February 2, 2016

PASTA AL SALMONE AFFUMICATO – PASTA WITH SMOKED SALMON

Recipe n.33

I’m very happy  to share this recipe with you, as it is the result of pure improvisation from an evening a few years ago. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner for my family. I started to put together several ingredients to try to please everybody’s palate and it turned out to be a hit!  Since then I have been making this dish quite often and I always get the same positive feedback.

 

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Ingredients for 4 people

  • 500g pasta (any short type of your choice – I prefer to use wholewheat pasta)

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 1 fennel bulb+stalk thinly sliced

  • 4 to 5 ounces of smoked salmon

  • 12 mushrooms ( I like to use either crimini or shiitake mushrooms)

  • Lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • Fresh dill

  • Olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of white wine

  • Salt and Pepper

 

Bring a medium size pot with water to boil for the pasta.  In a large pan sautee the onions and  fennel in olive oil for  a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, lemon zest,  and some dill.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the smoked salmon and the white wine keeping  on a medium-hight heat until the wine has evaporated. Add some lemon juice and the reamining dill. Drain and transfer the pasta to a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Adjust with salt and pepper and enjoy!

January 6, 2016

PASTA PALERMO

Recipe n.32

This is a typical sicilian dish (specifically from Palermo) called ‘pasta con i broccoli arriminati  –  stirred broccoli’, but my younger son decided to rename it as ‘Pasta Palermo’, since we always eat it when we travel to Sicily. I learned how to make this dish from my darling mom and while she likes to use the local sicilian green cauliflower, which you will literally find on every corner in Sicily,  where local street vendors are selling them all day long, I prefer to use the regular white cauliflower.

I also added another variation to this dish. The original recipe usually calls for ‘bucatini pasta'( a type of long pasta). I like to use rigatoni pasta (a short pasta) and then bake this dish for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

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Ingredients for 4 people

500g  bucatini or any short pasta of your choice
1  medium cauliflower
1  yellow onion
1/2 cup  dry black currants
2 Tbsp pine nuts
4  canned anchiovies fillets
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 pinch saffron

2 to 3 tbsp bread crumbs

2 to 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

 

Start by making a tea with the saffron threads and set aside. Soften the dry currants in a bowl with warm water.
Wash and cut the cauliflower in medium size florets. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the cauliflower until slightly tender.
Take the florets out with a strainer and keep the water from the pot to cook the pasta after. In a pan sautee the onion with olive oil until  they become soft and translucent, add the anchovies,  the pine nuts, the currants (drained), the cauliflower and cook for about 10/15 minutes until everything is mixed well. Add some ‘saffron tea’ to keep it moist while all the ingredients are cooking. In the meantime check the pasta and be sure to cook it until it is about two minutes before ‘al dente’. Drain and transfer the pasta to a large baking dish.  Mix the pasta with some grated parmesan cheese. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Add some more saffron tea and then sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and the reamining grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

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Buon appetito!

December 1, 2015

FLOURLESS  SPINACH  and  RICOTTA QUICHE

RECIPE N.31

This is what I made yesterday for dinner. I love this dish because it’s quick , easy to make and tastes delicious!    Plus you sure are going to get all your proteins and vegetables at the same time. It’s a complete meal. However, I like to serve it with roasted vegetables of your choice on the side, just to add some more colors to your plate  (a very important component when you are eating according to ancient Ayurveda, along with the six tastes) and also to give  your quiche ‘some company’!

 

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Ingredients

(Serves 4 people)

  • 2 bunches of Spinach
  • 1 cup of fresh ricotta
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper

 

In a large pot bring 2 inches of water to the boil, add the spinach (previously washed) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the water and squeeze out the remaining water from the spinach. Put on the side and let it cool. In the meantime beat the eggs in a large bowl and add all the other ingredients except the ground flaxseed. Cut the spinach coarsely and add it to the mixture.

Pour everything in a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with  some parmesan cheese and the ground flax seeds to form a nice crust on top.

Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes.

Tip: You can also bake it in a mini muffins pan and obtain fancy mini quiches to serve as an appetizer.  Your guests will love them and  for sure there won’t be any left over.

 

 

November 18, 2015

HOLIDAY SNACK TIME – LA MERENDA DELLE FESTE !

Recipe n. 30

…so your kids are not big fruit eaters ?  Well, they are not alone. Many kids would rather choose a pre-packaged snack loaded with sugar and many other bad ingredients. A while ago I did an experiment with my  younger child, who was often pushing his bowl full of fresh fruit back at me. Sometimes adding a little something to the exact same fruit you offered before will trick them and make the snack more appealing .


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APPLE  with  CINNAMON

Serves 1

1 Apple peeled and sliced

1 tsp of fresh squeezed lemon Juice

2 tsps of cinnamon powder

Coat the apple slices with the lemon juice  first,  then sprinkle with cinnamon and mix well.

ORANGE  with  SHREDDED COCONUT

Serves 1

1  Orange peeled and cut in 3/4 to 1 inch pieces

3 to 4  Tbsps shredded coconut

Sprinkle  the orange pieces with  the shredded coconut and serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 3, 2014

TAPENADE   

Recipe n.29

Today I’m going to share with you my ‘secret recipe’ to make  a delicious tapenade. I have been making a batch a week of tapenade for my kids sandwich for school for the past 2 years. It’s an easy fix delicious and nutrient alternative sandwich, instead of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

My 2 kids just love it!

Tapenade  is very versatile and can be used a number of ways: you can use it for a great appetizer or as a snack on a piece of toasted bread or as a dip with carrots and celery sticks.

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 Ingredients (classic version)

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups whole, pitted kalamata olive
  • 1 or 2  anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons capers rinsed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
My personal touch:
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

In a food processor, chop the garlic first and then combine all the other ingredients except the olive oil. Using the pulse button, process until coarsely chopped and well blended. Continue to process, slowly adding the olive oil. Refrigerate in a covered container. Use as needed.Transfer to a clean container and refrigerate until needed. Will keep three to four weeks.

Back to the origins…

March 17, 2011

POLPETTE ALLA SICILIANA – SICILIAN STYLE MEATBALLS

Recipe n. 28

When I first started this blog, I wanted to make recipes available to you from my knowledge of Sicilian cuisine. I admit I have gotten lost on the way lately, as I started to experiment in the kitchen with different types of cuisine and other ways of cooking (or not cooking at all with the raw diet), but deep inside me there is something about my way of cooking which is rooted and will never leave me- my Sicilian influence. So here I am again with a typical sicilian recipe which has two basic ingredients very common in sicilian recipes, with an ancient influence from arabic cuisine: ‘passolina e pinoli ‘, pine nuts and raisins. When combined together they often represent the key ingrendients of the most famous sicilian recipes.  Today I want to show you how we make meatballs in Sicily.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground lean beef (grass fed and no antibiotics)
  • 1/4 cup of ‘passolina e pinoli’/ raisins and pine nuts (better if you can use currants soaked in water for a few minutes )
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs soaked in milk for a few minutes
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped  or grated
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • olive  oil

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until they are well combined (but do not overdo the mixing). Using both hands start rolling the meatballs between the palms of your hands. I like to make my meatballs small like single bites, but you can make them any size you like. After you have obtained several meatballs you have different options about how to cook them. You could heat a few spoons of olive oil in a large pot and then place the meatballs gently inside and let them brown on both sides and then add your favorite home made tomato sauce and cook everything together for about  20 to 30 minutes over medium/low heat. Or if you prefer a ligher version, instead of frying them in the olive oil, you could bake them for 20 min in the oven and then put them in the pot with the sauce to finish cooking them, or place the meatballs directly the way they are while the sauce is still cooking. Whatever your preference is you’re going to love them. It’s one of the few ways to get my ‘meat reluctant child’ to eat meat, and he really really likes them!

NEW YEAR…NEW DIET?

I know I didn’t post a new recipe in a very long time. There are several reasons for this, but the main one right now is that I’m going through a real ‘cooking crisis’. It all started when my husband decided that he wanted to switch to this ‘PALEO DIET ‘ which is driving me absolutely crazy! (For those who are not familiar with this diet, it’s based on lean protein and non-starchy vegetables and fruits). First he bought me a ‘paleo book’ (The Paleo Solution) and then he asked me if we could quit all cereals and grains together and focus our diet on proteins like meat, vegetables and fruit!

I’m Italian! How can you ask someone who grew up mostly on pasta to give it up just like that?  While I might agree on some of the bad effects of eating grains and dairy products in general, on the other hand even if I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t want to turn into a ‘cannibal’ either! So as answer to this, I have been studying and experimenting a lot in the kitchen with the ‘RAW FOOD DIET ‘, so that I can at least integrate it into my husband’s choice. (My last experiment in the kitchen took me exactly 24 hours to make it between the soaking and dehydrating of the food!) It’s a work in progress so please be patient, keep checking my blog and let’s see what happens…

After holiday dish…

November 27, 2010

Gnocchi di patate con burro e salvia – Gnocchi with butter and sage

Recipe n. 27

After all this cooking and eating on Thanksgiving, probably the last thing you want to do is cook some more. This is a super easy and quick dish, suitable for those days when you are in a hurry, but  still want to have a home made (or at least a semi-home made) dish. Of course, it would be ideal if you would have the time to make your own fresh gnocchi in advance, but since we are talking about being quick and easy, I’m sure that you can get pretty good quality fresh made gnocchi from your favorite food store. There are a couple of places here in the city where I go to buy gnocchi and I’m quite happy with the quality and freshness. I like this dish because even if it’s very easy to make, it still tastes and looks like a fancy course which you could order at any good Italian restaurant. It’s a classic italian recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 to 1 lb  of fresh gnocchi
  • A few leaves of fresh sage  (about 10) shredded
  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk ( I like to use rice milk because it’s sweeter and lighter than regular milk)
  • Grated or shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper

In a medium sized pot bring the water with some salt to a boil. Add the gnocchi gently and as soon they start to float to the surface, turn the heat to low and drain the water out. Put them back in the same pot and now add the butter, sage, milk and some parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Mix it all together gently until you have obtained a creamy sauce coating the gnocchi. Transfer to a dish and finish with some shaved Parmesan cheese on top.

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