Sunday, December 21, 2008

Arthur Avenue Italian

Mother Nature has been giving us quite a whalloping lately. Fortunately, there was a break between storms which allowed me to take up an invitation to visit Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. This is where the Italian population moved to after they landed in Little Italy and were able to make enough money to get out of the tenements. I had been looking forward to making this trip very much, as I was hoping to get my hands on some fresh pasta and other specialties that I'd been missing since I lived in Italy, so I was glad that we could make it.

I was not disappointed at all. It was very much like being let loose in a candy-shop for an adult food lover. Brands and items that I hadn't seen since I lived overseas were available. The aroma of the bakery we stopped at brought me back to Europe with piles of bread on the shelves and fresh-baked goods on display. Of course, I could not resist picking up some of the soft almond cookies and the pine nut cookies to take to my family for the holidays on our visit to Madonia Brothers Bakery (2348 Arthur Avenue).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Magic Cookie Bars

You know those foods that come under the category of "things you ate at other people's houses"? Well, Magic Cookie Bars fall into that group, as well as the group of "things that I ate at potlucks" and "things that my mother didn't make." These might have been a bit too much of off-the-back-of-every-bag-and-box type of cookie for her.

It was great to see that the recipe is listed in's "Southern Food" category, being from that region myself. These fall into the domain of bar cookies, of which I am a big fan and with which I grew up: lemon bars, linzer bars, brownies, blondies, Rice Krispy treats, no-bake things, etc. They are quick and easy to make, transport well, and are usually a huge hit when served.

So, when I recently had these at an event back home, I realized that I should track down the recipe and add it to my collection. This co-incided nicely with the birthday party of one of my work colleagues and my annual holiday cookie baking bug. I think that they turned out looking pretty well:

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