Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sardinian Penicillin Soup

WOW!!!! I can't believe it took me this long to discover this! Sardinian toasted fregola! Ah-mazing!! I have been to Sardinia a few times but I don't remember having this. Although it is totally possible. There are so many things to eat there.

Fregola is a semolina pasta that is rolled into little balls and toasted. And it's the toasting that makes it out of this world. So much flavour or as my husband said of this soup that I made,  "exploding" with flavour. I really urge you to find in this your local Italian grocery store. I think I'm going to start experimenting with this and make a risotto style dish.

There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of  chicken soup when you are under the weather. Italian and Jewish moms have known this forever. Penicillin chicken noodle soup. That is the first my mother makes when she is not feeling well. Heck, it doesn't even matter if it's 100 degrees outside. As a kid I never appreciated it or believed it, for that matter, but as an adult I find myself doing the same thing. When I do make chicken soup from scratch, I always make sure to freeze some of the broth, for days like these that I need a little comfort food.

But please don't let the lack of homemade chicken broth deter you from making this. I would definitely still make this with a chicken bouillon cube. Maybe use a low sodium version because you will get a lot of salt from the pancetta. Oh, and I also had a little piece of parmesan rind on hand that I slipped in when I  dropped in the fregola in the broth... Did I tell you how good this soup was?!

Toasted Fregola Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pancetta, cubed
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cups or 1 quart of chicken broth or water if using a chicken bouillon cube
1 cup toasted fregola
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the pancetta until crispy. Add the carrots, celery and onions and continue cooking a couple of minutes. Don't worry that the vegetables aren't soft because they will cook further with the broth. Pour in the broth or water and bring to a boil. Drop in the fregola. You can add a little water if it gets too thick. It's ready when the fregola is al dente. Serve with parmesan cheese.

m xo

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Espresso Almond Cookies

I missed you. It's been awhile... This past week has been very hectic. I got back from NYC and a couple of days later it was my nieces, Ella and Emma's First Communion. It was a beautiful day and they looked even more beautiful. And then as soon as that was done, the very next day I got sick. Just a really bad cold but bad enough that I had to stay in bed for a couple days. But I'm much better now and ready to start blogging again. Yippee!!

Thank goodness I made these cookies the week before the communion and just stuck them in the freezer.  All I had to do was take them out the night before. I got this recipe from the blog, The Italian Dish and they have become  one of my go-to cookie recipes. It's SUPER easy. Right up my alley. They also happen to be gluten free.

Espresso Almond Cookies
(from The Italian Dish)

3 tablespoons espresso coffee
3 cups ground almonds
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
A pinch of salt
Whole coffee beans for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix together the ground almonds, coffee, sugar, egg whites and salt to form a paste.
Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet. Top each ball with an espresso bean.
Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch and golden brown on the bottom.
Cool and store in an airtight container.

m xo

Monday, 5 May 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo from Brooklyn

Any excuse to eat Mexican, I'm in. I could eat it almost everyday. And Margarita's, well, who needs an excuse for those.

I happen to be in NYC for this Cinco de Mayo and there is a fabulous Mexican restaurant down in Dumbo that we love called Gran Electrica. It's hip. It's cool. Maybe a little hipster (not that we are). And the food is really good.

John had the house Margarita, which is good. I had the Margarita de Pepino made with cucumber-cilantro juice, which was amazing!!

I  ordered the fish tacos and John had the carnitas tacos.

Where ever you are this Cinco de Mayo, hope you enjoy it. The food is important but the company is even more important.

m xo

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Just Another Quinoa Stir Fry

So, here's the thing. The beginning of the week I wanted to cook some quinoa for the broccoli muffins that I made, and as I  measured out the dry quinoa that the recipe called for, I noticed that there really wouldn't be much left in the bag, so I decided to cook the whole thing…well, boy, did it make a lot of quinoa!! And thank goodness we love quinoa because we have been eating it in different forms ALL week.

Tonight I made a broccoli stir fry. I love stir fries because you can basically throw in whatever odds and ends you have in the refrigerator. And this week was perfect because we are going away and I need to "clean" the refrigerator. I hate to throw anything away. I happen to have steamed broccoli and carrots. Again, I'm not giving you exact amounts here because it depends on what you have and how many people you are feeding.

Broccoli Quinoa Stir Fry

2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 red onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh ginger, minced
1-2 hot, red chili, minced
1-2 cups cooked quinoa
Broccoli, steamed
Carrots, sliced
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
Sesame oil

Heat wok or pan over high heat. Add the eggs and cook until set but still moist. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat more oil in the wok and when hot and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili's, if using. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrots, quinoa and scrambled eggs and stir fry until everything is combined and warmed through. Drizzle on some soy sauce and and a few drops of sesame oil. Serve.

m xo