Monday, October 31, 2016

Torta Nocciole Hazelnut Torte

TORTA DI NOCCIOLE ~ Hazelnut Torte

Hazelnut cake from Piemonte, the region where the Italian “Nocciola tonda gentile IGP” hazelnut (and Nutella!) come from.


 Servings: 6/8

235 gr (8 oz) ground hazelnuts
100 gr (3.5 oz) soft unsalted butter
4 medium fresh eggs
165 gr (5.8 oz) granulated sugar
65 gr (2.3 oz) wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coffee powder
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt

For the 22cm (8.5”) round pie pan: 20 gr (1 tablespoon) butter, 30 gr (2 tablespoons) chopped hazelnuts, parchment paper. 

For the filling (optional): 100 gr (3.5 oz)
Nutella hazelnut cream

For the decoration: powdered sugar

Whisk 4 egg whites with an electrical mixer: when they are stiff add 1 tablespoon sugar taken from the total amount, mix a little more and set aside

In another bowl whisk with the machine soft butter with the remaining sugar for 5 minutes, then add 4 egg yolks, one at a time, and keep whisking until well blended

In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients together (flour, salt, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and ground hazelnuts): add to the butter-yolks-sugar mixture always mixing with the machine (switch to the paddle attachment if you are using a Kitchen Aid) until all the ingredients are well combined

At the end delicately fold egg whites into the mixture by hand with a spatula.

Butter the pie pan, cover with a disc of parchment paper and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on the bottom.  Fill the pan with the mixture (2/3 high).  Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for 40 minutes.

Let it rest out of the oven for a couple of minutes then turn the cake upside down on a dessert plate and let it cool completely (take out the parchment paper disc)

If you like, you can cut the cake in two layers with a sharp knife and spread with Nutella hazelnut cream

Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and enjoy with a cup of Italian Espresso coffee!

Wine pairing: sweet red Italian wine from Piemonte, well cooled, like Brachetto d'Acqui, Moscato di Scanzo

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Meat Pasty

Meat Pasty

Serves 6
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
2/3 cup ice water, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup shortening or lard
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 oz. ground beef (or skirt steak, finely chopped)
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1 large carrot finely diced
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
brown mustard, garnish

In a bowl or directly in your food processor, mix flour and salt together before adding in cold, cubed butter.
Pulse for 10-15 seconds, or until mixture is crumbly and butter is the size of small pebbles.

With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2/3 cup ice water and pulse until dough ball begins to form. Note: if mixture is too dry, add more ice water, 1-2 teaspoons at a time.

Once dough is formed, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large, flat rectangle.
Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30-45 minutes, or until chilled.

While dough chills, combine beef with potato, turnip, carrot and onion, and season generously with salt and pepper, thyme and rosemary.

Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut it into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece out to an 8-inch circle.

Spoon 1/2-2/3 cup beef mixture into the center of dough, then top with 1/2 tablespoon butter.

Take the far edge of your dough circle and fold it over the beef, towards yourself, to form a half moon.
Seal edges with a fork and repeat with remaining pasties. 

Transfer to lined baking sheet and brush the tops of dough with beaten egg.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then lower oven temperature to 350º F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve hot with brown mustard and enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fried Apples

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Fried Apples

One thing is for certain: your house will be smelling fresh and full of apple-cinnamon goodness when you prepare these.
8 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tbsp freshly juiced lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Toss apples with lemon juice to coat. This will help prevent browning.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Stir and cook until bubbling.

Reduce heat, cover and cook until apples are tender.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Chicken And Rice Soup With Spinach, Lemon, and Dill

Serves 6 to 8.
1 1/2 T. olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped or diced carrot
1 cup finely chopped or diced celery
Salt to taste
1 large bay leaf
12 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 to 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
3 cups cooked-until-barely-tender white rice
10 oz. baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 to 4 T. fresh lemon juice to taste

Directions: Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions for serving (optional)

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large (at least 8-quart), heavy-duty pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and 1/2 T. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned in places, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the bay leaf and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Stir in the shredded chicken, the cooked rice, and spinach. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all are tender and the flavors meld, 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the dill and 1 T. of the lemon juice. Taste, and add more lemon juice, 1 T. at a time, if needed, up to 4 T. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon green onion. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Italian-Style Fish Stew

Italian-Style Fish Stew

2 pounds white fleshed fish fillets, such as hake, snapper or sea bass with skin removed
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme or marjoram
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
2 cups diced white onion
4 minced garlic cloves, plus 1 whole clove for 
   rubbing bread
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seed 
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3 cups fish stock, light chicken broth, 
   or water
12 large clams
4 thick slices country bread
1/4 cup chopped parsley
12 large clams
4 thick slices country bread
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Marinate the fish:  Cut fish into 2 inch 
chunks and place into 2-inch chucks and place in a medium bowl.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add half of the chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lemon slices.  Toss to coat and set aside for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Add half the chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lemon slices. Toss to coat and set aside for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 8 hours).

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, stirring, 5 or 6 minutes.  Add reserved thyme, minced garlic, saffron, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, bay leaf and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.  Add wine, tomatoes, stock or water and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust; the broth should be well seasoned.  (This seasoned  base may be prepared up to 1 day in advance, if desired.)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange fish, clams and lemon slices in the bottom of a 9 by 12 inch baking dish or a wide earthenware casserole of similar size. 

Ladle the broth over everything, cover and bake for 20 minutes, or until clams have opened and fish flakes easily.  Toast the bread and rub with garlic.  
Sprinkle parsley over the soup.  Serve in low soup bowls, giving each guest some fish, clams, broth and garlic toast.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter 226 grams, at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 315 grams, plus more to dust the pan
3 tablespoons (30 grams) plus 1/2 cup (80 grams) bourbon or rye whiskey
½ cup (90 grams) candied ginger, chopped
1 ¾ cup (330 grams) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon (5 grams) finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples about a pound, 454 grams, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
1 cup (120 grams) finely chopped, toasted pecans
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (20 grams)

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and remaining butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) and whisk until smooth. Stir in zest.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.

While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.

While the cake cools, make 10 slits on top with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. When the cake is fully cool, flip it and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side, then flip again to serve.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Homemade Peppermint Patties

1/4 cup softened butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1-2 tsp peppermint extract*
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups dark dipping chocolate**
chocolate jimmies, if desired

Combine butter, corn syrup, extract and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until ingredients are well combined and are holding together.
Remove dough from bowl and break off about 2 teaspoon-sized sections. Roll into a ball and gently flatten with your hands. Put patties down on a pan lined with wax or parchment paper. Once all patties are made, place pan in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds. Let sit for an additional minute in the microwave. Remove and gently stir. Remove peppermint patties from freezer. Use a fork or a handy Winton Dipping tool like I did to dip each patty in the chocolate, flip to coat the other side, then tap to remove any excess. Transfer chocolate coated patties to wax paper to cool. Top with chocolate jimmies if you’d like.
Store in an airtight container, refrigerate if preferred but it’s not necessary. Yields 40 mints.
*Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, then mix until well combined. Taste dough. If you’d like them to be stronger, add an additional 1/2 to 1 teaspoon extract. You can also use 2 drops of peppermint essential oil instead or even 2 teaspoons mint extract for a more subtle mint flavor. Think Andes Mints as opposed to Starlight mints! Yum.
**When making candy like this I really find that dipping chocolate just works best. You can purchase Ghirardelli Melting Wafers at most grocery stores. I buy my melting chocolate in bulk on Amazon. If you really want to use chocolate chips instead, I suggest melting 1/2 a tablespoon of shortening or 2 tsp coconut oil in with the chocolate chips, to thin it out and make it easier to dip the candy.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Spaghetti With Clam Sauce


  • 2 quarts littleneck clams
  • White wine
  • 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ¾ cup chopped parsley


Scrub the clams well and wash them in cold water to remove the sand from the shells. Put them in a heavy saucepan with ½ inch of white wine and the garlic. Cover the pan tightly and steam the clams until the shells open, 5 to 10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, then drain. Put the freshly cooked spaghetti in a warm bowl. Pour the clams, still in their shells, and broth over it and sprinkle parsley on the top.


4 to 6 servings

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Yield: 4 Servings
Ingredients:1 medium head cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), cut into large florets 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
1 cup frozen edamame (shelled), thawed
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 
Directions:Put half the cauliflower florets into a food processor. Pulse until chopped into very small pieces and pour into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower (approx. 6 cups total). 

In a large, high-sided skillet or wide-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the red and yellow bell peppers, followed by the chopped cauliflower and soy sauce. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the edamame and scallions, and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. 

Make a 5-inch wide well in the center of the vegetable mix and pour in the beaten egg. Use a silicone spatula to combine the vegetables with the egg. Fold in the cilantro and serve. 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake With Streusel



For the streusel: 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
For the cake:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
For the glaze: 
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk


Streusel Topping;
    Blend the sugars,  cinnamon and salt until well combined.  Stir in the melted butter.Stir in the flour. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter. 

    Cake Batter;
    Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

    Add the sugars and butter to a medium mixing bowl and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.
    Beat in the eggs and pumpkin until just combined.
    Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
    Spread cake batter into prepared pan.
    Take the streusel topping in your hands and press together to form large crumbs. Top the cake with the streusel. It will seem like too much, but use it all for the best streusel experience.
    Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
    Cool completely.
    Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk to make the glaze. Drizzle over the top before serving.