Tag Archives: italian

Delicious Onion Pie

onionpieLast week we went to this place on via del Corso in Florence that sells mainly pies. The place is called “Pulia” and sells mainly dishes pugliesi, i.e. from Puglia. Everything was great, but what really stuck with me was the onion pie.

It was actually called “onion pizza”, but looked like a pie, and the dough was focaccia dough, and it’s all very complicated, so I think I may just have to move on to the recipe, because the recipe is actually much simpler than explaining the pie!

 

So, there you have it:

Onion Pie

300gr flour

10gr fresh yeast or 3gr dry yeast

200ml tepid water

5-6 onions (or scallions, or both, I used 5 regular onions and 2 scallions)

2-3 anchovies

a handful of olives (NOT pitted olives, nobody likes pitted olives)

salt, pepper, oil

 

Preparation

Add the yeast in the water and just stir it around with your hand until it dissolves. Add it in the flour and mix it, forming a dough. Add about a tsp of salt, 2 TB oil and work your dough until it is homogeneous and just a tiny little bit sticky. Leave it to double for about an hour.

Meanwhile, and while your dough is rising, preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400F) and chop the onions in thin slices. Add some oil in a pan and add the anchovies. Let them dissolve in the oil and add the onions, with a little salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and let the onions cook for about 20 minutes, until they are nice and soft. Then add the olives and some pepper. Give it a stir and remove it from the fire.

Now your dough must be double in size and your oven warm. Oil a 30cm pan and your hands. Take the dough and divide it in half, making sure that one piece is slightly larger than the other (slightly!). Roll it in a round that fits the bottom of the pan and place it in your pan. Put the onion mix over the dough in the pan and roll the other piece as well. Place it on top of the onions and seal the edges. Brush some oil on the surface and sprinkle some salt and pepper over it. Put it in the oven and let it bake for 30 minutes.

When it’s done, let it cool and enjoy it. Maybe with some red wine. Or tea. Or coffee. Oh, who am I kidding, just have the pie!

And as always, let me know

onionpie1

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Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu

strawberry limoncello tiramisu

I do not have a sweet tooth, but every now and then I get a craving for something decadent. When I do, I make sure it is not the most decadent thing in the world (diet!), but lacks nothing in taste – or appearance.

That’s the category strawberry and limoncello tiramisu falls under. It has the potential to be extremely beautiful and inviting, if you have the transparent glasses to put it in (which I didn’t) and is very tasty – with the refreshing taste of the strawberry sided with the kick of the limoncello and the sweetness and crunchiness of the ladyfingers.

We went to a friendly home last night and the strawberry and limoncello tiramisu was the best thing I could think of, to bring to the party. The sweetness and the freshness, the kick and the crunchiness, the harmonious combinations of all flavors and smells that come together in a glorious party of all senses, and the way it cleanses your mouth and your soul, well, it just feels like the perfect paragon of friendship.

This is even easy to make. It requires no baking (well… tiramisu!) but it does contain eggs, so make sure your eggs are of excellent quality and can be eaten raw.

 

Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu

Makes 4 individual glasses (about 200ml each)

 

Cream

250gr mascarpone cheese (if yours is a bit runny like mine was, use a bit more, but don’t overdo it)

a small espresso cup of limoncello (about 30ml)

30gr powdered sugar

3 egg yolks

 

Limoncello mixture

Zest and juice of one lemon (unwaxed, please, no one likes wax in their tiramisu)

6 TB limoncello

1 to 1- 1/2 TB sugar

About 5 TB water

 

Rest

250gr strawberries

30gr sugar

10 ladyfingers (or more, depending on the shape of your glass)

 

Preparation

First prepare the cream. Beat the egg yolks with the powdered sugar with a hand mixer until creamy. Add the limoncello and keep beating. Start to slowly add the mascarpone, a little at a time. At this point, you can either use the hand mixer or an eggbeater. I tried the hand mixer but was afraid it was beating it way too much, so I used the eggbeater instead. You know your mixture (and mixer) better.

If your mixture is runny, add a little more mascarpone. I had to add about 70-80gr more, because the mascarpone we bought was watery. Don’t add too much, though, the taste will change.

Put your cream in the fridge and let it cool. As it cools, it will also firm.

Now prepare the limoncello mixture. Add everything in a bowl and mix it together. Put that in the fridge as well. Easy, right?

🙂

Now chop the strawberries in small pieces, add the sugar and some lemon juice if you have any left from the lemon you squeezed for the limoncello mixture, and set it aside.

When you are ready to put everything together, take all of your bowls and plates, the ladyfingers, and start:

Cut one ladyfinger in half and immerse it in the limoncello mixture BRIEFLY. When I say “briefly” I literally mean for less than a second. Not figuratively, literally. It touches the liquid and out it goes. Then at the bottom of your glass.

Next comes a layer of cream.

Then a layer of strawberries.

Then another layer of cream.

Then take another ladyfinger, cut it in half and do exactly what you did with the first one. Put it over the cream layer.

Then add another cream layer.

Then add some decoration, maybe half a strawberry or a few strawberry pieces.

 

Your sweet indulgence is ready, for you and your friends to enjoy.

Let me know what you thought!

 

 


Pizza Sunday!

pizza1 In Greece, Sunday is, traditionally, “friends’ day”. This means that, usually, someone comes over and we cook and have a good time over a meal. That’s mainly because Sunday is game day – we all gather in houses and watch football (soccer in some parts of the world, you know, the European football, not the American kind!), and then football (this time, I mean the American kind!) and everything else in between.

Most times, these “meals” start at early noon and go on until late at night! We eat, drink beer and yell at the TV a lot. At the end of the day, we return home, happy or sad for our teams, but certainly a lot closer to each other.

Now, due to the fact that I have a cooking virus, these little get-togethers usually take place at our home. Lately, they have started involving simpler forms of food, and, at the same time, are becoming more and more often. The financial crisis is to “blame” for both of these. Now, I’m all for meeting with friends, AND I’m all for simple forms of food, so – if I forget for a minute about all the taxes I have to pay as an unemployed person, that far exceed my income – the financial crisis is not so bad, eh?

#not

Anyway, this Sunday was no exception. Even though sports season is long over, we still get together with our friends and enjoy our balcony. This time, we had to talk “business”, so, obviously, there was beer and fingerfood. We laughed and gossiped a lot, and did some serious talking too. That’s the correct way to do business: content, with a smile.

Being Italy people, we opted for pizza. I always make pizza from scratch, because it is not as hard as it sounds and it actually tastes about 1,593 times better than ready-made pizza. It just takes a lot more time. Some of what follows is tips we… kindly extracted from my cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s sister, who was Italian, but it’s been so long, I can’t remember what of all of these is standard recipe and what is Italian pizza-making wisdom. I’ll just tell you how I do it, secrets and no secrets alike!

At this point I should say this: there are many pizza crust thickness standards that confuse the world. There’s very thin and crispy and a tiny-bit thicker and then there’s thick and fluffy (which I think is mainly eaten in Sicily), but the one I like – and make – is thin thin thin/crispy crispy crispy. So bear with me if you’re a thick-crust lover, vabbe’?

For the dough, you will need (for two baking sheets – two pizzas):

500gr flour

1 ½ tsp dried yeast

3 Tb olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt

300ml warm water

pizza2

Start by mixing the yeast with 2 Tb water and leaving it for five minutes. Meanwhile, put the flour and the salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. In there, place the yeast/water and 3 Tb oil and start mixing. Slowly start adding the water and keep mixing, until you have a sticky dough. It’ll be very sticky and you will think you’ve done it all wrong, but you haven’t.

Take that sticky dough and any dough-pieces that may still be in the bowl, place it on a floured surface and start kneading. It’ll take you about ten minutes of kneading, until it stops being sticky and turns into an elastic dough. Try to make it into a ball and pressing it down with the inside of your wrist. It is a great meditation too, for real, my mind always relaxes when I do this.

When the dough is no longer sticky and is elastic enough (it’s elastic enough when you pull out a piece of it and it doesn’t immediately break off), oil a large bowl, put it in there, cover it with a damp towel and place it somewhere warm and safe from cats/kids/earthquakes.

foto 2

This is the dough before rising

pizza4

Cover it up and leave it for 1 1/2 hours

In about an hour and a half, it will have doubled in size. When this happens, punch it down (it’ll make a “pfff” like air is coming out – air IS coming out – but don’t expect it to be something loud, you’ll probably just feel it on your hand) and leave it for another couple of minutes.

pizza5

This is it, after 90 minutes. See how big it got?

Your dough is ready to be rolled!

Take the dough in your hands and separate it in two equal pieces. At this stage, the official pizza making rules (you thought there wouldn’t be any? Hahaha!) state that professionals shouldn’t use a rolling pin, but should always roll the pizza dough by hand. Which is why you see all the pizza chefs (pizzaioli in Italian) throw the dough in the air, putting on quite a show. Of course, I don’t do that. I would probably end up with a very surprised dough-covered black cat. I use a rolling pin, instead. But you are more than welcome to try it!

So, start rolling with your rolling pin until very thin. Carefully remove it from your working space and place it on an oiled baking sheet. From here on, you are welcome to improvise. You can have whatever you want on your pizza, there are no rules. I usually make sort of a Margherita for me, which means some tomato passata, mozzarella, basil and garlic (I put two cloves this time). Pizza AND an Italian flag, all at once! Mr. S chose to put passata, mushrooms, bacon, green pepper, black olives and oregano on his.

pizza3

My version of a Pizza Margherita (with garlic)

 

If you have children, make it a game with them, get them involved in the process, have them choose their toppings, have them place the toppings on the pizza, maybe make mozzarella designs on the pan, everything is allowed!

Bake your pizza high in the oven at 240 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Buon appetito!


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