For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

Just an idea for a fall potato gratin October 28, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 9:10 pm

No recipe, only an idea :)

Use a cookie cutter to cut leaves out of purple potatoes or jewel yams to decorate a simple potato gratin.

Fun and festive :)

 

Halva Ice Cream May 14, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 2:42 pm

My husband loves Halva so this ice cream and this post is for him :)

Halva is a traditional sweet made of sesame paste and sugar with various additions, some more traditional like nuts and vanilla and some more modern like cacao or a layer of chocolate. So I figured why shouldn’t I try making an ice cream that tastes like halva…?

You will need:

1  3/4 cup Tahini

1 cup sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups because my husband has a really sweet tooth but I think 1 cup is sufficient for the rest of us) 

2 cups of milk

2 tsp vanilla

Now, about the main ingredient – Tahini (sesame paste); it is liquid and if its a good one it has a layer of oil on top which you just have to stir in before using. I prefer imported Tahini from the Middle East to the US manufactured one, it has a better flavor and texture, though I cannot explain the reason (maybe a different variety of sesame…?).

I mixed the Tahini with the sugar and then added the milk and vanilla and churned normally on high speed like I usually do, the ice cream is amazingly creamy and has a superb texture and if it wasn’t for all the sugar it would have been almost healthy :) Feel free to add nuts, especially Pistachios at the end of the churning process or just sprinkle them on top when serving.

Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Covered Marzipan Truffles May 13, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 10:22 pm

Its been a while since I made those but since they could be made for any occasion and in any season I will allow myself to blog about them now :)

I made these for my husbands birthday back in February and they were a smashing success! They are super easy to make and require no skills or tools or anything of the sort.

What you need is some good marzipan (baking section of your grocery store)

Good quality dark chocolate (you can use milk chocolate but I do not think its as good)

Dried cherries (or prunes, especially if you soak them in brandy for example, or maybe some raisins… well you get the idea)

You can also dip some (or all) of your truffles in chopped nuts or cacao :)

So here is how:

Marzipan is often sold in logs (about 1.5 inches, 3-4 cm, in diameter), which makes it even easier, just cut into discs about 1/3 inch/1 cm thick and flatten out. Put your dried fruit of choice (I used 2 cherries per truffle) in the center, close it with your fingers and roll like you were tought in kindergarten until you have a little ball. Repeat until out of Marzipan :)

Melt your chocolate over a Bain Marie until glossy (I do not have a candy thermometer and am doing just fine); dip your marzipans in it with the help of a pair of trusty toothpicks and let dry on a piece of parchment or alternatively roll in a bowl of chopped nuts and then let dry. Store in an airtight container for a few weeks (as if they will last that long…….).

 

Cured Duck Breast with Onion jam, Lentils and a Poached Egg April 2, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 11:37 pm

Overall this recipe takes about 3 1/2 weeks to prepare :) but if you wish you can cheat and purchase some duck prosciutto though it won’t be the same and curing meat, like baking your own bread and making your own jam like your grand mother did has a certain satisfaction to it. It is a slow process, it requires patience and time, many of us do not have either but I think this one is worth it especially since it is really not labor intensive. You begin with a duck breast, try to pick a “meaty” one because approximately half of the volume will disappear as it cures. Season the duck with the mixture of salt and spices (for a one pound breast you will need 1 1/2 Tbsp coarse salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 Tbsp sugar, a scant 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary and an equal amount of lemon thyme leaves), wrap in wax paper (loosely, no need to overdo it) and let it sit in your fridge for four days, unwrap and tie a kitchen twine around it as you would do to a present and hang it in your fridge, put a small plate underneath for some loose spices to fall on to. Leave in the fridge for three weeks, don’t worry it won’t spoil or rot or anything of the sort as it is being air cured like your beloved prosciutto for example. Do mark your calendar though :)

The rest of the dish will take about an hour from start to finish and its beauty is the fact it should be at room temperature which makes it suitable for any season as well as any meal – a lunch or a dinner,an appetizer or a main course.

Begin by taking the duck breast out of the fridge and letting it come to room temperature while you are preparing everything else now go on with the lentils (one cup for two large main courses or four appetizers)… Cook them in plain boiling water, nothing fancy really (no salt yet). Meanwhile start on the onion jam, chop one small red onion into small pieces, heat up some olive oil in a small pan and saute the onions until golden, add the juice of one orange and let it simmer over low heat until the juice is gone, add the juice of another orange and repeat; add salt and pepper to taste and let cool. By that time the lentils should be done (maybe even sooner depending on the lentils your choose and how fresh they are). In a bowl mix three tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons red wine vinegar, two-three cloves of garlic (minced) a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes; drain the lentils and add to the olive oil and vinegar concoction (love that word!), mix well and let sit until cool. Slice the duck breast, thin slices, poach the eggs and eat quickly while the egg yolk is still warm and runny! By the way, if you do not feel comfortable poaching the eggs you can fry them, sunny side up!

I hope your patience will be rewarded :) I know mine was.

 

Bread – soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside February 18, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 9:47 pm

This is an absolute fluke :) We were having pizza for dinner and I though that the dough turned out marvelous this time so crunchy on the outside and so soft inside and then I thought – why not use the same dough for bread???  I did…the results were great and I even used some whole wheat flour to make it “healthier”; the only draw back is that this bread does not keep well and must be eaten the same day.

Here is how:

1 cup warm water

1 Tbsp active dry yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups  all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups  whole wheat flour

2 tsp salt

* Mix the yeast and honey into the water and let sit for a few minutes until cloudy and bubbly. Mix in olive oil.

* Mix flour and salt and add to the yeast mixture. If doing by hand, mix first in a bowl and then knead for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. If using a stand mixer start with a paddle attachment and then switch to the hook knead at a low speed for a couple of minutes and then on medium for another 5 minutes or so until the dough clusters around the hook, knead for another couple of minutes by hand.

* Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel and let rise for about an hour and a half in a warm place (I put it in the oven with the light on). Divide the dough in half and roll into balls; brush with olive oil and let rise  for another hour.

* Preheat the oven to 500 F, do not forget the baking stone/pizza pan/upside down baking tray (on the bottom of the oven).

* When you are ready to bake, throw in some water into the oven to create steam (just take a handful from the tap or use a spritz bottle) – close the door for a moment and then open again and slide the bread onto your baking stone as quickly as possible. Bake for 30 minutes.

 

Ossobuco Leftovers

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 9:27 pm

I should have started this post by writing “when you have Ossobuco leftovers…” but I can’t… what are the odds you actually do??? This really happens once in a billion years :) Nobody has leftovers – its either portioned to feed a specific number of people and/or it is so good it does not live long enough to become leftovers. So I will begin this post by making a recommendation – put one extra piece of meat so you do have leftovers! After you cook the Ossobuco and eat as much of it as possible you should let the meat cool in the sauce; the fat will congeal on the top and this is when you take it out with a spoon, throw out the bones (to the dog if you have one) and break the meat apart with your hands and then………………………….. it becomes the most glorious pasta sauce ever!!! Just heat it up, mix with the pasta and sprinkle with Gremolada which is a mix of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic traditionally sprinkled on top of Ossobuco anyways. Enjoy :)

 

Farro & seafood in saffron sauce January 29, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 2:21 pm

Farro is an ancient grain, a type of hard wheat really, that is high in fiber and protein; it has a nutty flavor and good texture. Farro is versatile, you can grind it into flour and make pasta or cakes, you can use it in soups and either as a main or a side dish. The following recipe is a fun one really and can be adapted to various seasons just replace the zucchini with asparagus and you have a spring dish or serve it at room temperature in the summer; replace the half & half in the sauce with whipping cream and it will be heavier and richer for those cold winter days.

So here it goes…for two portions you will need:

2/3 cup farro 

8-10 medium shrimps

4 calamari tubes cut into rings

4 calamari tentacles

15-20 bay scallops

1 zucchini – cut into long thin ribbons

1/2 cup half & half

large pinch saffron threads (about 1/2 tsp)

1 scant Tbsp butter

1 small shalot, minced

splash white wine (a tea spoon or so)

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

olive oil

fresh basil leaves and ground black pepper for garnish

To make:

1. Mix saffron into the half & half and let sit while you do the rest

2. Cook farro according to package instructions until its al-dente

3. Saute zucchini in a little olive oil and salt until soft; leave it in the saute pan (see step 6).

4. Heat butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add shalot and cook until soft and translucent; add wine and wait for it to evaporate; add saffron mixture and stir for a couple of minutes, lower the heat and let reduce for 5 minutes more (there should be about half of it left).

5. Heat some olive oil with a pinch of salt in a pan large enough to hold all your seafood; add shrimps (cook for a minute) then scallops and tentacles (cook until both shrimps and scallops are almost done) and finally the calamari rings (which take only about a minute to cook).

6. Add the farro to the zucchini and sauté for a couple of minutes; mix in the parsley and some more olive oil.

7. Strain the sauce onto two plates; arrange farro in the middle, top with seafood and garnish with fresh basil leafs and some freshly ground black pepper.

Glorious, pretty, tasty and colorful in under an hour! Enjoy!