Saturday, December 26, 2015

CHRISTMAS ON THE ISLAND


Victorian table Christmas tree in my sun room, which is now a 'snow room'.


Country Christmas tree cut from our property.


My little kitchen Christmas tree.


Christmas Eve with our daughter


Christmas Eve with my husband

Friday, December 4, 2015

SPICY PAPPARDELLE AI FRUTTI DI MARE

You can use any pasta that you like in this recipe. Frutti di mare is a popular multi-seafood dish from the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Frutti di mare means 'fruit of the sea' and can include all types of seafood, including mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari. You can adjust the heat by adding less red pepper flakes and if there is a seafood you do not like . .. leave it out. This is sure to please a seafood lover.


1 recipe for Marinara Sauce

1 cup (250 ml) white wine
20 mussels
20 little neck or manila clams

1 T (15 ml) unsalted butter                                       
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil                                
1 large shallot, diced                                                 
2 cloves garlic, minced                                                
1 cup (250 ml) white wine                                          
2 ladles of the marinara sauce
1 t (5 ml) red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large shrimp, peeled and tails removed
10 calamari rings with some tentacles

½ lb (250 g) pappardelle or fettucine
2 T (30 ml) chopped fresh basil
2 T (30 ml) chopped fresh Italian parsley

Scrub clams and mussels under cold running water and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
Remove from refrigerator and add cold water to the bowl to purge the shellfish. 
Drain water from bowl before steaming.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add wine, drained mussels, and clams.
Cover and let steam for 5 to 6 minutes, until opened. 

While shellfish are steaming, cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 to 9 minutes. 

While pasta is cooking, add butter and oil to a skillet, over medium heat.
Add diced shallot, and sauté for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the wine, Marinara Sauce, and red pepper flakes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the broth from the pan with the clams and mussels into a glass pitcher.
Add 1 cup (250 ml) of the juice to the sauce in the skillet.
Add the shrimp and calamari and let simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until shrimp are pink.

Divide pasta between 2 warm pasta bowls.
Pour the seafood and sauce evenly over the pasta.

Garnish with chopped basil and parsley.

Serves 2 as a main course and 4 as a primi piatti.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE, PISTACHIO, & DRIED CHERRY BISCOTTI


In America, twice baked cookies are known as biscotti. The word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, meaning twice baked or cooked. Biscotti made with a fat, such as butter or oil, will have a softer texture and shorter shelf life. These are made without butter or oil. In Italy biscotti are called cantucci or cantuccini. 



3 large eggs
1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
2 t (10 ml) vanilla extract
¾ cup (175 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T (15 ml) instant espresso powder
2 ½ cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour
1 t (5 ml) baking powder
½ t (2 ml) baking soda
¼ (1 ml) t salt
1 cup (250 ml) shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup (250 ml) dried cherries
1 cup (250 ml) dark chocolate (preferably 70% cacao), chopped

 Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) degrees.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, espresso powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer, while it is running.
With a wooden spoon, gently stir in the chopped chocolate, dried cherries, and pistachios

Shape dough with lightly floured hands into 2 logs of 8 by 3 inches (20 x 7.5 cm). 
Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. 
Slice into ½ inch (12 mm) slices and lay on sides. 

Reduce oven to 300 F (150 C) degrees and bake for 12 minutes. 
Carefully flip them over and bake another 12 minutes.

Cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.