April 15, 2012 by Giulietta
Prepare yourselves, 'cause this will be the first of 3 posts with a common ingredient, butter. I chose to title this series "not only butter", 'cause we certainly don't live only for butter (and I'm a real Italian, 'cause I definitely use more extra-virgin olive oil than butter), but in my opinion butter is a great discriminant in certain preparation, 'cause it's an added value, that accompanies flavors and enhances them.
These buttery thoughts arose from a contest dedicated to butter (binder butter): the challenge is to create and/or implement three recipes (an original one, a quick one and a traditional one) that have butter as a key ingredient.
I started from this key element and I tried to create (or re-create) dishes in which the butter is the binder, the ingredient that holds the flavors together and, at the same time, doesn't tower above them.
I hope you'll be pleased with these creations as I was of the results.
As for the original recipe, I made some beef turnovers filled with fresh spinach, walnuts and Parmigiano, cooked in butter and served with a walnut sauce. To create this recipe, I started from the assumption that beef cutlet cooked in butter is absolutely delicious, and I decided to add two more buttery notes: I sauteed spinach in butter and there's butter in the walnuts sauce (which is a quick recipe to keep in mind to dress a pasta dish).
Category Beef, Contest, Dried fruit, Meat, Sauces, Second course, Vegetables | Tags: beef,butter,contest,dried fruit,meat,sauce,second course,spinach,turnovers,vegetables,walnut | 11 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
October 14, 2011 by Giulietta
Every once in a while, especially in fall and winter seasons, it's good to indulge in laziness .. so, today's recipe is a simple one, with only few ingredients and very easy to make, just like the cumin carrots you saw here a few weeks ago. Today I revive my for dummies recipes, giving some respite between more complicated ones and satisfying those who are looking for quick and versatile recipes … well, who isn't looking for quick recipes to please last-minute guests (but also "regular" commensals) and that also could be used in different ways?
So, here it is my eggplant and walnuts cream, a very personal and maybe questionable reworking of the beloved baba ghanouj, a Middle Eastern cream, also known as aubergine caviar, made with eggplant, tahini and garlic. Again, this is my interpretation but, without tahini and garlic, losses that make my cream perfect if spread on bread and canapé as appetizer, wonderful if used in gourmet sandwiches (ok, I'm dissolute), but also amazing to dress pasta, just adding some cheese. In short, a more Italic version, but very good and versatile. This doesn't mean I don't love original baba ghanouj: I could spread it on my breakfast cookies.
Category Appetizer and Finger food, Dried fruit, Sauces, Vegetables | Tags: appetizer and finger food,canapé,dried fruit,eggplant,sauces,vegetables,walnut | 33 Comments