Thursday, 23 July 2015

Easy Italian Food Recipes

Are you a busy person with a very hectic schedule? If you have not much time to spend in the kitchen, you would surely benefit from recipes that do not require you to cook for several hours. These dishes may be simple to make; however, they still come with superb taste and nutritious goodness that will definitely appeal to your discriminating taste buds. In only a snap, you can turn everyday meal into fine dining because of the sophisticated taste of these dishes.

If you are interested in Italian cooking, you should definitely read this article for more ideas on what to prepare and cook. Italian dishes are famous for their rich taste, exciting aroma and nutritious ingredients. Check out these easy Italian food recipes that you can prepare for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack time.

Parigiana Risotto 
This heavy dish is perfect for lunch or dinner. It features the interesting combination of rice, cheese, onion and wine. This recipe is ideal for those who are in the rush for work. It takes no more than 30 minutes to cook, thus making it a snappy yet nutritious dish. You can eat the dish on its own or serve it with grilled or fried meat.

Vegetarian Pesto
Relish the delightful taste of pesto on your pasta or bread with an authentic Italian vegetarian pesto recipe. With the right amounts of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and pepper, you can create the perfect pesto. You will surely love the taste and the healthful goodness of this recipe that you can make in only as little as 15 minutes. Simple have your food processor ready and cook the pasta or toast the bread. You will definitely have a wonderful brunch, breakfast or snack with this recipe.

Melenzane Fritte 
Enjoy a fried dish loaded with nutrients. This recipe features an exquisite combination of eggplants, white rice, cheese, eggs and a few seasonings. You only need to blend well the ingredients in the right amounts and fry the mixture until golden brown. In only a matter of 10 to 15 minutes, you can delight on a satisfying dish perfect as a heavy snack for teatime.

If you cannot resist the taste of pork, you will love a fabulous recipe that is easy to make. It includes pounded pork cutlets, hard-boiled eggs, breadcrumbs, raisins and some herbs such as oregano and basil. Simply combine all the ingredients, which you will use to use as a filling to the pork cutlet. After spreading the mixture onto the pork cutlet, roll and seal the pork before frying it. Choose from your favourite dip or sauce to add more taste to this delightful dish.

These are only a few of the many simple Italian recipes that you can make. Whether you are after vegetables or meat for your everyday meal, you can make the dish easy on your taste buds. Try these authentic Italian food recipes for a healthy and satisfying dining experience. You will love the hassle-free time that you can have in preparing and cooking these dishes.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Brazilian Coffee Story

When we think of the best coffee, we primarily think of Brazilian coffee. This is because Brazil produces some of the world's best coffee and has done so for the past 150 years! It all started in 1727 in Pará, Brazil, when Francisco de Melo Palheta planted the first tree. With coffee production starting in Pará, it arrived in Rio de Janeiro gradually by 1770.

Initially, it was planted just for the sole consumption of Brazil. All things changed in the 19th century when Europe and America started demanding more of this Brazilian coffee. So by 1820, plantations started to take root in the Brazilian regions of Mina Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro---by then, the country was producing 20% of the world's coffee. When 1830 came, coffee was the largest export of Brazil, which was already 30% of the world's production!

From the span of 1880 to 1930, Brazil had a substantial increase in coffee production. By 1920, Brazil supplied 80% of the world's coffee (imagine having almost the entire world dependent on you for coffee!). In more recent times, Brazil supplies almost 60% of the world's total production (still not a bad feat to be producing for more than half the world).

So, why was there such a clamor for Brazilian coffee and why is it still true today? Perhaps it can be credited to their unique picking method. Brazil strip picks it traditionally---this means that they will only make a pass or two on a tree. So if there is uneven ripening, all levels of ripeness are chosen.

But even beyond their traditional picking method, Brazil makes such great tasting coffee because they go the natural and pulped natural method route in terms of processing. If you would ask a regular Brazilian on the street about this method, they might just inform you that this traditional processing for the past 150 years (even before pulping machines were available) has helped create this very unique Brazilian coffee blend of complexity and sweetness.

What many do not realize, however, is that Brazilian coffee is very popular, also because of its great diversity throughout the country. Traditionally and through specialty coffee, Brazilian coffee is known to be nutty, mildly sweet, and full of body. Nowadays, through advancements in processing and sorting, it can be intensely sweet with chocolate and caramel notes and complimentary acidic.

The diversity in Brazilian coffee is also brought about by the different coffee growing regions in the country. In the largest coffee-growing region of Brazil, Minas Gerais covers 50% of the country's production and produces its main specialty coffee sources. The region of São Paulo, on the other hand, is one of the more traditional areas in Brazil for growing, producing pure Arabica coffee, and home to Port of Santos, where coffee leaves Brazil. Espiritu Santo, another growing region, is second in Brazilian coffee production, with 28% of its coffee being Arabica. The warm climate and high altitude region of Bahia, farms 75% Arabica coffee, while the Parana region grows Arabica coffee exclusively. Lastly, the region of Rodonia is dedicated solely to Conilon or Robusta coffee.

So now, when you take a sip or two of this coffee, remember that many generations and regions of Brazil have come together to give you your perfect cup of piping hot Brazilian coffee. Enjoy!

Friday, 12 June 2015

How To Choosing a Coffee Machine

Following the espresso scene as elegantly as a connoisseur coffee at the local cafe, might not be for everyone's taste. But it is not difficult to make a coffee drink like Costa or Starbucks at your own house now.

You can get a low-priced coffee maker however, this is not always your best option, in case you're a java lover you'll have to be careful with your choices. You are going to need to think about a coffee machine that has the type of functions to give you the premium coffee you enjoy. Coffee machines use a variety of methods to prepare your coffee from fresh beans to the well recognized k cups. You need to first check out what varieties these small pods and beans come in, and just how simple they can be to buy. Some single-serve coffee makers just have several kinds of flavors, while the others have more than 30, and that means you'll need to decide on your choice of machine.

Who Is Using Your Coffee Machine?

Who else will be consuming your coffee maker? That is vital to know, as if it is likely to be only you, you then can choose a device which does all you want it too. If you are a regular party-animal, and have the casual visitor over, you should think about a machine which provides you with the capacity to make several distinct combinations of coffee like a cappuccino machine. There's nothing worse than purchasing a pricey coffee maker with coffee that is tasty and then maybe not have the ability to discuss it with anybody because it will not work with different kinds of coffee or pods.

Determine just how much coffee you are going to be drinking regularly. This is because some devices have distinct sizes of water tanks. Single-serve devices that are little can only just offer you -2 small cups before you've got to re fill them again, which may well not be that beneficial to you. Perhaps a filter established coffeemaker might be your solution as it gives a bigger number of coffee drinks for you.

If you are a regular at one of the big brand name high street chains such as Starbucks cafe, then you'll probably already have a favorite coffee combination. You can decide what machine and ingredients works best together with some internet research relating to this brand of coffee. A lot of people that have been drinking coffee for years are able to tell just which kind of machine is greatest to use with what particular brand.

Should you be a genuine flavored coffee-drinker, you'll prefer your coffee daring and you might possess a refined set of tastebuds, hence the device you choose to make your coffee day in and day out is important. A good quality lever coffee machine provides you with the strongest flavor potential, but that is the reason why so much manual function is required by them. There isn't much automated about them.

Just how Much Java Makes the Full Pot?

Each device varies with the way it makes your coffee. Filter and espresso coffee devices may make coffee that is stronger than single-serve devices. However, the Verismo from StarBucks is a 19 bar coffee maker which has a richer tasting coffee and more powerful pump than many drip brew machines. Additionally what dimensions are your mugs that you use? Some coffee makers prefer to have only small cups, but you might be someone that likes a big mug of coffee. Yes, you can find a few coffee machines that have the limitation of adjustable heights but most of them allow you to remove the drip tray to fit your mug in below the spout.

What Measurement Are You Currently Living In?

Space is a premium in the United Kingdom. We aren't like the American homes with 5 and 4 bedrooms. A more modern lifestyle is led by us, sometimes moving about often, and residing in apartments. This is the reason you must assess the measurements of your espresso machine and ensure it can in fact fit in your kitchen well in advance. You do not need a machine that takes up all the space in your kitchen. If this is true then a small single serve will be the best one for you.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Italian Cooking Tips

The Fundamentals of Italian Cooking Part 2: Building a Flavor

'First comes the taste' - Marcella Hazan

I think Marcella says it perfectly when it comes to Italian cooking- TASTE comes first! Taste goes hand and hand with flavor, or as they say in Italy, sapore! And Italian cooking is all about building that ever elusive flavor that will melt the hearts of the dear ones you cook for.

The definition of flavor is: distinctive taste; savor. Originating from the Latin word flatus, meaning blowing, breeze. As I contemplated the relationship between flavor and blowing/breeze what came to me were the myriad scents of nature's breezes that just are. A breeze carries the smell of roses, the aroma of apples or grapes ripening in the sun, the smell of basil in the garden, or the mouth-watering smell of a Val di Chiana steak over a flame. The breeze carries the pure essence to you without adulterating it (unless of course you live near a farm like we do and you sometimes get the pleasant smell of cow manure mixed in).

When cooking Italian food, one must learn to pull that pure essence from their ingredients and allow it come forth in such a way that your guests swoon and moan with delight. The wonderful tool we have to discover and build this flavor is our TASTE. So off we go to learn how to build the real 'Italian' flavor of a dish.

Building the Flavor

In Elizabeth Romer's book, The Tuscan Year, there is this beautiful saying, "If you want to eat genuine food then you must work hard to make it." This is like anything in life, if you want something of quality you must work hard at it. And when it comes to building, I think the ancient Roman architects did a great job at that! Likewise when it comes to building the flavor base of an Italian dish think Roman architecture. Their buildings are still standing... and that is what you want with your flavor! Your goal is to have it stand up on its own, and not fall apart as you move forward with your meal.

What is this flavor base? It is a mixture of herbs, some aromatic vegetables (onion, garlic), and/or meat (pancetta, lard) cooked in a fat like olive oil or butter. As all things go in Italy, each region, town, borgo, and Nonna will have a different style and way of building a flavor base.

How do you go about building a flavor base? Begin by incorporating the three simple stages below into your dishes and you will make great progress in your understanding of the culinary world of Italy.

The three stages of building a flavor:

Battuto (to strike) chopped or minced vegetables, herbs, and/or meat
Soffritto (to sauté) what the battuto becomes when sautéed in a fat like olive oil, butter, or lard
Insaporire (to enhance the flavor) adding additional vegetables or meat to the soffritto once it is done
Some bullet points to help you to understand and incorporate the three stages into your Italian cooking:

Battuto includes a variety of items beyond the most infamous Italian trifecta of onion, celery, and carrot; recipes may call for parsley, leeks, garlic, herbs, and meats.
Soffritto will always vary per dish and per region of Italy; this is what gives Italy so much variety across the many regions. The fats you will typically work with are olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, and lard. Once you practice this you will start to understand when to use the different fats to cook your battuto
Typical order of ingredients to be cooked when creating a soffritto: onion, then garlic, then carrots, and so on... onions will almost always be first! This will prevent the strong onion taste going into everything else.
When cooking for folks that dislike the taste of onion you can cook them over a gentle heat for a longer time during the soffritto For instance, my mom 'hates' the smell and taste of them (maybe even the sight of them), but when I cook for her she is okay with them, because I really let them cook and clarify.
A Soffrito may sometimes call for lard or chopped/minced meats, which will always bring a deeper and more complex flavor.
When working with the ingredients for either stage of building your base, remember if you want to release more flavor quickly over a shorter cooking time, then chop or mince smaller. However, if you are cooking something over a longer period of time (like a soup, stew, or brasato al barolo), then chop roughly, halved, or leave whole (leaving them this way will provide greater ease when removing them after cooking, i.e., bay leaves, whole onions, garlic cloves).
Something to keep in mind is that you are not seeking to sauté your battuto over high heat. A better term than sautéing may be 'sweating' them over a gentle or medium heat. This allows the pure essence of the flavor (its breeze) to waft forth versus being sealed inside when sautéing over high heat. The goal is to help release the flavor of each ingredient into the liquid in your pan.
The insaporire stage is very important, and this is where dishes go wrong quickly. The idea here is to enhance the flavor with new ingredients (vegetables or meat). Mix and sauté them in the soffritto and get them soaking up the wonderful flavor base you just spent all this time creating. Remember to sauté them with sufficient heat too, as this will help enhance the flavor to a richer and deeper level. This will help seal the flavor in your added vegetables or main meat.
Since these steps only involve a few ingredients, and are the foundation that everything else will be built on, strive to rely on the quality of the ingredients you are using (this will be covered in depth in Part 3).
I know for some of you this may be a review, and for others this may be the first time you have seen these stages of Italian cooking. For the latter group, there will be a learning curve for sure- especially in the prep time. But with a little practice you will flying along building your flavor to tastier Italian meals in no time at all. It only takes 15-20 minutes or so, and in the end, a well-built flavor base will make the difference between a 'great' Italian dish and a 'mediocre' dish.

If you are looking for some practice on this, here is a little 'homework'.

A simple tomato sauce with chopped vegetables and olive oil

First prep your ingredients. (serves 4)
½ cup each chopped carrots, onion, and celery (Italy's trifecta battuto)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Either 2 lbs. ripe, peeled tomatoes or 2 cups of good imported Italian tomatoes
Penne or rigatoni (usually 2 oz. per person)
For fresh tomatoes: Blanch, peel, and cook the tomatoes uncovered in a saucepan at a very gentle simmer for about 1 hour or so. Stir and mash up the whole tomatoes with your spoon while stirring.

Pour extra-virgin olive oil into a deep sauce pan and add the chopped onions. Cook at medium heat till the onions turn a pale golden color (do not brown or blacken them), and then add your celery and carrots and cook for another minute or so, stirring the soffritto

Add your insaporire: the cooked fresh tomatoes or the canned tomatoes; then add salt and mix. Cook uncovered at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes for the fresh, and 45 minutes for the canned tomatoes. Stir throughout. Salt to taste and serve when done.
If you want to try something a little more complex after this, try out a white bean soup recipe. It involves an a crudo battuto (meaning the ingredients are not sautéed first) of onion, bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and garlic cloves. And then the olive oil infusion with pancetta and sage leaves is another form of a soffritto.

Make sure to incorporate what you learned in Part 1 by smelling and tasting the three stages of building a flavor as you go along, and file it all away into your memory bank!

I can't wait to hear how it goes for you all. If you are looking for additional information about battuto, soffritto, and insaporire, please check out the Web as it is chock full of more details.

Grazie e ciao!


Hello, I am Tim DeMarco, the creator of Specializing in traditional Old World Italian ways of cooking. So sign up for recipes, articles, and tips!