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Cold Zucchini Soup with Mozzarella and Anchovies

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Cold Zucchini Soup with Mozzarella and Anchovies

The little things that make a difference.
The soundtrack of a road trip; a mint leaf in a cup of coffee at Philz; freshly laundered bed sheets; popcorn with brewer's yeast served in a wooden bowl at the Red Vic Cinema (... trust me, people, have I ever lied to you?). And - why not - even the duo mozzarella&anchovie over a cream of zucchini otherwise slightly pale and sadly dietetic: the magic touch that brightens the day, warms up the soup, and saves your face.

Cold Zucchini Soup
with Mozzarella and Anchovies

for 4-5 people

zucchini about 1,5 kg
onion 1
garlic 2 cloves
mozzarella 1
oil-packed anchovies 4-5 fillets
day-old country bread 2 thick slices
vegetable stock, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano as needed

Slice the onion and peel the garlic cloves. Sauté them in a little bit of olive oil, and then add the zucchini, trimmed and cut into small pieces. Cook for few minutes, then cover with hot vegetable stock and cook for about 10 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and puree with a blender until soup gets smooth and without lumps. Season with salt and pepper and let cool down.
Meanwhile cut mozzarella into small pieces, dress them with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with some oregano. Cut the bread slices into cubes, toss them with a little bit of olive oil and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until nice and crisp.
Serve the soup at room temperature, topping each bowl with diced mozzarella, one anchovy fillet cut into pieces, and few bread croutons.
(Recipe courtesy of La Cucina Italiana, ed).

Blueberry Jam

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Blueberry Jam

Back to basic.
Blueberries, sugar, lemon. Delightfully, passionately blue.

Blueberry Jam
for approx. 6-7 medium jars

blueberries 2 kg
sugar 600 gr
lemons 2
green apples 2

Wash blueberries and mix them with sugar and juice of two lemons. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, place them in a large pot along with the green apples' peel. Cook at low-medium heat, stirring occasionally and skimming if necessary, until jam reaches the desired consistency (about 45-60 minutes). Discard apple peel, and while jam is still hot, pour it in previously sterilized glass jars, close tightly and place them in a pot full of water, boiling for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars cool down in the same water to create the vacuum.

Strawberry Tomato Gazpacho

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Strawberry Tomato Gazpacho

I've had a thought that talks about you
everything dies but you
you are the dearest thing I have
and if I bite a strawberry
I'll bite you too...

(Vasco Rossi, And; listen to it here)

Beautifully red. Curiously sweet.
My other gazpacho.

Strawberry Tomato Gazpacho
for 4-5 people

strawberries, net 650 gr
cherry tomatoes 150 gr
red bell pepper, small 1
cucumber 1
olive oil 1 tablespoon
balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons
salt, pepper to taste
To serve: old day bread, olive oil, strawberries, cucumber, basil, honey or agave nectar, salt, pepper as needed

Wash strawberries and cut them in pieces. Peel cucumber, cut it in half and remove seeds. Cut bell pepper into strips and remove seeds. Blend fruit and vegetables with one tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar until you get a smooth and homogeneous puree. Season with salt and pepper, cover with plastic and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Cut the bread into 1/4" cubes, dress them with a little bit of olive oil and toast in hot oven for about 10 minutes or until crisp. Cut some strawberries into small cubes and season them with chopped basil, salt, and a few drops of agave. Peel half of a cucumber, remove seeds and cut into cubes. When ready to serve the gazpacho, decorate each bowl with a handful of toasted croutons, diced strawberries and cucumbers, and sprinkle with black pepper.

Beet Cake

Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Beet Cake

Falling in love at first sight.
With a stranger met on the street; a pair of shoes seen in the window of a cute retro store; an annoying cat found behind a bush. Or with this thing below, discovered by accident thanks to a friend's recommendation.

beet cake from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

Now, tell me if this is not the most chocolaty romantic, deliciously intriguing and wonderfully nostalgic video-recipe you have ever seen.
For something like this you can forgive everything. Even beets in the batter.

Beet Cake
for a round cake pan of 9" diameter

red beets, cooked and pureed 2 cups
flour 2 cups
dark brown sugar 1 1/2 cup
semisweet chocolate 4 oz.
butter, room temperature 1 cup
eggs, room temperature 3
baking soda 2 teaspoons
salt 1/4 teaspoon
vanilla 1 teaspoon

Cook beets by boiling them in slightly salted water until tender. Peel them and puree them with a food processor. Allow to cool and set aside. Coarsely chop the chocolate, place it in a small pan and melt it in a double boiler.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar with the butter, cut into small pieces, until mixture is smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, then beets, warm chocolate and vanilla. Keep beating until the batter gets puffed and fluffy. Add flour, previously mixed with salt and baking soda.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured round baking pan and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, until your toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool off on a wire rack and then dust the surface with confectioners' sugar.

And now, at the end of the story, how did this cake behave, you may ask? I'd say it's been a very interesting experience, with a super soft subject, spongy and moist, a slightly chocolaty flavor and not at all beety (at least for me, but I'm a sucker for beets, so maybe my opinion doesn't count...). It's worth risking the adventure just to enjoy all the preliminaries, and most of all that super romantic pink batter.

Roasted Baby Eggplants

Monday, August 1, 2011
Roasted Baby Eggplants

Roasted eggplants comeback. Only, this time a little tinier, rounded and softer.
While searching for raspberries at the farmers' market, I instead let myself get swept away by this avalanche of purple tenderness.
Honey. Olive oil. Chilies. Salt and pepper. Thirty minutes in the oven and they win you over.


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