April 17, 2013 by Giulietta
There is little to do, sometimes it takes a little to do great things.
This applies to daily life and, therefore, also to cooking activities: sometimes it’s a simple ingredient that makes a great recipe, but even a small addition, a light shade could have the power to entirely change a dish. But even the same ingredient can change depending on how you use it or depending on the combination between different ingredients.
Thus, a simple Sicilian orange could change a lot depending on the procedures, on the parts you’re using and on the added flavors, originating three very different preserves, different in texture, taste and color.
So today I propose you three ways to make the most of the oranges and keep their unmistakable taste even with the changing of seasons.
In order of height (of the jar, from the smallest to the largest one), I propose you an orange jelly (black tea scented), an orange jam (rum flavored) and canned sliced oranges, hoping that at least one (or more than one) could tickle your appetite for fruit preserves.
On this occasion, it’s important to remember that I haven’t had the chance to set foot in Sicily, yet.. then, why my cuisine is so influenced by this wonderful land? And something tells me that I’ll come back to Sicily (at least virtually) in the near future (suspense mod. ON)
Category Citrus, Conserve, Dessert and Sweets, Fresh fruit, Jam, Preserves | Tags: black tea,citrus fruits,conserve,dessert and sweets,fresh fruit,jam,jelly,preserves,rum | 4 Comments
September 17, 2012 by Giulietta
Today let's talk about pummarola (aka tomato in Campanian dialect)!
During these last weeks in food blogs and in the real world I heard so much about tomato sauce, about family traditions, about grandmothers who made tons of tomato sauce in the past (but also today), about families gathered around a cauldron that simmered for days.
Well, I am not part of this group: I don't know whether it is a question of more or less Northern origins or whether it is simply out of habit, but my family doesn't have the tomato sauce tradition. We do make conserves, 'cause we make a lot of jam (we have a great thornbush and a mulberry tree), and especially in oil appetisers (in August we made small onions, small artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed hot peppers, in oil eggplant, in oil zucchini and peppers) but, aided by the fact that in my house we eat very little tomato sauce, we have never felt the need of pummarola.
Until now, of course. Because this year I said to myself: maybe tomato sauce is a rarity in my house, but also ragout, eggplant parmigiana, or stew or pizza will be so much tastier with home-made tomato sauce.
So I started with about twenty kilos … we'll see if they will be sufficient or if next year I'll have to make more, 'cause I convinced the family to start a new tradition.
Meanwhile, here my three tomato preserves.
Category Conserve, Herbs, Home-made is better, Vegetables | Tags: basil,chili pepper,conserve,herbs,oblong tomatoes,san marzano tomatoes,tomato sauce,tomatoes,tomatoes in pieces,unpeeled tomatoes,vegetables | 7 Comments
December 6, 2011 by Giulietta
I return to the charge with my lazy posts .. and this is lazy squared!
Why lazy squared? First of all because this is a quick preparation: it won't waste much of your time or attention. And, secondly, because once you've got your cube, you can afford to be lazy for four to five months (it will last this long), you can get a vegetable broth in a second (for risotto, to add to meat preparations, for a broth if you're ill) and you can have always at your fingertips a great seasonings (I often use it instead of salt) made with fresh and healthy ingredients (ok, I sound like a baby food advertising).
Believe me, if you already use stock-cubes, this will change your mind about what a stock-cube really is. If you don't use stock-cubes, you'll begin to use this one.
I learned this recipe at a recent cooking class about meat preparations, and I won't leave it!
Category Concentrated, Conserve, Cooking for dummies, Herbs, Vegetables | Tags: bay leaves,carrots,celery,concentrated,conserve,cooking for dummies,herbs,onions,rosemary,stock-cube,tomatoes,vegetables,zucchini | 18 Comments
November 13, 2011 by Giulietta
With this recipe I officially start (perhaps I should include some old recipes, though) a new "section", and I'm calling it Home-made is better, a section dedicated to all those delicacies that perhaps you might find in stores that sell quality products… but those same delicacies, if home-made, reach a new level of deliciousness, almost beyond the Nirvana of taste.
In addition, I'll use this section to give you some gift ideas for the upcoming (argh!) Christmas, gifts that can be used for other occasions, too (birthdays, graduations, confirmations, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings – gifts or favors- and so on) .. In short, do whatever you want with them.
To get off on the right foot, I chose a regional product. Some of you might know it, but I believe that most of you never heard about cugnà. Cugnà (or cognà), a word which I don't know the meaning of, but that materializes in a dense marvel that you can store in jars. I don't define it, 'cause there is a quarrel about its ontological essence: is it mustard? Not really, but it looks like it. Is it jam? No, but it can be used as jam, and a few decades ago it was used like that, simply spread on bread, as a snack. Well, maybe it's better not to define it, but simply be enchanted by it.
One thing it's sure: it's an ancient dish, which comes from the need to reuse the waste from the harvest (the main ingredient is, in fact, grape must) and the excess production of autumn fruits. This is enriched with dried fruits (needless to say, the special guests are Piedmontese hazelnuts) and some spices. In the past people didn't keep in jars, but simply in an earthenware container (called the Tupina. Piedmontese small note: a very similar word, tupin, is still used in Piedmont, more than every day, to call a generic container, from a jar to an airtight container and so on. So if a Piedmontese says "put it in a tupin", he/she is not saying that you have to stuff a rodent. PS. in Italian "topo" means "mouse", so there's a little word pun, here) covered by a plate.
You'll wonder how you use this delicacy … traditionally, since it was born a poor dish, cugnà was especially eaten with polenta (I'll have to try this use), while the wealthier used it to accompany boiled meat (which is very typical here in Piedmont) and cheeses; however,as I already said, it was also used like an usual jam, so spread on bread. The choice is yours!
Category Conserve, Dried fruit, Fresh fruit, Home-made is better, Jam, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: almond,apple,cinnamon,clove,cognà,conserve,cugnà,dried apricots,dried figs,dried fruit,fresh fruit,hazelnut,home-made is better,madernassa pears,most,pears,quince,renette apples,walnut | 31 Comments