Lacinato Kale Crostini

Cavolo Nero or Lacinato Kale … what a strange vegetable!!!

I discovered this crunchy and tasty vegetables ten years ago when I moved to Tuscany. The first time I saw it I was a little bit disappointed about touching the dark green, curly and rugose leaves. They seemed to be an “alien” veggie … a mix between organic staff and hard gum !!!!!!!!!!

Lacinato Kale  Lacinato Kale Crostini

But when finally I tried them, my idea had to change and I felt in love !!! Now i use a lot the lacinato kale to prepare soups, a nice risotto and some tasty crostini!

Every time I have a dinner with friends or a simple quick lunch with family, I prepare these crostini … sometimes i top them with different ingredients as spicy olive oil, fried bacon or flakes of Pecorino cheese, but always using the basic original recipe !

Thank to Marissa I have learned something new: I was thinking this kind of cabbage was typically from Tuscany and almost unknown in the rest of the world. When she proposed a “lacinato kale post” I had to look in a vocabulary to understand this strange word and, with joy, I’ve discovered it was my adorable “cavolo nero” and it was possible to use it in lots of different recipes as the delicious salad Marissa has prepared for her post!

Thanks to Marissa i’ll try a new delicious salad but also a “new version” of my lacinato kale crostini … with almond and garlic raisin on top!!! An incredible mix of the 2 recipe !!!

Lacinato Kale Crostini

A bunch of Lacinato Kale
2 Cloves Garlic
Extravergine olive oil
Slices of bread ( Tuscan bread if possible!!!)
Rocky salt
Water

Chop the lacinato kale in big pieces. In a pan sauté the garlic in extra verging olive oil until you can smell the garlic ( make attention not to burn it ). Add the lacinato kale, stir and make it fry a little bit. Add water and a pinch of rocky, stir and cover. Let it cook until it became tender, add water if necessary. Drizzle some extravergine olive oil on slices of bread and bake them in the oven for 10 minutes. Top them with cooked lacinato kale. If there is some water left in the pan  put some on the slices of bread before the lacinato kale …  it gives a very good taste!!!

Buon Appetito!

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Cantucci for Christmas

I think a little package of homemade biscuits, well decorated and with a fancy tag, it’s the perfect Christmas gift! If you receive it, it tells you a lot about the person who made the gift!

I adore Christmas time and the feelings it creates in me … I enjoy thinking about the right gift for everyone, the decorations and a way to keep this atmosphere alive!
In this lovely mood I can spend all my days baking tons of biscuits and preparing little packages for family and friends … it is my way to tell I care and think about them!!!!!!

Christmas Gift 2012

This year for Christmas i’ve prepared a green and gold gift box, with a small tin of Olive oil, a jar of golden Honey, a cute bottle of Limoncello and a package of Cantucci.

Cantucci

Cantucci are my favorite biscuits and I love to use them as a gift. They are typical Tuscan “biscotti”, prepared with almond … usually they have to be baked crunchy because  the best way to taste these biscuits, it’s dip them in Vin Santo, a sweet, dessert wine … Delicious!!!

When Marissa proposed me to make a “biscuit post”, i could only think about Cantucci, my Christmas biscuits! Here it’s my recipe … but after Marissa’s post i have to confess i have 2 favorite Christmas Biscuits&Cookies : Cantucci and Soft Sugar Cookies!!! I adore our posts Marissa!!!!

Cantucci

50gr Butter
2 Eggs and 3 Yolks
400gr Flour
280gr Sugar
5ml Vanilla Extract
190gr Toasted Almonds (not peeled)
4gr Baking Powder
… a pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C (350F). Melt the butter. In a bowl mix  flour, salt and baking powder. In a second large bowl whisk eggs, yolks and sugar with a mixer until the dough is soft and creamy. Add the butter and whisk. Add the vanilla extract and whisk. Add the dry ingredients and whisk. Finally add the almonds and mix using a wooden spoon.

Divide the dough in 3 parts ( 2 parts if you want bigger biscuits) and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each part into a 20cm (8inch) log and about 8-10cm (3-4inch) wide.

My Homemade Cantucci  Baking Cantucci

Put the logs on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. When ready, remove from oven and let cool them down for 10 minutes . When they are warm, but not cold, on a cutting board, cut logs into slices 1 cm thick using a sharp knife. Place the slices again on the baking sheets and back in the oven for 15minutes at 150°C ( 300°F). The longer you bake them, more crisp and crunchy they will become … I prefer to keep them a little bit soft inside, not too crunchy, and i bake for 15 minutes (as i’ve indicated above), If you like them crunchy let them bake  10 minutes more!

Buon Appetito and Buon Natale !!!!!!!!!

Tina&Herman

I like so much my cooking classes!!! It’s always a beatiful occasion to meet special persons.

Last Wednesday i organized a cooking lesson for Tina and Herman, a lovely couple that live in Singapore. They were travelling around Italy and they spent a week at Casina di Rosa in Civitella Marittima (Gr) where they knew about my “classes” .

I had a wonderful afternoon with them full of recipes, italian kitchen and a lot of talking about everything. And they payed me a lovely and sweet compliment: ” Giovanna, you make every recipes so easy to prepare!” This is exactly what i want from my lessons, i do not know if i’m a good teacher but i put all my passion in them!!!

Thank you Tina and Herman, i hope to see you soon!

PISA: Agricoltura e Allevamenti – San Rossore

PISA: Agricoltura e Allevamenti – San Rossore

Sunday we went to San Rossore, a big regional park outside Pisa. There was a big exhibition based upon Farming: farming of animals, farming of land, dairy farming and farmer’s activities. Farming is one of the principal economical activities in … Continue reading

Paula and Isabel

Monday i had a wonderful cooking class with Isabel and Paula. They’ve learned some tuscan recipes and i’ve learned more about canadian and mexican food, what a interesting mix !!! I love taking cooking classes because it’s a nice way to meet people from all around the world and sharing recipes, ideas, interests and just simple talks, but, above all, mixing my tuscan life with their own life!!!

  

Thank you Isabel and Paula for our beautiful afternoon !