Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

My great-grandmother, Antoinette Balisteri, was born on August 30, 1915, in Buffalo, New York, to Marianna Bellanti, age 36, and Pietro Balistreri, age 46. At age 14, she lived at 100 Pennsylvania St. in Buffalo, New York, in 1930. Her sister, Lena, and Lena’s husband, Sam, owned the house.

100 Pennsylvania St.

Antoinette on the left

Antoinette on the right.

Antoinette on the right.

Antoinette in the middle with her children.

Above, my mother pregnant with me and with my great-grandmother.

My mother tells me that my great-grandmother and great-grandfather (Giovanino) were in an arranged marriage. My grandmother always thought of him as older, but in reality, he was only 5 years older. They had 6 children. When they separated, my grandmother, Annette, ended up in foster care. For a while, my grandmother lived on a farm. Eventually, my great-grandmother remarried John Ziegler and had another child. My great-grandfather never stopped loving her. He would tell everyone that she was  a putana (slut) but a beautiful putana and he loved her.

My mother also told me that my great-grandmother was always well-dressed and the best looking lady in the room at any event. She would always wear long gloves and she often guided young women on how to maintain a good figure, “Take a taste and then push the plate away.”

Antoinette died on April 12, 2005, in Buffalo, New York, when she was 89 years old.


This recipe is for grilled squid. It is a rare occasion when Wegmans has squid or octopus, so I got in line at the fish counter when I spotted squid in the case. I bought a pound of bodies and tentacles and found an easy recipe in Sicily, by Melissa Muller. The book took quite a beating on this day. I accidentally got some squid juice on the book and some pages got stuck together. I will now always remember to use the cookbook holder. So sad!

Grilling seafood is one of the many ways Sicilians create delectable dishes. The marinades are simple. During the day, I marinated it in lemon, homemade garlic paste, pepper, salt, parsley, thyme, oregano, and a few mint leaves (suggested in the cookbook). I was surprised that the cookbook recommended mint in the pesto, which is why I also chose to use a few leaves in the marinade. The garlic paste was easy enough to make. Finely chop some garlic. Sprinkle it with salt and crush the garlic with the flat side of the knife. Mine didn’t provide enough juice to make a paste, so I just kept chopping it with the salt and soon a paste formed.

The parsley, thyme, oregano, and a few mint leaves were fresh from the garden.

I used some leftover pickings to make a pesto. All of the herbs mentioned above, some leftover Ragusano cheese from the homemade ravioli, olive oil, and walnuts. Blended those in a food processor to make the pesto, which was amazing on the grilled squid.

For dinner, we grilled the squid (for about 10-15 minutes, until the sides are charred and the squid juice is coming out) and topped it with some olive oil. It was delightful!

Little Fiona loves seafood and loved her taste of the squid.

This dish was so easy to make. I am looking forward to grilling squid in the future.

Print Recipe
Grilled Squid
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10-15 minutes
Passive Time 5 hours
Servings
2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 2-3 leaves mint (optional)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste (or finely chopped garlic with salt)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 lb squid (your choice, bodies and tentacles)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10-15 minutes
Passive Time 5 hours
Servings
2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 2-3 leaves mint (optional)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste (or finely chopped garlic with salt)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 lb squid (your choice, bodies and tentacles)
Instructions
  1. Combine 2 tbsp olive oil and the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Marinate the squid up to 7 hours in the fridge.
  2. Place the squid in a grilling basket or right on the grill and grill for 10-15 minutes, until the bodies are slightly charred and tentacles are slightly crispy.
  3. Top the squid with the rest of the olive oil and more salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes
  • All of the ingredient amounts above do not have to be precise. You may choose to use more parsley or different herbs to marinate your squid in. You may use more or less squid.
  • Also, all grills are different. Look for color and charring versus following the grilling time stated above exactly.

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