30 January, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower


This winter hasn't been really winter, so far. Too warm. Kids complain about absence of snow. 
Even the little snow that we had two days ago were rather "much noise about nothing". The moment it stopped snowing, all the snow melted away. My younger daughter coming out of school was almost crying, "It's all fault of the Sun. Now I can't even make a snowman."
There was however one beautiful moment. Just when it stopped snowing I opened the windows in my bedroom and was so pleased to breathe that clean, fresh, crisp air. In this town, so polluted, it was really such a rare thing. It's one of the reasons I wish it would snow more often, although I do hate all the disadvantages it brings along. Especially now that I have to cross the town from one end to the other to take kids to school. 


To break the monotony of winter months, I thought this purple cauliflower was so cute. And picked up two heads the moment I saw them at the grocery store. There's so little colour, besides white and green. But there's always the problem of "bad smell" in the kitchen when cauliflower is being boiled or steamed. NO more.
I believe you have all by now tried roasting it, but I often ignore trends or arrive late. Better late than never.
It's super easy. I prepared it very simle, with just a little salt and paprika, but do feel free to add other spices or herbs. Experiment. Find your own formula. For example I added some cardamom once. Loved it.
And I'm particularly happy that a compliment I recieved was, "Next time, make sure you don't bring just a handful of these to the table." It's not my fault, actually. They shrink a lot when roasted, keep that in mind, and don't roast just a few florets. Even the baby enjoyed it. That says it all.
Instead of dividing the cauliflower into florets, like (I think) all recipes say, I sliced it. I don't know why, but I liked the result so I continued doing it every time. Slicing the cauliflower you get some nice pieces, that look almost like flowers, easy to serve as a side dish, and can be used to decorate your plate as well. And you get some crumbs, too that are excellent to add to pasta or soup for example, or to be picked by little hands. Either way, give it a try... if you haven't done so already.

For now, here's the basic recipe for how I roast cauliflower. And how I used it in a delicious, fingerlicking and gourmet (as my hubby defined it). But I have another one, for a soup coming. So... 


Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika

* 1 head of cauliflower (white, purple or green)
*  salt
 * paprika
 * extra virgin olive oil
 * butter

Remove the external leaves and wash carefully the cauliflower. If it's a rather big one divide it into big florets first and then slice each into 1/2 cm thick pieces. Otherwise, for a smaller head, you can slice it whole.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and drizzle a little olive oil over it. 
Toss the cauliflower with salt and paprika and arrange on the bottom of the prepared baking pan. 
Distribute a few pieces of butter on top and bake in the oven preheated to 180°C. 
Depending on how you like your cauliflower, crunchy or soft, it will take sometime between 15-20 minutes or a little longer. Stir a couple times so that the cauliflower roasts evenly.

Pasta with roasted cauliflower and bread crumbs

(for 4 servings): * 320 g pasta (penne, tortiglioni, fusili etc.)
* 2-3 slices of old bread
* roasted cauliflower 
* 2 cloves of garlic
* extra virgin olive oil
* 2 TBspoons sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add pasta and salt and cook until the pasta is al dente.
In the meantime, grind the bread in a food processor to get rough bread crumbs.
Warm up 2-3 TBspoons of olive oil with whole cloves of garlic in a large skillet. Add the bread crumbs, and toast them stirring often.
Drain the pasta when cooked and add it to the skillet with condiments. 
Add the cauliflower, and toss everything together. 
Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top and serve immediately.


Cavolfiore arrostito

* 1 testa di cavolfiore (bianco, verde o viola)
*  sale
 * paprika (peperone rosso macinato)
 * olio extra vergine d'oliva
 * burro

Tagliate via delle foglie esterne e lavate il cavolfiore. 
Divitelo in cime più grandi e poi affettatele oppure tagliate direttamente la testa a fettine di spessore di 1/2 cm. 
Raccogliete tutto, le fettine intere e le briciole e condite con il sale e un po' di paprika.
Foderate una teglia con la carta da forno e versateci un filo di olio EVO sul fondo. 
Distribuite il cavolfiore in uno strato uniforme e infornatelo nel forno già caldo a 180°C.
Regolate il tempo di cottura secondo i propri gusti, circa 15-20 minuti se vi piace croccante o un po' di più se lo preferite morbido. 
Rigirate un paio di volte per facilitare una cottura più uniforme.

Pasta con cavolfiore arrostito e briciole di pane

(per 4 porzioni) * 320 g di pasta  (penne, tortiglioni, fusili ecc.)
* 2-3 fette di pane raffermo
* cavolfiore arrostito
* 2 spicchi d'aglio
* olio extra vergine d'oliva
* 2 cucchiai di semi di sesamo (leggermente tostati)

Mettete a bollire una pentola d'acqua per la pasta.
Mentre la pasta si cuoce, tritate il pane in un robot da cucina.
Scaldate 2-3 cucchiai di olio EVO in una padella insieme ai spicchi interi d'aglio.
Aggiungete le briciole di pane e tostatele mescolando.
Scolate la pasa quando è cotta al dente e aggiungetela nella padella con le briciole.
Unite anche il cavolfiore e saltate tutto insieme.
Cospargete con i semi di sesamo e servite subito.


Pečena cvjetača

* 1 glavica cvjetače (nije važna boja ;))
*  sol
 * mljevena crvena paprika
 * maslinovo ulje
 * maslac

Cvjetaču očistite od vanjskih listova.
Možete je prvo podijeliti na veće cvjetove, ili ako je glavica manja izravno narezati na "kriške" debljine 1/2 cm.
Na pleh stavite komad papira za pečenje, malo ga nauljite pa rasporedite narezanu cvjetaču.
Posolite i pospite paprikom.
Preko cvjetače stavite listiće maslaca.
Pecite u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C (vrijeme pečenja prilagodite svojem ukusu - može biti 15-20 minuta ako volite da je cvjetača hrskavija, ili malo duže ako volite da je skroz mekana). Tijekom pečenja par puta promiješajte i preokrenite cvjetaču da se ravnomjernije ispeče.

Tjestenina s pečenom cvjetačom i mrvicama

(za 4 osobe): * 320 g tjestenine po izboru (penne, tortiglioni, fusili itd.)
* 2-3 kriške starog kruha
* pečena cvjetača (količina po želji)
* 2 češnja bijelog luka
* maslinovo ulje
* 2 žlice sjemenki sezama

Stavite veći lonac s vodom da provrije.
U ključalu vodu ubacite tjesteninu i posolite.
Dok se tjestenina kuha, smrvite u sjeckalici kruh da dobijete krupnije mrvice.
Zagrijte u tavi 2-3 žlice maslinovog ulja s cijelim češnjakom, dodajte mrvice kruha i popržite miješajući.
Ocijedite kuhanu tjesteninu i dodajte u tavu s mrvica, sve skupa zagrijte i izmiješajte na vatri.
Dodajte pečenu cvjetaču (možete odvojiti veće komade cvjetače i poslužiti kao prilog, a one sitnije, "izmrvljene" dodati u tjesteninu).
Pospite prethodno na suho poprženim sjemenkama sezama i poslužite.



16 January, 2014

Fettine Langarole

Fettine Langarole

This household cannot survive without cookies. They can change shape, ingredients, taste, but the sight of an empty cookie jar creates immediate panic and triggers the brainstorming process: What ingredients do I have ready in my pantry? What can I make? What? There's only 300 g of flour...NO way! I will half the recipe if there's no time to go grocery shopping, but the cookie making must start immediately.
Each and every member of my family has their favourites. Guess who's the only one that won't complain... ever... and will gobble and munch on anything I bake... besides myself, naturally... You'll find the answer if you scroll the pictures down...

Oh, and the recipe for these cookie! It's one of those that you'll keep coming back to in any occasion. Once you've made and tasted them. Promise. So don't wait too long before you give them a go.
Have a nice and sweet day!

Fettine Langarole (Hazelnut Slices)
(by Luca Montersino)

* 250 g butter
* 110 g powdered sugar
* 45 g heavy cream
* 25 g unsweetened cocoa
* 400 g flour
* 135 g hazelnuts
* vanilla (scraped seeds from 1/3 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon extract)

Using an electric mixer, beat softened butter with powdered sugar, salt and the vanilla.
Add heavy cream, and then flour sifted or whisked together with the cocoa.
In the end stir in the roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Line a plastic or metal rectangular or square container (e.g a 12x20 cm or you could use several mini loaf pans) with a piece of plastic wrap. Transfer the dough in the container and level with a spoon or spatula.
The dough needs to be placed inside a container or square metal ring because it's very soft. Cooling it in the fridge it will become hard enough to be sliced.
Refrigerate the dough for a couple hours or until completely firm.
Cut the dough into 4 cm wide pieces and then slice each into 1 cm thick slices.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Bake the cookies at 175°C for 18-20 minutes.
Cool them on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container.

Pan di stelle

* Pan di stelle are famous Italian cookies. My daughter loves the original ones, so I adapted the recipe for Fettine Langarole to make them in home-made version. Kids loved them.

* Instead of roughly grinding the hazelnuts, keep running your food processor until they start releasing oil and turn into smooth paste (hazelnut butter). Add the hazelnut paste to the cookie dough. Divide the dough in 3 or 4 parts and shape each into round 4-5 cm wide log. Wrap in a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Cut into 5 mm thick slices and bake for 15-18 minutes. Let them cool and then decorate with a little royal icing forming little stars on top of each cookie. Let the icing set before storing them in an airtight container.
*Tip: since the dough is very soft in the beginning, to help the rolls keep nice round shape, try putting them inside some kind of round shaped mould, for example an empty kitchen paper towel roll.

Fettine Langarole
(di Luca Montersino)

* 250 g burro
* 110 g zucchero a velo
* 45 g panna fresca
* 25 g cacao amaro
* 400 g farina "00"
* 135 g nocciole
* vaniglia (semi di 1/3 di bacello o 1 cucchiaino di estratto)
* un pizzico di sale

Con uno sbattitore elettrico lavorate il burro con lo zucchero a velo, il sale e la vaniglia. Aggiungete la panna versandola a filo e poi aggiungete la farina e il cacao setacciati insieme. Unite alla fine le nocciole ridotte in granella.
Rivestite un contenitore rettangolare o un anello d'acciaio (circa 12x20 cm) con la pellicola alimentare. Trasferite l'impasto al interno e livellatelo con una spatola o cucchiaio (l'impasto è molto morbido).
Trasferite l'impasto nel frigorifero e fatelo rassodare bene.
Togliete poi l'impasto dal contenitore e tagliatelo a strisce larghe 4 cm, poi ritagliate ciascuna a fettine spesse circa 1 cm.
Sistematele su una placca da forno rivestita con la carta da forno.
Cuocete i biscotti per circa 18-20 minuti a 175°C.
Sfornateli, lasciateli raffreddare su una griglia e conservateli in un contenitore di latta.

Pan di Stelle

* Le mie figlie non hanno gradito molto i biscotti originali, perché a differenza di me, non vogliono sentire pezzettini di nocciole dentro. Così ho fatto una piccola modifica e le bimbe sono letteralmente impazzite e biscotti... non ci si sono più.

* Invece di ridurre le nocciole in granella, continuate a tritarle nel mixer/frullatore finché cominciano a rilasciare olio e diventano una crema/pasta. Aggiungete la pasta di nocciole nel impasto dei biscotti. Dividete l'impasto in 3 o 4 parti, formate dei rotoli di 4-5 cm di diametro, avvolgeteli nella pellicola alimentare e lasciate rassodare in frigo. Tagliate i rotoli a fettine di 5 mm di spessore e cuoceteli per 15-18 minuti a 175°C. Una volta raffreddati decorateli con un po' di glassa di zucchero disegnando delle stelline.
* Consiglio: siccome la pasta è molto morbida, per aiutare i rotoli di pasta a mantenere la forma arrotondata inseriteli dentro qualcosa che possa servire come stampo, anche un cartoncino del rotolo di carta assorbente da cucina può essere molto utile.

Fettine Langarole (Ploške s lješnjacima)

* 250 g maslaca
* 110 g šećera u prahu
* 45 g slatkog vrhnja za šlag
* 25 g gorkog kakaa
* 400 g brašna
* 135 g lješnjaka vanilija (sjemenke 1/3 mahune ili 1 žličica ekstrakta)
* prstohvat soli

Izradite mikserom omekšali maslac sa šećerom u prahu, solju i vanilijom.
Dodajte prvo u tankom mlazu slatko vrhnje, a zatim brašno prosijano zajedno s kakaom.
Na kraju umiješajte krupno mljevene ili nasjeckane, prethodno popržene lješnjake (ja ih sameljem u multipraktiku, tako da ostanu krupniji komadići).
Obložite četvrtastu posudu prozirnom folijom i stavite smjesu unutra i poravnajte. Moja je (plastična) posuda dimenzija 12x20 cm. Trebali biste dobiti sloj debljine 3-4 cm.
Smjesu je potrebno staviti u kalup (može biti i samo metalni četvrtasti obruč) jer je jako mekana, ali hlađenjem se stisne tako da nemojte dodavati više brašna.
Stavite u hladnjak par sati da se dobro ščvrsne.
Izvadite smjesu iz kalupa i izrežite po dužini na tri komada širine 4 cm.
Izrežite svaki dio na ploške debljine 1 cm i stavljajte ih na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje.
Pecite kekse na 175°C otprilike 18-20 minuta.
Ostavite ih da se ohlade na rešetki, a zatim ih spremite u metalnu posudu.

Pan di stelle

* Pan di stelle jedni su od omiljenih keksa moje mlađe kćeri. Kad sam napravila Fettine Langarole, glavna zamjerka koju su imale moje kćeri bili su komadići lješnjaka u njima (ono što se meni najviše svidjelo kod njih). Stoga sam napravila malu izmjenu u receptu i za njih pripremila ovu neodoljivu varijantu.

* Kad stavite miksati lješnjake u mikseru/blenderu/multipraktiku nemojte se zaustaviti na grubo mljevenim komadićima, već nastavite miksati dok lješnjaci ne počnu otpuštati ulje i dobijete skoro sasvim glatku kremu/pastu od lješnjaka. Dodajte ovu pastu od lješnjaka u tijesto. Oblikujte od tijesta 3 ili 4 rolnice promjera 4-5 mm, omotajte ih prozirnom folijom i stavite u hladnjak da se dobro ohlade da ih možete rezati. Izrežite rolnce na ploške debljine 5 mm i pecite ih oko 15 do 18 minuta na 175°C. Kad se ohlade ukrasite ih s malo šećerne glazure (royal icinga) crtajući zvjezdice. Nakon što se glazura osuši možete kekse spremiti u metalnu posudu s poklopcem.
* Savjet: Budući da je tijesto jako mekano prije hlađenja, da bi rolnice zadržale lijep okrugao oblik stavite ih u nekakav "kalup", npr. obična kartonska rolnica od kuhinjskog papira može savršeno poslužiti svrsi.


13 January, 2014

Sourdough crackers


Ten more days and I'd be counting two months absence from blogging. Lots of things happened in the meantime... we moved to a new appartment finally, and above all it took ages to have the phone line installed and connected... and that not being enough, the day after we got the phone line back, the computer broke and it got repaired just a day or two before we left for Christmas holidays.
It was also a strange Christmas from baking point of view, I've never baked less as back in time as I can remember. Although most of the stuff has been in it's place, it's still often difficult to find things. And I kind of wasn't in the right mood.
But one thing that couldn't be forgetten is my "baby", my sourdough starter. It needs to get fed regularly, and now that it's really in great shape I couldn't let it sit and die. Of course not. The first thing I baked in my new house was bread, and then bread again and again.
But I managed to squeeze in some crackers and sweet buns as well.
The lovely book I mentioned in one of my previous posts is full of beautiful recipes and ideas, and these crackers were adapted from there, too.
I really liked them and can't wait to make them again.


Scented (sourdough) crackers
(adapted from Pane, dolci & fantasia, by Sara Papa)

* 500 g all purpose flour
* 250 g water
* 150 g sourdough starter (or 20 g fresh yeast)
* 20 g acacia honey
* 90 g extra virgin olive oil
* 12 g salt
* crushed pink pepper or dried herbs (e.g. rosemary) for topping
for brushing:
* 25 g water
* 25 g extra virgin olive oil
* 5 g salt

Refresh your sourdough starter and take the necessary quantity.
Tear it into pieces and leave in a mixing bowl with all 250 g of water. Let it soften for 20-30 minutes and then mix it with a hand trying to dissolve it.
Add the honey and oil, and then mix in the flour. Add the salt in the end and knead the dough until smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it on a floured kneading board and cover with a large bowl or a clean cotton cloth. Let it rise until it's doubled in volume.
Take 1/4 of the dough and roll it out on a piece of baking paper to 3 mm thick. Punch the dough with a fork. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into little squares.
Put the oil, the water and salt into a small jar with a lid. Shake well for all the ingredients to mix, then brush the mixture all over the dough.
Sprinkle some crushed pink pepper or dried herbs over and let the crackers rest for 30 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake the crackers in an oven preheated to 200°C until golden brown.
Once they are cold you can store them in zip lock bags for a week or freeze for up to a month.


Cracker profumati (con LM)
(adattato da Pane, dolci & fantasia, di Sara Papa)

* 500 g di farina "00"
* 250 g di acqua
* 150 g di lievito madre (o 20 g di lievito di birra fresco)
* 20 g di miele di acacia
* 90 g di olio extra vergine di oliva
* 12 g sale
* pepe rosa o erbe aromatiche secche (per esempio, rosmarino) per guarnire
* 25 g di acqua
* 25 g di olio extra vergine di oliva
* 5 g sale

Rinfrescate il lievito madre e poi prelevate la quantità che serve.
Spezzettatelo e mettete in una ciotola con 250 g di acqua. Lasciatelo ammorbidire per 20-30 minuti e poi mescolate con le mani cercando di farlo sciogliere.
Aggiungete il miele e l'olio, poi la farina e infine il sale.
Impastate bene, formate una palla e lasciate lievitare sulla spianatoia coperto con un canovaccio o la ciotola a campana fino al raddoppio del volume.
Prelevate 1/4 del impasto lievitato e con l'aiuto di un mattarello stendetelo allo spessore di 3 mm direttamente su un foglio di carta da forno. Bucherellate la pasta con una forchetta e ritagliatela con la rotellina per la pizza in quadratini.
Mettete l'acqua, l'olio e i il sala per la salamoia in una bottiglietta o vasetto con il coperchio e scuotete energicamente per emulsionare bene. Spennellate poi la salamoia sulla superficie dei crackers. Cospargete con il pepe leggermente pestato o le erbe secche. Lasciateli lievitare per 30 minuti e poi infornateli a 200°C finché diventino dorati.
Una volta raffreddati, conservateli nei sacchettini di plastica (per 1 settimana) oppure congelateli (per 1 mese).


Mirisni krekeri (s kiselim tijestom)

* 500 g brašna
* 250 g vode
* 150 g kvasa/kiselog tijesta (ili 20 g kvasca)
* 20 g meda
* 90 g ekstra djevičanskog maslinovog ulja
* 12 g soli
* ružičasti (ili drugi) papar, suho mirisno bilje (ružmarin, i sl.) za posipanje
za premazivanje:
* 25 g vode
* 25 g ekstradjevičanskog maslinovog ulja
* 5 g soli

Kvas prethodno nahranite/osvježite pa odvojite potrebnu količinu.
Nakidajte ga na komadiće i stavite u zdjelu s vodom (250 g). Ostavite 20-30 minuta da odmekne, a zatim ga rukom izmiješajte da se što je moguće više otopi.
Dodajte med i ulje, a zatim i brašno. Dodajte sol tek pred kraj i dalje dobro izmijesite da tijesto postane glatko.
Stavite ga na pobrašnjenu dasku/radnu površinu i pokrijte preokrenutom zdjelom ili čistom pamučnom krpom. Ostavite tijesto da se diže dok se ne udvostruči.
Uzmite 1/4 tijesta i razvaljajte ga izravno na komadu papira za pečenje veličine velikog pleha na debljinu od 3 mm.
Nabockajte vilicom cijelu površinu, a zatim kotačićem za pizzu narežite na kvadratiće željene veličine.
Stavite ulje, vodu i sol u bočicu s poklopcem i energično protresite da se dobro pomiješaju.
Premažite ovom smjesom uz pomoć kista krekere.
Pospite ih grubo izmrvljenim paprom ili mirisnim biljem po želji.
Ostavite krekere da se dižu 30 minuta, a zatim ih stavite peći na 200°C dok ne dobiju zlatno smeđu boju.
*Ohlađene krekere čuvajte do tjedan dana u plastičnoj vrećici, a možete ih i zamrznuti do mjesec dana.