RUSTIC DUNKING CAKE (CIAMBELLA)

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter for greasing baking sheet
All purpose flour for dusting baking sheet and work surface
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups corn flour or very finely ground cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsps cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp anise seed, or to taste
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sweet white wine
2 eggs

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Grease baking sheet with softened butter and dust with flour, shaking off the excess. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, corn flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, and aniseed. Add the melted butter, olive oil, milk and wine. Stir to mix well.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then set aside 1 teaspoon for glazing. Add the remaining egg to the flour mixture and stir ingredients together thoroughly. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough holds together in a compact mound, about 5 minutes.

Plunge both thumbs into the center of the mound and pull the dough into a thick ring about 8 inches in diameter. Center the doough ring on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top and sides with the reserved beaten egg.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (The flavor of the cake improves on the second or third day after baking. Tightly wrapped and refrigerated, it keeps for a week.) Cut into slices to serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

SPEZZATINO (inspired by Mimma)

Ingredients:

2lbs round boneless stewing beef
1 onion
1 can of chunky tomatoes
red wine
2 carrots finely chopped
2 celery stalks finely chopped
salt
1 potato (optional)
1 carrot sliced (optional)

Preparation:

Chop onion and saute until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook another 5 minutes.

Add beef to pan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes.

Next, add 1 cup of red wine and stir. Once wine has cooked down add can of tomatoes.

Cook stew covered for 1.5 hours on medium-low flame.

PORK ROAST

Ingredients:

4lbs of pork
2 bay leaves
11 juniper berries
golden raisins
vegetable broth

Preparation:

Cut fat off pork roast and place in large non-stick skillet with a little olive oil.

Add bay leaves, juniper berries and vegetable broth and cook roast on each side, 10 minutes at a time.

After 20 minutes, add wine and keep turning roast over every 10 minutes. Add wine if necessary to keep moist.

Add raisins after 1 hour and allow roast to cook for a total of 1.5hours.

CARIBBEAN CRUISE RUM CAKE

caribbean-cruise-rum-cake.jpg

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter (250 grams), plus additional for pan
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp. rum (Bacardi Gold rum preferred)
1 cup cake flour plus additional for pan
Use an 8 cup fluted bunt pan

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 300° F (175° C)

Cream soft butter with sugar on medium speed of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, add 2 eggs (1 at a time) scraping the bowl after the eggs and add a little four to the mix. Add vanilla and rum to the mix. Add remaining 2 eggs, mix one more minute, and then add the rest of the flour until combined.

Lightly coat the bunt pan with butter, making sure to coat entire surface. Sprinkle the additional flour over the cake pan turning and tapping to ensure the pan is coated with the flour. Remove excess. Put the batter in to the pan. Put into the over for 45 minutes. The cake should be golden brown. Use a tooth pick to check for doneness. Insert tooth pick into the cake, the tooth pick should come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before soaking.

While the cake is baking, prepare the soaking syrup.

1/2 cup rum (Bacardi Gold rum preferred)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Heat water and sugar in sauce pan over low heat, until light simmer.

Remove from heat. Add rum and stir until combined. Once cake has rested for 2-3 minutes from oven, gently insert thin bladed pairing knife into the cake (three to four places only). Slowly pour 1/2 of the liquid, the cake will absorb the liquid slowly, if it doesn’t soak up the liquid straight away, wait a few minutes, then add the rest. Cool the cake completely in the pan before turning it out onto a plate. The cake is delicate and should not be moved after unmolding.

Must share with friends only.

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Photography by Stuart Spivak

CAPONATA

caponata1.jpg

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
3-1/2 cups 1/4-inch dice unpeeled eggplant (about 1-1/4 pounds)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives
3 tablespoons chopped drained bottled capers
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons golden raisins
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly
3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leafed parsley leaves

Preparation:
In a heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat until it hot but not smoking, in it cook the eggplant, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is tender, and transfer it to a bowl.

To the skillet add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and in it cook the onion and the celery over moderate heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Add the olives, the capers, the vinegar, the sugar, the raisins, the pine nuts, and the tomatoes and cook the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is cooked through and the celery is tender, and transfer it to the bowl.

Stir in the parsley, let the caponata cool, and chill it, covered,overnight. Season the caponata with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

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Photography by Nyaa Birdies-Perch

PUFFED OVEN BAKED PANCAKES

Ingredients (for one serving):

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
0.25 cup low fat milk
0.25 cup flour
0.5 tsp grated lemon zest
almond extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 475F degrees (250C degrees)

Beat egg thoroughly.

Gradually add milk, then flour. Beating until smooth.

Stir in almond extract and lemon zest.

Warm up 4″ skillet/ramekin/baking dish in oven for 2 minutes.

Melt the butter in baking dish and pour the batter into the ramekin. Return to oven.

Cook until golden and puffed, approximately 12 minutes.

OLIVE OIL and ROSEMARY CAKE

olive-oil-cake.jpg

Ingredients:

1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pans
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons anise seed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for garnish
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil a 10-inch round cake pan.

In a nonreactive saucepan, reduce the orange juice over medium heat to 1/4 cup. Add salt, stir, and let cool.

Lightly beat eggs on high for 1 minute until frothy. Add milk, sugar, Cointreau, olive oil, reduced orange juice, lemon zest, anise seed, and chopped rosemary. Mix for 1 minute until well-blended. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the oiled cake pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Place on a rack to cool. Run a knife around the edges and flip over on a plate.

While the cake is still warm, use a sifter, fine sieve, or mesh colander to sprinkle powdered sugar lightly and evenly on the cake.

Garnish the cake with a rosemary sprig. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Photography by lor3nzo

HOMEMADE RICOTTA

ricotta.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 quart goat’s milk (or a third quart of whole milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, about 1 large lemon’s worth

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Add the sea salt and stir to blend it into the milk (the salt is very important for bringing out the flavor in the finished ricotta). Bring to a very low boil over medium heat.

Add the lemon juice and stir briefly to blend. Bring back to a very low boil and cook about a minute. You will start to see little white particles coagulate on the surface. This means the curds are starting to form.

Don’t let the milk cook any longer than about a minute or you may wind up with hard, dry curds instead of the soft, creamy texture you are after. Remove the pot from the heat, and cover.

Let the ricotta sit for about 20 minutes untouched. This will allow bigger, more substantial curds to form.

Line a colander or a tightly woven wicker basket with cheesecloth or a thin cotton cloth like a piece of bed sheet. Gently pour the ricotta into the cloth, being careful not to break up the curds too much (the best approach is to tilt the pot against the colander or basket right up at the rim; free-fall pouring may be too violent).

Let this drain, unrefrigerated, for about an hour. You will now have a rather moist ricotta, the way I like it. If you prefer it drier, you can tie and hang the cheese cloth over the sink or over a bowl so the ricotta can drain more thoroughly. The ricotta is ready to use. You may refrigerate it, but it will stay really fresh and sweet only for about two days. If you plan on baking with the ricotta, drain it well.

Makes 1 pound of ricotta.

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Photography by fugzu

NO-SUGAR ALMOND and BANANA PANCAKES

No-sugar Banana and Almond pancakes

Ingredients:

1 egg
1.5 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond milk
2 bananas (one mashed, and the other one thinly sliced)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Plenty of frozen berries or other fruit compote to use as topping

Preparation:

In one bowl beat the egg, then add and combine in it the almond extract, the almond milk and the mashed banana

In another bowl mix together the four, flaxsead meal, oats, and almonds; then fold in the content from the other bowl. Now add the sliced banana and mix thoroughly.

In a cast iron skillet make the pancakes about 3″ in diameter and about 1/2 thick.

Serve with your choice of berry or fruit compote.

CHIANTI and (MOCK) WILD BOAR SAUCE, TUSCANY STYLE

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 9oz package of Gardein home style beefless tips (or 9-12 oz of wild boar meat, cut into 1″ cubes)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
leaves of 2-3 spring of fresh rosemary (about 3-4″ each), chopped
1 glass of chianti wine, or other red wine of your choice (not fruity)
2 oz of tomato paste (about 1/3 of a small can)
1 teaspoon cacao (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
7 juniper berries (optional)

mock-wild-boar-sauce

chianti wine

Tomato Paste

Preparation:

Cover the bottom of a stainless steel saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil:

Cover the bottom of a stainless steel saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil

Add the Gardein home style beefless tips (or the wild boar meat), clustering it on one layer in the center of the saucpan:

Add the Gardein home style beefless tips (or the wild boar meat)

Pile on top of the “meat” the chopped onions, chopped garlic, and chopped rosemary leaves (and the optional cacao, bay leaf, and juniper berries):

Wild Boar Sauce, Tuscany Style

Cover the saucepan and simmer at medium for about 5 minutes:

Simmer for 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, stir the ingredients together, and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, stir the ingredients together, and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

Once the onion is caramelized, add the Chianti, and from now on deglaze the pan every so often:

Once the onion is caramelized, add the Chianti

Simmer uncovered on high till the sauce has thickened

Simmer uncovered on high till the sauce has thickened

Fold in the Tomato Paste

Fold in the Tomato Paste

Let it rest while you cook the pasta of your choice, best bet is home made pappardelle or maltagliati:

pappardelle or maltagliat

“Serve it with arrogance!” (Julia Childs)

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{Photography © 2010 by Toscana Enterprises Corporation, all rights reserved}