Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pork Chops Scarpariello adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Italian Immigrants bound for the US.
Notice the preponderance of men.
If you frequent good old Italian-American Red Sauce restaurants, you may be well acquainted with a close cousin of this dish: Chicken Scarpariello.  Its origins, however, are not in Italy but in an Italian American kitchen.  Its name, “Scarapiello”, means “Shoemaker”.  If your imagination takes you to an immigrant shoemaker coming home and making this for dinner, you may not be far off base.  When Italians started immigrating to this country from 1890 on, very often the men went on ahead leaving their wives and children behind until they’d established themselves.  Many early Italian immigrants were barely educated and the early waves were full of laborers and, less often, artisans like shoemakers.  The Italian men latched onto ‘padrones’, immigrants who had arrived a few years earlier.  These men handled lodging, savings and work, giving farms and factories a constant labor supply.  Interestingly, around 50 percent of Italians who immigrated to this country from 1900 to 1920, saved all the money they earned and re-patriated to Italy.   These men never even learned the most rudimentary English.  They pined for their homeland and did everything they could to duplicate the cooking of their wives and mothers back in Italy.  “Scarpariello” is one example.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sauteed Trout with Lemon-Chile Butter adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

Sauteed Trout Photo Courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine
Brook Trout 
I try to serve fish once a week.  Its health benefits are well known and even its fat content is healthy—it comes in the form of Omega-3 fatty acids which not only protect your heart, they also raise your good cholesterol level.  And almost nothing  is as easy to cook in as little time as a piece of fish.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but salmon and tuna prices are hitting the roof—especially if you’re like me and prefer wild-caught fish.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover that Trout is amazingly affordable.  I bought a whole fish for $9.20, which the fishmonger filleted and skinned for me to give me the two beautiful filets I needed.  I had to break my rule against farmed fish but I learned something about trout fish farming in the process.