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Italian-Canadian Buzz for August

Canning tomatoes

August is coming to an end and for most of us that means some quality time with a few bushels of tomatoes.

Every month, I feature the online news and items of interest to Italian-Canadians collected from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, online newspapers and more.

The buzz this month has been about tomatoes, Olympics and some great Italian festivals across the country. Check out the buzz after the jump!

Found: Vintage Italian Postcard – Alterrocca-Terni Opera

Recipe: Eggplant “Meatballs”

Eggplant meatballs recipe











We may have gone overboard with the amount of eggplants we planted in our moderately-sized garden. We’ve had more eggplants than we can normally deal with and although we’ve already made eggplant parmigiana and jarred eggplant antipasto, it was time to go one step further – we dug out my husband’s family’s recipe for eggplant meatballs.

The idea of eggplant meatballs is rather new to me but, it turns out, there’s quite a few Italians I know that make them, particularly to replace traditional beef/pork meatballs during holidays when we shouldn’t eat meat like Christmas eve. This particular recipe is used to both stuff eggplants and to make “meatballs” out of them. If you truly want to be vegetarian with them, omit the soppresatta included here.

Eggplant Meatballs
4 cups roasted eggplant
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped soppresatta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzerella cheese diced or shredded
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 eggs
vegetable oil for frying
tomato sauce for eating

A Tour of Montreal’s Little Italy

Montreal's Little Italy












In honour of Montreal’s current festa, Italian Week or Semaine Italienne, I’m posting the next in a series of features on Little Italy’s around the country. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel a bit this summer and have taken pictures along the way. Already, you’ve seen Taste of Little Italy in Toronto and Pier 21 in Halifax.

Montreal’s Little Italy, or Piccola Italia, is memorable for its cafes, Italian specialty stores and it’s neighbour, the Jean-Talon Market.

Recipe: Farro Salad

Farro Salad Recipe











I’m a big fan of summer salads, particularly for picnic season and this year I trotted out a new one for our annual family picnic which gathers up all the relatives on my mom’s father’s side. This Farro Salad recipe was a big hit.

One of my favourite things about the picnic is the shear collection of food. And you can be pretty sure if you didn’t make or bring a family favourite, someone else did. These are all recipes I should will feature here sooner or later. For now, I offer you something new, and really healthy. If you haven’t tried farro yet, you should. Check out my recipe from earlier this year about using farro as a replacement for pasta. You can pick up farro at Italian specialty stores.

Farro Salad
1 cup farro
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups water
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Chopped asparagus, green onion, sundried tomato (but any of your favourite combos of veges will do! Try cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, corn and vidalia onion for my favourite combo)

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon of honey (or more if you like sweetness)
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup olive oil
Farro Salad Recipe

Finding your history (or not) at the Pier 21 Museum

Pier 21 Museum











My dad insists he arrived to this country by cruise boat, my mother by cargo boat. This comment usually generates a bit of debate and argument in the house, though fun-natured. I doubt either is entirely correct though I would never doubt the struggles, feelings and fears they had about arriving to Canada from Italy which are still vivid for both of them. My mother particularly recalls, upon their May arrival, seeing snow and “houses on stilts” in the Halifax harbour prompting her to demand to her mother “we left Italy for this?” My dad remembers the nuns, processing his papers, changing his name from Luigi to Louis, something he still tries to correct today, some 50 years later.

I’ve long wanted to experience some of their history myself and when the opportunity came up this summer to visit Halifax, I immediately put the Pier 21 Museum on my touring list. I mapped it out, planned to give it half a day and started my trek down the harbour boardwalk. The Pier 21 Museum offers many exhibits on immigrant experience, a guided tour and a gift shop.

The Pier 21 Museum also houses the Scotiabank Family History Centre where you can look up family members that arrived at Pier 21, get information on when and how they arrived and details of the ship they travelled on. This is what I was really excited about. I was able to look up relatives that immigrated to New York (my great grandfather, for one) through the Ellis Island Passenger Search. That was easy and painless and I had been hoping to do the same for my parents and grandparents that arrived in Halifax. At Pier 21 though I ended up learning less about my family and more about the Canadian privacy legislation than I would have liked, but more about that later.