Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Almost one year ago, I thought I should try to prepare these cute, decorative and elegant pearls, which would give a special taste and wonderful look to many salads as well as dishes.

The balls in the pictures where made with white balsamic vinegar which I infused with basil.

You can use any vinegar, with different taste; if you want, you may also buy a ready-made infused vinegar. To preserve the ball, place them in small jars covered with more of liquid, which you used to produce them.

If you want to produce more drops, work with placing the container of the oil an iced bath!

Finally, I did it and it was easy!

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit :Artandkitchen

Ingredients

  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar (any colours, infused if you like)
  • 5 agar
  • 1 cup of oil

Directions

  1. First, place the oil in a high container in the freezer. The container should be high enough, as you will drop the vinegar in it! A jar of about 400 ml is perfect.
  2. Place the vinegar in a small sauce pot, add the agar and stir well
  3. Heat the vinegar mixture stirring constantly.
  4. As soon it comes to boil, remove from the heat and let cool down a little bit ( to about 75°C).
  5. Drop the vinegar using a syringe or other dropper into the oil. I tried to produce drops of the same size and I found out that it works better if I let drop them from about 20 height; let them drop moving the syringe over the all surface of the oil.
  6. When you have finish to drop, sieve the pearls from the oil (you may use the oil for another lot) and then gently rinse under current water.
  7. Use for decorating salads, starters and even desserts.

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls (2 of 1)

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Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

This year we had a very warm summer and the garden gave us a lot delicious figs, which we shared with friends.

However, it was only during our holidays on Crete after noticing that most of the figs fall on the floor and, as I hate food waste, I decided to try to dry some figs and prepare a great souvenir of the summer in a jar.

The good thing we had for this, beside the figs of course was the sun; the strong Greek sun is best to preserve these figs and for this reason, I searched in the internet how I should proceed.

To make them more special, I decided to modify an Italian recipe (from the *Puglie* region) and so I started to collect ripe but still firm green and black figs and to dry them in the sun!

Figs can be dried halved or cut in two pieces; I opted to cut them into two halves as the effect of the sun would be stronger drying the figs quickly and the rays would destroy all possible parasites.

The best way to dry them would be on a grid, but since I did not have this, I used my normal baking try with a black baking foil, which attracted the sun and kept the heat; in two days, the figs were dry enough, some of them almost to dry! J

If you don’t have the opportunity to collect and dry the figs, you should opt for the dry figs from the store and halve them with a scissor taking care to keep them partially attached.

These figs are an unusual addition to the holiday table and make a unique Christmas gift from the kitchen!

Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

  • 50 dried figs, butterflied
  • 1 orange, peel only removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into small pieces
  • 50 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch o cinnamon
  • 10-20 bay leaves

Procedure

  1. Add a piece of orange peel on one side of the butterflied fig.
  2. Add an almond on each it and cover with the other side. Press them well together.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F, Check on the color and temperature as cooking time may vary from oven to oven!
  4. In the meantime, combine the powdered sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Switch off the oven, take out the figs out, dust with sugar and place them in the oven for other 5 minutes.
  6. In order to store them for a long time, place the still warm figs into sterilized jars layered and with several bay leaves between the layers for added flavor. Store the jar in a cool dry place.

Tip1: After sun drying the figs, some of them resulted very dry, too dry for this preparation, for this reason I placed them in bowl, sprinkled them with water (about tablespoons for 5 cups of dried figs) covered them, and placed in the microwave for 2 two minutes. After resting for about 10 minutes they were ready for this preparation.

Tip2: Quartered walnuts and orange zest by lemon or tangerine zest may replace Almonds!

Author: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Tomato Confit

If you have a garden with a lot of delicious ripe but still firm tomatoes and you wish to save the for the winter, this is the perfect recipe for you!

I used San Marzano Tomatoes, but if you have only cherry tomatoes this will go as well simply skipping the peeling procedure and starting form point 9; reduce time and heat as need until the tomatoes reduce their juices but don’t turn to dry.

These slow-roasted tomatoes are fancy food ingredients which can be served as appetizer or addition to sandwich, salad, or pizza.

Tomato Confit

  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

  • 1-2 kg San Marzano or Roma tomatoes (or not to big tomatoes)
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • herbs to taste

Procedure

  1. Bring water to boil in a big pot (about 2/3 of pot content) . Prepare a big colander that fits in the pot.
  2. Fill the kitchen sink with cold water, adding ice if possible.
  3. Make a cross incision on tomatoes peel using a sharp knife.
  4. Place tomatoes in a colander.
  5. Place the colander in the hot water.
  6. After 30 seconds remove from the hot water and place them in the cold water.
  7. Leave them again for about 30 seconds then remove them and sit them somewhere to drain and rest for a couple of minutes.
  8. Remove the skin of the tomatoes.
  9. Halve the tomatoes.
  10. Remove seeds with their water.
  11. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for approximately one hour at 150°C/300°F.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool down.
  13. Serve with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and herbs or preserve these in jars.

To preserve then for the winter:

  1. Tightly pack the confit tomatoes and with their  juices into 500 ml jars within 1 cm of the tops and screw on lids.
  2. Place in a large, heavy-based saucepan and pour in enough water to cover the jars, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40 mins. Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the water.

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

Today I do not pretend to bring you a completely new recipe. Once again as in the…. I will bring a variation using a different kind of flour: an Italian flour blend of mixed grain.

The proportion are similar:  ½ cup starter + 1 cup water + 3 cups flour and salt.

Take care to refresh your sourdough starter with white flour as usual!

Enjoy this beautiful crunchy bread!

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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You need:

FIRST RISING

  • 1/2 cup starter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

SECOND RISING

  • 2 cups flour mixed grain flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

TOPPING

  • Flour fort he working surface and to coat the bread

Procedure:

  1. The evening before or early in the morning combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a bowl, cover and let sit.
  2. After 2-8 hours (2 hours by 30°C – 8 or more hours by normal room temperature), add the mixed grain flour and the salt. Knead shortly and let lit it sit until you see that it begins to rise.
  3. Knead well again, cut into two pieces and shape each of them to a ball (boule) giving strengths to the walls.
  4. Dust well with flour and place them on the well-floured tray where you bake them.
  5. Make 3 long incisions: about 1 cm deep and crossing in the center of the bread.
  6. Last proof depends on the temperature. When the breads are at least doubled, preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until well browned, this takes about 30 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool down on a grid.

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

Amaretto Mousse in Chocolate Cups

A stunning presentation for a special event!

You may prepare the chocolate cups in advance, fill them with the mousse and freeze until needed. Just before serving arrange on single plates and voilà a wonderful dessert is ready!

It was fun to prepare the cups and I will prepare these again!

Amaretto Mousse in Chocolate Cups

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need

Chocolate Cups (pieces)

  • 15 g white chocolate (optional), chopped
  • 120-150 g dark chocolate, more if needed
  • Silicon molds for muffins or other shapes (each for about 100 ml content)

Zabaglione mousse

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 60 g sugar
  • 4 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 4 egg whites or 1/2 cup heavy cream

Serving suggestion (to taste)

  • Shaved chocolate (white or dark chocolate)
  • 250 g strawberries
  • Amaretto liqueur to taste
  • Heavy cream (whipped) to taste

Preparation

Chocolate Cups

  1. Place the chopped white chocolate in a small plastic bag and close it tightly with a knot.
  2. Hold the bag over the knot and dip the part with the chocolate for 2 seconds in hot water. Take out and knead the bag with the chocolate with your fingers, dip very shortly again and knead. Repeat until completely dissolved.
  3. Drizzle the white chocolate on the sides of the molds. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water stirring constantly until dissolved. Remove from the heat. Brush the sides and the bottom of the mold using a food-safe paintbrush with the dark chocolate taking care not to damage the white chocolate decoration. If needed prepare more melted dark chocolate to make the cups walls thicker.
  5. Place in the fridge to cool down and to set completely.
  6. Gently remove the cups from the molds and place them in chilled place

Zabaglione mousse

  1. Beat egg yolk in a heatproof bowl with about 40 g of sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the amaretto and place the bowl over a pot of boiling water; take care that only the steam and not water gets in contact with the bowl.
  3. As soon as the zabaglione begins to rise place the bowl over in vessel with cold water and stir from time to time until cooled down. Place in the fridge
  4. As soon as the zabaglione is cold, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (or the heavy cream) add the sugar and beat until glossy. If using the heavy cream do not overbeat!
  5. Gently fold the beaten egg whites (or heavy cream) under the zabaglione.
  6. Fill the mousse in the chocolate cups and refrigerate (for a chilled mousse) or freeze for at least 2 hours (for ice-cream mousse) or until needed. Best use the same day.

Serving suggestion

  1. Prepare shaved chocolate
  2. Arrange sliced strawberries in single plates, spoons some amaretto over them.
  3. Place the filled chocolate cups in the plate near the strawberries.
  4. Decorate with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

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

Italian Flat Bread with Sourdough Starter – Piadina al Licoli

This kind of flatbread is a very popular street food from the Italian region called “Emilia-Romagna” but now you can find it not only in Italy but in many other countries.

The original piadina is non-fermented bread prepared with lard, but in this version we will use the sourdough starter (perfect if you need to refresh it) and I will use olive oil instead of animal fat.

I can remember the piadine as streed food, filled with thin slices of prosciutto crudo or with cheese.

Today you may find all kind of piadinas, filled with many different ingredients but the most important thing is to enjoy it still warm, soft inside and crunchy outside.

My filling this time? Smoked salmon with a fresh guacamole sauce with chopped tomatoes. So good!

Italian Flat Bread with Sourdough Starter – Piadina al Licoli

  • Servings: 8 flatbreads
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need:

  • 100 g sourdough starter (100%) hydration
  • 120 g water
  • 300 g bread flour
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Procedure:

  1. Dissolve the sourdough with the water, add flour add the other ingredients and knead well until combined and it comes together (use a kneading machine if you have it!). If necessary add a few more tablespoons water.
  2. Wrap with foil or cover with a bowl and lest rest at least 60 minutes.
  3. Cut into 6-8 slices and shape them into balls, place them on floured surface, cover with an inverted big bowl and let rise until when almost doubled.
  4. Roll out each ball to rounds of about 25 cm (10 inches). You will not need flour on the table.
  5. Put the rolled out piadine on a tray using parchment foil to separate them. Or prepare them one by one cooking them just after rolling each one out. Pinch each one with the fork all over the surface before cooking them.
  6. Now heat up your non-stick skillet to medium high. Don’t add any kind of oil or fat!
  7. Bake dry on the first side, when well roasted, flip it and bake the other side. The piadina should be pale, but with dark brown spots. Be careful not to burn it. During baking if necessary pinch them and turn them with the fork. In about 3-4 minutes they should be ready.

Tip: I have two old nonstick pans that I reserved for this recipe or to roast nuts. I use both at the same time!

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

 

Mushrooms with Mustard and Nuts

A yummy warm appetizer, a few tasty bites with a lot of flavor.

These stuffed champignons can be prepared in advance, but it want to use them immediately remember to preheat the oven first.

Do not trash the stems, but use them for another recipe as for example my “Cheesy Vegetable Stew”.

Mushrooms with Mustard and Nuts

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need:

  • 250 g champignons mushrooms, big or medium sized
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, if possible with whole grains
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 cup croutons
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup thinly sliced parmesan cheese
  • Walnuts, enough to top each mushroom

Procedure:

  1. Remove stems of the mushrooms and make a hole a little bit bigger using the vegetables-carve. You will use the caps, but reserve the cutouts and the stems for another recipe.
  2. Place the cups on an ovenproof mold (opening up).
  3. Crash or dice the croutons lightly (to about 5 mm/ ¼ of inch size) so that they will fit better into the mushrooms.
  4. In a small bowl combine mustard, cream cheese and nutmeg add croutons and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon stuffing mixture into each mushroom cap.
  6. Top with the parmesan cheese.
  7. About 10 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  8. Bake the mushrooms into the oven for 2 minutes or so, when you see, that the cheese begins to melt, take out of the oven, to with one piece of walnut and bake until the cheeses begins to change the color and the mushrooms and heated through.
  9. Optional: garnish with fresh herbs to serve.

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