Cranberry orange relish

img_8269This classic with a twist is perfect for your Thanksgiving turkey as well as for chicken, pork or as used as a jam.

Ingredients:

(serves 8)    F W  V 

  • 1 lb. of fresh organic cranberries
  • 3 organic navel oranges
  • 2/3 cup of organic sugar
  • 1 ½ cup of orange juice
  • ¼ cup of rum (optional – alcohol will evaporate during cooking)

Wash the cranberries and discard the soft ones. Wash the oranges and cut one into small chunks. Squeeze the remaining two oranges. Measure their juice and, if it doesn’t measure 1 ½ cup, add some water. Transfer orange chunks and juice into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer into a pan; add cranberries, sugar and rum. Cook for 12 -15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Press the cranberries to the sides of the pan to crush them: they will release their pectin and the relish will thicken. Serve warm with meats or cold as jam. It keeps for a week in the fridge or you can freeze small amounts and use later.

Béchamel Sauce

Today I will introduce a sauce. Not just any sauce, but a very important one that you can – and will – use in many recipes because of its versatility and its delicate taste.
Once you try it, you’ll have no doubt that its origin is French and in fact it takes its name from its inventor, the Marquis Louis de Nointel de Béchameil, a wealthy banker who became the maître d’hôtel at Louis XIV court. Because of his outstanding cooking skills, the Sun King awarded him the Blue Ribbon of the Order of The Holy Spirit, which later became a symbol of culinary excellence, the well known Cordon Bleu. Continue reading

Ghee

Ghee is a clarified butter, used in India and throughout South Asia in daily cooking.
It has a distinctive toasted flavor, often described as nutty.
Ghee is considered a saturated fat since it is derived from animals. Nevertheless, many studies indicate that it is healthier and easier to digest than butter because it contains less fat. It is therefore recommended for people who are on a low fat diet since a very small quantity of ghee can add more flavor to the food than any other oil or fat products. Continue reading

Tomato sauce with kalamata olives and capers

This is the perfect sauce for any kind of pasta, quick and easy. Please remember that pasta doesn’t have to swim in sauce. For Italian standards, this is the perfect quantity for 6 oz. (or 170 g.) of dry pasta.

Ingredients:

(for 2 people)  A  V  B Gf

  • 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce (see my recipe)
  • ½ cup of pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 Tbsp. of capers
  • 3 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 pich of salt

Put the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Continue reading

Tomato sauce

I use my tomato sauce in many recipes, so I make plenty of it in the summer and I can it for the winter. I prefer it to the commercial one because I know what I’m putting in it, it doesn’t contain any added sugars or artificial colors, the tomatoes I use are organic and ripened on the plant and, most importantly, it tastes better!
To make it is an extra effort, but it’s well worth it. It’s nice to know that it’s in my pantry, ready to use in stews, soups, ratatouille, pizzas or, by simply warming it up, adding a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, to dress my pasta.
I refuse to call it Marinara because in Italian “marinara” means “of the sea” and – last time I checked – there were no tomatoes in the sea.

Ingredients:

(Yields approx. 8 1-pint jars)  Sr  V  B  Gf

  • 8 lb. ripe, organic tomatoes (preferably Roma or San Marzano)
  • Basil, approx. 20 leaves
  • Parsley, handful of leaves
  • 1 small yellow onion (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (optional)

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. Peel the onion and cut it in quarters. Peel the garlic. Wash the basil and the parsley. Continue reading

Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

A  V  B  Gf

  • 1 egg
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • a pinch of salt

Break the egg in the plastic beaker of your hand blender or in any other tall container with a small base. The egg must be at room temperature. If you forgot to take it out of the fridge in advance, put it in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Continue reading

Basil Pesto

Pesto is an ancient recipe from Liguria, also known as Italian Riviera. It’s almost impossible to grow a basil that equals the smell and taste of the one grown in Liguria and therefore to make a pesto that compares to the original one. The word “pesto” comes from the Italian verb “pestare” (to crush) since pesto should be made in a pestle.  There is nothing wrong in making it with an electric food processor, although the result is quite different in taste and texture.
Pesto keeps in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. It freezes very well in ice trays: pour a tablespoon in each square, cover airtight with plastic wrap and freeze. When pesto is frozen, remove from the ice tray and transfer to a Ziplock bag. It thaws at room temperature in about 10 minutes.
Pesto is very good as a sauce for pasta. In this case, a tablespoon of hot water should be added to it to make it smoother. Use 1 Tbsp. of pesto every 60 grams (2 ounces) of dry uncooked pasta.
It’s also a very good dressing for salads that contain tomatoes. In this case, it should be diluted in more olive oil and 1 Tbsp. is enough for 4 people, otherwise the taste becomes overwhelming.

Ingredients:

Sr  V  Gf  B

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. of pine nuts
  • 4-5 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 1 ounce of pecorino cheese

Wash the basil and remove the leaves from the stems. There should be at least fifty leaves. Combine all ingredients in the blender, olive oil first. Start on low and slowly increase the speed. If the ingredients don’t blend well, add more olive oil or one tablespoon of water. The result should be a smooth, light-green sauce, with small pieces of its ingredients.