martedì 28 giugno 2016


Entree - Vegetarian and lactose free - Can be vegan and gluten free (READ footnotes)

It's a perfect appetizer, easy and quick to prepare. It is always successful and, not requiring any cooking (except for the bread toasting) it's perfect for summertime temperatures.

Italian artisan bread
1 cup Italian mixed mushrooms, packed in oil and drained
1 cup Italian artichokes with stems, packed in oil and drained

Slice bread at your desired thickness (not more than 3/4" though) and toast until lightly golden.

In a bowl, transfer mushrooms and 2-3 tbsp of mayonnaise and blend with an immersion blender to your desired chunkiness ;-)

Repeat with artichokes, but cut them in pieces, first :-)

Spread on the bread slices and refrigerate until ready to serve.

- This is a super easy recipe, no cooking required, only a toaster!
- Best breads for this recipe are Italian round, ciabatta and Pugliese.
- It's vegetarian and lactose free. Use a gluten free bread of equal texture, for the gluten free version.
- You can make it vegan by not using mayonnaise and blending the veggies with part of their preserving oil and vegetable broth.

lunedì 20 giugno 2016


Appetizer - Vegetarian and lactose free - Can be vegan (READ footnotes)

It is commonly said that everything tastes better, when it's fried. Well, zucchini are no exception ;-) I made these as part of a mixed appetizers and were the first ones to be finished... ;-) They are good even at room temperature!!!

2 medium zucchini
1 egg
Italian 00 flour (about 1 cup)
cold beer (about 6 oz.)
Italian sea salt
Italian extra virgin olive oil to fry

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg with a couple pinches of salt, then add beer and flour and mix well, to avoid lumps, until you obtain a smooth batter (a little thicker than pancake batter). Put in refrigerator.

Grate zucchini with a large holes grater, remove batter from refrigerator and transfer grated zucchini to the same bowl, tossing until they are all well combined.

Refrigerate, again, until olive oil reaches the right temperature.

Spoon the mixture in oil, few spoonfuls at a time, and turn them until they are golden on both sides.

Remove from oil and line on paper towels, to absorb excess oil.

Serve immediately.

- Quantities are approximate: it depends on the amount and size of the zucchini.
- With leftover batter you can just make some fritters to add to your appetizer.
- You can add some nutmeg to the batter, as my friend Renata does (and it tastes good!!!)
- If you don't want to use beer, you can do with sparkling water (it won't be as tasty, though).
- Keep the mixture in the refrigerator until right before frying! The thermal shock will prevent them from absorbing too much oil.
- They are lactose free and vegetarian. You can easily make it vegan by avoiding the egg in the batter.

lunedì 13 giugno 2016


Salad complete meal - Vegan/veterian - Lactose and gluten free - Suitable for diets

Summer is the perfect time for salads. You can get creative and, quite frankly, a meal without animal proteins can only do you good (no, I'm not vegan, but I'm not a super meat eater, either). This dish is great, if you don't want to cook, you can even avoid potatoes; I gave some suggestions in the footnotes but the greatness of this recipe is that you can use anything you like, trying to keep it balanced. The most important thing is that you use fresh vegetables that are in season and very good quality dressing.

1 14-oz can Italian cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 cup cooked spinach and Swiss chards
1 medium carrot
1 small onion
1 orange bell pepper
1/2 head of Romaine lettuce
1 celery stalk
4 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Italian sea salt
3 tbsp Italian balsamic glaze
Italian white or red wine vinegar (optional)

Prepare the vegetables.

Start by cooking potato dices in boiling salted water; thinly slice onions, bell pepper, celery and carrot. Roughly chop chard and spinach; coarsely shred lettuce.

When potato dices are cooked, drain and quickly cool them under running cold water.

Arrange all vegetables, cannellini and potato dices in a big bowl.

Separately, prepare the dressing.

In a small bowl combine oil, balsamic glaze and salt; beat until salt is dissolved and dressing is fluffy.

Pour over your salad, toss well to evenly distribute the dressing and serve.

This recipe serves 2-3

- If you don't like the pungency of raw onions, slice it and transfer to a bowl with water and wine vinegar; let it soak for 10-15 minutes, then drain; you'll taste the difference ;-)
- You can add some extra crunch with 1/2 cup of slivered almonds.
- If you like them, use baby spinach and, if you can find them (or grow them), baby chards.
- Please, do not use Italian dressing found on store's shelves: most of them have nothing Italian in them!!
- You can use Italian red or white wine vinegar, instead of balsamic; or Italian fruit balsamic.
- It's vegan/vegetarian, lactose and gluten free, perfect for diets! And it's a complete dish!!

lunedì 6 giugno 2016


Entree - Gluten and lactose free - Good for diets

I've come up with this recipe years ago and it seems a puttanesca sauce, kind of, a little runnier probably. It's very easy and always a success, as long as you use good quality ingredient!

8 chicken thighs, skin and visible fat removed
1 28oz can Italian San Marzano peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped with their juice.
1/2 cup dried Italian black olives
3-4 Italian anchovy fillets, in olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Italian capers, packed in salt and rinsed
2-3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt
Mixed herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, fresh oregano)

Pat thighs dry with a paper towel.

Tie together all the herbs, in a bunch.

Prepare the sauce. In a large non-stick skillet warm up the olive oil, sautee onions until translucent, add anchovy fillets, capers and olives and stir for about one minute (until anchovy fillets dissolve), then add tomatoes.

Season with salt, herbs and simmer until it thickens, about 10 minutes.

Now add the thighs and cook thoroughly, turning them once or twice, on medium-low heat, covered with a lid.

Serve immediately.

- You can add hot pepper flakes, if you like them.
- You can add 1/2 glass of red wine, if you like it.
- It can be prepared in advance, then re-heated. It also freezes quite well, which is good when you prepare dishes to be used at a later time.
- It is gluten and lactose free; given the removal of chicken's skin and fat and given the low amount of oil, it's also suitable for diets.