Insalata di cavolo cappuccio con arachidi e semi di papavero

 Recipe n. 37

It’s finally Summer and it’s time to eat more raw and refreshing food. You might have noticed already  that your body is not craving for earthy soups or stews and needs to eat less fat in general, while instead  you are now craving for juicy and raw food, especially on those very hot days. Your body knows what is right for it and when to ask for a specific food.

For me this is the time of year I eat more salads. I like both simple salads dressed with a nice vinaigrette or more elaborate ones with many different ingredients in them. The salad I’m going to present to you today is definitely one of my favorite salads and it’s definitely  NOT a nut-free  salad, so watch out for those who have a nut allergy! 

You can eat it alone:  your hunger will be satisfied  with no need to add extra calories from other food.  It is a perfect meal for vegetarians and for all salad lovers!

 

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Ingredients

  • 1/4  of white cabbage head and a 1/4  of red cabbage head, shredded (I used only the white cabbage, but it looks more colorful when you add the 2 cabbages together)

  • 2 to 3 tbsp of sesame oil  (toasted or plain)

  • 1 or 2 handfuls of peanuts

  • cilantro

  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds

  • salt and pepper

 

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Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl, pour the sesame oil on top and be sure to coat the cabbage well, add the peanuts, poppy seeds, sea salt and pepper and finish up with cilantro leaves on top ( I like to add a generous amount of cilantro leaves to this salad as they are not just supposed to garnish, but they are one of the main ingredients of the salad itself ).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KALE SALAD WITH CROUTONS

Recipe n. 36

New York city has always been and will always remain a fascinating place to live from many points of view. One thing I never thought would be possible is ‘food trends’ for health conscious people, unless of course you live in a city like this. I remember many years ago the increasing consumption of agave syrup until all of a sudden it literally took over the market as ‘the healthy alternative to sugar’. (Not so many health experts would agree today,  as it has been shown to cause more harm than good. Agave syrup contains even more fructose than any other common sweetener, including the evil high-fructose corn syrup). Then the time of juicing raw vegetables arrived and now we literally have a juice store on almost every corner. The increased consumption of Kale, used as a base for many green juices has grown exponentially and because this vegetable is so versatile, another idea came up and had it’s moment- dehydrated kale chips in different flavors! The list of food trends is endless. Each has its moment- stevia, coconut oil, kombucha, home-made sprouting seeds and beans and the recent addition to the trend of bone broth sold in plastic containers and ready to eat (or drink). Wondering what’s next? Stay tuned. I’m guessing Xylitol could be a good candidate for the next food trend…

Back to my blog, after experimenting myself with homemade kale chips and juices, I started to make a special kale salad that everybody loves. Today I want to share this recipe with you.

Reference: http://blog.doctoroz.com/dr-oz-blog/agave-why-we-were-wrong

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch lacinato Kale

  • 1 head white cauliflower

  •  About 2 dozen Shiitake mushrooms

  • Croutons (home made or store bought)

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper (or Gomasio)

 

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Preheat the oven and roast the cauliflower florets for about 25 minutes at 350 F.

Wash, dry and remove the stalk from the kale leaves. Set aside.

In the meantime slice the mushrooms and sautée in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper for 10 to 15 minutes.

Slice the kale leaves thinly and transfer them to a large bowl. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper (or some gomasio) and using your hands coat evenly each leaf. Once the roasted cauliflower and mushrooms cool down transfer them to the bowl and mix gently all the ingredients together. Finish up with adding some croutons on top!

 

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Busiate Siciliane

April 7, 2016

Homemade Sicilian Busiate

 Recipe n. 35

While I stopped eating refined flour a long time ago (simply because the grain has been stripped of any nutrients turning it into empty calories) I will always make an exception when it comes to fresh homemade pasta. It’s more than that. It’s a way of gathering with family and friends to share an experience of making homemade food.

Busiate fresh pasta (or busiati ) is a Sicilian specialty from the area of Trapani. Traditionaly it is homemade and dressed with local fresh tomato sauce.

Ironic as it is, I learned how to make Sicilian busiate fresh pasta here in New York, from my dear friend Simona who is originally  from a town in the very North of  Italy: Torino. She loves spending her Summer vacations in Sicily and  like me she is passionate about food and cooking.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of durum wheat semolina flour

  • 1/2 cup of room temperature water

 

In a bowl mix by hand the flour with water until you obtain a ball of dough. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead it for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let it rest on a tray  previously sprinkled with flour and  cover it with a damp cloth.
Begin making busiate by rolling a small piece of dough with the palm of your hands until you obtain a 1/4 inch long roll, cut  the roll in several long pieces and start  twisting the little strands of dough around a  wooden skewer. Pull the pasta shape out gently and lay all the fresh homemade busiate on a floured baking sheet, while sprinkling some more flour on top. Be careful that the busiate do not touch each other.

Allow them to dry for a while, even hours, then cook them in salted water , for at least 3 minutes. Pull them out with a slotted spoon and place them directly in the sauce of your choice. If you are making your own fresh tomato sauce I suggest to finish up with some  fresh grated pecorino cheese or ricotta salata.

 

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March 6, 2016

Pollo al curry  – Chicken curry

Recipe.34

This recipe is an exploration and appreciation of flavors which are very different from the Mediterranean ones I grew up with. The first time I went to England I was eighteen year old and I spent the entire Summer in a very small village, not too far from London. I still have imprinted in my mind the memory of a very strong smell of  curry and other spices coming from the little streets next to the house where I was living back then. Among many things I discovered about English culture, I learned that English people love curry! After colonizing India, the British developed a taste for curry and  indian food in general,  which has been permanently absorbed by British cooking. In Sicilian cooking you will find many other spices such as saffron, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, which are the result of the influence of the Arab culture that once dominated Sicily. They in fact ruled Sicily for  over two centuries. Many of the most popular Sicilian foods trace their origins to the Arab period.

I learned how to make this delicous dish from my mother in law many years ago. She used to cook it for us everytime we would visit her in Ireland. Even Irish people adopted some Indian food in their cuisine. To reduce the spiciness of this dish, Pat used to serve it with some sliced banana.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken (you can either use the meat from a bought roasted chicken or sautee some chicken breast cut into bite sizes in olive oil )

  • 1 cup of coconut milk

  • 1  yellow onion sliced

  • 1 clove of garlic crushed

  • 1 red bell pepper sliced and cut in 1 inch pieces

  • 1 or 2 dry bay leaves

  • A handful of raisins or dry currants

  • 1 unpeeled apple, cut in small pieces – seeds discarded

  •  2 to 3 tbsp curry powder  (medium to hot)

  • 1 tsp of cocunut sugar (or any other sugar of your preference)

  •  A few basil leaves (to add at the end – this is optional – my personal touch)

  • salt and pepper

  • olive oil

  • short grain brown rice to accompany the dish

 

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Start by sauteeing the chicken breast pieces or roasted chicken in a large pan with the onions and the garlic in some olive oil. After a few minutes add the red bell pepper, raisins, bay leaves and cook for  10 to 15 minutes. Add the cococnut milk,  curry powder, sugar and the apples pieces.  Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add some broth or water if needed.  Season with salt and pepper and add basil leaves at the end. Serve with some  rice  on the side.

 

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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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINGUINE CON PROSCIUTTO E PISELLI  – PEAS AND HAM LINGUINE

Recipe n. 18

I haven’t made this dish in a while as I inevitably got bored with it because my husband keeps asking me to cook it way too often, as he likes it so much.  I have decided to start making it again after kept it in ‘quarantine‘ for quite some time. What I really love about this dish is what you can make with it from the leftovers the next day.… I learnt this trick in Italy from a lovely ‘mamma Napoletana’ who told me that in Naples it’s a very common thing to do with leftover pasta. I am not the kind of person who would ever eat cooked pasta from the day before as it usually tastes like ‘glue’, but with this recipe it’s a totally different story…

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 lb Frozen peas
  • ¼ lb Ham cut in strips
  • ¼ cup Parsley chopped
  • 1/2  cup of vegetable broth or plain water
  • ¼ cup Fresh grounded Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of Red chili pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 to 4 Eggs
  • ¼ cup Milk (or rice milk)

In a tall pot bring the water to a boil and cook pasta until ‘al dente’. In the meantime in a large skillet or pot heat the olive oil and add the onion, salt and pepper and red chili pepper flakes. When the onion is about translucent add the peas and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the broth or just plain water and cook the peas for about 10 minutes. Add the ham and cook 5 minutes longer. Turn the heat off and add some fresh chopped parsley and mix this dressing with spaghetti. If the dressing looks a bit dry you can add some of the cooking water you used for pasta. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on each plate.

Now here comes the best part. Keep the left over pasta already mixed with the dressing refrigerated. The day after you can enjoy this great ’frittata di pasta’ at lunch or dinnertime:  whisk 3 or 4 eggs in a bowl, salt and pepper and some milk (I like to use rice milk). In a skillet heat a couple of table spoons of olive oil and stir the pasta ‘to bring it to life’ again, now add the eggs and lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook until the eggs look brown on the surface. I actually finish the cooking part of this dish in the oven and broil for 2 or 3 minutes to obtain a crunchy brown frittata.  Set aside, let it cool and cut the frittata in slices to serve.

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