A Taste of Italy

My family loves to get together.  Doesn't matter the time of year, we don't need a reason, we just enjoy each other's company.  Throw good food into the mix and it just doesn't get much better. 

A couple of years ago we had our own Oktoberfest, complete with goofy hats with feathers and decorations.  All we were missing was leiderhosen.  We all contributed different German dishes and ended up with enough food to feed an army.  Even our beer was German.  While we were stuffing our faces, we all agreed that we'd like to do it again another year, but this time with Italian food.  My father is full-blooded Italian, so we grew up eating a lot of it. 

That day has arrived, and we're gathering once again at my parents' place for our Taste of Italy.  I spent the day preparing for my contributions.  I will post the recipes once I have taken pictures at the party.

To start, I made White Bean Dip with Pita Chips, a recipe I found in a cookbook by Giada DeLaurentiis.  That chick knows her Italian food!  She did state that the pita chips are not authentically Italian (duh), but they go nicely with the dip.  She's right; my little taste-test proved it.

Next I made my meatballs.  Mom asked me to make them, and she's prepared the sauce to go with them.  We both had a lot to make, so we went in 50/50 on this one.  The meatballs in one word are....amazing.  Or as one girl says on this new show I've been watching, "ah-mahzing".

I knew I wanted to make a dessert or two, since no one else was.  I started simple with a cookie called Anginetti.  It's a lemon cookie with a lemon icing.  They look and smell glorious.  I cannot attest to their taste though...the recipe made less than 2 dozen cookies.

Finally, I decided a second dessert was in order.  After a lot of recipe searching, I found Zuppa Inglese.  The literal translation is "English Soup".  That just sounds nasty.  But several other dictionary-type websites kept referring to it as an English trifle.  I assume it's the addition of ladyfingers that makes it Italian.

Speaking of ladyfingers, I apparently live in an area where they just aren't available.  I tried every grocery store in our county AND a few in the next county over.  No luck.  So....I had to make my own.  I was very nervous about it.  It's an involved process involving making a meringue-like base, and I wasn't sure I could do it gently enough.  Psssh.  No problem.  They came out just perfect.  I am assembling the Zuppa Inglese tomorrow (the morning of the party) because I think doing so ahead of time will make everything soggy and soupy.  Hmm, maybe that's why it's called English Soup...

Anyway, once we laugh, drink, and stuff ourselves close to explosion, I will post my recipes and the pictures to go along with them.  Cheers!


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