Asparagus stuffed Gnocchi


makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. potatoes (russets work well)
2/3 lb. asparagus (the thinner the better)
1/2 lb. flour, and more for dusting
2 egg yolks
Freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper (optional - not in original)
3/4 stick of butter (and/or olive oil)
Aromatic mince (parsley, marjoram, sage, thyme, lemon zest)

Method:

1. Boil potatoes with their skins until tender, abot 40 min.
2. Cut off tough ends of asparagus.
3. Steam asparagus for 5 minutes, rinse with cool water, drain, dry and coat with some flour.
4. Peel cooked potatoes under cold water and mash.
5. On a floured work-board incorporate flour, egg yolks, a pinch of salt and some grated nutmeg.
6. Shape dough into 3-4 ropes about as thick as a thumb.
7. Make a lengthwise groove in the dough where you will place the asparagus, closing the dough around to envelop them.
8. Cut gnocchi, about 1 inch pieces.
9. Boil in salted water, fishing them out with a strainer or slotted spoon about a minute after they come floating to the top.
10. Melt butter/oil in a skillet and add a spoonful or more of the aromatic mince and toss in the gnocchi.
11. Serve with grated parmigiano.


Translated and adapted from:
http://www.petitchef.it/ricette/gnocchi-di-patate-agli-asparagi-fid-809125?in=FBOOK

The Classic Bolognese Ragù according to the 'Accademia Italiana della Cucina'.


"With a solemn decree of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina – the Italian Academy of Cuisine, the present was notarized and deposited in the Palazzo della Mercanzia, the Chamber of Commerce of the City of Bologna on the 17th of October 1982."

Ingredients:

300 gr. beef cartella (thin skirt) [what is meant here is ground skirt steak, substitute with what's available].
150 gr. pancetta, dried [you could substitute diced prosciutto, salt pork or slab bacon]
50 gr. carrot
50 gr. celery stalk
50 gr. onion
5 spoons tomato sauce or 20 gr. triple tomato extract [or use tomato paste]
1 cup whole milk [I use half & half]
Half cup white or red wine, dry and not frizzante [not sparkling]
Salt and pepper, to taste.[freshly ground please!]
[Don't forget freshly grated parmigiano cheese].

Procedure:

The pancetta, cut into little cubes and chopped with a mezzaluna chopping knife, is melted in a saucepan; the vegetables, once again well chopped with the mezzaluna, are then added and everything is left to stew softly. Next the ground beef is added and is left on the stovetop, while being stirred constantly, until it sputters. The wine and the tomato cut with a little broth are added and everything left to simmer for around two hours, adding little by little the milk and adjusting the salt and black pepper. Optional but advisable is the addition of the panna di cottura of a litre of whole milk [this is a liter of milk reduced by half by simmering it, ] at the end of the cooking.

[You should serve this on fresh-made tagliatelle or fettuccine or use store bought fresh pasta like Putney Pasta brand].


Adapted from: http://www.itchefs-gvci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=138&Itemid=856#
[quotes in brackets mine].

Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce

makes about 3-4 cups
Ingredients:


4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (or other)
6-8 tbsp sugar or honey
1/2 cup ketchup
1 onion minced
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves (optional)
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp molasses
A few shots of Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Red pepper, cayenne or chipotle chili, to taste

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on low until thickened.
Great with pulled pork, chicken, turkey, grilled veggies etc.

Variations:

Try using other berries, or even dried fruit like raisins.

Fettuccine con Noci e Alici


pronounced: fettucine cohn NO-chee eh ah-LEE-chee
Fettucine with walnuts and anchovies
makes about 4 servings


Ingredients:

1 package fresh or dry fettuccine
1 1/2 cup or more walnuts coarsely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can anchovies in olive oil (rolled with capers OK too)
Cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly grated parmigiano or other cheese
1 buch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Method:

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. In a large skillet slightly toast walnuts on medium heat.
3. Add anchovies with their oil and stir until they are dissolved.
4. Add Garlic (and red pepper if using) and cook until translucent.
5. Drain pasta reserving some cooking liquid.
6. Add pasta to skillet adding a little of the reserved cooking water if too dry.
7. Add chopped parsley.
8. Serve with grated cheese and additional olive oil if desired.

Variations:

Omit anchovies and parmigiano and stir in some gorgonzola ot other creamy blue cheese.

Carpaccio di Salmone

pronounced: car-PAH-cho dee sal-MOH-neh
Raw cured salmon salad





Carpaccio is traditionally a dish of raw meat or fish (such as beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna) generally thinly sliced or pounded thin and served as an appetizer.

Ingredients:
1 salmon fillet (skin-on OK)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp capers
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs flat parsley (optional)
Lemon or Orange slices (optional)

Method:

1. Season salmon generously with kosher salt and ground pepper on both sides.
2. Refrigerate salmon 24 hrs, flipping it in it's brine every so often.
3. Freeze salmon fillet.
4. While frozen slice paper thin on a bias.
5. Arrange slices on platter.
6. Dress with a little olive oil
7. Top with capers and onion slices
8. Garnish with parsley, lemon slices or orange segments (optional)

Variations

Use fresh tuna or even trout.
Top with parmigiano shavings.
Serve on a bed of arugula or mesclun greens.
Add a few oil-cured olives.
Add to a tomato-wine cream sauce at the last second and toss with penne.


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Piccata di Pollo

pronounced: pea-KHA-tah dee POLL-oh
Chicken piccata with lemon-butter sauce and capers
makes 4 servings




Ingredients:
  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1/2 cup flour seasoned with s & p
  • 1/4 cup 0live oil
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp capers
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Dust chicken with seasoned flour and shake off the excess.
3. Add scaloppine to the skillet, cooking until they're lightly golden on both sides.
4. Transfer scaloppine to a plate.
5. Deglaze pan drippings with wine and lemon and add capers.
6. When the sauce is reduced by half whisk in the butter.
7. Return chicken to skillet to coat with sauce and adjust seasonings.
8. Serve garnished with thin lemon slices.

Variations:

Make with veal, pork or turkey cutlets.
Make with tofu or tempeh.

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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca


pronounced: put-tah-NEH-ska
Spaghetti with olives, capers and anchovies.
makes about 4 servings

Spaghetti alla puttanesca (whore's spaghetti) is a spicy, tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta dish that culinary experts regard as modern and reflects the bounty of the market rather than the garden. The ingredients are inexpensive, easy to find and typically Mediterranean. Italians refer to the sauce as sugo alla puttanesca.
[...]
To understand how this sauce came to get its name, one must consider the 1950s when brothels in Italy were state owned. They were known as case chiuse or 'closed houses' because the shutters had to be kept permanently closed to avoid offending the sensibilities of neighbors or innocent passersby. Conscientious Italian housewives usually shop at the local market every day to buy fresh food, but these "civil servants" were only allowed one day per week for shopping, and their time was valuable. Their specialty became a sauce made quickly from odds and ends in the larder.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • Olive oil (you can use oil from anchovies)
  • 3-4 anchovies in olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp capers, or to taste
  • 2 dozen or more black olives (Gaeta, kalamata or oil cured work great)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
  • Crushed red pepper or cayenne, to taste
  • 1 can whole San Marzano plum peeled tomatoes (or just use crushed)
  • Salt, if needed
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Some chopped italian flat-leaf parsley
Method:

1. bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta.
2. In a pan add olive oil and anchovies, stir until dissolved.
3. Add garlic, red pepper, capers, olives and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon as they cook along, if using whole.
5. Simmer until sauce is thickened, a few minutes.
6. Add 3-4 tbsp chopped parsley
7. Serve on well drained pasta.
7. Top with some freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino.

Variations:

Add shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels or other seafood.
Add pinenuts and golden raisins.
Use pancetta bacon or prosciutto in place of the anchovies.
Vegans: omit anchovies and top with toasted bread crumbs.
A few drops of Worcestershire sauce also goes well (it is flavored with anchovies)
Makes a  great sauce for baked fish or chicken.

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Insalata Caprese

pronounced:in-sah-LAH-tah cah-PREH-seh
Tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad
makes 3-4 servings



Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (first course), not a contorno (side dish).
Like many other mixed salads, insalata caprese is sometimes called insalata tricolore, tricolore referring to the three colors of the Italian flag.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • Whole fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Method:
1. Stack sliced tomato with mozzarella first, then basil leaf
2. Dress with olive oil
3. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper

Variations:
Garnish with oil cured olives.
Add prosciutto or anchovies and their oil.
Makes a great sandwich on focaccia or ciabatta bread.

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Cold Spiced Blueberry Soup and Sauce

makes about 6 servings




Ingredients:
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cups water or apple juice
  • Juice of one lemon and one orange
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
  • 3 tablespoons honey/sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch diluted in enough water
  • 1/3 cup Half and Half (milk, cream, yogurt or sour cream may be substituted - vegans try using coconut milk!)
  • Yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)
Method:

1. Combine blueberries, water (or apple juice), cinnamon and nutmeg, honey and/or 2. sugar and ginger in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer while stirring.
3. Whisk in cornstarch mixture, lemon and orange juice if using, and half and half or other.
4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly, about 1 minute. 5. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Chill until cold, several hours or up to 2 days.
6. Top each serving with 1 Tbs. yogurt or sour cream and swirl decoratively into the soup. Garnish with additional blueberries, if desired.

Variations:

May be used as a sauce for vanilla ice cream or blueberry pudding.

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Tonno & Fagioli


pronounced: TOH-no EH fah-JOE-lee
Tuscan Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad
makes 2-3 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 can drained cannellini beans
  • 1 can tuna, preferably solid in olive oil (if in water, drained) 
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp capers (optional) 
  • A few sprigs of flat parsley, chopped (optional)
Method:

1.Mix ingredients including olive oil from tuna.
2.Chill or let rest at room temperature a little before eating, stirring ever so often.
3.Serve and enjoy.


Variations:


Serve on a bed of arugula or mesclun greens.
Substitute with other kinds of beans and canned fish like chick peas and sardines.
Add diced tomato, cucumber, zucchini or other veggies.
Add other fresh herbs or spices to taste.
Great as a bruschetta topping.
Serve heated and tossed with spaghetti, or with rotini as a cold pasta salad.


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Strawberries with Balsamic vinegar



makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 basket of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar or to taste
  • A little pinch of salt
  • A little fresh black pepper (optional)
Method:

1.Prepare strawberries by cutting the top stem off and then cutting them in half.
2.Add sugar, salt, balsamic vinegar and black pepper, if using.
Refrigerate for several hours, stirring ever so often.
Delicious by itself, exceptional over cheese cake or ice cream.

Variations:

Try it with raspberries or blackberries.
Take a cup or more of balsamic vinegar and reduce it by 2/3 by simmering it slowly, it will produce a sweet syrupy vinegar that can be used in many different recipes.




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Ginger, Lemon, Honey & Cayenne Tea



makes about 3-4 servings


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw honey, or to taste
  • Zest and juice of one orange(optional)
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons, reserving squeezed halves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • ice (optional)
Method:

1.Steep ginger, squeezed lemon halves and orange zest on low in 4 cups water for a good half hour or more.
2.Add other ingredients and steep a few minutes or until all honey is dissolved.
3.Strain.
4.Serve hot or chilled with ice.


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Blueberry Bread Pudding



makes about 8 servings





Ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups cubed or torned bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk or half & half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 3-4 cups blueberries
  • Butter or other shortening


Method:

1.Mix all ingredients except butter in a bowl.
2.Grease a pyrex (11x17) or other non-stick pan with butter/shortening.
3.Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about an hour or until golden brown.
4.Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or even blueberry sauce.

Variations:

Use sliced bananas or other kinds of fresh/dried fruits or berries.
Try adding different flavorings.












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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus




Ingredients:

1 15 oz. can of chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/3 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons or more olive oil
2 garlic cloves, or to taste
1/2 - 3/4 cup roasted red peppers
A good dash of cumin or more to taste
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Method:

In a food processor combine garlic, beans, tahini, cumin and/or cayenne, salt and pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and water if necessary & process until smooth.
Add red peppers and process until desired consistency is obtained. Add a little water if still too dry.
Garnish with parsley and lemon, cumin and/or cayenne.
Serve with hot pita bread, bruschetta or other crusty bread.

Variations:

Make with canned or soaked chipotle peppers, olives, spinach, artichoke hearts, different spices etc.
Substitute sunflower seed butter for the tahini.
Sprout the chickpeas to amke a RAW hummus.


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Chicken Curry Wraps with Cashews & Currants


Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cooked chicken (or turkey) breast, shredded or chopped coarsely.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or more to taste
  • 1 tbs curry powder or to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup currants or raisins, 
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions, green and all
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Flat bread, tortillas or lavash. 


Method:

1.Combine all ingredients.
2.Chill for at least one hour or more.
3.Add more mayonnaise if salad appears too dry.
4. Serve in a roll up sandwich (LTO optional) with extra curry mayo for dipping on the side.

Variations:


  • Add diced apples, fresh grapes or dry cranberries.
  • Add diced avocado, celery, hot or sweet diced pepper.
  • Make roll-ups with lettuce leaves.
  • Make tramezzinis (see picture below).
  • Substitute part or all of the mayo with yogurt or sour cream.
  • Cook whole chicken breast, thighs or tenders in skillet with a cup or more of chopped onions. Add 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, yogurt or sour cream. Reduce and add 1tbs. cornstarch diluted in a little water. Add rest of ingredients and simmer until thickened. Serve over brown or jasmine rice. For an alternate version substitute curry powder with Thai curry paste. Ginger, lemon-grass and basil can also be included for a more authentic Thai flavor.



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Rustic Garlic Bruschetta


pronounced: Brew-SKEH-ttah


Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf rustic bread like ciabatta, boule',baguette or other crusty European style bread
  • 1 clove or more of fresh garlic per slice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Assorted toppings such as tomato and fresh basil, red onions, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, white beans and tuna, wilted greens, store-bought bruschetta topping, salsa, tapenade, etc. (but very delicious justt by itself).
Method:

1.Slice bread 3/4 to 1 inch slices.
2.Toast in toaster, hot oven, or grill.
3.Briskly rub toasted bread with a fresh clove of garlic on both sides,
4.Drizzle with olive oil.
5.Season with salt and pepper.
6.Top with additional toppings if desired.




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Asian style Noodles with Ginger, Green Onion & Peanuts


Ingredients:


  • 1 lb.or equivalent noodles such as linguini, vermicelli, soba, ramen, rice, etc.
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce or to taste
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 to 1 cup peanuts
  • A little sesame, canola or other light vegetable oil  

Method:

1.Cook noodles 'al dente'. Immediately drain, rinse under water and drain well again.
2.Combine with other ingredients and Voila'. Good warm or cold.

Variations:

Substitute slivered almonds, cashews, sunflower or pumpkin seeds for the peanuts. Add other raw or stir-fried veggies (onions, peppers, broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots etc.).

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Sformato di Patate


Mashed Potato & Cheese timballe
pronounced: sfor-MAH-toh DEE Pah-TAH-teh
makes about 8 servings


Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium-large potatoes
  • 2 cups or more freshly grated cheese (parmesan, romano, cheddar,mozzarella or other)
  • 1 cup or more of milk, half & half, fresh or sour cream
  • 3 to 4 eggs
  • Salt and fresh cracked Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional) or other herbs and spices
  • Olive oil or other shortening for the pan

Method:
1.Boil whole potatoes until fork tender and drain.
2.Peel under cold running water.
3.Mash while adding a cup or more of milk or other.
4.Incorporate eggs one by one.
5.Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper and spices to taste.
6.Grease a (11x17) pyrex or other non-stick pan.
7.Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about an hour or until golden brown.

Variations:

Substitute with sweet potatoes or winter squash.
Add chopped bacon, salame, sausage, pancetta, prosciutto, etc.
Slice the potatoes very thin instead of boiling and mashing them.
Alternately layer the potatoes with layers of sliced ham and cheese or vegetables. such as spinach, asparagus or green beans.
Add 2-3 chopped hardboiled eggs.

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Panzanella


pronounced:pahn-zha-NEH-lah
makes aprox. 5-6 servings


Tuscan Bread Salad

Ingredients: 

  • One loaf day old or fresh Italian bread
  • 3-4 large tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch fresh basil and/or flat Italian parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic or wine Vinegar
  • Salt & fresh cracked pepper

Method:

1.Cut or tear bread into pieces
2.Lightly toast bread in preheated oven if using fresh bread, soak in water for a few seconds if too dry.
3.Slice or dice remaining ingredients
4.Toss with olive oil, vinegar & seasonings
5.Let salad rest until bread absorbs juices
6.Serve and eat.

Variations:

Add olives, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, canned beans, canned tuna,fresh mozzarella or even feta cheese.

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Pasta alla Carbonara


pronounced: car-boh-NAH-rah
makes aprox. 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb spaghetti, rigatoni or other pasta
  • ¼ cup cream (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lb pancetta, bacon, or prosciutto coarsely diced
  • 1 medium onion (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped (optional)
  • 1 package frozen baby peas (optional)
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper - to taste
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano, parmesan or asiago cheese.

Method:

1.Fill a large pot with cold water and add a handful or so of Kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover the pot and heat the water until it comes to a rolling boil.
2.Add the diced bacon or other to the pan and cook slowly over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, drain excess fat.
3.Add diced onion and garlic if using, cook until golden.
4.Drop the pasta into pot and cook according to package instructions, about 8 to 11 minutes or until 'al dente' - or tender but still firm to the bite.
5.Add frozen peas to pasta water during last few minutes if using.
6.While the pasta cooks, combine the eggs, cheese, cream (if using), and fresh cracked pepper in a bowl and beat with a whisk or fork until completely mixed.
7.Drain pasta reserving some of the cooking water on the side.
8.Immediately toss with the egg and cream mixture, bacon, onion and garlic.
9.Add a little of the cooking water if too dry. Serve right away, with additional grated cheese if desired.

Variations:

Substitute bacon with crumbled chicken or vegetarian sausage.
Make a cream sauce with onion, diced prosciutto or cooked ham to make "Pasta alla Papalina - the Pope's pasta.
Add shrimp and blanched cut asparagus or even green beans.

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Focaccia



pronounced: foh-KAH-cha
Makes 5-7 focaccias


Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 4 cups very warm water
  • 1 Tbs or 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup salt or less to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive or other shortening

Method:

Mix ingredients in a large bowl making a batter. Cover with plastic or a wet towel and place in a warm spot for about 40 minutes to an hour until visibly fermenting with plenty of bubbles.
Add more flour in increments of a cup or a little more at a time, fold in well by rotating the bowl and working from the sides inwards with a large spoon or spatula, trying not to deflate or over mix the dough. You should allow some resting time in between adding the flour (20 minutes or more on average) using up to 4 cups or a little more to achieve roughly a ratio of 2 parts flour to one part water (this will make a very 'slack' or wet dough, if you find this too difficult to work with, just add or dust with more flour).
After adding all the flour to achieve a dough that will start to come off the sides of the bowl, replace plastic or towel, put back in a warm spot and ferment until at least double in size. Afterwards, pour dough unto a clean smooth surface generously dusted with flour. With a dough cutter or other tool, fold dough in three - letter style. Allow dough to rest and repeat this step a couple of times while incorporating a little more flour. Allow another resting period before cutting and portioning dough. You should be able to make 6 to 8 pieces at least, depending on the focaccia size you wish to obtain.
After cutting, allow a final resting and rising period (about 1/2 hour) and then you are ready to bake it in a very hot oven (450° to 550° F.) which you will have preheated at least one hour ahead of time.
If using a peel/paddle and baking stone/tiles, dust paddle with flour then shape dough by pushing with your fingers into a flat shape. If using a sheet-pan lightly grease it, then follow procedure as described above: by shaping the dough right unto the sheet-pan.
Top with favorite toppings and herbs (thinly sliced apples, potatoes or pears; tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted or raw red peppers, rosemary, oregano, cayenne or pepper flakes, cheese or whatever you wish) season w/salt and pepper drizzle with olive oil and you are ready to bake.
If using a paddle or peel slide right unto hot stone/tiles, otherwise just place sheet-pan in oven.
Bake anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes depending on temperature and kind of oven, until bottom crust is well done and the top a golden color.

Variations:

You can also make one or two full-size rectangular loaves in a sheet pan, depending on the size of the pan. Using this method you should grease the pan well and do the final rise right in it before baking, just like you would for a Sicilian-style pizza. The same dough can be used to make rustic ciabatta bread (pronounced: cha-BAH-tah) and pizza.

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Cracked wheat Tabouleh with Tahini sauce


pronounced: tah-BOO-lee
Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water (use boiling for quick method)
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat
  • 1 bunch chopped parsley
  • 1 small bunch minced mint leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red and/or green onion
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • Fresh cracked Pepper, to taste
  • pinch ground cumin (optional)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Pinch allspice (optional)

Method:
1. Soak the cracked wheat in the water & refrigerate several hours or overnight.(For a quicker method: boil the water and pour over wheat in a bowl and cover for about 20-30 min.).
2. Mix wheat with other ingredients, lemon juice & olive oil last.
3. Serve with Tahini sauce (recipe follows).

Variations:
Substitute wheat with couscous or even cooked brown rice.
Garnish with cubed or crumbled feta cheese, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers or artichoke hearts.
Use prepared salad dressing instead of olive oil and lemon (like Ceasar dressing).



Tahini Sauce


Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. tahini
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. water, more or less
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Method

1. Process all ingredients in a food processor, starting with garlic (mince fine), then tahini, lemon juice, enough water to obtain a creamy consistency, and finally salt, pepper and cayenne (if using).
2. Refrigerate for several hours. You might have to add a little water at this point if sauce is too thick, and adjust seasoning as well.
3. Serve with tabouleh, falafel, fattoush or any kind of salad.

Variations

Try with peanut, sunflower or other nut butters.
Add hot sauce to make a pink spicy dressing
Add 'Liquid Aminos' or Tamari soy sauce.



Copyleft (2010) The Budget Gourmet

Pasta e Fagioli (aka: pasta fazool)


pronounced: pasta EH fah-JOE-lee
Makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta bacon, or prosciutto ham diced (optional)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, diced small
  • 1/2- cup celery, diced small
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, leave whole or slice
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (or 2 cups dried beans, soaked, rinsed and cooked in the stock until tender)
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock or equivalent water and bouillon
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or puree (optional)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary and/or thyme, or use dry
  • 1/2 lb. dried short tubular pasta, such as ditalini or other cooked 'al dente', drained and rinsed under cool water
  • Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated cheese (Parmesan, Romano or Asiago), to taste
  • Crusty bread, croutons or bruschetta

Method:

1. Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta (if using), cooking it until golden brown.
2. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and herbs stirring well.
3. Season lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne (if using).
4. Cook until onions and celery start becoming translucent.
5. Add stock, tomato puree (if using), beans and bring to a simmer, covered.
6. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
7. When vegetables are tender, take off from heat and cool slightly.
8. Add pasta (if you plan on having left-overs or you're making the soup ahead of time, you can keep the pasta separate and add it as needed, so it doesn't become soggy).
9. Serve topped with freshly grated cheese & crusty bread, croutons or bruschetta.

Variations:

Add chickpeas or different kinds of beans.
Add Italian, chorizo or other kind of sausage.
Make a flavorful stock ahead of time with bones, veggies or a smoked hock.
Deglaze the pan with the pancetta and/or veggies with some dry white wine.
Add a shot each of Tabasco (or other hot sauce) and Worcestershire sauce.

Copyleft (2010) The Budget Gourmet

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