31 August, 2010

Tasting something new: quinoa with arugula pesto

Quinoa with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto

At the beginning of this summer I had plenty of arugula in my garden. Apart from salads or on pizza, I used some of it for this delicious pesto.
Unusual dish, at least for me. But curiosity was strong and I had to try it.
Have you ever had quinoa? How do you prepare it?
It has a slightly nutty taste, and above all it's very healthy, so for me, that was a good enough excuse to try.

Quinoa

"Quinoa, a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. Quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth.
Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years.
The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as
chisaya mama or mother of all grains, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using 'golden implements'. During the European conquest of South America quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as food for Indians, and even actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous non-Christian ceremonies. In fact, the conquistadors forbade quinoa cultivation for a time and the Incas were forced to grow corn instead.
In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest."
(source: Wikipedia)

Quinoa with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto

Quinoa with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto
(2 servings)

180 g quinoa
100 g arugula
30 g pistachios
1,5 TBspoons oil (I used EVOO)

Put the quinoa in a pot with twice as much water, bring to boil, then lower the heat to minimum and cook until almost all liquid has been absorbed. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
Blanche the arugula for 30 seconds in boiling water, and then drain saving some water.
Put the arugula, the oil and the pistachios in a tall glass and purée using a stick blender. If necessary, add a little water you saved.
Mix the quinoa with the arugula pesto and serve. I served it with grilled chicken breast.


Quinoa with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto

"La quinoa è una pianta erbacea annuale della famiglia delle Chenopodiaceae, come gli spinaci o la barbabietola. Per il suo buon apporto proteico costituisce l'alimento base per le popolazioni andine. Gli Inca chiamano la quinoa «chisiya mama» che in quechua vuol dire «madre di tutti i semi».
La quinoa è un alimento particolarmente dotato di proprietà nutritive. Contiene fibre e minerali, come fosforo, magnesio, ferro e zinco. È anche un'ottima fonte di proteine vegetali. Contiene inoltre grassi in prevalenza insaturi. La quinoa, inoltre, è particolarmente adatta per i celiaci, in quanto è totalmente priva di glutine, adatta sia agli adulti sia ai bambini."
(fonte:
Wikipedia)

Quinoa al pesto di rucola e pistacchi
(per 2 persone)

180 g di quinoa
100 g rucola
30 g pistacchi
1,5 cucchiai di olio (ho messo l’olio EVO)

Mettete a cuocere la quinoa in acqua leggermente salata (mettete il doppio volume dell’acqua rispetto la quinoa). Quando inizia a bollire abbassate la fiamma al minimo e cuocetela fino a quando avrà assorbito quasi tutta l’acqua (circa 10 minuti). Coprite il tegame e lasciate riposare 5 minuti.
Scottate la rucola per 30 secondi in acqua salata bollente. Scolatela conservando un po’ dell’acqua di cottura.
Frullate la rucola con i pistacchi e l’olio. Se necessario diluite la crema con un po’ d’acqua della rucola.
Condite la quinoa con il pesto alla rucola e servite.


Quinoa with Arugula and Pistachio Pesto

Quinoa je "žitarica" koja se već 6000 godina uzgaja na južnoameričkim Andama. Populacija Inka smatrala ju je svetom hranom i nazivali je «chisiya mama», majkom svih sjemenki.
Kasnije je dolaskom Španjolaca potisnuta u drugi plan, u korist pšenice e kukuruza, i čak bila zabranjena.
Quinoa je bogata esencijalnim aminokiselinama, vlaknima, mineralima kao što su magnezij, cink, željezo i fosfor, a osim toga ima veliki procenat biljnih bjelančevina (12-18 %), a masnoće koje sadrži nezasićene su.
Quinoa je također u potponosti bez glutena, dakle idealna za osobe koje boluju od celijakije, i lako probavljiva.
Kombinacija u kojoj sam je ja prvi put isprobala je s pestom od rikule i pistacija.

Quinoa s pestom od rikule i pistacijama

180 g quinoe (sjemenke)
100 g rikule
30 g pistacija
1,5 žlica ulja

Kuhajte rikulu 30 sekundi u ključaloj, malo posoljenoj vodi. Ocijedite je i sačuvajte malo vode u kojoj se kuhala.
Izmiksajte rikulu štapnim mikserom zajedno s pistacijama i uljem (ja sam stavila maslinovo). Po potrebi dodajte malo vode u kojoj se kuhala, da dobijete glatku kremicu (ali ne prerijetku).
Stavite kuhati quinou u malo posoljenoj vodi (omjer vode je 2:1, 180 g quinoe je otprilike 1 šalica, znači 2 šalice vode). Kad prokuha smanjite vatru i kuhajte dok ne upije skoro svu vodu (oko 10 minuta). Poklopite i ostavite da odmara 5 minuta.
Pomiješajte quinou s pestom od rikule i poslužite.



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...more pictures from Sicily...
A beautiful, picturesque town of Cefalù, an hour drive from Palermo.

Cefalù

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The day we visited we discovered it was a local feast, San Salvatore's Day. In the evening the streets were filled with people in traditional clothes, traditional Sicilian carts parade took place and you could hear women singing in almost dark streets near the cathedral.

Cefalù1

Someone's lunch (not mine) ^__^

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But the gelato al pistacchio di Bronte sure was for me ^__^ (still wondering why I didn't get a second one).

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29 August, 2010

Smooth(l)ie

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It's been a week since we got back from our vacation, and everything's smoothly going back to everyday routine.
One easily gets used to summer rhythm, beach-relax-sun-restaurant food, but in the end, three weeks can be quite long, and I couldn't wait to get back home and have some home made food, bake again.
I'll pretend the mountain of laundry got washed by itself, and the dust disappered because some good old fairy waved her wand.
I'll pretend last week wasn't hotter than the previous three (weird summer, indeed), and the kids didn't get bored to death because there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.
No, things went on smoother than I thought they would. Just one little thing. My computer ate so much dust while we were away (I guess it was used to eating all the food photos I've been feeding it, and it went on dust-eating strike after I left ^__^), that it first started having blackouts, then for a moment we thought we had lost it after an attempt to clean it. After two days, it came back, phew!!! I just hope I didn't speak too soon.
Well, don't you think I deserved a nice tall glass of smoothie?


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Peach and Blueberry Smothie

2 peaches
100 g (about 1 Cup) fresh blueberries
120 ml (1/2 C) milk (or e.g. soy/rice/barley/coconut etc. milk)
180 ml (1 and 1/2 C) yogurt (preferably low fat)
2 TBspoons powdered sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
3-4 ice cubes

Put peaches (peeled, stoned and chopped), blueberries, milk, yogurt, powdered sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract and the ice cubes into a blender, mix well and drink quickly :))))

Try also apricot-raspberry combo.

Smoothie

Smoothie alle pesche e mirtilli

2 pesche
100 g di mirtilli freschi
120 ml di latte parzialmente scremato (o latte di soia/riso/avena/cocco ecc.)
180 ml di yogurt
2 cucchiai di zucchero a velo
qualche goccia di estratto di vaniglia puro
3-4 cubetti di ghiaccio


Mettete tutti gli ingredienti nel frullatore (pelate e tagliate le pesche a pezzi), e frullate per qualche istante.
Bevetelo subito.

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Smoothie s breskvama i borovnicama

2 breskve
100 g svježih borovnica
120 ml (polu)obranog mlijeka (ili sojinog, zobenog, rižinog, kokosovog, itd.)
180 ml jogurta
2 žlice šećera u prahu
nekoliko kapi čistog ekstrakta vanilije
3-4 kockice leda

Stavite sve sastojke (breskve ogulite i narežite na kockice) u uspravni mikser i izmiksajte da dobijete manje ili više glatku tekućinu (kako volite). Popijte odmah.

Smoothie

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And here's a few more photos from our Sicilian vacation.
We reached Sicily by boat, starting from Naples.

Palermo

We spent the first week in Mondello, a small town near Palermo.
And, of course a visit to Palermo was one of the obligatory steps. A rather quick one, I must say, because it's a rather big city, and a couple hours, with two kids, are definitely not enough to visit and see it, to explore it's rich cultural and historical heritage. Which definitely makes it necessary go back and visit again.

Palermo2

Palermo1

Mondello, the beach.

Palermo3

A very special moment was reserved for meeting a dear blogger friend from Palermo, Stefania and her gorgeous family. Unfortunately she was going away the following day, but I count on her being my tourist guide next time I visit.

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24 August, 2010

Flat like a schiacciata!!!

Focaccia dolce con uva fragola


My first post-vacation post.
Hey! I'm back!
Back but knocked off by a cold and the heat.
I don't know how, but I managed the catch a cold, even though it's extremely hot.
All food tastes so bland and disgusting.
Actually, not all the food. This focaccia, that I prepared yesterday, knocked me off - absolutely gorgeous. The smell and the taste of the baked grapes woke up all my senses.
The recipe for this sweet focaccia filled and topped with grapes belongs to Tuscan cuisine, in particular the areas of Florence and Prato, and I cannot but wonder how come I never had a single piece over the 5 years I spent there.
Better late than never.
In Tuscany, focaccia is generally called schiacciata which litterally means "flattened". This Schiacciata with grapes used to be prepared during the grape harvest period. It's a rather poor dish, made with the bread dough, oil, sugar and grapes. The grapes used were of variaty canaiola, although I used uva fragola.
It is pretty easy to prepare, and you absolutely have to let it cool down before tasting it in order to give time to sugar and juices to form that wonderful taste characteristic of this simple focaccia.

Schiacciata con uva


Sweet focaccia with grapes

1/2 kg grapes (small, dark and sweet variety)
400 g flour
150 g brown sugar (divided)
25 g fresh yeast (or 1 package – 7 g – dry yeast)
extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
about 300 ml lukewarm water

Dissolve the yeast in a glass of lukewarm water.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add 3 TBspoons sugar, a pinch of salt and the yeast dissolved in water. Start working the dough either by hand or with a stand mixer, adding enough water to get smoth, soft, and elastic, but not sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes.
Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour and a half.
Wash and dry the grapes.
Take 2/3 of the dough and roll it out thin on a piece of baking paper greased with a little olive oil using a rolling pin or pressing it with your hands.
Place 2/3 of the grapes on the dough and sprinkle with the remaining sugar (leave 2 TBspoons for top).

Focaccia dolce con uva fragola

Roll out the remaining dough and cover the bottom sheet with the grapes on it. Lift the edges of the bottom sheet over the upper one and press lightly to join them. Move the focaccia together with the baking paper to a baking tin.
(At this point I realized I had forgotten to sprinkle the sugar over the grapes, but fortunately the grapes I used were very sweet and it was all fine in the end.)
Brush the surface with oil, place the remaining grapes on top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 TBsp of sugar.

Focaccia dolce con uva fragola

 Bake the focaccia in an oven preheated to 200°C for about 30 minutes (my oven’s a bit crazy so I lowered the heat to 180°C after the first 15 minutes.
When the focaccia is nicely golden, take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit before you attack it.
And watch out for two things: the violet stains on your clothes, no matter how careful you are, and second, depending on the type of grapes you use you might find seeds under your teeth and that’s not so pleasant, but the whole thing is worth the effort in the end.


Focaccia dolce con uva fragola

Sono tornata, le vacanze sono finite, e io mi sento un po' schiacciata, è così. Stanchezza delle tre settimane lontano da casa, troppo mangiare, sole e il mare hanno lasciato tracce.
E poi sono riuscita anche a prendere il raffreddore, non so proprio come, visto che fuori c'è un caldo pazzesco (ma dov'erano i 33 gradi la settimana scorsa quando stavo a Rimini?).
Comunque, con la testa che scoppia tra un'aspirina e l'altra, mi è venuto in mente di preparare la schiacciata con uva (non mi bastavano i 33 gradi, dovevo anche accendere il forno ^__^). In cinque anni passati a Pisa, non l'avevo mai vista o assaggiata, ma dallo scorso anno ne sentivo parlare su tutti i blog. E anche se io spesso arrivo in ritardo, importante e arrivarci, no?
La ricerca della ricetta mi ha portato
qui, e due cose che ho cambiato sono la quantità di uva (dimezzata) e l'ho fatta senza rosmarino (che si è seccato completamente mentre ero in vacanza).
Posso solo dirvi che il profumo dell'uva per un attimo ha svegliato alcuni sensi chiusi da giorni. Sono quasi svenuta dalla bontà (o dal mal di testa, chi si ricorda più ^__^).

Focaccia (schiacciata) dolce con uva (fragola)

1/2 kg uva (fragola o da schiacciata)
400 g farina
150 g zucchero di canna
25 g di lievito fresco o 1 bustina di lievito secco
olio extravergine d’oliva
un pizzico di sale
circa 300 ml di acqua tiepida

Sciogliete il lievito in un bicchiere di acqua tiepida.
Setacciate la farina e mescolatela con 3 cucchiai di zucchero, un pizzico di sale. Aggiungete il lievito sciolto nell'acqua e cominciate a impastare versando altra acqua per ottenere un impasto morbido, liscio ed elastico.
Lavorate l'impasto su una spianatoia leggermente infarinata per qualche minuto. Copritelo e lasciatelo lievitare per 1 ora e mezzo.
Lavate, sgranate e asciugate l'uva.
Prendete 2/3 d'impasto e stendetelo con le mani su un foglio di carta da forno unto con un po’ di olio d'oliva formando un rettangolo.
Distribuite 2/3 di chicchi d'uva lasciando i bordi liberi e spolverate con lo zucchero rimasto (lasciate 2 cucchiai). Confessione: ho dimenticato di spolverare con lo zucchero a questo punto, ma per fortuna l'uva era così dolce che non si è sentita la mancanza di zucchero per niente.
Stendete l'impasto rimasto e coprite il primo strato con l'uva. Ripiegate i bordi l in su e schiacciateli un po'.
Trasferite la focaccia insieme alla carta da forno su una teglia, spennellate la superficie con un altro po' di olio, distribuite l'uva rimasta sopra e spolverate con 2 cucchiai di zucchero rimasti.
Infornate a 200°C per circa 30 minuti (il mio forno è un po’ pazzo, e ho dovuto abbassare la temperatura a 180°C dopo 15 minuti se no, si bruciava tutto).
Quando la focaccia è bella dorata in superficie e cotta sotto, toglietela dal forno e aspettate qualche minuto prima di assaggiarla.
Approfittate di questo tempo per indossare un grembiulino (tipo quelli per i bambini) perché il succhino viola spruzza da tutte le parti – è inevitabile.
Un piccolo inconveniente di uva fragola sono i semini, quindi attenzione ai dentini.


Focaccia dolce con uva fragola



Focaccia ili kako kažu u Toskani, schiacciata, s grožđem tipičan je toskanski proizvod naročito vezan uz gradove Firenzu i Prato. Iako sam u Toskani provela 5 godina nikad je ondje nisam kušala, i da je nisam odlučila pripremiti jučer ne bih znala što sam do sada propuštala.
Povratak s godišnjeg odmora je uvijek pomalo traumatičan (i svatko ima svoje razloge - moj je vjerojatno taj što se moram baciti u potragu posla kad klinke krenu u školu i vrtić), ali da bude još neugodniji, uhvatila sam nekakvu glupu prehladu, od koje mi glava već četiri dana zvoni kao bubanj.
Na trenutak sam se jučer trgla (nakon aspirina) i odlučila napraviti ovu focacciu/schiacciatu (schiacciata doslovce znači pritisnut ili spljošten - prilično dobro opisuje moje trenutno stanje).
Schiacciata s grožđem pripremala se u vrijeme berbe grožđe, siromašno jelo, ako baš hoćete, pripremljeno od tijesta za kruh, ulja, šećera i sitnog crnog grožđa, koje nije bilo baš pogodno za pravljenje vina.
Jednostavna je za pripremiti, a mene je miris pečenog grožđa jednostavno oborio s nogu čim sam otvorila pećnicu. I, iako se preporučuje pričekati da se potpuno ohladi prije kušanja, ja sam je još mlaku napala. Na trenutak su moja zabarikadirana čula okusa i mirisa proradila.

Focaccia ili schiacciata s grožđem

1/2 kg sitnog mirisnog crnog grožđa
400 g brašna
150 g smeđeg šećera
25 g svježeg kvasca (ili 1 vrećica suhog)
maslinovo ulje
prstohvat soli
oko 300 ml mlake vode

Otopite kvasac u čaši mlake vode.
Stavite prosijano brašno u zdjelu i pomiješajte ga s 3 žlice šećera (koje ste odvojili od 150 g), dodajte prstohvat soli i kvasac otopljen u vodi. Zamijesite sve sastojke, po potrebi dodajući toliko vode da dobijete mekano, glatko i elastično tijesto. Prebacite ga na pobrašnjenu dasku i mijesite oko 10 minuta.
Ostavite tijesto da se diže pokriveno oko 1 i pol sat.
Odvojite zrna grožđa od stapke, operite ih i posušite.
Nauljite komad papira za pečenje pa na njemu rastanjite 2/3 tijesta pritišćući rukama. Rasporedite 2/3 grožđa po tijestu i pospite preostalim šećerom (odvojite 2 žlice za posuti focacciu odozgor).
Rastanjite preostalu trećinu tijesta i njome prekrijte donji dio s grožđem. Preklopite malo donji rub preko gornjeg i stisnite prstima.
Premjestite tijesto zajedno s papirom na pleh za pečenje.
Malo nauljite cijelu površinu focaccie. Želite li dodatni miris, zagrijte malo ulje s grančicom ružmarina prije nego njime namažete tijesto (nažalost oba moja ružmarina su se u mom odsustvu osušila). Rasporedite po površini preostalo grožđe i pospite s preostale 2 žlice šećera.
Ispecite focacciu u pećnici zagrijanoj na 200°C (oko 30 minuta, ovisno o vašoj pećnici – treba lijepo porumeniti odozgor).
Pri kušanju pazite na dvije stvari: koliko god pazili, sok će vam prskati iz usta (moja majica zna nešto o tome), a druga su sjemenke...



Focaccia dolce con uva fragola



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