Home About me All the recipes. More or less organized Inspiration Wanna send me a note? Italian version

Vegan Pull Apart Brioche with Cocoa and Cinnamon

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Vegan Pull Apart Brioche With Cocoa and Cinnamon

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound...
Home, where my thought's escaping
Home, where my music's playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me...

~ Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel, Homeward Bound

Since I saw this wonderful thing here, at his place, I had no peace. All that massive amount of warmth and sweetness could not slip away without consequences. Because it's like being hit by a bomb of cuddling, being knocked out by a punch of love in the eye, or a shot of tenderness in the chest. And I repeat it here for the twomillioneighthundredandfortyseventhousandthreehundredandfourth time, I've got a tender heart. It may not look like it, but I'm easy to conquer; two breadsticks, half a glass of wine (but red, pay attention! and if it's mulled wine or fragolino, consider myself yours...), a free smile, four freckles, or a leavened something, languid and soft as Heidi's clouds (yep, that's it, you may as well take note, just in case...).
And if you allow me a small confession, this brioche here, adapted to my kinda new vegan ego, it's also the third time that I make it in a month or so. 'Cause when it comes out of the oven, it's as if I poured over myself a bottle of affection smelling of cocoa and cinnamon; because the scent only can warm your gut like a cup of broth on a rainy night; because in front of a big bowl of tea it's like a creature that wraps you in a loving hug and takes you right back home to watch TV under the blanket.
Homeward Bound . Yes, such is the effect of this brioche. A homecoming, after many years, to find old friends, some faded photo albums, and your stoic stack of vinyl records.

Flour and Cocoa

Vegan Pull Apart Brioche
With Cocoa and Cinnamon

for a 9" loaf pan

Rolling Pin

For the Brioche Dough
type 0 flour 250 gr
bread flour 130 gr
fresh yeast 15 gr
warm water 40 ml
salt 1 pinch
sugar 50 gr
soy milk 100 ml
vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
silken tofu 100 gr
vegetable shortening 60 gr

For the Filling
vegetable shortening 1 tablespoon
light brown sugar 60 gr
unsweetened powdered cocoa 15 gr
cinnamon 1 teaspoon

Cocoa and Cinnamon

In the bowl of a standing mixer, or for the less fortunate fellows, in the bowl period, mix flour, sugar, and salt, then add the yeast previously dissolved in warm water, and start kneading.
On the side blend tofu, or, always for Mr Less Fortunate of the last row, crush it well with a spoon so that there are no lumps.
When the mixture in the bowl is blended together, add warm milk, vanilla, and the tofu previously mashed. Keep working until the dough is smooth and round. At this point, slowly add the shortening (ok, ok, I beg your pardon for this vegetable butter otherwise known as margarine, but there is very very little of it, for once we can do it, and maybe we can do without the caramel popcorn fired by the microwave when watching TV under the blanket... parenthesis closed), and keep working with the arms or with the mixer until you get an elastic and slightly sticky ball of dough.
Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for about an hour and a 15 minutes or until doubled in size. After rising time, deflate the dough on a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle about 20x11 inches. Brush the surface with melted vegetable shortening and sprinkle with sugar, cocoa and cinnamon mixed together.
Cut the rectangle in 6 strips about 3" wide, and gently stack them one above the other. Cut the tower in 6 rectangles, and place them standing up one next to the other in the slightly greased pan, in herringbone shape. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.
Oh, I almost forgot, do yourself a favor and serve it warm.

Pan and Pin

Mushroom Barley Soup

Friday, November 23, 2012
Mushroom Barley Soup

poi una notte di settembre mi svegliai
il vento sulla pelle,
sul mio corpo il chiarore delle stelle
chissà dov’era casa mia
e quel bambino che giocava in un cortile...

~ Nomadi, Io Vagabondo

then one night in September I woke up
wind on my skin,
starlight on my body
I wondered where my home was
and that kid playing in the courtyard...

~ Nomadi, Me, a Vagabond

There comes a time when you decide to leave behind your certainties and you're ready to embrace new ones.
It seems to happen quite suddenly, but deep down you know that it's actually the combined effect of all the intersections you've crossed before, of all those sleepless nights spent riding a bicycle through the paths of your mind; that it's a spell orchestrated by the dust of the desert and the stars of a forest in the summer; it's the energy received by silent glances and infinite hugs, which slowly took shape within you and became the courage of a dive into the unknown.
It looks like you've done it all by yourself, but deep down you feel obliged to thank one by one those encounters, and those farewells, the loves real and fake, the tears, and the smiles, and all those written words, and sung, or recited, and then again those that were rewritten, edited, and returned to the sender.
It's wandering this way that you get there, to photograph and then sit in front of a mushroom soup that seems to speak a universal language. You close your eyes and you could be in Paris. But also in Rome or San Francisco. And all you ask is to keep wandering through unknown roads, with a tender heart and a ticket always open.

Thyme and Shiitake Mushrooms

Mushroom Barley Soup
for 4-5 people

mixed fresh mushrooms
(white and brown button mushrooms, shiitake)
650 gr
dried shiitake mushrooms 10 gr
onion 1/2
shallot 1
carrot 1
celery stalk 1
pearled barley 100 gr
vegetable stock 1 liter approx.
tamari or soy sauce 4-5 tablespoons
olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, bay leaves as needed

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with water and let stand at least 10 minutes. Drain and chop them, reserving their liquid.
Finely chop onion and shallot and sauté for a few minutes in a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, add diced carrot and celery, fresh and soaked mushrooms, and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Add barley, tamari, broth, mushrooms' water, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 40 minutes. If necessary, add a bit of water. Season with salt and pepper and serve

Thyme and Salt

For this recipe which may make sense only to me (please forgive me, I won't do it anymore...), I was inspired by a similar soup that I've tasted at Whole Foods, this place so wonderful that I'd almost sleep in there, a foodist' paradise where food doesn't lie, it's your friend and often you find out that it's also your neighbor; a hipster supermarket where apples seem to have fallen right from the tree of your childhood, scents and colors would get drunk also the irreducible ones, and where employees are all... you know... beautiful, fit, and tattooed.

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

Monday, November 19, 2012
Vegan Cake with Pistachios and Olive Oil

So don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow

~ Cindy Lauper, True Colors

Vegan cake, round two.
At this point I would almost say it's official, I don't even do it on purpose and I find myself coming out...
Olé! Love me the same amount, because I'm still the same girlinthekitchen with a soul a little vintage and a blog a tiny bit messed up. Don't panic, I don't bite, and I'm not bad. I'm simply differently fed, and yes, maybe even a little dreamy.
With or without tofu, I keep listening to music, arguing with artichokes, and falling in love with Robert De Niro inside a bookstore in New York. With or without tofu, I keep being moved with no shame by some orange marmalade during winter mornings. With or without tofu, I have the same tender heart, I do.
With vegan love, please accept a slice of this soft and fruitylicious cake, and peace.
And if someone wants to ask me why, I just say why not.

Pistachios and Olive Oil

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake
for a 9" diameter springform pan

toasted, shelled pistachios 85 gr
soy yogurt, plain 140 gr
extra-virgin olive oil 65 gr
unrefined sugar 150 gr
silken tofu 170 gr
flour 150 gr
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
salt 1 pinch
vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
For the topping
organic orange 1
organic lemon 1
unrefined sugar 100 gr
water 240 ml
Grand Marnier 60 ml
toasted, shelled pistachios, unsalted 40 gr
pomegranate seeds as needed

Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground, being careful not to overdo it, or else they will release their oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix yogurt, tofu, sugar, oil and vanilla, and beat well until smooth and with no lumps. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and add to the tofu mixture. Mix well, then add ground pistachios and incorporate to the rest.
Pour batter into the springform pan previously greased with oil and lined with parchment paper on the bottom, and bake at 325 for about 30 or 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Wash the orange and the lemon ( moi? Meyer lemon, ça va sans dire... ), cut them in half and then into slices about a 1/4" thick. Remove seeds, and place them in a pot with water, sugar, and liqueur. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for about an hour until the fruit is very tender. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until it becomes thick. Spread it on top of the cooled cake, and finish it off with chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
So delicious and I mean it!

Pistacchi e Melograno

The recipe comes from this new best friend of mine, which I bought in a tenth of a second after seeing it by accident in a window downtown (I see it, I go in, Iwant that, I pay, thank you, I go out).
And if he and I now sleep together, it is also because of this cake, I want you to know that.

Vegan Guinness Chocolate Cake

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Vegan Guinness Chocolate Cake

He was a wise man who invented beer.
~ Plato

... to say nothing of the one who invented dark chocolate, and sunglasses, the one who gave birth to chamomile tea, summer at the seaside and facebook, that who developed hair gel - even better if it smells like cookies -, flared jeans, fragolino wine and focaccia, and even the one who created Snoopy, the bicycle, the toaster and the sky full of stars.
But we digress. Or maybe not, who knows, I like to think that everything is held together by the same thread, a shaggy cord full of knots, powered by candies, raspberries, and popcorn, that passing by Plato with his pint of beer, and through Calvin & Hobbes, Amélie Poulain and Lucio Battisti, has resisted time, the whims and storms of the mind without ever breaking at all, and has surprisingly led me in front of this cake, super chocolaty, very elegant and total black, to put it as he does.

Guinness and Flour

GUINNESS?? CHOCOLATE?? CAKE?? Have I heard it right? Three of the things that make life worth living, joined together in a soft and spongy hug. Impossible not to be seduced. Impossible not to capitulate.
And therefore, when they virtually suggested me the same warm, tender, and fragrant hug in veganlove version, as a gesture of love towards myself, as a tribute to a dusty 50mm lens and a trunk full of mismatched bowls and crumpled rags, but also as an act of trust for this crazy little blog and this crazy little world, I jumped at the chance without thinking about it too much.
And just like a cochobeersugar boomerang, after adjusting, sanding and repainting it my way, I throw you the same hug full of love and hope, on top of an ideal off-white vintage tray.
Call it what you will, delusions of a romantic foodblogger, sweet paranoia of a mid-autumn night, special effects of one Guinness too many, but if that same thread, passing through some semi-secret door, managed to get to you, I recommend you capitulate with me, grab this boomerang and share a slice, before re-launching it through space as it should be.
Because it was certainly a wise man or woman who invented beer, but even more so the one who dared mixing it with chocolate.
To say nothing of the one who one day tried adding some tofu...

Cocoa and Guinness

Vegan Guinness Chocolate Cake
for a 9" diameter springform pan

Chocolate and Cocoa

flour 250 gr
unsweetened cocoa powder 100 gr
sugar 300 gr
baking soda 2 teaspoons
baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
salt 1 pinch
guinness extra stout 450ml
sunflower seed oil 100 gr
vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
silken tofu 125 gr

For the chocolate frosting
semisweet chocolate 170 gr
coconut milk 120 ml

Waiting for the Cake

In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar, stir and set aside. In another bowl whisk together oil, vanilla extract, beer and tofu (yesyesyes, you've read that right, oil+Guinness+tofu, it sounds like Star Trek disguised as Grandma Duck, but trust me, it'll all work out that way...) until the mixture is smooth and without any lump. Gradually add the flour&cocoa mixture and stir until well blended. Pour batter into a springform pan previously greased with oil, and bake at 350 for about an hour. Let the cake cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a bowl. Heat coconut milk over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Pour boiling milk over the chocolate, so that it completely covers it. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before mixing it to yield a smooth glaze. Let it cool down for about 30 or 40 minutes until it thickens and becomes spreadable (if it's not thick enough, add one teaspoon of corn starch and stir well). At this point, beat the frosting with an electric mixer so that it incorporates air and feels lighter. Gently spread it on top of the cooled cake and serve.

Vegan Guinness Chocolate Cake is Gone

Fudgy Wudgy Raspberry Brownies

Thursday, November 1, 2012
Fudgy Wudgy Vegan Raspberry Brownies

Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.
~ Joanne Harris, Chocolat

It happens sometimes, that you run into a special encounter. You're standing there looking up in the air, lost through the tortuous streets of your heart, busy imagining the sky, to the extent that at times you almost feel as if you've lost the thread of your skein. Then one day, one day like any other, with the sun, the fog and perhaps a hint of rain, you find yourself in the middle of an intersection, and still gazing into the clouds, you unconsciously make a left turn. And it's right there, at the end of the curve, half by chance and half for fun, that it hits you.
It's someone like you, half a soul mate with his own tangled skein, wwandering and looking up in the air, and clinging to your same ghosts, trying not to lose the thread. In that moment, under the tenderness of a random encounter in the rain, you understand why you had to make a turn at that intersection, why right that path, why those reflections in the mirrors have led you up to that point. Suddenly, exchanging umbrellas, your wandering starts making sense, and indeed the reason why for a long time you've ran around in a circle seems quite obvious, and so do all those curves, and those distractions, and the hills with no top, and the ways down into the night. The map of the labyrinth inside you starts getting a little clearer, and the countless times you've argued with whoever it was who drew it in you, slip away from memory.
Without thinking too much, and with eyes still at the clouds, you feel that the only thing you're required to do is stretch your heart, hide your clutter a little bit, and make room for those like you who sometimes get tangled under the rain. It's at the end of the curve, and thanks to that unexpected encounter, that you decide to sit down for a moment, take a breath, and put off for a day the checklist of things. It's an afternoon like any other, with the sun, the fog and perhaps a hint of rain, the day when you exchange your threads, and organize an unlikely picnic by swapping a slice of cake and some toasted bread with jam.
And then, when you start your ride again, you feel lighter, as if by magic, because you know that the skein is now a little less tangled.

These bittersweet brownies, full of cracks but guilt-free, these soft, red and graciously imperfect brownies are the result of an encounter in the rain. I dedicate them to all those special people who suddenly happen to fall into your hands, and who unwittingly light your way.

Fudgy Wudgy Brownies Batter

Fudgy Wudgy Raspberry Brownies*
for a 9x13" baking pan

semisweet chocolate chips 120 gr + 65 gr
raspberry fruit spread 280 gr
soy milk 50 gr
unrefined sugar 150 gr
vegetable oil 75 gr
flour 250 gr
unsweetened cocoa powder 25 gr
almond extract 1/2 teaspoon
pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
baking powder 1/4 teaspoon
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
salt 1 pinch
fresh raspberries 150 gr

Fudgy Wudgy Raspberry Brownies Batter

In a double boiler melt 120 grams of chocolate chips, and let cool. In a large bowl, combine the raspberry fruit spread with soy milk, sugar, oil and extracts. Beat with the mixer for few minutes until the mixture is smooth and without any lump. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add them by hand to the previous mixture. Stir well and then add the melted chocolate, the remaining chocolate chips and the fresh raspberries. The batter will be quite thick.
Spread it in the pan previously greased with oil and dusted with flour, and level it with a spatula. You don't need to spread it to the very corners of the pan, because the batter will expand while baking and everything will be OK. No worries.
Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. For once forget the toothpick test, because brownies are moist and the toothpick would betray you. Just trust the smell coming out of the oven...
Let them cool off, then cut the brownies into squares, have a bite and scream out loud:


Fudgy Wudgy Raspberry Brownies on Plate

*I adapted the recipe from Veganomicon, slightly adjusting the amount of chocolate and flour. This is my latest craze, which - I fear - one day I'll have to explain. But for now, just take them as they are, these crazy, reddish, guilt-free brownies.
With vegan love.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
~ Charles M. Schulz

Melon Gazpacho with Prosciutto and Mint

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Melon Gazpacho

What can I say? We can talk about figs as much as you like, but in my opinion nothing beats the pairing melon&prosciutto. It's an invention so brilliant that I wish I had thought of it myself, one of those things so peacefully just that make you stop looking for reasons. A perfect match, like popcorn at the movies, snow on Christmas Day, or pizza by the slice in an afternoon by the sea. Like Ovaltine before a ski race. And if that were not enough, melon&prosciutto has the scent of summer, but of the one yet to come, that summer of the mind that's always full of dreams and expectations, with all its shooting stars, its trips to the north of the world, and its love stories stolen to the logic.
And I hope you already know all this from experience, because really... raise your hand if you've ever eaten melon&prosciutto, stark as it was invented, without feeling at peace with the world.

And I wanted to. I'm serious. I really wanted to stay calm and eat two slices of melon in peace, wrapped in so much goodness just as God intended. But for the benefit of the blog and of the whole humanity, I decided it was my duty to make an exception. So I gave in, and I started smashing and blending the melon with great fun, and messing up prosciutto with as much pain. Yet if they call us foodbloggers there must be a reason.
Tested for you. And now don't put up any resistance.

Melon Gazpacho
with Prosciutto and Mint

for 4 people
melon, net 1 kg approx.
yellow peaches 3
lemon 1
shallot, small 1/2
balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons
Parma prosciutto 3-4 thin slices
salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh mint as needed


Cut melon and peaches in pieces, and blend them with great fun along with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, a small piece of shallot, a pinch of salt, and a little bit of water. Keep the gazpacho in the fridge until ready to serve.
Meanwhile heat some extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy skillet, and despite the great pain add the prosciutto slices, cut in pieces, cooking them on both sides until they are crisp. Dry them on paper towels, then chop them as small as you like.
Serve the gazpacho, garnishing each plate with some of the prosciutto, chopped fresh mint, and a sprinkling of black pepper.


Roasted Figs with Prosciutto and Walnuts

Thursday, August 16, 2012
Roasted Figs with Prosciutto and Walnuts

Wrap me in prosciutto
& love me for ever

Roasted Figs
with Prosciutto and Walnuts

for 4 people

figs, black and green 8
Parma prosciutto 3-4 thin slices
walnut halves 8-10
fresh thyme 4-5 sprigs
honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper as needed


Wash figs and carefully pat them dry with paper towel. Remove the stems, then cut the figs crosswise from the top, about halfway down the fruit. Gently push them down so that they flatten a bit and will remain straight while baking.
Stuff figs with some coarsely chopped walnuts and one or two thyme sprigs, cut in half. Cut each slice of prosciutto lengthwise into two or three strips, and wrap each fig with one of them.
In a separate bowl, mix two tablespoons of honey with a little balsamic vinegar. Season the figs with salt and pepper, and a few drops of the balsamic emulsion.
Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, until prosciutto is slightly crisp and figs are soft. Serve them warm with the juice released while roasting.

No need to unwrap to enjoy...

Figs, Walnuts, and Thyme

Blistered Padrón Peppers

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Blistered Padrón Peppers

Los pimientos de Padrón,
unos pican y outros non.

No offense, but I can certainly say I am lucky.
I realize it all of a sudden a Sunday morning in the middle of summer, while I walk around the stalls of a neighborhood farmers' market, still sleepy, and, between endless varieties of tomatoes - pink (!!!!!!), black, and cherry red - among Korean melons, Thai basil, tomatillos and lemongrass, between Chinese spinach and sweet potatoes, in the hands of a Mexican teenage boy to my own surprise I find these peppers, which I happened to taste for the first time spread on top of a deliciously sweet pizza, and then again cheesely lying on a bed of almond cream during one of those romantic evenings that smell of strawberries, basil, and illusions.
These pimientos de Padrón are a variety of small green chilies, typical of the region of Galicia. They are commonly served as a tapa in the local taverns, usually accompanied by a nice and refreshing cold beer. The characteristic that makes them appealing as well as famous, is the fact that some of them are harmless and sweet, others are intense and spicy, but it's impossible to know, since from the outside the two varieties look exactly the same.
For this reason, someone said that our peppers are like a Russian roulette, sweet or pungent, you never know what will happen. Any bite could be fatal, and hit you like a super hot puncture.
Me, I'd rather think that they are just like the Alpine sky on an August afternoon, mysterious and unpredictable, a minute before it's warm and blue, and then suddenly it becomes arrogant, brash, and stormy.
Or, if you excuse me, I'd rather say that these small pimientos are just like the night, like all those sleepless nights that are sometimes sweet, sometimes bold and violent. Not sure what to prefer, but in the end you don't even have to choose.
Why try to prefer one over the other when you can have both? Just let yourself go with trust, surrender to their temptress and illusory tenderness, and let each bite surprise you with such elusive goodness.

Blistered Padrón Peppers
quantities are variable, depending on the hunger of diners

Padrón peppers
extra-virgin olive oil
fleur de sel
lemon juice

Shamelessly and blatantly a non-recipe. But trust me, the best way to enjoy these adorable pimientos - lucky me - is also the simplest in the world.
Heat some extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy skillet, wash the peppers, pat them dry, and add them to the pan, whole. Let them cook thoroughly over medium-high heat until they soften and darken on both sides.
Pull out from the back of your pantry your most precious salt, and use a generous handful to flavor the pimientos. If you like - I do, for sure - add also some fresh lemon juice.
Accessorize with a glass of beer and possibly with a nice and sunny afternoon.

Padrón Peppers

Lemon Olive-Oil Cake

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Lemon Olive-Oil Cake

...I'm back to my world
And we're back to being friends
Wait and see me,
Tonight let's do this thing...

(Dave Matthews Band, Say Goodbye)

Yes I'm back to my world. For one day, for one night, or who knows. Because there's nothing to do, despite the laziness, the hot weather, the cold weather, the tiny kitchen, the empty fridge, despite vacations, work, the ticking of time, the sleepless nights, love that comes and go, removals, birthdays, Christmas and mid-summer holidays, despite the road trips - with an RV or a sidecar -, new boots and vintage shopping, licorice candies, sunglasses, bathing suits and cowboy hats, that happy moment always comes, when you decide to bake yet another cake. And maybe it's one of those simple and reasonable cakes, those who ask nothing but surprise you with their supersoft deliciousness. And they make you think you are inside a slice of peace.
So tonight let's do this thing, and tomorrow... who knows.

Lemon Olive-Oil Cake
for a springform pan of 9" diameter

flour 250 gr
sugar 150 gr
eggs 4
lemons 2
extra virgin olive oil 180 ml
baking powder 7 gr
buttermilk 100 gr
salt a pinch

Grate the zest of the lemons and mix it with flour and baking powder. Whisk the egg yolks with 100 grams of sugar until the mixture is thick and pale, then add juice of one lemon, olive oil and buttermilk, and beat. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until the batter is combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, then add 50 grams of sugar and keep beating until stiff. Gently mix the egg whites into the rest of the batter, folding them in from top to bottom, taking care not to deflate them.
Transfer batter into a springform pan greased with oil and lined with parchment paper at the bottom. Sprinkle the surface with a tablespoon of sugar and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool off in the pan, then remove the parchment paper and transfer it to a serving plate.


Chickpea and Rosemary Frittatas

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Chickpea and Rosemary Frittatas

... did you see how it rains,
feel how it's coming down
and you were saying that it had stopped raining...

(L. Cherubini, Piove)

The fat is in the fire. Dismantled heart, weakened bones, and twisted guts. Lovers to the core. And when the fat is in the fire - damn it - there is no going back.
Don't call it focaccia (... uh... I think I owe you some kind of explanation here: the recipe comes from this delicious book, bought used for $2; one of the most surprisingly well-chosen purchases of my glorious career as foodblogger, except for the fact that in the book these round things here, the subject of my daily post, they are called focacce; but NO!!!, I cannot do this, I just cannot accept it, and I know that among you are those who understand...).
So don't call it focaccia. Because it's a frittata. And it's done. The fat is in the fire.

Chickpea and Rosemary Frittata
for 6 frittatas of about 7" diameter

chickpea flour 90 gr
eggs 3
milk 240 ml - 1 cup
olive oil 1 tablespoon
fresh rosemary 2-3 sprigs
salt, pepper, butter as needed

Chickpea and Rosemary Frittata

Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add the flour a little at a time, always whisking and trying to avoid lumps. Incorporate oil, milk and chopped rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt very little butter in a small crepes pan of approximately 7" diameter. Pour in just enough of the mixture to cover the bottom, and cook for a couple of minutes until set. Flip the frittata using a spatula and cook the other side for slightly less than one minute.
Repeat for the remaining frittatas, until you run out of mixture. Serve hot ot warm.

P.S: to tell you the truth, I wouldn't even call these frittatas, as they really are too thin to qualify as such. They are little round things. Infused with love and rosemary. Things so damn round and complete that everything else doesn't count anymore.

Ingredients for Chickpea and Rosemary Frittata

Meyer Lemon Focaccia with Sea Salt and Rosemary

Friday, March 2, 2012
Focaccia with Meyer Lemons, Sea Salt and Rosemary

Another day, another focaccia. Because Focaccia - you know that already, and already - is the best thing in the world.
Ehm... ok, ok, I have to admit, maybe I let it get out of my hand a bit, but for sure you can agree with me that Focaccia is pretty, oh so pretty, good, oh so good, tender, oh so tender. Now, you tell me if this isn't the kind of stuff that makes you fall head over heels.
And then Focaccia is also free, like a canvas sheet you can write what you want on it, there's no cheese or tomato sauce to hold you.
So, let's welcome even this focaccia California-style, with thin lemon slices (for the lucky devil... Meyer lemons), which, after being baked, leave behind an adorable, soft, and a tiny bit sour, dimple.
And for this week, over and out. Goodbye for now, until the next focaccia.

Meyer Lemon Focaccia
with Sea Salt and Rosemary

for two 12" x 10" pans

all-purpose flour 500 gr
fresh brewer's yeast 9 gr
potato flakes 12 gr
lard (gotta do what you gotta do) 18 gr
extra virgin olive oil 10 gr
lukewarm water 300/310 gr (depending on the flour)
salt 10 gr
malt 1/2 teaspoon
lemons or Meyer lemons 2
rosemary, olive oil, sea salt to dress it as needed

You do what you want, but me, for this baking trip I wanted to try the recipe of the Wonderfully Soft Focaccia (which, by the way, is also branded N.K., No-Knead, what's better than this...?) by Paoletta Anice e Cannella, her name itself is a guarantee. And the focaccia turned out exactly as promised, wonderfully soft. And phantasmagorically easy.

Mix all ingredients by hand, just enough time to pull everything together and have one smooth dough and without streaks. Place it in a bowl, cover well and let rise for about 2 hours or 2 hours and 1/2, depending on outside temperature. Take the dough out of the bowl, place it on a floured surface and gently roll it out in a rectangle. Fold 1/3 of the dough on itself, and then fold the free side above the already folded one, as if it were an envelope. Don't worry, it's all actually very simple, just look at the visual explanation by Paoletta, here.
Divide the dough in two parts and fold each one the same way; flip each piece trying to shape into a ball and keeping the "seam" underneath. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for about one hour.
After this time, take the dough balls, and with oiled hands gently lay them in two, previously oiled pans. Cover with the cloth and let rest for another 30 minutes, until it has slightly swollen.
Sprinkle focaccia with chopped rosemary sprigs, then using your fingertips poke dimples in the dough and season generously with a mixture of olive oil and water. Arrange thin slices of lemon on the surface, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and drizzle some more olive oil on top.
Bake at 450 for about 20 minutes, until focaccia is golden brown.
Hot, super hot; soft, super soft; good, super good.

Meyer Lemons

Mixed Berries Pudding

Sunday, February 26, 2012
Mixed Berries Pudding

It's the first time I make a dessert like this (URRAH!!), one of those things soft and a little messy to eat with a spoon straight from the pan, obviously when still warm, or maybe even right out of the oven. A social dessert, to be thrown on the table for breakfast (according to the Ammmmmerican custom...) letting everyone serve themselves, or to make for 5pm tea while looking into each other's eyes, if by any chance you belong to that enviable group of people who still allow themselves that noble and ancient luxury.
But if - most unfortunately - you got this desire of serving it at the end of a dinner party, I would recommend making it in individual cocottes, so that every guest is responsible for their own fate. And a (mini) scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with it wouldn't be bad either, btw.
Good luck!

Mixed Berries Pudding
for a round pan of 8.5" diameter

flour 75 gr
sugar 100 gr
butter 85 gr
eggs 3
salt 1 pinch
milk 250 ml
brandy 3 tablespoons
frozen mixed berries approx. 300 gr
powdered sugar to serve as needed

Melt butter and let cool. Meanwhile, beat eggs with sugar and salt, add the melted butter, milk, and brandy. Mix well, then add flour and in the end the frozen berries. You will get a fairly liquid batter, but don't panic, everything is under control! Pour the mixture into a baking pan lined with parchment paper, and bake at 355 for about 40 minutes, until the surface is golden. Serve hot or warm, sprinkling with powdered sugar.

Mixed Berries Pudding