Hazelnut cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year my husband – while putting some order in his mom’s documents – found a notebook with her recipes.
It brought back memories of long-forgotten recipes that he used to love as a child, growing up in the beautiful hills of Monferrato, a region in northwestern Italy.
Such a trove of traditional recipes was well worth handing down to the future generations, Continue reading

Zabaione

Ingredients:

(serves 4)  A  V  Gf

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 1/3 cup Marsala or Moscato wine

Using a heat-proof bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the Marsala or Moscato wine, a little bit at a time, still beating.
Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook over low heat, until the mixture starts to rise. Stir constantly with a hand whisk to incorporate air, with a delicate up-and down movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove from the heat.
Zabaione can be used as a warm sauce with dry cakes (like hazelnut cake- see recipe) or refrigerated and served as a cold dessert, with some dark chocolate grated on top.

Ahi Tuna with pineapple salsa

It’s Friday and it’s Lent. Not that I need religious reasons to eat fish, but it makes me feel good to respect the traditions I grew up with.
The only essential ingredient is freshness because when you cook seafood, the simpler its recipe the better. Wild Ahi tuna is so good that it would be a sacrilege to ruin it by overcooking it or overpowering its delicate taste with heavy sauces. That’s why I love this combination of tropical fruit and Ahi tuna.

Ingredients:

(serves 4 people)  A  B  Gf

  •  4 Ahi tuna steaks – 6 oz. each
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 4 Tbsp. Evoo
  • Freshly ground sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Pepper, freshly ground Continue reading

Lamb with Chickpeas, Raisins and Couscous

It’s time to think about the Easter menu. In my family, it has always been a tradition to cook lamb for the Easter lunch and I’m keeping this custom alive, although I’ve abandoned my mother’s recipe for more creative ones.  Last year, I found inspiration for my Easter lamb in a recipe by Bobby Flay for the Food Network. I made some variations, though, because it seemed too spicy and too garlicky for my taste. I was very satisfied with the result and my guests loved the Mediterranean flavors of this dish.
You can find the original Bobby Flay’s recipe online Bobby Flay’s Lamb Tagine

For a simpler lamb recipe, try my mother’s traditional Oven Roasted Lamb.

Ingredients:

(serves 8 people)  Sp

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup Evoo
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups of dry couscous.

Cut the lamb and trim any excess fat. In a large bowl, mix 2 quarts of water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Soak the lamb for 30 minutes in this bath. Drain the meat and pat it dry with paper towels. Continue reading

Oven Roasted Lamb with fingerling potatoes

Ingredients:

(serves 6 to 8 people)  Sp  Gf

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Evoo
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the fingerling potatoes:

  • 2 lb. fingerling potatoes
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. Evoo
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Warm up the oven at 400 F.
Trim any excess fat form the lamb. In a large bowl, mix 2 quarts of water and 1 cup of Continue reading

Marinated Zucchini

Yesterday I went to Modesto and I discovered – by pure chance – Greens Market. While I was waiting at a traffic light, I was captivated by the colorful logo on a delivery van.  Since the name of the company was promising, I immediately googled it – well, as soon as I stopped 🙂
A glance at their website was all it took to decide to make a detour from my errands to check it out.
I love to support vendors that share my ideas and principles and I must say that Greens Market was well worth my foray: what a gem of a store!
I bought cheese, fresh eggs and produce – all from local farms – but I would have liked to buy half of the products they carry.
So, if you leave in or near Modesto, definitely pay a visit to Greens Market.
Since demand and supply go hand in hand and most companies know that it’s a good business practice to respond to customer choices, please buy your groceries in stores whose suppliers are conscientious farmers.
If enough buyers made the effort to support their local organic producers, the chances to get food of better quality will increase for everybody.

Did I mention that I bought some beautiful organic zucchini? And since the peppermint in my garden is already three inches tall, tonight I’m going to make Marinated Zucchini.
My husband loves this recipe because he finds it “refreshing”, whereas I like its simplicity and the fact that zucchini are low in calories.

*Recipe by Rossana Giacobelli

 Ingredients:

(Serves 4)  Sp  Sr  V  B

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. organic white wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp. organic sugar
  • ¼ cup Evoo
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 30 leaves of peppermint

Slice the zucchini lengthwise with a mandolin and arrange them in layers in a shallow container, putting the mint leaves between the layers.
Make the marinade by mixing the lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. vinegar, 1 heaping tsp. of sugar, ¼ cup Evoo, and salt to taste. Whisk the marinade with a fork until it becomes creamy, then pour it over the zucchini.
Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Carrot Salad

As you might have noticed, at the beginning of the week I’m in an eat-your-veggies mood. I cannot say if it’s because I feel renewed after the weekend (and therefore more inclined to follow my healthy-eating resolutions) or because I feel guilty of the previous Saturday culinary indulgences. Anyway, what I’m very sure of is that I can only benefit from a diet rich in vegetables.
I love carrots – for their taste and for the color they add to my plate – but they are high in sugars and that’s why I use them sparingly. However, in this season they are too good to pass: tender and juicy, just they way you would like them to be year-round.
Carrots are also rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and β-carotene (that our body metabolizes into Vitamin A) and therefore important in our diet.

Here are two quick and easy recipes with carrots.

Ingredients:

(serves 4 people)  Sp  V  B  Gf

  • 6 organic carrots
  • 3 Tbsp. of Evoo
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • ¼ cup roasted pine nuts
  • salt
  • pepper

Soak the raisins in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and peel the carrots with a potato peeler, cut them in big pieces and julienne them.
Squeeze the lemon, mix it with Evoo, salt and pepper.
Drain the raisins, pat them dry with a paper towel, and add them to the carrots, together with the roasted pine nuts. Pour the dressing on the carrots, toss and serve.

Curry Carrots

Ingredients:

(serves 4 people)  Sp  V  B  Gf

  • 1 ½ lb. organic carrots
  • 4 Tbsp. of Evoo
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat the oven at 420 F.
Line a baking pan with foil. Wash, trim and peel the carrots.
Toss the carrots in 2 Tbsp. Evoo and coat them evenly. Spread the carrots on the foil-lined baking pan, add salt and pepper, and roast them for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the curry powder with the remaining 2 Tbsp. of Evoo, remove the carrots from the oven and, with a small brush, coat them with the curried oil.
Return to the oven and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Celery Root Salad

Celery root, or Celeriac, is rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus.
Although very simple, this salad is always a success for its originality and its fresh but intriguing taste. To make it richer, add some chopped walnuts to it.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

(serves 4 people)  A  V  B  Gf

  • 1 celery root
  • 3 Tbsp. of Evoo
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 oz. of Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, shaved
  • salt
  • pepper

Peel the celery root with a potato peeler, cut it in half and slice it thinly with the potato peeler.
Squeeze the lemon, pour it on the sliced celery root and toss. Wash the central, tender leaves of the celery root, dry them, chop them finely and add them to your salad.
Shave the cheese on top of the celery; add salt, pepper and Evoo, toss and serve.

Chicken broth

Ingredients:

(serves 4 people)  A  V  B  Gf

  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 whole chicken breast, with the bone
  • 1 onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • a few leaves of parsley
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

Peel the onion and cut it in the middle. Warm up a non-stick pan or an iron skillet and sear one half of the onion for a few minutes, until it’s dark brown. This is an old trick to give an inviting golden color to your stock.
Wash all the vegetables and peel the carrot.
Put 2 quarts of water in a tall pot, add all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and cook for 1 hour.
The broth can be used in several recipes (see Passatelli recipe) and the cooked chicken will be almost fat-free but tasty, perfect for your salads or for a light dinner.