Food of the Etruscans?

MULTI GRAIN FIG/WALNUT/ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

Italy Magazine’s article about the multi grain pizza led me to their recipe for fig and honey focaccia. I’m a focaccia foodie and have made it every which way in past years to sell locally as a caterer. Now I hear it was invented by the Etruscans??!  My other haunting research topic!? Here is my recipe for fig and rosemary multi grain focaccia. I adapted Bob’s Red Mill recipe using his quality multi grain bread mix. You can up the oven temp if you wish

Use their fantastic on-line website for gluten free recipes, product info and so much more.

 Adapted from BOB’S RED MILL 10-GRAIN HERB FOCACCIA

for Bread Machine or by Hand

Makes one 17×11” or two 10” loaves

1 c + 1 T warm water
3 T+2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 T fresh (rosemary) herbs, chopped, or 3/4 tsp. dried–divided
1 Pkg. Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Bread Mix.
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cane sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
½ c ch. walnuts
10-12 dark figs sliced or 1 thinly sliced apple.
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Put minced garlic, water, 1 T fresh herbs or 2 tsp dry herbs and 3 T oil into bread machine.  Add package of 10-grain bread mix and salt to bread machine.  Make well in center and pour in sugar and yeast.  Turn machine onto the dough cycle.  If dough is too dry in the machine, add water 1 T at a time.  Dough should begin to clump without remaining dough on sides of pan. Add ½ c chopped walnuts to recipe after dough is first mixed, and mixing.

When complete, remove dough that has already risen once.  Shape and roll, using remaining ¼ c flour, into desired round or rectangle bread sizes, move to prepared baking pans. Before rising again, press fig or apple rounds and additional ¼ c chopped nuts into dough, dimple and allow to rest, covered, for an additional hour.

Preheat oven to 425º with baking stone, if desired.

Dimple the dough with your fingertips.

Combine the remaining oil with the remaining herbs and brush over the top of the dough.  Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden.  Cook on wire rack 15 minutes.

Can be frozen; allow to defrost, reheat wrapped in foil in 250ºF oven.

 

My favorite “Farm Fresh to You” Recipe

FARM FRESH TO YOU is my go-to Organic CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) supplier of fine organic fruits and vegetable to my door. Take a look at their website for easy to customize deliveries of local goods of all kinds, including farm fresh organic eggs, jams, honey, baby food, cereals, etc. etc. etc.–remarkable variety and quality.
Collard Greens with Polenta
This is a great take on greens and grits. The creamy egg on top is a delicious addition. If you want a vegetarian version, try our Easy Braised Collard Greens
EASY BRAISED COLLARD GREENS
1 bunch collard greens
1/4 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
1 onion, julienned
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
4 cups water
1 cup polenta
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs
Instructions:
Wash the collard greens, then cut out the tough stems. Cut the leaves into thin strips. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add the bacon. Cook until the fat renders out and the bacon is browned. Remove the bacon and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook them slowly in the bacon fat, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the collard greens and bacon back to the pan, stirring until wilted. Pour in the wine, vegetable broth, red pepper flakes and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a low simmer, cover, and cook until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, bring the water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour the polenta slowly into the boiling water, whisking constantly until there are no lumps.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until the polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. If the polenta becomes too thick to whisk, add a little water or broth.
Turn off the heat and gently stir the butter and Parmesan into the polenta. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Transfer the polenta to a serving plate and spoon the collard greens over the top.
Using a nonstick pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the yolk and white part are set, about 2 minutes. Gently turn the egg over and cook about 30 seconds. Place the fried egg on top of the collard greens. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese if desired.

Seasonal Eats

The summer bounty of fruit has done its number on me. Peach, raspberry, strawberry and peach marmalade are waiting for their labels. Figs are coming on the big and small trees we have, but I’m sure to frequent the farmers markets to get in on the best crops.

 

What to do with all that bounty? Jams and jellies make terrific gifts, as folks usually like the fact you made it yourself and thought of gifting your craft. Crostatas, tarts, pies, turnovers, and the “walking pie” are more ideas to use up not only fruit, but those prolific zucchini.

The freezer is my saving grace. It houses breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert selections all year long. A new take on the frittata is the zucchini omelet cake recipe I adapted from Lorenza De’Medici’s cookbook “Tuscany”.

 

 

 

If you don’t have a ring mold, a bundt pan would probably work.

TORTINO DI ZUCCHINE
Made in a special pan, this omelet cake is a showstopper for that special luncheon group or perhaps cut, packaged, and stowed in the freezer for easy grab and go breakfast and lunch. Its layers reveal a promise of flavor more than eggs alone, its fragrance suggests herbal notes of fennel, basil and tarragon.

Ingredients

1/4 lb. uncurred bacon or pancetta, finely chopped

2 lb. small zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 tiny round washed potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced
1 med.onion, finely chopped
1/2 pkg. Baby Bella mushrooms, finely chopped; 2 tsp. fennel seed
6 eggs, whisked with 1/2 c milk, pinch of s/p, nutmeg
1/4 c plain flour
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
small handful fresh herbs (tarragon, basil, parsley, thyme)
2/3 c dry bread crumbs, such as Panko

In large saute´pan, render bacon til crisp.  Add olive oil as needed. Add olive oil to  coat and sauté onions, potato and zucchini slices, about 10 minutes until softened but not cooked through. Combine chopped mushrooms into the pan and sprinkle in chopped fresh herbs and fennel seed. Preheat oven to 350º.

In separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue to briskly whisk in flour through a sieve to prevent lumps.

Spray baking pan and coat with bread crumbs.

Evenly spoon Zucchini mixture into coated pan and smooth evenly. Slowly pour egg mixture around to fill pan and bake 50 minutes until browned. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Use thin knife to help loosen the frittata around the edge and invert onto serving dish. Use serrated knife to slice into serving pieces.

buon appetito!

Summer Zucchini Pizza

THAT UBIQUITOUS ZUCCHINI

It’s the season, they are everywhere and can be used in sautés, cakes, muffins, ragouts, stews, soups and now……..PIZZA!

INGREDIENTS

Round pizza pan
1 large globe zucchini
sm. disk of Brie or other melting cheese, thinly sliced
2T  fresh chopped herbs (thyme, basil, lemon balm, etc.)
3T tomato paste
I sheet puff pastry rolled out
Pepper and lemon zest to sprinkle

Slice zucchini into thin rounds and place on paper towels to absorb moisture. Sprinkle liberally with salt and place weighted paper towel on top. Allow to sit 30 mins. Press out moisture with another towel if necessary.

Place dry zucchini rounds on sprayed/greased pizza pan, overlapping if necessary. Place small dollops of tomato paste all around, then slices of cheese, a sprinkle of pepper and lemon zest, and fresh herbs (salt is already in the cheese and zucchini). Lay puff pastry sheet over all to cover. Bake in 400º oven 30 mins. until pastry and zucchini begin to brown.  Allow to cool slightly. Loosen with spatula (though it will flip easily). Place another round pizza pan or serving dish over the pizza and flip in one quick motion. Additional grated cheese or seasoning can be added before serving. Buon gusto!

 

Whole Grain Berry Good “Rice” Pudding


Here’s another way to get your whole grains. Delicious in the morning or during any part of your day. This one is made with a whole grain medley from Bob’s Red Mill called “Grains of Discovery.”

Whole Grain Berry Good “Rice” Pudding


Serves 4-6

1 cup Whole Grain Medley* (Bob’s Red Mill “Grains of Discovery”)
3 cups whole milk, almond or coconut milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4  cup cane sugar

1/4  cup date sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. cardamom

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Zest from one (1) lemon

1-2 cups strawberries (chopped) or blueberries
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Add grains, milk, salt, sugar and spices to a medium pot; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or more until most of the liquid has absorbed and grains are tender, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove from heat and stir in berries, vanilla, lemon zest and nuts, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Your own mix of grains can be substituted, e.g. quinoa, brown rice, whole grain oats, barley, buckwheat, etc.

Enjoy!

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One More Time with Asparagus

From “TRAVEL TIPS from SeeCalifornia.com” comes this Festival Feature in Fresno, April 15-17:

San Joaquin County grows the most asparagus of any place in the U.S.
Top 3 California Asparagus Counties:

San Joaquin 42.2% | Fresno 28.6%  | Monterey 27.4%

  • Asparagus is planted in the ground three years before it can be harvested for the full season; the plant grows for 15 to 20 years.
  • Short growing season February – June
  • Watch it grow! Can grow 7″ in a day when the temperatures reach 90 degrees.
  • #66 California farm commodity

Fried Asparagus with Dipping Sauce

Breaded asparagus is fried in coconut oil then served with a healthy chili ranch dipping sauce.

  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, seasoned
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs, seasoned
  • use half panko crumbs, if desired
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil for frying, or as needed
  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼-½ cup almond milk
  • 2-4 T mayonnaise
  • 1 4-oz can chopped green chili peppers
  • dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Siracha), or to taste
  • 2 T Seasoning Mix (2-4 tsp. EACH onion flakes, parsley leaves, basil, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper)
  1. Dampen asparagus lightly with water. Coat with flour; trying to avoid coating the tips.
  2. Dip asparagus in beaten egg.
  3. Roll and coat asparagus in a layer of breadcrumbs.
  4. Place coated asparagus on a plate and refrigerate, allowing coating to stick, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Stir mayonnaise, milk, yogurt, green chilies, seasoning mix and hot pepper sauce together in a small bowl for dipping sauce.
  6. Heat coconut oil in a fry pan over medium heat.
  7. Fry coated asparagus in the hot oil until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Celebrate Spring with Asparagus

ASPARAGUS! The spring veggie loved by many, or few?

We Italians love them every which way, especially found wild and wrapped up in some farm fresh eggs as a frittata. You can roast them, sauté them, put them in a pie, use in a cheese fondue. I’ve found them on a pizza, in a salad, wrapped in prosciutto, speared through a hot dog or sausage and toasted on the grill. If you want to really appreciate asparagus wild, take a look at Anne Robichaud’s article from Italian Notebook.

Asparaguslineup

Asparagus with Quinoa

Saute two sliced shallots in 1 T each butter and olive oil until softened. Add a bunch of asparagus sliced on the diagonal and season as desired. Cook on lowered heat, covered, until softened, but still firm to the bite.

To serve, portion over cooked quinoa with a squeeze of lemon. Drizzle with bacon bits, or Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Asparagus and Spinach Frittata*

Asparagus-frittata-che-buono-sm-637x478

Ingredients:
1 lb each spinach and fresh asparagus, washed, drained, tough ends discarded
8 eggs
3 T whipping cream or water
s/p to taste
¼ c Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Cut asparagus into 1-inch lengths, cook in boiling, salted water until tender to pierce, about 3 minutes. Drain, immerse in cold water and drain again. Cook spinach in a covered pan until wilted, stirring. Drain, cool, coarsely chop. Set aside.

Beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper, cheese. Set aside.

In a large on-stick skillet, place olive oil, and garlic cloves over medium heat until just beginning to brown, do not scorch! Add spinach and asparagus, and sauté 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture over asparagus and cook until eggs begin to set. Sprinkle with cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. When almost set, place skillet under broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let frittata stand 4 minutes before loosening, and sliding onto a plate.

*Optional ingredients

  1. Omit spinach, add 1 seeded, diced tomato and Fontina cheese instead of Parmesan.
  2. Use spring onions in addition to or instead of garlic, and Gruyere or Swiss cheese.
  3. Cut unpeeled red potatoes 1/8” thick and sauté w/green onions 6-8 minutes, covered, then uncover, brown well another 7-8 minutes. Add to asparagus/egg mixture.

Whole Grains Means Brown Rice Pasta, Too!

Whole grains mean brown rice pasta, too!

If you want a lighter version than a grain pilaf for example, try these recipes using rice pasta. It comes in all styles: fettucine, spaghetti, spirals, elbows, fusilli, shells, and penne! This pasta adds 4g protein per 2 oz serving and 3g fiber. Continue reading

Multi Grain Pilaf

It’s Easy, It’s Fresh, It’s Flavorful, It’s Appetizing

FreshVeg4Pilaf

Spring brings the invigorating fresh air, sunshine and a bounty of healthy vegetables to your table. Watch those picky eaters dig in to this delicious dish! It is made healthier by the use of whole grains and fresh vegetables. Every single ingredient in Multi Grain Pilaf adds a layer of appreciable flavor. Frozen bags of leftovers make an easy encore serving and another delightful taste experience. Continue reading