Risotto ai Fiori di Zucca – Pilaf with Zucchini Flowers

If you have some zucchini or pumpkin flowers in your garden, do not hesitate to try this delicate pilaf (risotto) dish perfect for a main dish or for a side dish. The colourful and tasty combination with tomatoes and parsley makes this dish very attractive, elegant and special. It is not difficult to prepare a good risotto, but you need to choose the correct rice and not to skip the roasting procedure, add the wine and then add the boiling liquid (usually broth) in small portions. As rice, we suggest following varieties: Arborio, Carnaroli, Roma or Vialone. Carolina, Asian or other similar “dry” rice kinds are not suitable for a good risotto.

Risotto ai Fiori di Zucca – Pilaf with Zucchini Flowers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cup rice for risotto
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetal broth, quantity to be adjusted
  • 2 tomatoes, diced in small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 zucchini or pumpkin flowers, only petals in strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flat parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon zest, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. In a wide, but deep enough pot heat the oil and fry on medium heat the onion until translucent.
  2. Add the rice and roast it for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the wine, reduce temperature immediately and add the 2 cups of broth. Let simmer and stir from time to time adding more broth when the liquid is almost adsorbed.
  4. When the rice is almost done (after about 15-18 minutes) add the tomatoes and the flowers. Stir well.
  5. When the rice is done, but not too soft, remove from heat, add garlic, parsley, lemon zest, butter and cheese. If necessary, adjust with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve immediately as well as some more grated cheese if you wish.

Notes:

  • You may also add (together with the first to cups of broth) one small chopped zucchini
  • For a smoother risotto you may add 1/2 tablespoon flower together with the rice and roast them together.
  • You may also add some ricotta or some heavy cream just before the rice is done.
  • I like to add one dash of white wine one minute before the rice is done.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Speckgugelhopf with Walnuts – (Sourdough Version)

Traditionally bakers make this rich Alsatian (southern part of France near the Swiss border) bread in hand-painted earthenware molds, but steel, non-stick-metal or glass molds are fine too. The size of the mold corresponds to about 2 liter. This soft savory Gugelhopf (or Kugelhopf or Gugelhups) is perfect to be served (if possible lukewarm) as appetizer with some wine and it goes always very quickly.

Variations:

  • substitute walnuts with pecan or almonds
  • add chopped rosemary or thyme
  • substitute bacon by diced cheese
  • add fried onion rings
  • substitute pork bacon by dried smoked beef or turkey bacon

Speckgugelhopf with Walnuts - (Sourdough Version)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

Activated starter

  • 100 g sourdough starter
  • 100 g water
  • 100 g flour

Dough

  • 175 ml milk
  • 350 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 150 g butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg

Additions for the taste

  • 200 g country bacon whole, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (pecans works well as well), coarsely chopped

Procedure

  1. For this recipe, you have to activate the starter combining the sourdough starter you kept in the fridge with the same amount of each water and flour (each 100 g). Best do it the evening before and loosely cover in a bowl; it should be ready after about 10-12 hours at room temperature. At this time starter should be very active and spongy.

Note: his is left to mature (ferment) until ready to be used to mix into a dough.

  1. Now it’s time to add the ingredients for the dough. Add the milk, the 350 flour, the salt, the butter and the egg.
  2. Knead with the hock until it looks smooth and it begins to loosen from the walls. Cover and let rise until it doubles the volume. Depending on the kind of your culture, this can take 4-8 hours.
  3. Dice the bacon into 5-8 mm cubes and roast in in a pan. If it loos to much fat, drain it.
  4. Bring bacon and nuts into the risen dough it over several times. I don’t knead it in order to keep the dough as soft as possible.
  5. Make a hole into the center of the dough and place it in the prepared tin (please butter it before; you may also use the fat of the bacon).
  6. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it at least doubles the volume. This may take about 2-3 hours.
  7. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes in the lower half of an oven preheated to 200°C. If notice that during the baking time the surfaces begins to turn to dark, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  8. Wait a few minutes before unmolding and serve it possible lukewarm.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Looking Back to Stay at Home or In the Garden: Safety Net

After 6 Weeks of “stay at home” the life is slowly changing and the rules are less strict.

Compared to other countries we (in Switzerland) cannot complain: we were allowed to go out for walking, for shopping and to meet people (maximum group of 5 items).

We have to be careful and we will change the recommendation of “stay at home” to “stay safe”, this will be our safety net.

“Stay save” and “stay positive”!

Spider Net with sunlight and dark background:

Stay at home posts: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/category/nature/stayhome/

Stay at Home = Stay in the Kitchen

Stay in the Garden = Enjoy the Nature

Day 43 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Purple Allium and Large Bee-Fly

Purple llium with Bombylius major (commonly named the large bee-fly or the dark-edged bee-fly).

In the garden you can let you mind stopping from the busy routine, realise that a few square meter are an entire world, discover new plants and animals, listen the song of the birds, be amazed by the beauties, understand how fast everything is developing and finally you find rest and relief.

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Day 42 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Yellow Roses

Yellow scented roses on the wall of our garden for our eyes, for our nose and for our hearth!  🙂

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Day 41 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Deaf Adder

Even a small pond of little more than a square meter is like a small universum. We discovered an unexpected guest in our mini-paradise. the deaf adder (Anguis fragilis).

Every year we saw a few deaf adder here or there, but we never saw them disappearing under the roots of our yellow iris around the pond.

These legless lizards (no snake or worm, please) are also sometimes called common slowworms,  blindworm, or regionally, a long-cripple.

These reptiles are mostly active during the twilight and occasionally bask in the sun, but are more often found hiding beneath rocks and logs. They are carnivorous and, because they feed on slugs and worms, they can often be found in long grass and other damp environments (in our case near the pond).

Useful links:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/anguis-fragilis

https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Anguis_fragilis/

Day 40 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Vegetable Tart with Seeds

Parwin suggested this versatile recipe for a “Stay at Home recipe exchange” game. This came out so delicious, that I thought it would be a good idea to share this for our friends.

As the recipe does not specify the ingredients, your are really free to use what you have on hand and make a delicious meal for you family.

Below I will give you the recipe and here my choices.

  • Dough: home made with sourdough
  • Pesto: red and green pesto Genovese
  • Vegetables: red peppers and defrosted green tomatoes form the garden (picked in fall as we removed the plants form the vegetable garden), sliced red onion
  • Seeds: pine nuts, pumpkin, chopped roasted pistachio
  • Herbs: parsley, basil and oregano
  • Salt: Basil salt

Vegetable Tart with Seeds

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Dough: readymade or self-made (any kind, but not sweet)
  • Pesto (any kind)
  • Vegetables, sliced or in small pieces, fresh or defrosted
  • Seeds as pumpkin, sesame, almonds, pine nuts (any kid)
  • Fresh herbs as parsley, oregano, thyme or basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Place the dough on you baking try.
  2. Spread the pesto over the dough.
  3. Add vegetables.
  4. Top with seed.
  5. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bake about 25 min at 180°C or as needed (time depends on the dough and the toppings); you may also bake it at higher temperatures, but simply check when the bottom is ready
  7. Remove from the oven and serve with fresh herbs.
  8. Place salt and pepper on the table.

  https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Day 39 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Green Bean Terrine

Make a surprise to your family serving a slice of this vegetable terrine with some spiced sauce as the Canary mojo rojo. This served with a hunk of crusty bread, any salad greens, cheese, cured meat, smoked salmon or what you like, makes an elegant brunch or a light meal for warmer days.

Green Bean Terrine

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Salted water
  • 400 g grean beans (I used the flat ones), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small tin of mushrooms (200 g drained)
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons cooking liquid from the beans
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C-
  2. Boil the beans in salted water add the green beans and cook for 10 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the beans.
  3. In the meantime fry onion and garlic with the oil until just tender, then add the drained mushrooms. After one minute, remove from the heat.
  4. Whisk the eggs with the cream and with the cooking water. Season with the ginger, salt and pepper.
  5. Line a terrine with aluminum foil and coat it with oil.
  6. Pour a few spoons of egg mixture, arrange over this first half of the beans, then the mushrooms mixture, after this the second half of the beans and finally pour gently the remaining egg mixture.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until firm and until the tip of a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the foil Serve warm or cold.

 Note: Traditionally this kind of preparations should be cooked placing mold of the terrine into a bigger mold (roasting pan) with boiling water. I did not do it in this way and the simple baking in the oven worked well for me.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Day 38 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Iris

 

Gardening is wonderful relaxing way especially when you find your way to keep it easy.

As we started with the garden, we did not really know which plants are best suitable for the soil and which one would grow and bring us the best without spending a lot of time and money in order to have a nice garden.

In our case in spring, iris flowers make our garden beautiful with almost no work and we know that next year they will be here again!

In the photos: Iris Pseudacorus (Yellow Water Iris) and  Bearded Iris (Iris germanica).

 

Day 37 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Pulpo a la Mugardesa – Octopus Stew with Potatoes

Mugardos is a small fishing borough and municipality in the Comarca of Ferrol, located in the province of A Coruña in the autonomous community of Galicia, north-western Spain.

It’s here that you can find this delicious octopus stew, but now, as we are not allowed to travel, you can prepare it yourself and create a small vacation at home.

This recipe is calculated for 2 people, but you may boil more octopus and use only the quantity you need (you may also use more) and reserve the remaining for another preparation. 

Note: this recipe is perfect if you have some octopus leftovers and you wish to serve more people! I our case I doubled the quantity of potatoes for a full dinner; for this reason this is a variation of the original dish.

Pulpo alla Mugardesa - Octopus and Potatoes Stew from Galicia

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 300 g octopus, cleaned and well washed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper (I used another red pepper as did not have the green one), diced
  • 250 g potatoes, peeled and diced (I doubled the quantity of potatoes to 500 g)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 200 ml reserved liquid from the boiled octopus
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
  • Some smoked paprika (pimienton de la Vera)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil with a pinch of salt, when the water begins to boil you need to grab the octopus from the head and ‘scare it’ by dipping it in the water 3 times and pulling it out. This makes the octopus stiffen, so the skin does not fall during the cooking process and makes the tips of the tentacles curl. Cook your octopus between 20 and 25 minutes on a medium heat. Make sure the octopus is covered with water throughout the cooking. Towards the end of the cooking process, you can check if the octopus is ready by piercing the thicker tentacles with a wooden skewer to check if they are tender enough. Octopus should be al dente, just like pasta. You should feel the same resistance as a cooked potato. Once the cooking time is complete, allow the octopus to rest in the cooking liquid before you drain it and use it for this recipe. I prefer to drain the octopus and let it cool down before slicing. Do not discard the water!
  2. Fry onion and garlic in a non-sticky skillet at low temperature until translucent.
  3. Add peppers and fry a few more minutes.
  4. At this point, add potatoes, bay leaf, and fry for other 2 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Now add the cooking water from the octopus, the paprika (as well as the smoked one if you like). Add little salt.
  7. Let simmer covered slowly until potatoes are almost done. Add some more cooking liquid form the octopus if needed. The sauce should be liquid but thick enough to bind a little bit.
  8. In the meanwhile, slice the octopus.
  9. Add octopus and adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Stir only gently and let simmer for 2 more minutes.
  10. For the best taste, keep warm (do not boil it again) for about 10 minutes before serving.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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