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Tradition in the Garden

Recipe: Fettini (Breaded Veal Cutlets)

Fettini recipe












The summer is busy and when I get busy I crave comfort food. Luckily – I think – my family has tons of comfort food to turn to and fettini (breaded veal cutlets) are one of them. In our house, say that you are making fettini, and it gets an immediate smile. This time around I was also inspired to cook these by Aurora Importing’s Nonna’s Tips. If you haven’t seen them yet, you have to check them out. Tip #1 was all about bread crumbs and this fettini recipe features them well!

This recipe is standard for my family but was also a big hit in the restaurant they used to run, years ago. Served with sauce and cheese, or gravy and mushrooms, or eaten while crispy and hot right out of the frying pan, you can’t go wrong.

Fettini/Breaded Veal Cutlets
6 to 8 veal cutlets
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
garlic powder
dried oregano
vegetable oil

Found: Vintage Book of “What to Say in Italian”

Vintage Italian Language book

My husband and I are still unpacking from moving into the new house so I’m still finding surprises in his things. Like this gem – a vintage Italian language book. I’m not sure where it came from. I’m a huge fan of old books and this one had me smiling for a while! From 1946, it has words and phrases for all sorts of things…












Among my favourites:
“The bread is not fresh!” “Il pane non è fresco!”
“Will you recharge my accumulator?”  “Favorisca ricaricare il mio accumulatore.”
“If anyone asks for me say I am not at home.” “Se qualcuno me cerca dica che non sono in casa.”
“Two front teeth have to be extracted.”  “Mi deve estrarre due denti davanti.”
“I cannot wear a material pattern with large flowers.”  “Non posso portate tessuti stampati a grandi fiori.”

Wanted: One Zappa

Italian garden zappa


I’m on the look out for an Italian artifact. Someone out there has one – in a dusty garden shed, in the rafters of your garage, or maybe you have just a piece of it in an old cantina or box in the basement. Well bring it out, because it’s hard to find! I’m after a zappa. You might also call it a sappa or saupa.

In simple words, it is a garden hoe. But brought straight from Italy, it is an amazing tool that you can’t buy anymore.

It has a long blade on one side, a two pronged fork on the other. The wooden pole it fits on has to be replaced from time to time, but the metal piece is unique for each one I’ve seen. And the Italians in my family that have them, aren’t letting go of them easily. For many Italians, it is their only gardening tool. You can do everything with it: turn the soil, remove weeds, mix in the manure, make trenches for planting the vegetables, and till the soil.

Recipe: Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto Recipe




Every once and a while my family adds a recipe to our regulars, tries something out and it sticks. Asparagus Risotto was one of those sticky recipes. We really only use to make risotto with meat sauce, peas and a lot of cheese and bake it off until the crust was golden brown (ok that’s a recipe I need to add on here). Then, one spring, the asparagus patch in the backyard exploded with vegetables and we had to find a new use for it.

This risotto was the result and it stuck around in our family for a long time. I hadn’t had it in a few years, so I used the blog as the excuse to bring out an old favourite. I know most fancy risotto recipes use wine to deglaze, but it works just as well without having to open a fresh bottle.

Asparagus Risotto
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup arborio rice
About 4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound of asparagus, clean, chopped into one inch pieces and blanched

Italian-Canadian Buzz for June

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