Archive for March, 2012

When people immigrate to a new country, they often carry with them reminders of their homeland and a few cherished belongings. Old family recipes are both  – cherished and reminders of home. Mary Cannici says of her grandmother’s special cake recipe, “This recipe immigrated to this country from Sicily when Nonna was a little girl and her family came to Ellis Island.” The cake is a wonderful combination of a creamy ricotta cake and an egg-rich pudding. Farina, a finely ground cereal grain with a mild taste, is used as the thickening agent. Serve this versatile and easy-to-make cake with fresh seasonal fruit and you have the perfect dessert for brunch or dinner! Easter and Mother’s Day are just around the corner!

Nonna’s Breakfast and Dessert Farina Cake
Recipe by Mary Cannici

4 cups whole milk
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup farina
16 ounces (2 cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
2. Bring milk, sugar, and butter to simmer in large saucepan and cook, stirring often, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Slowly whisk in farina until smooth.
4. Remove saucepan from heat, stir in ricotta and vanilla.
5. Let mixture cool slightly, then stir in beaten eggs until combined.
6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then serve warm.

Serves 15 to 18

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Farina can usually be found in stores that carry natural foods. Sprouts, Whole Foods, and health food stores often carry farina in the bulk bin section. Cream of Wheat is made from farina.

2. Be careful not to add too much of the farina at one time. Add small amounts of it slowly, stirring constantly, to prevent lumps from forming.

3. Although the egg custard flavor is more pronounced when the cake is served warm (after the 10-minute cooling period), it is trickier to serve warm since the texture is like a rough custard. After the cake sits for a while, it firms up and can be cut into squares.


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In the depth of winter, when most garden plants look ho-hum, camellias, with their perfectly-shaped glossy leaves and their delicately-layered blossoms, add incredible beauty to our lives. Don’t let the shorter days and the stay-inside-weather prevent you from recognizing and appreciating their winter perfection. Everything on earth has a purpose, even camellias.

#1 – Purposely Repurposing
The party’s over and you have plastic cups lying around all over the place. They’re headed for the trash bin, right? Well, what about this – what about using them to construct a hanging lamp? This lamp and many more creative ideas appear in the article Most Popular Repurposing Tricks of 2011. Not into hanging lamps? What about making a lunch box from a plastic milk jug or creating a home security device from an old webcam?

#2 – The World We Live In
The world we live in is an amazing place. By checking out this series of photos, discover sights around the world without leaving your desk. All the photographs are interesting, but I was most intrigued by the Danxia landform.

#3 – Stick To It!
Need help deciding which type of glue to use on a DIY project? Go to Design*Sponge’s post on adhesives. Glue descriptions and an easy to read chart take the guessing out of what glue to use where and when. There’s even a recipe for making a natural glue at home – a DIY glue for your DIY project!

#4 – Fat Fighting Fiber!
Browsing the internet the other day using StumbleUpon, I “stumbled” across a health article titled “Fiber Supplements – Which One You Need?” The article points out the difference between insoluble and soluble fiber and describes the types of fiber used in supplements. Did you know that fiber supplements that become viscous, help your body in two ways? They not only help you to stay regular, but they also help to lower your blood cholesterol.

#5 – Life is a Contact Sport
Life is a contact sport, but it should never be played without joy.

Based on Senator Robert Byrd’s quote about Ted Kennedy, “He believed that life was a contact sport but that it should never be played without joy.”

Have a lovely weekend!

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