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(FAVE MEMORY) Toasted ravioli was the food of my childhood. A St. Louis tradition, I had no idea it was an unusual food until I traveled outside of Missouri and saw the puzzled look on peoples' faces when I mentioned toasted ravioli. I remember my aunt always serving them for my cousin's birthday parties, cook outs, and other events, and all of my cousins and I gathering around the table to dip them in marinara sauce and greedily eat them. My mother used to heat them in the oven for me when I had a late night and needed a quick dinner, and they would always accompany dinner on homemade pizza night. There are many ways to do toasted ravioli - with beef, cheese, vegetables, or even mushrooms - and they are all special and tasty in their own way. Toasted ravioli will always remind me of my home, St. Louis, and all of its quirky food traditions.
*Fave Memory* I love to wander around the local farmers market with my mom, entranced by the beautiful colors, textures and smells. The only thing that can pull us away from admiring the bright veggies is the unmistakable aroma of fresh apple cider donuts.
This soup was my favorite during childhood and I have sweet memories about pulling the letters to the rim of my plate and making up words and phrases... It was also a fun way to say something nice to my mom and thank her for the delicious soup.
My favorite food memory goes back to my childhood. I grew up in Austria and lunch consisted of soup and a typical 'Wiener Mehlspeise' which are made mostly out of flour, eggs, milk and filled with fruit or jam. I was always looking forward to having lunch because it was kinda eating dessert for lunch.
As a five-year-old who stepped into the new town, all I could see was the city lights that completely soaked me in. As years passed, Dubai seemed ever more enchanting. Nothing was more fascinating than the night beauty of the Arabian tale. The shimmer of the colors that lit the calm Creekside waters, cruise rides as a royal treat, the aromatic breeze of Arabic cuisine, the scented air of heritage culture, delights a roughly spend day.
I used to walk with my patents to the Creekside very often. The Heritage village nearby has these sweet goody snacks made by the local Arab ladies. Once, I happen to have these small round golden crunchy balls, an Arab sweet named 'Luqaimat' topped with a drizzle of sugar syrup. Ever since then it was no doubt I never wanted to leave Dubai. There was nothing more to make me happy than gazing at the Creekside and enjoying my snack.
The very fact that I have to leave the town makes this place even more special.
A golden memory shared with a golden sweet treat.
My grandmother was born in Rivarolo Mantovano, a small village in the countryside near Mantua. When I was a kid, we used to go there (from Milan) to pick up pumpkins, in order to find the most delicious for our homemade tortelli.
Pumpkin-filled tortelli are a very ancient recipe from northern Italy, and a typical dinner for Christmas Eve in my family. My grandfather makes egg pasta on Christmas Eve morning or the day before. The filling, a mixture of pumpkin, amaretti biscuits, parmigiano cheese, mostarda, and nutmeg, is rather sweet than savory. We have them with butter and sage, but my father usually grills them in the oven with parmigiano on top, for some extra-flavour.
This is my late Mum's recipe for potted smoked trout, the recipe description is taken straight out of an old file that she kept her recipes in. I wanted to keep it as it originally was because the file is very precious to me.
Dad caught the trout as he loved to go fly fishing and I have very happy memories of watching him cast his rod while I lazed on the banks of the river watching and dreaming.
I was never very keen on trout, but the one way I liked it was when Dad hot smoked it, in a smoker he made himself out of an old cake tin. This was my favorite way to eat it when Mum made the pate, its delicious spread on crusty bread or toast.
This is a Fave Memory of mine. In the weeks before Christmas when I was a kid, my mom would make dozens of these cookies and put them in tins in our chest freezer in the basement so we'd have them for the holidays. My brother and I discovered the stash and used to sneak a handful when we could, hoping she wouldn't notice. I loved those cookies so much, I make them every December with my own kids, with the same old-fashioned aluminum cookie press my mom used decades ago.
When I was a child my yaya was my world. I loved spending time with her and she was always in the kitchen. My fondest memory with her is making a special dish from our Armenian culture called Manti. It is a labor intensive dumpling soup from the Caucasus. The dish is a staple amongst Armenian families and all of my friend's yaya's make it. To make Manti you make the dough from scratch, roll it out thinly then cut it into squares. Once your squares are ready you stuff them with a meat mixture and then pinch them together. Then this is either boiled or baked in the oven before it is put in a bowl and topped with yogurt, and depending on where you are from either a red pepper or butter sauce. My yaya and I would bond over this recipe, my role only being pinching together the dumplings while she made the rest of the soup. I wanted to create a illustration that showed the steps for this dish, specifically focusing on the part that I would help her with.
Fave Memory - This recipe always makes me think of my grandmother. Her soup was one of my favorites when I was growing up. After we moved to the States from Finland I missed her cooking and asked her to write down some recipes for me. As a vegetarian, I haven't made this soup in years, but now it might just be fun to try it with temped instead. This is a traditional meat and potatoes soup from Finland.
Fave Memory (of my husband and in-laws).
Seriously, I love my mother-in-law. She raised five kids as a single mom while working full time. However, seriously, who believes that their kids LOVE soggy cooked spinach and eggs, dotted with bits of cheese? OK, I would love the cheese and today I would eat the spinach, but not as a child!
AGLIO E OLIO and The Feast of Seven Fishes- Fave Memory
Christmas Eve has always been my favorite family holiday. The night was always filled with anticipation for what was yet to come. The holiday was just beginning!!
Christmas Eve is also The Feast of Seven Fishes, my favorite Italian Food tradition.
As relatives argued the true meaning of the seven fishes, a parade of seafood would hit the table. Seven different kinds of fish were required for the event. There was mom’s beloved filet of soul, schmelts (tiny filets of fish lightly floured and sautéed), shrimp scampi and sometimes clams orreganato. We no longer had Nana’s, Baccala or Eel, which had been banished from menu by the late 70s. But, we still had more choices then you could possibly imagine! Preparation started weeks in advance, procuring the finest seafood and freshest produce.
But, by far, my favorite dish was the Pasta. Every Christmas Eve, mom served her bowl of steaming hot spaghetti called Aglio E Olio (the bowl actually said Spaghetti on it) to her eagerly awaiting family. (Eye-ya Oy-ya) as it was pronounced in our best southern Italian dialect, is a savory sauce made with garlic and anchovies and garnished with fresh parsley. Mom coaxed magic out of a few very humble ingredients to create a silky sauce that was comforting with a big bold and nutty flavor. Not for the faint of heart- with all those anchovies-it was the Umami of your dreams!
We always knew that we had to save room for our next six courses!! But, our bellies kept getting fuller as we continued to slurp our way through this year’s batch of Aglio E Olio!
I’m sure the rest of the dinner was just as delicious. But, I guarantee you that as we were clearing the table and setting out cookies for dessert, we were already thinking about next year’s Christmas Eve Aglio E Olio (or at least leftovers, if there were any).