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28 February 2013

Crunchy Crostini With Rosemary & Fleur de Sel

When I am at the supermarket, I cannot stop myself from grabbing a baguette from the baguette stand.  Just the smell makes me want to break it in two and start eating, especially when it just came out of the oven.  It's a part of what I buy whether I need it or not.  But I always find a need for it anyway, starting from the time I close the car doors.  I love munching on them in the car and I do leave a big trail of crumbs everywhere.  I can't help it.  I love that loaf of French bread!

27 February 2013

Reblochon, Pancetta and Potato Buckwheat Galette Cups and the Papal Basilicas in Rome

While I had been away from blogging for some days, I came back with a delicious recipe and a lot of pictures of the Papal Basilicas in Rome.  If you were watching the television last Sunday during Pope Benedict XVI's last Angelus, I was a dot in the huge crowd under his apartment window, listening and reflecting.  I am not a very religious person and I am not the kind of person who would join throngs of people to be there.  I am the kind who would miss out on live experiences and just watch important events from the television in the comfort of my own home.  But that day, some friends changed the itinerary of their Italian trip just to be at the Vatican to see the Pope.  My husband and I went too.  And I never expected to be touched by the words of the Pope as he said goodbye to everyone to go for his choice of private life of prayer.  I realized how different it was to be present in such an event.

22 February 2013

Ricotta and Lemon Cake With Mascarpone Limoncello Cream

I always say that I am not a baker because I am really not but I do try.  A few times I fail, but sometimes I also come out triumphant after an episode of baking a cake.  Two of my favorite ingredients in making my cakes soft and moist are ricotta or mascarpone.  With this lemon cake, I thought of using the ricotta in the cake batter like what I did with this Ricotta and Pear Cake and this Torta di Uva Fragola & Ricotta (Ricotta & Concord Grape Cake).  An example of a super moist and soft cake where I used mascarpone in the cake batter was Apricot & Mascarpone Cake.  It was marvelous!

20 February 2013

Finocchi Gratinati (Fennel Gratin)

Fennel is one of the vegetables that I love using in cooking because it can be enjoyed in practically any kind of dish, whether it's raw or cooked.  Using it in salads is foremost on our table.  The flavor is so mild and refreshing and it complements any other ingredient I mix it with.    I just have a bad habit of munching on them while slicing that I need an extra bulb to make up for the lacking amount that I consumed.

18 February 2013

Radicchio and Potato Timballo With Warm Apple and Gorgonzola Sauce and The Countryside of Cerveteri-Ceri

The blue sky opened and the sun was roaring down on us.  There were just a few specks of white signifying the clouds and the air was so still.  It was a perfect winter day.  To top it off, there was still a strong whiff of freshly cut grass from the other day so the lawn around the house looks crisp and clean.  It's the kind of setting that lures you to grab a good book (currently reading Life Well Blogged: No Laughing Allowed which I will be telling you all about later on), spread a blanket on the grass and read to your heart's content under the sun.  But then that's before your two kids realize that you have been gone from their sight for 5 minutes and find you in a splendid new play area.   Tranquility slashed off. 

16 February 2013

Mixed Paella With Chorizo

I think of paella all the time and the best one I have tried is of course, in Spain.  When I think of Spain, I think of paella.  That is my word association, a place is always connected with food.  Isn't that my life now?  Food is officially running my life but I am not complaining.  

12 February 2013

Orange Salad With Fennel, Celery and Colatura di Alici di Cetara (Fish Sauce)

I'm crazy about orange salads and I think I combined my oranges with everything imaginable.  Orange season is the part of winter that I look forward to the most.  Happy orange person that I am with an equally orangey wooden board.  With the festivities going on this weekend, I was able to squeeze in a trip to the commercial center to go wooden board and paint shopping with a little Zorro and fairy princess tagging along and arguing about which shade of orange is better.  The fairy princess was trying to make me disappear with a wave of her wand because of my continual habit of saying, "Basta!" (Stop it!).  Then on to our companionable Zorro to zap him and leave her in peace with her preferred shade of orange.   That was my weekend with the fairy princess and little Zorro and other walking Nemos, dynamites, clowns, jellyfish, the whole cast of Star Wars, a congregation of super heroes, princesses of all colors and anything imaginable walking freely around.  How was yours?

The Italian Carnevale (Mardi Gras) 2013

In time with the conclusion of the Carnevale (Mardi Gras) parade, we also used up the last of the 5 bags of coriandoli (confetti) and stelle filanti (streamers) that had been stashed in my bag and our coat pockets the whole weekend.  For four (and going on the fifth) whole days, I had been vacuuming the house like crazy, trying to get rid of the coriandoli that found their way literally everywhere.   On our beds, in our shoes, our clothes, in the bathrooms, on the kitchen counter, in the fruit basket, in the fridge (What the heck?), just everywhere!  When we peel away our layers of clothing, there's an avalanche of more coriandoli!  The amount is overwhelming that walking around with a vacuum cleaner close at my heels doesn't seem to be enough.  

08 February 2013

Frappé alla Nutella (Nutella Milkshake) and Camporotondo in Abruzzo

I know it's still snowing and freezing in most places and I didn't really forget that it's still winter.  In fact, a few days ago, I myself was freezing in half a meter of snow in an overly quiet town in Abruzzo called Camporotondo.  If not for the other two families that arrived to stay for fifteen minutes tops, there was practically no other living thing around and the place is even dotted with holiday houses in every direction.  Maybe because it was a Monday and the place was just a weekend holiday place.  Whatever the reason was, we had the whole place to ourselves and it was actually fun!

07 February 2013

Shrimp in Hot Tamarind Soup (Sinigang na Hipon)

Sinigang is a Philippine dish that sends me to excitement from the time I was a kid.  This dish means sour broth given by tamarinds, guavas, calamondin (calamansi), mangoes or bilimbi (kamias).  Whatever souring agent you use, you will definitely pucker up your lips especially if you eat my version.  Ok, I exaggerate when I am cooking for myself.  Because I am the only one eating, I augment the sourness to my taste.  I think that's the beauty of this dish, the flexibility of going from mild to medium to strong and to extra strong that will make you holler.  That's my dish!  

Sinigang is the soup base and you can put pork belly, shrimp, fish or beef.  Chicken is cooked in a similar way but with slightly different ingredients.  It's called sinampalukang manok (chicken in tamarind soup)Then there are the different kinds of vegetables that go well with sinigang like Japanese eggplants, water spinach, long string beans, long green pepper, daikon, taro tubers and spinach. 

05 February 2013

Chamomile, Blueberry and Almond Smoothie and the Imperial Fora of Rome

Every weekend, ever since my son could utter some communicable words of some sort when he was small, he would always demand that we sit together as a family in the kitchen for our breakfast.  He has a rightful point, that sensitive kid of ours and we do follow him without fail.  Even if it means that breakfasts are synonymous to kitchen pandemoniums, we are there to serve his and his sister's demands requests. After running around the kitchen preparing what-have-yous, my husband and I finally do get to sit down and eat only after both of them are on to their last bites and when they bid us goodbye.  That's our weekend family breakfast together  - on their last bite and our first.

01 February 2013

Pizzette (Mini Pizzas) For My Second Year!

I hear music.  It's everywhere I go, in every nook and cranny of the house.  But I hear it loudest in the kitchen where I stay rooted from morning until night time.  I was once a music enthusiast, a lover of jazz music when I was as little as a first-grader.  I grew up with older siblings who loved jazz music and I picked up on it.   I woke up to Alphonse Mouzon's Morning Sun and slept with Earl Klugh's Late Night Guitar album.   That was my discovery of music and I never stopped listening  to it until a few years ago.