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Recipes from local performers add flavor to elementary pupils' music education

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

By Chris Crytzer

Recipes from Donnie Iris, Norm Nardini and Johnny Angel & the Halos are helping to benefit music and art education at New Brighton Elementary School.

"The Creative Cookbook" contains directions for dishes favored by these and other local musicians, and local artists, put together by Beaver County residents Michelle Schrauder and David Granati as a fund-raiser, with the New Brighton school selected as the first to receive money.

A few of the musicians who submitted recipes are donating a portion of their CD sales to the fund-raiser as well.

Schrauder, a freelance graphic artist, came up with the idea for the cookbook after checking into her daughter, Hannah's, second grade curriculum at the school. "They didn't have much in terms of rhythm and music appreciation," she said.

"The cookbook was something I wanted to do. I asked David [Granati] if he would help me," Schrauder said. "We made a pretty good team."

Granati owns Dave World Productions, a recording studio in Ambridge for which Schrauder freelances. She also does work for Studio 68 in New Brighton, which supported the cookbook project.

Schrauder, of Daugherty, and Granati, of Ambridge, spent the past six months publishing the paperback cookbook.

The most labor-intensive part for the group was the typing and layout, although testing the recipes led a few of the volunteers to gain weight, according to Schrauder. Granati's recipe for Fritella Con Fiori Di Zucchini (zucchini flower pancakes) is featured in "The Creative Cookbook," as are Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip and Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball, recipes submitted by Rhonda Ficca, music teacher for Schrauder's daughter.

And a few of the musicians who submitted recipes are donating a portion of their CD sales to the fund-raiser.

Ficca, at the request of Schrauder, put together a music wish list, items she'd like her pupils to have. She asked for recorders, rhythm books, tapes and videos, as well as transparencies and CDs, plus financial assistance to perform a Christmas musical with the chorus. Schrauder is hoping sale of the cookbook will provide at least some of these.

Schrauder, who is also a guitarist in training, is proud to be helping children gain an understanding of music.

"The Creative Cookbook" is available at the following locations: The Book Tree, Center and New Brighton; Hawkins MusicStore, New Brighton; Little Super II, New Sewickley; Stonewall Deli & Restaurant, New Sewickley; Amoroso's, Baden; and the A.J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh.

Cookbooks may also be obtained by sending name, address and phone number, along with a check or money order for $13.79 made payable to Studio 68/Dave World Productions, Box 583, Rochester, PA 15074.

More information, is available from Schrauder at 412-974-8766.

David Granati's Fritella Con Fiori Pi Zucchini

(Zucchini Flower Pancakes)

Here's a great breakfast or appetizer.

This is very popular in Southern Italy, as there is always a surplus of the large yellow flowers associated with zucchini, squash and pumpkin type vegetables.

  • 6-12 zucchini flowers, chopped

  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • seasonings (all to taste):
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • a pinch of baking powder (for fluffier cakes)
  • extra virgin olive oil

Pick about 6-12 flowers in the morning when they are dilated and bees aren't active.

In a large mixing bowl, add 2 or 3 eggs and blend with remaining ingredients.

Heat a large flat pan or grill with oregano sprinkled in it. Let the oregano toast slightly, then pour enough olive oil in to coat. Add batter, spread into handprint size quickly, as olive oil burns easily. Press down slightly with a spatula, then flip.

Underside should be a golden brown. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve.

Wise words from Dave: Don't worry, if you pick the flowers, you'll be amazed at how quickly the plants regenerate. If you wish, substitute grated zucchini, chopped spinach, poke, swiss chard, mustard greens or collards -- anything green works just fine!

David Granati Guitarist, Bass, Singer, Songwriter / David Granati and the Fins

Donnie Iris Bean Dip

  • 16 oz. can fat-free refried beans

  • 16 oz. can black beans
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Rinse the black beans and then mix into the refried beans. Pour into an 8-inch square dish.

Top with sour cream, salsa and cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Donnie Iris / Donnie Iris & the Cruisers


Chris Crytzer is a freelance writer.

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