March 2009


This past Wednesday the 18th was our Talbot County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony!!  It was a big success, lots of people came, we had lots of great food and most importantly, I got to use the big scissors!!!

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The scissors are really heavy, no wonder we don’t have those hanging around all the time.

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Look at the cute red, white and green balloons that Hopkins Sales donated to us!  That was such a good idea.  Thank you!

Mike Gardner came, a librarian from the Easton Public Library came (and gave me a book), Bobbi Parkett came from Simpatico, Kathy Hanna from Easton Main Street was there, Tim Casgar from Miles & Stockbridge sent us umbrellas, Carla Cronin from Easton’s Promise, Karin Baker from Claybaker’s on Washington St., Giancarlo Tondin from Scossa came…

Catherine made zeppole in honor of St. Joseph’s day, we had 2 or three kinds of bruschetta, biscotti, fruit, Taleggio, Piave, coppa, and salami!!

panelle11Chickpeas are an ancient grain, nutty and so good for you that they are often dismissed as health food or a canned thing at the salad bar.  Well, there is a  solution to every problem and I am here to tell you that in this case deep frying is the answer. In Sicily they make little chickpea flour fritters called panelle (I believe that Naples has a version of it own). Made from a mixture of chickpea flour, water, parsley and eggs, the batter is formed into thin patties, fried in olive oil then served with a little ricotta salata and a squeeze of lemon in a sandwich.

I first tried panelle in Brooklyn at Fernando’s Foccaceria on Union St. in Carrol Gardens.  They were very cheap, very thin and very good.  I have been staring at the bags of farina di ceci here at Piazza thinking about those little pillows of fried goodness but last night I decided to try to make them myself.

I used a recipe from Molto Mario, Mario Batali’s show on the Food Network.  I have a few suggestions but overall things went well:

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Suggestion number one: deep frying is difficult if you have a cook-top stove.  The ‘cycling’ of the power makes the temperature of the oil fluctuate wildly.

Suggestion two: use floured hands to form the fritters.

Suggestion three: let them cool before you take a big bite or else you will kill the roof of your mouth.  Ouch, I didn’t wait.

Chickpea flour can be used to make other traditional Italian dishes like farinata from Liguria, a sort of chickpea flatbread or torta di ceci from Livorno, a sort of giant pancake that is layered with thin slices of marinated grilled eggplant…