Bonjour, mes amis! Welcome to another edition of Just Eat! This is an extra special blog entry as I am officially celebrating the SECOND ANNIVERSARY of my blog!
From a very basic blog to force myself to cook new things known as New Day, New Way to a food blog featured frequently in Foodbuzz’s Top 9 and seen around the world on every continent, we have come a along way. I could not have done this without the amazing support of my family, friends, and readers. I thank you all so much, this has been one of most amazing experiences of my life.
Out of all the inspirational people in my life, one of my biggest was my grandfather. As some of you may have read last Monday, he passed away earlier this month. He hadn’t been in great health in a long time was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. We knew our time would be short, but it still was not something I could have imagined happening. The most honest, generous, and adventurous man I have ever known. I strive to be more like him everyday! Some of you may have noticed a last name change from “Burgin” to “Burgin-Eaton” last year. I am the last grandson on my father’s side and one of two on my mother’s side, of whom did not have the last name of “Eaton.” For years, we talked about adoption with my Papaw so that I could carry on the Eaton last name, but I turned 18 and the only way to change would be a legal name change. So, to carry on his name and legacy, I have changed my last name to use both of my family names, instead of just Burgin.
In his youth, my grandfather served in the U.S. Navy for several years. During his service, he taught electronics in Iran and was sent all around the world. One of his most interesting/disturbing stories was that of a dinner in Asia. Living life as the locals did, he would eat pretty much everything they gave him… even unknown meat. He didn’t know it at the beforehand, but a dish served to him actually contained dog. :O A man daring to live as the locals, willing to try any food at least once… sound familiar?
Shortly before my departure to France, my grandfather requested one thing. Upon my return, I must make him homemade cannolis. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous as I had no clue how to make them and they aren’t even French. Haha! There could only be one solution: GO TO ITALY! So to Sicily, the home of the cannoli, I went!
If you followed my blog last year while I was in Normandy, you will remember I took a few weeks to travel through the rest of France, Italy, and Greece. My final stop before going home was the land of the cannoli: SICILY, more specifically the city of Trapani. I did not expect to fall in love with Sicily… it happened, though! The gorgeous weather, exquisite food, and beautiful surroundings just sucked me instantly. Within my first couple of days, I was climbing the mountain on the island of Favignana just to see even more of the place, which says a lot as I am not an nature person. Just breath-taking.
Before leaving, I started my research for my cannoli recipe to take to my grandfather. Right near my bed and breakfast, there was this little gelato and pastry shop. I popped in and stumbled through my very few known Italian words to order one. I stood there for about 5 minutes as the lady whipped up a fresh cannoli for me… then the big moment came: MY VERY FIRST REAL CANNOLI. I quickly thanked her and ran around the corner to dive in. The first thing I noticed: the size. Look at that thing in my hand! It’s huge! With my quick snapshot, I took my first bite. Oh my. I still remember it. The crisp crunch of the shell with a hint of cinnamon and marsala with the slightly citrus ricotta and chocolate… … … … … I’m sorry, I went off into a day dream and had to clean the drool off the keyboard.
Now, here is my attempt at recreating the experience of that cannoli for all of you and my grandfather, to whom this entry is dedicated to.
Do not be intimidated by the number of steps, most are “mix this ingredient in” and nothing more. Very simple and can be done over several days, which is great for those of us with only a little bit of time each day!
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
4 tbsp Shortening
5 tbsp Marsala Wine
2 Whole Eggs, plus 1 Egg White for Sealing
Oil for Frying
2 cups Ricotta Cheese (Drain Overnight in Cheesecloth)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (Sifted)
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
1. In a clean bowl, add the salt, sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
2. Mix well.
3. Add shortening and cut in until it resembles breadcrumbs with a pastry cutter or fork.
4. Add the 2 eggs and wine.
5. Mix until dough starts to come together,
6. On a floured surface, begin kneading dough.
7. Once a smooth ball has formed, wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
8. Remove from fridge and knead until just pliable.
9. Using a pasta roller or rolling pin, roll dough to about 1/16 inch thick or setting 6 on the roller.
10. Using a 4-inch round bowl or so, cut dough into circles.
11. Using cannoli forms, wrap dough around them and seal overlaps with egg white.
12. Heat your oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. Remove shells from oil once they turn golden brown.
14. In another clean bowl, add ricotta and vanilla. Mix well.
15. Add powdered sugar and whip well.
16. Zest about 1 tsp of lemon and mix well.
17. Add chocolate and mix well.
18. Load filling into a pastry piping bag/Ziploc bag with hole cut in corner and pipe into cannoli shells. Tip: Push bag in as far as it will go, then squeeze. Let the bag come out on it’s own, do not pull. Repeat on other side and finished!
These with a spot of coffee/espresso are divine! The richness of the shell with it’s crunch and creamy center with a pop of citrus is welcomed at any time of the day! I finally made these for him right after Christmas as I had promised him. He devoured them! There is no greater compliment in the world to me!
Alright, now, the moment you have all been waiting for: THE GIVEAWAY!
Two years ago, when I began this food blog, I started with a dinky little digital camera and some college student quality ingredients. Now, I want to give one lucky reader quality handmade ingredients and a fabulous digital camera! Wether you are another blogger, avid foodie, grandmother, bird watcher, whatever, you will thoroughly enjoy the prize! The vanilla is absolutely to die for! I gave these out as presents for Christmas, everyone has complimented their flavor. The camera is an absolute beauty and takes superb pictures and HD video. Great for photos of kids, parties, and, of course, food! A winner will be announced in the blog coming on the 13th of February!
The Giveaway Prize:
1 Fujifilm S2950 14 Megapixel Camera (Retail: $200)
1 8 oz Jar of Homemade Vanilla Extract (Retail: $20)
How to enter: (Up to 5 Entries Per Person)
1. Submit a comment to this entry telling me what your favorite Italian dish is.
2. “Like” Just Eat! on Facebook. (+1 Entry, you must submit a separate comment)
3. Follow Just Eat! on Twitter. (+1 Entry, you must submit a separate comment)
4. Tweet this entry using #JustEat or click here. (+1 Entry, you must submit a separate comment)
5. Pin a photo on Pinterest. (Use the button below that says “Pin It!”) (+1 Entry, you must submit a separate comment)
You must create a new SEPARATE comment for each entry to count and supply a Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook name for verification should you win. Example: “I tweeted this at @TwitterFoodie” & “I liked you on Facebook, my name is LaCretia Bonafutoo.” Best of luck to you all!
Disclaimer: Entries are open to all countries, though the winner is liable for any taxes or fees from their respective country, should there be any. This giveaway is not sponsored by any company, all products were made or purchased by myself. A winner will be elected using a random number generator and will be notified by email of their prize. Should the winner not respond within 24 hours, another number will be drawn and so on. The giveaway closes entries on February 9th at 11:59 PM CST.