Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mayonnaise Cookies

I know what you are thinking: "Mayonnaise in cookies?! Are you crazy?"

It is an unusual ingredient for cookies, but if you think that the mayo is made of oil, eggs and lemon it doesn't sound so strange anymore. Does it? ;)

The mayonnaise gives a nice taste to the cookies, without tasting too much of mayo. Which is tricky to explain, but it is true! You just have to try for yourself. These cookies are very delicate, fragrant and buttery and they are lovely with a nice cup of tea.

I found the recipe on this italian food blog.

The mayonnaise cookies are also perfect as home made yummy presents for your friends! Just wrap them nicely with a ribbon or put them into a transparent bag or glass jar.

NOTE: You will most likely need an electric mixer for the first part of the baking process!
NOTE: The dough of these cookies is very soft and crumbles easily, so its consistency is not suitable for cookie cutters.

Ingredients (make about 18 cookies):
  • 90 gr cold mayonnaise
  • 100 gr cold butter
  • 40 gr sugar
  • 270-290 gr flour
  • more sugar for the coating

Cut the cold butter into small pieces so it will be easier to work. With the electric mixer mix the butter with the sugar for about five minutes, until it turns into a soft cream.
Add the mayonnaise, mixing now with spatula or spoon. Then add the flour little by little, always mixing at first with the spatula and later with your hands when the dough becomes harder.
Add a tablespoon more of flour if needed, the dough must be soft but not sticky.
Wrap the dough in plastic film and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 190º C (374º F).
From the dough shape small cylinders or balls (golf ball size), flatten them between your palms and (if you want) make incisions on the cookies surface with a fork like I did. Cover the cookies with sugar and place them on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 12-13 minutes. Check their color: when they edges get a little brown and the cookies a little golden color, they are ready!
Remove from the oven, but do not touch them until they have cooled down because they are very fragile.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Colorful flower eggs

As I am well aware, I am not the only one who LOVES eggs!

Do you know about Moonstruck Eggs? They come from the movie Moonstruck where Cher fries an egg in the center of a slice of bread...
Well, this is my variation of that recipe, because I cook my eggs inside bell pepper rings!

I think that the bell pepper rings aren't only very tasty, but also aesthetically awesome! They look like pretty colorful flowers :)

On the eggs I added only some salt, pepper and chili flakes, but you can sprinkle them also with grated parmesan cheese or herbs, like rosemary.

These eggs are great as breakfast or as a snack. And instead of bell pepper you could use eggplant, acorn squash or even pumpkin.

NOTE: I fry my eggs in a little bit of oil, but you can use butter instead ;)

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 big bell pepper (color of your choice)
  • rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • chili flakes
  • salt & pepper

Wash and slice the bell pepper into 1 cm thick rings, removing the inside seeds and white parts.
Warm up the oil in a nonstick pan and fry the rings on both sides so they turn soft and a bit brown, crack open the egg carefully in the center. Fry until the bottom will be crisp, add salt, pepper & spices on top.
You can fry the egg only on one side as I did, or on both carefully flipping it upside down.
Place the eggs on your plate and serve right away with a nice slice of bread!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Farfalle al salmone

I have already said that I love salmon and I try to eat it often since it's so good and healthy. Our top favorite salmon recipe is smoked salmon pasta: delicious and easy to make!
I cook it almost every week.

On the internet you can find many salmon pasta recipes, but I always cook it the Italian way... very very simple. Italian foods are simple and tasty because they are made with few but good raw ingredients.

In this recipe I use a little bit of dry vodka. It might sound weird, but it does really give a good taste and goes well with the salmon.

FUN FACT: In Italy people don't usually add parmesan cheese to fish dishes, that's why parmesan is not included in the recipe (but I always add it anyway :P)

Ingredients (serves 3):
  • 300 gr short pasta, e.g. farfalle or penne
  • about 200 g smoked salmon
  • 250 ml cooking cream
  • 1 onion
  • rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry vodka
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt & black pepper

Slice the salmon in small stripes.
Finely chop the onion and saute it in a saucepan with oil over medium heat. When it becomes soft, add the salmon and let it cook for few minutes, adding black pepper and, if needed salt, up to taste.
Pour the vodka and let the alcohol evaporate for few minutes stirring well. Add the cream, stir, and let the sauce cook for few minutes at low heat so it gets thicker.
Cook the pasta in salty water until al dente. Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve with fresh chopped parsley on top.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Macedonia di Frutta

And the yellow leaves fall to the ground with a slow sad dance....
I cling to the Summer with all my strenght because I don't want the cold weather to arrive so quickly. I still want to go around in T-shirt and shorts!!!

There's a good way to enjoy the last precious Summer moments: eating a fresh fruit salad!

Macedonia di Frutta means fruit salad in Italian, and it can be made with any kind of fruit!

HINT: Macedonia is great as fruit dish, as snack or even as dessert if served with vanilla ice-cream!

Ingredients (serves 6):
  • 500 gr strawberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 apples
  • 4 peaches
  • 3 kiwi fruits
  • lemon juice
  • sugar (optional)

Wash and cut all the fruits to pieces, put them in a big bowl, add lemon juice and mix well.
Put in the fridge and leave it there for some hours, serve fresh.
If you want, you can sprinkle some sugar on it before serving.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Apple jam & apple cinnamon muffins

After making the Boredom Pie (you can see it in this post), I had a bunch of apple jam left so here came the Question of the Week: "What do I do with it?"

MUFFINS of course! What else? :D

So, here's some delicious super soft muffins for my little friend Danny!

HINT: For this recipe you can use also other types of jam, like apricot or peach jam if you like!

I'm using an instant baking yeast, very popular in Italy, that can be added directly to the dough. Feel free to substitute it with the yeast commonly used in your Country!

Ingredients (12 muffins):
  • 250 gr all-purpose flour
  • 250 ml milk
  • 70 ml seed oil (e.g. canola oil or rapeseed oil)
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 big sweet apple
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 small bag of dried instant baking yeast
  • 3-4 spoons of apple jam
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 180º C (356º F).  Either line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or you can butter or spray them with a non stick vegetable spray.
Peel the apple, remove the middle part and chop it into small pieces. Put them in a small bowl and mix them with 3 or 4 spoons of jam, until well combined.
In a second bowl mix the dry ingredients: sifted flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
In a third bowl whisk the egg well with milk and oil, then add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula just enough to combine everything, add the apple & jam mix and stir again.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, for about 2/3. Bake about 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Place on a wire rack to cool for five minutes and then remove muffins from the pan.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bento #1: we start from here

Summer went reaaaaaaaaally fast, and here's is almost already full autumn with yellow leaves falling from the trees and the air getting chilly. It has been raining quite a lot too, and you can spot mushrooms everywhere. At the morning the temperature is about 10º C (50º F) ... BRRRRR >.<

Since here is becoming darker and darker everyday (kaamos is coming...), I try to cheer myself up making some colorful cute bentos. Bento is Japanese style packed lunch, you can find more info about bento in this post.

So, in the top tier there's some simple pasta with cherry tomato and cucumber slices in the cup.
In the bottom tier I put two rye bread sandwiches with ham and cucumber, some baby carrots, apple bunnies, grapes and a candy for dessert :)

As for the bento box I used, it's my small red two tier Hello Kitty bento.

Hopefully after this you'll get inspired and start making bento as well! :D

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