28 March, 2011

Yes, it smells nice, too

Violets and Prosecco Risotto
I wouldn't say I'm extremely brave in the kitchen when it comes to new tastes. But sometimes my curiosity to try something unusual and new is stronger than the need to play it safe, and I step out of the box, rarely, but I do every now and then.
I made a similar risotto last year for the first time, only with strawberries. And I guess, for me, that was like stepping out of the black and white world into the world full of colours.
This year I decided it was time to see what it tasted like with violets. The sunshine and the first spring flowers in bloom urged for something nice smelling and springish on my plate.
And after I've made it and tasted, I can only say, go ahead... it may seem like something totally unusual, but it is actually just a nice creamy risotto basically. It's not just pretty looking, it smells pleasantly and it's tasty.

Violets and Prosecco Risotto
Violets and Prosecco Risotto

250 g rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
about 1 liter vegetable stock
70 ml Prosecco
30 g butter
1 shallot
1 spoonful of cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
2 TBspoons grated Parmigiano cheese
salt, white pepper,
a handful of non-treated violets

Chop the shallot finely.
Sauté the shallot with 20 g of butter, in a casserole, adding 1 spoonful of hot vegetable stock, until it's soft.
Add the rice and toast it for 2 minutes.
Pour in the Prosecco and let it evaporate completely before you start adding the vegetable stock. Add about 1 cup the first time, and a little less afterward every time you notice the previously added stock is almost absorbed. Stir every time you add more stock.
It takes about 16-18 minutes for arborio and carnaroli rice to be cooked al dente.
Before you turn off the heat, add a bit more stock one last time, just to make it wavy. Remove from heat, add the cream cheese, the grated Parmigiano and the remaining butter. Stir energically so the cheese melts and for the starch from rice to release and make your risotto creamy. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Stir in the the washed and dried violets (just the flowers). Cover and let the risotto rest 2-3 minutes before serving it.

NOTE: violets in this recipe can be replaced with strawberries or rose petals.

Violets and Prosecco Risotto
Risotto con violette e prosecco

250 g riso arborio o carnaroli
circa 1 litro di brodo vegetale
70 ml di Prosecco
30 g di burro
1 scalogno
1 cucchiaio di formaggio tipo Philadelphia o mascarpone
2 cucchiai di Parmigiano grattugiato
sale, pepe bianco
un mazzetto di violette non trattate

Tritate finemente lo scalogno e soffriggetelo in una pentola, con 20 g di burro e 1 cucchiaio di brodo o acqua calda.
Quando la cipolla e morbida, aggiungete il riso e fatelo tostare per 2 minuti mescolando.
Sfumate con il Prosecco e quando è completamente evaporato, cominciate ad aggiungere il brodo caldo, poco alla volta fino a cottura ultimata. Non lasciate seccare il risotto completamente alla fine.
Spegnete il fuoco, aggiungete il formaggio cremoso, il parmigiano grattugiato e il burro rimasto, mescolate energicamente. Aggiustate di sale e pepe.
Aggiungete le violette lavate e asciugate, coprite il risotto e lasciatelo riposare 2-3 minuti prima di servirlo.

Violets and Prosecco Risotto
S ovim rižotom sudjelujem u ovomjesečnom krugu igre Ajme koliko nas je, za koju je Tina zadala temu VINO.

Rižoto s ljubičicama i Proseccom

250 g riže (arborio ili carnaroli)
oko 1 litra temeljca od povrća
70 ml Prosecca (pjenušavo bijelo vino)
30 g maslaca
1 luk ljutika
1 žlica krem sira ili mascarponea
2 žlice ribanog parmezana
sol, bijeli papar
stručak neprskanih ljubičica

Sitno nasjeckajte ljutiku (ili jednu manju glavicu običnog luka) i popržite je na 20 g zagrijanog maslaca. Pirjajte luk na laganoj vatri, dodajte 1 žlicu vrućeg temeljca, da luk lijepo odmekne.
Dodajte rižu, pojačajte vatru i popržite je dvije minute neprestano miješajući, a zatim dodajte Prosecco i pričekajte da potpuno ispari.
Dodajite vrući temeljac malo pomalo, prvi put dvije, tri grabilice, a kasnije po manje tako da je rižoto uvijek vlažan ali ne da riža pliva u litri juhe. Temeljac neka vam je cijelo vrijeme vruć.
Vrijeme kuhanja za arborio i carnaroli rižu je oko 16-18 minuta da bi ostala al dente.
Kad je riža gotova, dodajte još zadnji put malo temeljca tako da rižoto nije suh, isključite vatru, dodajte krem sir (ili mascarpone), parmezan i preostali maslac. Energično sve izmiješajte da se sirevi i maslac istope i oslobodi škrob iz riže (tako će biti kremastiji). Posolite i popaprite po svom ukusu.
Umiješajte na kraju oprane i posušene ljubičice kojima ste odvojili stapke.
Poklopite rižoto i ostavite 2-3 minute da odmori, a zatim ga poslužite toplog.

Na isti način možete pripremiti rižoto s jagodama ili s laticama ruže (ruže, naravno, kao i ljubičice moraju biti neprskane).

Violets and Prosecco Risotto

26 March, 2011

Honey Doughnuts, or a little late Carnival tradition

Potato Doughnuts with Honey
When it comes to desserts, I moved my first steps in the kitchen quite early, but there was a category I never put my hands on while my mom was the kitchen queen in our house. Sweet yeast dough. Croatian tradition is rich in this type of recipes, like the Walnut roll I posted here a while ago, and similar stuff. Doughnuts, however always had a special place for me. My mothers hands knew perfectly how to make them, never using any kind of measurment, cups or scales, and never, not even once, did these things come out wrong (ok, except that time she sprinkled the yeast kipfers, with fruit jam inside, with salt instead of sugar :))). Now that I think about it, she always prepared the sweet yeast dough on days when she cooked soups or stews, and I thought it was simply because they were just great after such a meal. But now I realize it was simply because on those days the conditions in the kitchen (humid and warm) were perfect for dough to proof.
Unfortunately, those recipes are lost for me, I've tried to recreate some of them, but unsuccessfully. I'll probably never be able to make doughnuts the way she made them.
But since I cannot forget the tradition of making something fried during the Carnival period (and I really did make these a month ago), and I'm trying to limit myself to that period of the year only, I decided to try out some of the recipes I found around. And this one was different enough to catch my attention. I had never before used potatoes in sweet dough (I did make bread, pizza and focaccia, however), and the curiosity had to be satisfied.
Although I expected to get something almost inedible, they turned to be wonderfully soft and tasty, and were great even the following day.
It was one of those little satisfactions, when you know you can't really reach your mother's perfection, but at least you tried and you know you might do even better next time.

Potato Doughnuts with Honey
Potato Doughnuts with Honey
(recipe from Sale & Pepe magazine)

350 g flour
150-200 ml milk
25 g fresh yeast (or 1 package dry yeast)
30 g sugar
a pinch of salt
400 g potatoes
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 spoonfuls of acacia honey (I used lemon honey)
juice of 1/2 lemon
peanut oil for frying

Dissolve the yeast in the lightly warmed up milk (the recipe said 150 ml but that wasn't enough for me and I added 50 ml more).
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl or on a kneading board, mix in the sugar and form a well.
Add the milk with the yeast in the middle and a pinch of salt, bring everything together using your hands or a wooden spoon initially, knead shortly to form a smooth dough. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and let it proof for 1 hour in a warm place (I usually put into a cold, closed microwave oven, it's the most perfect place in my kitchen).
Put the carefully washed potatoes into a pot of cold water, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Peel them and mash with a potato ricer.
Take the dough and put it on the lightly floured kneading board.
Add the mashed potatoes, the eggs and the cinnamon. Knead these ingredients into the dough - initially, I used the wooden spoon because the potatoes were hot and then continued kneading with my hands. Add a little flour as necessary for your dough not to be too sticky, but it should stay soft, however.
Take pieces of the dough, and shape little balls size of an apricot approximately.
Put the ball on the kneading board and using a well floured index finger make a whole in the middle, all the way through. Rotate the piece of the dough around your finger to enlarge the hole a little.
Place thus shaped doughnuts on a floured kitchen towel or kneading board, cover and let proof again for 30 minutes.

When they are ready, heat the oil for frying, and fry a few doughnuts at a time shortly (a minute or two) on each side.
Take them out with a slotted spoon and place on several layers of kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
When you've prepared all the doughnuts, put the honey and the lemon juice into a small sauce pan, mix and heat until liquid.

Pour the honey lemon mixure over the doughnuts placed over a cooling rack or directly on a plate. Sprinkle with coloured sprinkles if you like and serve.

Potato Doughnuts with Honey
Ciambelle di patate al miele
(ricetta tratta da Sale & Pepe)

350 g di farina
150-200 ml di latte
25 g di lievito di birra fresco
30 g di zucchero
400 g di patate
2 uova
1 cucchiaino di cannella in polvere
2-3 cucchiai di miele di acacia (io messo il miele al limone)
succo di 1/2 limone
olio di arachidi per friggere

Sbriciolate il lievito nel latte tiepido.
Setacciate la farina, mescolatela con lo zucchero e disponete a fontana sulla spianatoia.
Versate al centro il latte, unite un pizzico di sale e impastate fino a ottenere una pasta omogenea.
Formate una palla, incidetela a croce, ponetela in una ciotola e lasciatela lievitare per un'ora, coperta con pellicola, in luogo tiepido (io lascio sempre lievitare tutto dentro il forno al microonde, chiuso e spento).
Lessate le patate, scolatele, pelatele e passatele allo schiacciapatate.
Riprendete la pasta, sgonfiatela, aggiungete le patate schiacciate, le uova e la cannella. Lavorate tutto insieme, aiutandovi all'inizio con un cucchiaio di legno, e poi impastate con le mani aggiungendo un altro po' di farina se l'impasto dovesse risultare troppo appiccicoso.
Ricavate delle palline della dimensione di un'albicocca, premetele al centro con un dito infarinato, forandole e allargate il buco leggermente. Lasciate lievitare le ciambelle coperte sulla spianatoia leggermente infarinata, per 30 minuti.
Friggetele in abbondante olio ben caldo, poche alla volta, un paio di minuti per lato.
Lasciatele sgocciolare sulla carta assorbente.
In un pentolino scaldate il miele con il succo di limone.
Irrorate le ciambelle con il miele profumato e cospargetele con i confettini colorati.

Potato Doughnuts with Honey
Krafnice s krumpirima i medom
(recept iz časopisa Sale & Pepe)

350 g brašna
150-200 ml mlijeka
25 g svježeg kvasca
30 g šećera
400 g krumpira
2 jaja
1 žličica cimeta u prahu
2-3 žlice meda
sok 1/2 limuna
ulje za prženje

napomena: u receptu je pisalo 150 ml mlijeka, meni je trebalo više (oko 200 ml) za zamijesiti tijesto, ali sam zato kasnije, nakon dodavanja krumpira morala dodati još brašna.
Namrvite kvasac u mlako mlijeko.
Prosijte brašno u zdjelu ili na dasku i pomiješajte sa šećerom.
Dodajte mlijeko s kvascem i zamijesite tijesto.
Oblikujte kuglu, zarežite vrh u križ, stavite u čistu zdjelu, pokrijte plastičnom folijom i ostavite da se diže na toplom mjestu oko 1 sat.
Skuhajte krumpir i protisnite ga/ propasirajte.
Uzmite opet tijesto, kratko ga premijesite pa dodajte protisnut krumpir, malo razmućena jaja i cimet i izmijesite sve skupa. Meni je trebalo još brašna jer je tijesto postalo premekano. Dodala sam koliko je bilo potrebno da se tijesto može mijesiti, ali da nije ljepljivo.
Kidajte komadiće tijesta i oblikujte loptice veličine marelice (kajsije).
Stavite lopticu na pobrašnjenu površinu. Umočite kažiprst u brašno i pritisnite lopticu na sredini, skroz do kraja.
Zavrtite tijesto oko prsta tako da se oblikuje prsten.
Složite sve tako oblikovane krafne na pobrašnjenoj dasci, pokrijte čistom platnenom krpom i ostavite da se dižu 30 minuta.
Zagrijte ulje i pržite krafne par minuta sa svake strane dok ne dobiju lijepu boju.
Vadite ih rupičastom žlicom i stavljajte na nekoliko slojeva kuhinjskog papira da se ocijedi višak masnoće.
Pomiješajte med sa sokom od limuna i lagano zagrijte (u receptu je pisalo bagremov med, ja sam stavila med od limuna).
Prelijte žlicom med preko krafni, ukrasite ih po želji šarenim šećernim perlicama i poslužite.

Potato Doughnuts with Honey

12 March, 2011

Mini Panzerotti with Savoy Cabage and Chickpeas

Mini Panzerotti with Savoy Cabage and Chickpeas
What do you say when you can't find words?
I wish I could tell you I was away, somewhere interesting, doing fun things, but I actually haven't moved in weeks. Kids and work, deadlines and colds.
Finally, We've had a few sunny days and I hope spring is actually right behind the corner. If nothing else to shake of this winter dumbness, go out and breath some fresh air. Actually, my favourite time of the year is when temperature is just warm enough that you can throw the windows wide open and enjoy the light breeze.
These panzerotti kind of picture that. Although they use typically winter ingredients as a filling, seeing and eating them I can easily picture a spring dinner party with friends, in a garden or on a terrace (that I don't have, by the way) and a glass of prosecco (which I do actually have). Hmmm... that would be fun. 
The recipe, with minor changes, comes from the Cucina naturale magazine (February 2011 issue), always a great inspiration if you are trying to eat healthier and introduce something new to your everyday diet.
I really loved these mini panzerotti. I think they are perfect as an apetizer or finger food.

Mini Panzerotti with Savoy Cabage and Chickpeas

Mini panzerotti with Savoy Cabbage and Chickpeas

1 rosemary twig
1 TBspoon extravirgin olive oil
175 g flour
about 100 ml cold water
a pinch of salt

120 g precooked chickpeas
6 large leaves of Savoy cabbage
2 small shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 TBspoons extravirgin olive oil
salt, peper
+ (for brushing and sprinkling)
sesame seeds
1 TB water

Wash and dry the rosemary twig. Chop the leaves very finely and mix immediately with a large spoonful of EVOO.
Sift the flour with a pinch of salt and place it on a kneading board.
Mix in the rosemary oil, and then gradually adding water bring everything together to form a firm dough (you may need a little bit less of more water).
Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap or simply cover with a plastic bowl and let it rest for 40 minutes at room temperature.

For the filling, wash the Savoy cabbage and boil the leaves for 10 minutes. Drain them well and chop them finely.
Press the drained chickpeas through a food mill to remove the skins.
Chop the shallots and the garlic and sautee with 3 TBspoons of EVOO being careful they don't burn.
Add the chickpeas and sautee for 5 minutes.
Mix in the chopped cabbage and sautee for 5 more minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.
Remove from heat and add the finely grated lemon zest.
At this point you can homogenize everything using a stick blender or food processor, but I prefered leaving it as it was for more rustic taste.

Take the dough and roll it out pretty thin (about 2 mm) and using a round 10 cm shape cut into 12 circles (or you can divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each out into a circle).
Place a little filling on each circle, brush the edges with water, then fold them and press well.
Place the thus formed panzerotti on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Brush them with the mixture of olive oil and water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake the panzerotti in an oven preheated to 180°C for 15-20 minutes.
Serve them warm or cold (I even had a few pieces left and had them the following day, they were still pretty good).

Mini Panzerotti with Savoy Cabage and Chickpeas
Mini panzerotti con verza e ceci

1 rametto di rosmarino
1 cucchiaio abbondante d'olio EVO
175 g farina
circa 100 ml acqua fredda
un pizzico di sale

120 g di ceci precotti
6 foglie grandi di verza
2 scalogni
1 spicchio d'aglio
1 cucchiaino di scorza grattugiata di limone
3 cucchiai di olio EVO
sale, pepe
semi di sesamo

Tritate il rosmarino e mescolatelo subito con 1 cucchiaio di olio extravergine d'oliva.
Setacciate la farina con un pizzico di sale. Aggiungete l'olio con il rosmarino, e aggiungendo gradualmente l'acqua impastate il tutto per ottenere un impasto sodo.
Avvolgetelo in pelicola trasparente e lasciatelo riposare per 40 minuti a temperatura ambiente.

Per il ripieno, lessate le foglie di verza per 10 minuti, poi strizzateli e tritateli.
Passate i ceci al passaverdure per eliminare le bucce.
Tritate gli scalogni e l'aglio e rosolateli in una padella con 3 cucchiai d'olio. Aggiungete i ceci e dopo 5 minuti anche la verza. Lasciate insaporire per altri 5 minuti, poi togliete dal fuoco e aggiungete la scorza grattugiata di limone.
Potete frullare il ripieno per renderlo omogeneo, io ho preferito lasciarlo così, per avere un sapore più rustico.

Stendete la pasta molto sotile (circa 2 mm) e ritagliate 12 cerchi di 10 cm di diametro.
Distribuite il ripieno sui cerchi, spennellate i bordi con poca acqua, piegateli a metà e sigillate i bordi.
Distribuite i panzerotti su una teglia ricoperta con carta da forno, spennellateli con la miscela di olio e acqua (1 cucchiaio di olio EVO e 1 cucchiaio d'acqua), e cospargeteli coi semi di sesamo.

Mini Panzerotti with Savoy Cabage and Chickpeas
Mini panzerotti s keljem i slanutkom

1 grančica ružmarina
1 velika žlica maslinovog ulja
175 g brašna
oko 100 ml hladne vode
prstohvat soli

120 g kuhanog slanutka
6 velikih listova kelja
2 manje glavice luka ljutike
1 češanj bijelog luka
1 žličica naribane korice limuna
3 žlice maslinovog ulja
sol, papar
sjemenke sezama za posipanje

Operite i posušite grančicu ružmarina. Odvojite listiće od grančice i što sitnije ih nasjeckajte.
Pomiješajte nasjeckani ružmarin sa žlicom maslinovog ulja.
Prosijte brašno s malo soli.
Dodajte mu ulje s ružmarinom i dodajući vodu zamijesite čvrsto tijesto.
Omotajte tijesto plastičnom folijom ili jednostavno pokrijte zdjelom i ostavite ga da se odmara 40 minuta.
Operite listove kelja i dodajte u posudu s ključalom vodom, pa kuhajte 10 minuta. Ocijedite ga i narežite sitno.
Slanutak propasirajte kroz pasirku da odvojite opnu.
Sitno nasjeckajte ljutiku i češnjak pa popržite u tavi s 3 žlice maslinovog ulja, na laganoj vatri.
Dodajte propasirani slanutak i miješanjući prodinstajte oko 5 minuta.
Dodajte zatim i nasjeckani kelj i dinstajte još 5 minuta.
Posolite i popaprite po ukusu.
Maknite s vatre i umiješajte sitno naribanu koricu limuna.
Nadjev možete homogenizirati u mikseru, ali meni se više sviđa ovako.
Tijesto razvaljajte jako tanko (oko 2 mm) na pobrašnjenoj podlozi i izrežite 12 krugova promjera oko 10 cm. Ili tijesto podijelite na 12 jednakih komada i svaki razvaljajte u krug.
Rasporedite nadjev na krugove. Kistom malo navlažite rubove, pa ih preklopite i stisnite krajeve.
Stavite panzerotte na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje.
Pomiješajte 1 žlicu maslinovog ulja s malo vode pa uz pomoć kista time premažite panzerotte.
Pospite ih zatim sjemenkama sezama.
Pecite ih u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C, 15-20 minuta.

Mini Panzerotti with Savoy Cabage and Chickpeas