FIVE INGREDIENT FAVORITES
BY MARY ANN ESPOSITO
In Mary Ann Esposito's new book,Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, she shows home cooks how to turn just five ingredients into an easy, delicious and economical Italian dish for the family dinner table. Mary Ann Esposito knows that the genius behind great Italian cooking is the simple philosophy of using just a few quality ingredients to create something delicious. In Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, she shows home cooks how to make that philosophy work for them so that they can save time and money without sacrificing flavor. With seventy five authentic Italian recipes--from antipasti to pastas, main courses and desserts -Esposito draws on the Italian culinary tradition of simplicity in the kitchen to create such effortless and tasty dishes as:
- Prosciutto di Parma, Fontina and Fig Wraps
- Spicy Soppressata Tartlets
- Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs
- Pistachio Dusted Pork Chops
- Oven-Poached Halibut with Shallots and Fennel
- Escarole Salad with Mustard Dressing
- Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Banana Tartlets
- Buttermilk Panna Cotta Infused with Vanilla
With Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, Mary Ann Esposito serves up a surefire way to please family and friends with easy recipes that are quick and delicious.
Host/Creator, PBS' Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito™
Mary Ann is the creator and host of the nationally televised PBS series, Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito™. This year, the series celebrates its milestone 20th season, making it the longeset running cooking series on television.
Growing up in Depew, New York, Mary Ann was steeped in the artistry of Italian cooking. Both nonnas, one Sicilian and one Neapolitan, were Italian natives and professional cooks, so life inside the Saporito household was decidedly Italian, no matter what was going on outside their front door in Western New York.
A pivotal trip to Italy made her realize that what she was learning in cooking classes abroad she innately knew from her all-Italian, all-the-time upbringing. She pondered the “what if’s” of hosting a cable program that would teach the cooking lessons she learned as a child. The result was Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito™. And today, 20 years later, Mary Ann has been recognized by countless organizations for her efforts to preserve the traditions surrounding Italian food and culture, and has become the doyenne of PBS.
In academia, Mary Ann holds a master's degree in food history from the University of New Hampshire. Mary Ann has studied and taught in numerous cooking schools throughout Italy. She received Johnson and Wales University’s Distinguished Author Award and she is a regular contributor to Boston University’s School of Lifelong Learning program, as well as a Board Member of Cordon Blu, Atlantic Culinary Academy, and a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier. In 2006 she was granted an honorary doctorate from St. Anselm College for her dedication to teaching and preserving authentic Italian cuisine.
Not to appear to be a Scrooge, but the holidays are coming faster than the next app for the iPhone and for many, the nemesis of the holidays is simply procrastination. There is just so much to juggle to make the merriest time of the year . . . merry. Gifts to buy and wrap, cards to write or email, cocktail parties to attend, trees to buy and decorate, cookies to bake, and . . . and . . . and.
But that's just the icicle on the tree; what about the big feast? This is where a lot of people have their greatest stress for the holidays; there is just no time to cook. But wait a minute. I have a plan for you; think of it as a personal gift -- below are four tips on how to simplify your holiday feast.
1. Take Survey of The Pantry: One of the first things I do, right after Thanksgiving, is take survey of the staples in my pantry and make a list of things to stock up on now for the holidays. You can lay in healthy snacks like dried fruits, drinks, wines, nuts, flour and sugar for cooking, and all the other dry staples you need.
2. Decide on a Menu: Next, I make a menu by deciding now if I want to do an easy buffet of hot and cold foods that everyone can help themselves to or do I want a sit down meal that will be served. Make a decision and then make a plan on the food items to be cooked, and keep it simple.
3. Involve Your Family and Guests in Preparations: Maybe it's time for new traditions like inviting your guests to participate in the preparation by bringing a neighborly dish to share. You might ask for sides, salads and desserts while you provide the main course like a baked ham studded with cloves and surrounded with sautéed apple rings. So doable, and the ham and apples will require minimum effort on your part.
4. Keep Things Simple: If that has no appeal, consider going the route of doing a number of make-ahead casseroles that can be prepared now and frozen, or made several days before and held in the refrigerator. Casseroles have the advantage of serving a lot of people inexpensively. Tried and true items like lasagna, shephard's pie and chicken tetrazzini are perfect foods to serve. Add a couple of interesting salads, platters of fresh fruit and cheese and a little bubbly, and you have a party!
Just recently my latest book, Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, hit the bookstores and the premise of less is more is perfect for the holidays as well as any day of the week. I show you how with only five ingredients you can turn out some pretty nifty gourmet looking dishes without worrying if the stock market is going to crash. For instance, how about serving a sausage and lentil soup from the book and make it in a crock pot. Use the crock pot as your serving piece and let everyone ladle out their own. Or make the pork roast in Barolo wine in a slow cooker. The best part is that these recipes, and more like them in the book, can be made ahead, refrigerated and reheated. They will taste even better.
So simplify the holidays by starting early to make a plan, stock your pantry, decide on a menu, involve your family and guests in the preparations and above all, keep things simple. After all, this is meant to be the merriest time of the year and even Scrooge finally saw the bigger picture of what "merry" really means.©2009 Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen
Thanks to Julie and friends at
FSB ASSOCIATES, I have one
copy of this yummy book to give away!
---U. S. AND Canadian Residents
(I am doing the mailing so wanted to give my
Canadian followers a chance for a change!)
---BUT No P. O. Boxes, Sorry
---Email must be included in comments
---All comments MUST BE ENTERED SEPARATELY
or they are counted as just one
---You MUST enter this giveaway AND THE LAST
giveaway about CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET
MASTER BAKER or you can't win!
Winners from both posts will
be combined...oh, and this is the
second part of the prize! So one
lucky winner will win
CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET MASTER BAKER
HOW TO ENTER:
+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU COULD LEARN TO MAKE USING THIS BOOK "CIAO ITALIA"
+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING INTERESTING YOU FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS AUTHOR/CHEF, MARY ANN ESPOSITO