Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chickpea and Parsley Salad

My new favorite salad!

Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the zest of one lemon and the juice of 2 fresh lemons.
Press 3 cloves of garlic into the lemon juice.
Add a little salt and a good amount of pepper.
Chop about 1/2 bunch of parsley and 10 leaves of basil - add to bowl.
Add chickpeas.
Add two big handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese.
Drizzle with EVOO.
Toss. Enjoy!

This is best if it sits a few hours. I also sliced another lemon and added it as garnish.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Berbere (Ethiopian Spice Mix)

I mentioned using berbere in my last post and thought I should include the recipe. I double the batch and store in a glass jar.

  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1/4 cup ground dried New Mexico chiles (or crushed red pepper)
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

  • Cooling Down Spicy Greens

    I received a mountain of kale and collard greens from the CSA this week and decided to try something with cannelloni beans and a kick of spice.

    I started by melting butter in a large pan and dumping in some of my homemade berbere (Ethiopian spice mix). Added the washed and trimmed greens and cooked until wilted, then tossed in a can of cannelloni beans.

    Once the beans were heated through, I gave it a taste. Wow, was it spicy!
    What to do? What to do? I rummaged around and found a beautiful orange. After adding it to the greens and beans, it cooled it down enough for me but was still too spicy for my eaters.

    Last ditch solution ... bought more greens, cooked them down without the spice and combined all. It was a hit.

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    What I Learned in Italy #7

    Even though there are grocery stores, it is better to purchase cheese, coffee, and flour from the cheese producer, the coffee bean importer, and the guy who grinds the wheat.

    It should take at least three hours to complete these tasks due to the distance you must travel through the hillsides of Tuscany and the time you spend visiting with the people you meet at each location.

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Italy - First Post of Many to Come! Pear Torte

    The driving force behind my trip to Italy was to take cooking lessons so the fact that the weather was terrible on two of the side-trip days didn't bother me much. And really, after you've seen five castles and cathedrals, they all start to look the same! 

    This is from the first class. It is a pear, ricotta, and pecorino pie in a puff pastry shell. Nutmeg and pine nuts give it a little extra interest.

    Torta Salata con Formaggio and Pere

    4 or 5 pears
    1 puff pastry circle, thawed
    1 egg
    3/4 - 1 cup ricotta cheese
    5 oz pecorino romano
    Couple grinds of nutmeg
    Dash of salt
    Handful of pine nuts

    Heat oven to 350 degrees.

    Peel and cut pears into 1 inch-ish chunks. Cut up pecorino to a similar size. 
    Add ricotta, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pine nuts, then stir.

    Place dough (on parchment) into pan and prick the bottom with a fork. 

    Fill with pear mixture and fold edges of pastry over the top.

    Cut parchment from around the pan.

    Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until inside is firm and pastry is brown.

    Tip: This can also be made as a savory pie by substituting the pears with zucchini.