lunedì 29 giugno 2015


Entree - Lactose and gluten free - Suitable for diets

I love the combination between salty (capers) and sweet (orange) and decided it would have been perfect for salmon... it turned out quite good, thankfully.

Fresh salmon (quantity depends on fillets' size)
1 orange
2 tbsp Sicilian capers, packed in salt and rinsed
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt
Corn starch if needed

Scrape the salmon skin in order to remove all scales. Squeeze orange and roughly chop capers.

In a non-stick skillet, warm the olive oil and briefly sear the salmon, skin side down; then flip it and sear the other side. While it's searing, remove the skin: it will be failry easy, at this point.

Season with salt and flip again.

Add the orange juice and the chopped capers, and cook until you reach desired doneness.

Serve with a nice salad.

- If your juice is too thin, dissolve a little corn starch in cold water and stir it into your juice. It will thicken in a flash.
- This recipe is gluten and lactose free. It's also suitable for diets.

lunedì 22 giugno 2015


Entree - pizza - vegetarian/vegan - lactose free

I was looking for a good recipe for pizza and focaccia dough and... thanks to Vittorio of Viva La Focaccia for the dough recipe. Vittorio lives in San Francisco and has many interesting recipes, that I am resolved to try!!! ALL of them!

240 gr. lukewarm water (1 cup), in winter water should be warm, but not too much (you should be able to keep your hand in it without discomfort).
30 gr. Italian extra virgin olive oil (about 3 tbsp)
7 gr. dry active yeast (1 envelope or 1 tsp)
7 gr. salt (1 tsp scant)
345 gr. Italian 00 flour (2 1/2 cup, quantity estimated)
1 each Onion and tomato, sliced

In a bowl, where you'll prepare your dough, put the entire amount of water and dissolve the yeast, then add oil and half of the of the flour. It is very important that salt doesn't touch yeast. Start mixing until you obtain a smooth cream, then add salt and almost all the remaing flour (keep some of it for next phase). Mix and knead for about 4-5 minutes until your dough doesn't stick to the bowl anymore.

Sprinkle remaining flour onto your work surface and transfer your dough onto it, dust your hands with flour and knead for a few more minutes (if dough sticks too much, wait 3-5 minutes, then start again).

When you have a smooth dough, oil your baking pan (mine was 9x13"). Transfer your dough in the center, then turn upside down. This way, the dough surface will be covered with oil and won't dry out while leavening. Let it rise for 45-60 minutes, at that point your dough should have doubled.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

With oiled hands, flatten pizza dough carefully without stretching it. Arrange onions and tomato slices on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake about 15 minutes and serve immediately.

You can find our video for the dough preparation here

lunedì 15 giugno 2015


Entree - Can be Vegetarian, Lactose and Gluten free (READ footnotes)

On Saturday we were invited by our friend Karin for a dinner together (I owed her a tiramisu`, and that has been my contribution to the dinner ;-) ). I loved her pasta salad and she gave us a big batch to take home with us; I decided that pasta salad would have been our Monday lunch and our weekly recipe as well. I only added one ingredient that you'll find in the footnotes.

1 lb Italian pasta (cavatappi in this case)
1 6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup Italian sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1/4 cup Hot peperoncini, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Pepperoni, thinly sliced and halved
1/4 cup Italian black dried olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp pinenuts
3-4 tbsp Italian pesto
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly chopped basil
Italian sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In the meantime, prepare the "sauce": in a bowl mix artichoke, sundried tomatoes, peperoncini, pepperoni, olives, pinenuts and half pesto; mix well until combined nicely.

When water boils, add salt and pasta, stir and cook for about 2 minutes shorter than it would take to get "al dente". Drain it, quickly rinse it under cold running water, to stop the cooking. Spread on a kitchen cloth to cool down completely.

Transfer pasta to a big bowl with all other ingredients and mix well. Add the remaining pesto and olive oil.

Refrigerate, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for 2 hours at least.

This recipe serves 4-6

- It's a perfect dish for a buffet.
- It's great during summertime.
- I added some thawed peas, that I had leftover, to Karin's amazing dish.
- Alternate small batches of pasta and other ingredients, so they will combine more easily.
- For a gluten free version, use Italian GF pasta (we carry it).
- For a vegetarian, avoid pepperoni.
- For a lactose free version, don't use pre-made pesto: make your own without cheese.
- For a dish as simple as this, use only good quality ingredients, like the ones we carry (and we carry MOST of the ones listed here).

lunedì 8 giugno 2015


Appetizer or entree - Vegetarian and vegan - Lactose free

This is the recipe for the REAL Tuscan panzanella, a peasant dish created by farmers to use old bread that could not be given to farm animals. There are very few ingredients, bread has to be old (not croutons or anything similar), vinegar is wine vinegar and not balsamic that was not used in Tuscany. Whatever other recipes you find, whether online or in print, is NOT the original recipe.

Old bread, at least 2 days old and dry
2 ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced
1/2 big red onion, sliced
5-6 fresh basil leaves
High quality Italian wine vinegar (red or white)
High quality Italian extra virgin olive oil
Water and salt

In a big bowl arrange water and wine vinegar. Soak bread in it (you should use ciabatta, preferably, or Italian round, Pugliese or Tuscan artisan breads).

In a separate bowl, the one you'll be serving you salad in, arrange tomatoes and onions, season with oil and salt and stir to combine all ingredients.

Remove bread from water and squeeze it carefully, then crumble it with your vegetables.

Hand chop basil and drizzle with some more olive oil. Toss to combine nicely.

Refrigerate until it's time to serve.

- I haven't mentioned most of the quantities because it's up to personal taste and liking.
- The use of very high quality (like our Italian vinegars and olive oils) is mandatory in order to obtain a good result, when there are so few ingredients.
- Basil should never be washed: to clean it, just use a damp cloth or paper towel. Also, it should not be chopped: anytime you can, just break leaves with your hands.
- Vinegar in the water is used to add flavor to a bread that (in Italy) does not contain salt and doesn't have much flavor. By adding vinegar in the water, you will have a more even distribution of flavor.
- This is the summer paesant dish involving old bread, the winter one is a soup called ribollita.
- Because it's a peasant dish, no other ingredients were used (only the ones available at the farm): to make it a complete dish, you can add tuna or hard boiled eggs; people also add cucumbers.
- You can find the video here

lunedì 1 giugno 2015


Entree - Lactose free - Can be gluten free (READ footnotes)

The bell pepper cream recipe has been generously provided by our Facebook’s friend Giovanna, but I used it into this dish in a slightly different way. In the footnotes, you'll find links to both Giovanna's original recipe and my video about it.

1 pound  Italian bowties (farfalle) pasta
2 sausages or bratwurst sausage links
1 small onion, finely slice

For the bell peppers cream:
2 red bell peppers (yellow and orange could be used as well), cut in big pieces
1 tbsp. of Sicilian capers, packed in salt, rinsed and halved
3 shot glasses of water
4 tsps. of freshly chopped parsley

1 shot glass of brandy liquor
5 tbsps. of Italian extra virgin olive oil, total
Sicilian sea salt

In a large non-stick skillet with lid over medium heat, pour 3 tbsps. of Extra virgin olive oil, stir in the capers, bell peppers and water; season with salt. Oil should not be too hot, since the bell peppers should not fry or sautée. Cook, covered with lid, on medium-low heat until bell peppers are soft, stirring every once in a while, checking if you need to add more water.

In the meantime bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it gets  to a boil, add salt. Add the Farfalle pasta; stir and cook until “al dente”.

Meanwhile in a second skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining olive oil and sautée onions and the crumbled sausages or bratwurst links, after you have removed their casing and until onions are translucent. Deglaze with brandy liquor and cook 5 more minutes.

In a blender, blend the cooked bell peppers with their cooking juice until you obtain a smooth cream (you can add a little cream cheese, if you wish). Add the cream to the skillet with sausages and cook for 2-3 minutes more, so all flavors will combine nicely.

When pasta is al dente, drain it and transfer it to the skillet with the sauce (save some cooking water, to add in case your sauce is too thick). Sautée everything for a couple more minutes, tossing to coat evenly.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Buon appetito!

This recipe serves 4-6

- Here you can find the whole recipe for the bell peppers and the video is here.
- The reason why I always use and suggest Sicilian capers packed in salt, is beacuse this way, once you rinse salt away, all you add to your dish is the actual capers, not brine or vinegar.
- This recipe is lactose free. If you add cream cheese, it will no longer be lactose free!!! It can be gluten free, if you use GF pasta (which we carry).