Monday, March 11, 2013

A complete menu for Ostara

Here is a complete menu for your Ostara celebration, from the appetizers to the desserts. This menu comes from my Italian side of the family...Hope you will like it :)

Ostara Menu- The Italian Way

Appetizer- Antipasto

6 ounces "baby" or fresh mozzarella
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
1/4 pound cappicolla, thinly sliced
5 to 6-ounce piece of asiago or aged provolone cheese
1 small stick soppressata (dried Italian sausage)
1 small stick pepperoni
4 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 pound oil-dried black olives or similar olives
4 ounces pepperoncini peppers
6 ounces or 2 pieces whole roasted red peppers
1 bunch fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced or 1 small cantaloupe sliced.

1- Use a separate cutting board for prepping and place a nice wooden board for the display. Unwrap all the meats and cheeses and lay them next to your display board.

2- Place the baby mozzarella on 1 corner of the board. Roll the prosciutto like a burrito, fold the mortadella in half 2 or 3 times, and wrap the cappicolla into a horn shape and place it creatively on the cutting board.

3- Slice a bit of each cheese, the soppressata, and pepperoni and place on board in between folded meats.

4- Scatter board with artichoke hearts, olives, pepperoncinis, and roasted red peppers.

5- To finish, take a few basil leaves sliced chiffonade-style and mix with the olive oil. Drizzle over the entire board. Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve with cucumber slices or cantaloupe slices as an alternative to crackers.

This is what your antipasto plate can look like:

*If you prefer, you can always create a small antipasto plate for each of your guests, instead of a big platein the center of the table.*

Soup - Stracciatella


4 cups chicken stock
4 eggs
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (and some more to garnish if you want, thereafter)
A tiny grating of fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1- Bring 3 cups stock to a boil over medium-high heat in a 6- to 8-cup saucepan.

2- Beat the remaining stock with the eggs, the cheese, the nutmeg and the parsley until they are well blended.

3- When stock is boiling, adjust heat so it bubbles frequently but not furiously. Add egg mixture in a steady stream, stirring occasionally until eggs gather together in small curds, 2 or 3 minutes.

4- Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, garnishing with a little more Parmesan if you like.

*I normally add some chopped chicken breasts (1 or 2 depending of the size). I add it before the egg mixture and let it boil 5 minutes before adding it.*

Main & Side Dish - Scaloppini Parmigiana & Vermicelli al Pesto

Scaloppini Parmigiana

1 1/2 cups dry, unseasoned bread crumbs
1 cup, plus 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon each minced fresh parsley and basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8 veal scallops
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I normally use my own tomato sauce (that I use for pastas or other meals) as I don't like those pre-made, but don't stress out if you are not comfortable to cook your own, simply buy a pre-made can).
8 slices mozzarella cheese


1- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2- Combine the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, salt and pepper in a plate. Set aside.

3- In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and water. Set aside.

4- On a plate, spread the all-purpose flour. Coat the veal scallops with the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture and then coat with the bread crumb mixture, patting with your fingers to make the crumbs adhere.

5-  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veal and saute until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the cutlets and cook, 2 to 3 minutes more, adding a little more oil if the pan looks dry.

6- Remove veal scallops to a plate and blot with paper towels. Lightly oil a baking pan or shallow baking dish. Spoon into the pan 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Arrange the veal scallops over the sauce, slightly overlapping them.

7- Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Top with the mozzarella slices and the remaining Parmesan cheese.

8- Bake until heated through, between 15 to 30 (depending of your oven since not every oven is the same).

*If you don't like veal, or if you want a variance for this recipe, you can also use chicken breasts or chicken scallops. For chicken breasts, you will need to cook it a bit more (10-15 minutes more).*

Vermicelli al Pesto

I use vermicelli but this recipe can be done with any pasta. For the pesto, you can use either a blender or a mortar & pestle (which takes a bit longer but it is definitively worth it!). I will give you both preparation.

1/4cup pine nuts lightly toasted
3 garlic cloves
1 lb small basil leaves
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)
1/4 grated pecorino cheese
1 pkg. (500g) of vermicelli


If you use a food processor or blender;

1-Toast the pine nuts in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stir frequently until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

2- Place the garlic cloves, pine nuts, basil leaves, olive oil and salt in your food processor, process until smooth stopping as necessary.

3- Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, stir in the finely grated parmesan and pecorino.

4- Cook the pasta as indicated and mix the pesto with the pasta or put a small amount in each plate and add a bit of pesto on top of it.

If you decide to make the pesto with a mortar & pestle:

The basil must be broken down totally to get the full basil flavor of pesto made in a mortar and pestle.

1- Start pounding an handful of basil leaves, a garlic clove, a pinch of salt

2- Add a few pine nuts.

3- Pour a little stream of olive oil and keep pounding while you add a spoon of Parmesan and one of pecorino cheese.

4- Repeat this process until you finish all the ingredients.

An other side dish:

Zucchini Puffs


4 medium zucchini
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated parmegian, Romano or Grana Padano cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil or fines herbes
1 dash hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste


1- Preheat the broiler. (In my oven, I put to 400F).

2- Put the oven rack about 5 inches from the heat.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3- Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch rounds. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, grated cheese, dried herbs, and salt and pepper.

4- Spread each zucchini round with a thin layer of the cheese mixture and place on the baking sheet. Broil the zucchini rounds until the tops are golden brown and the cheese mixture puffs up a bit.

5-Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

If you wish to add a salad to your menu, I suggest a refreshing one...For example, the Raw Artichoke Salad with Parmesan and Mint:


2 lbs. baby artichokes (about 20)
2 lemons, halved
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup baby arugula
1/4 cup torn mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 oz. parmesan, shaved thin with a peeler


1- Trim away tough outer leaves of the artichokes to expose their tender pale green interior.

2- Using a serrated-blade knife, cut off the spiky top third of the artichokes. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layers around the base and stem.

3- Squeeze 1 lemon into a bowl filled with cold water and submerge artichokes in the water.

4-  Drain artichokes and pat dry with paper towels. Using a mandoline or a chef's knife, cut the artichokes into thin slices and transfer to medium bowl.

5- Squeeze remaining lemon and the oil over the artichokes; toss to coat. Add arugula and mint and season with salt and pepper; toss gently. Garnish salad with parmesan shavings.


Torta di ricotta (Italian cheesecake)

Cheesecake is always good but cheesecake is also heavy for the stomach. I will give another recipe should you wish to end with a light dessert.


300 g/10 oz. Graham crackers
100 g butter, at room temperature
250 g (8 oz) Quark cheese or similar (e.g. creamy crème fraîche – not too runny)
250 g (8 oz) Ricotta
250 g (8 oz) Greek yogurt or similar (creamy – not too runny)
A little whipped cream, if necessary
150 g sugar
3 eggs
Small jar good fruit jam/jelly


1- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F.) Line an ovenproof tart dish (30 cm/12 in approx) with baking paper.

2- In a bowl, crumble the Graham crackers into small pieces (you can use a food processor) and work in the butter with your hands. Press this base mixture into your ovenproof dish, packing it in well.

3- Separate the eggs and reserve the whites. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat well. Add the ricotta, quark and yogurt.

4- Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, and fold into the cheese mixture carefully. If the mixture seems very solid, fold in a little whipped cream (100 ml/3 oz)

5- Spread this mixture on top of the base, smoothing the surface.

6- Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180°C (350°F) When you can tap on the door of the oven and the cheese mixture does not move, it is set. Switch off the oven. You can leave the cake inside for another half an hour to set further, or take it out of the oven to cool, if you prefer it softer.

7- When the cake has cooled a little, warm the jam/jelly in a saucepan until it is liquid. With a spatula, apply it to the surface of the cake. Leave to cool.

Another dessert: Lemon Granita


4-5 large lemons
2 cups water
1 cup sugar


1- Cut long strips of lemon rind from 2 of the lemons, making sure to not include any of the white pith. Cut all the lemons in half and squeeze them to get 1 cup of juice.

2- In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer, add the lemon juice, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon strips and allow to cool to room temperature.

3- When cool, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Transfer the mixture to a shallow pan and place in the freezer.

How to Freeze granita:

Choose a large, shallow pan (8 x 12 x 2-inches) that allows the mixture to spread out. While you are assembling the recipe, place the empty pan and your stirring fork in the freezer to chill. Also chill the glasses you will be using to serve the granita in later.

Pour the mixture into the pan and place in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, using a fork, stir the granita, scraping it off the bottom and sides of the pan. Break up the frozen parts near the edges into smaller chunks and rake them toward the center.

Continue to freeze and break up ice crystals until completely frozen, about 3 hours. If at any time the granita freezes too hard, simply leave it out at room temperature for a few minutes until it softens enough to be stirred again with a fork. Then return it to the freezer.

Check your granita mixture 20-30 minutes before serving to make sure that you can scoop the surface with a spoon. If it is too firm, let it stand at room temperature until serving time. To serve, scrape across the top of the frozen mixture with a large spoon.

Granita is usually served in chilled footed dessert dishes, goblets, or wine glasses. For a finishing touch, top with a small cookies, berries, lemon zest, or a sprig of mint.

That is all for now! Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Archanges & Protection/My Witch's Kitchen © 2010-2012. Powered by Blogger.