Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, Superstition and Pizza.

2010 - its hard to believe its already 10 years since everyone was worrying themselves about what the new millenium would do to computers. Plus I spent most of 24 hours (allowing for a little sleep) watching New Year being greeted all round the year. I bought a video of it all and have never watched it since. We phoned one bunch of kids in the UK just past their midnight, but figured the others would be in bed. Sorry if you weren't. Although we were watching, I didn't really get to see the crystal ball drop, they were too busy showing the countdown numbers - I did see the crystal ball in Buffalo though. The midnight show at New Year's is getting worse and worse it seems to me. They make a big thing of Dick Clarke who had a stroke a few years back. Sorry, he is not good on the New Year show, he is almost incomprehensible. He should retire. I am sure that will upset a lot of Americans, but if you didn't see him last night, you should have. We saw pictures on the news of celebrations in the rest of the world, but Times Square claims to have had a million people there. Buffalo around 40-50,000. You wouldn't catch us anywhere near such crowds.
Today we are going to a friend's house to try out pizza from a new pizzaria in the area. It will be a nice change from cooking for a while, we seem to have been doing nothing but lately. I suspect there is more pizza eaten in North America than there ever is in Italy. They are quite a different animal mind you - or at least from the pizzas I enjoyed many years ago in Calabria and Sicily. There is a heck of a lot more 'stuff' on them for a start and in the old days in Italy there weren't so many crust variations as are available in this neck of the woods. We get pizza flyers all the time in our mail. They mostly end up in the garbage, waste of money. One guy in the building joked to me "I have no pizza flyer today, what on earth am I going to eat?". We really do get a lot of flyers.
Matt has just finished reading my first Blog2Print book. 400 some pages. Its interesting that the pictures have become disarranged and I can't get at them to change it. I wondered what would happen if I had shelled out for a proper book, I would have been somewhat teed off, as it is, I don't really care for a home printed version. I am now thinking I should delete the blogs from say 2007 and 2008 to make room for what I chunter about in the future. Big job for the New Year.
Sadly I didn't have any black eyed peas to make Hoppin' John, which is supposed to bring good luck for the New Year, not did I consume 12 mince pies between Christmas and New Year which is supposed to ensure 12 good months. Oh well, just have to hope it won't matter this year. Trouble is I'm superstitious much to Matt's disgust. His family were too. If members of his family pass two nuns on the way to work they would turn round and go home. Nor, for some reason, would they say the word pig. There was an island which was named Pig Island and was always referred to as Rabbit Island by the locals although pigs were generally referred to as gissies. Where do such superstitions come from I wonder.
Eating Well are talking healthy foods this week and here is a healthy breakfast/brunch recipe from them.
Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole From EatingWell: May/June 2008
This memorable brunch centerpiece is rich with cheesy polenta, crumbled sausage and baked eggs. 6 servings
Ingredients •1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided •1/3 cup finely chopped onion •4 cups water, plus more as needed •1 cup yellow cornmeal, (see Shopping Tip) •1/2 teaspoon salt •6 ounces Italian turkey sausage, casing removed •1/2 cup shredded fontina, or mozzarella •1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided •6 large eggs
Preparation 1.Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk cornmeal into the boiling water. Add salt and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the polenta bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking frequently, until very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, once the polenta comes to a boil, transfer it to the top of a double boiler, cover, and place over barely simmering water for 25 minutes. This is convenient, because you don’t need to stir it as it cooks.) 2.Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Drain if necessary and transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Finely chop when cool enough to handle. 3.Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. 4.When the polenta is done, stir in fontina (or mozzarella) and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the polenta seems too stiff, add small amounts of water to thin it to a thick but not stiff consistency. Spread the polenta in the prepared pan. 5.Make six 2-inch-wide indentations in the polenta with the back of a tablespoon. Break eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup and slip one into each indentation. Scatter the sausage on the polenta and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly on top of the eggs. 6.Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Then broil until the egg whites are set, 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Per serving : 295 Calories; 17 g Fat; 6 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 241 mg Cholesterol; 17 g Carbohydrates; 19 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 683 mg Sodium; 148 mg Potassium 1 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 1 fat Tips & Notes •Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 up to 2 hours ahead; hold the polenta at room temperature and refrigerate the sausage until ready to bake. •Shopping Tip: Polenta, a creamy Italian porridge, can be made from any type of cornmeal. Coarsely ground cornmeal, available in many natural-foods stores, is a great option because is has big corn flavor and light texture. It's usually labeled "cornmeal," but some brands are labeled "polenta."
Have a great day


  1. Jo, Your blog is a delight, do therefore keep it up! I 'love' reading it and I'm learning a lot about food on the other side of the Atlantic.

    And yes, it is incredible to think that the first decade of this century has gone. It was a bad one for me, so I hope that the second decade will be much much much much much better. At least,I am rarin' to start writing again after a month away from the pc.

  2. Merci du compliment, Marilynn. I am so glad you and several others apparently enjoy reading what I write.

    Yes, I hope you will have a better decade and that goes for everyone, even if the last one wasn't too bad for you.

  3. i'm so sorry for i didn't have time enough to read your blog nor even to read at all either.

    you should keep up your blog as for me it's really cool to read what's up through your point of view ^^

  4. Thanks to you too Gynie. Its nice to know people enjoy what I write even if you can't look in every day.