This past week we celebrated National Son’s and Daughter’s Days. I’ll admit that these dates are not something I have marked on my calendar, but rather something that I choose to follow along with from the reminders on Instagram. In my world, there is a plethora of reasons to celebrate sons and daughters EVERYDAY SINGLE DAY!
As everyday life unfolds itself, I try my best to embrace the flow that presents me with the opportunities to expand, grow and receive what literally arrives at my doorstep.
It was a whirlwind 48 hours of laughter, conversations, and a whole lot of fun. When my family gets together, there is always high energy, great food and lots of LOVE.
Blessing of the Animals Day, St. Francis of Assisi
October 4th, 2023
Meet the newest member of our FAMILY! This sweet girl has found her forever home here with us. I cannot believe how gentle and shy she is. And I also can’t believe that I am going to admit that it has taken us way too long to name her. Please meet our sweetest KitKat!
Her coloring reminds me of the inside of KitKat bar!
My son decided to visit a local shelter and told me how KitKat reach through her little crate with her paw and grabbed ahold of his finger. Well, needless to say, he was smitten! She is slowly acclimatizing to her new surroundings and little by little coming out of her shell. More stories to come.
Fables and Folklore in Recipes: Sfincione
I’m going to take you on a little trip to Sicily for this week’s recipe!
The tradition of Sfincione says that it was created for the first time by nuns of San Vito’s Monastery in Palermo, Sicilia. As an alternative to classic bread, this yeasted bread showcased a few of the typical seasonings of the local rural cuisine, such as fresh oregano, garlic and tomatoes. It has evolved in America in the form of a deep dish Sicilian Style Pizza. It is interesting to note that this preparation does not have a lot of cheese smothering the sauce or the dough. It is light and spongy with what I consider to be a perfect balance of amazing flavors!
For the dough:
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1-1 1/4 cups water, tepid room temperature
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, starting with 1 cup of water and gradually adding more to create a sticky consistency. Scrape down the sides to incorporate everything into a homogeneous mixture. While the dough is still sticky, cover with plastic wrap and then a tea towel.
Allow to rest 30 minutes. Remove the coverings and turn the dough by stretching it three times over on itself inside the bowl. Cover again. Repeat two more times.
Ingredients for the Topping:
- 2-3 large ripe tomatoes OR 1/2 can of San Marzano Tomatoes with their juice, crushed and torn by hand, OR a small box of crushed tomatoes from Italy
- 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- Good quality EVOO, about 1/4 cup, plus more to coat the baking pan.
- Freshly ground black pepper and Sea Salt
- Dried oregano, to taste
- Red chili flakes, to taste
- Optional 1-2 anchovies broken into small pieces to dot the dough with before baking, or small dots of black olive paste.
- Seasoned breadcrumbs
- Grated Parmigiano Cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
Start by heating a medium sized skillet on medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions. Once the onions begin to wilt, add the garlic until it begins to become fragrant, without turning golden. Add the tomatoes, black pepper, sea salt, oregano and red chili flakes, to taste. Cook the sauce until a uniform consistency is achieved, about 10 minutes on medium low heat. Remove from the heat to cool.
The rest of the topping ingredients will be used in the final assembly of the Sfincione.
Using a large baking sheet, liberally coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Turn out the dough onto the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes. Gently begin to stretch the dough until it evenly fits the pan. This may take a couple of times with rest time in between.
Using either the broken up anchovies or the black olive paste, dot the surface of the dough. Spread a thin layer of grated cheese and shredded mozzarella over the anchovies. Then spread a layer of the sauce on top. To complete the toppings, spread another layer of both cheeses and top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs. Drizzle generously with EVOO.
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425F. Bake the Sfincione for about 30-40 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden brown and the breadcrumbs on top become crisp. This recipe can also be split between two baking sheets, depending on the size of the pans you use.
Remove from the pan and place it on a large cutting board. Cut into pieces and enjoy hot or at room temperature.
I was inspired by my beautiful friend, Sharon, who is traveling in Sicily, to look into the history and origin of this amazing recipe. I can remember my own grandmother making something very similar to this as a young girl growing up. We all can name a favorite comfort food, and mine is, without a second thought, pizza!
Sophia Loren credits everything she is to PASTA and me, to PIZZA!
What I love even more than this thought, is her quote,
“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that She is Beautiful!”
Beauty is how we feel on the inside and somehow it is reflected in our eyes. Every choice we make and every time we take a moment to reflect on where we are going and how we are getting there, creates more of that beauty from within ourselves. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please remember to cherish your body and take the necessary care to keep it healthy, well nourished and BEAUTIFUL.
“Where will La Zingara Take You?” ©️