lunedì 28 settembre 2015


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

I love fish, I love to cook (this should be clear, by now ;-) ). I found these Dover sole fillets (fresh and wild caught) at a killer price, so I decided to try this recipe, that I read on an Italian magazine and I tried to recreate it, based on my memory... I don't even know if I used all right ingredients! The final result, though, was good :-)

6 Sole fillets
8 oz cooked shrimp
1/2 cup non-flavored breadcumbs
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 big orange, juice and grated zest (divided)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup brandy
2-3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt

In a bowl, combine all the shrimp and the orange zest with about half breadcrumbs, almond, parsley and hot pepper flakes. In a different bowl the remaining breadcrumbs, almond, parsley and hot pepper flakes. Season both with a pinch of salt.

Lay the sole fillets flat and spread some of the shrimp mixture on halt of them, then fold as a pocket and secure with a toothpick.

In a non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and sautee the chopped onion and, when it turns translucent, add the breadcrumb mixture (and whatever shrimp mix may be left from stuffing).

Sautee until breadcrumbs start getting lightly golden, then add the sole fillets and let them sear; flip carefully with a spatula, paying attention not to break them, these fillets are really delicate.

Once seard on this side, deglaze with brandy and let alcohol evaporate; pour orange juice in, let thicken for a few minutes, season with salt, if needed, and remove from heat.

Depending on the size of the fillets, you can serve 4-8

- You can serve this recipe with a nice salad or other vegetables (sauteed or steamed).
- You can actually bake the fillets, but not having tried this option, I can't tell you what the timing would be.
- If you don't have fresh parsley, you can substitute that and hot pepper flakes with 2 tsps of our dried mix that has parley, hot pepper flakes and garlic.
- You could also use an infused Italian extra virgin olive oil, instead of the traditional one. Yes, we carry that too :-)
- This recipe is lactose free, use gluten free breadcrumbs to make it safe.

lunedì 21 settembre 2015


Side dish - Vegetarian and vegan - Lactose and gluten free

I love vegetables and I love to eat seasonal ones. I prepare a similar mixed dish, all summertime, with eggplant zucchini and other... (recipe here, video here); I decided I wanted to try a fall version and came up with this one. DISCLAIMER: it's a rather sweet dish (read footnotes), but I absolutely LOVE the sweet-savory contrast so here it is.

1 small sweet potato
1 medium-big baking potato
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 big onion
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
1/3 butternut squash
Chopped fresh parsley, sage, oregano, thyme (1 tbsp TOTAL)
1/2 galic clove, chopped
Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt

First of all, prepare the flavored oil: mix all herbs and garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil, let it marinate during the preparation of ingredients.

Peel and cube (sides about 1") both potatoes, carrot and onion; cut celery about same size.

In a wide saucepan (or skillet) with lid, over medium-high heat, warm up the herb-oil mix and sautee briefly (1-2 minutes), then stir in the prepared vegetables; lower heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, whil you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Clean and cut the mushrooms in half (or in 3-4 pieces, depending on their sizes), peel and cube the butternut squash.

Stir mushrooms and squash in the pan with the other vegetables, season with salt and a little nutmeg and cover with the lid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until you reach your desired doneness.

This recipe serves 4-6

- Try to cut all the vegetable about same size: this way, cooking will be more even.
- You can substitute the fresh herbs, if not available, with a high quality Italian infused extra virgin olive oil (like the ones we have in stock); you could also use dried herbs, adjusting the quantities, since they are more flavorful than the fresh ones.
- This is a rather "sweet" side dish; you may want to play with herbs and non-sweet ingredients, to counter that sweetnes, if you don't like it too much.
- It's vegetarian, vegan, lactose and gluten free.

lunedì 14 settembre 2015


Entree - Gluten free

I LOVE stuffed vegetables, and this is a combination of 2 recipes I constantly prepare. They are pale (read footnotes) but I can assure you that the result is really good! Perfect for picnics, lunchbox, work lunch... they're good both warm and at room temperature.

3 Zucchini, medium-big
Leftover meats (rotissery chicken, roasted pork... whatever)
7 oz ricotta cheese
3 tbsp grated Parmigiano reggiano
1 extra large egg
Freshly chopped mint or parsley
Italian seasalt
Italian extra virgin olive oil

Cut zucchini in half, legthwise and scoop out the pulp. You won't use it for this recipe, in the footnotes, you'll find some suggestions on how to use it.

In a food processor, chop meats and transfer to a bowl. Add to the meats both cheeses, egg, mint or parsley, nutmeg and salt, if needed.

Mix all ingredients until nicely combined, then stuff your zucchini with it.

At this points you have 2 choices: you can bake them or cook them on the stove.

To bake, brush a baking dish with a little Italian olive oil, arrange them in it, add a little broth and cover with foil. Bake on central rack at 350F for 15 minutes. Uncover, top with some mozzarella cheese (or sliced provolone) and broil until golden.

To cook on the stove, coat a non-stick skillet or saucepan (with a lid) with a little Italian olive oil, arrange them in it, add a little broth and cover with the lid. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Serves 2-3

- You can add some cold cuts, to the meat, if you like them (or have them).
- When cooking on the stovetop, 5 minutes before they're done, top with some mozzarella cheese (or sliced provolone) and cook until it melts. Or (if the skillet is ovenproof) broil them until golden.
- You can use the inner zucchini pulp for soups or also to prepare a pasta sauce. You can also sautee it, with sliced onions, in Italian olive oil and serve as a side for this meal.
- You can use dried parsley or mint, don't use both: mint will overpower parsley.
- My zucchini look rather pale because I used white meats and didn't have time to broil, since I used them for lunch here at the store.
- It's gluten free.

martedì 8 settembre 2015


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

This is an enriched version of a recipe I posted last year, and I got that recipe from our FB friend Elisa. I just slightly changed that recipe, I really changed it this time; we had a cold front coming through the area and I was craving for something "fall"...

1 lb Italian farfalle (bowtie pasta)
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 sausage links, casing removed and crumbled
2 oz. Italian dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
2 cups red dry wine
Parsley, freshly chopped.
Italian sea salt

Soak porcini for 20 minutes (a little longer if you live in an area with dry climate) in lukewarm water. Then remove from water, squeeze them a little and cut the bigger pieces. Carefully strain soaking water, to remove any dust, and set it aside (you'll need it for the sauce).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In the meantime, warm up olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and sautee sausage, mushrooms and onions for about 4-5 minutes, then add the reserved mushrooms' soaking water and let it simmer until it's almost all evaporated.

Now add wine and let it cook, over medium-low heat, until it thickens.

When water boils, add salt and pasta, stir constantly for about one minute and cook until al dente (stirring occasionally). Drain, reserving some of the water.

Transfer to the skillet with the sauce and toss on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes until well combined (if the sauce is too thick, add a few tbsp of the reserved water).

Serve immediately sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

This recipe serves 4.

- I didn't have any fresh parsley, so it doesn't show in the photos. Given the use of porcini, I HIGHLY suggest to avoid Parmigiano.
- I use bratwurst, because I don't like the fennel seeds too much.
- I used Pinot Noir, this time. Remember to use ONLY high quality ingredients and a good wine. You have very little ingredients and they need to be good, if you want to have a good dish.
- The reason why I suggest to stir pasta constantly for the first minute because that's the best way to prevent it from sticking, without adding oil in the water (it would prevent pasta from sticking, but that would happen to sauce, also)
- If the sauce doesn't thicken, add 1/2 tsp of corn starch dissolved in a little bit of cold liquid.
- It's lactose free. Can be gluten free, if you use gluten free pasta.
- You can find the other recipe, mentioned at the beginning, here.
- The original recipe from Elisa called for butter, instead of olive oil, and she blended the sauce in order to have a smoother texture (I love bits of onions)