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Posts Tagged ‘EVOO’

We’ve all made pesto, right? Well, maybe not everyone, so here I will share my favourite recipe. You can use this mix as a dip, on toasts, as a base for pizza, a sandwich or even a dollop in the middle of a lovely creamed soup. It’s quite flavourful so you don’t need a lot of it. I usually just eyeball this recipe, but this time I got out the scale and measuring cups so I could have tangible measurements.

A delicious combo of flavours

A delicious combo of flavours

Traditional Pesto

Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

  • 30 g fresh basil, leaves removed, washed and dried
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) toasted pine nuts
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 cloves of garlic (about 10 g) or to taste
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a food processor with metal blades combine the basil, pine nuts (make sure they are cool), Parmesan and garlic. Pulse adding a slow stream of EVOO to the consistency desired (I like my Pesto a little chunky and not too wet).
  2. Add salt to taste, but remember that the Parmesan is rather salty.
  3. Serve mixed into warm pasta with quartered grape tomatoes and shaved parmesan.
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Quartered Grape Tomatoes add a lovely acidity to the dish.

 

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Spring is in the air and popping out of the ground!

This past weekend we enjoyed +11°C and it seems that the vegetation also enjoyed the warming temperatures! This lovely little hyacinth decided it had enough with winter and popped right up! There is still about ten inches of snow beside it but we’re hoping it will melt in the next few days.

Some time ago, my dear friend Charles (remember when we met in Paris last year?) made this wonderful Caramelized Onion Fakaccia and it got me thinking about the last time I made Focaccia in June 2012! Suffice it to say, we’ve gone long enough without this wonderfully flavourful Italian bread. Thank you Charles, again for the inspiration.

This is a recipe I diligently copied down in nineties in my late twenties from one of the first food shows I really got into: Biba’s Italian Kitchen. She had such a lovely accent and demeanor and I was instantly smitten with the show. I have been making this focaccia bread since then and it’s always been delicious. Today I share the same recipe but adding Charle’s beautiful inspiration for the caramelized onion. Once again, a hideous night-time photo but don’t let that fool you, it’s delicious!

The onion caramelizes further in baking the focaccia

The onion caramelizes further in baking the focaccia

Sweet Onion Confit Focaccia

Adapted from Biba’s Trattoria Cooking and Charles’ Five Euro Food Fakaccia

Makes one 12″ x 18″ sheet of focaccia

Sponge Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp quick rising dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm water

Directions:

  1. Prepare the sponge by mixing the flour and yeast water together and knead for 3-4 minutes by machine. You want the sponge a lot softer and stickier than a normal bread dough.
  2. Allow to rise in a bowl wrapped tightly with plastic wrap for 2-3 hours (I proofed my sponge in the fridge overnight, cover lightly in olive oil).

Focaccia Ingredients second rising:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp quick rising dry yeast dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion confit, please click here for the recipe
  • 3 tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil(, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. If you have proofed your sponge in the fridge like I did, you will need to allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the second rising in your mixing bowl with a dough hook attachment. Add the sponge and kneed energetically for about 5-7 minutes. After kneading, the dough should be smooth and pliable.
  3. Cover with a light drizzle of olive oil and tightly wrapped plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F for 30 minutes before baking. Lightly oil a 10″ x 14″ cookie sheet and roll out the foccacia until it is about 1/2″ thick or to the edges. Dimple with your fingers. Spread the sweet onion confit over the entire surface. Bake until focaccia is golden in colour.
  5. Serve warm with your best EVOO and balsamic vinegar.

Suggested uses:

  • Base for quick pizza.
  • Sandwich bread.
  • Croutons for soup.
  • Croutons for stuffing.
  • Vehicle for dips.

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Today is my birthday, and in normal Pamela fashion (from Downton Abbey Cooks), I plan to continue the celebrations as long as I possibly can, so I’ll be celebrating all week long with luncheons and dinners and of course, the obligatory trips to the gym to offset the effects of said celebrations!

JT is actually taking me out for a special “Iron Chef” dinner which will require a post of its own. Stay tuned.

We were out Friday night at a relatively new place and I had the Caprese salad which was drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil without balsamic (this place is notorious for sticking to authentic Italian food and if it is NOT authentic, it’s simply NOT done) and it was delicious. Although I do love balsamic with tomatoes, this version allowed the subtle flavour of the bufalo mozzarella and the acidity of the tomatoes through. It was a very lovely experience, so I decided to create this simple hors d’œuvres the same way.

We were able to find mini Bufalo Mozzarella Cheese balls for this delightful hors d’œuvres. Mind you, we had to put a second mortgage on the house to buy them. When I asked JT how much they were, he said, “Don’t ask.”

Caprese Salad Bites

Serves 4, or two really hungry people!

Ingredients:

  • 16 grape tomatoes
  • 8 mini bufalo mozzarella cheese balls
  • 16 small basil leaves (I used both Italian basil and variegated basil)
  • 1-3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 16 wooden toothpicks

Directions:

  1. Slice the bufalo mozzarella in halves.
  2. Skewer one tomato, one smallish basil leaf and the bufalo mozzarella; continue until you have them all done.
  3. Serve at room temperature, in a little bowl, drizzled with EVOO and Himalayan pink salt

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