Tuesday, June 21, 2016

An “Italian Muffuletta Sandwich” To Celebrate The Summer Season!

Welcome to the Summer! The summer solstice season is the day that most people in the USA were waiting for! Summer time! The timing of the solstice depends on when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. We notice that the sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. The summer solstice (which was yesterday) is the day with the most sunlight during the whole year, (17 hrs) which is why they call this day the longest day of the year.

Did you know? Traditionally, this summer solstice period fell between the planting and harvesting of crops, leaving people who worked the land time to relax. This is why June became the traditional month for weddings. The first (or only) full moon in June is called the 'honey moon' because many believed it was the best time to take honey from beehives.

How will you celebrate the summer season this year? Let’s see, I have some ideas and tips…

The first thing that comes to mind is the beach. Everyone loves the water and especially in the summer heat. A nice cool swim and relaxing on the sand is a fun way to spend a summer day. Oh, and I forgot to tell you, bring plenty of sunscreen and a bottle of water. 

Planting and gardening are also a great way to spend a day in the summer. But remember to use gardening gloves and a big wide brimmed hat. If you are mowing the lawn, do it early in the morning or late evening so the sun and the heat is not that bad. Don’t forget to drink water…always hydrate!

Another idea maybe a camping trip. Plan a camp-out and enjoy the great outdoors whether in a tent or in a cabin in the woods. But don’t forget the natural insect repellent that may come in handy especially with the mosquitoes.

Are you planning a trip to Italy or another country this summer? If you plan on a trip abroad, do make sure you have your passport up to date and that you do some research on the city or country where you are going. Sometimes you can get good deals as to a hotels or airfares.

One of my favorite ideas is to plan a family cook-out. There is nothing as tasty as grilled food with family and friends on a summer evening. I always use Citronella candles to ward off the bugs, plus it adds to the ambiance of the night.

As the temperatures rise and lazy days develop. A great way to relax is with a good book to read. Whether you are at the beach, on your porch, or inside if it is raining, one of the best ways to enjoy a summer day is to read up on some gardening tips, natural health, a romance, or that mystery you wanted to see if you can figure out. One of my favorite authors and friend is, Adriana Trigiani. Her books are always a delight to read and are so delicious that you will not be able to put them down. Among her many books, “The Shoemakers Wife,” “Queen of the Big Time, ”and of course “The Valentine” series. 

Her latest book is called “All The Stars In Heaven.” A romance that took place years ago with the screen stars of that day like Loretta Young, Spencer Tracy, and Clark Gable. A definite must read. Please go to Adriana’s website and see all of her other books she has written to perfection. Adriana made her fist movie which is based on the “Big Stone Gap” series, called “Big Stone Gap.” Funny, intriguing, romantic, and just a wonderful story that you will want to watch it over and over again with your family.   

Another great read is from my friend that has just written her first book, plus she is a crossover classical singer that is awesome. She is the fabulous Romina Arena! Her book is called, “Where Did They Film That? Italy: Famous Film Scenes and Their Italian Locations” (Amazon.com) If you are planning a trip to Italy this is the book for you. This visitor guide will provide a wide array of tips, information, and travel details, that I highly suggest you read. Romina Arena is an award-winning Italian recording artist who has performed before President Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, and many other world figures. Arena has sold over four million records worldwide and has received many major honors, including a Global Citizenship Award from the United Nations in recognition of her humanitarian support for the children of Haiti. I suggest you not forget your glasses if you need them to read as this is a delightful book and you will not want to miss any part of it.

Lastly, watch the night sky! Go outside after dark and explore the night’s sky from your own backyard. See if you can spot the Big /Little Dipper, the moon, the North Star, or maybe a comet. A good pair of binoculars would help you count the stars.

Now, I would love to hear from you about how you plan to celebrate the summer season? What are your ideas? Going on a trip, a cruise, the beach, or just staying at home. You can comment below and I will post them all on next week’s blog. 

This recipe that I have for you this week is one of my all time favorites. It is "The Italian Muffuletta Sandwich" so simple and easy but it is the best on a hot summers day or night, just enough to cool you off. This recipe is made using the Mudduletta bread filled with meats and cheese. It truly is a great comfort food that people of all ages love. So now let me explain what this sandwich is all about… 

The Muffuletta is both a type of round Sicilian sesame bread and a popular sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana using the same bread. A Muffuletta is a large, round, and somewhat flattened loaf with a sturdy texture, around 10 inches across. It is described as being somewhat similar to the focaccia texture. However is different from focaccia, in that it is a very light bread, the outside is crispy, but the inside is soft. It also has no additional seasonings baked into it, aside from the sesame seeds. The bread is more like French bread, but slightly heavier. A traditional-style Muffuletta sandwich consists of a loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. The sandwich is sometimes heated to soften the provolone. Quarter, half, and full-sized Muffulettas are sold. The signature olive salad consists of olives diced with the celery, cauliflower, and carrots found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano and garlic, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours. A traditional Muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it. 

Italian Muffuletta Sandwich

Multiple layers of thinly sliced meat and cheese with a chopped olive mixture make up a typical Muffuletta. The simplified version of the filling sandwich uses Italian Fontina Cheese and Prosciutto.

**** NOTE: (All these ingredients can be modified to your own preference)

Makes: 6 main dish sandwiches
Prep: 20 mins
Chill: 2 hrs

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
12 slices crusty sourdough bread or Muffuletta Bread
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
6 ounces thinly sliced Italian Fontina or provolone cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, or mortadella
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
5 Pepperoncini salad peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

In screw-top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, oregano, mustard, and crushed red pepper. Cover; shake well. Set aside. On six of the bread slices layer tomatoes, cheese, prosciutto, basil, and pepperoncini salad peppers. Shake oil mixture. Drizzle oil mixture over top of peppers. Shake oil mixture. Drizzle oil mixture over peppers. Top with remaining six bread slices. Wrap tightly. Place sandwich on a cutting board or tray. Place a shallow baking pan on top of sandwich. Chill up to 2 hours before serving. 

Till Next Time………………………………..

Copyright © 2016 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Great summer post, Dottie! I love Muffuletta sandwiches and now have to try your version of it, a perfect sandwich for everyone! Summer is my favorite time of year, no boots, scarves, gloves, and those bulky winter coats! We like to go to our neighborhood lake, golf and more outside activities to enjoy the warm weather. Thanks for all the great info here, I enjoyed it and will be checking out the books now on Amazon. Take care and have a great summer! Hugs

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thank you for visiting and your lovely comment. I am glad that you enjoyed this post and you are correct the Muffuletta sandwich are delicious and perfect for this time of year. Yes, I am glad that the summer is here, but not my favorite time of year..Mine is winter and the snow. But it is nice to do things outside and also not to wear all of that clothing. Yes, I think these books are awesome and you will not be sorry...Thanks again and you also have a wonderful summer too dear friend..
      Hugs Dottie :)

  2. I always learn something new when I visit your site! I did not know maffuletta sandwich and I must say it looks great! That generous thick filling of ham and cheese makes it beatiful to look at and surely delicious!
    This summer like every summer I am going to Italy, not sure yet if we will be doing something else too. How about you? Are you going on holiday somewhere nice?
    I hope all is well with you xxx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you for your wonderful comment. This sandwich is a Sicilian dish, where my dad's family is from. Maybe that is why you have not heard of this before. You can use different meats or cheeses according to your families likes and dislikes. Some people even heat it up on the grill for a few minutes to melt the cheeses all together with the meats. What really makes it so good is the giardiniera salad that is on top of the sandwich. I thought you would say you were going to go back to Italy. What a marvelous place to go back home to. I know you love it and your children do too.. I am sure by now your hubby must love the country as well. This year I am really not going anywhere as I have to stay close by to my parents as they need help. Also it is very hard for me to get around and travel as I have a cane because of my MS and Lupus. My son will be visiting in August sometime with his girlfriend Nikki, that I am looking forward to. If I can and all seems to be alright with my parents i may go back upstate NY with my son for a week. But that we have to see if I can get someone to be there for my parents. All is well dear friend..and always looking forward to your posts. Someday i will go to Italy and maybe England. Would love to meet you someday... Till then have a great week and be well...
      Hugs Dottie :)

  3. Good Morning dear Dottie ,
    I miss everyone , got a little break and wanted to say hello . Your posts are grat as usual and so much information .
    I've been missing in action , hope to be back soon , hubby's family went public , now it's a meet and greet thing , the kids love it , I read your posts they are great. I see a message that Louise is under the weather .
    Today is Louise --- John and my birthday .
    Dear friend I do so hope your mother and father is doing better , I know it's a relief to have her home . Take it easy and just smell the roses my friend .

    Dottie , you can travel the world with books and a little imagination .See you soon my friend .... Nee :-D

    1. Dearest Nee,
      So glad to hear from you my friend. Happy Birthday Nee...Hope that you have a wonderful day filled with love and fun. I just wish that Louise is OK..and I wish her a virtual Happy Birthday too!
      Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog. I know that you are busy and the family comes first...That is terrific that the family business went public and I can understand how busy that must be. So I do appreciate the fact that you took out some time to read and write to me. I miss your delicious posts and especially hearing from you. Hope that you come back soon...Thanks for asking about my parents..at times they are ok and then they fall so that is not fun..But we are trying to deal with things the best way we can. Yes, I do take time and smell the roses...Have a great rest of the week and see you soon...
      Hugs Dottie :)

  4. Love this sandwich! Such great flavor, don't you think? Yours looks wonderful. Really fun post, too. Summer is so much fun! Always loved it as a kid (no school!), and still do. :-) But then, I'm really still a kid!

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for the comment. I agree such a good sandwich and the flavors are a perfect combo with all of the meats and cheeses. Glad that you enjoyed this post as Summer is fun..even though I am a winter person..I still enjoy the summer. So many things to do and places to see. I think we all have that inner child in each one of us..so with that being said..Happy Birthday to you..Wish you a beautiful day with Mrs. KR. Have a good rest of the week..
      Hugs Dottie :)

  5. Dear Dottie, This is my king of sandwich! Looks delicious! xo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      I know this sandwich is so good and very filling that's for sure. Thanks for visiting.... Have a great week...
      Hugs Dottie :)