for us.  What a trooper!  There were many tasty dishes contributed by all.  I'd especially like to thank Shirley Mazzuca for bringing both Ginetti and Mostacchioli.  It was great to have some traditional treats to taste and I especially enjoyed getting to try the Mostacchioli made by someone who had experience making them. 

To those of you who couldn't make it - we missed you and thought of you! 

I was volunteered to head up the reunion for next year - something I'm pleased to do, I assure you - so you can expect it to be "same time, same Bat channel" in 2012.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Final Zucchini Additions (for 2011)

My aunt Linda Carbone makes an excellent Zucchini Casserole that the whole family raves about.  Grandma was no exception, so of course, I found the recipe in the bundle labeled "zucchini recipes".  It almost tastes like a vegetarian pizza - without the crust. 

Linda's Zucchinni Casserole

Grease an oblong baking dish and layer with slices of zucchini.  Sprinkle with oregano and garlic salt then layer with thin slices of tomato.  Season [with oregano and garlic salt] and sprinkle with [a mixture of] cheddar and monterey jack cheese [shredded].  Cover & bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

For the final summer 2011 Zucchini entry - what would a collection of zucchini recipes be without Zucchinni Bread?

Zucchini Bread

2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
3 Eggs
2 Cups shredded zucchini
1 Tsp vanilla

Sift 3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp. [baking] Soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cloves

1 Cup walnuts

Bake in 2 loaves at 325 for 1 hour.

Sorry gang, not much for instructions in the above.  Thoroughly blend the sugar & oil, then add the remaining wet ingredients.  Sift together the dry ingredients and then stir them into the wet ingredients, combining well.  Stir in the walnuts.  Put mixture in loaf pans and bake as per above.

I'm looking forward to the Carbone Family Reunion this Sunday (Sept. 11) and I'll be bringing a couple of the recipes from the blog - including one of the recent zucchini recipes.  In the meantime, I hope you get a chance to try some of these out so you can share how they went at the reunion.  Happy cooking!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Zucchini

Anyone who's ever grown zucchini in their garden knows how it can take on a life of it's own.  You have to get out there and pick daily to catch them all at their peak, but somehow you always seem to miss at least  one monster zucchini hiding under a leaf!  The first entry today is perfect for using up those monster zucchinis.  I can clearly picture my grandparents and my parents grinding up the zucchini by hand - cranking and cranking and then making the following:

Zucchini Relish

Mix all ingredients - set overnight:
10 cups ground zucchini
4 cups ground onion
5 tbls. pickling salt
- Next, rinse & drain thoroughly.

Make mixture of:
5 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 large green peppers, ground
2 large red sweet peppers, ground
1 tiny chili pepper, ground
1 tsp each: nutmeg, celery seed & black pepper
Bring all to a boil - simmer slowly 30 min.  Pack in sterilized jars.

(Received recipe from Mrs. Scornericenche [sp] 1973  V.G.)
 Note: the above recipe was so faded, it was very hard to read, and it's very possible that the qty. of green peppers is incorrect.  I really couldn't clearly make out the name of the person Grandma obtained the recipe from.  If any family members can clarify, please leave me a comment & I'll make corrections.

Here's one more recipe for today.

Zucchini Pickles - Margaret Paine 1973
2 cups chopped celery
6 lbs. zucchini - sliced thin
2 large onions, chopped
1/3 cup salt
Place ice  cubes on top  & cover.  Let stand 3 hours, drain. 

2 cups sugar
2 tbls dill seed
2 cups white vinegar
Heat, stir constantly - bring to boil - stir in vegetables & let come to rolling boil.  [Pack in canning jars.] Put 1 or 2 pieces of garlic on top of filled jars & seal.

Have fun using up your zucchini!