Apr 19

1⁄2 lemon, juice only
4 baby artichokes
6 slices speck
1⁄4 c. grape tomatoes
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare the artichokes: Combine the lemon juice with water in a large bowl. Remove the tough outer leaves and, using a sharp paring knife, peel the outer layer of the artichokes, including the stem, until you reach the whitish inner layer. Trim off about 1⁄2 to 1 inch from the top of each artichoke. Slice the artichokes in 1⁄2 lengthwise and slice or scoop out and discard the hairy choke. Thinly slice the artichokes lengthwise and place the artichokes in the lemon water to prevent discoloration. 2. Arrange the speck slices on a large platter. 3. Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Arrange in a circle in the center of the speck slices. 4 Slice the tomatoes in 1⁄2 and arrange in the center of the artichoke circle. 5 Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper. Serves 2

Replace: speck with prosciutto

Medium-bodied red wine, such as Rosso di Montalcino

Mar 29
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a specialty typical of Florence that can be found there during the first months of the year, especially during Lent. This cake is the quintessential Florentine dessert because it is based on olive oil and is simple and healthy.
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This recipe is from my mother and, like every recipe, hides some little secrets. This one has three:
1. It must be baked on a very ordinary iron oven tray, not an aluminum one.
2. As soon as you have prepared the mixture and have laid it out, put it in the oven, immediately!
3. Make sure the oven is at the right temperature before you start cooking because the preparation only takes a few minutes.
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This cake is simple to make but the decoration is what makes it impressive: an egg with a bow if you do it for Easter, or with a Lily of Florence on any other occasion. The Easter egg design you see here may look hard, but it’s as easy to do as the schiacciata!  Just click here to download the stencil.
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Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons

extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra
2 eggs
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1⁄4-ounce package instant yeast
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
confectioners’ sugar
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Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly brush a 9-by-13-inch pan with olive oil and sprinkle with flour. Shake the flour around the pan so that there are no spots left uncovered and tap to remove any excess. Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk until well combined. Add the olive oil and milk in a slow, steady stream and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until a smooth batter is reached. Pour the batter into the pan and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the schiacciata is golden and springs back when touched. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, using a stencil, if desired, and serve. Serves 10
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Jan 18

 

10 oz. mixed dried fruit
1 l. red wine
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
nutmeg, freshly grated
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. rum

1. In a large skillet, combine 10 oz. mixed dried fruit with enough water to cover. 2. Bring to a light boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the fruit is tender. 3. Add 1 l. red wine, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, freshly grated nutmeg, and the zest of 1 orange. Bring to a boil again and cook for 15 minutes. 4. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Add 2 tbsp. honey and 4 tbsp. rum and stir. 5. Serve the punch in preheated tempered glasses, distributing the pieces of fruit at the bottom of the glass first and covering with the punch. Garnish with orange slices and cinnamon sticks, if desired. Serves 6 to 8

 

Dec 21

½ pound brown lentils
salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 anchovy fillets packed in salt, rinsed, drained, minced
1 cup canned plum tomatoes
4 cups fish stock
freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish

Place lentils in a pot and add enough water to cover them. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary. In a pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and anchovies and cook until garlic is golden and anchovies dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Add lentils, their cooking liquid and the stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and stir in the parsley, cover and cook for another 15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine and for the liquid to reduce slightly. To serve, ladle the soup into 6 individual bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with parsley. Serves 6

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone!!

Generous Full-Bodied Red

  • This article was featured in the November-December 2011 issue of our e-magazine CIBO. For more recipes, subscribe to CIBO!

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