Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TOMATO SAUCE (Sugo Semplice o Marinara)

Tomato sauce is definitely one of the main sauces for pasta and rice in Italy.  It's tasty, healthy and low in calories and it is also easy to prepare.  In fact, even less experienced in the kitchen can accomplish this genuine dish with a few simple steps.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to prepare, but for many it is not so.  Caught between busy schedules, people are less and less taken by cooking but the preparation of a simple dish like this is worth showing.


Ingredients

6 fresh tomatoes (or large can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
bunch of fresh basil and parsley
Salt and black pepper


Preparation

Blanch tomatoes by throwing them into a pot of boiling water for a minute or so.  Fish them out and let them cool.  With your fingers or knife peel off the skin.  Cut in half, remove the seeds and chop them.

In a pan, add the olive oil and chopped onion over medium heat.  When onion is golden, add tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes.




The sauce will result chunky or with small tomato pieces.



If you prefer a tomato sauce with a smoother consistency, puree the blanched tomatoes in a blender and then cook them.


Sugo passato



Che profumo di freschezza!




Monday, July 20, 2015

FARFALLE con Scamorza

                              
                 


Summer ... is a pleasure to eat fresh, light food but also quick to prepare and tasty to eat. 



Butterflies are a type of pasta well suited for this recipe. Fresh and tasty flavors like cherry tomatoes, basil and scamorza make this summer dish perfect for hot days!



Ingredients

1 pound farfalle

1 cup diced scamorza or mozzarella di buffalo

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in a half

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup of shredded basil

Salt and black pepper




  • PREPARATION

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil with salt.  
  • In a small saucepan add olive oil, tomatoes, basil and scamorza and gently cook until cheese melts a bit.





  • When the water boils, cook the pasta until tender.  Drain and return to pot over low heat.
  • Stir in the scamorza sauce and a good dose of black pepper. 
  • Stir to combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

  1.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

STUFFED CHILI PEPPERS IN A PAN - Peperoni ciliegia ripieni in padella


Many of you must have seen stuffed chili peppers in oil in Italian delicatessens.  They make great appetizers.  Love their spicy taste.


I like to make them stuffed with tuna and anchovies but rather than put them in oil, I cook them in a pan.  They make a great side dish.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. cherry peppers (preferably hot)
Can of good tuna in olive oil
Small can of anchovies
Small can of chopped green olives
1 tablespoon of capers
1 clove of garlic (minced)
Sprig of parsley (chopped)
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

Wash the peppers and remove the tops and seeds.  In a bowl combine the tuna, anchovies, capers, garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs.  Blend the mixture well and stuff the peppers.






Once the peppers are filled, place them in a non-stick frying pan with the olive oil

Cover the pan and cook them for 30 minutes over medium heat.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

















Sunday, July 12, 2015

FREEZING ZUCCHINI and GREEN BEANS

As a gardener, right about now, I'm facing a zucchini and green bean burnout.  While many are sick of them, I keep them all by freezing them.  Zucchini and green beans freeze well and in the winter months you say thanks.






Blanching
Bring some unsalted water to boil in a pot deep enough to completely submerge small batches. 


Once a rolling boil is reached, drop the zucchini into the pot for 2 minutes. When it comes out, the zucchini should still be firm.
Transfer into a very large bowl of ice water using to stop cooking, drain for a few minutes and pat dry.

Packaging
Use quart Ziploc bags and pack them as full as possible and push as much air out as possible before sealing.


You can use this same method to blanch and freeze green beans.  
Tip: trim green bean stems prior to blanching.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Add Color to Your Life

I personally garden for two reasons - to be creative and to bring color in my life. 



Color is personal.  I am very conservative when I choose my clothes but very bold when it comes to my garden.  I believe the colors of my garden are a reflection of who I am.

I am happy sitting on one of many benches in the midst of a mass of colorful blooming companions.  I use plants like paints to create a work of art.

Here is how I do it.

  • I only use color as a focal point by perfectly placing a striking plant in the middle of muted greens .





  • I love bold colors to create excitement and vitality to the garden.



  • I love warm yellows and oranges mixed with blue and purple.



  • Use the color of foliage to enhance the garden and give color when plants are not blooming.


Different colors of hostas

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

GELATI CON CREMA PASTICCERA (Cones with cream filling)

There are desserts that recall childhood.  You know those cakes that taste of pampering and goodness.  Well, these pastry cones filled with delicious cream bring me back to my childhood in Italy.  The cream that goes into them is flavored only with lemon rind and cinnamon sticks, just the way my mother used to make it.





While many use puff pastry to make the cones, I use this recipe:

Ingredients:


3 eggs
3 cups of flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons of oil
3 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar, add oil, white wine, vanilla and flour.  Mix well until the dough is smooth and soft.  Toss the dough which at this point maybe sticky, on a floured surface until it can be handled.  Roll out the dough into a square.  Cut into strips.   





 Oil each metal cone and wrap one strip of dough around it.




Over medium-high heat, fry few cones at a time until golden.




Remove cones from frying pan and place over paper towels.  



Fill the cones with crema pasticcera.  Dust with confectionery sugar.


Cream filling (crema pasticcera)








Monday, April 27, 2015

AMAZING POTATOES


We LOVE potatoes, and why not?  They are a great source of vitamins and minerals.  We fry them, boil them, and bake them, but rarely celebrate them.  While many Americans load them with cream and butter, here are many ways that I let their earthy goodness shine through.


white, gold yukon, yams and red potatoes




Mix all types of potatoes with skins on, add chopped red onions, sprinkle with rosemary, add salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 400 until crisp.







Potato Pizza:  Potato pizza has a special place in my heart. This simple rustic pizza made with just a few basic ingredients (no tomato sauce) is pretty impossible to find in restaurants. It’s thin, crispy, crunchy and addictive.





Mixed with vegetables (Swisschard and potatoes)



Potato salad