Friday, July 24, 2015

Recipes From My Sicilian Grandmother




Available on Amazon Kindle .. Available in paperback July 31, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hello! I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest book, Grandma Bellino's Italian Cookbook  -  Recipes From My Sicilian Grandmother ..  It is now out and available on Amazon Kindle, and will be available next week in Paperback , publication Friday July 31, 2015  .. It's been a labor of love to get this one out. Well, they're (my books) all a labor of love, and this one is no exception. The book is comprised of recipes from my Sicilian Grandmother Giuseppina Bellino who left Lercara Friddi Sicily with her husband Philipo (my maternal Grandfather) in 1904 for the shores of New York and a new a better life in America .. My maternal grandparents Philipo and Giuseppina settled in in the Yorkville section of Manhattan and lived and worked there for a few years before moving to the Italian enclave of Lodi, New Jersey where my grandfather Philipo set up a shoemaker shop on Main Street in Lodi .. My grandfather worked hard and he and his wife Giuseppina had five children; my mother Lucia, her sister Lilly, and their three brothers Frank, Tony, and James .. My grandfather worked hard, but never made much money .. Often times their low earnings reflected in the family meals which where heavy on Soups and Pasta, and not all that much meat or fish on its own, never-the-less the Bellino's had a good healthy life .. My grandmother had wonderful recipes from back in Lercara Friddi, and she made friends in Lodi with women who came from Abruzzo, Napoli, Lazio, and Calabria and had regional recipes of their own. The ladies became friends and talked about and swapped the local recipes, so although this book is made mostly of Sicilian recipes from Giuseppina, there are Neapolitan recipes and one from Calabria, and Abruzzo as well. There are also recipes from Giuseppina's offspring and grandchildren like myself, my cousin Tony and my sister Barbara. The dishes and recipes in this book are filled and come from love, and do hope that people will cook and enjoy this eclectic collection of Sicilian and other italian recipes, some that are popular and well known, along with others that are rarer and less well know, yet wonderful never-the-less. I sincerely hope you all enjoy Grandma Bellino's Italian (Sicilian) Cookbook, the stories and recipes within.


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Phillipo, Lucia, Tony, Giuseppina

Lodi, New Jersey





by Daniel Bellino - Zwicke

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Insalata Caprese Salad Recipe

Salad of Mozzarella Tomatoes & Basil

As the name might imply, this salad (antipasto) comes from the beautiful Island of Capri in the Bay of Naples. Well yes, this salad made of fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil (Baz-ZEE-na-gOl) is eaten all over this lovely island by both natives and the many tourist who go to Capri to delight in its natural beauty, make a pilgrimage to the famed Grotta Azzura, swim its pristine deep blue waters, and of course eat some tasty local food of which the Insalata Caprese is the most famous of all.
This salad is the easiest thing in the world to make, with the hardest part being to find perfect rip tomatoes to complement the fresh mozzarella and basil. Once you find good fresh ripe tomatoes, and you’ve got your mozzarella and basil, all you have to do is slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and dress all with a little salt & pepper, the basil, and good quality Italian Olive Oil and you’re all set. Put on some nice Italian Music, get a nice bottle of white or red wine that comes from the region and you’re all set. Pretend you’re on Capri and you’re in Heaven.


1 pound Fresh Mozzarella
3-4 ripe Salad Tomatoes (washed)
8 fresh Basil Leaves (washed & dried)
3 tablespoons Italian Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
1. Slice the Mozzarella into 8 equal slices.
2. Place the Basil leaves one-on-top-of-the other. Roll them up. Slice the roll of basil leaves to get thin slices of Basil.
3. Put half the olive oil onto a plate. Slice the tomatoes into 12 equal slices. Place the tomato slices down on the plate of olive to coat each tomato slice with olive oil. Turn each slice over. Sprinkle a little salt and black pepper over each slice of tomato. Evenly distribute the Basil over all 12 slices of tomato.
4. Get 4 clean plates that you will be serving the Caprese Salad on.

5. Place one slice of tomato down on the plate. Then lay one slice of mozzarella halfway over the tomato slice. Add another slice of tomato to go halfway over the 1st slice of mozzarella, then place another slice of mozzarella halfway over the 2nd slice of tomato. Place a 3rd and final slice of tomato over the 2nd slice of mozzarella. Repeat this process until you have four plates of Caprese Salad of equal portions. Serve to your guests and enjoy.


Humprhrey Bogart in Capri During Filming


Clock Tower
Piazza Umberto
Capri Town



Italian Rice Ball Recipe Cook Italian

A Plate of Fresh Made Arancini
Rice Balls
   Excerted from Daniel Bellino-Zwicke's forthcoming book; 
100 Recipes of Italian-America's Favorite Dishes
Rice Balls are a great favorite of the South of Italy where they can be found all over the place, in restaurants and trattorias, grocery stores, Salumerias, at Wine Bars, and caffes. Arancini are beloved by Italian-Americans as well, but nowhere near the extent that they are eaten in the mother country of Italy. I love them, as they remind me of the many places I have eaten them on wonderful ttrips to Italy. I especially remember having real tasty ones on the beautiful Isle of Capri and one wonderful Salumeria, Capri Sulumeria Rosticceria near the Piazza Umberto. I had come up from Marina Grande after a boat trip around the island and a visit to the Blue Grotto, followed by a wonderful swim at the beach. I took the little yellow bus up to Capri Town. After getting off the bus I spotted this lovely little Salumeria and popped in. I saw the Arancini on the counter and just had to have one. I got a bottle of water and walked over to the terrace of the piazza to admire the gorgeous view of Capri at this particular location, which is absolutely spectacular. I took a seat on the bench, cracked open my water and dug into the Rice Ball (Arancino). Wow! It was delicious, and one of the best I’d ever had. After that, I went back to the Salumeria every day for an Aracini or two, including the day I was going to swim at the famed Faroglioni Rocks. I first stopped by the Salumeria and got one of their tasty Arancino along with some Eggplant Parmigiano made by Mamma. I got some water and a small bottle of local Aglianico Wine from Benevento. I took the scenic walk down to the Faraglioni where I swam all day and had one of the most memorable lunch’s of my life. The setting was one of the World’s most beautiful, at the Faraglioni on the beautiful Isle of Capri with my wine, the eggpalant, and my tasty Arancino from the Salumeria Capri. It just doesn’t ever get any better than that. Basta.
Conical Shaped Rice Balls
½ pound Ground Beef
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small Onion, peeled and minced fine
½ cup Tomato Sauce (optional)
Salt & Black Pepper to taste
3/4 cup Frozen Peas
1 pound Arborio Rice
4 cups Chicken Broth or water
1 small pinch Saffron
2 tablespoons Butter
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 extra Large Egg
Salt & White Pepper to taste
½ pound of Provolone or Cacciocavalo Chesse,
cut into small chunks
½ cup Flour
2 beaten Eggs
2 ½ cups Plain Breadcrumbs
4 cups Canola Oil for frying
Place the ground beef and onions in a pan with the Olive Oil and cook on a low flame until beef is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, about 1/ teaspoon each, or to your taste. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes. Turn heat off, and set aside to cool.
Add Chicken Broth (or Water if using) to a 6 quart pot with the rice, butter and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring liquid to the boil and stir as you do this. Once the liquid comes to the boil, turn heat to lowest flame possible and let cook without stirring for 16 minutes. Turn heat off and let rice set in the pot for 12 minutes.
Place the rice in a large glass bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
Once the rice is completely cool, add ½ teaspoon white pepper and a ½ teaspoon of salt and the grated Parmigiano and mix. Add 1 beaten Egg and mix.
Take a handful of rice and place between both your hands and roll into balls that are just slightly smaller than a baseball, or you can make smaller if you like. Once you have shaped the rice into a ball, hold the rice ball with your left hand and push the thumb of your right hand into the ball to make a hole that goes to the center of the ball, making a hole that you will put the beef filling into.
Take about a tablespoon of the beef filling and put it into the hole. Place 1 or 2 pieces of the Provolone into the hole. Press rice around the hole to cover it up, and then round the rice between your two hands again to make the Rice Ball into a perfect ball shape.
Continue this process until all the rice is gone and made into Rice Balls.
Get 3 small shallow bowls and put the flour in 1 bowl, the breadcrumbs in another bowl, and the beaten eggs into the 3rd bowl. Take a rice ball and put it into the bowl with the flour and gently roll it around until it is completely covered with a light coating of flour. Gently shake off any excess flour.
Now place the ball into the eggs and completely cover with the egg. Gently shake off any excess egg.
Now roll the rice ball with the egg on it into the breadcrumbs until ball is completely covered with breadcrumbs. Shake off excess. Repeat these last 3 steps with each rice ball until they are all coated with breadcrumbs.
Place the canola oil (or any vegetable oil) in a medium sized frying pan and heat to high. Fry a few rice balls at a time until golden brown. Fry all the rice balls and place on paper towels and let cool a few minutes before serving, at which point they will still be hot, but not too hot. Or you can let them cool further and serve at room temperature with or without Marinara Sauce on the side.
NOTE: To make the Rice Ball that I describe in my little story above, substitute pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese for the beef mixture and you will have a rice ball like the one I had on my lovely little Isle of Capri. Either way, both ways are equally tasty.
This Recipe is a Gift form Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke to Celebrate the release (July 2015) of his latest book ; Grandma Bellino's Italian Cookbook  ... Recipes from My Sicilian Grandmother  ..... Broadway Fifth Pres, NY NY
Near The Piazza Umberto, CAPRI
Just Past The Bus Stop 
PHOTO TAKEN by Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
From Summit of Mt Solaro
Anacapri, Capri ITALY
My Favorite Lemonade Granita Stand in Capri
Near The Caeser Augustus Gardens, Capri
Behind The Qusisanna Hotel
When Italian-Americans Cook
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Recipes From my Sicilian Grandmother
by Daniel Bellino Z
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