first

November 2, 2018
paninigirl

5 comments

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

soup

The very first time that I ate this soup was on a stormy night in  Boston. Rain was coming down sideways and we were just a few degrees away from snow. I was searching for a friend’s apartment while trying to hold on to an umbrella that threatened to blow away.  I finally found her door and stepped into  the most charming room with a wooden beamed ceiling. The house was tiny, having been built in the 1700’s, and was right down the street from Bunker Hill (as in the Battle of…). In the corner a fire was roaring and candles flickered on an antique wooden table. The scent of curry and onions filled the room.  All at once I forgot about the storm raging outside and and settled into a cozy chair with a big glass of red wine.

At this point in my cooking life I had not had much (or any) experience with curry. The sweetness of the squash and the heat of the curry were offset by the  grating of a  tangy apple. I was instantly won over and had to ask for the recipe. Turns out it came from one of the most popular cookbooks of the time-The Silver Palate Cookbook. This cookbook was like a bible to me back in the day. My copy was so well worn that it fell apart and I had to buy a new one. To this day I still turn to this book and am never disappointed with whatever I make. This curried butternut soup may be my favorite.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onions
4-5 teaspoons curry powder
2 medium size butternut squash (about 3 pounds) peeled, seeds discarded and flesh chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple juice (or 1/2 cup apple cider)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 shredded, unpeeled apple for garnish

Melt butter in pot and add chopped onions and curry powder and cook, covered over low heat until onions are tender, about 20 minutes. When tender pour in stock, add squash and chopped apple and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash and apples are tender, about 25 minutes.
Pour soup through a strainer and reserve solids. Add 1 cup of cooking stock to solids and puree (in either food processor or use hand held blender) until smooth. Return to pot and add apple juice and about 2 cups more cooking liquid (depending on the consistency you like). Season to taste with salt and pepper, simmer briefly to heat. Serve with a garnish of shredded apple. Serves 4-6.

Panini Girl Food Tour In Lucca May 2019

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September 22, 2018
paninigirl

4 comments

Tillie’s Rolls

iced

You might be wondering who is Tillie and why am I making her rolls? Well I’ve had cinnamon rolls on the brain for the past few weeks and had been checking out various recipes when I came across a card in my massive recipe file that was titled “Tillie’s Never Fail Rolls”. I’ve never met Tillie. She was from Kansas and the grandmother of an old friend of mine. The card was actually stuck on a recipe for french bread that I baked earlier in the week. It was well worn and looking at it brought back memories of baking in my teeny tiny kitchen (it was so small that when I opened the fridge I had to back up into the living room) many years ago when I lived in Denver.

dough

It’s been years since I used this recipe and I had forgotten how easy it is to work with this dough. Next time I think I might sprinkle some sesame seeds over the dinner rolls before baking or make a savory batch of “cinnamon rolls”-spreading the dough with sautéed scallions and and a little cheddar cheese, then rolling and slicing.

 

 

 

 

Never Fail Rolls

2 cups lukewarm water

1/2 cup sugar

2 packages yeast

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and beat until smooth. I did this by hand with a wooden spoon.

Add:

2 eggs, well beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4-1/2 cups flour

Beat together. I used the kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook for about 3 minutes. If you are kneading by hand you will want to knead until you have a very smooth dough, probably about 6  minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 40 minutes.

Tillie’s recipe says “roll into any shape you desire, place in pan and let rise for 40 minutes”. At this point I divided the dough in half and formed balls for dinner rolls and placed in a round, buttered cake pan. I took the other half, rolled it into a rectangle, brushed it with melted butter, covered it with cinnamon, sugar and chopped pecans,  then rolled the dough into a log and then sliced it into individual rolls and placed in a buttered pan and let them rise for 40 minutes. Take a look at the photo above on the left. Preheat oven to 400 degrees,

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

***I halved the recipe for the dough and made 7 dinner rolls and 10 cinnamon rolls.

Frosting for the cinnamon rolls: 

4 tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-6 tablespoons hot water

Mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

 

 

Panini Girl Food Tour In Lucca May 2019

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September 10, 2018
paninigirl

4 comments

Granola-Genius Recipe

granola

I’m not sure why, but it’s been quite a while since I made this granola. A few years ago I started making this for gifts and found that I didn’t want to give it away-it was just too good. I know you’re probably thinking that granola is granola, but this one is by far the tastiest that I’ve ever tried. Eaten out of hand or swimming in a bowl of cold milk it’s hard to have just one serving. Sweet, without being cloying with just a hint of salt, there’s plenty of crunch. Once you’ve tried it feel free to vary the nuts and seeds that you use. I think dried cherries or cranberries would be a great addition.

The recipe comes from the Genius Recipes cookbook put out by the very talented crew at Food 52. I’m addicted to their website and it’s the first place I turn to when in search of a recipe.They’ve published a few cookbooks, but this one is a little bit different from the others. The idea behind this book is a good one-it’s a collection of special recipes from famous and lesser known chefs-recipes that may be simple, but with a new technique or with a familiar ingredient that is used in a new way. When I first thumbed through the book I thought “this is nice”, but when I actually sat down and started reading the recipes I realized the “genius” of this cookbook.  I’ve tried various recipes from the book and enjoyed ll of them, but this granola may just be my favorite.

 

baked

Granola

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1-1/4 cups pecans left whole or coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 300° F.

Place oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pecans, syrup, olive oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Spread granola mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until granola is toasted, about 45 minutes. (I put parchment on the baking sheets)

Remove granola from oven and season with more salt to taste. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Panini Girl Food Tour In Lucca May 2019 (3 spots available)

paninigirl4@gmail.com

 

 

September 2, 2018
paninigirl

5 comments

Roasted Red Onions

 

onion2

As a child I looked forward to snagging the onion that accompanied the Sunday roast beef.  There it was in the pan bathed in the juices from the meat all soft and a little bit caramelized.  I’m not sure if anyone else even wanted it, but I made sure that it ended up on my plate.

This very simple side dish reminds me of the roasted onions of my youth. It pairs perfectly with grilled steak, fish or roasted chicken. You could certainly bake this onion in the oven, but if you already have the grill on by all means go ahead and throw this on.

No recipe needed. Cut a deep X through an unpeeled red onion without going all the way through. Pry apart and jam in a pat of butter and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Grill until the onion is squishy-about 25 minutes on high heat.

I don’t have photo of the finished product as it sort of falls apart. I can tell you that it’s melt in your mouth tender with a touch of piney flavor from the rosemary. You can find another of my favorite onion dishes here.

Panini Girl Food Tour In Lucca May 2019

paninigirl4@gmail.com

 

August 10, 2018
paninigirl

3 comments

Roasted Strawberries With Lemon Cream

lemon cream

This recipe was the surprise of this year’s strawberry season. I live not far from a few farms growing strawberries and and am quite spoiled by the quality of the local berries and their long growing season. Truth be told, I mostly just eat them for breakfast mixed with other berries. Of course I have made a tart or two, but when a friend handed me this recipe I knew I would give it a try.

When I first read the directions I was skeptical about the “lemon cream”. Would lemon juice, cream, sugar and a pinch of salt really come together to make a custard like dessert? Much to my surprise it did and the result was a luscious lemony cream that I could not seem to get my fill of. I tasted spoonful after spoonful until I decided I better stop and start assembling the parfaits.

Roasting the strawberries brings out their natural sweetness and they pair perfectly with the lemon cream.  I discovered that the crunchy granola topping is also slightly addicting. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for the parfaits and the extra freezes well or you could use keep eating it as a snack!

lemon cream 2

Roasted Strawberries with Lemon Cream

3 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

Kosher salt

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup gluten-free baking flour or regular all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup granola

2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if large

1 teaspoon smoked sea salt or flaky sea salt

Torn mint and basil leaves (for serving)

Bring cream, 1 cup sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a medium bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto surface (this will help prevent a skin from forming). Chill lemon cream until it has set up to a pudding-like consistency, at least 12 hours. One piece of advice-I think it’s better to divide and store the cream in to bowls-it firms up better this way.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine gluten-free flour, butter, brown sugar, basil, vanilla, and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, work mixture until it comes together in small clumps. Scatter crumble on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and slightly firm, 30–35 minutes. Let cool and break into smaller pieces. Mix in granola.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Toss strawberries, smoked salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar on a clean rimmed baking sheet to combine. Roast strawberries, tossing once, until they are juicy but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Just before serving, assemble trifles by spooning alternating layers of lemon cream, roasted strawberries, and granola crumble into 8–12-oz. glasses or jars, dividing evenly. Top off with some mint and basil leaves.

Panini Girl  Food Tour In Lucca May 2019 paninigirl4@gmail.com

July 30, 2018
paninigirl

3 comments

Tomato Chutney

 

 

 

c3

It all started with cranberry sauce. I grew up eating the cranberry sauce in the can, but as an adult I was on the search for something a little more interesting and with a lot more flavor. I’m not sure where I found the recipe, but it was exactly what I had been looking for-sweet and tart and great not only served alongside poultry, but also with pork and adds a nice punch of flavor when spread on a sandwich. Last summer I used the recipe and with a few minor changes created a flavorful plum chutney.

Chutney is a condiment made with fruits or vegetables combined with spices, sugar and vinegar. This recipe from David Tanis’ book Market Cooking is an adaptation of a recipe found in the book My Bombay Kitchen. It’s like a savory marmalade made with tomatoes and is sweet with just the right amount of spice. While tomatoes are in season why not give this a try?

I should confess that I’m not adept at canning and so when I make chutneys I keep them in the refrigerator and have also successfully frozen them. By all means go ahead and “put these up” if you know how to “can”. I think I need a copy of Domenica Marchetti’s Preserving Italy to get me going on canning.

Tomato Chutney

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup finely slivered ginger

1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic

1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

6 small dried hot chiles

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

12 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon salt

Put everything together in a nonreactive heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring vigilantly until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a thick jam or marmalade, about 1-1/2 hours. Let cool.

Store the chutney well sealed in the fridge. It keeps for months. If you prefer you can ladle the chutney into sterilized half pint jars and go through the process of canning. Makes 3 pints

Panini Girl In Lucca Food Tour May 4-11, 2019  3 spaces left! paninigirl4@gmail.com

 

 

July 23, 2018
paninigirl

2 comments

Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies

cookies

It’s no secret that when it comes to sweets, hazelnut and chocolate is definitely my favorite combination. When I’m at a gelateria it’s hard for me to break away from nocciola and cioccolato and order anything else. Before leaving Italy I always stock up on chocolate bars studded with hazelnuts. Is anyone going over there soon? I’m almost out of my stash…

I apologize for posting this recipe in metric, but I found it on an Australian blog and when I made them I followed the recipe using a scale to weigh the ingredients, rather than converting the measurements to cups and ounces. I’ve gotten used to using a scale and highly recommend purchasing one for baking.

This dough is pretty easy to work with and you can roll the scraps together and use all of it. The cookies are delicate and crumble easily so be sure to let them cool thoroughly on a rack when you remove them from the oven. I dipped half the batch in chocolate and froze the rest of the cookies. I had planned on dipping these too but I’ve been sneaking them from the freezer and eating them as is and they are just as delicious without the chocolate, well almost!

Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies

210gr flour
80gr ground hazelnut
200gr unsalted butter, soften and diced
60gr finely ground brown sugar
200gr chocolate for dipping (optional)

In a bowl mix with your hand all the ingredients to form a smooth paste. Let it rest covered in a cool place (not the fridge) for 30 minutes to one hour. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll down the dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut out cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove carefully from oven (they will be still soft) on to a cooling rack. Melt chocolate in a water bath and dip half cookie in it or alternatively just coat with a spatula half of each cookie with chocolate.

Panini Girl In Lucca Food Tour May 2019-get in touch-paninigirl4@gmail.com