Discover more from Broccoli Rising, the Newsletter from Ellen Kanner
Broccoli Rising, Eat, Pray, Love, and a Recipe
Are you an Elizabeth Gilbert fan? Maybe stop reading now.
You know Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert’s mega-bestseller that became a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts no less? I hated it. It bothered me the way the whole book was about her swanning around Italy, India and Bali and marveling at life while the rest of us stayed home with our real lives and pesky problems.
How hard is it to feel joy in Rome when thistly artichokes and plump porcini are in season and pasta, wine, and olive oil are always on the menu? Of course the food was great, but Gilbert never invited us to the table, never shared as much as a single recipe (Liz, honey, I’m just saying).
Let me tell you, though, eating, praying, and loving can work their magic even now, in these dark days of terrorism, hatred, and corruption when it feels like everything’s crumbling. You don’t have to jet off anywhere, you’re fine where you are. And I do have a recipe for you.
But let’s start with love. Love can bring us back and make us shiny and whole I’ve seen it.
In line to get into the Pantheon like every good tourist, I stood behind a woman who was frumpy, slumpy, and not Julia Roberts. I’d have called her unremarkable, but then I witnessed something, well, remarkable.
A man came to join her in line. He was about her age and hotness level. They were clearly a matched set. Then hugged her and gently kissed her brow. They bloomed for each other, made beautiful by love. May we all know what that kind of love tastes like.
To be there, to be present and see that one small moment felt like a gift. Which brings me to prayer. Praying and being present aren’t so far apart. Both can offer grounding and grace. Here’s a link to three free ebooks on achieving mindfulness and peace, courtesy of Parallax Books.
And now the recipe — ciambelline al vino rosso, ring-shaped red wine cookies (everything sounds better in Italian). Flavor of Italy blogger, podcaster and all-around Italian expert Wendy Holloway, who squired Benjamin and me around Rome introduced me to these cookies the way you’d want your friends to meet each other. They’re simple, crunchy, comforting, and vegan by nature. They typify Italy’s do-more-with-less culinary tradition, wasting nothing, saving money and making great use of that little bit of red wine left sloshing around in the bottle.
You want luscious and creamy, have tiramisu. CIambelline are more of a there, there dear kind of cookie, a perfect midmorning or afternoon bite to enjoy with coffee, lifting spirits at a time when we really need it.
Broccoli Rising subscribers, I love you. Have a read, have a cookie.
Ciambelline al vino rosso
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar plus more for dusting the cookies
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 1 lemon or 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
⅓ cup red wine
¼ cup mild fruity olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment or Silpats.
Stir the flour, evaporated cane sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. Zest in lemon or sprinkle in anise seeds if using.
Stir in the olive oil and wine until well combined.
Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Pinch off a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll it out by hand into a skinny snake about 4 inches long. Form it into a ring, gently pinching the ends together to seal. Dough is very soft and forgiving.
Pour a few tablespoons of evaporated cane sugar into a broad shallow bowl. Dust the ciambelline lavishly front and back with the cane sugar and place the cookies on the baking sheets, setting them about two inches apart.
Bake the ciambelline for 20 minutes, or until they’re pale yellow — about the shade of Prosecco. Cool the ciambelline thoroughly, then store in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a week, or frozen, even longer.
They’re a breeze to make and freeze beautifully for do-ahead holiday gifts. Recipe doubles or triples with ease, but honey, how much red wine do you have lying around?
Looking for a printable version of this recipe? Click here.
More Italian vegan treats
Flavor of Italy’s white chocolate with dried fruit and nuts
Okay, okay, they’re Czech not Italian, but I’ve veganized these thumbprint cookies from an old family recipe. They’re absolutely delicious.
This Thursday is also Give Miami Day, when our community comes together to support the organizations that make Miami feel like home.
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