More Holiday Cookies! Koulourakia and Italian Ricotta

We had the Christmas holiday cookies bake-a-thon again! Come try one of our 223 cookies fresh out of the oven or take one of our 10 creamy fudge spread jars. Please, take some! Or settle for these 5 recipes to get you in the spirit of merry baking.

Have you ever spent an afternoon baking Christmas cookies for the holiday celebrations to come? Well I got together with my friend Catherine again this year and we spent a day baking our holiday butt’s off. Once again we had a mountain of holiday cookies, plus some jars of yummy spreadable creamy fudge. I hope these Greek Koulourakia and Italian Ricotta cookies are good enough to sooth the mean spirit of Krampus, this month’s Food ‘n Flix pick.

Holiday Cookies Koulourakia Italian Ricott 2016 bake-a-thon g

holiday cookies creamy fudge spread

Can you spot the odd man out from the jars for Creamy Fudge Spread?

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Not Yo Mama’s Neapolitan

Nothing beats the summer heat like a Neapolitan frozen treat. Yonanas comes to the rescue with a healthy fruit “ice cream” which will also be kind to your bikini line.

It’s really summer and it is officially frozen dessert season here in the Northern Hemisphere. As you all know I am a huge fan of ice cream but I have been watching what I eat and when I look at the calorie count of ice cream…yikes. That does not mean I will completely deprive myself of ice cream pleasures but for everyday treats finding a healthier alternative is a huge step in the right direction.

Yonanas Neapolitan

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Halloween Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin & Cured Epidermis

The makings of a grown up halloween dish: seasonal squash, homemade squid Ink Pasta and “cured epideris”.

Well this year Halloween was not going to get away with just once post apparently. When I was hunting for black food coloring I came close to using squid ink in a sweet out of desperation to get my black color. My pastry chef friend Karyn saved that day … but now I really wanted to use the squid ink to. Fresh made Squid Ink Pasta to the rescue. Throw in some pumpkin for color and atmosphere, and a little bit of suspicious meat: Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin and Cured Epidermis.

Happy Halloween buaaahahahaha!

Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin and proscuitto

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Remembering the Daring Lis

The food blogging world suffered a big loss this week. It was no celebrity chef, cookbook author or writter, it was someone much more special than that. Lisa Cifelli, co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, passed away suddenly this week. Many food bloggers around the world will be posting a tribute to Lis on November 15th. I send my condelences to all of her family and close friends, particularly to Ivonne, Lis’ partner in crime in the Daring Kitchen adventure.

The Daring Kitchen was my first experience ever with a food group organizing monthly challenges and I particiapted for just over 2 years. It was my first real contact with other people like me, passionate about cooking and tangibly sharing the experience together. I had the pleasure of exchanging on quite a few occasions messages with Lis. During my time with the group I wrote a few articles and hosted 2 challenges. Lis was always there with encouragement and help, a joke, friendly words, a genuine kindness and a passion for this great group. I got to know her for a relatively short amount of time but she left quite a mark on me. I am sure there are hundreds of food bloggers who can retell the exact same story as me. She was a big influence and a mentor. It was a shock to hear of her passing.

Lis happily accepted my request for a guest post in the summer of 2010 when I went away on a holiday. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to repost her words and her recipe for Lasagna Rolls. I am glad there is a little piece of her here forever.

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Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month’s secret: Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes.

Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Taste of Treme: Myesha’s Muffuletta Olive Salad

It’s been a while. How are you all? Sorry for my disappearance but I was sick with a very bad cold for over a week and I am still coughing now. I just finished a bronchitis a couple of weeks ago too. So I have not been commenting or anything lately but I am trying to get back to visiting everyone. To good health with the soon coming new year!

I am way overdue for a Vacation Eatz post, where I like to show you pictures from my photo albums (yes the printed kind) of past trips I have taken. And of course we’ll explore a dish local to that destination.

About 12 years ago I had one of the most wonderful trips of my life. Picture three ladies and rental mini van on a long road trip from Montreal to New Orleans and back. Now the trip was very focused on the journey, not just the destination. We had planned daily stops in Cleveland, Nashville, Memphis, the Smoky Mountains and New York City. But most of the trip was spent in the amazing city of New Orleans.

This road trip was definitely planned around food, even on our meager budget. Thankfully when in NOLA you will eat very well even if it is not fancy. We tried all the usual suspects: Gumbos, Jambalayas, Crocodile meat, Po Boys, Shrimp Etouffe and many other dishes. But a very special sandwich is one of my fondest epicurean moments: the Muffeletta.

Ah! the Muffeletta sandwich. I would never have thought a trip would have been so defined by a simple meal as a sandwich. We decided to give it a try after reading about the Muffeletta in our guidebook but we were not expecting much from the experience. When we saw the size…made from an entire round bread about 10 inches across…we were convinced we would be stuck with leftovers. The Muffeletta was served into 4 sliced portions. We had our quarter each and at the end we had a long discussion as to how we would divide the remaining piece equally in 3 and the next day we got another one for the road for our bayou and plantation expedition.

The muffeletta consists of a focaccia like bread sandwiching layers of marinated olive salad, capicola, mortadella, salami, pepperoni, ham, Swiss cheese and provolone. Often it is slightly heated to soften the cheese. The sandwich was created by the local Italian immigrants as a quick lunch while working in the market. The real signature element is the Olive Salad.  I was so taken by surprise by the intense flavors of this olive salad that it has embedded itself deeply in my memory. I actually found a photo with my friend Marie of the actual Muffeletta we ate.

As I was flipping through the pages of a copy the Taste of Treme cookbook, I came across an Olive Salad recipe and the memories came rushing back in. This fabulous cookbook is filled really fun stories, history notes, pictures and of course recipes from NOLA. The cookbook focuses on the gritty and racially mixed neighborhood of Treme, now famous from the television series of the same name which takes place in three months after Hurricane Katrina as the residents of New Orleans try to rebuild their lives and their homes. In Treme you will find the heart and soul of true Soul Food.

I am really a fan of NOLA Soul Food so I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this cookbook for review from Ulysses Press. All the classic NOLA dishes are here and many unexpected more. You will learn how to prepare Crawfish, Roux, Andouille sausage stews, exotic drinks like the Hurricane, and fabulous sweets like the Beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Above is a picture of Marie and I enjoying these beignets. Again when we each ordered a plate at first we thought the portion was to big and we would not finish or plates. Wrong! We devoured our dessert greedily. And we went back every day for more. Next to us a lovely building from the French Quarter.

I am sure this is not the last recipe you will read here about from this cookbook but choosing to make the Myesha’s Muffuletta Olive Salad for this post was a no brainer for me. Everyone one should have a jar of this salad at home at all times in their fridge. The only thing I changed was the quantity of olive oil. This recipe (and all version of) use a massive amount of olive oil in my opinion, I cut it by a third and it was perfect for me.

 

Yields 3

Myesha's Muffuletta Olive Salad

The olive salad for the New Orleans classic sandwich, the Muffuletta

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 cup Kalamata or black olives
  • 1 Cup fine cut gardiniera
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp thinly sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 4-oz jar pimientos peppers
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (recipe calls for 1 cup)
  • Salt & black pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the green olives and the Kalamata or black olives. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Cover with the olive oil.
  2. Transfer the salad to a large jar with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 days, so the flavors have a chance to fully mingle, or up to 3 months.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Sauces & Condiments
7.6.3
216
http://cultureatz.com/taste-of-treme-myeshas-muffuletta-olive-salad/

 

I served my Olive Salad in a lighter fashion: a half slice of a French Bagette and a lovely French cheese called Saint-Nectaire (hints of hazelnut and mushrooms) which I popped in the oven for a few minutes. And stay tuned for an upcoming post soon for a really fantastic cocktail recipe made with Absinthe. I love that stuff.

Pappa al Pomodoro Soup

Hello and yes I am alive. I sorta fell off the planet for a week for no real good reason. But I am back, I hope lol.

An old friend of mine gave me this recipe at least 10 years ago. I had this soup at her place and requested the recipe. I made it once, scarfed it down because it is so good….and never made it again till now. I have no idea why but I won’t let another 10 years go by again for sure.

Pappa al pomodoro is a traditional recipe from Tuscany and it is a wonderful summery soup that can help make the autumnal blues go away. It is incredibly satisfying and full of flavor. You can enjoy it hot or chilled. It is very consistent and with some tofu this makes a great vegetarian meal, just add a block of cubed tofu at the same time then the bread. This is a main course soup for sure (Dana this one is for you).

Pappa al pomodoro translates to bread and tomato soup. I know it sounds weird but I promise it will be in your top 5 favorite soups of all time. And there is nothing fancy in here: tomatoes, bread, basil, olive oil are the corner stones of this recipe….all very affordable ingredients. This is the quintessential (so far) Cheap Ethnic Eatz!

There are so many versions of this recipe but basically the main difference between them is the bread to liquid ratio. If you want it very think use less broth an tomatoes, if you want it much soupier add broth and tomatoes. Also the grated hard cheese is not part of the traditional recipe…but it is so awesome! Experiment!

Ξ Pappa al Pomodoro Soup Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 loaf day-old rustic Italian bread (about 4 cups), torn into 1 inch cube pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh basil, torn
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
  • block of tofu, cubed (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large heavy pan heat oil over moderately high heat until quite hot. In the mean time chop onion, mince garlic and saute onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Stir in the hole can of chopped tomatoes into the pan.
  3. Add the bread chunks and broth ( and optional tofu) to tomato mixture, making sure all the bread is submerged, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bread has absorbed liquid and has a porridge consistency.
  4. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, and let the soup simmer  for another 5 minutes.
  5. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano to taste (for me more is not enough) and drizzle a little it of olive oil.

Serves 4