Gourmetcentric http://gourmetcentric.com Food, Cooking, Techniques, Gourmet, photography Sat, 19 Apr 2014 18:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Limoncello w/Myer lemons http://gourmetcentric.com/2014/04/limoncello-wmyer-lemons/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2014/04/limoncello-wmyer-lemons/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 18:58:25 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=7143 IMG_5408

So, a very good friend has an abundance of Myer lemons […]

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So, a very good friend has an abundance of Myer lemons at his home.  He offers to bring a bag for me, I accept.  immediately thinking that I will make Limoncello for the first time.  Limoncello which is a strong, lemon liquor that hails from the Amalfi coast in Italy.  The lemons that grow in that region are said to be so sweet that you can eat them like an orange.  Unfortunately, we do not have these lemons in America.   But we do have Myer lemons.  I wouldn’t exactly eat a Myer lemon like I would an orange but they do taste sweeter and have a softer more aromatic flavor, perfect for Limoncello or any other lemon dish.  They are almost too sweet to use on foods like fish or meats because they are a little too sweet for my liking.   This home-made version uses 100 proof vodka, a whole bottle of it.   You can use 100 proof Everclear, but that sounds stronger to me for some reason.

STEP 1

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To begin, wash the 10 to 12 lemons really really well, because I am only using the peels for this.  If you buy the lemons and aren’t getting them from a tree itself, buy ORGANIC.  In a bowl, peel 10-12 Myer lemons, with a hand peeler, being careful to peel just the yellow part of the lemon peels as much as you can.   You will need a 1 gallon Mason jar that has been cleaned thoroughly with hot water and dried.   Using one full 750ml bottle of 100 proof vodka, (Smirnoff  was the only brand that I could find), you will empty the entire bottle into the jar and all of the yellow lemon peels. Close the mason jar tightly, and place in a cool dark place for between 30-45 days.  You can check up on it once in a while and slosh it around.  After a few weeks the liquid inside begins to get a bright yellow tint.

STEP 2

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After the time period and or your patience has elapsed, you will now need to make the simple syrup.  In a medium sauce pan, heat two cups of filtered water and two cups of fine bakers sugar (white).  Bring the water sugar mixture to a low boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until all crystals have dissolved.  Then, let the syrup cool completely to room temperature.

Take your vodka/lemon peel mixture and a larger mixing bowl and two strainers.  I use a two, larger one an a medium sized fine mesh strainer.   You can also use large coffee filters.  You will now strain the liquid and peel mixture completely into the larger mixing bowl.  Let the peels sit over the bowl in the strainers to fully drain, or smash down all the liquid out with a spoon.  Now, add the completely cooled simple syrup to the lemon/vodka liquid in the large mixing bowl. Stir.

STEP 3

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With a seal-able bottle, 750 ml or a couple smaller ones,  and a funnel, pour the liquid and seal or cork the bottles.   You can refrigerate or place in the freezer.  Enjoy!   Should hold for up to a year at least, that’s if it last that long in your house.

Enjoy straight in small glasses, on the rocks, with a splash of club soda or in a mixed cocktail all summer.

INGREDIENTS:
10-12 Myer Lemons

2 Cups fine bakers sugar

2 cups filtered water

1 750 ml. Bottle of Vodka or Everclear

TOOLS:

1 Gallon Mason Jar (Sterilized)

2 Mixing Bowls, large

1 Medium Sauce Pot

1 Vegetable Peeler

2 Large strainers fine and regular or Large Coffee filters

Seal-able glass bottles, your preference.

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The Slow Food Manifesto http://gourmetcentric.com/2014/03/slow-food-manifesto/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2014/03/slow-food-manifesto/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 16:53:55 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=7138 P1080196

  Slow Food Manifesto   Born and nurtured und […]

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Slow Food Manifesto

 

Born and nurtured under the sign of Industrialization, this century first invented the machine and then modelled its lifestyle after it. Speed became our shackles. We fell prey to the same virus: ‘the fast life’ that fractures our customs and assails us even in our own homes, forcing us to ingest “fast- food”.

Homo sapiens must regain wisdom and liberate itself from the ‘velocity’ that is propelling it on the road to extinction. Let us defend ourselves against the universal madness of ‘the fast life’ with tranquil material pleasure. Against those – or, rather, the vast majority – who confuse efficiency with frenzy, we propose the vaccine of an adequate portion of sensual gourmandise pleasures, to be taken with slow and prolonged enjoyment.

Appropriately, we will start in the kitchen, with Slow Food. To escape the tediousness of “fast-food”, let us rediscover the rich varieties and aromas of local cuisines.
In the name of productivity, the ‘fast life’ has changed our lifestyle and now threatens our environment and our land (and city) scapes. Slow Food is the alternative, the avant-garde’s riposte.

Real culture is here to be found. First of all, we can begin by cultivating taste, rather than impoverishing it, by stimulating progress, by encouraging international exchange programs, by endorsing worthwhile projects, by advocating historical food culture and by defending old-fashioned food traditions.

Slow Food assures us of a better quality lifestyle. With a snail purposely chosen as its patron and symbol, it is an idea and a way of life that needs much sure but steady support.

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Antica Macelleria Cecchini http://gourmetcentric.com/2013/08/antica-macelleria-cecchini/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2013/08/antica-macelleria-cecchini/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 05:57:52 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=7086 IMG_3860

This summer, on a much-needed vacation in Italy, the fa […]

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This summer, on a much-needed vacation in Italy, the family and I drove to one of the most famous restaurants in Tuscany.  Antica Macelleria Cecchini,  is one of the oldest family owned butchers in Tuscany, in the heart of Chianti.   But it is more than just a Butcher shop, located in the town of Panzano, this place blossoms like a flower.   Known primarily for their monumental sized Bistecca Fiorentina and even more so by the proprietor Dario Cecchini, a larger than life character, seen on many of the food channel shows and documentaries.  Dario comes from a family of Butchers over 600 years old in fact.   Dante Aligheri and Leonardo Da Vinci were noted patrons to the Cecchini family butchers shop, still located in the same place.

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Dario and his wife Kim could not have been more gracious host for a wonderful evening.

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We reserved a table at the Officina della Bistecca where the guests are warned to bring a large appetite.  This did not disappoint.   First, upon arrival we were greeted with glasses of local Chianti and an assortment of Dario’s fresh salami, “Tuscan Butter” on toast which is whipped Lardo and seasonings).

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As we were in awe of the goodness before us, Dario enters, from an adjacent room where he was being filmed for yet another food show.  Dario, the host has an infectious smile and although seemingly busy as a Bee, he and his wife Kim took the time to greet us immediately and make us feel at home.

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The meal itself was an experience of a lifetime, the center of attention being a huge platter of beef, including the main attraction “Bistecca Fiorentina”, a huge 4 inch thick cut of Porterhouse goodness.   The steak for bistecca Fiorentina used to be primarily made from Chianina cows but as it has become expensive, many restaurants now use less expensive beef.  Dario though has been instrumental in bringing back the use of Chianina cows to the Tuscan region.  Since childhood, Dario has been friends with Giovanni Manetti, the owner of Fontodi winery. Giovanni raises, naturally, about 30 Chianina cows and 1 bull on his estate. While visiting the winery, we also got to see his cattle. Giovanni provides Dario with one cow per month for his restaurant and he does not sell his cows to anyone else. When Giovanni was a small boy, his father used to own about 100 cows, and Giovanni is caring on a family tradition.  The Chianina breed may extend back to the ancient Etruscans and they have long been revered for their beauty and expressiveness. They may have originated in the Val di Chiana, from which they derive their name, which once was a fertile plan where they could easily graze. Unfortunately, during the Middle Ages, the nearby rivers flooded, turning the plain in swampland so the cows had to move elsewhere in Tuscany. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the swamps were drained and the plains became fertile once again.

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We ate Beef in many forms from a totally raw, beef sushi, to a seared meatball, to charcoal grilled cuts of beef was fantastic in every way. In the end, we left feeling like we had gained a few pounds, and new friends and had a real experience of a lifetime. Fantastic!!

Antica Macelleria Cecchini
Address: Via XX Luglio, 11, 50022 Panzano In Chianti Firenze, Italy
Phone:+39 055 852020
Hours: Monday hours 9:00 am–4:00 pm

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Crostata Di Ricotta http://gourmetcentric.com/2013/01/crostata-di-ricotta/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2013/01/crostata-di-ricotta/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:24:59 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6956 Crostata Di Ricotta

I consider Crostata Di Ricotta as the Italian version o […]

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Crostata Di Ricotta

I consider Crostata Di Ricotta as the Italian version of cheesecake.  This is a very light and airy dessert that is fairly simple to make.  The most difficult part is the pastry, and even that’s not too hard to make.  The Ricotta gives the pie a nice texture and the lemon zest adds just enough tartness.  I even added a teaspoon of Limoncello.  That’s optional, of course.

The kids were skeptical when I told them it had cheese in it, until they tried it.  It was enjoyed by all.

 

 

 

flour and sugar

Step 1 – The pastry Dough

This is an Italian recipe, so I had to convert grams into ounces for those of us on this side of the pond.  You will see both listed in this recipe.  In a large mixing bowl, add 500 grams (17 ounces) of all-purpose flour and 200  grams (7 0unces) of sugar.

eggs, butter and lemon zest

In another mixing bowl, add 200 grams (7 ounces) of unsalted butter, 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks and lemon zest.  Lightly mix until combined.

add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients

Now, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

knead dough

Knead into a dough.

ball of pastry dough

Make into a ball.

cover with plastic wrap

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before using.

Step 2 – The filling

whip egg whites and half the sugar

In a mixing bowl, whip 3 egg whites and 125 grams (4 ounces) of sugar, until you have stiff white peaks.

In a separate bowl, whip 900 grams (31 ounces) of well drained, whole milk ricotta, the remaining 125 grams (4 ounces) of sugar and the zest of one lemon.  You can add a teaspoon of Limoncello for a little more lemon taste.  This is optional.

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Gently fold the ricotta mixture into the whipped egg whites.

It should look something like this.

cut your dough ball

Now it’s time to roll out your dough.  Cut the ball of dough in half.  You are going to make a bottom and top for your crostata.

roll out dough

Roll out your dough to just under 1/4 inch thickness or thinner.

roll over pan

Roll over your tart or pie pan and place it nicely.

 

dough in pie plate

Now, it’s ready to be filled.

fill pie pan with ricotta mixture

Carefully fill the plate with the ricotta filling.  Be careful not to get the filling on the edges of the pie crust or it won’t seal well.

roll the top

Now roll the top with the remaining pastry dough.

trim the edges

Seal the top with your dough.  Trim the excess pastry from the edges.

Bake at 350 degrees F.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 – 30  minutes, depending on oven and pan used.  Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Serves 8

Crostata di Ricotta

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Pastry dough

500 grams (17 ounces)  all-purpose flour

200 grams (7 ounces) sugar

200 grams (7 ounces ) unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

1 large whole egg

zest of 1 lemon

Filling

3  egg whites

250 grams (8 ounces) sugar

900 grams (31 ounces) fresh ricotta (well drained)

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of Limoncello (optional)

 

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, add flour and sugar.  In another bowl, combine the butter, whole egg, egg yolks and zest of 1 lemon.  This is where you can add the optional teaspoon of Limoncello.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead into a dough.  Make into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 minutes.

For the filling, whip the egg whites and half the sugar until you have stiff white peaks.  In a separate bowl, whip the ricotta, remaining sugar and zest of 1 lemon.  Now gently fold the ricotta mixture into the egg whites.

Roll out your dough and press into pie plate.  Fill with the ricotta filling.  With the remaining pastry dough, roll out a top to your pie, and seal.  Trim the excess dough from the edges.  Place into preheated oven at 350 degrees F. and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven and pan used.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate before serving.

Serves 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frittata – Dinner, Breakfast and in Between http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/11/frittata-dinner-and-breakfast/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/11/frittata-dinner-and-breakfast/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 21:15:44 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6832 Cook until the edges pull away from the skillet and the top browns lightly

So, I’m hungry, it’s a little late and I do […]

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Cook until the edges pull away from the skillet and the top browns lightly

So, I’m hungry, it’s a little late and I don’t want junk food.  I feel good about myself, having had a great workout but I want protein. I open the fridge and look around.  Hmmmm, miscellaneous produce, parsley, mushroom, a block of parmesan, a dozen of eggs, some pancetta, some cherry tomatoes.  I know, I’ll make a Frittata.  A baked, Italian Omelette.  Perfect.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables, meat, salami or cheese that you may have in your fridge.  It also serves well cold or hot and for dinner or breakfast which is exactly what I plan to do.

First ingredient, a large glass of red wine – for the chef of course.

I preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

I begin by beating five eggs with a little milk.

Then I grate a half cup of Parmesan cheese into the beaten eggs.

I get an oven proof skillet and pour in a little olive oil, or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

Bring that up to temperature, then saute and render the chopped pancetta.

Just before it browns too much, I add the sliced mushrooms in and saute them.

Season with salt, fresh black pepper and Herbes de Provence.

Chop a small handful of Italian parsley and a handful of cherry tomatoes and add them to the skillet.

I pour the egg, parmesan mixture into the skillet of mushrooms and pancetta.

Distribute all the ingredients evenly in the skillet so that it is well balanced when it cooks.

Then pop it into the oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges have pulled away from the skillet and the top is golden brown.

Take the skillet out of the oven and let cool for about five minutes, then slice like a pie.

Eat warm or cold with wine, or with juice or a cappuccino for breakfast.  Now I feel really good.  I hope you do too.

Enjoy.

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1 half  cup of sliced button mushrooms

1 half cup of cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley (Flat leaf parsley)

1/4 cup of diced pancetta

1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan

1/4 cup of milk

1 dash of salt

black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

Extra virgin olive oil

Cooking Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, beat four to five whole eggs, adding a 1/4 cup of milk.  Grate 1/2 cup of parmesan into the bowl of beaten eggs.  Pour a tablespoon of Extra virgin olive oil into an oven proof medium size skillet, and heat to medium high.   Saute the diced pancetta for a few minutes, but be careful not to brown (they will continue cooking with the mushrooms).  Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and continue to saute.  Season with salt, black pepper and the Herbes de Provence.  Add the parsley and whole cherry tomatoes for a few more minutes before pouring in the beaten egg/cheese mixture. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly in the pan and place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to separate from the pan and the top is lightly brown.  Remove and let cool for five minutes before flipping onto a plate and serving sliced like a pie.

You may substitute butter for the olive oil, any type of cheese and any type and combination of vegetable or meat will suffice as well.  Experiment and enjoy.

 

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Stuffed Fried Zucchini Blossoms http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/11/stuffed-fried-zucchini-blossoms/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/11/stuffed-fried-zucchini-blossoms/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2012 05:27:30 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6724 stuffed zucchini flowers

Fried Zucchini Blossoms are one of my all time favorite […]

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stuffed zucchini flowers

Fried Zucchini Blossoms are one of my all time favorite things to eat.  I do not make them all the time because it’s hard to find beautiful, fresh zucchini flowers.  You can occasionally find them at good Farmer’s Markets, or even at Whole Foods.  The one’s I used were handpicked at Underwood Farm in Moorpark, California.  This farm is opened to the public and has great produce.  The advantage of picking them yourself is the freshness of the flower.  Zucchini flowers have to be fresh, and preferably used within 48 hours of picking.

There are many variations on this recipe.    You can experiment on using different types of cheeses, herbs, etc.  The list is endless on what you can stuff into a zucchini blossom.  I stuffed mine with Bufala Mozzarella and anchovies.  I kept it simple and tasty!  They are perfect as an appetizer or side dish and go great with ice cold beer or a light bodied wine.  Enjoy!

 

Freshly picked zucchini blossoms!

Clean and prepare the blossoms by carefully brushing out the dirt and any insects. You can also lightly rinse and pat dry thoroughly with paper towel.  Keep in mind that the blossoms are very delicate.  You don’t want to break the petals.  Make sure to remove the inner stamen.  If your flowers have stems, they can be left on.

 

Time to stuff the flowers.  I used Bufala Mozzarella in some blossoms and Parmigiano Reggiano in the remaining blossoms.

I used 6 anchovy fillets, cutting each fillet into three pieces.  Gently stuff the blossom with a cube of cheese and a little piece of anchovy fillet.  If you’re not a fan of anchovies, then skip that part.  They are also great with just cheese.

All stuffed and ready to be battered.

Now for the batter, use 1 cup of flour, sprinkle with herbs and a pinch of salt.  I used Herbes de Provence.

Add 2 lightly whisked eggs.

Add 3/4 to 1  12 ounce bottle of Pilsner beer.   If you don’t have any beer, you can substitute it with club soda.

Whisk batter well.

Heat a heavy bottom frying pan with 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil.  I like using Safflower oil.  It has a high heat level without burning, does not add any flavor and has many health benefits.

Once your oil is ready, start dredging the blossoms into the batter, making sure to let the excess batter drip off before placing into the frying pan.

Carefully lay the blossoms into the hot oil.  Make sure not to crowd them and cook in batches.  Flip them over once and cook until golden in color, about 2 – 3 minutes total.

Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

12 – 16 zucchini blossoms or zucchini flowers

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 12 ounce bottle of beer, preferably Pilsner or Lager beer

2 eggs

Salt

Herbes de Provence

12 – 16 cubes of Mozzarella cheese

6 anchovy fillets, cut into thirds

Vegetable oil for frying

 

Cooking method:

Prepare zucchini blossoms by carefully cleaning the dirt and insects out of them.  If it makes you feel better, lightly rinse and pat dry very well.  Remove the Stamen that’s  in the center of the flower.

Gently place a little cube of mozzarella and a little piece of anchovy fillet inside the zucchini blossom and close. If you don’t like anchovies, you can skip it.

Now time to make the batter.  In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup of flour, a couple of pinches of Herbes de Provence and a pinch of salt.  add 2 whisked eggs and 3/4 to 1 bottle of beer.  Whisk all together until smooth.

In a heavy bottom frying pan, heat the oil.  I like using Safflower oil.  You want your oil nice and hot.  You can test the oil for it’s readiness by dropping a little drop of batter into the pan.  If it sizzles around the edges, then it’s ready to use.  Dredge the stuffed blossoms in the batter, making sure to to let the excess batter drip off before placing into the frying pan.  Carefully lay the blossoms into the hot oil.  Make sure not to crowd them, and cook in batches.  Using a slotted spoon, flip them over once and cook until golden in color, about 2 – 3 minutes total.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serves 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tomato Bread Pudding http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/09/tomato-bread-pudding/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/09/tomato-bread-pudding/#comments Sat, 08 Sep 2012 08:18:33 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6616 Tomato Bread Pudding

Many times, we tend to make the same dishes over and ov […]

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Tomato Bread Pudding

Many times, we tend to make the same dishes over and over again.  I am striving to make less common dishes.  I came across this recipe and thought, why not?

 When you think of bread pudding, tomatoes do not come to mind. This tomato bread pudding is savory, not sweet.  It makes a nice side dish, or main dish if you are a vegetarian.  It’s full of provencale flavor and is really quite filling.

 

Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish

You will need 3 lbs of Plum tomatoes.

Cut the tomatoes in half.

Place tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.

Add 2 teaspoons of Herbes de Provence.  Make sure to use a good quality brand.  Some Herbes de Provence are too heavy on one ingredient.  The one I use has a nice balance of ingredients.

Toss the tomatoes with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper.

Place the tomato halves on a heavy duty cookie sheet, face up.

Place a whole head of garlic, cut with the top exposed, or a hand full of peeled garlic cloves, on a sheet of foil, and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Wrap it and roast it on the same tray as the tomatoes.  Roast the tomatoes and garlic at 400 degrees F. for 50 – 60 minutes, until the tomatoes are browned, but not dried out.

Cut up a loaf of Italian Country style bread into 1 inch cubes.  If you can not find Italian Country Style bread, then the next best bet is a rustic French bread.

Next step is to toss the cubed bread with the remaining olive oil, spread out the bread on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Let the bread cool.

Place the browned bread into the buttered baking dish.

Remove the yummy roasted tomatoes and set aside.

Remove roasted garlic from foil and mash it up to make a puree.

Place eggs, milk, cream, garlic puree, salt & pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk.  Then stir in the cheeses.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread.

Now add the tomatoes, pushing some of them down in between the bread.

Top with roasted tomatoes and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees F.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until firm.  Your kitchen will smell like the south of France.

Remove from oven and serve.

Enjoy!!!

 

Ingredients:

3 lbs plum tomatoes

2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 loaf country style Italian bread (1 pound), cubed.

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 head of garlic or about 15 – 20 cloves of garlic, peeled.

8 large eggs

2 cups grated Fontina cheese

1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish.

Cut the tomatoes in half.  In a large mixing bowl, toss the tomatoes with the herbes de provence, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper.

Place the tomatoes on a heavy baking sheet, cut sides up

Place 15 – 20 cloves of peeled garlic on a sheet of foil, wrap up and place on the same baking sheet as the tomatoes.  Roast the tomatoes and garlic for 50 – 60 minutes, until the tomatoes are browned but not dried out, and the garlic is soft.

While the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, cut up the loaf of bread into approx. 1 inch cubes.  Toss the bread in a large mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil, and spread on a cookie sheet.  Brown in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Let the bread cool.  Please the browned bread into the buttered baking dish.

Remove the garlic from the foil and smash it with a fork, to make a puree.

Place eggs, milk, cream, garlic puree, salt & pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk.  Then stir in the cheeses.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Now add the tomatoes, pushing some of them down in between the bread, with a fork.

Top with roasted tomatoes and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees F.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until firm.

Serves 6 – 8

Recipe : courtesy of Gourmet magazine, (with some minor adjustments )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/07/blueberry-buttermilk-pancakes/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/07/blueberry-buttermilk-pancakes/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 23:57:09 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6500 IMG_0866-Version-2

Pancakes are the quintessential breakfast “comfor […]

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Pancakes are the quintessential breakfast “comfort” food, and these Blueberry Buttermilk pancakes are a definite crowd pleaser on a Sunday morning or any morning, for that matter.

With this recipe, I decided to try something a little different and replaced 1/2 a cup of the all purpose flour with 1/2 a cup of ground almond meal, for a little added nutty flavor.  They came out surprisingly light and fluffy.  The whole batch was eaten with everyone full and satisfied.

 

Add all the dry ingredients ( 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup ground almond meal, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 2 tbsp. sugar) to a large mixing bowl.  You can make these with just all purpose flour and skip the ground almond meal.  If you choose to do so, make sure you add 2 cups of flour.

In case you’re wondering, I used Bob’s Red Mill finely ground Almond Meal.

In another mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs and then add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 cup milk.  Whisk all together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Mix until the ingredients are all incorporated but do not over-mix.  Now add the melted butter.  You want the batter will be on the lumpy side.

Using a ladle, add pancake batter to a non stick pan or griddle that has been oiled with vegetable oil or a little butter.

Now add blueberries to the pancake.  If you prefer, you can fold the blueberries into the batter.  Make sure your blueberries are plump and fresh.

After 3-4 minutes, turn pancake over with a metal pancake spatula.  Now cook the other side.  Check the underside for doneness.   Add a little oil to the pan between batches.

Once done, remove to a plate and continue cooking the rest of the batter till you have a nice stack of yummy, fluffy,  irresistible pancakes.

Serve while hot.  You can serve them with Maple syrup or homemade blueberry compote.

Serves 3 -4.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 2 cups, if you choose to not use the ground almond meal)

1/2 cup finely ground almond meal

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

vegetable oil or butter

1 cup fresh blueberries

 

Cooking method:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk in all the dry ingredients.  In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, and then add the buttermilk and milk.  Pour the wet ingredients into the the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir all the ingredients together until incorporated but not over-mixed.  Now add the melted butter.  You want your batter to be a bit lumpy.  If you over-mix your batter, you will not get fluffy pancakes.  Your batter is now ready to cook.  Ladle the batter onto a large non-stick pan or griddle that has been oiled or buttered.  Now add your blueberries to the pancake.  Continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Flip the pancake over with a metal pancake spatula.  Cook the other side until done.  Continue this process until you have a nice stack of pancakes, making sure to oil the pan in between batches.  Serve them hot with some maple syrup or blueberry compote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gazpacho http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/05/gazpacho/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/05/gazpacho/#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 04:47:32 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6404 Garnish

With summer around the corner, Gazpacho, a cool tomato […]

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Garnish

With summer around the corner, Gazpacho, a cool tomato soup, is a fast, easy and refreshing dish to prepare and keep in the fridge.  There are a million variants of Gazpacho recipes on the internet.  The following is the traditional recipe which hails from Andalucía, Spain.  I figured I would try Jose Andrés’ version (which turns out to be his wife Patricia’s recipe).  Jose Andrés, is looked upon as one of the leading Spanish chefs in the world, so I figured I can’t go wrong with one of his recipes.  The only thing I adjusted in this recipe is the straining of the soup.  I added some of the pulpy goodness of the vegetables.  This is all a matter of preference.  How do I question one of the leading authorities on Spanish cuisine, you say?  Hey, that’s the way I like my soup.

The most important thing when making Gazpacho, is the tomatoes you use.  I can not stress this enough.  Buy the best Organic tomatoes you can find.  Most of the tomatoes at your local chain grocery store, are picked unripe and then gassed with Ethylene to start the ripening process.  These tomatoes are usually firm, red and no flavor.  The tomato growers are looking for profit, and longevity of product, not taste. You say tomato, I say Potato!  This is why tomatoes in other countries, like Spain, and of course Italy taste so much better.

Rinse off your tomatoes.  I used the organic Roma variety.

Core the tomatoes.

Cut them in quarters.

Peel cucumber.

Chop cucumber. Jose Andres says to remove the seeds.  As you can see, I didn’t bother to remove the seeds, and frankly I don’t think it makes much difference.

Take a nice green bell pepper………..

seeded and chopped.

Start filling up the blender with your ingredients.  As you can see, everything can not fit, so I had to blend some of the ingredients, in order to make room.  This is something that is not mentioned in “Jose Andres’ recipe.  Either he is making it in batches, or he has a hell of a big blender!

I started the blender on “Pulse” setting, so that I could make room in the blender.

Add 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup Spanish Sherry vinegar and salt for taste.

Make sure not to forget any ingredients.  I almost forgot the green bell pepper!

Check for taste, and adjust.  I needed to add some more acidity.

Strain all of that yumminess into a pitcher.  I strained most of it and left some of the pulpy goodness.  This is just a matter of personal preference.

Place in the fridge to cool.  The Gazpacho is on the right.  The left is Watermelon juice.  I have a new love affair with my new Blendtec blender.  I have been blending every fruit or Veggie in sight!

Garnish and serve chilled.  I garnished it with chives.  You can garnish it with diced cucumber, or croutons.

It’s also good with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe tomatoes

1/2 peeled cucumber

1/2 green bell pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Spanish Sherry vinegar

2 cloves garlic

salt to taste

Method:

Wash & core the tomatoes and chop into quarters.  Peel 1/2 a large cucumber and chop.  Cut a green bell pepper, seed and chop half of it.   Place your veggies in the blender, along with 2 cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish, 1/4 cup Spanish Sherry Vinegar and salt to taste.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and make any adjustments necessary.  As I mentioned, I needed to blend some of the ingredients first, to make room for the remaining ingredients.  You can also do this in 2 batches.  Once done, strain the soup through a medium-hole strainer into a pitcher and cool for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Note:  I left some of the soup unstrained as a matter of personal preference.

Serve, garnish and enjoy!

Serves 6

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Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/04/brazilian-cheese-bread-pao-de-queijo/ http://gourmetcentric.com/2012/04/brazilian-cheese-bread-pao-de-queijo/#comments Fri, 20 Apr 2012 04:52:44 +0000 http://gourmetcentric.com/?p=6247 cheese bread

Pao de Queijo is a gluten free cheese bread that’ […]

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cheese bread

Pao de Queijo is a gluten free cheese bread that’s commonly found in Brazil.  Once you try these delicious cheese breads, I guarantee you will not be able to stop at only one.  They are addicting, and yes, they are gluten free.  Gluten free bread,  how is that possible, you ask?  Well, it’s made with manioc flour, also known as tapioca flour.  Tapioca flour can be found at ethnic markets, and even at Whole Foods.

The tricky thing about making Pao de Queijo is that there are a million different variations on this recipe.  The recipe I am using comes from a family friend in Brazil.  The problem I had when making this, was that the dough was too watery.  That seems to be the common problem out there.  I was disappointed in my first batch, in that it was too soft to roll into little balls.  I was about to throw out the remaining dough that I had, and then I noticed that the consistency had changed after sitting out for 30 minutes.  Something magical happened and I was finally able to make little cheese balls, with no problem.  They were no longer too soft and gooey.  The second batch came out perfectly!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Ingredients needed.

Add the whole bag of tapioca flour and 2 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl.

Here I added one cup of canola oil to 1 cup of water.

Combine the 1 cup of water, oil , salt and 1 cup of milk into a pot.  Bring to a boil.

Now pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients.

Add 3 eggs…….

and start mixing.  Stir until your dough is elastic in texture.  The consistency will be sticky.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Now here is where it gets a little tricky.  I have found, if you let the dough sit and cool, it is much easier to roll into little balls.  My first batch (right photo) was very difficult to form.   I had to scoop the dough and spoon it onto the cookie sheet.  The second batch was made with the same dough, but after it had sat out for 30 minutes.  I was actually able to roll the dough into little balls with no problem.  You want them to be about 3/4 the size of a golf ball. Another trick is to add a little bit of oil to your hands when rolling them.  Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven.

The cheese bread should be semi hard on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.

Enjoy them while they’re hot!

 

Ingredients:

1  (1 lb 8 oz) bag Manioc flour, a.k.a. Tapioca flour, or starch.

1 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 cup water

1 cup milk

3 eggs

2 tsp salt, to taste

2 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

 

Cooking method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, mix the manioc flour and grated Parmesan cheese.  In a pot, combine oil, milk,  water and salt.  Bring to boil.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Stir until your dough is elastic in texture.  Allow the dough to cool.  The consistency will be on the sticky side.  Add a little vegetable oil to your hands.  Now roll the dough into little balls about 3/4 size of a golf ball.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F. and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  They should be semi hard on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.

Enjoy them while they are hot.  I dare you to eat just one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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