If you know me, you know I am anything but Irish. I am by American standards 100% Italian. By Italian standards I am only half Italian. According to my sources, if your family is from anywhere south of Rome you are not a true Italian. (Yes, this an old Italian north/south rivalry – and well while I’ve never met anyone that believes this, my Italian friends always love to tease me about it.) I am 100% proud of my Italian roots but having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, with strong Irish Italian influences, I can’t help but do my part in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Who doesn’t love a good party? And the Irish sure know how to throw a party. Continue reading ‘Irish Sweet Potato and Cabbage Hash’
Tag Archive for 'vegetarian recipe'
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This focaccia is typically found in a little town in Liguria called Recco, not far from Genoa. It is a far cry from your typical focaccia and it has a special twist – it is stuffed with the most amazing cheese. Since the dough does not contain yeast, it is not thick and fluffy like its well known focaccia cousin. The cheese encased in this lovely crisp dough is Continue reading ‘Focaccia di Recco’
I am often accused of playing with my food, and sometimes the results are both delicious and beautiful. Squash blossoms, while difficult to find in the U.S. outside of home gardening or the occasional farmer’s market, are available in great abundance in Italy. Their flavor is floral but with a hint of mushrooms and squash. Their season is delicate and short-lived so be sure to have your recipes at the ready once the zucchini flowers start to blossom.
The recipe for ‘Stellina Pizza’ is one that I am particularly proud of, as it combines my love of food, my passion for art, my deep rooted desire to play with my food AND a very special pizza dough recipe from a good friend.
Admittedly, this recipe has a few steps to it but it is worth the effort. To save time, sauce can be made ahead of time and stored.
Be certain to read to the end of the recipe to ensure that all ingredients have been captured for:
– Pizza Dough (‘Homemade with Love Recipe’)
– Pizza Sauce
– Pizza Toppings
Squash Blossom Stellina Pizza
Blossom Prep 101
Note: If not using the squash blossoms right away, wrap in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Blossoms will keep well up to four days. Just before cooking, rip off the stems and remove the stamen.
To prepare the squash blossoms first remove the sepals around the base of the blossom, as these can be bitter. Trim off the stems of the blossom and cut a slit up on side of each blossom so that you can cut out the stamen in the center and discard it. Dip into a bowl of cold water and clean for dust and bugs.
The number of squash blossoms needed for the pizza will depend upon the shape of pizza. Round pizzas will require 6-8 blossoms. A rustic rectangular pizza will require double that amount per pizza.
While it is possible to do a quick fix and buy a pre-made pizza dough, fresh made dough will take your breath away. My good friend and author, Jennifer Perillo, is known for this very special pizza dough recipe. I couldn’t think of a better way to make this special dish any more special. This star studded pizza is dedicated to my Brooklyn star gazer.
Homemade Pizza Dough (reprinted from ‘Homemade with Love’ with permission from Jennifer Perillo and Running Press)
Pizza Dough Ingredients
3 cups unbleached bread flour
1- 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp natural cane sugar
1 cup warm water
1 TBS olive oil
Pizza Dough Directions
In a deep bowl whisk together 2 cups of the flour with the yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir it together to form a wet, sticky dough. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the remaining flour on to a clean counter or large cutting board. Scrape the dough out onto the board and knead in the flour until the dough is smooth and soft but not tacky or sticky (you may need more or less).
Lightly oil a deep glass or ceramic bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot until doubled in volume (about 90 minutes).
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle some of the remaining flour, about 2 TBS, on your work surface. Turn the dough out and gently knead it once or twice to deflate. If you’re making one thick-crust (or deep-dish) pizza, place the dough back in the bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap again, and place back in a warm spot until doubled in volume once more (about 30 minutes). For two thin-crust pizzas, divide dough in half and let rise in separate oiled bowls.
Pizza Sauce Ingredients
28-oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes
2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-1/2 tsps balsamic vinegar
3 TBS fresh basil, slivered
Pizza Sauce Directions
In a food processor or blender, puree the plum tomatoes with their juices and set aside. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and then add the garlic. Saute until the sauce begins to change color. Add the tomato puree, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until just thickened. Remove from heat, add in basil and stir until well combined. Cool before using.
Note: This recipe makes enough for 2 pizzas. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated up to four days or frozen for later use.
Pizza Topping Ingredients
12-16 squash blossoms (per pizza)
8-12 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
Pizza Assembly Directions
Preheat oven to 500°.
Flour the working surface. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, flatten it onto a greased 18×13-inch baking sheet. If it becomes difficult to manipulate, allow the dough to rest 5 minutes to enable the gluten to relax. Brush the dough with 2 tsps of olive oil Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce onto the dough and spread it out evenly. Add additional sauce if needed. Allow at least a 1-inch dough at the rim.
Cut open the squash blossoms and fan out with the yellow tips of the flowers facing the edges of the pizza. Arrange blossoms onto the dough – I tend to like rustic rectangular pizza’s best. Place half of the cheese in the middle so it overlaps but does not cover any of the blossoms. Bake 12-18 minutes, until browned on the edges. Using a wide spatula, transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
The pizza dough is only one of Jennifer’s delicious recipes. Her book is bursting with page turning recipes that I adore (i.e. Chickpea, Parmesan & Fennel Salad). Be sure to pick up your copy by clicking on the link above… and then grab another one to gift to a friend. 😉
In honor of Mother’s Day I am sharing one of my newest creations, Tuscan Egg Stew. It is not a recipe inspired by anything my mother ever made for me but rather it is inspired by her love of breakfast for dinner. She loved to find those little unconventional ways that she could make meals extra fun — like having a BBQ in the rain, dessert before dinner, and breakfast for dinner.
There is something so satisfying about egg dishes, whether for brunch or for dinner. Tuscan Egg Stew makes its mark and scales well for small groups. The combination of flavors reminds me of so many of my days in Florence that it’s easy to close my eyes and be transported back in time.
Tuscan Egg Stew
3 TBS olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 cups swiss chard, coarsely chopped (if using frozen, substitute 1.5 lbs, defrosted and drained)
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1 14.5oz can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic)
1 15oz can white beans
3 cups vegetable broth
6 large eggs
Romano cheese, grated
Heat 1 TBS of olive oil in cast iron skillet, or heavy bottomed pot, over medium heat. When oil is hot add pressed garlic. Stir quickly until fragrant and lightly brown. Add swiss chard to pot, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook until wilted but still bright in color; approximately 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Wipe out skillet.
In same skillet, over medium heat, add 2 TBS of oil. When oil is warm, turn heat up to medium high, adding onion and sliced garlic; stir 3-4 minutes until onion is softened. Add cumin, paprika and stir another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Lastly, add chickpeas, white beans and tomatoes; cooking until tomatoes start to caramelize and chickpeas begin to brown; approximately 8-10 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a simmer scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, occasionally mashing some of the chickpeas with the back of a spoon or a potato masher. Cook stew 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Fold in swiss chard, adding in more broth slowly, 1/4 cup at a time, if sauce seems too thick. A small amount of liquid is necessary to properly cook the eggs.
Make holes in stew and crack eggs one a time into a small bowl and then transfer into one of the premade holes. Once all of the eggs are in place, cover pan with a lid to allow eggs to steam 5-7 minutes. Baste occasionally to ensure eggs are cooking properly. Eggs should be not be hard cooked but left with a small amount of yoke to make this dish take extra buttery when served.
Spoon Tuscan Stew into bowls and transfer egg on top. Lightly dust with Romano cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
Disclosure: I received a Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes to cook with; no monetary compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.
From high in his black, snowy lair on Mount Crumpit,
The Grinch, with old Max, came with bags down the summit.
In red hat, coat and shoes he came armed with a plot,
To take from the Bay every last happy thought.
Only here through next Thursday at the Golden Gate Theater,
The Grinch, Cindy Lou, and all Whoville await!
SHN‘s hot new holiday show ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas‘ should have been called how the ‘Grinch Stole My Heart’ – Stefan Karl’s acting was captivating and wickedly funny. Suited up from head-to-toe in green fuzz, the lead actor from the kids hit TV show, Lazy Town, was as brilliant as Robbie Rotten as he is Mr. Grinch. This green hairy Icelandic heart throb moves beyond the outwardly scary facade and quickly takes command of Whoville with his unholiday small heart antics. And for those of you that are scratching your heads to remember how this Dr. Seuss story ends, don’t despair, things take a turn for the best when Little Cindy Lou helps the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes. The performance joyfully concludes with the cast adorned in shades of pink, red and white (accented by a splash of Grinch green) during a musical feast with the Grinch serving roast beast! >Hint, spoiler alert, this is the moment I share my new favorite green food.<
Chestnut Sage Pesto Bruschetta
1 cup chestnuts
1 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley (tightly packed)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pecorino Romano, finely grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf crusty bread, sliced
In a food processor combine the nuts, parsley, sage and garlic until coarsely ground. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil down the feed tube until the mixture is emulsified. Then add the cheese, salt and pepper and pulse a few times until it reaches a loose paste consistency.
Serve on bread or toast.
Some fun out takes from our day…
The story behind this dish? I must confess, there are not too many twists and turns on this tale – the garden is in full belated summer veggie mode. With tomatoes, garlic, basil and zucchini at the ready, I was inspired to make a versatile dish. This recipe has so many options, you will be amazed:
– diabetic adaption: substitute mushrooms for carrots and eliminate the pasta shells. The filling can be fried to make vegetable shrimp cakes or baked in an oven proof dish.
– vegetarian modification: eliminate the shrimp.
– lactose intolerant version: eliminate the cheese.
– child-like adaption: with no recognizable vegetables on the plate, call this dish ‘Crabby Patties’ (alla Sponge Bob) for added appeal.
Shrimp & Garden Vegetable Cannelloni
1/4 cup + 1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups (1/2 lb) green zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cups (1/2 lb) yellow zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 TBS white wine, dry
1 egg yoke, large
2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
2 cups bread crumbs, not finely grated (or 1 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 cup ricotta)
12 cannelloni shells, cooked
3-4 cups tomato sauce **
2 TBS Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
Note: For best flavor, make the filling recipe, which immediately follows, one day in advance to allow flavors to amalgamate.
In large saute pan, heat 2 TBS of olive oil with garlic on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the hot pepper flakes into the oil and stir until coated. Add in the zucchini, carrot, salt and pepper and cook until soft and dry, approximately 15-20 minutes. Set aside on baking sheet to cool.
Using the same pan, heat 2 TBS of oil on medium heat with the sliced garlic until it starts to turn light brown. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and saute until opaque, approximately 2 minutes, do not over cook. Deglaze the pan by adding wine and scraping any pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan. Transfer shrimp to baking sheet with vegetables and allow to cool. Pour remaining wine in pan over the shrimp and vegetables.
Divide cooled shrimp and vegetable into two batches, pulse in food processor but do not puree the mixture. Transfer into a bowl. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste, mix well. Add the egg yoke, bread crumbs, ricotta (if using) and basil. The filling mixture should be dry and hold together. At this point you can refrigerate up to one day.
Cook the cannelloni shells according to package directions. (Be careful not to over cook the shells, as they will become too soft once filled and cooked in the oven.) Carefully remove the past with a slotted spoon, and place onto a prepared a tray. When pasta is cool enough to handle, cut each length-wise to lay flat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13 baking dish. Fill each piece of pasta with 1/4 cup of the filling, and make into a snug roll with a slight overlap of the pasta. Place pasta seam side down in baking dish. Repeat until all cannelloni are filled. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan, cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes.
Warm tomato sauce in sauce pan. Transfer cannelloni to individual serving plate, spoon sauce over top, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and parsley (if using).
2 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
Puree tomatoes in a food process or pass through a mill. In a large pan, on medium-low heat, add olive oil and onion. Cook approximately 10 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add tomato puree and salt. Stir well and bring mixture to a low boil. Do not allow sauce to burn, cook approximately 35-40 minutes until most of the water evaporates and sauce starts to thicken.
This sauce can be refrigerated one week or frozen up to three months.