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Entries in Madonia Brothers Bakery (2)

Monday
Jan162012

Roasted Garlic and Parsley Pesto

Over the weekend I intended to make some hummus. Fava bean hummus with rosemary to be exact. I've done it before and it's fantastic. I dip huge chunks of fennel in it.

But....there's always a but, isn't there? Well, the fava beans went bad. Very bad. The kind of bad that makes you think, how can this happen to a bean?

As I was erasing all evidence of outlaw fava beans (and watching Sons of Anarchy), I thought what now? I've got all this ammo and no one to shoot! No wait, I mean I've got all this....oh you get it.

In fact this is what I had:

1 lemon
1 head of garlic
fresh rosemary
fresh Italian parsley
pine nuts

I stared at the head of garlic, contemplating the possibilities. The garlic regarded me peacefully....willing me to ROAST IT.

So I did. And then I threw it in the food processor with the above ingredients, olive oil, salt and pepper and smeared it ALL over that prosciutto bread from Madonia Brothers Bakery and called myself a genius.

Because I was. And you will be too if you can follow these simple instructions:

What You Need:
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 head of garlic, roasted (roasting instructions listed here)
fresh rosemary (as much as you want, I used about 1 tablespoon chopped)
fresh Italian parsley (I used an entire bunch, about 1 cup chopped)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil (more if you think you need it)
salt and pepper to taste

What To Do:

Squeeze the freshly roasted garlic insides out of their papery wrappers and into a food processor or blender.

Add the lemon juice and all the remaining ingredients.

Whirl it around until a nice paste forms.

Give it a taste to see if you've seasoned appropriately. At this point you can add either salt, pepper, olive oil or all three.

Throw it on some toasted bread wedges, put some Sons of Anarchy DVDs in and have yourself a party.

Friday
Jan132012

Madonia Brothers Bakery in the Bronx – Carbing Me Up Since 1918!

If you read Wednesday's post you know that John, Marmo and I had an all-out food fest last Saturday on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. It was nuts. We left the Bronx with the car packed to the rear-view mounted EZ-Pass with pastas, pastries, wines, cheeses and BREAD.

Between John and I, I am probably the one with the carb fixation. We've discussed this. It's a problem that I don't wish to fix.

So when we walked past Madonia Brothers Bakery and I spotted this in the window, I seized up a little bit:

Prosciutto bread? In a fancy ring that I could potentially wear as a floury bangle bracelet and take occasional (ok, constant) nibbles from all day long, like it was one of those candy necklaces you had in the third grade?

Yes, please! I'll take two - one for each wrist.

In reality the prosciutto bread rings are much larger than bracelet sized. But while they are unwieldy as an accessory, they are excellent for actual eating.

The above photo provides a close-up view of the prosciutto chunks nestled between the crispy, bubbled golden brown crust and the soft salty insides. Cracked pepper speckles the ring and provides a little bite and also a nice contrast to the salty prosciutto.

Dip this in some olive oil, melt some provolone on top – you won't be sorry.

But I didn't stop there. Marmo is often like a little blonde food oracle. And when the food oracle speaks, I listen. Or pretend to, anyway. Marmo's advice at Madonia's was to get the Cheese Bread. "You MUST," said she.

And so I did, and dove in immediately after they handed me the freshly sliced loaf. The cheese is integrated so seamlessly into the bread that it feels and tastes like part of the batter. The result is a soft cloud where flour and cheese intermingle with tiny flecks of pepper.... I should have purchased more than one loaf as it didn't last until the next day.

I then spotted a Cranberry Walnut bread staring me down by the cash register. It laughed in my face. It said, "You think you're going to walk out of there without me? Think again, lady."

Now, I've met some Cranberry Walnut breads in my time. They aren't modest. They pack themselves full of berries and nuts and just let it all hang out, unembarrassed and unashamed. They want you to butter them. They like it.

The above photo demonstrates this well-deserved berry and nut conceit. This is another loaf I should have purchased in bulk. I've been toasting it with some currant jam, plopping poached eggs on top and calling it a night. Or a morning. Or a snack... A little cinnamon cream cheese will do the trick too. To say nothing of butter.

While we were there the FDNY Tower Ladder 58 rolled up and invaded the bakery.

The roof was not on fire, literally speaking anyway. The group of firefighters walked in and purchased 1/3 of the inventory of the place. I'm glad I got mine before the hungry firemen.

Not even a week later and I only have a little prosciutto bread left. I stupidly handed over my other prosciutto bangle to The Box. I'll be headed out for a return trip, as should you! Even if it's for the very first time!

Madonia Brothers Bakery
2348 Arthur Ave
Bronx, NY 10458

(718) 295-5573