Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bread Baking Day # 20 Multigrain Breads

Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen is hosting the bbd this month and she chose Multigrain Breads.
I tried the 'Sourdough Wheat Bread with Seeds' from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Bread Bible' but with a multigrain flour mix that contains wheat, barley, oats, rice, rye and corn. This bread is wonderful and adding all these cereals even improves it !!

The recipe is very long and I can't copy it right now but PLEASE let me know if you are interested in it !!

Bread Baking Buddies Italian Knot Bread

This time the Babe in charge of chosing the recipe was Ilva of Lucullian delights and she chose a very nice and good panino for us. I'm sorry but I'm in late posting these knots but they are so delightful and fast that you should definitely try them !
The only change I made to the original recipe was that I used my starter as the biga.
Please visit all the Babes
: Bake My Day (Karen), I Like to Cook (Sara), Living on Bread and Water (Monique), My Kitchen in Half Cups (Tanna), Grain Doe (Gorel), Notitie van Lien (Lien), The Sour Dough (Mary aka Breadchick), Cookie Baker Lynn (Lynn), Living In The Kitchen With Puppies (Natashya)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' Challenge : Apple Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Apple strudel is very dear for me because it was almost the only dessert my father, a painter and a great cook, would make or talk about.
I really enjoied making it but this is a very busy month so I couldn't 'dare' too much and I went for the classic apple filling.
Thanks Linda and Courtney for the great choice !
Visit the Daring Bakers' Blogroll to have lots of different strudel types !!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

TWD Fresh Mango Bread

This week, Kelly of Baking with the Boys chose the Fresh Mango Bread from Dorie Greenspan's Baking
I had made the bread in advance (luckily) and then my computer broke and I had to wait until the week end so that Paolo could have a look and fix it !
I'm so glad it's back I missed you all very much !!! Now I'll have to catch up and see what you all have made during the last week !

Friday, May 15, 2009

TFF Ratatouille with Feta , Black Olives and Almonds

I saw this wonderful recipe on the blog and I had to try it ! I didn't have green olives in my pantry so I substituted them with black ones even if in the traditional Caponata capers green olives and vinegar are a must.
Andrea just came back and keeps nibbling the topping with dreaming eyes...
Visit the blog for more great recipes !!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daring Cooks' Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

This is the first Daring Cooks Challenge and the recipe was chosen by our founders
Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and was taken from the cookbook by Judy Rodgers, named after her restaurant, The Zuni Café Cookbook.
I've never heard of the restaurant before and was curious to try a new recipe of the ricotta gnocchi after the one I made for the R2R challenge some time ago.
This time I bought the ricotta and I must say that spring is the time for the best sheep's ricotta but it's very moist (and delicious) . The problem is that I forgot to strain it the evening before so I tried to put it in a colander for a few hours but it wasn't enough so... I had to add some flour to the recipe !
The sauce was a very simple one with
tomato, garlic and basil.

Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

Source: From The Zuni Café Cookbook
Yield: Makes 40 to 48 gnocchi (serves 4 to 6)
Prep time: Step 1 will take 24 hours. Steps 2 through 4 will take approximately 1
Note: For our members who have special dietary requirements or who have to
alter the recipe for health reasons, our alternative Daring Cooks, led by Shelly
of Musings From The Fishbowl, have developed an alternative version of the
recipe. Please check the Alternative Daring Cooks' forums for more information.
1. If you can find it, use fresh ricotta. As Judy Rodgers advises in her recipe,
there is no substitute for fresh ricotta. It may be a bit more expensive, but
it's worth it.
2. Do not skip the draining step. Even if the fresh ricotta doesn't look very wet,
it is. Draining the ricotta will help your gnocchi tremendously.
3. When shaping your gnocchi, resist the urge to over handle them. It's okay if
they look a bit wrinkled or if they're not perfectly smooth.
4. If you're not freezing the gnocchi for later, cook them as soon as you can. If
you let them sit around too long they may become a bit sticky.
5. For the variations to the challenge recipe, please see the end of the recipe.
Equipment required:
• Sieve
• Cheesecloth or paper towels
• Large mixing bowl
• Rubber spatula
• Tablespoon
• Baking dish or baking sheet
• Wax or parchment paper
• Small pot
• Large skillet
• Large pan or pot (very wide in diameter and at least 2 inches deep)
For the gnocchi:
1 pound (454 grams/16 ounces) fresh ricotta (2 cups)
2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) unsalted butter
2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, or a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg, or a few
pinches of chopped lemon zest (all optional)
½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about ¼ cup very lightly packed)
about ¼ teaspoon salt (a little more if using kosher salt)
all-purpose flour for forming the gnocchi
For the gnocchi sauce:
8 tablespoons (227 grams/1/4 pound/4 ounces) butter, sliced
2 teaspoons water
Step 1 (the day before you make the gnocchi): Preparing the ricotta.
If the ricotta is too wet, your gnocchi will not form properly. In her cookbook,
Judy Rodgers recommends checking the ricotta’s wetness. To test the ricotta, take
a teaspoon or so and place it on a paper towel. If you notice a very large ring of
dampness forming around the ricotta after a minute or so, then the ricotta is too
wet. To remove some of the moisture, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels
and place the ricotta in the sieve. Cover it and let it drain for at least 8 hours and up
to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can wrap the ricotta carefully in
cheesecloth (2 layers) and suspend it in your refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours with a
bowl underneath to catch the water that’s released. Either way, it’s recommended
that you do this step the day before you plan on making the gnocchi.
Step 2 (the day you plan on eating the gnocchi): Making the gnocchi dough.
To make great gnocchi, the ricotta has to be fairly smooth. Place the drained ricotta
in a large bowl and mash it as best as you can with a rubber spatula or a large
spoon (it’s best to use a utensil with some flexibility here). As you mash the
ricotta, if you noticed that you can still see curds, then press the ricotta through a
strainer to smooth it out as much as possible.
Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta.
Melt the tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add in the sage if you’re using it. If not,
just melt the butter and add it to the ricotta mixture.
Add in any flavouring that you’re using (i.e., nutmeg, lemon zest, etc.). If you’re
not using any particular flavouring, that’s fine.
Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the salt.
Beat all the ingredients together very well. You should end up with a soft and
fluffy batter with no streaks (everything should be mixed in very well).
Step 3: Forming the gnocchi.
Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. When it boils, salt the water
generously and keep it at a simmer. You will use this water to test the first gnocchi
that you make to ensure that it holds together and that your gnocchi batter isn’t too
In a large, shallow baking dish or on a sheet pan, make a bed of all-purpose flour
that’s ½ an inch deep.
With a spatula, scrape the ricotta mixture away from the sides of the bowl and
form a large mass in the centre of your bowl.
Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter and then holding the
spoon at an angle, use your finger tip to gently push the ball of dough from the
spoon into the bed of flour.
At this point you can either shake the dish or pan gently to ensure that the flour
covers the gnocchi or use your fingers to very gently dust the gnocchi with flour.
Gently pick up the gnocchi and cradle it in your hand rolling it to form it in an oval
as best as you can, at no point should you squeeze it. What you’re looking for is an
oval lump of sorts that’s dusted in flour and plump.
Gently place your gnocchi in the simmering water. It will sink and then bob to the
top. From the time that it bobs to the surface, you want to cook the gnocchi until
it’s just firm. This could take 3 to 5 minutes.
If your gnocchi begins to fall apart, this means that the ricotta cheese was probably
still too wet. You can remedy this by beating a teaspoon of egg white into your
gnocchi batter. If your gnocchi batter was fluffy but the sample comes out heavy,
add a teaspoon of beaten egg to the batter and beat that in. Test a second gnocchi to
ensure success.
Form the rest of your gnocchi. You can put 4 to 6 gnocchi in the bed of flour at a
time. But don’t overcrowd your bed of flour or you may damage your gnocchi as
you coat them.
Have a sheet pan ready to rest the formed gnocchi on. Line the sheet pan with wax
or parchment paper and dust it with flour.
You can cook the gnocchi right away, however, Judy Rodgers recommends storing
them in the refrigerator for an hour prior to cooking to allow them to firm up.
Step 4: Cooking the gnocchi.
Have a large skillet ready to go. Place the butter and water for the sauce in the
skillet and set aside.
In the largest pan or pot that you have (make sure it’s wide), bring at least 2 quarts
of water to a boil (you can use as much as 3 quarts of water if your pot permits).
You need a wide pot or pan so that your gnocchi won’t bump into each other and
damage each other.
Once the water is boiling, salt it generously.
Drop the gnocchi into the water one by one. Once they float to the top, cook them
for 3 to 5 minutes (as in the case with the test gnocchi).
When the gnocchi float to the top, you can start your sauce while you wait for them
to finish cooking.
Place the skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Swirl it gently a few times
as it melts. As soon as it melts and is incorporated with the water, turn off the heat.
Your gnocchi should be cooked by now.
With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water and gently drop
into the butter sauce. Carefully roll in the sauce until coated. Serve immediately.
Variations: For the gnocchi, you can flavour them however you wish. If you want
to experiment by adding something to your gnocchi (i.e., caramelized onion,
sundried tomato), feel free to do so. However, be forewarned, ricotta gnocchi are
delicate and may not take well to elaborate additions. For the sauce, this is your
chance to go nuts. Enjoy yourselves. Surprise us!!!
Freezing the gnocchi: If you don’t want to cook your gnocchi right away or if you
don’t want to cook all of them, you can make them and freeze them. Once they are
formed and resting on the flour-dusted, lined tray, place them uncovered in the
freezer. Leave them for several hours to freeze. Once frozen, place them in a
plastic bag. Remove the air and seal the bag. Return to the freezer. To cook frozen
gnocchi, remove them from the bag and place individually on a plate or on a tray.
Place in the refrigerator to thaw completely. Cook as directed for fresh gnocchi.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Croissants au Levain

Since my first attempt with a starter with the Bread Baking Babes some time ago I fell in love with sourdough baking. When I found this recipe in 'The Village Baker's Wife' I had to try it and it was a hit ! The croissants are very good and they have a subtle sourdough taste that I loved a lot. The only problem is that the recipe makes too many of them so I tried to freeze them raw but it killed my sourdough and they didn't rise anymore after that !! So next time I'll freeze them after I bake them (as my friend Cinzia had strongly suggested since the beginning !)
I'm submitting this recipe to Susan's (Wild) Yeastspotting this week.

Croissants au levain


1/2 cup liquid sourdough starter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour


1 package active dry yeast (I omitted the yeast)
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup butter softened and cut into small chuncks
Scant 1/2 cup powdered milk
7 cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons salt
1/2 cup sugar


2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) cold butter


1 egg
2 Tablespoons cold water

In a medium bowl, make the sponge, diluting the starter with the water. Add the whole wheat flour and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. The mixture will be the consintency of a thick batter. Let rise until doubled.
For the dough, dilute the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water. Set aside until creamy.(I didn't do this part)
Place the sponge and the remaining 1 3/4 cups of waterin a large bowl. Add the 1/ cup of butter and the milk powder and mix with a wooden spoon until moderately incorporated. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
In a small bowl combine the bread flour salt and sugar. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet one, stirring with a wooden spoon or plastic dough scraper. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be damp and sticky but workable. Knead the dough for no more than a few minutes on a lightly floured surface, working out any dry spots. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for an hour at room temperature.
Punch the dough down, then shape it into a flat 12 x 6 x 3 inch square. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 15 hours.
For the roll-in wrap the butter in parchement and pound it with a rolling pin until it's soft and pliable. Then, remove the parchement paper and, on a lightly floured work surface, with a rolling pin and a metal dough scraper alternately roll and shape the butter into a rectangle measuring 10 x 10 x172 inches thick.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a 24 x 12 inch rectangle. Place the slab of butter on the right half of the dough, fold the other half of the dough on the butter, and pinch the edges together to form a flat pillow.
Cover the dough pillow and tranfer it to the refrigerator and rest for 10 minutes. To complete the first turn, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to approximately 30 x 12 inches. Fold the dough in thirds, then re-cover and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Complete the second turn, rolling the dough out the opposite way and folding it in thirds again. Cover the dough and store overnight in the refrigerator. Repeat the process one more time the next day.
After the third turn is completed, cut the dough in half. Cover one half and store in the refrigerator. Roll the other half into a 16 inch wide rectangle 1/8 inch thick and cut into two 8 inch wide wide strips. Cut each strip into 9 or 10 triangles with 5 inch bases. Starting with the base of the triangles, fold 1/4 inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point. Repeat with the remaining dough or reserve it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Line two baking sheets with parchement paper. Place the croissants at least two inches a part . Whisk together the egg and water to make the glaze. Lightly brush each croissants with the glaze. Let rise, uncovered, for 4 to 5 hours at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400° . Brush the croissants once more with the glaze. Place baking sheets on the center rack in the oven and bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown. BUON APPETITO !!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TWD Tartest Lemon Tart

And here is my polka dot brulee tartest lemon tart ! The recipe was chosen by Babette of Babette Feasts and we really enjoied it ! I decided to try my soldering tool to make the brulee topping but maybe I used the wrong sugar and too little ! I made the tart without 1/2 a cup of sugar following Nancy's advise , I used all the lemons with the pith and without blanching them and it wasn't tart at all.
I meant to take a shot at a slice but when I came back with my camera here is what I found !!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

BBA Anadama Bread

Well I don't know how to put it but it's as simple as admitting I'm crazy and I joined another baking group !! We are going to bake through all 'the Bread Baking Apprentice' by Peter Reinhart most of us at once a week pace and some slower (faster???) .
Here is the first bread and since I still don't own the book I found a recipe online from the Whole Wheat Breads by the same author I hope it's OK. I likes the bread, it's sweet so I consider it a breakfast bread but the cornmeal crunch it's nice for me.
To join the group check Nicole's blog .

Friday, May 8, 2009

TFF Samosas with Chickpeas and Spinach

Dear friends this week we made samosas but vegetarian and baked instead of fried, I hope it's not too much of a change but that evening I really didn't want to deep fry ! The results were very good I made the samosa smaller but that way you don't get enough filling so next time I'll stick to Tyler's suggestions

I don't really have the skills of a perfect samosa's maker ! But I'll get better !

I froze half the samosas and I'm looking forward to eating them !! If you want to try the recipe is
here . Please visit the blog for more super ideas !!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TWD Chocolate Cream Tarte and Tiramisu Cake

Last week I was just finishing my job so I couldn't bake this wonderful tarte but here it is !
I really liked it and with a bit of planning it isn't hard to make at all ! Thanks to Kim of Scrumptious Photography who chose the wonderful recipe !

Then it came the Tiramisu chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures and I changed it a bit because I had forgotten the cream so I used a cup of greek yogurt instead (making it a bit leaner too) . Usually I make Tiramisù with mascarpone and a kind of zabaione (so the yolks are cooked) and I missed the zabaione flavour but the cake was a hit at my mum's house ! Thank you Megan ! Please visit the TWD blogroll to check all the others Tiramisù.

Friday, May 1, 2009

TFF Deep Dish Ham Quiche with Herbs and Asparagus Salad

As you can see yesterday evening we were too eager to start eating the quiche so my photo was not very good, so this morning I tried again even if the asparagus didn't look so fresh anymore !!

Anyway the quiche was very tasty ! I thought you could taste more the onions so maybe next time I will add more. I used 5 eggs (instead of 8) and only two cups of cream (instead of 4) but I assure you it was very rich anyway. I also forgot the egg yolk in the dough ! Please visit the blog for more Tyler's recipes !

Recipes to Rival Coq au Vin

We went French and delicious this time with Recipes to Rival and it was a very pleasant first time for me ! I made this succulent dish for Easter and everybody loved it but I must say that the next day (we call it Pasquetta ''small Easter') It was even better ! I used a skinless and boneless chicken so we could it it safely as cutting it in small pieces left very small and nasty bones around but for the rest I followed the recipe closely.
Thanks Temperance for the great choice !!

SSB Vanilla Cupcakes

This month our hostesses (?) Maria and Rosie chose for us these very nice and tasty cupcakes. They come together in a breeze and I loved their texture .
To decorate them I didn't use a buttercream but a glaze of egg whites and confectioner's sugar ( I hope it's OK !).
Please visit the Sweet and Simple site to check all the other beautiful cupcakes and what waits for us next month !