Tag Archives: basil

Stacked with flavor…

A long day, yielded the will to make a delicious eggplant parm supper! After making a trip to a fresh vegetable market and picking up some plump purple lovelies, it was time to head home and start the prep work for what would be a delightful supper…
Everything started by making a big pot of sauce; it was then off to slicing the eggplants and then dusting each in flour, dipping in egg and a quick coating in breadcrumbs and it was then time to start frying.
After all was crisp, it was time to build up and create the perfect marriage… a layer of sauce, then eggplant, some grated pecorino and mozz, basil and then repeated…
A quick bake in the oven and it was time to sit down, sip a glass of wine, slice into and then enjoy!

at a low simmer…
-R

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the crowning glory…

Like a kid in a candy store, I anxiously awaited for the postman to arrive with that brown boxy item… once the box arrived I tore straight into it and from it emerged my version of the bible… my newest cookbook… ‘bread’ from the master Paul Hollywood!
Thumbing through the glossy, picture laden book was painful, as I wanted to make every single recipe listed, but I was on a mission for one perfect puffy, stuffed and twisted doughy element of perfection… The ‘savoury brioche couronne’.
As soon as I knew what ingredients I was missing, it was off to the market to gather them up and then back home to start off baking… This was such an incredible treat to make, although like most breads… time consuming!
It began with the combining of flour, yeast, salt, milk, eggs and butter… After this all was incorporated, the dough was set aside for it’s first rise. Next the dough was rolled out to a rectangle and topped off with salty, thinly sliced prosciutto, torn mozz and julienned basil! Rolled tightly together into a large cylindrical shape, the dough was then sliced down the center and then twisted together and wrapped into a circle.
As soon as this was done, it was bagged up and off for its second slumber to rise again…
Once the dough was puffy and ready for its tan, it was glazed with an egg wash and some grated pecorino. Into the oven for thirty-five minutes until swollen and golden!
The scent flooded the air as the couronne baked away, but as for the taste… well there are so many words to describe, but I prefer divine…

at a low simmer…
-R

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the winter blues… turned vibrant green!

To move the focus off of this last [hopefully] winter storm that is upon us, I decided that something light, summery and refreshing was perfect for dinner…
After a quick dash to the market; fresh basil and pignoli nuts made their way into my bag, along with some cozy snow time treats.
Once home, I plucked the basil leaves from their stems, gave them a quick rinse under the tap and set everything aside to dry off a bit.
While the fragrant basil leaves were drying, into a food processor went some pecorino to get pulsed up until grated.
To bring everything together and make an amazing pesto, into my food processor went the basil leaves. Everything was pulsed up, along with a quite a few cloves of smashed garlic, the pignoli nuts [that I toasted lightly], some of the freshly grated pecorino, salt and pepper.
While pulsing everything, a steady drizzle of high quality olive oil really pulled [literally] everything together!
The vibrant green pesto was lovingly tossed with delicate tagliatelle and an extra sprinkle of the grated pecorino…
Each mouthful transported me from the cold and windy nonsense going on outside, to what summer has to offer us in the not so distant months to come!

at a low simmer…
-R

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this meal really ‘stacked’ up…

After a serious craving for Italian food, I decided to do a deconstructed version of eggplant parmigiana for dinner…
Freestanding layers of crispy, breaded eggplant, slivers of melted fresh mozzarella, homemade sauce and sweet fresh basil leaves made this dish memorable [not to mention super flavorful]…

at a low simmer…
-R

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Party platter… for two!

It has been a while since a beautiful platter of creamy, fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, vibrant basil and salty prosciutto has made an appearance across our vast island…
So I decided that would be just what we would be enjoying tonight! The silky, milky fresh mozz and salty prosciutto came from my favorite Italian specialty shop, while the basil and tomatoes from our local market.
I sliced the tomatoes and fresh mozz just thick enough, and dotted the platter with the basil and prosciutto… To finish off the platter, some fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper.
Two hearty loaves of Italian breads got sliced up [one seeded, one seedless… that’s how we roll in this house] and it was time to enjoy!
A gorgeous, rich finishing oil and balsamic reduction were used to just drizzle across these little beauties and enhance the flavors, yet not steal the show…

at a low simmer…
-R

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layers of perfection…

So to finish off a fantastic weekend full of good food and celebrations, what better to do then crank out an equally fantastic dinner!
I am a lover of anything parmigiana [and typically anything fried], so instead of a traditional parm dinner… the thought of a twist popped into my head!
So I sliced up some beautiful purply eggplant and breaded them, let them chill out for a bit to set up and then bathed them in some hot oil till completely golden, crispy and gorgeous [of course there was the need to taste along the way]!
To create this ‘deconstructed’ if you will eggplant parm, ripe tomatoes were chopped, basil chiffonade and fresh mozz sliced just thick enough to cause a melty glue to seal up this whole story.
Layer upon magnificent layer, this meal was built… a drizzle of oil and into the oven until melted and golden!
Sweet from the tomatoes, a wonderful freshness from the basil, crunchy and textured from the breadcrumb, tender and complexly flavored from the eggplant and oozing from the hot mozz!
What an exciting way to end this weekend…

at a low simmer…
-R

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it’s hip to be square, well in this case rectangle!!

Tonight I decided to make a sicilian-style pizza, rather than my usual everyday round pie… I picked up some creamy, slightly salty fresh mozz from the Italian market I frequent, clipped some vibrant green basil from my garden, grated some pecorino and defrosted some homemade sauce.
Into the oven for twenty-five minutes and a warm bubbly piece of perfection was born… waiting for this to cool off enough to handle was not on the agenda… a hefty square slice was dug out and onto the place it went for its magazine cover shoot!
The crust was soft and airy, with hints of rosemary and garlic infused gently throughout… the sauce blanketed the crust evenly and just enough to hold the fresh mozz and basil leaves in place. The fresh mozz stretched seductively with each breathy bite… there was not a crumb to be found on our plates, and who needed a napkin… our fingers were sucked clean!
This meal was not for the faint of heart!

at a low simmer…

-R

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just like mama used to make!

What a better way to start my Monday dinner week, but with a hearty bowl of fresh pasta.
After raiding my pantry I found the perfect ingredients. I mixed together sun-dried Sicilian tomatoes, chopped garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. A quick sauté of everything in a homemade spicy infused olive oil, and behold an… aromatic dish that was just begging to be eaten. Not before topping this dish off with fresh chopped basil and grated pecorino.
Now that’s a stick to your ribs pasta dish that would make any true Sicilian mamma proud!

at a low simmer…
-R

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vodka… not just for shots!

As if I didn’t get my fill of vodka at this weekends wedding extravaganza, I decided to cook with it tonight! Just a simple vodka sauce made with some of the sauce that was freshly made yesterday. Some heavy cream, freshly grated pecorino, basil and of course… VODKA!
The vodka offers a nice bite, while the cream provides a smooth and velvety texture in addition to a wonderful, almost sweet flavor!
What a simple, yet elegant dish this can become in a short amount of time! Why isn’t everything this easy…

at a low simmer…
-R

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enjoying the fruits of summer…

Creamy, juicy, salty, sweet… those were some of the flavors experienced with tonight’s dinner! Rotund tomatoes sliced thickly were separated by chunks of luxurious, buttery fresh mozzarella which lined there way down a crisp white platter. For some added freshness and flavor, basil cut from my planters and Italian prosciutto purchased at my favorite local purveyor!
Everything was drizzled with a super sexy and delicious finishing oil.
I just love simple ingredients that can pack an exciting punch.

at a low simmer…
-R

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