Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas At Our House Part 3 - Melding the Irish & Italian

Blending two traditions:

In our house, we blend the traditions my husband brought with him from Northern Ireland and the ones my family shared in an Italian household. Two of our favorite Christmas foods come from these two cultures. 
Have you ever heard of cannoli chips?
How about Northern Irish potato bread?

My favorite Italian food is a staple at our Christmas Eve celebration. It's cannoli. If you have ever had one, you know they are delicious, but very tricky to eat. The crispy thin shell combined with the creamy soft center makes it all but impossible to eat with any class at all. They crack, fall apart, and you find yourself trying to look graceful all with a smudge of cannoli cream on your face. My solution is to make cannoli chips and a small bowl of the filling which can be eaten like a chip & dip.

You can find your favorite cannolo (that's the singular of cannoli) shell recipe on the Internet. Roll your cannolo dough out paper thin. 

Instead of cutting out circles of dough and wrapping them around metal tubes,  cut them into triangles that are about the size of a Dorito.

Fry them up just as you would a regular cannolo shell, and serve them with your favorite cannoli cream. You can also find recipes for cannoli cream on the Internet. Top the chips with powdered sugar to give them a real wintery feel. 
Turn them while they are in the hot oil.

Cook until light brown.

In honor of the new Star Wars movie, I just had to do this:
Yes, it's Obe 1 Cannoli!

Our Northern Ireland inspired tradition is perfect for our Christmas morning breakfast. It's traditional potato bread, but with a holiday flair. Potato bread is usually eaten with fried eggs and bacon, but we add pancakes and fruit to our plates too. Here is how to make it:

Boil up a pot of whole, unpeeled potatoes in salted water until they are soft. Rinse them under cold water and rub the skins off. Mash the potatoes any way you like. I use a ricer for this, but you can use any mashing tool you have on hand. Salt the mashed potatoes and add enough flour to the mixture so it will hold together in a ball. I usually make several balls of dough. Flatten out the dough and roll it out on a floured pastry cloth until it's about 1/4" thick.  

Using holiday cooking cutters, cut out some cute shapes and dry-griddle the pieces on medium heat on a griddle.

Cool on a cooling rack. 

You can eat these warm with a little butter or you can make them really unhealthy delicious by frying them in bacon grease and serving them with bacon and eggs.


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