A busy day and a tasty soup

I like a lot to make posts with Marissa, and this time I am twice happy for our “soup swap” post. Today I had a busy day. When i got home i was really tired and freezed, outside the weather was cold. I went straight to the kitchen and i started preparing the soup i’ve decided to cook for our soup swap post, Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup following Marissa‘s recipe. While i was cooking all the fatigue e il chilly sensation went away, and we all enjoyed this delicious and creamy soup … the perfect meal after a cold and busy day! And thank you Marissa for your “buonissima” soup!!!

zuppa di zucca

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

a Butternut Squash ( i used 600gr)
a large onion
a sweet potato
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
chicken or vegetable broth
a piece of fresh ginger
extravergine olive oil
salt
black pepper
nutmeg

Peel and cut into large pieces the butternut squash, the onion and the sweet potato. In a pan add olive oil and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add butternut, potato and garlic, stir and add the broth. The broth has to cover all the chunks. After 15 minutes add the ginger and stir. Let it cook untill the butternut squash and potato are soft. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Add nutmeg and black pepper to taste.

In Marissa’s recipe, it’s supposed to serve the soup with creme fraiche or sour creme. I could not find both of them so i added a small spoon of fresh ricotta made with sheep milk ( it’s more salty and tasty than the one made with cow milk).

Buon Appetito!!!

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My Baking Day (part2) – Coconut Shortbred Cookies and Raisin Shortbread Cookies

After the chocolate cake, I wanted to bake shortbread cookies.

While I was preparing the dought, i’ve decided to add some new ingredient for a little “special touch”. My mind started thinking, i could hear its noise, a kind of “…. Mumble mumble … “. I opened the closet and I found a dry coconut jar and a raisin jar, “why not to try with one of these?” I thought … “Which one?” … Mumble mumble again … “But it is my baking day so I’ll try both!!!” … et voila’: 2 differents types of shortbread cookies!

And these are my experiments:

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

and Raisin Shortbread Cookies

Not perfect but not bad, especially the one with dry coconut, it gives a sweeter touch!!!

Coconut or Raisin Shortbread Cookies

2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup of superfine white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanillina or vanilla extract
3 tablespoon of dry coconut or 3 tablespoons of raisin

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter until soft and creamy, then add sugar and beat untill the dough becomes very smooth. Add vanillina and mix. Pour the dough in the bowl with flour and salt mixture. Add dry coconut or raisin. Mix really well. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour . Preheat the oven to 180°C ( 356°F). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 5cm thick circle. Cut the cookies into the shape you prefer with a cookie cutter. Place them on a baking sheet. Put back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, it will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape. Bake them for 10-15minutes, they have to remain lightly brown.

Buon Appetito!!!

Meet Marissa, an american friend and her Caesar Salad recipe

I’m so excited: with this post Marissa and i start an “American-Italian Post Project”. We want to write every month a post about food, culture, traditions and our life in our own country. Same arguments from two point of view. I love the idea to create this virtual bridge between us and discover what will happen.

Marissa is an american friend of mine. She has a beautiful food blog, called PinchandSwirl. In her blog she talks a little bit about her life but, above all, about delicious recipes she prepares, a mix of american, italian and international dishes, always with a her personal touch. All the posts have something more: her beautiful photos!

I met Marissa a year ago. Marissa and her husband Keith spent 65 days around Italy, visiting Venice, Bologna, Florence and Tuscany, Roma and more, and sharing all their experiences in their blog 65 days in Italy. During this trip they stopped at Podere Vignali where i organized a cooking class for them.

We had a beautiful time cooking and talking about food, traditions and our countries. I was so proud of my job when they talked about me in their blog and their travel guide. After that time we kept in touch via email. We get long well and i feel comfortable talking to her, probably because, like me, she moved a lot in her life living in different cities and learning a lot from those experiences. Marissa writes in her blog ” I live in Bend, Oregon, graduated from college in Idaho, and grew up in California. Before Bend I lived in Seattle, where I worked with my husband to restore a 1921 Craftsman Bungalow – so I’m handy with a hammer and a kitchen knife”.

I like her kindness and her way to observe the world around … and also i like her recipe! To open this series of posts i decided to prepare one of her recipe “Chopped Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers and Giant Croutons“, an american recipe with italian origin and her touch!

Chopped Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers and Giant Croutons

Here Marissa’s recipe for Caesar Salad from her blog:

Crispy capers and giant croutons:
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
4 slices (1/2 inch) whole wheat sourdough or whole grain peasant loaf … i used unsalted tuscan Bread
olive oil for tossing/drizzling

For the dressing:
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovies (optional – Worcestershire sauce gives a slight anchovy flavor)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup lemon juice, preferably fresh
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to shave over salad (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place capers in a small bowl and add about 1 teaspoon of olive oil; toss to coat.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bread slices on one half of the baking sheet and sprinkle capers in a single layer on the other. Drizzle bread slices with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and capers are crispy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Add all dressing ingredients except oil – garlic through Parmesan cheese – to the pitcher of a blender; puree. With blender running, slowly add olive oil and continue to blend until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a large bowl combine chopped romaine and eggs; toss to combine. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat.

Divide salad between 4 serving bowls. Top each salad with one giant crouton, a sprinkle of crispy capers, and several shavings of Parmesan cheese. Serve.

I start preparing the dressing, then cutting the salad, toasting the bread and the capers. After combining all , we had delicious salad for lunch … Very good!!! Bravissima Marissa !!!

Buon Appetito !!!

I hope you like this post and all the posts will come after !!! But now read Marissa lovely post Authentic Italian Ragu&Meet Giovanna

SEE YOU SOON … A PRESTO!!