Monday, March 7, 2011

Apple Fritters (Frittelle di Mele)

This recipe was shared by my good friend Arianna. Frittelle are a traditional treat Italians make or buy during the month of February, when celebrating the Carnival Season. After kids play with each other dressed-up with traditional customs (such as Arlecchino, Pulcinella, etc.) and throwing coriandoli (this is the Italian word for confetti) and stelle filanti, they return hungry at home where their mothers feed them with Chiacchere and Fritelle.

- Four cups of white flour;
- 1 Tbsp of white granulated sugar;
- 2 Large eggs;
- 2 Cups of warm milk;
- 3 Apples;
- 2 Tbsp yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water;
- A pinch of salt;
- Canola oil to fry.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix sifted flour with sugar and salt. Add eggs and the yeast solution. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the flat beater for the whole mixing thing. Peel and slice apples in small pieces. Add apples to mix. Add warm milk slowly. Continue mixing until you obtain a fluffy and smooth dough that is quite sticky (almost the same consistency of pancake mix). Cover the bowl with a dumped towel and let it rest until it doubles in size at room temperature (ca. 30 minutes).

Heat oil in large frying pan or wok. Place a small piece of bread in oil to see if it is frying. When the piece of bread turns golden-brown, the oil is ready. Dip a metal spoon in a glass of cold water and scoop a spoonful of the soft dough into the hot oil. The dough should come off quite easy from the wet spoon. Dip the spoon each time prior to scoop up the though. Place few fritter in the oil at the time making sure they are floating in a single layer. Make sure the oil is not too hot or it will burn the outside of the fritters while the inside will still be raw. When the fritters are golden brown on one side, flip them with a wooden spoon or a slotted spoon or spatula. When ready, remove fritters carefully and place them on a dish or bowl covered with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle the fritters with additional granulated cane sugar and enjoy them when they are still warm.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Risotto Quattro Formaggi

Here is a simple but very tasty recipe, one of my family's favorites! Risotto can be made in many different ways and I might post other variants in the future. The basic recipe can be used to make ARANCINI.

For risotto, you need to have Arborio rice. You can find small packages of this type of rice in the pasta/rice aisle at Wal-mart. It is a bit more expensive than regular sticky rice, but you have not much choice as you won't be able to get the needed texture with any other kind of rice.

For four people:
- a small finely chopped onion or 1/4 cup of dry onion;
- 1/2 stick of butter;
- 2 cups of Arborio rice
- 1 cup of white cooking wine;
- salt and pepper to taste;
- 4 oz (half a box) cream cheese;
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese;
- 4 slices of finely sliced Provolone cheese (you can find it at Costco or Harmons);
- 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese;
- 2 bullion cubes;
- hot water;
- 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream (optional).

In a large sauce pan melt butter and saute onion until golden on medium heat. In the meantime, in another pan boil some water, cover, and keep at hand. Add rice to the first pan with onion and butter. Stir well and add cooking wine and bullion cubes. Keep stirring. When the wine is absorbed, add a cup of the boiling water. Keep stirring and keep adding water as it is absorbed by the rice. The consistency has to be somewhat cream. Don't let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the rice is "al dente", add the four cheeses and a couple tablespoons of butter. Keep stirring until all cheese has melted. Serve immediately. Preparation time ca. 45 minutes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chocolate Cake with Butter Frosting

This recipe was given to me by my good friend Melissa. It was a huge hit. Delicious and nutritious (if nutritious means tons of calories). At the end the whole thing had four sticks of butter in it. Wow. Never had anything before that taste so chocolaty. Love it! Love it! Love it! I can't wait to make it again.

For the cake batter:
- 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate);
- 9 oz. granulated sugar;
- 6 eggs, divided;
- 9 oz. (two sticks) of unsalted butter;
- 1 cup white flour.

Melt chocolate with butter (either in the microwave or on a double boiler). Add sugar and yokes, one at the time. Mix well. Add flour and mix. Whip egg whites and fold them into the batter gently. Bake in a round cake pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate butter frosting:
- 9 oz. (two sticks) of unsalted butter;
- 5 oz. powder sugar;
- 9 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate);
- 3 yokes.

Let butter stand at room temperature until it is soft, usually 30 minutes. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on a double boiler. Mix half of the sugar with the butter until you obtain a smooth thick cream. In another bowl mix the egg yokes with the rest of the sugar, until your mix is smooth and silky. Mix the two creams together, ensuring that there are not lumps. Mix in the warm melted chocolate until you have a smooth chocolate cream.

You should prepare the frosting when the cake is baked and cooled down. Spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Decorate each slice with a touch of whipped cream. Enjoy!