Before I go any further on the Easter dinner planning, I have a special request from my friend Christine in New Jersey.
She calls it "your ice cream", but I'm thinking we can do better than that. It's an old family recipe. I think. Or maybe I found it in a magazine at the doctor's office. I suspect that a lot of "old family recipes" come from the backs of cereal boxes.
My Ice Cream
Start with 2 and 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese. Get it from the deli, if you can, because a) it will taste better; and b) the guy at the deli can measure it out for you so you don't have to do it again. I'm guessing it's about a pound. Beat the ricotta with a cup of sugar, a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest (that's the yellow part of the lemon peel which you scrape off with a grater), and a BIG pinch of kosher salt. When it's smooth, stir in a cup of heavy whipping cream and some fresh raspberries (about 1 small package, rinse them first). Pour this into a big metal pan and freeze until firm.
Christine serves the ice cream in martini glasses. She also breaks up a dark chocolate candy bar and sticks pieces of it on top. Christine knows how to party.
You could also stuff it into a cannoli. Or a St. Joseph's Day sfinci. Why not?
In a saucepan on top of the stove, bring a cup of water, 1/2 cup of butter, a tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Then throw in a cup of flour and beat with a wooden spoon until you've got a ball. Take it off the stove. Then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. Grease a baking sheet and drop tablespoons of dough on it, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, and then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown. You can just dust these babies with confectioner's sugar or cinnamon sugar or cocoa powder, and eat them as is. OR, after they cool, you can cut a slit in the sides and fill them with whipped cream or pudding or My Ice Cream or whatever.
St. Joseph's Day is Thursday, March 19th. You don't hear much about him in the Bible. He probably worked a lot, drank wine, maybe played dice, and stayed way. Which is why he's so popular with Italians, since that's the way most of the men are, preferring to leave the drama to the wife and kids. And there is always plenty of drama, so especially if you're the foster father of God.
If you really want a cultural experience, there are these evens called "St. Joseph's Day Tables" that usually happen in church basements. Go on Google and see if there's one happening in your vicinity. Don't worry if you're not Italian. Just wear red and give some money for the "saint" and nobody will know the difference. They'll be too busy eating.
And so will you.