Thursday, April 7, 2011

Week of April 4, 2011

The good news is that as of the other day, Tuesday, we got streaming back!!! That means I'm looking forward, more than usual, to next Monday's show when our listeners around the country will get to join in.
Before I get to this week's recipes from the show, I was asked to share a recipe I had posted on my personal page for bread and butter pickles. This got me thinking about the cookbook it came from, a 1943 edition of The Settlement Cookbook which was given to my grandmother by her sister for Christmas of that year. Beyond that, I was thinking about other families that may have heirloom cookbooks or just family favorites. So, I'm hoping that I can get some callers on Monday to share some of their favorite cookbooks on the air with me. If you have a certain cookbook that's been in the family or that has a special meaning to you, please call in during the show on Monday
(12-1 PST (707)869-1131) and share with us!
On to the recipe!
You don't need a crock for this but I use one because I have a nice one. (There's a story behind it that I'll share at another time.)

2 cups sliced onions
6 quarts sliced pickling cucumbers (about 25 5-inch)
1/2 cup salt
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix onions and cucumbers and sprinkle with salt. Let stand over night. Next morning drain, wash and place in a crock. (or a nonreactive bowl or large pot) Make a syrup of the vinegar, water, 2 cups of sugar and spices. Pour over cucumber mixture and let stand over night.
Next morning, drain and add 1/2 cup sugar to the to drained pickling syrup, heat and pour over pickles and let stand over night. Third morning, add 1/2 cup sugar to pickles and cook 10 minutes. Pack in hot sterilized pint jars. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove and let stand over night before storing.

Pizza is one of those things that I have to have homemade at least once a month. Last week while thinking back on our trip to Rome several years ago at Easter, I couldn't help but remember all the pizza shops and the one near our apartment that we used to frequent. These little take-out shops are all over Rome and the pizzas, long ovals of goodness with a variety of toppings, are displayed behind glass at the counter where you point and tell how much you want. It is then sliced and weighed out. (Yes, you pay by the weight for everything there.) These pizzas go together pretty fast because of the dough recipe I use. They take me back to Rome and I hope they'll take you back to this recipe time and again.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons instant yeast (or quick rising)
big pinch of salt.
Mix together and knead for 10 minutes. Place in lightly oiled bowl, turn to cover with oil and let set for 1 hour wrapped in plastic in a warm place.
On a lightly floured surface, roll into a long and wide oval.
Spread thinly, with marinara sauce to within an inch of the edge.
Sprinkle with dried oregano and grated mozzarella. Finish by topping with thinly sliced mushrooms and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in 450 f oven for 15 minutes or until edge of the pizza is golden brown.
Be creative with your toppings. Just don't over load or it will be soggy. You want a thin crispy pie. Try thinly sliced ham, zucchini, squash blossoms, a sprinkling of good quality canned tuna...

Ooops! I incorrectly called the chicken breast recipe I gave out on Monday Chicken Milanese when I should have called it Chicken Parmigiana. It was an innocent mistake, though. They both start out pounded, breaded and fried. But the later has Parmesan cheese added to the bread crumbs and is then baked in the oven with a tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

1 chicken breast
flour on a plated
1 egg beaten with a few teaspoons of water added
1 cup plain bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese mixed in.
Olive oil for frying
Tomato sauce (recipe to follow)
a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
several slices of fresh mozzarella

Start by slicing breast on the bias into 4-inch pieces and placing them, one at a time, between two pieces of plastic wrap and pounding them until about 1/8 inch thick with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer.
Dredge in flour, shaking off excess, and dip in egg wash and bread crumbs and fry in hot olive oil until golden on both sides. Repeat with remaining pieces.
In a baking pan, smear a little of the tomato sauce and lay chicken pieces flat topping with more tomato sauce followed by Parmesan and slices of mozzarella.
Bake in upper part of at 375f until bubbling.

Tomato Sauce
1 28oz can plum tomatoes, chopped or put through a food mill.
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, mashed
pinch of chili flakes )optional
a few sprigs of fresh basil
Salt to taste
In a sauce pan, heat oil and fry garlic until golden. Remove garlic and add tomatoes and chili flakes if using. Simmer about 25 minutes. Turn off heat and steep basil for about 2-3 minutes and then remove.
Of course, you can also use any other favorite tomato sauce of your choice.

My take on 3-bean salad.
1 pound green beans, cleaned, cut into 2-inch pieces and boiled or steamed until tender
1 14-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 hard cooked egg, diced
1 7-oz can tuna, drained (preferably Italian tuna in olive oil)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
big pinch of dried oregano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Mix all ingredients except oil and vinegar well but gently making sure tuna is not too broken up. (You want tuna throughout salad without it disappearing!) Whisk oil and vinegar together until an emulsification is achieved and pour over salad gently mixing to ensure integrity of tuna.

I started making my own candied orange peel several years ago when I got interested in Sicilian pastries. It's no surprise that the biggest island in the Mediterranean should make so many wonderful citrus-based delicacies when we consider the varieties of oranges, lemons and other citrus crops grown there. Save those tasty orange sections for a healthy snack or a sweet, tart and savory salad, the recipe for which I'll be giving out on Monday's show.
Candied Orange Peel
3 naval oranges (preferably organic)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup

Wash oranges well and cut each into 6 equal wedges. Cut away the pulp with a sharp paring knife and set aside for another use.
With a teaspoon, scrape away what's left of the pulp plus most of the pith. (It's not necessary to completely rid the orange of all the white pith.)
Place peels in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water bringing it to the boil. After it has boiled for 1 minute, drain and repeat the procedure 3 more times each time draining and covering again with cold water. This must be done to remove the bitterness.
Remove peel from the pan and add sugar, water and corn syrup. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved and then return peel to the pan, stirring to coat and continue on a low boil for 20-25 minutes until much of the syrup has been absorbed into the peel.
Drain peels on a rack for several hours. Place in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

I just noticed the other day that one of our local Trader Joe's has orecciette, the small inverted disks of pasta that translate to "little ears." They stopped carrying them several years back which made it difficult to make one of my favorite vegetable pasta dishes.
Orecciette with Cauliflower
1 large head cauliflower, divided into florets, stem chopped and any tender leaves.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovy fillets
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound orecciette
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Grated pecorino
Black truffle oil (optional)
In a large pot, bring water to boil. Salt water and add cauliflower, stem and leaves and boil until tender. Remove from water with slotted spoon. (Save water)
In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil and add anchovies and cook, mashing with the back of a wooden spoon until they dissolve. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until golden. Add cauliflower and mash with back of a spoon until a sauce is formed.
Meanwhile, heat water in which cauliflower was cooked to a boil and add pasta, cooking until just al dente, using some of the water to thin the sauce if needed.
Add pasta to skillet along with a little water and continue cooking a few more minutes.
Add parsley and mix together well.
Serve with pecorino cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil if using.
The Quick Fix this week was something I came up with when I really had a longing for some calamari and pasta. I don't know what it is about angel hair pasta, but it seems to match up so well with seafood. I love the combo and I hope you will too.

Angel Hair Pasta with Calamari

1/2 pound calamari cleaned and sliced into rings, tentacles
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chili flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
14 oz can tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
grated pecorino

Heat olive oil in large skillet and add calamari, garlic and chili flakes. Cook stirring on medium high heat until calamari firm up and garlic turns a light golden. Add wine and let bubble away for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and mash with back of spoon. Cook at a gentle but constant simmer for about twenty-five minutes mashing tomato until broken up.
Meanwhile, boil pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain well and add to skillet tossing well in the sauce.
Add chopped parsley and toss again. Serve with pecorino on the side.

That's it for this week. I'll be looking forward to Monday when I'll be talking about this week's deals in the market, Passover in Italy and favorite cookbooks. (What's on your shelf?)


  1. I made the candies Orange peels....yummy!! I'm still looking for your recipe of bread and butter pickles. I have one from my Grandmother....she made them every summer. Just wondered if they were the same. What page did you put it on?.....hope you post the recipes from today's show....

  2. Well stupid me....I just saw the pickle recipe...just overlooked it?!!

  3. I hope you get a chance to make the pickles. Ive been making these a lot of years now and underestimated one year and ran out. I was so disappointed in the store-bought ones. They just weren't the same. Cost too much didn't have that magic touch of "homemade."