August 31, 2010

Ricotta Chocolate Chips Scones: yes, we'll have chocolate again!


I’m writing down this recipe and I’m thinking :“Christiane will complain about the fact that I’m using chocolate again”. Christiane, of The Mom Chef, and I share many things (even though we never met before!). Recently, she reminded that one of these things is that we do not like chocolate, except in very rare occasions.

August 29, 2010

Thyme and Garlic Focaccia


Last Friday we officially finished to pack the school where I work. The school is moving to a new, beautiful, big location (yay!) and we are all very excited about it. It's also a (physically) hard time because we, as teacher, are helping with the move. This means spending our days not only planning for the new school year, as usual, but also packing, moving, cleaning, painting etc. It's fun, though. It really is fun! We are a group of 10 young teachers so it is cool to spend time together without the kids around. 

August 28, 2010

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Pears Surpise


I have a real aversion against waste of food. I just cannot stand it. I think it’s a crime against humanity and it really bothers me. These feelings come in part from the fact that I grew up in a relatively poor family. I never starved myself (although my parents did…post WWII in Europe were of course tough times) but I did have a lot of deprivations and I had parents that passed on me this thing of not wasting food as a strong moral rule. To this you have to add the fact that I have worked in the economic and rural development field for ten years, thus, even when I grew out of poverty myself I have seen and lived close to it in my years spent abroad (mainly Mexico and India). Now that I live in the US, of course, I experience a lot of food wasting and that really really really bothers me.

August 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers' Challenge August 2010: Petit Fours


The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

August 24, 2010

Honey pine nuts muffins


Today I realized that I haven't made muffins in a very long time. And what a better time to make muffins than during a busy week? Muffins are quick and easy to make. I also like their versatily: by only changing one or two ingredients you can get a wide variety of flavors. So after the great experience I had with honey in making my Sweet Ravioli I decided I wanted to stick to my new friend :) 

August 23, 2010

Happy Monday: homemade bagels and a food blogger praise


I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks, more precisely since when I finally tackled one of the recipes in my wish-to-make-soon list: homemade bagels. I really thought this was going to be a hard recipe. Somehow bagels intimidated me....up until that day! I knew I needed a trustworthy recipe and when I need that I know where to look for: Joudie's blog, Mood Food.

August 22, 2010

Blueberries Ricotta Tartlettes: the blueberry obsession continues


Oh yes, I still have A LOT of blueberries! 
Oh yes, I told you I was going to obsess with them!
Oh yes, I warned you that you were going to get many recipes with blueberries!
And oh yes, I promised I was going to bake a lot over the weekend!

August 21, 2010

Blueberry Breakfast Cake: blueberry mania and I miss you bloggers!


Finally! The weekend is here! This last week of summer school seemed endless. We have placed an offer on the house we saw last weekend and it was accepted so now we are super busy between inspections, appraisals, mortgage approvals etc. "I did not bake for 5 days! 5 days! I repeat myself: 5 days! I'm in shock. I'm baking deprived! I'm getting depressed! I need to bake!" That was me on a Friday afternoon. I was really down. For how depressing I might have sound, there is also a positive side of the story. I did realize how much I do like baking; how much I do need baking. I always say that baking is party of my personality but somehow this week I had a more tangible proof. And these are always good reminders :)

August 17, 2010

Amaretti Semifreddo and my first product review


You probably already noticed that I do not do reviews of restaurants. I don’t because I always think “who am I to praise or denigrate a restaurant? Who am I to risk affecting their business because of my opinion (if that would ever happen)”. After all, you all know already that I am not a chef, a baker or in any case a professionist in the food industry.
Today, however, I am giving you a product review of a product from my good friends at MaramiaFoods: Amaretti Cookies by Vicenzi.

August 14, 2010

Sweet Ravioli


Don’t tell me you guys are tired of cookies recipes because here comes another. No, I did not have a bad week this time but hey, am I allowed to have cookies only to cheer myself up now? No, right?! This week has actually been a pretty good week: working, blogging, twitting…and today we are going to see a house! Yes, we are on a house hunt! How exciting is that! We are not in a hurry and we had kind of suspended our search for the summer, between trip to Italy and my uncertain schedule during the summer school. But the other day we saw a house listed that was just what we are looking for. I hope in person it’s not going to disappoint us!

August 11, 2010

Risini (rice pudding tartlettes) - part 2 - the real ones!


Yesterday I wanted to make something good and special for Wally. He is having a lot of work lately and I decided to make him something chocolaty to satisfy his craving. I looked for hours for a good recipe for chocolate cupcakes. I am really not good at making cupcakes. I have tried them more or less 10 times by now and only 2-3 times they came out good. 

August 07, 2010

Vanilla Kipferl and why I do not post step by step pictures


Yesterday it was a very hard day at work. I usually don't work on Friday morning these days but I had to sub for a sick teacher. That in itself put me in a sad mood because I had planned to make some delicious rolls but I knew I was not going to have enough time to make them once back from work. On top of it, as I said, it was a hard day with a very hard group to keep. I got home exhausted! And I needed something to cheer myself up. It was then that I remembered one of the last post of Chef Dennis who suggested to bake cookies when you are having a bad day. That post saved my day! 

August 04, 2010

Chocolate Cinnamon Scone Bites and my new banner


Here it is...I finally got my own banner! This is part of my birthday gift from Wally. Those of you who were already reading my blog probably remember that my "maritino" (hubby) asked a friend of his, a super cool artist, to make my blog banner for my birthday. She was pretty busy in this period so she could not make it ontime but I was totally fine with waiting a bit longer because I knew the result would have been amazing. She has this amazing capability in translating somebody's personality into a drawing. 

August 02, 2010

My first award

As you remember I couple of days ago I thanked Emily of Fuss Free Cooking for mentioning me among her favorite blogs. By doing that she turned The Versatile Blogger award to me. It really made my day and today I finally find the time to write a decent blog post about that. So, here is the award....

and here is what comes together with the award.

First of all, I have to share 7 random things about myself. Ufff, that's hard...I mean, I am myself a very "random" person but picking 7 random things that you guys already don't know or might me interested in knowing....that's a different story....but here it goes:

1. I HATE....but really HATE....raw tomatoes....and I know this is shocking news! Cooking a little bit and I'm fine, cooking completely and I'm super happy, give me a tomato sauce and I will love you forever but don't ever ever ever make me eat a raw tomato and not even a salad that touched it. To understand how this is a burden in my life you have to remember I'm Italian....growing up in Italy where everybody has tomatoes in every dish and hating it was very hard!

2. I also used to not like cats....until I met my husband who already had 2 amazing (super weirdo) that point I wanted one more. Now we have 3 amazing (super weirdo) kitties...and you understand why I can't take step by step pictures of what I bake.

3. I have a tiny tiny tiny kitchen....but I'm serious: tiny! I don't even have a counter! Don't ask me how I bake with 3 cats and no counter but I do! (Now don't start thinking that what you see on my blog is fake! I really make it myself). I'm looking forward one day to move to a real home to have my dream kitchen...In the meantime, I have to be patient (Wally is always amazed of how I make good desserts in terrible conditions...I will take a pic of my kitchen soon and post it so you can see yourself)

4. I also do not have a Kitchen Aid :((( really? Really! Hey, I've been unemployed for six months waiting for my green card...I need to save up some money.

5. Up until my early twenties I was fluent in 5 languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French and German. I stopped using French and German...thus, I forgot them. I speak English and Spanish decent enough so that people don't bother correcting me anymore. That means I don't improve anymore. Now, in my early thirties I speak poorly Italian, English and Spanish :( yes, I'm even forgetting Italian sometimes :(

6. My mom hates baking, so don't ask me where I got this baking bug from  but I'm glad I have it

7. The guy with whom I was for four years during my undergrad was great at cooking and always told me I sucked. He said that so many times that he even convinced me of that and I did not cook until 4 years ago. This blog is also a little revenge (too bad he does not even know it exists:)) 

And now comes the hardest part of receiving this award....I have to present it to my favorite bloggers! OMG, I read soooo many (yes, even if I don't leave many comments I do read as many as I can) that I don't know how to choose but I'll try....and you should really check them out! Even those that are in Italian have an English translation so don't get discouraged!

Ok, I have many many many more favorite that I'm sure already got their award....just check out my blogroll and the bloggers that leave comments to my posts...I really do read back all their blogs.

Anyway, again....thank you Emily!

August 01, 2010

All you wanted to know (and probably more!) about Cornstarch

The other night I was coming back from a birthday party with Wally and a couple of friends when, I don't even remember how, the conversation ended up on the meaning and origin of the word Tiramisu. Wally was mentioning that it did not really sound like an Italian word to him (that's how much of Italian he know after more than a year with me!) and so I improvised an explanation of the name of the famous Italian dessert, or at least the little I could remember from something I read somewhere, some time ago.

OK, "what does tiramisu has to do with cornstarch?" you might be thinking. Nothing! But from this uninteresting episode I got the idea of some random posts about an ingredient, or a dish, or anything else related to cooking (in particular to baking). I am always curious about the origin of a word or a dish or about alternative uses of many ingredients, even outside the kitchen. I think that a series about this would stimulate me to do some research and find the What, Where, When, Why, Who (and maybe also the How) of many more things aside from Tiramisu (and I'm not going into the derivation of the word Tiramisu in this post...I'm sorry!)