Dec 302008
 

I love the smell of oranges. They smell so fresh, sweet and crisp; they remind me of sunshine and happiness. Something that is a bit lacking here right now. For the past several years, I have made a panettone for Hannukah, but this year I decided I wanted to make something that would feature my favourite winter fruit, the orange. We are surrounded by so many orange trees, the smell is intoxicating and I guess I have been hypnotized by their fragrance. I had some low fat ricotta cheese begging me to do something with it, so I decided to make a yeast coffee cake with the rest of the candied orange I made the week before. I kept the sugar syrup that I used to candied the orange rind and used some of it to glaze the coffee cake with before and after it was baked. The sugar syrup had a lovely bitter orange flavour that helped cut the sweetness of the syrup. This is a very light and moist cake full of the orange flavour I was craving.

Mr. Baroness Tapuzina and I would like to wish you all a happy and much more peaceful 2009 than we are experiencing here now. We are safely away from the fighting and intend to stay that way.

Orange-Glazed Coffee Cake

Serving Size: 8 - 10

For the dough:

1 package active dry yeast or 25 g (1 ounce) fresh yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

½ cup chopped candied orange rind

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 cups all-purpose flour

For the glaze:

Sugar syrup from candied orange or an egg wash

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the warm milk, orange juice, sugar, ricotta cheese, orange zest, candied orange rind, salt and egg into the yeast mixture.

Using heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on low speed, beat 2 cups flour into the yeast mixture until a wet dough forms. Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, tuning to coat. Cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Orange-Glazed Coffee Cake Rising

Grease a 22cm (9 inch) springform pan. Punch down the dough. turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid the ropes together. Coil braided dough in prepared pan; tuck ends under. Cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 30 minutes.

Orange-Glazed Coffee Cake Risen

Preheat oven to 200C (400F) brush the dough with sugar syrup or with an egg wash. Bake until the top of cake is dark golden brown. 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

Brush some more of the orange sugar syrup over the warm cake. Serve warm or a room temperature.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/30/winter-scent-of-orange/

Dec 272008
 

I am always looking for something new and different to make for each holiday, and Hannukah is no exception. Bon Appetit magazine has some interesting recipes in its December 2008 edition and the cauliflower latke recipe sparked my interest. I made cauliflower latkes last year, but I was not completely happy with the outcome. They tasted great, but they weren’t very crunchy. The Bon Appetit recipe is a little crunchier and I really like the spicy kick from the Allepo pepper. If you can’t find any where you live, then just use cayenne pepper. The zaatar aioli was a perfect match to these latkes. I used a very nice zaatar mixture that we received as a gift from my company for Rosh Hashana. This zaatar had bigger dried zaatar leaves, sesame seeds and nigella, which gave the aioli an extra added crunch. I served the latkes with red mullet that I sauteed with garlic, lemon juice, and fresh oregano, and a steamed artichoke. I will definitely make these again next year. I think I am all fried food out. We cut down our Hannukah fried food eating considerably this year and our bodies are giving us a big hug for that.

Spicy Cauliflower Latkes with Zaatar Aioli

Yield: About 45 small latkes

Adapted from a recipe by Jayne Cohen

1 medium head of cauliflower cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 chopped fresh oregano

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine dry unseasoned breadcrumbs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 or 2 large eggs

Olive oil (not extra-virgin) for frying

DSC03250

Add garlic and half of cauliflower to processor; blend until smooth. Add remaining cauliflower, parsley, and dill. Pulse until cauliflower is chopped and mixture is still slightly chunky. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs, baking powder, salt, Aleppo or cayenne pepper and black pepper. Beat 1 egg in small bowl; mix into batter. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Add enough oil to heavy large skillet to coat bottom generously; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop 1 tablespoonful batter for each latke into skillet; flatten to 1 1/2-inch round. Cook until golden, adding oil as needed and adjusting heat if browning quickly. Transfer to rimmed baking sheets. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 180C ( 350F). Bake latkes uncovered until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve latkes with aioli, if desired, or sprinkle with zaatar and serve.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/27/vegetable-latkes-with-a-twist/

Zaatar Aioli

Zaatar Aioli

Yield: About 1 1/3 cups

Adapted from a recipe by Jayne Cohen

2 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

4 generous tablespoons mayonnaise

1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup za'atar

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium size bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at least several hours to allow flavors to develop. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/27/vegetable-latkes-with-a-twist/

Dec 242008
 

Chag Hannukah Sameach everyone! Happy Hannukah.

We were invited to a lovely Hannukah party at a friend’s house. So, I decided to make an Italian fritter that is usually made for Carnevale, but is quite fitting for our oily festival. Every region in Italy has their own fritter recipe: mine is from the imaginary province of Italy where we live in central Israel.

Our landlord recently surprised us one Friday morning by planting three lovely citrus trees: a clementine, a lemon, and an orange tree. He also brought us a large box of clementines and oranges to eat.

So, I decided to make some candied orange peel with some of the oranges and they were a perfect addition to the Hannukah fritters. These are lightly candied because I do not like to make them with a lot of sugar.

These fritters are also not too sweet because I cut the sugar in half. So, if you have a sweet tooth, you can make them with 1/2 cup of sugar. I also think the dusting of sugar is not necessary because the sweetness of the apples and the candied orange is enough.

Because they are not fried for very long, the apples remain crunchy enough to still taste fresh. Mr. BT thinks that next time we should also add some fresh or candied ginger to the batter in order to give it a real kick.

Frittole di Mela, Uvetta, Scorza D'arancia Candita E Pistacchio

Yield: Approximately 20-30 fritters

(Apple, Raisin, Candied Orange Rind and Pistachio Fritters) Adapted from a recipe from Kyle Phillips of ItalianFoodAbout.Com

No yeast method:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus 2 more tablespoons

1/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting (if you want)

3/4 cup whole milk (may need to add a little more)

2 eggs

1/2 cup raisins, muscatel if possible

1/2 cup chopped pistachios or whole pine nuts

1/2 cup candied orange rind, minced

2 large granny smith apples

Brandy

2 teaspoons baking powder

Zest and juice of one small lemon

Oil for frying

Yeast method:

20g fresh yeast or 1 sachet instant dried yeast

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm milk

2 cups flour

Pinch salt

1/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting (if you want)

1/2 cup raisins, muscatel if possible

1/2 chopped pistachios or whole pine nuts

1/2 cup candied orange rind, minced

2 granny smith apples

Brandy

Zest and juice of one small lemon

Oil for frying

No yeast method:

Put the raisins in a small bowl and soak in brandy for one hour, until plump.

Grate the zest of the lemon. Peel, core and cut the apples into a medium dice. Set aside and sprinkle the juice of the lemon you just zested on the apples.

Mix the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and milk. Then fold in the pistachio nuts, apples and candied orange. Drain the raisins well and dust them with the 2 tablespoons of flour, shaking them in a strainer to remove the excess flour. Fold them into the flour mixture.

Heat the oil on medium-high heat and when it is hot, drop the batter a tablespoon at a time into the hot oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain them on absorbent paper and dust optionally with sugar.

Serve immediately. These do not keep well.

Yeast method:

Put the raisins in a small bowl and soak in brandy for one hour, until plump.

In another bowl, mix together yeast and warm milk. Add flour, salt, sugar, apples, pistachios, candied peel and raisins to the batter. Whisk together well to make a thick batter. Cover and leave in a warm place for 2-3 hours, or until volume has doubled.

Heat the oil on medium-high heat and when it is hot, drop the batter a tablespoon at a time into the hot oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain them on absorbent paper and dust optionally with sugar.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/24/italian-soufganyiot-frittole/

Dec 152008
 

I can’t believe that it has been over a year since our trip to Verona, Tuscany, and Umbria. We are constantly talking about that trip and are longing to go back, so much so, that we hope one day we can buy a vacation home in Italy.

I have been meaning to finish blogging about our trip to Italy, but other events have distracted me. So, I am going to try and finally finish writing about our trip in the next few weeks.

Mr. BT and I did not spend a lot of time in Tuscany this trip because we concentrated most of the trip on Umbria. However, since neither one of us had been to Siena, we decided to make a detour on our way to Umbria. Siena was founded by the Etruscans and later refounded as a Roman colony. It grew to be one of the major cities of Europe and used to be as big as Paris was. It is really hard to believe that it was once that large and prosperous. Prosperity and innovation came to an abrupt halt with the Black Death, which reached Siena in 1348. The population went from 100,000 to 30,000 and never recovered. Today, it has a population of approximately 60,000.

The center of Siena is its great square, Piazza del Campo. Over four hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne described it as the most beautiful square in the world. I am not sure it is the most beautiful, but it is surely something to be seen. It is massive, you can see that this was the center of life for the Sienese. It was the  location of the city’s marketplace for produce and livestock, the scene of executions, bullfights, communal boxing matches, and the Palio. The Palio is a traditional medieval bareback horse race that is still held today, with all of its pomp and circumstance, one day in July and August.

The Duomo di Siena in its current size was built around 1215. Had it been completed, it would have been the largest cathedral in Italy outside Rome. Unfortunately, the expansion of the Duomo was halted due to the Black Death and lack of funds. But, it is still an awesome structure. It is a combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture made of black and white marble. The striped, almost zebra-like design is modelled after buildings in Pisa and Lucca. Walking in the cathedral with all of the inlaid marble floors and striped walls puts you in a trance.  Donatello, young Michaelangelo, Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni, Arnolfo di Cambio and Pinturicchio all contributed to the mass of beautiful art in the cathedral.

It is really hard to take it all in in one visit. We were under pressure to get to Umbria before dark, so we didn’t get to spend as much time as we would have like. This church is a definite must-see.

You cannot leave Siena without trying some of their specialties, such as pici. This pasta, which looks like spaghetti but is about twice as thick, is usually served with a wild boar ragu, but we made it with pesto in our hideaway on a mountain in Umbria.

Some of their other specialties are pappa col pomodoro (bread and tomato soup), tortino di carciofi (artichoke omelette), and salsicce seche (dried sausages). They are also famous for delicious sweets, such as panforte and ricciarelli. The best place to try these are at Pasticceria Nannini , which has been selling its delicious panforte, ricciarelli, and other Sienese delights since 1909.

Ricciarelli (pictured above, upper left corner) are classic orange-laced Sienese almond paste cookies that were once a Christmas delight, but are now enjoyed year-round. We bought a couple of these and wished we had bought some more. But our waists thanked us half-heartedly for not doing so.

Panforte contains dried fruits, spices (such as black pepper) and nuts. Some say that an authentic panforte should contain 17 ingredients to coincide with the number of neighborhoods (contrade) within the city walls.  Documents from 1205 show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February that year. Literally, panforte means “strong bread” which refers to the spicy flavour. The original name of Panforte was “panpepato” (pepper bread), due to the strong pepper used in the cake. There are references to the Crusaders carrying panforte with them on their quests. It is thought that the original panforte was made by nuns.

We tried a slice of the Panforte Margherita, which is made of sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, flour, orange zest, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. It was absolutely delicious.

All-in-all our short trip to Siena was well worth it. More to come….

The supermarket had a very good deal on an inexpensive cut of meat they called “Hamin”, which means a cut of meat for a slow-roasting Moroccan version of cholent. I really dislike cholent, but I figured I could find some other interesting slow-roasting recipe for this good deal. I remembered a wonderful beef and polenta dish that I had years ago in Firenze and I knew this was the perfect recipe for my cheap cut of meat.

Brasato al Chianti is a Tuscan slow-cooked beef dish that is typically made with Chianti wine, but I used a nice Israeli red table wine instead because Chianti does not cost 4 Euros here. For the Piedmont version of this dish, substitute a Barolo wine. A sangiovese or any light-bodied red wine can also be substituted.

The result was excellent: you wouldn’t have guessed that this was about the cheapest cut of beef they had in the supermarket, because it came out tender and full of flavour.

Brasato al Chianti

Serving Size: 4-6

(Italian beef braised in red wine)

1/4 cup olive oil

1kg (2 pounds) beef rump roast

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 bottle Chianti wine

1 cup stock or water

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 spring fresh oregano

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

6 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high flame. Remove the meat from the marinade, drying it off before searing. Brown the meat on all sides. Add marinade and vegetables to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low, cover and bake at 150C (300F) for 4 hours. Add water as necessary to maintain liquid so it covers about half of the beef. Remove the meat to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.

While the meat is resting, strain the pot liquid through a colander. Discard the sprigs of herbs and puree the vegetables in a food mill, blender or food processor. Stir the pureed vegetables back into the strained liquid and adjust the seasonings. Slice the beef and place it decoratively on a warm platter.

If you like a lighter sauce like I do, you can serve the sauce and vegetables as is or remove the vegetables and reduce the liquid by half, adding the vegetables a couple of minutes before serving.

Serve over polenta or gnocchi, or make polenta cakes, like I did, by make polenta according to the directions on the package. Let the polenta cool, form patties, and fry them in a little olive oil.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/15/hankering-for-tuscany/

 


Dec 102008
 

We are starting to feel winter approaching here in the center of  Israel. The temparature is around 19C (66F) during the day and around 12C (54F) in the evening. I know that most of you are having a real chuckle over my definition of winter, but the only true winter that you see in Israel is in the Golan Heights and Galilee, Jerusalem and the Negev.

Given the temperature change,  I was in the mood for a nice hearty dish for Shabbat dinner. I have been trying to convince my husband for a while now that he will like the way I cook barley. His experience with barley has apparently not been a good one. I on the other hand love barley and have nice memories of my father making a big pot of  barley & mushroom soup. I really miss this soup and I have not made in years.  So, I did a little bit of Southern sweet talking and convinced him to try an interesting barley recipe I found.

The recipe called for barley groats which is the least processed form of barley, with just the outermost hull removed. While it is chewier and slower to cook than more processed forms of barley, it is rich in fiber. They sell it in the supermarkets here in Israel, but you should be able to find it at Whole Foods or a health food store.

This simple one-pot chicken dish is perfect for a cold winter day. It is full of flavour using good chicken stock, fresh thyme and white wine. It  is even better the next day. You can make this with pearl barley, but reduce the cooking time from 1 hour to 35-40 minutes.

And the best part is that Mr. Baroness Tapuzina said he loved it and I could make it again for him. Twenty-five points for using my Scarlett O’Hara impression. It works every time. ;-) Now I can make the mushroom and barley soup.

Chicken with Barley Groats and Mushrooms

Serving Size: 4 to 6

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped

3 3/4 cups chicken stock

4 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press

1 1/2 cups barley groats or pearl barley

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1/2-tsp dried)

Season chicken with 1/8-tsp salt and pepper. In a shallow Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown the chicken in batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onion until golden. Add the leeks and the garlic, sauteing until the leeks are softened. Add the barley and bay leaf, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Then stir in the wine and cook until it evaporates. Add the chicken stock, mushrooms, thyme and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add the chicken, nestling it into the barley. Cover and cook until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour for barley groats (35-40 minutes for pearl barley).

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/10/barley-chicken/

Dec 062008
 

I have to admit that I haven’t been really inspired to blog lately. I have been very busy at work, I am worried about the economy, and the horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai took the wind out of my sails for over a week.

I made this flatbread as I was watching the news that announced the shootings at the train station in Mumbai. Somehow making this bread wasn’t so important anymore.

This is a very quick and easy recipe and the dough produces a nice chewy dough. I sprinkled the bread with a zaatar mix on one, and rosemary & sesame seeds on another.

Middle Eastern Flatbread

Yield: 4 individual round flatbreads or 1 large one

Adapted recipe from Faye Levy

1/2 tablespoon dry yeast

3/4 cup hand hot water

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Sift flour into a bowl and make a well in center. Sprinkle yeast into well. Pour 1/4 cup water over yeast and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup water, oil and salt and mix with ingredients in middle of well. Stir in flour and mix well to obtain a fairly soft dough. If dough is dry, add 1 tablespoon water. Knead dough, slapping it on work surface, until it is smooth and elastic. If it is very sticky, flour it occasionally while kneading.

Lightly oil a medium bowl. Add dough; turn to coat entire surface. Cover with plastic wrap or a lightly dampened towel. Let dough rise in a warm draft-free area about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 225C (425F). Lightly oil 2 baking sheets or place baking stone in oven.

Divide dough in 4 pieces. Roll each to an 18 cm. to 20-cm ( 7 to 8 inches) round slightly over 3 mm (1/10 of an inch) thick. Put on baking sheets . Rub a teaspoon or so of olive oil and the bread and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the topping of your choice evenly over each flatbread, leaving a 1-cm (1/3 of inch) border. Let breads rise for about 15 minutes.

Bake bread on baking sheets or baking stone for 8 minutes or until dough is golden brown and firm. Serve warm. If not serving breads immediately, cool them on racks. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or plastic bags.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/12/06/middle-eastern-flatbread/

Related Posts with Thumbnails