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Feb/March 2009-Newsletter

Posted in celebrity interviews, Cooking School in Tuscany, cucina, Features, Holidays, La Dolce Vita, and Newsletter/ezine

This month’s newsletter is filled with articles and sweet treats for Carnevale in Venice, menu of the month, recipe of the month, Recipe Contest with La Cucina Italiana Magazine, Interview with Food columnist Rosie Saferstein and more! This month you can select to read it in 3 different ways: as a word file from this link below:


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The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm

A trademark of Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc.

February/March 2009 issue


Quote of the Month


Delicious Treats in Venice & Carnevale

Featured Recipe

Menu of the Month

What’s in Your Fridge? Interview with Rosie Saferstein

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking School in Italy Events

Tea..Healthy Tea…a great after dinner drink

La Cucina Italiana Magazine Recipe Contest

Featured Products




There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”

  • George Bernard Shaw







This month has been a busy one San Valentino (Valentine’s Day ) and the beginning of Carnevale. I have just returned from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school sessions held at the villa in Sissmano in the hills of Umbria. The next cooking School session will be held Sept 23-Oct 6th. (see below). Next month will be a special videotaped interview at the villa in Sissmano and cooking school highlights

February has such beautiful colorful Holidays to celebrate in some special way. Whether it be preparing a meal for a loved one, friend, family members, preparing a meal together with friends and special others or just enjoying a great meal together-any ordinary meal becomes a special one when you enjoy it with someone. Decorate the table with colorful tableware to get in the Carnevale spirit. Simple touches set the mood. Don’t forget to enter our La Cucina Italiana Magazine Recipe Contest to win a free subscription to one of the premiere magazines on Italian Cooking. What’s your best summer recipe??Deadline is June 1st 2009


As always, we at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking™ by Maria Liberati would love to hear from you. Have you tried our recipes? Do you have any ideas for feature articles that you’d like to see in future issues? Would you like to find a specific recipe or share a favorite family treat? Email us at:

We want to hear from you!
Let us know how you like our celebrity Q & A column…and if you have a favorite celebrity, that you’d like to hear from, send us an email at



Delicious Treats of Venice and Carnevale

copyright, 2008, Maria Liberati


Here it is ….Carnevale, the period between Christmas and Easter, which ends before Lent. But no matter what Holidays you follow..Carnevale is always a time of sweets and delicacies, in my opinion. The following recipes are of two typical ‘cakes’ (this name does not really explain what they are: they are absolutely unique!) eaten in that time, especially in Venice. Fritole, fritoe (different dialect varieties for the Italian frittelle) are round pastries with raisins. Many types developed from the basic recipe, so that you can find them filled with custard, with zabaione, with apples, or even empty. What follows is the typical Venetian recipe. But, before giving it to you, I should perhaps explain what grappa is, since this is one of the ingredients.

Grappa is a spirit distilled from the fermented remains of grapes after pressing. It has specific taste deriving from the kind of grapes that is used: grappa from Prosecco, for example, is fine. Of course the alcoholic degree is very high (40/42°) and one has better be careful about the quantity one drinks… It is used in the preparation of cakes, it enhances the taste of coffee: coffee and grappa is a typical drink here in Italy (in the Veneto region, mostly) and can be drunk as a powerful digestive after dinner. If you pour a little quantity of grappa onto a small plate and light it with a match, it burns for quite a long time. You could see the blue flame indicating the alcohol being consumed.

So, here it is:




Ingredients (for 6 people):

1 lb flour

1 cup raisins

2 tblsps pine nuts

1 tablespoon sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

I/2 cup grappa

1 packet brewer’s yeast

a pinch of salt

peanut oil to fry

icing sugar to decorate


Melt the brewer’s yeast and sugar with a little bit of warm water; then add flour, the eggs, grappa and milk. Don’t forget the pinch of salt. Mix everything and knead it for a while until you see some kind of small ‘air bubbles’ forming on the surface. Cover then with a napkin and leave it in a warm place to rise. When the dough will have doubled its volume, add the raisins (and pinenuts). Make ‘balls’ with a teaspoon and let them ‘slide’ into peanut boiling oil (oil should be deep enough to cover all the small balls; and remember not to put too may of them at a time). When they rise to the surf, turn them over, so that they become brown all over. Dry on kitchen paper, sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy your fritoe!



Crostoli (is another typical Carnival dessert).

Ingredients (4 people):

1 cup flour

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter

2 eggs

½ cup grappa

1 lemon

icing sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp pure vanilla

peanut oil to fry


Mix flour, sugar, vanilla, grated lemon peel and salt on the pastry board. Then make a well and put the eggs, the soft butter cut into small cubes inside the hole. Work it till it is smooth. With the rolling pin roll the dough very thin. Cut rectangles (about 8×12 centimetres) with the pastry cutting wheel and make three cuttings on each of the rectangles. Fry two or three rectangles at a time in abundant boiling peanut oil. Drain, dry on kitchen paper, cover with icing sugar. You can eat them either hot or cold.

So glad Carnevale is here!!…








Appetizer: Bruschetta with tuna, red onion and celery, extra virgin olive oil

First Course: Farfale con Gorgonzola

Second Course: Salmone al Forno

Dessert: Crostoli & Frittele per Carnevale (see recipe above)

Wine: Falenghina

All recipes can be found in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking™ or at

All recipes are copyright 2006,2007,2008,2009- The Basic Art of Italian Cooking™, by Maria Liberati, Art of Living, PrimaMedia, Inc.

Send us your ideas, feedback, and tips. If your submission is featured here in our newsletter, you will win a limited edition gift tag. Email to:  
All ideas emailed to become the property of Art of Living, PrimaMedia, Inc.  By emailing them to us you automatically authorize us permission to use in any publications.



With her culinary acumen, this month, food columnist, Rosie Saferstein gives us a peek inside her fridge and her kitchen…

Rosie Saferstein is a food writer for, the Web site for New Jersey Monthly magazine. Her column “Table Hopping With Rosie” features New Jersey restaurant news and more.

Rosie created Food Bytes®, one of the first ever Internet food discussion forums, and served as editor of Food Bytes’ New Jersey Restaurant News.

Rosie is often asked to judge food contests, teaches cooking classes–and she has been a keynote speaker for organizations for many organizations. She is also a member of the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


Maria Liberati: What is in your refrigerator now? What types of food do you like to keep on hand in your refrigerator?


Rosie Saferstein: Two bottles of Albarino (white) wine from Spain and two from Argentina as we are on a search for our favorite Albarino this month. Next month we’ll hone in on another type of wine from a specific region. Fat free plain yogurt draining from a colander into a bowl in order to make Greek yogurt. Eggplant/tomato sauce to serve over pasta. We keep the usual victuals on hand—fruit, veggies, milk etc. And of course my husband Lowell’s homemade granola.


Lowell’s Best Ever Granola

6 cups oatmeal

1 cup dry milk powder

1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup Vermont Maple syrup grade B

1 cup raisins or craisins



Mix the oatmeal, powder milk, sesame seeds and walnuts in a bowl. Mix together the vegetable oil and maple syrup thoroughly and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly so that all the oatmeal is coated with the oil mixture. This is important. Mixing must be extensive so that no oatmeal particles look dry. Cover a tray with parchment paper and spread the mixture onto the paper. Bake in an oven at 250º for 75 minutes stirring several times. Add one cup craisins when removed from the oven. Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freeze.


ML: What are your favorite foods?

RS: My favorite food is cow. I love cowboy steak the best but if it is cow I am happy. Next to that it is red wine and m&m’s together.


ML : Do you stick to a special eating regimen?

RS: As I eat out 3-4 times a week for work, I try to have a healthy light meal when dining at home. When I dine out if there is something unusual on the menu such as horse mackerel or fresh water eels I will order that. So except for eating 3 times daily (sometimes more) I do not have a special eating regimen.


ML: What foods do you like to indulge in?

RS : Any form of foie gras, cheeses, or bone marrow but not together.


ML: Is the kitchen an important part of your house?

RS: My fantasy is to have just a large modern kitchen and a bedroom in my house. Don’t need any other rooms.


ML: Do you cook and/or enjoy cooking?

RS: Yes to both. I cook and used to grow all of my vegetables. Now I enjoy going to the farmer’s market or supermarket to create a meal from whatever strikes my fancy or looks interesting that day.


ML: Do you share your fridge with anyone?

RS: Just my husband.

ML: What are your favorite things to cook?


RS: Cholent

This is a fabulous stick to your ribs dish that I wait for the cooler weather to make and it is just a matter of throwing the ingredients in a pot and letting it cook overnight. I soak a 16-ounce bag of mixed beans during the day for about 8 hours. BTW—the kosher section of my supermarket ( has a bag of cholent beans that are cheaper than the non-kosher beans in the rice/bean section of the supermarket. I put the drained beans in a 5-quart crock pot. Add some sliced onions (I use a lot) and carrots and a hunk of brisket (about 3 pounds). Mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, can of diced tomatoes, salt and pepper –whatever you want– can also be thrown into the mix. This is a whatever you have in the house dish. Cover with water. Put the lid on the pot and let it cook overnight on low. In the morning turn off the pot and take out the meat. It will be fall apart tender. Shred it with your hands and return it to the pot. Refrigerate or freeze. This is a one-pot meal that is a standard in our house. It can be made with chicken or meatless if you prefer. Be adventurous. If you don’t have a crock pot buy one!! Or bring to a boil in a pot and then cook covered in a 225 to 250 degree oven at least 8 hours.


ML: Is there someone in particular who has influenced your cooking and/or eating habits, in what way?

RS: My dad has influenced my shopping and eating. He was a butcher and taught me how to cut up a chicken. So when whole chickens are ridiculously cheap I buy 10 of them, cut them up, and freeze the parts. And his love for food and being willing to try various cuisines has been passed down to me.


ML: In your dream dinner party whom would you like to invite to your home for a dinner party?


RS: With all the hustle bustle today my family and I never have enough time to spend together although we do get together on the holidays. So I would love to have a “holiday” dinner party weekly with my family.


Additionally, I would have a dinner party with all of my yoga teachers, as they are kind, loving people who are always in the present and mindful of their surroundings. They would be most appreciative and interesting guests who would enjoy all the subtleties of flavors in the food I served.


ML: What would you serve or what would be on the menu?

RS: For my family I would serve a traditional Friday night dinner: chicken soup, brisket, kugel (noodle pudding), any vegetable in season although they love my roasted cauliflower, and mandel bread a k a biscotti and fruit salad for dessert.


RS: Mandel Bread

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup or more of dried cranberries or yellow raisins (I prefer the cranberries)

1/2 cup or more of crushed nuts—I use walnuts or pecans but you can also use almond pieces. The nuts should not be pulverized but should be recognizable small pieces. About the same size as the raisins.


Mix liquids together and then add dry ingredients which have been mixed together. Add raisins and nuts and stir. Mixture will be thick.


Form into 2 logs and bake on a cookie sheet about 35 minutes at 325 degrees. (I bake until brown on top. Time can vary.


Take out of oven and slice into about 1/2 pieces. Put back on baking sheet cut side down and bake another 20 minutes till brown. Turn and bake till both sides are brown. Cooking time varies so keep an eye on them.


Directions are not precise but have fun with this recipe. These freeze well if you have any left over.


For my yoga teachers I would make a vegetarian dinner. Perhaps a strawberry soup in the summer or hearty bean and kale soup in the winter; an apple, beet and cabbage salad; vegetable lasagna, or Chinese stir fry with brown rice.


Cooking School in Italy Events


A view of the villa in the hills of Umbria

Enjoying a dinner after a cooking class at the Villa…

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm Cooking School in Italy-Sept 23- October 6th. Join Celebrity Chef-Maria Liberati for a the 7day -6night Experience Italy event filled with hands on cooking classes, wine tastings at local vineyards, olive oil artisans, work with locally grown produce, sightsee, experience nature trails in the hills of Umbria all while relaxing as a special guest at the villa which houses the school. Limited to 12 participants only. Includes all meals, transportation from Rome -Fiumicino airport and back, all meals, 4 hands-on cooking classes, wine tastings, special farewell dinner at local castle, wine tastings, sightseeing,stay at the villa (double occupancy. Single occupancy available but for extra amount). All while you relax at the villa in the picturesque, quiet hills of Umbria. $1795. Or register with deposit before May 1st and receive a $200 discount plus free souvenir apron upon arrival. To register or for an email brochure send email to: or call 1-800-581-9020.


Tea Healthy Tea..a great after dinner drink…



By tea expert- Patricia Bontempo

Did you know the number 2 New Year’s resolution made is to lose weight, get fit, or eat healthier? I even make that resolution every year. When I was younger I usually resolved to lose those dreaded 5 to 10 pounds. But getting older you put things in perspective. It is more important to eat healthier, make better choices and stay physically fit.


To help achieve that goal I have opted to drink more tea. I have always been a tea drinker but now I drink more green, white and oolong teas. It is a very simple change or addition to your daily routine.

Besides that you get a great deal of other health benefits:

– Medical studies have shown that green and oolong teas help increase metabolism, helps burn calories, and aids in lower fat absorption.

  1. Tea contains high levels of antioxidants, some of which are called polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, and all of which take on the “free radicals” in the body and prevent them from harming the healthy cells on board.


– Tea contains flouride which benefits your teeth and has bacteria killing properties which helps control bad breath and the formation of plaque.


• Higher quality teas, such as loose teas, have more catechin antioxidants than lower quality teas (bagged tea).

• White tea has more antioxidants than any other tea.

• Green tea has more catechin antioxidants than black tea since black tea goes through more processing.

• Freshly brewed teas have more polyphenol antioxidants than instant or bottled teas.


– Oolong tea may prevent the onset of some neuro diseases such as Parkinson’s disease

– Polyphenols found in loose Oolong tea also prevent inflammation and it has anti-allergy compounds

– Tea also aids in depression that it can activate your dopamine happy hormones.

Next month a selection of some of the recent studies that boast health benefits of teas.

Don’t forget to check out the new flavors of teas from Sempre Sapori. Real whole leaf teas, the same teas served at the villa at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking School at tea time. The teas will soon be available online..





Win a free subscription to La Cucina Italiana Magazine & your recipe printed in the Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm ezine.

Give us your best summer recipe. Do you love to barbecue, grill, preserve fresh produce, make summer salads or fresh fruit preserves or anything that uses fresh fruits or vegetables in season during the summer months of May, June, July & August. Send us your best recipe and you could win a subscription to La Cucina Italiana Magazine-each issue filled with recipes from Italy but in English.

Qualifications & Rules : Summer in Italy Recipe Contest!
Recipes must be original and should contain either fresh fruits or vegetables , herbs that are in season during May, June, July & August. We are looking for recipes that promote locally grown produce.

*No processed ingredients, no corn syrup, lard, margarine allowed in recipes and recipes containing these will be eliminated.

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Deadline: recipes must be postmarked or emailed no later than June 1st 2009. Winners will be selected by staff of the Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm and all winners are final. Winner wins a year subscription to La Cucina Italiana Magazine and their recipe will be featured in an issue of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm ezine .

This contest void where prohibited by law. The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm is not responsible for any lost mail, emails, any omissions or guarantee of receipt of subscription of La Cucina Italiana magazine. La Cucian Italiana Magazine is responsible for winning prize of annual subscription and winenr must correspond with :La Cucina Italiana Magazine if any delays I nreceivign subscriptions. The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati, Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc is not responsible for issuing the subscription to the magazine and can not be held responsible.

Where to send recipes:
Email recipe, name ,address ,phone number & email to us at:

Mail recipe(s) to: Place recipe on 3x 5 card, include recipe, name, address ,phone and email (if you have one) to:
Recipe Contest, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm, 292 Main St, Unit 291, Harleysville, Pa 19438

Recipe must be legible or will be automatically elimiinated if not legible




The Basic Art of Italian Cooking™ makes a terrific gift, any time of year.

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking™ is full of good food, but by purchasing it you’ll do more than expand your cooking skills. Proceeds from the cookbook benefit Gilda’s Club, an organization dedicating to supporting victims of cancer, and their families.

Get a copy of the bestselling book at




Sempre Sapori -the first product originally by The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm includes flavors from all over the world. Tuscan Picnic was developed by Maria Liberati so that anyone from non-experienced to experienced chef could make a Tuscan style meal in a minute. Tuscan Picnic captures all the flavors of Tuscany as developed by Maris Liberati from her cooking programs in the Tuscan region and always incldues a recipe booklet to make Tuscan meals. Makes a great gift for the Holidays also. Spices are all natural and can be ordered in a special gift pack for the Holidays. Go to : to order yours now. Free samples provided with every order.




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See you next month

March/April issue will contain video segments of the cooking school and the villa that houses it as well as other features and recipes.!



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    October 6, 2016

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