31 January, 2010

Is it just a decoration or I can eat it?



This morning I woke up with the sound from the appartment above mine. My neighbour opened the windows and started saying a few ... hmmm "words". I smiled to myself and thought, "What might have happened so early on Sunday morning?"
About half an hour later I discovered what it was. It was snowing heavily, I mean heavily.
Well, no need to say that what to my neighbour was extremely annoying, was the best news ever for my kids. They had lots of fun playing outside with their father, I had to stay in, unfortunately, cause my back hurts, and I spent most of the day in bed.

And I thought this would be a perfect time to present you this salad. Orange salad is a winter side dish typical for Sicilian cuisine. Really refreshing and tasty. Ideally served with grilled fish or meat, but also with cheese or salami.
The basic recipe consist of sliced oranges and onions, seasoned with good quality extra virgin olive oil mixed with orange juice, salt, pepper and chopped parsley.
But I also found a couple recipes that looked very appealing and interesting, and this is one of them.
What do you say, isn't it perfect for a white winter day, or you would take it for a table decoration like my husband did?

ORANGE SALAD WITH BELGIAN ENDIVE AND POMGRANATE

(for 2 servings)
2 oranges (red Sicilian ones if you can get your hands on them)
Belgian endive
1 pomgranate
chive
Extra virgin olive oil
salt

Separate the leaves of the Belgian endive, wash them and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Cut the pomgranate in half and take the arils out.
Peel the orange: cut the top and the bottom, cut off the skin with the knife removing the white skin as well. Delicatly separate the slices from the internal membrane inserting a knife between the two. Collect the juice while doing all this.
Arrange the Belgian endive leaves on a plate, place 2-3 slices of orange in each (my endive was small and the orange big, so I put only one), place the pomgranate arils in the middle.
Mix the EVOO with the orange juice you collected while cutting the orange, salt to taste, mix well and pour over the salad. Complete with some finely chopped chive (if you have any, I seem to be out of chive every time I'm taking pictures :))))

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Devo dire che fino a poco tempo fa non conoscevo nemmeno l'insalata di arance. Poi ho letto che è un contorno invernale, tipico della cucina siciliana, ideale con le carni e pesci. Allora mi sono divertita a provarla in diverse varianti proposte nella rivista Cucina Moderna, e questa è solo una di quelle che ho preparato.
Il clima qui non è proprio quello siciliano, diversi centimetri di neve sono caduti anche oggi, e per domani si prevedono le temperature sotto zero (-10). Allora, permettetemi questo raggio di sole almeno nel piatto.
E non solo un raggio di sole, ma una combinazione straordinaria, dove la dolcezza di melagrana contrasta perfettamente l'insalata belga e le arance.


INSALATA DI ARANCE CON INSALATA BELGA E MELOGRANO

(per 2)
2 arance rosse
1 cespo di indivia belga
1 melagrana
qualche stello di erba cipollina
2-3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d'oliva
sale, pepe

Separate le foglie di un cespo di insalata belga, lavatele e asciugate con la carta da cucina.
Aprite la melagrana e togliete i chicchi.
Pelate le arance al vivo e raccogliete il succo: tagliate la calotta superiore e quella inferiore. Togliete la buccia con un coltello asportando anche la pellicina bianca esterna. Per separare ogni spicchio, introducete un coltellino tra la polpa e la membrana interna ed estraetelo delicatamente.
Distribuite le foglie di belga a raggiera su un piatto, mettete 2-3 spicchi d'arancia in ognuna. Distribuite i chicchi di melagrana al centro. Per il condimento mescolate l'olio con il succo raccolto, sale e pepe. Versate il condimento sull'insalata e completate con l'erba cipollina tagliuzzata (se non siete sprovvisti come me ogni volta che vi serve).

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Salata od naranče tipičan je zimski prilog sicilijanske kuhinje, idealno poslužen uz ribu ili meso s grila, ali i uz sušeno meso i sireve.
Osnovni je recept sasvim jednostavan: naranče, luk, začinjeno dobrim maslinovim uljem pomiješanim sa sokom od naranče, soli, paprom i listom peršuna.
Ja sam htjela također isprobati nekoliko malo zanimljivijih, bogatijih recepata kao što je ovaj. Odlična kombinacija, doista. Kiselkaste naranče, gorka belgijska salata i slatka zrna nara - kad sve to spojite skupa nastaje eksplozija okusa.

SALATA OD NARANČE S BELGIJSKOM SALATOM I NAROM
(za 2 osobe)

2 naranče
1 belgijska endivija
1 nar
2-3 žlice maslinovog ulja
sol, papar
vlasac


Naranče ogulite nožem tako što ćete prvo odrezati gornji i donji dio, a zatim nožem odstranite koru zajedno s vanjskom bijelom kožicom ispod nje. Odvojite kriškice tako što ćete umetnuti nož između kriškice i unutarnje membrane, pa pažljivo izvadite. Dok to činite prikupljajte sok.
Očistite belgijsku salatu, podijelite listove, operite ih i osušite tapkajući ih kuhinjskim papirom.
Nar prepolovite pa izvadite sjemenke.
Rasporedite listove na veći tanjur, u svaki stavite 2-3 kriškice naranče. U sredinu tanjura stavite očišćena zrna nara i začinite umakom koji ćete pripremiti tako što ćete pomiješati maslinovo ulje sa sokom od naranče, posolite i popaprite pa prelijte preko salate. Pospite sitno narezanim vlascem.

28 January, 2010

1, 2, 3, someone stop me!


I just realized it's been almost a month (a month!?!?) since I last posted something baked, something sweet. Oh, my, if I don't change that soon, I might as well change the name of this blog (although, to be honest, I got stuck with the name that was only supposed to be a working title until I got a better idea, but... I guess I was too lazy once the things, or better to say, recipes, started rolling).

So, here I am or here you are, whatever. A cookie recipe.
An almost forgoten poor little green one (I mean a lime, not an alien), got out of its hiding place (from the depts of my fridge), a tiny amount of shredded coconuts (always too little for anything), lying around ever since I made the gingerbread house in December, next to the bag of sliced almonds (bought for the same reason as coconut). All these ingredients together, turned into these lovely, tasty cookies.
And judging from the face expressions and mmmmmmmmmmmms of my friend, Simona, who stopped by the afternoon I made these, I suppose it's not only my opinion.
There are still a few left, so I better hurry and post the recipe, so I can relax with a cup of coffee in one hand and 2, 3, 4... (come on, girl, a bit of selfcontrol!!!) cookies in the other. Can't help that, I'm nuts about cookies.
Have a nice day everyone.

LIME AND COCONUT COOKIES

200 g AP flour
125 g butter
100 g light brown sugar
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
30 g shredded coconut
30 g sliced almonds
a pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, at high speed.
Mix in the eggs, add the vanilla and almond extracts, grated zest of a whole lime, and 1 TB of freshly squeezed juice (save the rest of the juice).
Stir in all the dry ingredients (sifted flour, salt, shredded coconut, sliced almonds).
Form the dough, it will be quite soft, add just enogh flour so that you can form a rope (5 cm / 2" thick) without it sticking to your hands and to the surface. To make this part easier, spread some more coconut flakes on a piece of plastic foil or baking paper (I tried doing it with sliced almonds, because I didn't have any shredded coconut left, but not so succcessfully) and then roll and wrap it. Press slightly in order to get an oval shape. Place it in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour so that it is firm enough to cut.

Turn the oven on to 190°C.
Cut the dough into 5 mm slices (that's about 1/5") and place them on a baking sheet (I always line it with baking paper, less sticking and less washing).
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
Let them cool on a cooling rack.
I don't have precise measures for sugar glaze, I just added powdered sugar into the leftover lime juice, teaspoon after teaspoon, until I got the consistency I was happy with, dense but still liquid. And then I spread a little (1/2 teaspoon) on each cookie and decorated each with an almond slice
.

Had I had another lime, I would have added some zest to the glaze as well, that would have been really nice, to have some green speckles on top. Let the glaze dry completely before storing them. Cute, aren't they?

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Deliziosi, croccanti, profumati. Veloce, finisco di scrivere, mi aspettano i pocchi rimasti :)))

BISCOTTI AL LIME E COCCO

200 g farina 00
125 g burro
100 g zucchero di canna chiaro
1 uovo (leggermente sbattuto)
1 lime
1/2 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia
1/2 cucchiaino di estratto di mandorle
30 g cocco disidratato
30 g mandorle a scaglie
un pizzico di sale


Lavorate il burro con lo zucchero in una terrina con lo sbattitore elettrico fino a ottenere una crema.
Incorporate l'uovo, e poi la scorza grattugiata di lime intero, 1 cucchiaio di succo di lime fresco (conservate il resto del succo per la glassa), l'estratto di vaniglia e l'estratto di mandorle. Unite alla fine la farina setacciata con il sale, il cocco e le scaglie di mandorle e formate la pasta. Se risulta ancora troppo morbida aggingete un po' di farina.
Formate un rotolo di diametro 5 cm, appiattitelo leggermente e avvolgetelo nella pellicola trasparente o la carta da forno. Potete anche cospargere la pellicola con altro cocco o scaglie di mandorle prima di avvolgere il rotolo, premendo poi leggermente per far aderire alla pasta.
Tenete il rotolo in frigo per almeno 1/2 ora.
Scaldate il forno a 190°C.
Tagliate il rotolo a fette dello spessore di 5 mm e distribuitele sulle piastre foderate con la carta da forno leggermente distanziate una dall'altra.
Cuocete i biscotti per circa 10 minuti o fino a quando i bordi sono dorati.
Fatteli raffreddare.
Mescolate il succo di lime rimasto con il zucchero a velo (non vi so dire precisamente quanto, aggiungete un po' alla volta fino a ottenere una glassa densa, ma ancora liquida) e distribuite un po' (1/2 cucchiaino) su ogni biscotto, decorate con una scaglia di mandorla e lasciate asciugare bene la glassa prima di conservarli in una scatola di latta.

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Prhki, mirisni, zbilja ukusni, pomalo egzotična kombinacija limete i kokosa, ali sve tako lijepo ukomponirano da vam ne preostaje drugo do isprobati i uvjeriti se.

KEKSIĆI S LIMETOM I KOKOSOM

200 g glatkog brašna
125 g maslaca
100 g svijetlog smeđeg šećera
1 jaje
1 limeta
1/2 žličice ekstrakta vanilije
1/2 žličice ekstrakta badema
30 g kokosovog brašna
30 g listića badema
prstohvat soli

Maslac sobne temperature umutite dobro mikserom sa šećerom dok ne postane kremast.
Dodajte malo razmućeno jaje i izmiješajte.
Umiješajte naribanu koricu limete i 1 žlicu svježe iscijeđenog soka (ostatak sačuvajte za glazuru), ekstrakte vanilije i badema, a potom brašno, sol, kokosovo brašno i listiće badema.
Dobiveno tijesto oblikujte u rolnicu promjera oko 5 cm i malo pritisnite da presjek bude ovalnog oblika.
Omotajte plastičnom folijom ili papirom za pečenje i stavite u hladnjak na 1/2 sata da se stvrdne.
Zagrijte pećnicu na 190°C. Obložite pleh papirom za pečenje.
Izvadite rolnicu iz hladnjaka i oštrim nožem izrežite na ploškice debljine 5 mm. Slažite ih na pleh i pecite 10-ak minuta.
Za glazuru pomiješajte sok od limete koji vam je preostao i umiješajte toliko mljevenog šećera da dobijete glatku i gustu smjesu. Stavite malo glazure na svaki keksić i ostavite da se osuši.


And, yes, we had lots of fun yesterday (me and my daughters).



Or, should I say, they had tons of fun fighting me :)))

video

27 January, 2010

Colour a grey winter day



Am I going crazy? It's snowing again, and here I am, posting this dish that looks more like a refreshing summer salad. No, no, I'm not nuts, I just need some colours in my life to contrast the grey skies outside. Helps me dream of spring or summer, why not?
A real explosion of colours and flavours on my plate, and yet something so light that I don't feel like falling asleep after lunch, like a bear, wishing I could hibernate till spring.

I actually made this a couple days ago, but the weather's been the same for more than a week, actually, I don't even remember seeing sun this year :))), the only difference is that the scenary from grey turned white.

I had a pleasant surprise on
Bakespace yesterday (and today still) when I saw that my recipe, this recipe, was chosen as the recipe of the day. Wow, first time ever, and it made me so happy. Thanks, Babs!

I've decided it's time I discovered some new cereals and ways of cooking them. I don't want to stick to the same things all my life. So, slowly and steadily, I'll be sharing my experiences with you.
The first victim of my exploration -
Kamut. It's an ancient type of wheat, rich in Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium, vitamins E, A and C, but also high energy wheat, ideal for people who do sports and/or have busy lives and need more energy. In about 70 % of cases, people allergic to wheat have reported to tolerate kamut very well. However, it does contain gluten, so it is, unfortunately, not suitable for people suffering from celiac disease. There's much more information on the site I linked if you're interested. Including some recipes, that I'd like to check as well.
This dish was something totally improvised, I just wanted to make something with kamut, opened my fridge, and threw some stuff I found in there into a skillet, added some frozen peas, and the game was done, in less than 20 minutes really.

KAMUT AND VEGETABLES SALAD

160-200 g kamut (I used quick cooking)
1 leek
1 zucchini
1 red pepper
100 g peas (frozen)
2 TBspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cook the kamut according to directions (approx.: 10 minutes for quick cooking, 50 mins for regular).

Clean, wash and dry all the vegetables. Slice the leek, cut the pepper into cubes, cut the zucchini into slices or sticks.
Saute all the vegetables in a deep skillet or wok with 2 TBspoons of olive oil for about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked and drained kamut, toss shortly together for flavours to mix. Season to your taste and serve warm or cold if you prefer it that way.

Serve alone, with meat or if you prefer cheese, I suggest to mix some fresh, low fat cheese with Greek yogurt, a little salt and chive. I loved the combo.



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Da un po' di tempo avevo intenzione di comprare e di usare in cucina il Kamut. Finalmente, eccolo qua.
Kamut è un antenato di grano duro, più ricco di minerali e proteine rispetto il frumento moderno. Si presta molto bene alla coltivazione biologica senza uso di insetticidi e pesticidi. Ricco di minerali come Selenio, Zinco, Magnesio, Vitamine A, E e C.
Potete leggere di più su questo cereale andando sul sito che vi ho linkato all'inizio, incluse alcune ricette.
Questo piatto così colorato è nato per caso, in giro di 15-20 minuti, buttando in padella quello che ho trovato nel frigo. Ho mangiato questa insalata ancora tiepida, ma penso che ugualmente buona fredda.

INSALATA DI KAMUT E VERDURE

160-200 g kamut (il mio era a cottura rapida)
1 porro
1 zucchina
1 peperone rosso
100 g piselli (surgelati)
2 cucchiai di olio EVO


Fate cuocere il kamut secondo le istruzioni sulla confezione (io ho usato quello a cottura rapida, quindi 10 minuti).
Pulite, lavate e asciugate le verdure. Tagliate i porri a rondelle, il peperone a quadratini, la zucchina a bastoncini (o rondelle).
Saltate tutte le verdure (i piselli ancora surgelati) con l'olio EVO per circa 10 minuti mescolando spesso.
Scollate il kamut e aggiungetelo alle verdure. Saltate tutto insieme per qualche minuto.
Servite questo piatto a piacere, caldo, tiepido o freddo.
Io l'ho accompagnato con un po' di fiocchi di latte mescolati con lo yogurt greco e qualche stello di erba cipollina.

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KAMUT je vrsta pradavne pšenice, dugo zaboravljena, a sad ponovno otkrivena. Pogodna je za biološki uzgoj, bez uporabe insekticida i pesticida. Ima značajne hranjive vrijednosti, sadrži selenij, cink, magnezij, vitamine E, A i C. U 70 % slučajeva osobe alergične na pšenicu, manje su osjetljive na ovu žitaricu.
U zrnu se koristi za izradu jela poput “rižota”, salata ili se može dodati u juhe. Brašno se također koristi za izradu kruha, peciva, kolača.

SALATA OD KAMUTA I POVRĆA

160-200 g kamuta (u mom slučaju brzokuhajući)
1 poriluk
1 tikvica
1 paprika (crvena ili druge)
100 g graška (smrznutog)
2 žlice maslinovog ulja

Skuhajte kamut prema uputama (budući da sam ja imala brzokuhajući dovoljno mu je 10 minuta, onaj normalni ako se ne varam oko 50 minuta).
Zagrijte 2 žlice maslinovog ulja u dubljoj tavi. Dodajte povrće (poriluk narezan na kolutiće, papriku na kockice, tikvice na kolutiće ili štapiće, i neodmrznuti grašak, i/ili sve drugo povrće po želji).
Uz miješanje izdinstajte sve oko 10 minuta, posolite i dodajte skuhan i ocijeđen kamut. Još kratko sve skupa izdinstajte da se okusi spoje i prožmu.
Poslužite toplo, mlako, hladno, kako vam najviše odgovara.

And this is not a UFO attack, it's just snowflakes :)))


22 January, 2010

Roll me gently


It's not exactly the zucchini season, I know, but they're just about my favourite veggie all year round, and as long as I can find some decent looking ones at the supermarket I buy them. I love just grilling them and usually cook them prety simple.
This chicken - zucchini combination, however, seems to be a favourite of mine. Remember the Chicken and Zucchini meatballs?
This time it's something even quicker, and I really mean it. Snap, snap and these are done and you can eat, as much as you want, trust me.
If you should have some zucchini left, brush them with oil, and throw in a grill pan for a few minutes along with some other vegetables, I added fennel and red peppers, for example.

And if you were really "hard working" and "kneaded all day long" there might be a slice of homemade bread, fresh out of the oven next to your plate.

CHICKEN AND ZUCCHINI ROLLS

1/2 kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 ripe tomatoes
2 zucchini
2 TBspoons EVOO
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1/2 an onion
1 dl dry white wine
salt and pepper


Cut the chicken breast into very thin cutlets (3-4 mm), cover them with a piece of baking paper and pound a little (remember, non need to kill the chicken, it's dead already, be tender).
If your cutlets happen to be really large ones cut them in two, lengthwise, so that they're just slightly wider than the zucchini. Season them with salt and pepper and any other poultry seasoning that you like.
Wash and dry the zucchini, cut off the ends and slice them very thinly, lengthwise, possibly using a mandoline.
Place each cutlet over a zucchini slice, and roll them together so that the zucchini is on the outer side. Fasten with just one toothpick so they don't unwrap while cooking.
Clean and chopp as finely as you can the carrot, the celery stalk and the onion.

Saute the veggies in a deep skillet or a casserole (possibly use something that can go into the oven), on low heat so they get soft but don't burn.
Add the meat rolls and cook for 3-4 minutes turning them carefully with two forks.
Add the wine and let it evaporate almost completely. Add the sliced tomatoes on top.
Transfer everything into the oven that's already been preheated to 180°C, and let cook for 10 minutes.

The casserole I used can't go into the oven so I had to move everything into a baking dish and therefore it took me 10 minutes longer, as the dish was cold and it had warm up itself first. But, ok it wasn't such a problem after all, except having to wash two dishes later.

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Con questi involtini restiamo sul veloce e leggero.
Se vi piacciono il pollo e le zucchine, naturalmente, io non ci rinuncio tutto l'anno.
(ricetta tratta dal libro "Oggi cucino io, ricette Light", con qualche cambiamento, ho messo i pomodori freschi al posto della polpa, e pollo al posto del tacchino).

INVOLTINI DI POLLO E ZUCCHINE

1/2 kg petto di pollo
2 pomodori maturi
2 zucchine
2 cucchiai di olio EVO
1 carota
1 gambo di sedano
1/2 cipolla
1 dl vino bianco secco
sale e pepe

Tagliate il petto di pollo a fettine sottili (3-4 mm), copritele con un foglio di carta da forno e spianatele con il batticarne. Se le fettine sono molto più larghe delle zucchine, tagliatele a metà in senso di lunghezza.
Condite le fettine a piacere con il sale e pepe.
Tagliate le zucchine a fettine molto sottili (consiglio di usare il mandolino).
Appogiate su ogni fettina di zucchina una fettina di pollo, arrotolatele insieme e fissate con uno stuzzicadenti.
Tritate le verdure per il soffritto. Scaldate l'olio in un tegame (che possa andare nel forno) e soffriggete le verdure a fuoco basso per un paio di minuti mescolando ogni tanto.
Unite gli involtini e fateli rosolare per 3-4 minuti. Versateci il vino e lasciatelo evaporare. Aggiungete i pomodori tagliati a fettine e continuate a cuocere per altri 10 minuti nel forno già scaldato a 180°C. Io ho dovuto trasferire tutto in una pirofila da forno e quindi ci sono voluti circa 10 minuti in più.
Lasciate riposare qualche minuto prima di servire.

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Ja sam i dalje u štihu "lagano i brzo", sa što više povrća. Ako vam se sviđa pridružite mi se.

SMOTULJCI OD PILETINE I TIKVICA

1/2 kg pilećih prsa
2 manje rajčice
2 tikvice
2 žlice maslinovog ulja
1 mrkva
1 stapka celera
1/2 glavice crvenog luka
1 dl suhog bijelog vina
sol, vegeta, papar

Prse izrežite na tanke odreske, pokrijte papirom za pečenje i malo stucite. Ako su jako veliki, prerežite ih na pola po dužini. Malo ih posolite, povegetite i po želji popaprite.
Tikvice narežite na što tanje ploškice po dužini (ja sam ih rezala ribežom za kupus).
Položite jedan odrezak preko ploške tikvice, smotajte u rolnicu (tako da je tikvica izvana) i probodite čačkalicom.
Mrkvu, celer i luk sitno nasjeckajte (ili naribajte ili usitnite u multipraktiku).
Popržite smjesu povrća na zagrijanom ulju nekoliko minuta na srednjoj temperaturi.
Dodajte meso, popržite oko 3-4 minute, pažljivo okrećući.
Ulijte vino i pustite da ispari. Dodajte rajčice narezane na ploškice.
Ako posuda u kojoj ste kuhali meso može ići u pećnicu, stavite sve zapeći 10 minuta u pećnici već zagrijanoj na 180°C. U suprotnom prebacite u vatrostalnu posudu pa zapecite (trebat će vam 5-10 minuta više jer se hladna posuda mora opet zagrijati).

21 January, 2010

Farinata or Cecina



Farinata or Cecina

I said in my previous post (yesterday) I'd tell you more about this dish, Cecina [pronounced che-chee-na], also called Farinata, Torta di Ceci, etc.
It's typical for Italian region Liguria, but it can be found elsewhere, in Tuscany for example, even in France (they call it socca).
I first heard of it from my husband when I moved to Pisa, he always talked about Cecina con la focacca, that he usually bought in a small take-away pizza place, along with a piece of pizza. You got it right, it is best when baked in a brick oven, with open fire, like pizza, but at home you do what you can, right?
The combo of Cecina and Focaccia is great and tasty, a bit heavy, as both can sometimes be soaked with oil. But it's one of those things you simply must indulge in from time to time.

The history, or legend, of this dish is interesting and probably explains how come this typical Ligurian dish is found in Tuscany as well.
The story says that the first Cecina was created as a pure case, in 1284. Genova and Pisa were two of the most important four Maritime republics , competing on military and commercial level. On their way home after a battle they won against Pisa, the Genova sailors encountered a storm during which some chickpea flour and olive oil got spillt and mixed with salty sea water. In order not to waste the precious food supplies, this mixture was gathered and let dry in the sun, and what was obtained (a kind of sundried pancakes) was given as food to sailors. The recipe was improved later, and even called "Gold from Pisa".

Farinata or Cecina

I really like chickpeas, it's probably one of my favourite legumes.
To find out how healthy they are added a big plus.
There are lots of things you can do with them. Most people have heard of Falafel and Hummus only, but I  suggest you check some of the chickpeas recipes here on my blog for more ideas.
Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated.
One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein. There is also a high reported mineral content: phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc.

The story or legend of creation of this dish, however made me think of the poor, suffering population of Haiti. Ever since I saw these images I've been kind of under shock and cannot stop thinking about all the food we take for granted and all the food we waste so easily.
Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, and do more to help if you can.

Farinata or Cecina

CECINA or FARINATA

150 g chickpea flour
1/2 litre water
2 TBspoons EVOO
salt, peper


Mix flour and water in a bowl (I think a little bit more than 150 g of flour would be Ok). Add salt and pepper to your taste. Remove the foam that will form in surface using a slotted spoon.

The best thing is to prepare it in advance, and let it rest for 4-6 hours, or overnight (some sources say in the fridge, others at room temperature, hmmmm!?!?).
Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and stir well.
Oil a shallow baking dish (I used a round pizza tin). Pour enough of the chickpea mixture to get a 1 cm thick layer. The baked cecina should be 1/2 cm thick (though mine was a bit thinner). You can also sprinkle some rosemary on top before baking it.
Bake it in an oven preheated to 220°C for 20-25 minutes passing it under the oven grill for 5-10 minutes more so that it gets a nice golden crust on top.

Sprinkle with more freshly cracked pepper, cut and serve immediatelly, still warm. Once it's cold the taste and texture will change so hurry up to eat as soon as it's out of the oven.
I found the combination of a Creamy leek soup and Cecina just perfect. You can also try it with vegetables.





Farinata or Cecina


I ceci sono un'ottima fonte di proteine, fibre alimentari e carboidrati con basso indice glicemico. Contengono anche dei minerali come fosforo, magnesio, zinco, ferro e calcio.
E la cecina/farinata/torta di ceci la conoscete, vero?

CECINA o FARINATA

150 g farina di ceci
1/2 litro d'acqua
2 cucchiai di olio EVO
sale, pepe


In una ciotola mescolate la farina con l'acqua, facendo attenzione che non ci siano i grumi, aggiungete il sale e il pepe. Lasciate riposare per 4-6 ore o tutta la notte, togliendo la schiuma con un mestolo forato.
Unite l'olio e mescolate bene. Ungete bene con l'olio una teglia bassa (meglio se di rame o alluminio), versateci il composto, dovrebbe avere uno spessore di 1 cm, e mettete a cuocere nel forno già caldo, a 220°C per 20-25 minuti, passandola poi sotto il gril per 5-10 minuti per ottenere una crosticina dorata in superficie.
Cospargete di pepe macinato fresco e servitela subito, calda.
Io l'ho trovata ottima con la Crema di porri, ma provatela anche con le verdure fresche.






Farinata or Cecina


CECINA ili FARINATA
(izgovara se [čečina]

Ova vrsta tanke torte od slanutkovog brašna tipična je za talijansku pokrajinu Liguriju, ali možete je naći i u drugim dijelovima Italije, npr. u Toscani gdje sam je i ja otkrila.
Slanutak je izvrstan izvor zdravih karbohidrata (tj. karbohidrata s niskim glikemijskim indeksom koji neće naglo povećati razinu inzulina u krvi), bjelančevina i vlakana, a uz to sadrži i minerale kao što su fosfor, kalcij, magnezij, željezo i cink.
Cecina se često poslužuje uz focacciu, ali ja vam preporučam da je kušate na jednostavniji i zdraviji način, uz povrće, jer već sama sadrži sve ostalo što vam je potrebno za potpun obrok.

Sastojci:

150 g brašna od slanutka
1/2 litre vode
2 žlice maslinovog ulja
sol, papar


Pomiješajte brašno i vodu u zdjeli. Dobit ćete jako rijetku smjesu (po meni se može staviti još malo više brašna).
Umiješajte sol i papar. Ostavite da odmara na sobnoj temperaturi (4-6 sati, ili još bolje, cijelu noć).
Šupljikavom žlicom skidajte pjenu. Dodajte ulje, dobro izmiješajte.
Zagrijte pećnicu na 220°C.
Istresite smjesu u niski pleh (npr. pleh za pizzu), najbolji je bakreni ili aluminijski, podmazan uljem tako da bude u sloju debelom 1 cm i pecite 20-25 minuta, pa još 5-10 minuta pod grilom da dobije zlatnu koricu na površini.
Pospite svježe mljevenim paprom, narežite i poslužite toplo.
Odlično se slaže uz komad focaccie, uz juhe od povrća, kao što je ova Krem juha od poriluka, ili uz svježe povrće po izboru.


Farinata or Cecina


20 January, 2010

A new start and a tasty soup



Hello, my friends.
I've been ignoring my blog a little bit because I just can't find inspiration to write something meaningful. And in the meantime new recipes have been piling up on top of the old ones, and I can't decide where to start from.
Well, first of all I've decided to go through a detox phase, change my eating habits, eliminate sweets, white bread, potatoes and rice for a while and hopefully burn some of those fat rolls around my belly. And, although my decision not to eat them is very firm, and I avoid even looking at them, it's hard to write about those gorgeous, tempting stuff I was eagerly baking and eating only until few days ago.
To make up for the lack of sugar and bad carbs, I've been trying to cook some healthy stuff, but very tasty and the satisfaction is not missing. Hopefully results will start showing.
I've started reading about M. Montignac's method, based on The Glycemic Index concept, that in theory I like a lot (I've never dieted in my life, and I really consider it not a diet but a change of bad eating habits), but need to buy a book, study it well and start applying it, especially if I manage to convince my husband to switch (though I see that's going to be hard).

This soup, was a good start (or better it would have been had I omitted the potato [high GI], which in the end, in a way I did), especially because I completed it with Cecina which is made with chickpea flour, a perfect source of carbohydrates with low GI and proteins.
I felt really satisfied and felt no need for snacks or anything until dinner. Fish and vegetables. I guess yesterday was a good day.

So, let me tell you about the soup first and I'll tell you about Cecina or Farinata later as well.
It takes very little time to prepare, ingredients are just a few, so you'll need a few minutes to clean and chop everything,

sauteè for a minute or two,

let simmer for less than 1/2 an hour,

a few swirls in a blender and you're ready to eat.

It almost all went this smooth, but as soon as I started my blender I realised I forgot the bay leaf in, had to stop it and tried filtering the soup through a seave :))), hard job, and that's where most of the potato got stucked, to my satisfaction after all, because it added just enough creaminess and flavor that I didn't miss it at all.

Complete your meal in a way you think suits you best, a slice of bread to accompany the soup, cheese or meat to follow, but I do recommend you try it. It's so creamy and tasty, just the right comfort you'll need on a cold day (it's been very brrrrrrrrr and foggy around here), without feeling guilty.


CREAMY LEEK SOUP

2 leeks
4 shallots
1 potato
1 celery stalk
1 liter vegetable stock(homemade or buillon)
2-4 TBspoons Greek yogurt
4 slices pancetta or prosciutto
1 bay leaf

Clean, wash and slice the leeks (I used not only the white part but the more tender internal green leaves as well).
Clean and chop finely the shallots, the cellery and the potato.
Sautè all the vegetables with 2 TBspoons of EVOO for a couple minutes.
Add the hot vegetable stock and the bay leaf, cover, lower the heat and cook for 25 minutes. Since I used buillon, I didn't add any salt later, so adding more salt is up to you.
REMOVE the bay leaf and pureè everythng in a blender.
Distribute into four soup bowls, add a little Greek yogurt (1/2 TBspoon, more if you like), and complete with stripes of pancetta or prosciutto, previously toasted in a non-stick skillet (without adding fat or oil).


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CREMA DI PORRI

2 porri
4 scalogni
1 patata
1 gambo di sedano
1 litro di brodo di verdure
2 cucchiai di yogurt greco
4 fettine sottili di pancetta o prosciutto
1 foglia di alloro


Pulite e lavate i porri, riducetelli a rondelle (ho usato anche la parte verde, ma solo le foglie interne che sono più morbide).
Pulite e tagliate i scalogni, la patata e il sedano.
Rosollate tutte le verdure in una casseruola con l'olio per qualche minuto. Unite il brodo bollente e la foglia di alloro, abbassate la fiamma, coprite e fate cuocere per 25 minuti. Eliminate l'aloro e frullate tutto il resto. Regolate di sale. Distribuite nei piatti e aggiungete 1/2 cucchiaio di yogurt e le strisce di pancetta o prosciutto precedentemente tostate in una padella antiaderente senza condimento.

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JUHA OD PORILUKA

2 poriluka
4 male glavice luka
1 krumpir
1 stapka celera
1 litra juhe od povrća (domaće ili od kocke)
2 žlice grčkog jogurta
4 kriške dimljene slanine ili šunke
1 list lovora


Poriluk očistite, operite i narežite na kolutiće (ja sam iskoristila i zeleni dio, ali samo one nježnije unutarnje listove).
Krumpir ogulite i narežite na kockice.
Luk i celer također sitno nasjeckajte.
Zagrijte par žlica maslinovog ulja pa kratko izdinstajte sve povrće, zalijte toplom juhom, dodajte lovorov list, poklopite i ostavite kuhati 25 minuta.
Slaninu ili šunku popržite u tavi bez masnoće, pa narežite na trakice.
Izvadite lovor, pa sve izmiksajte u blenderu ili štapnim mikserom.
Rasporedite juhu u četiri tanjura, u svaki dodajte 1/2 žlice jogurta i upotpunite slaninom ili šunkom.

13 January, 2010

Quick and light, back on track



New Year is always started with good intentions and resolutions, and the one I hope to maintain this year is to eat healthier. In our case it means eliminating some food that is particularly harmful for my husband (he needs to be careful about cholesterol level and high blood pressure), so you're unlikely to see any red meat, cheese (unless it's fresh type like ricotta or mozzarella), butter or some high sodium stuff.
Don't get confused though, because I still have tons of recipes from last year, I'm so slow, I know. And, however, I will be making some sweet stuff for myself, how could I give up on that?
And here we go. I was about to post more cookies, fatties, and what not, but decided in the end to post the meal I prepared yesterday for dinner (by the way, I was feeling a bit tired lately and haven't been around much).
Delicious, indeed. Would you expect that from a recipe coming from a Light Recipes cookbook? There wasn't much nutritional information, but they claim every dish in the book is under 300 cal. I really recommend it, it's quick and easy to prepare, especially on a weeknight when you're tired after work and want something nice that you don't have to mess much with. They can also be served cold.

TURKEY MEDALLIONS WITH CARROT SAUCE
(4 servings)

600 g boneless, skinless turkey breast
4-5 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
2 TBspoons EVOO
50 ml dry white wine
1 lemon
Fresh thyme
Fresh chive
Salt and pepper

Peel and cut the carrots into small cubes. Boil 1/3 (or ½ ) and set the rest apart.
Cut the turkey breast into 1 cm thick medallions. Season them lightly with salt and pepper and dredge into flour.
Brown crushed garlic cloves in warm oil in a large skillet.
Remove the garlic, add the meat and brown lightly on both sides on medium heat.

Deglaze with white wine and let it evaporate.

Add the carrots (the part you set aside), cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, adding little water that the rest of carrots are being cooked in, if it should get dry.

The carrots will be quite crispy at the end, so, if you prefer them soft, cook a bit longer, but pay attention to not overcook the meat or it will be dry. Check if the meat is seasoned to your taste and add more salt if necessary.

Drain the boiled carrots, add the juice from ½ a lemon and a few TBspoons of the sauce the meat was cooked in, and a dash of salt.

Purè with a stick blender,

to get a smooth, quite dense sauce.

Serve the medallions surrounded by diced carrots and put a little carrot sauce on each.
Sprinkle with thyme leaves and finely chopped chive (obviously, I didn’t have either). You can also decorate the plate with thin lemon slices.
Your easy, ½ an hour, light dinner is served. Feel free to add some (baked) potatoes and salad of your choice, like I did.
And for some extra calories, a glass of good wine. I had some white, Fiano of Avellino, that we brought with us from Avellino, of course, where we spent Christmas holidays.

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MEDAGLIONI DI TACCHINO CON LA SALSA DI CAROTE

600 g di fesa di tacchino
4-5 carote
2 spicchi d’aglio
2 cucchiai di olio EVO
50 ml di vino bianco secco
1 limone
Qualche rametto di timo
Qualche stello di erba cipollina
Sale e pepe

Pulite e tagliate le carote a cubetti. Fatte bollire metà o 1/3, e mettete da parte il resto.
Tagliate la fesa di tacchino a medaglioni di spessore di 1 cm. Salate, pepate e infarinate leggermente le fettine ottenute.
Sbucciate l’aglio, schiacciatelo con un batticarne e fattelo soffriggere in una larga padella con l’olio.
Togliete l’aglio e rosolate la carne nella stessa padella, 2-3 minuti per lato, bagnate con il vino e lasciatelo evaporare.
Aggiungete le carote tenute da parte, coprite e lasciate cuocere a fuoco basso per circa 20 minuti. Ogni tanto aggiungete qualche cucchiaio di acqua di cottura di carote perché non risulti troppo asciutto.
Scollate le carote bollite, aggiungete il succo di ½ limone, qualche cucchiaio di fondo di cottura della carne e una presa di sale. Frullate tutto fino a ottenere una salsa densa e omogenea.
Servite i medaglioni di tacchino con la dadolata di carote, mettete un po’ di salsa su ogni fettina e completate con le foglioline di timo e l’erba cipollina sminuzzata.


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PUREĆI MEDALJONI S UMAKOM OD MRKVE

600 g purećih prsa
4-5 mrkvi
2 češnja češnjaka
2 žlice maslinovog ulja
50 ml suhog bijelog vina
1 limun
Par grančica timijana
Par listova vlasca
Sol, papar , vegeta


Očistite mrkve i narežite ih na kockice. Staviti kuhati polovicu ili 1/3, a ostavite ostatak ćete dodati kasnije mesu.
Meso narežite na medaljone debljine 1 cm, posolite ih, popaprite i povegetite. Lagano ih pobrašnite i otresite višak.
U širokoj tavi popržite češnjak (koji ste malo zgnječili čekićem za meso). Izvadite češnjak i dodajte meso. Popržite ga 2-3 minute (na srednjoj temperaturi) sa svake strane pa ulijte vino i ostavite da ispari.
Dodajte nekuhanu mrkvu, poklopite i kuhajte na laganoj vatri oko 20 minuta, podlijevajući povremeno vodom u kojoj se kuhaju mrkve. Po potrebi dosolite i dodajte timijan i narezani vlasac.
Kuhanu mrkvu ocijedite, dodajte joj sok ½ limuna, par žlica umaka od mesa i sve smrvite štapnim mikserom da dobijete glatku i gustu smjesu.
Servirajte medaljone s kockicama mrkve i na svaki stavite malo umaka. Možete ih još dodatno ukrasiti tanko narezanim kriškama limuna.


Moram se pohvaliti i nagradicama koje sam dobila nedavno od dragih kolegica blogerica:
Od Vere


Od Tanje i Goce


Hvala vam što ste mislile na mene.