All posts filed under: Italian

Lasagna!

Okay, you all know me. I don’t usually endorse any product. Like most of you, I have my favorites – and barring some natural disaster that wipes out their factory… and their delivery trucks… and every single case of product distributed across the country, it’s not likely that I change my buying habits. And, most of you feel the same way – I get that. I particularly like Red Gold Tomatoes, and over this past year, Red Gold  has approached me several times to do a sponsored post including themed recipes for their products. Unfortunately, It’s always been something that just wouldn’t meld with the way I cook. Call me snobbish about my recipes, call me.. well, whatever…. it just didn’t work out. Until this month. I love lasagna… I mean, make a pan and eat the whole thing kind of love. However, My own recipe is long, drawn out, and involved. It takes forever to make so I never get around to making it very often. With this month’s promotion, they sent me a ridiculously …

Kitchen Fodder ~ Gettin’ all PC (pressure cooker) on some sauce

 Test #1 of the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt. Microwave Pressure Cooker First of all, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping and apologize to Jane. .. the rest of you can look at the picture for a bit. You’re absolutely right… this isn’t your exact recipe. The spice blends are there.. and basically, it’s the same.  However,  I had to make a couple of alterations in order to keep it from turning to just mush in the pot, and a couple of things had to change to cope with the shorter cooking time.  The vegetable chunks are larger, but generally, it has the same feel, taste, thickness, and richness.  And… We’re back. So, like I said yesterday, you’ve got to futz with the settings a bit to sync the temps and times up to your own microwave. For example –  I use a 1200 watt micro, so the bulk of what I do is at 60% power  and 10 less minutes on the unit for any of the recipes in the provided cookbook. Because of that, …

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Goofin’ on Grandma

Oddly, I come across a recipe for Grandma Pizza about once a month. I see it… I think, “huh, all those tomatoes and oil… that can’t be good.” And I pass on to the next sexy bit of food porn that inevitably fills my inbox. Given that I’ve been craving a slice of cheesy heaven lately, my curiosity got the better of me and I drug out one of those “best damned pizza in the world” grandma pizza recipes to see what all the fuss was about. I still didn’t like the idea of just tomatoes and oil, and I wasn’t all that keen on a super thin crust. In my head, I could just see a soggy behemoth coming out of the oven… so I took the idea of it all, and made it something else entirely. So… what is a Grandma Pizza? It’s a pie that appears to be widely popular in Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a Sicilian style pizza with a super thin, square crust – Topped with cheese and scattered with seasoned, crushed …

Bread Whore – The Hirohito / Mussolini Method

In another time, I might have given the dough a kinder, more compassionate name. But with that Cold War machine out there priming the pump, I’m feeling a tad evil. Generally speaking, this is the focaccia recipe from last month. – but – after making my usual weekly loaf of Hokkaido style TangZhong bread, I had 1/2 of the cooked roux left over. So… I says, “hmmm…. wonder what this would do in the focaccia recipe?” and, “What if I tweaked it and made pizza crust with it too?” So, I did. Axis Powers Pizza / Focaccia Dough Makes 1 Focaccia and 1- 20″ Pizza Ingredients 2 1/4 Cups Bread Flour 1/3 Cup TangZhong Cooked Roux (click through the linky to get the preparation on it) 1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Tablespoon Sorghum Syrup (or Barley Malt Syrup) 1 Cup Hot Water 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Oil To make a Focaccia: Follow the focaccia procedure as you would for a  normal loaf. To make Pizza Dough: after kneading  with …

The Unfinished Manuscript – Pasta al Tonno

Once again, we’re doing our part of The Unfinished Manuscript. Previously, we did a Focaccia, and this makes a fine accompaniment to it, or works well on it’s own as a one dish dinner, or a fish course for a much larger meal. As before, the author’s recipe just didn’t wow me. Not that there was something wrong with it, it was just rather pedestrian. So we’ve amped up the flavors a bit and gone head first into fishy pasta world. I think every culture has some sort of noodle-y, fishy comfort food dish, and this one is of Sicilian origin. Think of it as laborers food… dressed up a bit. It’s quick, easy, and thoroughly satisfying. This is my last recipe with THE BOOK, it’s going on the road this weekend. From here, it’s going to travel to Washington State and into the able hands of Sprung At Last. Pop on over there and give her some love, and a look. (Her posts about her dating disasters with Match.com are just too funny.) Pasta …

The Unfinished Manuscript – Focaccia

If you didn’t read about how this all came about – go back and catch up at the beginning of the story HERE. * * * Thinking I’d go for something in the beginning of the manuscript, and something tasty and easy – I picked the “Focaccia al Rosmarino” (Focaccia with Rosemary) as the first test of the manuscript’s abilities. Meh… the flatbread was tough, chewy in the center, and not terribly flavorful. The main problem with the recipe is the author has you rolling the dough – in her words – like a pizza. The thing is you never want to roll pizza dough, let along – focaccia dough. You want to pull and stretch it.  This keeps the gas pockets from the yeast high and airy which keeps the dough from being all compacted making flatbread tender, crisp and delicious. so… No Rolling… forgedaboutit! The other issue was the blandness. Bread needs seasoning. And, bread that doesn’t include much sugar, or dairy,  or egg in the mix is going to need salt… and …

The Unfinished Manuscript – Leg #1 ~ Dahlonega, Georgia

Several months ago A fellow food writer and friend – Julie @ Cookbook Fetish – found an unfinished cookbook manuscript in an “antique” store. We sort of giggled about it at the time, wondering why someone would go through the effort of writing a book…. then trashing it. We mused about the idea of cooking all the recipes in the book and – in a sense – finishing it. And… wouldn’t it be fun to send it around and let other people cook some recipes and write about their experiences with  “The Book” Julie cooked the first recipe out of  “Mr. Preliminary Version 1997” and wrote about it here >> Hunter’s Style Chicken << It was, in a word, uninspired (not the post… the recipe). Then Julie sent it on to me in November. Unfortunately things happen and life gets in the way – and I promptly lost The Book until last week. I spent the weekend thumbing the pages trying to decipher the layout and get a feeling for what the authors had in …

Baleful Bounty ~ Melanzane al Funghetto

With the garden production winding down, there’s been very little in my little hay-bale heaven to harvest. Except for eggplants. Typically, I get 2 to 3 decent sized aubergines out of my one plant… and that makes me happy. This year, I decided to plant 4 plants: 2 Gretel White Pencil Eggplants – similar to Asian style aubergines, only less sweet and a firmer bite 1 Black Beauty – the green grocer standard you find in the market 1 Juliette – a striped, amethyst  jewel-toned, egg shaped aubergine The Juliette fell early victim to the overly wet spring and cut worms devastated the remaining 3 plants off and on throughout the summer, so I really wasn’t expecting much of a harvest at all. However come August, I was awash in eggplant. I ate Eggplant Parmesan until my ears bled. I  made casseroles and terrines. I named them and drew Sharpie faces on them… I gave them away by the dozen… and still my plants produced. Even now (in late October) there are another 2 Black …

Marx Foods – Sweet to Savory

So… I was contacted by the fine folks at Marx Foods to see if I had any interest in playing in their latest contest – Sweet to Savory. They would send me four (count’em… 4) sweet things, and I was to utilize at least two of them in a savory dish. I figure it’s a no-brainer. I use  sweet ingredients in a lot of my recipes and I should be able to pull a recipe out of my .. um..hat. Unfortunately, when the box arrived, my mind went blank In the box were: A bag of Coconut Sugar A bag of Sugared Fennel Flowers A bag of Granulated Honey 2 Vanilla Pods. and looking in the box, the only thing I could hear was the demon saying Sweet Italian Sausage…. So, that’s what I made. It’s paired with a Red and Green Marcona Pepper Sauce, sweetened slightly with coconut sugar and finished with diced tomatoes and Tofu Sour Cream. I chose these two ingredients because of the anise-y flavor of the flowers, and that coconut …