Bloggers Recognition Award nomination and 2019 wrap up.

blogger recognition award

Hello my dear friends!

It’s not very typical of me writing post not directly concerning food, but this year so many good things happened to me that I feel the duty to share it, not much for bragging (or maybe a little bit, LOL), but mostly to thank you all for your support, encouragement and appreciation.

blogger recognition award 1. I started my ITALIAN HOME BAKERY  and set a booth at my local FARMERS MARKET,  and even if it has been only for a few months, I’ve already started collecting quite a few personal gratifications. like being on a TV interview and starting a monthly column in the QUAD CITIES MOM’S BLOG.

2.  My second achievement will probably make laugh many of you (because you already have reached a decent popularity and tons of followers): my ITALIANGOODNESS FB page reached 1K followers  on DECEMBER FIRST which happens to be my BIRTH DAY. Such coincidence sounds to me more than a randomness, I would say a “sign” that I am working in the right direction.

3. LAST but absolutely not LEAST, after years of blogging I was finally nominated on Smorgasbord – by Sally Cronin – for the  Bloggers Recognition AWARD! And here I would love to thank Sally Cronin on WordPress for nominating me, but also for believing in myself and deciding to add me to her list of monthly guests writers.

So, here I am, finally having the chance to list my favorite bloggers, which will be welcome to accept this recognition, simply by following these guidelines, or either just accept this nomination and decide not to participate (no pressure and no hard feelings).

Rules:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created

SO, let’s start…

HOW DID MY BLOG BEGIN?

I moved to Iowa from Italy about eight years ago. I left a spot as associate in an Italian Law firm to follow my husband’s job necessities, and only after such a shocking change, my background came up (my family’s deep cooking tradition), and I realized that taking care of my family is the most satisfying job I could do, especially because it entails cooking healthy and good food, and the feeling of fulfillment is even stronger when I have the chance to share my Italian cooking culture with others. And so, I started my blog about our family’s daily menu, rich of recipes made with simple and few ingredients, most of the time cheap and healthy (because the food is not processed).

MY ADVICES TO NEW BLOGGER

– Write for passion and not (only) for money;

– Don’t underestimate the bloggers’ community around you: there are a lot of amazing people out there, ready to help, support and encourage you.

– Be persistent.

– Never stop learning.

MY BLOGGERS SELECTION:

I’ve chosen these awesome bloggers for many reason, not only because for they fabulous contents, but  because either they have became friends, comment on my blog, gave me precious advices, host me in their own blog.

STEFAN GOURMET:   Stefan loves food and wine maybe more than anyone I know. His culinary knowledge is incredible (as much as  the number of languages he fluently speaks perfectly).

THE CHEF MIMI BLOG: Mimi is an amazing cook, she shares delicious recipes, easy to follow and never disappointing.

RUST BELT GIRL: Rebecca is a very talented writer, a wonderful blogger friend.

 JOHN RIEBER :John writes about food, travel, tv-shows, pop culture, books and more. His pieces are always a pleasure to read.

ESME SALON: Esme shares tons of recipes, but she also taught me the importance of being part of the Bloggers Community, and I will always be grateful to her for that.

VENETO FOR KIDS: I believe I can nominate in this Award also Italian bloggers, and this blog truly is the best for families that live (or travel) in the Northern East Italy.

BEWITHCHING KITCHEN: Sally is already listed in the top 100 food blogger in the world, so no need to say she is a huge inspiration to me.

SMORGASBORD BLOG MAGAZINE: Sally knows how to entertain readers as nobody else. Also she scouts the best guest bloggers :-).

That’s it! I apologize if I forgot someone, there are so many virtuous bloggers out there!

I wish you all an astonishing 2020, and Thank You so much for being part of my life!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

Roasted almonds Croccante: share with your friends the Christmas Italian tradition

single servings croccante

almonds croccanteGreetings everyone!

Christmas is almost here and my kitchen is so busy and messy with me preparing all small edible gifts for family and friends (and having all the baking done to make my home bakery’s customers happy)!  As you probably already know in this season I like baking plenty of Italian Cantucci Biscotti and Baci di Dama, but those require quite a bit of time in the oven. The treat I am writing about today is traditional during Christmas period in the South of Italy (Calabria), it’s very fast to prepare and with just three ingredients: oven baked almonds, honey (good quality one) and granulated sugar.  The result is a super crunchy caramel bar, sweet but not too much, and absolutely addictive: once you start eating it you can’t help but keep eating until you’ve eaten whole thing!

I have to tell you that I brought these “Croccante” mini bars to my local Freight House Farmers Market in the past weeks and they sold very very good! One of the reason, besides the fact that it’s delicious, it’s probably  because this treat is EGGS FREE, LACTOSE FREE and GLUTEN FREE. single servings croccante

This recipe requires 10 minutes max, plus the time to bake the almonds if they are not already baked. With these quantities you will obtain about 12 pieces about 3oz. (or 100) big.

Be aware that to prepare the Croccante you will need a food thermometer.

INGREDIENTS

1.10 lb. (500 gr.) oven baked peeled almond

7 oz. (200 gr.) granulated sugar

5 oz. (150 gr.) best quality honey (I used organic clover honey)

DIRECTIONS

If your almonds are not already baked, bake it at 360 F. for about 10 minutes and let it cooling off.

Cover your working surface with parchment.

In a big non-stick pan bring honey and sugar to boil and keep stirring until the mix reaches 338 F. (170 C.). Keeping the temperature controlled will avoid the caramel to burn and taste bitter.

At this point, take away the caramel from the heat, add the almonds, mix quickly the ingredients and  pour the mix on the parchment paper (or on a marble surface). With a wet rolling pin flat the mix as thin as possible. Let it cool off and cut in bars as big as you wish.

The cutting phase will be easier if you’ll use a sharp knife, slightly wet with water.

LEARN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!!!!

TIPS: – When still hot the mixture can be shaped in different shapes, like a star, or a Christmas Tree, or whatever you may like.

– Be very careful while you are handling the hot mixture because it will be very hot and the chances to get burned are very high (especially if you are not an expert). The first time I prepared Croccante I burned all my left fingertips plus my lips because I was so an anxious to eat the Croccante that I put the hot ladle in my mouth! Vey bad idea! But it was soo good!!!

– Cutting the Croccante is not necessary unless you wish to make single servings.single servings croccante

– Best way to store the Croccante is inside a tin, in a cool and dry room. It will last for days.

– As cute edible Christmas gift, you can cut the Croccante, wrap it in parchment and tie it with kitchen wire.

I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this week, I promise, you will fall in love with this easy treat!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

MUCH LOVE,

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

Butternut squash and porcini mushrooms noodles. Different. Fast. Easy. Delicious.

Porcini mushrooms and butternut squash noodles

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week, or just a wonderful week for those that live out of the United States! Butternut squash and porcini pasta

Today I would like to share with you the recipe of a super easy and fast pasta recipe, that my family enjoys very much and that is typical in fall and winter in the Alps area where porcini mushrooms are very popular and appreciated. Here in Mid-west porcini are impossible to be found fresh, but the dried ones, if soaked in warm water for a little time, can substitute the fresh ones quite fine.

Porcini mushrooms and pumpkin are two ingredients that get along very well together, and that I like to use also to prepare my favorite soup and favorite risotto.   So if you’d like to try a vegetarian noodles recipe that can be prepared in 30 minutes and tastes delicious, follow the directions below!

4 servings ingredients

1 pack or 60 gr. dried porcini mushrooms

1/2 medium sized butternut squash peeled and chopped in small cubes

1/2 medium sized white onion

4 tsp. rosmary (better if fresh)

1 cloves garlic

about 2+3 tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. sage

pepper to taste

sea salt to taste

1 package or 1 lb. noodles or tagliatelle

DIRECTIONS

First, soak the dried porcini in a cup of warm water for at least 15 minutes, or follow the packaging directions if different. Take away the butternut squash skin and seeds and chop in very thin cubes. Cut the onion very thin. Peel the garlic and take away its “stem”.

Drain the mushrooms, but keep some of the water used to soak them. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve or even coffee filter to avoid sand. If some mushrooms looks too big in size, feel free to cut them in two with a kitchen scissors. Heat a big pot of salted water where you will cook the noodles (or the other kind of pasta you picked) as soon as the water will start boiling, rigorously the Italian way ;-).

In a skillet heat 2 tbs. of olive oil, then add garlic, rosemary and the chopped onion and cook them until the onion becomes translucent (be careful not to burn). At this point, add the porcini, a pinch of sea salt and 1 tsp. nutmeg. Let the mushrooms cook for about ten minutes at medium heat, being careful not to burn them, stirring once in a while. You’ll know they are cooked once they become tender.

In the meanwhile, in a pan, add 3 tbs. olive oil and when the oil gets hot, add the chopped butternut squash, 2 tsp. rosemary, 1 tbs. sage, and a pinch of sea salt and cook until  becomes brownish and tender. It would take about  ten to fifteen minutes at medium heat, stirring occasionally, and always be careful not to burn.

Now that mushrooms and squash are cooked, move the mushrooms into the squash skillet.  Probably the noodles will be cooked, so dry those very well in a colander, then toss it into the mushrooms and squash dressing, mix it very well and serve still warm. YUM! So delicious!

LEANR IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS: – usually noodles are very fast to get cooked, so if you feel a little nervous with this recipe, I would suggest to prepare first the two “dressings”, and then the noodles.

I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this week, and If so, please don’t forget to like it, share it or leave a comment! And if you’ll decide to subscribe, you will be informed weekly and for free about any new recipes I will post!

MUCH LOVE,

SILVIA

If you’d like to experiment more “mushrooms recipes” you may want to have a look to:

1) Velvety dried porcini soup;

2) Butternut squash and porcini in disguise soup;

3) Butternut squash and porcini risotto.

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

A Thanksgiving Meal with an Italian Flair

Hello my dear friends!An Italian pie for Thanksgiving

I’ve been so busy with my new adventure (selling Home made Italian desserts at the local Farmers Market) that I’ve skipped a couple of weeks of recipes posting… MY APOLOGIES! But  if by the way  you would like to learn more about my booth at the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, take a look to this brief interview on WHBF-TV . I was so nervous, but I had the chance to talk about my beloved Italy, and our amazing food tradition! With the Winter Holidays approaching I’ve enriched my menu with more  “wintery and Christmassy” desserts, you should definitely check those out!

Now that you know why I’ve been “absent” (and maybe why It may happen again LOL), I would like to share with you and another article I wrote for the Quadcities Mom’s blog last we (the previous one was a “fall themed one“). All recipes are mine, and it’s   about adding an Italian touch to the Traditional Thanksgiving menu!!!! I hope you’ll enjoy the reading and maybe find some fun recipe to experiment!

“Even though “giving thanks” should be a moment of reflection that everyone should try to do at least once a year, this celebration is not observed in many other countries and is probably mostly seen as an American holiday. (Forgot about the origin of Thanksgiving? Click here to refresh your memory).

Italians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but in approximately eight years that we’ve lived in Iowa, we’ve often been invited to Thanksgiving celebrations at dear friends’ houses, and to be honest, I’ve loved the atmosphere and preparation!  I have noticed though, that most of the hosts and guests at some point have admitted that turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies weren’t exactly their favorite foods.    I am a huge supporter of traditions and celebrations, but why keep self-inflicting a Thanksgiving meal that nobody likes?

To find a solution, when we have celebrated Thanksgiving at home here in the Quad Cities, I’ve tried to follow the custom of turkey and mashed potatoes for the sake of my children, but I have also enriched this menu with an Italian touch. I was thinking that you may be interested in doing the same by adding a few easy Italian dishes to the traditional menu.

It’s well known that those turkeys take hours to roast.  So, as an easy start (since we probably won’t be eating until late afternoon) why don’t we treat ourselves with some “Italian appetizers“? Here are some of my favorites:

AN ITALIAN COCKTAILSpritz the most popular Italian appetazier cocktail

SPRITZ:  This is one of the most popular cocktails in Italy.  Only three liquid ingredients to warm up the atmosphere and possibly make your mother-in-law sound more pleasant . A Spritz is a perfectly seasonable orange cocktail.  It is enjoyable and fairly light, even for those who are not much into booze. It will make the beginning of your Thanksgiving meal very fancy!

ITALIAN  STARTERS  White Onion, bacon and blue cheese savory Italian pie

WHITE ONION, BACON AND BLUE CHEESE SAVORY PIE: Such a long name for an extra easy appetizer. Everybody will love it (just remember not to tell the kids that there are onions in there!). This tart takes 10 minutes for preparation and 20 in the oven. You can prepare it a few hours in advance and pop it into the oven whenever your guests start walking around the kitchen to ask how long until dinner will be served! I understand that to prepare this tart you may need a second oven (since the first one will be busy with the big bird), but if you don’t own one, don’t worry, there is another appetizer you may want to try…. Asiago cheese cubes appetizer

ASIAGO CHEESE CUBES: Your guests will just die for this finger food. Small Asiago cheese cubes, crunchy on the outside and melted inside-so delicious! This Italian classic  for your Thanksgiving meal may require a little more work in the kitchen, but believe me, it’s totally worth it.  As a bonus, it will fill those impatient bellies for a decent amount of time!

THE MAIN MEAL HAS TO BE TURKEY, AND IT WILL BE TURKEY!

I’ll skip offering options for the main course but I want to suggest a light soup that you may want to serve while the turkey rests on the kitchen counter: Orange creamy butternut squash soup

ORANGE CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: Many fancy restaurants, before their important dinner parties serve light soups or “consomme“.  Especially in those years that Thanksgiving Day is deadly cold, I am sure your family would be delighted by a warm, orange, velvety soup to enjoy before the classic Thanksgiving meal. This soup is even better if prepared a little ahead of time and kept refrigerated, so you will have it ready to go on the busy day.

After the legendary turkey with gravy, let’s jump straight to my favorite course and my area of expertise…

DESSERTS

Here are a couple of options that you may want to consider to break up the monotony of the classic Thanksgiving pies.ricotta, almonds and amaretti cookies tart

RICOTTA, ALMOND and AMARETTI COOKIE TART: A not too sweet and slightly aromatic tart that could perfectly suit a Thanksgiving buffet.  You may want to consider this pie because it’s absolutely easy to prepare with very little “hands-on” time, and, if prepared a day ahead it tastes even better. chocolate chips and ricotta tart

CHOCOLATE AND RICOTTA TART:  If you are afraid your guests may dislike an almond-based dessert, who doesn’t like chocolate chips? This chocolate and ricotta tart is creamy, velvety and absolutely loved by children. It can be prepared a few days in advance and it’s really super easy to make.

Maybe preparing ALL of these alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal in such a busy-and many times stressful-holiday season sounds a little overwhelming. But if you like the idea of spicing up your planned menu even with just one new dish, I am sure it will be beneficial for the mood, the atmosphere and everyone’s appetites!

ricotta, amonds and amaretti tart

I am curious to know if you already have a dish that stands out from the classic ones on Thanksgiving? I am always excited to try new recipes and ideas!”.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

What do you think of this article?

Do you like the idea of me as a writer rather than just a food blogger?

I don’t know…. but it sure is fun, and I truly believe I’ll do it again 😉

I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

SPRITZ: the most popular Italian cocktail, so Orange that’s perfect for fall!

Italian Spritz Cocktail made with AperolI am very surprised I haven’t shared we you yet the recipe of this absolutely terribly popular Italian cocktail that Italians enjoy not only during the weekends but very likely often during the week after work, as “appetizer” before dinner.

Spritz is a cocktail that found its origin between the end of 1700 and the beginning of 1800 when Austrian soldier (that dominated part of the northern east Italy in those years) diluted Italian wine (to them too strong) with sparkly water. As a matter of fact, the name “spritz” comes from “spritzen” that in German means “sprinkle”.   With the passing of the years, the sparkly water have been substitute with “seltzer” and at the beginning of 1900 (precisely around the ’20) they have started to add a bit of “bitter” to the cocktail (given from other booze like Aperol and Campari) and so has born the actual “SPRITZ”.

If you’ll ever visit Italy (especially in the Northern part), you have to experience a Spritz at some random bar. They are usually served combined with various food appetizer and very pleasant to enjoy in a beautiful historical Italian piazza (square).

About the taste, this cocktail tastes very light, not too bitter, very delicate on the palate if as the “bitter” part you pick the “Aperol”. If instead you prefer a more tasty and sharp flavor, you should opt for a “spritz Campari” which, indeed, would make it taste a bit more strong.

I thought – since Spritz is very ORANGE – that this cocktail could sound very appropriate for a Fall Sunday Brunch, and why not, a perfect original, fascinating and delicious Thanksgiving pre-meal cocktail.

One last info, as it often happens, there are different ways to prepare this cocktail.  The Venetian recipe suggests to use 1/3 sparkly water (or seltzer), 1/3 sparkly white wine, 1/3 Bitter. The International Bartender Associations instead, suggests to use 6 cl. Prosecco wine, 4 cl. Aperol and a sprinkle of seltzer.

The following is my own recipe. I admit, most of the time I eyeball the ingredients, but I’ve tried to measure them for you, and I came up with my own recipe, that tastes delicious! Aperol is quite a popular kind of booze and can be easily be found in the most common groceries store. I really hope you will give this a try!

2 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS

2 oz. Aperol

3 oz. Prosecco wine

4 oz. Sparkly water

ice cubes

2 slices of oranges to decorate

DIRECTIONS

Fill two nice white wine glasses with 1 oz. Aperol, 1.5 oz. Prosecco and 2 oz. sparkly water each.

Add a couple of ice cubes to each one and a thin slice of orange. DONE.

Enjoy right away to not miss the bubbling effect, and with some appetizers as green olives, potatoes chips or any salty crackers and charcuterie.

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS: – for the cocktail to be delicious, all the three liquids must be ice cold.

– If you are planning to prepare this cocktail for more than two people, just use a pincher and fill it up with proportional quantities of Aperol, wine and sparkly water. Ice the cocktail only at the last minute, you don’t want it to be too light or too diluted.

– I am not earning a penny by recommending you to by Aperol, even though I am very prod to say this delicious orange booze is Italian “native” since 1919.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SPRITZ? And if so, DID YOU LIKE IT?

I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this week, and If so, please don’t forget to like it, share it or leave a comment! And if you’ll decide to subscribe, you will be informed weekly and for free about any new recipes I will post!

MUCH LOVE,

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

5 Favorite comforting but light Italian wintery soups

Fall is such an hard season for me: on one side, I love it, with all the colors, the mild temperatures and Halloween, but at the same time I loathe it, because the end of summer makes me sad, I  would say it kind of depress me, and (it may be good or bad) it makes me crave for food, and inevitably makes me gain weight! However, I have a strategy to “contain” the food cravings (and the number of extra pounds, LOL) which  is warming myself up and satisfying my appetite with delicious but healthy homemade soups. top five most popular italian soups

Here is my favorite top 5 Italian soups list that I prepare every week, alternating one to another weekly to not get bored, and that all my family members appreciate and enjoy with me (well, not all of them, precisely 😉 ):

Italian light vegetable soup 1) VEGETABLE SOUP: this is the easiest to make, few and cheap ingredients are required, if you skip the potatoes (and minimize the olive oil) it’s like zero point on the weight watchers, and can be enjoyed all week long (if refrigerated). It can also be frozen, so you can prepare a big pot of it and storage in one serving containers if necessary.

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Orange buttenut squash soup2) ORANGE CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: besides the pain of cutting the squash in pieces,  this soup is super easy, absolutely creamy and delicious and if you cook in it small pasta’s kinds (like farro) it looks like macaroni and cheese, without cheese! Not to mention all the benefits of orange food: abundance of antioxidant, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients, good for your skin, eyes and heart.

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Leeks, potaotes and broccoli velvety soup3) LEEKS, POTATOES and BROCCOLI VELVETY SOUP: This one is really fast to make, the broccoli taste blends perfectly with the potatoes and leeks and somehow you can barely recognize their taste, it’s delicious and my favorite one when I feel like I have to detox after the holiday’s binges.

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butternut squash and porcini mushrooms soup4) BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PORCINI IN DISGUISE SOUP: add a pack of dried porcini mushrooms, some nutmeg, and a mushrooms bouillon to your butternut squash soup, and you will obtain a scrumptious porcini mushrooms soup “in disguise”.

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Dried porcini mushrooms soup5) VELVETY PORCINI SOUP: This one is the one my kids have refused to try (I hate when they decide they don’t like a food without even giving it a try!), maybe because of the its brownish color, but to be honest, it’s so delicious that my husband and I are quite happy to keep it all for ourselves! This last soup it’s not that light, it’s not fast to be made, has not cheap ingredients (make the butternut squash “in disguise soup” instead if you want). But believe me, once you’ve tried it, you will place it in your top soups list!!!!

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Now that I’ve refreshed your memory with my favorite winter soups, I wanted to apologize for not posting new recipes lately (yes, it’s always my new home bakery business’ fault), but I promise I will try my best to share new contents soon, but in the meanwhile I’d like to hear from you:

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FALL-WINTERY SOUP?

WUOLD YOU BE WILLING TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE WITH ME?

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I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

Italian Pumpkin Flowers Fritters: at the Pumpkin Patch don’t forget to pick up those flowers too!!!

Last week I went to a field trip to the Pride of the Wapsy Pumping Patch with my preschooler, and , fun thing, while the children (mine included) where walking trough the field to find the perfect pumpkin I was picking those beautiful “male” pumpkin flowers that made the patch yellow and bright!   Few minutes before, indeed, the farmer was explaining us how the “female” flowers fall from the pumpkin when it grows meanwhile the “male” ones – which are not attached to any fruit – keep blossoming during the season.

Well, long story short, in Italy those flowers (and the zucchini flowers) are very well known as a delightful ingredients for amazing fritters. When the farmer told me to help myself, I harvested a bag of those, took them home, and prepared this very popular Italian recipe, which is also a very common finger food you can find at wedding’s buffets, and fancy restaurants.how a pumpkin flower fritter looks like

Super easy, just three ingredients (plus the peanut oil for frying) and get ready to try this deliciousness!!! Just to be clear, this is my family recipe, but I know for sure other Italians may tell you that the batter needs also eggs, or baking soda, or freezing water. Nothing to say about those other recipes: to me, my mom’s one works perfectly. The flowers will taste crispy and tasty, they won’t absorb too much oil, and be perfect for an “alternative” snack or as a finger food appetizer.  One last thing, depending on your preferences, you can drizzle the flowers either with sugar (if you are more for sweet treats) or sea salt (if you are more a “savory food” lover), and in this latest case, you can also decide – before to immerge the flowers in the batter – to stuff it with Provolone or Asiago cheese, to make it even more appealing!

INGREDIENTS FOR ABOUT 15 FLOWERS

7 oz. (100 gr). all purpose flour

7 oz. (200 ml.) beer (any kind works but better a blond one)

peanut oil for deep frying

DIRECTIONS

When you pick up and bag your flowers it may be that during the ride home some bugs come out. Don’t freak out, it’s quite common finding bugs in flowers. Once home, just was the flowers well but delicately,  pat them dry and take away the stems and pistils.

Prepare the batter by hand whisking the flour and beer, and let the batter resting in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  In a medium sized pot, pour enough peanut oil to fry the flowers, and bring it at 350-350 F.  (170-180 Celsius).

Meantime take a flower at a  time and deep into the batter making sure is well covered all around. Once the oil reaches the right temperature, fry the flowers (not more than two-three at a  time to not bring the oil temperature down) for about a minute for side, then using a holed ladle,  take them out into a plate covered in paper towel (to absorb any oil in excess).

Sprinkle with sea salt or sugar (depending if you’d prefer a savory or sweet treat) and serve still warm. YUMMMMM!This is how a pumping flower fritter looks like

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!!!

TIPS: – Ideal would be frying the flowers the same day you picked them up. But If you don’t, seal them in a container and keep them refrigerated until it’s time to fry them.

– Even if they look withered when you pick them up, they will taste great anyway. Just be carful they don’t are rot (black and bad smelling).

– these flowers are delicious even in risotto or noodles, and they match perfectly with squash (of course!), cheese and other vegetables.

– When I prepare this batter, if I don’t have pumpkin flowers, I fry sliced zucchini, or sage leaves, or broccoli and carrots, and they all turn out amazing!

Have you ever tried pumpkin flower fritters? What do you think about it?   

I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

TV INTERVIEW and 5 Traditional Italian desserts recipes with apples

Hello folks!

I’ve been so busy with my new adventure (selling Home made Italian desserts at the local Farmers Market) that I’ve skipped a couple of weeks of recipes posting… MY APOLOGIES! But  if by the way  you would like to learn more about my booth at the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, take a look to this brief interview on WHBF-TV . I was so nervous, but I had the chance to talk about my beloved Italy, and our amazing food tradition!

Now that you know why I’ve been “absent” (and maybe why It may happen again LOL), I would like to share with you and article I wrote for the Quadcities Mom’s blog last week. All recipes are mine, and it fits perfectly the season!!!! I hope you’ll enjoy the reading!

“We have all waited for Fall all year long: best season of the year, beautiful color, perfect weather, Halloween, pumpkins everywhere (even in your latte 😉 and, last but not least, THE YEARLY FALL TRIP TO THE APPLE ORCHARD.

And, as every year, you have planned everything: a) studied the weather forecast for the whole month of October; b) picked the perfect day and time for taking the kids; c) psychologically prepared your husband that is going to be fun (even for him 😉 ); d) and last, you’ve sworn to yourself to not get distracted by the excitement of the day and BUY TOO MANY APPLES!!!!!  Who would have imagined or thought that such a small bag could contain twenty pounds of apples? And how could you have said no when the kids asked to pick their own apples in their own bags? Simply IMPOSSIBLE!!!

NOW you are thinking to yourself “What the heck am I going to do with all these apples“?

Ha, I got you!  Sharing with family and friends is really a good idea but for once, why not keep the Apple Orchard experience lasting more than one day, maybe an whole month, by preparing (alone or with the help of your family members) a new Italian recipe a week which includes apples?

Today, I would like to share 5 Traditional Italian recipes for you: easy, most of them fast, with simple ingredients and especially perfect to use up all those overflowing bags of apples!

APPLE CRUMBLE PIE1) Italian Style Apple crumble pie, a classic! If you like the combo “apples and raisins” you cannot miss this treat. It’s one of my favorite because almost any kind of apples could be used (but not the green ones please!). It’s very easy to make and the kids will enjoy the kneading part, mom will have to take care of the peeling and cutting, but in 60-75 minutes you’ll be done! Let it cool off for a few hours (or even refrigerate it) and enjoy… Wow! I may be biased, but I think Italian Style is the best apple crumble ever.

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2) Golden Apple Muffins: the kid’s favorite! This recipe has belonged to my Italian family for generations and I am so happy I can share it with you! The exciting part is that nowadays we can prepare the muffins batter in the food processor, and it takes in bake only 20 minutes: you will never buy baked muffin mix ever again! Before starting, though, make sure to have some Golden Delicious at hand.

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3) fluffy Italian apple coffee cake: like a cuddle for the palate! If you feel the urge to use 2 lbs. of apples in just one cake, this is the recipe you were looking for! Jonathan and Jonagold are the kind of apples that will give the cake the perfect touch. Super soft, not too sweet, absolutely appealing, this apple coffee cake won’t let you down. If you decide to side it by a warm custard and sprinkle it with sliced almond, OMG, it will be like heaven!

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4) Apple, raisins and pine nuts pastry pie: unconventional! If you like the popular “strudel loaf”(typical dessert in the South Tirol) and looking for a recipe that will require a couple of pound of sweets apples (Gala apples, JonathanL, Golden Delicious), you can’t go wrong with this pastry pie. This recipe is another of my mom’s classics: a buttery dough filled with a mix of apples, raisins and pine-nuts. Peeling and cutting the apples, soaking the raisins in advance may sounds a little tiring but I am totally sure it won’t disappoint you!

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5) Steamed apples and vanilla ice-cream: so classy! This recipe looks like a super sophisticated show stopping dessert super sophisticated, but is basically just steamed apples, served still hot with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a dust of cinnamon…. maybe too simple to appeal the children, but absolutely phenomenal for adults! Trust me! Keep it as a secret recipe for a fancy dinner or for a warm treat on a fall rainy day… you’ll love it! Golden delicious would be my first choice for this recipe, but I would say that any kind of apples would do a nice job here :-)”.

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There is more……

 

…. Out of the original article, I would like to add that, my list of Italian “apples themed” desserts is not completed yet…. in case you’ve missed it, indeed,  check out also the recipe I posted a few weeks ago for these scenic and scrumptious “puff pastry apple cinnamon roses“:  super easy, for a yummy and cute fall breakfast!

 

 

 

And more…….

 

What do you think of this article?

Do you like the idea of me as a writer rather than just a food blogger?

I don’t know…. but it sure is fun, and I truly believe I’ll do it again 😉

I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

Banana cream pie: my new favorite

Buongiorno ragazzi! Tutto bene? How are you?   Since I’ve started my Italian Home Bakery adventure, I’ve been requested to make many different Italian desserts, and that to me is absolutely as easy to satisfy as “as piece of cake” (LOL), but it has happened also that people asked me to make “crazy decorated cakes” (requested I declined because I don’t feel good enough in “crazy decorating” – LOL again), or, somebody asked me to bake some American Classic. Well, this last type of request if something I considered seriously, because I love baking, I love learning about other food cultures, and I absolutely love learning new attractive recipes.

The Banana cream Pie recipe I am sharing with you today is the result of a request I got from a customer, which – of course – is a Banana cream Pie expert (and addicted) and according to whom (now I am bragging), my Banana cream Pie is the “best he ever had”.    How did I find this recipe? I researched online different banana cream pie recipes and picked the one more attractive to me (from the blog “The taste of Home“), and then, I personalized it a bit with my “Italian experience and background“. For those who are not familiar with this pie it will be enough to know that Is a pastry crust filled with fresh bananas and custard, and abundantly covered in heavy whipped cream.

Before starting, I warn you that making the custard is a bit tricky and if you don’t follow religiously the directions, it will turn out watery or bad tasting. Also, the recipe for the home made short crust pastry that follows is Italian and is the one I usually prepare for other fruit pastry pies.

INGREDIENTS FOR A 9” ROUND PAN

for the custard – per la creama

2 large beaten eggs – 2 uova grandi sbattute

1/4 cup corn starch – 30 gr. amido di mais

1 cup granulated sugar – 200 gr. zucchero

3 cups milk – 750 gr. latte intero

3 tbs. unsalted butter – 40 gr. burro non salato

sea salt – sale

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract –  1 cucchiaino e mezzo aroma alla vaniglia

2-3 large firm bananas – 2-3 banana sode

  for the short crust pastry per la crostata

2 yolks – tuorli

unsalted butter – 150 gr. burro freddo

all purpose flour – 250 gr.  farina 00

granulated sugar – 100 gr. zucchero a velo

vanilla extract – aroma alla vaniglia

For decorating:

Heavy whipping cream to taste

Optional: some crumbled Amaretti cookies (Italian variation)

DIRECTIONS

Since custard and crust will need time to chill in the refrigerator at first, and to cool off after the cooking/baking, the more efficient method to prepare this cake should be: prepare the crust pie dough and let it chill in the refrigerator, in the mean time prepare the custard and while the custard cools off, cook the pie crust.

THE CRUST: In a food processor combine flour, sugar, vanilla extract and cold butter cubes and mix until crumbly. Then add the yolks and keep mixing until yolks are absorbed. Move the dough to a clean surface, give it a rectangular shape, cover in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes (the time you’ll need to prepare the custard).

THE CUSTARD:  In a large sauce pan combine sugar, corn starch, salt and milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until bubbly and thickened.  Reduce heat and cook for 2 more minutes and keep stirring.

Remove from heat, take about 1 cup of hot filling into the beaten eggs and stir very well.  Return to the pan and bring all together to a gentle boil. Cook for 2 minutes stirring.

Remove the cream from the heat. Stir inn butter and vanilla flavor until completely dissolved. Press plastic wrap onto surface and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (the time you’ll need to bake the crust ).

BACK TO THE CRUST: roll out the dough in a clean surface and then into a 9” pie pan. Apply some holes with the tip of a fork and bake “blind” (loosely covered with parchment and filled with baking beans) at 340 F. (170 C.) for 15 minutes, and then another 15 minutes without anything on top.   Let the crust cooling off.

Once the crust is cooled, arrange a layer of banana’s slices, than half of the cold custard, than another layer of banana’s slices and the rest of the custard.

Decorate with whipping cream and bananas’ slices and – optional – with crumbled Amaretti cookies.

Leave the cake in the refrigerator at least 6 hours (or overnight) before serving it. Serve it (and keep it) refrigerated.

SOOOOO GOOOOD!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips: I have to confess, before tasting this pie I was very skeptical about it. The idea of bananas in a short crust didn’t appeal me that much. It took me just one bite, to change completely my mind!

– if you are afraid the bananas on top of the cake my turn dark, brush them with some lemon juice;

– Just for your info, this custard recipe is Gluten Free… you can eat it also like that, and it’s absolutely delicious anyway.

– The only way to make custard I knew before trying this pie was the “Italian custard” (crema pasticcera). The two fillings have a similar way to be prepared but the first tastes more as a pudding when the second, instead, is more like a cream and it’s definitely not gluten free.

– I am almost ashamed to admit it, considering all the scrumptious desserts we have in Italy, but this Banana Cream Pie has become my new favorite,  or, at least, ONE of MY FAVORITES.

– So, last tip, give this recipe a try. It’s really worth it!

Do you like banana cream  pie? which one is your favorite?

I dare you: try this recipe, and It will became your favorite!

 

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!