We heard from several readers with fond memories of the garlic rolls at the late, legendary Marcella’s in North Miami. They were soft, yeasty and pleasantly afloat in a buttery, parsley- and garlic-infused oil.
“For those willing to drive a long distance just to salivate from the aroma of Marcella’s rolls, the place to go is Papa Giuseppe Pizza” at 660 Linton Blvd., Delray Beach, Stephen Steinbrecher wrote. “One of the Marcella’s bakers moved up to Delray and started this pizza joint. He makes the rolls the same way. Plenty of olive oil and minced garlic.”
“I worked there and made thousands of them,” said Mark F. “The secret was the dressing. Use fresh garlic finely minced, olive oil, fresh parsley and salt. Drizzle on the hot rolls. The rolls can be baked and frozen but the drizzle must always be fresh.”
Mark recommends Tommy’s Italian Restaurant, 4777 S University Dr., Davie, which does not make the garlic knot but does serve “the drizzle” for dipping hot bread.
The recipe here is from Willie Bianchini of Coconut Grove, who says he baked his way through college making rolls at Marcella’s. “We made huge batches, of course, but this works for home cooks. I don’t even bother making my own dough anymore. I either buy some fresh pizza dough or use frozen roll dough.”
Doris B. of Clayton, N.Y., provided the recipe for an absolutely delicious banana cake with a light whipped frosting for Susan Taylor of Knox, Maine. Taylor had never forgotten a banana layer cake “with a fluffy, sugary white frosting” that her mother bought in Fayetteville while her father served in Korea 58 years ago.
Make sure your bananas are overripe to get the most flavor in this wonderfully moist cake. The frosting is much like those used in bakeries — it has the structure of whipped cream but will maintain its shape. It takes some time to make, but if you are a fan of fluffy and flavorful, you’ll find the effort worthwhile.
Q. The weather up north has been so bad that our phone is ringing off the hook with announcements of visitors on the way. I need to come up with make-ahead breakfast and lunch menus and recipes for them. We need to accommodate non-meat eaters (fish is acceptable), high-blood pressure diets (low-salt meals) and diabetics.
I decided long ago that descending hordes should get a clean bed and my love but that the stress of trying to provide perfectly wonderful meals all the time would mean no time for visiting. So my advice is to have lots of cereal and frozen waffles on hand for breakfast, some purchased baked goods and perhaps prepare pancakes or a favorite strata recipe for a special gathering. Lunch? Let them eat sandwiches, salads or doctor canned soups.
But I bet our readers have lots of recipes and tales of entertaining snowbirds to share, so I’m turning to them for recipes and coping strategies.
The trouble with most happy hours is that they end to early for those of us who don’t punch a 9-to-clock. Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Kendall, Sawgrass Mills and Pembroke Pines has a new late-night happy hour from 9 to closing Sunday through Thursday with half-price appetizers. We nabbed a modified version of one of the most popular offerings, Fire Roasted Jerk Shrimp. (At the restaurant they use fire rather than an oven.)