Monday, April 29, 2013

Gnocchi alla Romana


1 l. (1/4 gallon) milk
200 g (1 cup) semolina
250 g  (1/2 lbs) of cheese (eg Fontina cheese)
100 g (1/2 cup) butter
2 eggs
30 g  (3 tbsp) breadcrumbs
Nutmeg to taste

A fast, simple and economic dish .


Preheat oven to 375 F.
Boil the milk with about 1/2 of the butter, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. After lowering the flame, pour the semolina and keep stirring. Stir in the eggs.
After two or three minutes, the meal will begin to thicken.
Remove from heat and pour into a large pan lined with parchment paper.
With the help of a wet spoon, spread a uniform layer thickness of about 1/2 inch.
Once the meal is cooled, cut out of the disks using a mold or a glass. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the diskettes, slightly overlapping. Distributed on the gnocchi the grated cheese, some butter and breadcrumbs. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, until it has formed a golden crust on the surface. Measures: For a more varied flavor, combined with more types of cheese, such as Asiago and Fontina.

Piselli alla Romana - Peas Roman Style

1 Large Bag of Frozen Peas
1 Onion
1 Stick of Celery
Olive Oil
1 Pack Pancetta or Thick Cut Bacon

Finely chop an onion and stick of celery, and sauté slowly in olive oil until soft. Now add some diced pancetta (thick bacon) and fry that too until cooked. Then add in your peas straight from the freezer with a very small amount of water, just so they have a little steam to breathe in. You can cook these gently or fiercely (and you can reheat in the microwave), so it’s a zero-stress vegetable.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Italian Bread

Once you know how, you can do lots of things with this dough. I start with a biga
or starter the day before, and leave it sit in the fridge overnight, and
complete the bread the next day. I don’t knead my bread as much as the
traditional recipes call for, but I get great results.
Even if you’ve never made bread before, you’ll find this recipe easy.
Baking Tip: You could also use a baguette pan to make long thin loaves,
or spread your dough across a well-oiled cookie sheet to make focaccia.
Rosemary Bread: Add 4 Tbs. finely chopped rosemary to the flour.
Brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with coarse sea salt just prior to baking.
Olive Bread: Add 12 oz. flavorful pitted olives, coarsely chopped to the
flour mixture.


1/2 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Lukewarm water
2 Cups Unbleached, All-purpose Flour
2 Cups Warm Water (about 90 degrees F.)
1 Pkg. Active Dry Yeast
5-6 Cups All-purpose, Unbleached Flour
2 Teaspoons Salt


For the Biga: Mix the yeast and water together, and then slowly start adding the flour, mixing well. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours and refrigerate overnight.
The Next Day: Place the water in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast overtop and mix well and let sit 10 minutes until bubbly.
Add the biga, flour, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon (or mix with your hands) until everything is mixed.
The dough will be fairly wet and sticky at this point.
Cover and let stand in a warm spot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.
Punch down the dough, folding it over on itself two or three times, cover and let rise once more until doubled, about 1 hour.( If you choose, you could refrigerate your dough at this time and leave it overnight to prepare the next day.)
Turn out your dough onto a floured baking sheet, and without overworking it too much shape into one large or two smaller round or oval shaped loaves, using as much extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
Slash across the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor just prior to baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place a casserole dish with boiling water on the lower oven rack.
Bake your bread 30 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 30-45 minutes.
At this point your bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
Allow the bread to cool to room temperature and serve.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Alabama Slammer

1/2 oz amaretto almond liqueur
1/2 oz Southern Comfort peach liqueur
1/2 oz sloe gin
1 splash orange juice
1 splash sweet and sour mix

Pour above ingredients into a stainless steel shaker over ice and shake until completely cold. Strain into a glass and serve.


Homemade Goodies - Roadhouse Cinnamon Butter

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Suspended Coffee - An ispirational story I want to share.

A dear friend of mine posted this inspirational story on his Facebook page. The story was in Italian, I wanted to translate it for all of you.
I admire those people in Italy who started the "caffe' sospeso" tradition.
I hope and wish this story can touch your hearts and and that we find a way to get it started here in the States.

This story will warm you up better than a cup of coffee on a cold winter day.

While my friend and I are waiting for the coffees we ordered, two people come in the coffee shop and order "five coffees please, two for us and three suspended".
"What are suspended coffees?" I asked to my friend. "Wait and see" he answered.
Two girls come in and order the "famous" suspended coffee.
The next order is made by three lawyers, seven coffees, three for them and four suspended.
While I am wondering what is the advantage of the suspended coffees, I am enjoying the sun and the view of the square in front of the coffee shop.
Suddenly, a man dressed in raggedy clothes, looks like a beggar, comes in the coffee shop and kindly ask "do you have a suspended coffee?"

It's so simple, to pre-pay this coffee, is giving a chance to someone who cannot afford a warm meal. The tradition of the "Caffe' Sospeso" started in Naples, Italy and it is spreading around the world. In some places not only you can order a coffee, but also a sandwich or an entire meal. Starbucks UK embraced the Suspended Coffee program, customer can purchase coffee to be donated to the homeless. Let's promote it here too.

Please share this story.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Schinken im Brotteig": Ham baked in bread

This is an old traditional recipe which used to be a popular party dish in Switzerland and Germany. Although potluck dinners are virtually unknown in these regions,“Schinken im Brotteig” (ham baked in bread) was the ideal meal for a large crowd as it could easily be prepared in advance. For larger gatherings, two or three hams would be baked and served with a variety of salads, including potato salad.

Recipe:( serves 6-8 people)

1 smoked rolled ham (Toupie ham or Alsacian ham), approx. 1 kg (2 Lbs)
- If ham is already cooked leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.
- If ham is uncooked, cook it according to package instructions (for approx. 60 minutes per kg) in a broth of the following:
A pot of water, 3 bay leaves, a few pepper corns, 1 large onion cut into rings.

If you don’t have time to make the bread dough you can substitute with 2 packets of store-bought pizza dough.

Bread dough:
400 grams (2 1/3 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
100 grams (2/3 cup) whole wheat flour
7 grams (2 teaspoons) quick rising yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
150 ml beer, room temperature (if you don't like beer just add extra water)
200 ml water, warm

Mix all ingredients in your bread maker (dough function) or knead vigorously by hand (approx. 10 minutes). Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let dough rise at room temperature for approx. 1 hour. Knead dough again briefly to get some of the air out. If it feels wet, sprinkle with some flour. Roll out with a rolling pin until dough is rectangular and large enough to wrap up the ham.

Pack ham firmly into the dough and brush edges with some water to make them stick. Make sure that the seam is at the bottom, so that it won’t burst during the baking process. 

If you have some leftover dough get creative. Cut out some nice shapes with a cookie cutter and glue on with some water.
Place ham on baking tray and bake for approx. 1 hour until nicely browned and crispy.
Normal oven: 180 ° C / 360 ° F
Convection oven: 160 ° / 320 ° F

Take bread out the oven and let it cool down a bit until it can be handled without gloves. With a sharp knife cut a lid off through the middle. Now you can carve the ham. Put the lid back on the meat to keep it warm. Before serving cut the lid into neat slices so that your guests can help themselves to ham and bread. The bread will be a little bit soggy from the meat juice but this makes it very tasty.

Serve with mustard, salad and pickles.