Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And we're off...

Tomorrow, before the sun comes out, Antonello and I will be on our way to the States. We are spending a few weeks with family in Cape Cod, MA and then in Virginia. I am literally packing nothing, but bringing extra suitcases!! I plan to come home with lots of goodies...

If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
Quaint little villages here and there
You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod
If you like the taste of a lobster stew
Served by a window with an ocean view
You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod
Winding roads that seem to beckon you
Miles of green beneath a sky of blue
Church bells chimin' on a Sunday morn
Remind you of the town where you were born
If you spend an evening you'll want to stay
Watching the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay
You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod
-Patti Page

Happy Valentines day!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tortelli di ricotta e radicchio in brodo di tacchino

Tortelli with ricotta and Radicchio filling in turkey broth
Yes, we have been busy in the kitchen these past few days... Saturday afternoon I made turkey stock with all my leftover turkey bones. We had just enough to make one more meal with the broth and we decided to make Tortelli.

We began with 300 grams of flour, three eggs, and a drizzle of oil. We've learned that the secret is the fork breaking down the egg... Rule for egg pasta, one egg for every 100 grams.

I lightly cooked down the radicchio and then added ricotta and a spoon of parmigiano.

After all the work, our finished product looked pretty good.

Not to mention how good they tasted!


Last night we deceided to make pizzas! Listening to Antonello's Mother, we mixed 60% intergral flour (whole wheat) with 40% type '00' flour (flour for baking).

In a seperate glass, we emptied 1 package of active dry beer yeast and one tablespoon of sugar into 50 ml of warm water. Once foamy, Antonello added it to the flour and went to work.

We waited a few hours for it to rise.

We made two pizza's, 'Tonno e cipolle' with Pomodoro, Galbanino, Tonno, Cipolla, Olive and the other: Pomodoro, Mozzarella, Salame, Olive.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday lunch: maccheroni al sugo d'agnello

Hand made Maccheroni with Lamb Sauce

We started with 250 g of Semola di grano duro and mixed in 120 ml of water.

Antonello was put to work kneading the pasta......
For 30 minutes it sat in a damp cloth.
It became a perfect consistency for making the maccheroni.

Antonello's father made my maccheroni rolling rod.
Just a few minutes in front of the fire to dry out...
During the morning I had cooked down carrots, celery, and onions. In another pan, I braised the lamb pieces to seal in the juices, then added them to the vegetables. A few minutes later, I added tomato sauce and simmered the pan for a few hours. Usually, we would pull out the meat and serve it as a second, but this time we broke up the meat in the pan and served it with the pasta.

It was great! The lamb adds a unique flavor to the sauce, something special for a Sunday lunch!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hair Cut...

Normally, I would not take pictures in the hair salon, but I just could not resist today! I couldn't help but think if they were playing with me, or if they really use these strange techniques on everyone. However, by the way I was being looked at; I think it is not normal...

Even my camera was scared! What are they doing to me!!


The fun isn't over yet!

Plastic wrap has a new purpose...

The final is coming soon...


Michelle, from Bleeding Espresso, wrote the other day about the benefits of oatmeal and her daily routine. It got me thinking, and this morning I’d like to share our morning breakfast ritual, fresh yogurt.

We purchased a yogurt maker over a year ago and we have been enjoying the freshest healthy yogurt every day. Yes, if you are familiar with the sweet, store bought varieties, it does take some time getting used to the natural sourness of fresh yogurt. However, I assure you, the homemade product is far less sour than the store bought natural yogurt.

Most are aware that lactic bacteria, which normally exist in our bodies, help fight infection and ease digestion. Stress, illness, a busy lifestyle and antibiotics can deplete these bacteria.
Yogurt helps to replenish the body’s natural defenses by containing live lactic cultures, which are critical to good health.

Yogurt can help you lead a healthy life too, by:

  • Helping to reduce milk intolerances, which can particularly effect babies and older people

  • Assure a healthy digestive system, reducing disease and gas producing bacteria

  • Reduce side effects of antibiotics which can kill good as well as bad bacteria

  • High in protein to help build and repair body tissue

  • Rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B and C as well as iron and potassium

  • Valuable source of calcium, with each cup delivering nearly 40% of the recommended daily consumption of calcium

  • Easy to digest - yogurt is even easier to digest than milk

We start our yogurt from a small amount of store-bought, plain, live culture yogurt: “Activia” to be exact. We then add full fat milk and heat at a constant, but not boiling, temperature. Our yogurt-making machine assists in this process, so I do not have to watch over it. If you do not have a machine, I found an illustrated guide here explaining how to make it at home.
Simple to make, easy to store and delicious to taste, enjoy!

We like to add crusca and fiocchi di avena, wheat bran and oats, to the serving. I always pair it with a nice hot cup of green tea...

If you notice, there is no sun shinning through the window. That's because at 6:30 in the morning, even the sun stays in bed longer than we do!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Torta di ricotta

Ever since our favorite bakery closed, we have been in denial for our Ricotta Cake. No other "Bar" can make it like Cali'... That’s when I sat down and got to work. I searched and searched through recipes, in books and online, looking for something that would come close to the Torta. Nothing was exactly right, so I decided to mix and match and most importantly, improvise. I can honestly say that what I came up with is an absolute success! I have now made this Torta four times, sharing it with family and friends. (Making many people very happy!)

Mix in all ingredients and form a dough, then let the dough sit for at least an hour.

Separate into two pieces and roll out dough to fit your baking pan.

I tried two versions of ricotta filling, with chocolate and without. I would have to say that we prefer the cake without the chocolate pieces. Yes, it is in the original recipe, but in our opinion, the chocolate distracts the rich flavor of the fresh sheep’s ricotta.

Cinnamon and powdered sugar are finally added as decoration, giving the finishing touches to the flavor and beauty.

I am dying just looking at this! It is too good... Actually, there is just one more piece sitting in the kitchen and I am patiently waiting for Antonello so we can share it!

I made extra pasta frolla, so I could finish the cotognata in the fridge.

Torta di Ricotta
350 g flour
100 g butter or strutto
100 g sugar
3 eggs
half pack levito for sweets ( half tsp baking powder)
500 g ricotta (2 cups)
1/4 cup sugar