Sunday, September 27, 2009

Italian American Museum Little Italy, NYC

A new museum, in the heart of Little Italy, NYC, tells the story of Italian Americans. Little Italy is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan.

Click on the number with a star to see the restaurant.

The Museum is located at 155 Mulberry Street, on the corner of Grand Street, in a historic, and beautifully preserved bank.Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa is the founder and president.The original interior of the bank, which was founded by the Italian American, Francesco R. Stabile, in 1885, is lovingly preserved and restored.This is what the National Italian American Foundation said about the Stabile Bank:
"Banca Stabile has remained in the Stabile family since 1880s when Francesco Stabile founded the bank.
It was a cornerstone in the community offering banking, translation, mortgage, money-wiring, insurance and travel services. The Stabile family left the building intact since the bank closed in 1932; tellers' windows, a huge safe, the contents of safe deposit boxes, period light fixtures, clients' bank books, deeds and passports remain intact and are on display."An introductory video is presented at the beginning of the tour.Exhibits display artifacts of the Italian American neighborhood, and of the Stabile business. This is a small museum, but it tells a huge story about the contributions of proud Italian Americans.Before you leave Little Italy, stop in one of the many bakeries, and taste Anise Toast, my personal childhood favorite. They tasted just as I remembered, even though I grew up on Long Island!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jarvis House Banana Bread

The best recipe for Banana Bread ever, was given to me in 1970, by the wife of another teacher. Her name was Mrs. Newton. It's a Back to Basics recipe, and a great comfort food.I always triple the recipe, so that banana bread can be given away to people passing through the Jarvis House. One of the side benefits of making this recipe, is that grocery stores always package up ripe fruit for a quick sale. They reduce the price of the bananas when brown spots appear. The bananas are turning ripe, really sweet, and are perfect for banana bread.Mash the peeled bananas in a large bowl and add six beaten eggs.
Add a cup of margarine, or butter.Add 2 cups of granulated sugar.Beat with an electric mixer, or whisk, until fluffy.Chop 1 1/2 cups walnuts and add to the mixture.
Beat again.Add 6 teaspoons of Baking Powder. This can has a clever opening, enabling you to level the teaspoon of powder.Add 3/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda. You can estimate this.Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.Gradually add 4 cups of sifted unbleached all purpose flour.Oil the glass pans with vegetable oil, and spread oil with a pastry brush. Glass pans or pottery pans are best, but you can use very small aluminum pans. Then leave the bread in these tiny pans and slip onto a cellophane goodie bags for giving.Fill the bread pans 2/3 full with batter.Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake about one hour, or until a tooth pick comes out clean, depending on the size of the pan. Cool before removing bread from the pans. You can double this recipe and bake in a pan 9"x13". The banana bread when cut, will come out in squares which is perfect for whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.Wrap each bread in wax paper and aluminum foil, for freezing or gifting.Finish with a seasonal ribbon.Now you are ready for company or for visiting. Banana bread can be made without walnuts if someone is allergic to nuts. It travels well and can be mailed to college students, and can be made ahead and frozen.

Jarvis House Banana Bread (original single recipe)

Wet ingredients: two peeled & mashed ripe bananas
two eggs, beaten
1/3 cup soft margarine or butter
blend until fluffy the add
Dry ingredients:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/3 cups unbleached sifted flour
1/2 chopped walnuts

Mix at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Oil loaf pan and spoon in mixture. Bake at 350 degres for about one hour or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool on a rack before attempting to remove from the pan. Wrap in waxed paper and aluminum foil for storage, freezing, or gifting. Tie with a seasonal ribbon.

Banana bread tastes the best with a hot cup of tea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Huntington Lighthouse Labor Day Music Festival

On Saturday Sept. 5th, 2009, the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society held its annual Music Fest.With all manner of boats creating a flotilla around the historic lighthouse, bands played all day from their perch on top of the tower. That morning we hopped down a ramp to a private dock in Centerport and boarded a friend's trawler.We pulled out of Centerport harbor,passing by the houses on the waterfront.We headed out to Huntington Harbor and the lighthouse.Hundreds of boats, and thousands of people crowded the waters around the lighthouse,lashing their craft together in rows numbering up to fifteen boats.Fishing boats, kayaks, sailboats, kids in inflatables, and fast power boats all mingled on the sound to hear the music.We had beautiful food, supplied by one of the passengers, a former caterer, how lucky for us.Captain Billy shot off a brass cannon without warning!Pirates were in the area, (making collections for the lighthouse fund raiser.)We thought about the day and other sailing adventurers from our past.It was Labor Day on Long Island, and everybody was there having a great time.As the day and the music ended, we left the Huntington Lighthouse, knowing that there will be other concerts in the future and other reasons for visiting the Huntington Lighthouse.