Archive for August, 2013

carrot stir fry

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For a quick side dish or a full meal, stir fries are the quickest and most delicious way to cook your meal, especially at this time of year when you don’t want your fresh vegetables to cook for very long. These vegetables could have easily been served alone as a side dish. Here I cooked some noodles, but could have been rice, quinoa, couscous or amaranth. All would have been equally delicious. I love using ping tung eggplants for stir fries because they have no seeds and cut very easily into bite size pieces. Ping Tungs are the best Chinese eggplants you can buy. They are sweet, tender, superbly delicious and available at Herbivor Farm. Also because they are organic you can leave the peel on and benefit from all the great nutrients. Planning to buy more Ping Tung eggplants this week to make a few jars of eggplant preserves.

Ping Tung Long Eggplant

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ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

3 chopped shallots

3 chopped cloves garlic

5 yelllow peppers cut in medium size strips

2 ping tung eggplants cut in slices (be sure to leave the peel on – this is where most of the nutrients are)

1 cup mushrooms cut in bite size pieces

1 cup pea shoots

a handful of parsley, basil, celery leaves (add at the end)

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Place oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat

Add the onion and half of the garlic  (reserve the rest of the garlic for later)

Stir fry until onions are wilted and beginning to brown

Add peppers and cook for a few minutes, add eggplant and continue cooking for a few more minutes

Add mushrooms and continue cooking until eggplant and mushrooms are soft

Add a little water if pan becomes too dry

Add the rest of the garlic and stir fry to incorporate

Add salt and pepper to taste

Now add 3/4 of the fresh basil mixture stirring briefly to incorporate

Slide onto a serving plate and sprinkle the rest of the basil over top

Add to rice, noodles, quinoa or etc…

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carrot greens pesto

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IMG_3632These carrot greens were too perfect to discard. Freshly picked at Herbivor Farm, not a spot on them and organic, I opted to make some pesto. I made a simple version of pesto, with just salt, pepper, olive oil, a handful of basil and parsley along with a couple of cloves of garlic. Pesto freezes so well that I’m planning to make enough to last the winter.

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ingredients

3 garlic cloves

2 cups carrot greens  (stems removed)

1/2 cup basil leaves

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1 cup olive oil

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blanch all greens together

pulse garlic

add carrot greens, basil and parsley, process until puree forms

add enough olive oil to make the paste smooth

season with salt and pepper

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stuffed zucchini squash

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pizza napoletana

micheline pizza

The Panoram Italia magazine for the month of June has  a great story on Naples and their famous pizza napoletana.  To replicate this pizza at home would be almost possible if we could get one of those wood burning ovens.

arugula salad-1   italian beans

However, this week, we dropped by Micheline and Michel’s house and she had just finished making dough from scratch for some home made pizza.  No wood burning oven but the pizzas she cooked were amazing. You’d swear that they were cooked in one of those famous ovens.  Along with the pizza we had fresh garden salad with cucumbers from my garden, broad italian string beans also from my garden and the sweetest corn on the cob from the Jean Talon Market. For a mid week unexpected meal, it turned out to be quite special.

Panoram Italia 

Pizza Napoletana: The one and only

by Gabriel Riel-Salvatore

Some eat it with a fork and knife, some like it folded (al libretto), some like it fluffy, some like it thin, but one thing remains true for all: everyone loves pizza. With its flat, dough-based surface, typically topped with cheese and tomato sauce, pizza is an awesomely simple dish that managed to conquer most parts of the world a little over two centuries since its creation in the city of Naples.

Neapolitans will tell you without hesitation that the world’s best pizza is still found in Totò’s hometown. “The primary reason is the use of local ingredients, which have no equal anywhere else,” explains Eduardo Ammendola from Pizzeria Di Matteo, located on via Tribunale in Naples’ historic quarter since 1936.

“One of the secrets to a good pizza is working with good products. It might cost a bit more, but it makes a big difference at the end of the day. The fior di latte and tomatoes must always be as fresh as possible. You even have to taste them to make extra sure. Moreover, all of our pizzas, like our bufalina topped with fresh cherry tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala campana, for example, are made with products hailing from the Campania region,” says Ammendola.

To say Neapolitans take their pizza very seriously is an understatement. The great propagation of pizza around the world made with varying ingredients forced Neapolitan pizzaioli (pizza makers) to regroup in 1984 under the association known as Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), to defend the authenticity of this typical Neapolitan tradition. Since 2004, the pizza napoletana even bears an official quality seal called Specialità tradizionale garantita (STG) (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) which carefully codifies how to make an authentic pizza napoletana. On top of using strictly local ingredients, everything must be scrupulously done by hand, except for the mixing of the dough.

Although it may seem simple at first, it takes years of training to become a master pizzaiolo at Di Matteo’s just like at any other pizzeria officially registered under the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.

“A good pizzaiolo must never run. He must learn how to make and work the dough using four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast. If it is hot outside, you put less yeast. When it’s colder you add a bit more (…). The dough should always be light and smooth when stretched and shaped by the pizzaiolo. And it is important to never burn your pizza. To get it perfect, you must have a winning combination between the pizzaiolo and the fornaio’s (baker) work,” explains Ammendola.

According to the specifications of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the disk’s edges should form a crust called cornicione of up to 1 to 2 cm, while the center of the dough should reach a height of about 3 mm. The baking must absolutely be done in a wood oven at a temperature of 485 °C for approximately 90 seconds. “This quick passage under high heat should leave the pizza humid and soft, never burnt or overcooked,” says Ammendola.

Purists only consider two types of pizzas as tradizionale: the margherita and the marinara, although many more varieties using other ingredients do exist. The former uses tomato sauce (of the San Marzano variety), mozzarella Specialità tradizionale garantita (STG), diced mozzarella di bufala campana DOP or fior di latte, basil and olive oil. The latter only uses tomato sauce, garlic, oregano and olive oil.

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