lunedì 25 giugno 2012


Appetizer - can be vegetarian and lactose free (read notes below)

3 14-oz Italian CECI (chickpeas)
1 garlic clove (optional)
1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped
1 egg
2 tbsp Parmigiano, grated
2 tbsp Italian plain breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped Prosciutto
Salt - Pepper - Extra virgin olive oil

It's great with Insalata russa (Russian salad - not sure of the origin of the name).

Italian sweet, tender peas
diced carrots and potatoes

First of all prepare the salad: boil potatoes and carrots until soft, drain and rinse tender, sweet Italian peas and spread on towel to dry them.

Prepare mayo. Put in the immersion blender glass (or in a tall container) in this order:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 egg, 2-3 pinches of salt and 2-3 tsp of white wine vinegar.

Immerse the blender and start blending for 7-8 seconds, then slowly lit it to combine all other ingredients. Give a couple more pulses and your mayo is ready. It takes about 15 seconds.

Combine the vegetables, at room temperature, with the mayo and refrigerate.

Now prepare the fritters.

Drain and rinse ceci. Arrange them in a food processor with the garlic and blend.

Transfer to a bowl and add Parmigiano, parsley, egg and prosciutto; mix well to combine. If it's too soft, add breadcrumbs.

Form balls as big as walnuts, then flatten them a little. Dredge in breadcrubs.

In a big non-stick skillet, warm up olive oil then sautee fritters in it until golden on both sides.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

- For a vegetarian dish, avoid prosciutto. For a lactose free dish avoid parmigiano and substitute with as much breadcrumbs.
- Mayo with olive oil tends to be more savory than the one you buy. You can use 2/3 cup of olive oil and 1/3 cup of sunflower oil.
- You can also add a few tbsp of greek plain yougurt to your mayo in order to make it lighter.
- If you don't like vinegar, use same quantity of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

lunedì 18 giugno 2012


Dessert - Light

5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups ricotta
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Divide eggs: put yolk in a big bowl and egg whites in another.

Add sugar to the yolks and whisk until you obtain a pale yellow cream, then add ricotta and whisk until well combined.

Add a pinch of salt to the whites and beat until it holds picks; then carefully add it to the ricotta cream, stirring from bottom up.

Pour coffee in a bowl and quickly dip ladyfingers in it (one at a time); then layer them on the bottom of a 9x13" rectangular baking pan.

Pour half of the cream and top with coffee-dip ladyfingers.

Add cocoa powder to the reamaining ricotta cream and pour it over the ladyfinger, finish with another layer of coffee-dip ladyfingers.

Put the cake in the freezer for 4-5 hours.

Serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and crumbled amaretti cookies.

- You can add diced fruits (banana, strawberry, peach, pear....) and/or chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts to your ricotta cream.
- You can put it in the refrigerator, instead of the freezer, obtaining a sort of tiramisu. This way it's more like an ice-cream cake.
- If there will be kids, you can add milk to the coffee or just use milk. If there won't be kids, then you can add a liqueur to the coffee. Amaretto would be great.
- You can use half vanilla half chocolate ladyfingers.

martedì 12 giugno 2012


Side dish - sauce - vegetarian - light - lactose and gluten free

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 zucchina, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 14-oz can of Italian San Marzano tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly chopped basil

In a saucepan (with lid), warm up olive oil and sautee onion and garlic for 2 minutes, then add zucchina and bell peper, stir and sautee for 2-3 more minutes; discard garlic.

Season with salt and add tomatoes.

Lower heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, season with salt, if needed, and add basil.

This recipe serves 2

- It is a great side dish for grilled/roasted fish or white meat.
- It is great even at room temperature.
- You can use it as sauce for pasta; it is enough for 1 lb of pasta (egg pasta like fettuccine or garganelli would be the best), serving 4-6 people.
- If you like garlic, you can chop or mince it and leave it in.
- You can add other bell peppers and diced eggplant, if you like them. In this case it would serve more people.

lunedì 4 giugno 2012


Meat entree - light - lactose and gluten free!!

8 pork loin (or tenderloin) slices, thinly sliced
2 oz Italian dried porcini
1 small onion, cut in thin wedges
14 oz Italian San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Soak porcini in lukewarm water for 20 minutes; remove them and squeeze away excess water. Cut bigger pieces in 2-3 parts, depending on the size. Carefully filter the water they were soaking in, to remove dirt.

Warm extra virgin olive oil in a big non-stick skillet and sautee onions on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add porcini and stir.

Now add tomatoes, the mushroom water, stir and season with salt. Cook on medium heat, possibly covered with a lid, for about 10 minutes.

Add meat and cook it for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked thoroughly, depending on the slices' thickness (mine were about 1/8").

Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 4.

- If you have leftovers, you can freeze them or use as a pasta sauce, do not use Parmigiano, please. It would cover the porcini flavor.
- You can dredge slices in flour, sautee in olive oil and then add the porcini-onion sauce, prepared in advance. This way it will be less light.
- You can also use it as base for a stew.
- I always suggest to use Italian porcini beacuse they are the MOST flavorful and Italian San Marzano tomatoes, because they are the sweetest.