Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

first

April 26, 2017
paninigirl

19 comments

On My Way

lucca

Next time I post it will be from Lucca. Wish you were coming along…

Be sure to check back to see what the Panini Girl tour is all about.

Ciao!

April 22, 2017
paninigirl

2 comments

Coconut Cream Pie

pie
Looking for a light and luscious dessert? Well, look no further. I dare say that you may even be able to win over those who profess not to be a lover of coconut with this pie.  The custard is rich and creamy, but not at all heavy. I thought about saving the leftover filling and serving it in pudding cups another evening, but it’s the combination of the toasted pecan graham cracker crust, the light and fluffy whipped cream and the toasted coconut that make this dessert so special. This would be a lovely finish to a spicy Thai supper. 
Coconut Cream Pie (from Food 52)
graham crackers (one sleeve)
1/4 cup pecans
tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2cups whole milk
15 ounce can sweetened cream of coconut
egg yolks
tablespoons sugar
tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
tablespoon cold butter
teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flakes
cup whipping cream
tablespoon confectioners (powdered) sugar
 

slice

Start by making a graham cracker crust: Crush the graham crackers and pecans in a food processor (or by hand in a baggie with a rolling pin). Stir in melted butter, press into a pie tin, and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes. Then leave the crust to cool.
To make the coconut custard, start by heating milk and cream of coconut in a saucepan until scalding. In a bowl, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until pale yellow. Carefully temper the yolk mixture by whisking in 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture. Then, slowly add the remaining milk, whisking continuously until fully combined.
Pour the custard base back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Whisk continuously until the custard boils and thickens. Then remove from the heat.Whisk in the cold butter and vanilla extract. Leave custard to cool to room temperature.
Pour the cooled custard into the cooled crust and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours. Toast coconut flakes in a pan over low heat until the edges are golden. Let cool.
Whip cream with powdered sugar until it is thick and spreadable. Top the coconut pie with whipped cream and sprinkle on coconut flakes. Slice and serve!

April 15, 2017
paninigirl

4 comments

Garlic Knots

into the oven 2

into the oven

My first foray into bread baking was many years ago when I was quite a novice in the kitchen. At that time my “go to” cookbook was The Vegetarian Epicure. I was living in Colorado and didn’t give a thought to the altitude when I jumped into baking a loaf of Honey Wheat Bread. I probably hadn’t ever “kneaded” dough before and definitely didn’t own a Kitchen Aid to help with the task. I wrestled with the dough, popped it onto the oven and anxiously awaited the finished product. Well, it was one heavy loaf that could have been used for a doorstop! Many loaves later I’ve come to love the art of bread baking.

When I saw the three page spread on these Garlic Knots in February’s Food & Wine I knew it was just a matter of time before I made them. I just happened to have a bag of spelt flour in the cupboard and so early yesterday morning I set out to tackle the recipe. I chose two different toppings for the rolls-one batch with sesame and poppyseeds and the other with parmesan, pepper and sea salt.

baked

 

I’m directing you over to Food and Wine for the recipe for Garlic  Knots.  At first glance it may look like a lot of steps, but if you’ve baked bread before you’ll realize that it’s basically a lot of rising and waiting. If you start first thing in the morning the rolls will be ready for lunch. We had them with supper and before warming them up I brushed them one more time with the garlic butter.

I followed the recipe as written, except for the amount of butter and oil used. I went with half of what was called for and had more than enough to brush the rolls. The knots are chewy, yet not heavy. I can see serving them with a bowl of soup or chili. Feel free to come up with your own toppings and definitely try one as soon as they come out of the oven.

Happy Easter!

baked 3

If you want to really wow your guests and have a good part of the day to hang around you have to try Nancy Silverton’s focaccia-simply amazing and totally authentic.

April 6, 2017
paninigirl

1 comment

In The Kitchen

Although I haven’t been haven’t been taking photos of our meals, I have been cooking. It seems by the time I get dinner on the table it’s getting dark and the photos aren’t what I’d like them to be. I do however want to share a few of the recipes that I recently tried.

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From Food 52 I made two dishes- Shrimp Burgers with Aioli and Moroccan Spiced Chicken.   ***The above photo is courtesy of Alexandra Stafford who in addition to writing for Food 52 has the very popular blog Alexandra’s Kitchen***.  The beauty of this chicken dish is that it is cooked in one pan. The prep is minimal and you don’t even have to sear the chicken. After sautéing the onions and garlic with spices and harissa you add dates, chicken and broth and pop it into the oven. Topped with chopped pistachios the finished product has a nice punch of spice with a little bit of sweetness from the dates and the orange zest.

The Shrimp Burgers required just a little more effort than making a classic hamburger. I made them in a skillet rather than on the grill and my only piece of advice would be that you add enough aioli to the chopped shrimp. I may have skimped a little and when trying to flip them over they sort of fell apart. I scooped them on to toasted brioche buns smeared with aioli, added lettuce and tomato and we devoured them.

Bon Appetit’s April issue also featured a very tasty One Skillet Chicken dish. As soon as I read the recipe and saw that it involved cooking the orzo using the same method as making risotto, I knew that I’d give it a go.

Many years ago I attempted cooking pasta using this technique and if I remember correctly, it was not what I would call a roaring success. This time I decided to be patient and not overreact if the orzo wasn’t softening up quickly enough. Just as I thought, it did take longer than the 15 minutes stated in the recipe. It was definitely worth the effort (lots of stirring) and the wait. The finished product was a very flavorful combination of creamy orzo, fennel, lemon and leeks.

Congrats to Laura S. who is the winner of the Tasting Rome cookbook! Have fun cooking up a storm until you can make it to Rome.

 

March 25, 2017
paninigirl

16 comments

“I Cracker” And A Giveaway

cracker

I’ve been thinking a lot about Rome lately in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Italy. As J. says “Rome is like an onion. You just keep peeling back layers and there’s always more to discover.” Of course there are endless sights that I hope to some day see, but I can’t help myself from dreaming about the meals we will eat. As a traveler I am not one to plan every second of every day, but I do like to have some idea of where we should dine. There’s nothing worse than wandering around hungry (sometimes also clueless) and then being turned away for not having a reservation.

With that being said, I’ve done a fair amount of reading lately on Rome and its food. I follow three blogs-Elizabeth Minchilli In RomeKatie Parla and An American in Rome– where each of the  Rome based  writers share their favorite spots for dining, among other tips about the city. I’ve made a mental list of places I’d love to try and find myself wondering just how many meals we can realistically fit into our time there.

Today I came to the decision that rather than just reading about the food of Rome it was time to do some cooking. I turned to Katie’s recently published cookbook-Tasting Rome. The book includes recipes for traditional Roman dishes in addition to contemporary interpretations. The photos are stunning, the recipes are tailored for the home kitchen and the narrative will make you want to jump on a plane to Rome.

Today I tried a starter and an entree. The cracker recipe is a twist on taralli- round crackers served with drinks around southern Italy. They are fairly easy to put together, especially if you have a pasta machine. The second dish was Torta Rustica, a savory vegetable pie that it very similar to the Erbazzone from Liguria which I love.

Leave me a comment here between now and April 2nd to be entered to win copy of Tasting Rome.

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 10.12.11 AM

I Cracker (Italian for “crackers”)

1-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (5 grams)

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (90 milliliters) warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons (300 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon (5 grams) sea salt

Flavorings of your choice (optional): coarsely ground pepper, red pepper flakes, finely chopped fresh rosemary

In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and set aside until dissolved, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl or on the countertop, sift together the flour and salt, then mix with the flavorings. Make a well in the center. Pout the olive oil into the well along with an additional 5 tablespoons water and then the yeast mixture. Mix with your hands to pull together a ball of dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is supple and smooth. Form into a ball, cover it with an inverted medium bowl, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the dough into eight equal pieces. Flatten one piece with your hands and lightly dust with flour, leaving the remaining dough under the bowl until you’re ready to use it. Feed the dough through a pasta machine, starting on the largest setting, gradually reaching the thickness of four stacked playing cards. If you’re using flavorings in your dough stop a setting or two before to prevent tearing (I went to setting 5 on my machine). Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.

Prick the dough with a fork to make small holes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cracker has bubbled up and browned in places and is cooked through. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2017
paninigirl

6 comments

Broccoli With Burrata

burrata

****I’ve made a correction to the ingredients in the recipe so if you receive this by email please use this version. Sorry!

If you only need one recipe for broccoli, this is it. I discovered it a few years back when I purchased what was to become one of my favorite cookbooks-Sunday Suppers at Lucques-written by the illustrious Los Angeles chef, chef Suzanne Goin. I haven’t made it to any of her restaurants, but I have had a great time cooking my way through her book. I’ve yet to be anything but thrilled by each and every recipe that I’ve tried.

This is a great do-ahead dish as you can blanch the broccoli and make both the anchovy butter and the breadcrumbs ahead of time and put it all together right before serving. Each bite is the perfect combination of crunchy breadcrumbs and salty butter mingled with the very creamy burrata. It’s a match made in heaven.

Broccoli  with Burrata

3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon sliced flat-leaf parsley
1 pound Italian broccoli, sprouting broccoli, or broccoli, trimmed
2 teaspoons minced salt-packed anchovy

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 chile de àrbol, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 pound burrata or fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 lemon, for juicing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.

Toss the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and toast 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and crispy.

Spread the pine nuts on another baking sheet, and toast them 4 to 5 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty. Crush half the pine nuts, and combine them with the whole pine nuts, breadcrumbs, and parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Blanch the broccoli in the rapidly boiling water 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain, and cool on a baking sheet.

Heat the remaining olive oil and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the anchovies and chili and cook 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as the anchovy melts into the sauce. Add the garlic and thyme and turn off the heat. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cut the burrata into 6 slices and arrange on 6 dinner plates.

Heat a large sautè pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the anchovy butter, shallots, and broccoli and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Toss well to warm the broccoli and coat it with the anchovy butter.

Taste for seasoning and plate next to the burrata. Shower the pine nut breadcrumbs over the top. Serves:6

Here are some of my other favorites from Sunday Suppers at Lucques:

Hazelnut Cake

Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cinnamon

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream

 

March 10, 2017
paninigirl

2 comments

Broccoli With Burrata

burrata

If you only need one recipe for broccoli, this is it. I discovered it a few years back when I purchased what was to become one of my favorite cookbooks-Sunday Suppers at Lucques-written by the illustrious Los Angeles chef, chef Suzanne Goin. I haven’t made it to any of her restaurants, but I have had a great time cooking my way through her book. I’ve yet to be anything but thrilled by each and every recipe that I’ve tried.

This is a great do-ahead dish as you can blanch the broccoli and make both the anchovy butter and the breadcrumbs ahead of time and put it all together right before serving. Each bite is the perfect combination of crunchy breadcrumbs and salty butter mingled with the very creamy burrata. It’s a match made in heaven.

Broccoli  with Burrata

3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon sliced flat-leaf parsley
1 pound Italian broccoli, sprouting broccoli, or broccoli, trimmed
2 teaspoons minced salt-packed anchovy

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 chile de àrbol, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 pound burrata or fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 lemon, for juicing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.

Toss the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and toast 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and crispy.

Spread the pine nuts on another baking sheet, and toast them 4 to 5 minutes, until they’re golden brown and smell nutty. Crush half the pine nuts, and combine them with the whole pine nuts, breadcrumbs, and parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Blanch the broccoli in the rapidly boiling water 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain, and cool on a baking sheet.

Heat the remaining olive oil and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the anchovies and chili and cook 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as the anchovy melts into the sauce. Add the garlic and thyme and turn off the heat. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cut the burrata into 6 slices and arrange on 6 dinner plates.

Heat a large sautè pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the anchovy butter, shallots, and broccoli and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Toss well to warm the broccoli and coat it with the anchovy butter.

Taste for seasoning and plate next to the burrata. Shower the pine nut breadcrumbs over the top. Serves:6

Here are some of my other favorites from Sunday Suppers at Lucques:

Hazelnut Cake

Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cinnamon

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream