Torta Sbrisolona

Torta Sbrisolona is a traditional cookie that has been around since the Renaissance. Translated from Italian, it means “crumbly cake” but most people think of it as a cookie.

It is “struesel like”, but made with almond flour, corn meal, and chopped almonds..along with flour, sugar, egg yolk, cinnamon, and butter. It is crunchy, sweet enough, and dry the way biscotti is. I had a feeling this would be a hit for us.

Interestingly, in the making of the cookie you make the dough in a food processor and mix only until you have “wet sand”. We are told to drop the dough by squeezed streusel-like morsels. Then, I listened when I read the next instruction…

When all the dough is in, pat it down gently-“gently” bring the important word. You don’t want to crush the clumps, you just want to start them on the road to sticking together.

So I listened.

It sounded like I barely press down and then I was thinking maybe the butter melts it down to make more of a bar. 🤷‍♀️

The torta gets baked for about 35 min at 325. I could tell right away I was in trouble as my “streusel morsels” were in the same spot as I placed them haha. There was no turning the block out onto a rack…more like dumping it onto a cutting board. Gosh it looked like a mess.

I tried one, and it tasted great…so phew…but what a mess. I left them cooling on the counter. My husband told me he walked by and thought I ran to the store to get more ingredients because it didn’t look done haha. We had a good laugh over the whole thing. Needless to say, they were delicious and if I made them again I will most definitely press harder to make bars!!

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Grilled Dry-Rubbed Chicken

Perfect summertime recipe for us to try out this month. This dry rub can be used really on anything…steak, chicken, fish or even corn on the cob or wedges of squash. The beauty of the rub is actually in the color, crust and depth of flavor it gives as it is grilled.

The rub is quite complex…check out the ingredients used:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt
  • Chile Powder
  • Paprika
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chinese Five Spice
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin

I wasn’t kidding…there is a lot going on!

The chicken is rubbed generously on both sides and then grilled. We were impressed with the color and crust we did get on our chicken as it seems like with other marinades, a lot falls off.

My husband and I both had similar reactions to this chicken. It was good and it seemed to get better the more you ate, but honestly there is a lot going on…maybe too much. I think personally I don’t care for cinnamon, and maybe the Chinese Five Spice, on meat as I think we have had that before in another recipe as those seemed to be what I tasted. Anyway, it was good and we enjoyed it but like my husband said, he wouldn’t crave it. I would have to agree.

Cowboy Caviar Salad or Side

Our recipe this month is a throw back from 1940. Originally called Texas Caviar and created by Helen Corbitt while culinary director of Neiman Marcus in Dallas. Traditionally it is made with black-eyed peas and served on New Years Day for a year of prosperity.

Our take on it uses either black-eyed peas or red, black, or pinto beans. They are mixed with green onion, red onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, tomato, and garlic…corn is also an option so I added it. The salad is then tossed with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, smoked paprika, and honey. The whole thing can then be drizzled with hot sauce if so desired.

I am not a fan of beans, so I had to defer to my husband on his thoughts about this “caviar”. He really enjoyed it as a side, but thought it would also work perfectly in a rice bowl with chicken or fish…so that is how he had it the second day. He loved it and said it gave the bowl a lot of flavor..I am guessing primarily from the vinaigrette.

I think this is a keeper and can be used a variety of ways!

Pimento Cheese

This was a hit…with everyone!

I would have to say, it was rather addictive. For something so simple, it sure had a wow factor.

I would also have to admit, I had to look up what pimentos actually were after a friend asked me haha. I was like…the red filling in a green olive 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️

Turns out…

“A pimiento or pimento is any kind of pepper. In some English speaking countries, it is mostly associated with a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chili pepper that measures 3 to 4 in long and 2 to 3 in wide. Pimientos can have various colours including yellow, green, red, and maroon.”

This particular pimento cheese is easy to make…and other than making sure you have the pimentos…pretty basic ingredient list. We used a combination of extra sharp and sharp cheddar cheese, pimentos, small amount of Mayo and cayenne. We are told to trust the small amount of cayenne, because as the spread chills for the 4+ hours, the heat will intensify.

The heat was perfect…just enough to keep you coming back. This was so enjoyed by everyone, I will most certainly make it again!