Mar 29, 2013

Colomba

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24 hours later, the Colomba, an Italian Easter tradition, is ready. My first one ever. I thought it would be like a Panettone but in the shape of a "colomba", or a dove. But it is not. If Panettone is the best cake ever, I need to invent another word for "best ever". I don't even know where to start.

Custard filling

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I went to the source for this recipe. There are so many around, who knows what real custard should be like. Well, I don't know either but I know, that Julia knows.

Mar 26, 2013

Mandolata

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I found it, lost it, didn't cry, forgot about it and found it again today...like a good love story. I came across the recipe while looking for Easter ideas, the first time and the second time. The cake is originally called "Pinolata"...and I thought I remembered that the name had something to do with "Pasqua" (Easter).

Mar 25, 2013

Lasagna rolls with spinach

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I just saw that Lasagna Rolls by Giada De Laurentiis is the most popular pasta dish on Foodnetwork. I didn't find out about it till after I'd made it a couple of times. I've had the recipe in Giada's book ever since...I got the book. Lasagna rolls is a great idea, better than a traditional lasagna. Each sheet of pasta is individually covered with a filling and rolled, which makes each serving look very attractive. The two sauces, white and red, make the whole dish come together perfectly. I tripled the amount of tomato sauce.

Bechamel sauce

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I have never had a problem with this b├ęchamel recipe. No clumps, no over-whisking, no stress. The consistency is between thick and thin. It changes quickly though if not used immediately. It thickens and a film is formed on top. If I use the sauce in lasagnas, or anything that would end up in the oven, OK - b├ęchamel can wait. But if I want to serve right away on a plate (goes well with just about anything), I try to avoid reheating. It never seems to regain that desired smoothness. 

Mar 21, 2013

Zucchini quiche

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After you go through the somewhat-complicated-at-first process of making your pastry dough*, the rest just depends on whatever you have in your fridge/pantry/basement. And as long as you have 3 eggs and a cup of sweet cream, you can make a great lunch, dinner, snack, cold or hot, same day, next day. Always a hit. French cuisine at its best at your home. Refined but simple. Satisfying and delicious.

Short paste/pastry dough

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I used two sources to make the pastry dough. I started with Sonia Peronaci, from the Italian website. I finished with Julia Child and her 4 page recipe/instruction. And I ended up with a fantastic looking pastry dough and quiche.

Mar 20, 2013

Carrot cake w/whole spelt

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More like a bread, but still a cake. Not too sweet, not too moist. Not Paula Dean's style rich carrot cake, but a delicate, light Italian kind. You can taste carrots thanks to the lower sugar content of the cake. I like that.

Mar 19, 2013

Chocolate mousse (fondant au chocolat)

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I was looking for a mousse recipe that doesn't use sweet cream. I don't have far to go and get some. I don't have to get in the car, I don't have to drive to a nearest Wallmart and go through aisles and people and cash registers to get sweet cream. Still, when it's not in my fridge, I don't have it. I like my "I don't have it" challenges. I don't give up easily.

Mar 18, 2013

Pizza romana

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Pizza Romana: tomato sauce, anchovies fillets, mozzarella, oregano and olive oil. I bought a little jar of the salty fish, a good mozzarella and tomato sauce. Very easy, very good, very Italian. If you like anchovies. I find them, salty-yes, but also very delicate, creamy...and definitely exciting. Just a little taste and your pizza won't be plain anymore.

Pizza dough

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When I have my girlfriends over, I make a warm dish and a dessert, they bring great salads or appetizers. I can easily get tired over-thinking what to make even before I begin. Lately, I've decided, I'm just going to make different pizzas every time. Now that I've said that, I'm probably going to change my mind. There is something very social about making and sharing a pizza.

Mar 15, 2013

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

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Yes, they will be chewy, if you take them out of the oven the second they let you know they got enough. When they start tanning around the edges...take those babies out. That's the only way to make them chewy and moist. They do look peculiar when ready, kind of soft, almost running, with no color. But give them a couple of minutes of cooling and they'll be happy cookies. And so will you.

Mar 13, 2013

Avocado-chocolate mousse

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I didn't feel like cake, muffins or cookies. Two squares of dark chocolate with my afternoon espresso - not again. I had two avocados getting just ripe. Mrs De Laurentiis gave me the idea to combine the two into a mousse. But the recipe came from me. I'm excited. Much to more fun to follow...me.

Mar 11, 2013

Nutella cookies

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If you passed the period in your life of eating Nutella by the spoon, this cookie is a sweet little option to enjoy just a delicate taste of the fabulous chocolate spread. A cup of coffee, a couple of cookies and you are in Nutella dreamland again...

Mar 8, 2013

Potato gnocchi

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I like making gnocchi. Is it really relaxing? I think it is. You can't rush anything, you stand in your kitchen for about an hour...making...gnocchio after gnocchio.

Mar 6, 2013

Amaretti torta

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I was rearranging contents of my drawers in the kitchen, when I stumbled again upon the bag of amaretti cookies I got last year in Italy. These cookies have been here too long taking too much space.

Mar 5, 2013

Kitchari with vegetables

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When I don't know what to make, don't have time, had enough chocolate, tomato sauces, pizza and pasta...I go back to this recipe. And I don't feel bad making, eating and serving the same thing several times in a row (freshly made for lunch, reheated for dinner) to me or anybody around. Especially when it seems everybody else is getting sick...and we are not (knock knock knock). This is a great between-seasons dish. Without getting to deep into the benefits of Kitchari, this meal is just delicious and easy to make. And it tastes like nothing else I ever make.

Mar 2, 2013

Capri cake I

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Beautiful recipe. No flour, no powder. Just almonds, butter, sugar, eggs and chocolate. Cake from Capri, where it's beautiful and sunny and no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen working on elaborated dishes.