Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Have had some busy times recently, and a shift of priorities.  I have set my mind on getting back into a healthy mode of life and lose the extra weight I've carried for almost 3 years, and this time I'm not letting anything distract me or get in my way.  It seems almost silly to have to say this.  Who in their right mind would let distractions get in the way of a healthy life?  (At least that seems to be the sensible perspective, when you step back and regain a little.) (Oh, and it's also a big reason I haven't posted much recently.)

But it almost seems more normal around here to ignore healthy ways than to put them first on the list.  I certainly see it in the people closest to me.  When there's work to be done, the first thing to skip is going to the gym, taking a walk or an exercise class.  Of course the next thing to go is the healthy diet--worked late? too tired to cook? Just eat out and enjoy the fat-laden, ultra large portions (complete with bread and all the fixin's) we find in most U.S. restaurants today.  Before you know it, you're so far down that path it's hard to see where you took the wrong turn.

Well, I have a confession to make--but it comes with an affirmation.  More than once during the past month, things have gone undone because my health is more important than that.  For example, at one house (the one where I spend less time), my Christmas tree is still up.  (The horror!)  I have spent 2 weekends there during which I should have taken it down, but after the really mandatory housework, cooking and grocery shopping, I went to exercise classes, took walks, and even did 45 minutes of yoga on the floor right in front of it.  I prepared healthy meals instead of prepackaged stuff, while that poor tree continued to wither.

I don't care.  I am really just sick of feeling crappy and letting my good health slip away while the mundane, repetitious busywork of life is allowed to take over.  It won't be holding me back any more.  I'm moving forward--leaving unvacuumed carpets and pine needles in my wake if necessary--but I'm going to take this weight off, regain my health, and get back to being alive!

 Have a comment? Advice? Random observation? I'd love to hear it. Click "COMMENTS" just below.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tradition Revived--Cappelletti in Brodo

One quest for my adulthood has been to find a recipe for, and make, my grandmother's cappelleti.  I remember going to her house as a child around Christmas time, hearing her tell about how she, Aunt Anne and Aunt Mae had spent time together and made the Cappelletti....mmmm, always music to my ears!  Now, I wish I had been able to spend time with them, cooking--how much I would have learned!  I also recall asking friends and other relatives, searching old cookbooks, and even obtaining a recipe from a German lady's old cookbook in the late 80's--but it just wasn't "it."

Finally, through the "magic" of the internet (and learning Italian), I began to follow various Italian blogs (many cooking-related) and my quest has come to an end.  Pippi, who lives and cooks a bit north of Pisa near the sea, has a wonderful blog full of delicious recipes!  I immediately looked through her archives for Cappelletti, and when I read her recipe, it seemed right.  I made it, and it was perfect!!  Just like my grandma's!  Pippi's recipe is here, but I thought I'd translate it:   
Ingredients for the filling:
7 oz ground pork
7 oz ground beef
5 oz prosciutto crudo, (raw ham)
1 slice/round of mortadella (sausage bologna)
2-3 eggs
an onion
parmigiano reggiano cheese, a good bit
butter or oil
salt, pepper to taste
nutmeg--few dashes
Procedure: (as Pippi wrote it)
First, brown the finely chopped onion in a large pan with the butter or oil, after which you put in the ground meat and brown it well. Add the prosciutto and mortadella, also both minced.   Season it all. [salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste]  Once cooked, put breadcrumbs in to dry out the mixture and add the parmigiano. When it is cooled down, add the eggs and fix the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Roll out the pasta (strictly made by hand but with less egg) put a mound of filling a little bit from the edge, fold the pasta over the mound, with a round cookie cutter, cut out the cappelletti one by one.

So, I browned the meat, drained it carefully and seasoned it-- Then, once it was cooled down, it all goes into a food processor and the eggs and cheese are added.  To me, a "good bit" was 2 plates full of very finely grated cheese (just to the right, above).  This is then combined well with the blade and it will resemble pate.I forgot to mention: I made the pasta dough before starting the filling so it was resting while I was making the filling.  So next, I rolled out the dough (#6 on the Kitchen Aid seemed right).After achieving several pieces of the right thickness and even ends, I covered them with waxed paper to keep the moisture in while I worked on the others. (I never seem to have those clean tea towels other people use, but waxed paper worked well.)  So, then you cut the dough into squares with a pizza cutter and put a teaspoon-ish sized mound of filling on each. I didn't get any pictures of the folding, but it's not difficult; fold in half and match up the points, seal, and then bring the two corners at the long side together and seal. (Pippi used a cookie cutter, but I wanted to do my grandmother's shape.) After they're all made, you boil them for just a very few minutes--it doesn't take long at all.  I froze the rest in a ziplock freezer bag and they were delicious when I brought them to my siblings after Christmas.My grandmother served her Cappelletti in chicken broth with raisins, so of course I did too!  This was beyond delicious to me, it was tradition revived!  My husband and son ate every morsel, too.  Thank you Pippi!!