Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TWD : Chockablock Cookies

This week Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet chose for us this all in one cookie recipe. When i started the cookies I was on the verge of a terrible migraine so I didn't check my pantry being so sure I had everything. But I didn't . And in spite of puffed rice instead of rolled oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts these cookies are (sadly were) amazing !!
(I used almonds and dried cranberries too !).
Thank you Mary !! Please visit Mary for the recipe and the other bakers for more !

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD : Sweet Cream Biscuits

This time it was Melissa of Love at First Bite

who chose this recipe and not knowing exactly how a biscuit should look and reading the P&Q I learned a few things but maybe not enough ! As you can see my biscuits are barely holding together because I was afraid of overdoing it, and I sprinkled them with muscobado sugar as Mary did (she used maple sugar).
Anyway we enjoied them with jam (no butter for me !) and loaded with whipped cream and strawberries !! Please visit Melissa for the recipe and the other bakers for beautiful biscuits !

The Cake Slice : Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting and some Forgotten Posts

Here is the last cake I made for The Cake Slice I'm always in search for banana cakes or breads or wahtever can help with my secret banana's freezer drawer and this was a good one it looks much more festive than my usual breads and it tastes wonderfully moist .
I must confess I didn't use the recipe's chocolate frosting because I really can't get myself to like the butter/confectioner's sugar frosting and tried a milk chocolate ganache from a famous italian pastry chef : Maurizio Santin.

If you wish to try this delicious cake here you can find the original recipe from Southern Cakes Nancie McDermott.
And if you want to try the ganache here is the recipe:

Bring to a boil 200 gr of heavy cream with 20 gr corn syrup. Add 210 gr milk chocolate and mix, add 70 gr butter mixing until smooth.
I let the ganache cool and then filled and frosted the cake.
Please visit the blog for more bananas cakes and please welcome my more than late last two months cakes !!

Pinepple upside down

Mississippi Mud Cake

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Spicy Coleslaw - Savoy Cabbage Pasta

Our theme for this week was :Pantry Raid and raiding my fridge yesterday I found lots of Savoy Cabbage and of Red Chard from our vegetable box.
I browsed Mark Bittman pages and found my recipes .
The recipes are very simple and good I finished the pasta with some grated pecorino and omitted peppers and scallions from the coleslaw not diminishing its deliciousness !!

Pasta with Savoy Cabbage

Makes 3 to 4 main course or about 6 first course servings
Time: 30 minutes

Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 or more anchovy fillets (optional)
1 dried red chile, like serrano
3 bay leaves
1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) head savoy or white cabbage, cored and shredded
1 cup stock or dry white wine
1 pound dried pasta, like spaghetti
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

1. Set a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Put the oil, garlic, anchovies, chile, and bay leaves in a large, deep skillet or casserole and turn the heat to medium. Cook just until the garlic colors, then add the cabbage and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage browns a bit.

2. Add the stock and continue to cook until the cabbage becomes tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.

3. When the pasta is tender but not mushy, drain it, reserving some of the cooking water. Toss the cabbage and pasta together, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary to moisten the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, garnish with the parsley, and serve.

Spicy Coleslaw

Makes about 2 quarts
Time: 20 minutes

More interesting, more flavorful, and far less fat-laden than traditional coleslaw, which is mayonnaise based. Dijon is the mustard of choice here, though you can substitute wholegrain mustard if you like it; steer clear of ordinary yellow or brown mustards.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive, peanut, or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
6 cups cored and shredded Napa, Savoy, green, and/or red cabbage
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, peeled if desired, seeded, and diced
1 cup diced scallions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl; add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.

2. Add sugar and whisk to dissolve.

3. Combine the cabbage, peppers, and scallions, and toss with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve (it's best to let this rest for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to mellow; you can let it sit longer, up to 24 hours, if you like). Just before serving, toss with parsley.

Shopping Tip: The best head cabbage is Savoy, the light green variety with crinkled leaves; if you can't find it, the standard tight, smooth, light green cabbage will do. Napa (also spelled Nappa) cabbage, a kind of "Chinese" cabbage, is a good romaine-like variety, terrific for raw salads and coleslaw. Reject any cabbages with yellow leaves, loose leaves, or those which are soft or not tightly packed.

Still wondering about the red swiss chard ?

Greek Swiss Chard Pie (I had some Puff Pastry) from here

You may be familiar with Spanakopita, the Greek spinach pie; this dish is very similar. I prefer a sturdier green like chard to spinach, because it retains its dark green color and fresh flavor better when cooked for a long time in the phyllo dough.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of dill and parsley, or 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano

3 large eggs, beaten

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Freshly ground pepper

12 sheets phyllo pastry plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons each melted butter and extra-virgin olive oil, combined, for brushing

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil while you stem and wash the greens. Wash them in 2 changes of water, lifting them from the water so that the dirt stays behind. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add the chard and blanch for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer to the ice water. Let sit just until cool, a few minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water by taking up bunches of the greens, making a fist around them and squeezing. Chop coarsely and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil or butter a 10-inch tart or cake pan (I like to use a ceramic dish for this). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the greens, herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir the mixture for a minute, until the greens are coated with oil. Remove from the heat.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Crumble or blend in the feta. Stir in the greens, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Line the pie dish with 7 pieces of phyllo, lightly brushing each piece with butter or oil and turning the dish after each addition so that the edges of the phyllo drape evenly over the pan. Fill with the greens mixture. If using phyllo, fold the draped edges in over the filling, lightly brushing the folded in sheets of phyllo ,then layer the remaining 5 pieces on top, brushing each piece with butter or olive oil. Stuff the edges into the sides of the pan. Brush the top with the butter or oil, and make a few slashes so that steam can escape as the pie bakes.

5. Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature.

Yield: Serves 6

Advance preparation: The blanched greens will keep in the refrigerator in a covered bowl for 3 or 4 days. The dish can be prepared through Step 2 up to a day ahead. Keep the cooked greens in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. You can assemble the pie several hours before baking and keep it in the refrigerator, or freezer. Transfer directly from the freezer to the preheated oven, and increase the baking time by about 10 minutes. The finished tart keeps for a few days, but you must re-crisp the phyllo in a low oven (300º to 325ºF) for 10 to 20 minutes.

And a wonderful Red Chard, Potato and White Bean Ragout from here

This comforting stew makes a hearty meal when served with a salad and crusty bread.

1 cup dried white beans, soaked for 6 hours or overnight in 1 quart water

A bouquet garni made with 1 bay leaf, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, and a Parmesan rind, tied together with kitchen string


1 generous bunch red chard (3/4 to 1 pound)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), sliced

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Drain the beans and combine with 1 quart of fresh water in a casserole or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any foam, then add the bouquet garni. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Meanwhile, stem and clean the red chard leaves in 2 changes of water. Rinse the stems and dice. Set aside. Cut the leaves in ribbons, or coarsely chop, and set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion and chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes and stir together, then transfer to the pot with the beans. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and beans are tender. Salt to taste.

4. Add the chard and thyme leaves to the pot, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The chard should be very tender. Stir in freshly ground pepper to taste and the parsley. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve, passing the Parmesan to sprinkle on the top.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Advance preparation: The dish will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. If you are making it ahead, make it through Step 3 and proceed with Step 4 shortly before serving, so that the color of the chard doesn’t fade too much.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daring Cook's Challenge : Brunswick Stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

I'm so sorry but I lost cont of the days and, as I made this wonderful stew loooong ago, I had forgotten to post it !!!
I chose the long version and left it refrigerated for 24 hours before eating it, made this stew with turkey and veal and it was so welcomed . I made some corn bread to go with it.


Recipe One, the Long Way-
From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Serves about 12

1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned
1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Sunday Chicken Broth (recipe below)
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Tabasco sauce to taste


Recipe 1-

1-In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.

2- Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.

3- Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.

4- With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.5 After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.

5- Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.

6 You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TWD : Swedish Visiting Cake in italiano a seguire

The great Swedes made up a cake that doesn't need a lot of ingredients, fuss and time and the fantastic Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs chose it this week.
As Dorie states you can almost start it when you see your friends arriving and if they remain a couple of hours they'll be lucky to eat it ! Please visit the blogroll for more and Nancy for the recipe


La torta della settimana è una torta rapida semplice e buona ( che desiderare di più ?) .

Prendete 225 gr. di zucchero e lavoratelo con la scorza di un limone aggiungeteci due uova. Sbattete le uova, aggiungeteci un pizzico di sale e 110 gr. di farina e 110 gr di burro. Versare l'impasto in una teglia con diametro 20 cm imburrata e infarinata e spolverare con mandorle a filetti e zucchero. Infornare nel forno a 180 ° già caldo per circa 25 minuti.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Bites of Bittman Vegetable Pancakes in Italiano a seguire

At I Heart Cooking Clubs there has been a change and now for six months we are going to be inspired by Mark Bittman. As the first theme was bites I thought these pancakes were ideal.
You can see above the vegetables I used I'm not sure about sone of their names... but they were a great contribution to our frittelle !! Please visit and join the Group !!

Oggi con le 'strane' verdure del cassettone e Mark Bittman il nuovo chef che ispirerà il gruppo di I heart cooking clubs ci siamo dati alle frittelle !! Semplicissima la ricetta :

3 tazze circa di verdure miste grattugiate col mixer
100 gr di farina
2 albumi
sale e pepe
e friggere !!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Strawberry Tarte

This tarte is dedicated to Chaya for her birthday !!!
It is a sweet tart crust filled with pastry cream, whipped cream and strawberries.
It is a wonderful party thrown by the great Sugar Plum Fairy please join us !!!

Tanti Auguri a Chaya !!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD : Mocha- Hazelnuts Marbled Bundt Cake - italiano a seguire

And the chooser for this week was she chose a very nice and moist bundt (it must be bundt season !) and the rose being the only bundt I have I had to use it again ! Erin of When in Doubt…Leave it at 350 , she chose a very nice and moist bundt (it must be bundt season !) and the rose being the only bundt I have I had to use it again !
The only change I made was using hazelnuts instead of walnuts but for the rest I obeyed to Dorie ! My ginko resembles more to goofy than to a leaf but no one knew my aim and complained.
I hope you had a wonderful Easter or Passover or Spring Sunday !!
Please visit my colleagues for more ginkos and Erin for the recipe !!!


Stavolta un altro Bundt (cioè una torta cotta in uno stampo alto e con il buco tipo kugelhopf) ma con l'impasto diviso in due e una delle due parti arricchita con cioccolato e caffè : una delizia !!!

225 gr farina

45 gr noci tritate ( io ho usato nocciole)

1 cucchiaino lievito per dolci

1cucchiaino di sale

250 gr burro

80 gr di cioccolato fondente tritato

60 gr di caffè caldo o freddo

1 cucchiaino di caffè istantaneo

230 gr di zucchero

4 uova grandi

2 cucchiaini di estratto di vaniglia

240 gr di latte a temperatura ambiente

Preriscaldare il forno a 180° e preparare lo stampo (il mio è in silicone). Setacciare farina, noci, lievito e sale.

A bagnomaria fare sciogliere 30 grammi di burro con cioccolato caffè e caffè istantaneo finchè il cioccolato non si sia sciolto.

Nel mixer lavorare il burro rimasto con lo zucchero per circa 3 minuti, aggiungere le uova una alla volta, la vaniglia, e la farina e il latte alternandoli cominciando dalla farina.

Unire poco meno della metà degli ingredienti con il cioccolato. Versare i due composti nello stampo e cuocere per circa 65 /70 minuti. Far riposare 10 minuti prima di sformare.

99 Colombe : Torta di mele - Italiano a seguire

As many of you may remember a year ago an earthquake struck the city of L'Aquila and its surroundings.
People from Abruzzo are very well known for their strenght and will power, as for many other beautiful sides of their character.
The beautiful Aquila is still filled with debris and the people who loved to walk and meet in the center are becoming more and more angry and hopeless.
You might already know that many Americans have origins from Abruzzo : Madonna,Michael Bublè, Dean Martin and John Fante between many others.
Abruzzo is famous for many specialty foods among which are the products of the Sorelle Nurzia factory, since 1835 their little soft torroncini are a must for Christmas.

A group of bloggers decided to do something to help them get a new start by preparing a dessert using their products.
Francesco Arena , a photographer, visited the factory and shot some great photos.
I got a traditional colomba with raisins and candied orange peel and decided to make an apple tarte.

I used a store bought puff pastry for the base, then spread a thin layer of homemade orange marmalade ( remember ?)

Covered it with a homey pastry cream layer (just one whole egg, 2 Tbs sugar, 1 Tbs cornstarch and 300 ml milk).

And finally a layer of thinly cut colomba, cover all with apple slices brush with some thinned marmalade.... Bake in a 380° oven and here it is !

Quando ho saputo dell'iniziativa di 99 colombe ho cercato di immaginare quale ricetta avrei potuto preparare e questa semplice torta di mele ispirata a una torta di una pasticceria della mia infanzia mi è subito venuta in mente.
E' una ricetta semplicissima e veloce ma squisita ! La colomba delle Sorelle Nurzia si è unita con la crema e la marmellata in una meravigliosa crema all'arancia.....purtroppo non ce n'è più !!!!
Il procedimento è semplicissimo: si fodera una teglia con un rotolo di pasta sfoglia si ricopre di marmellata di arance, crema paticcera, colomba (o pandispagna, pandoro, panettone) e finalmente le mele. Io ho spennellato le mele con un po' di marmellata di arance diluita a frullata. Si cuoce a 200 ° per una quarantina di minuti.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Recipes to Rival: Whole fish Baked in a Salt Crust

I'm horribly late but this recipe was wonderful and I had to share it with you !!
The only change I made to the recipe was adding some finely chopped parsley to the salt mixture .
I've used a 650 gr. Bass and as you can see there wasn't any left for photos ....

Whole Fish Baked in a Salt Crust
Seafood alla Siciliana, by Toni Lydecker

Lemon slices
Several sprigs of flat leaf parsley
1 sea bass or other suitable whole fish, about 1.5 pounds, cleaned and scaled
4 cups sea salt or kosher salt
3 egg whites
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Tuck the lemon slices and parsley sprigs into the cavity of the fish.

Combine the salt, egg whites, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl, mixing well until the salt has the consistency of damp sand. (If the mixture feels too wet, add more salt; if too dry, stir in a bit more water).

Line a large rimmed baking sheet (or any other baking dish) with foil or parchment paper. Using half of the damp salt, form a bed for the fish. Place the fish on top, and pack the remaining salt over it to form a covering.

Bake the fish to an internal temperature of 135 - 140 degrees, about 25 minutes. (You can just poke an instant read thermometer right through the salt, into the fish). Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

With the back of a wooden spoon, crack and remove the hard, pale brown crust of salt. Remove the skin and fillet the fish. Serve with your best olive oil and lemon wedges.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mellow Bakers : Hot Cross Buns

I know I'm crazy but I've joined a new baking group ! It's brand new, it's called Mellow Bakers and the March recipe was Hot Cross Buns . The recipes are from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread .
I hope I'll be forgiven for being late but my computer luckily started to work again this morning !I still do not own the book but Susan of Wild Yeast has played with this recipe a bit and has it posted here.
We loved them a lot so as there are still a few days before Easter try them !!!