Saturday, September 25, 2010

Project Food Blog Challenge #2: " Flan de Vanilla"

First of all,thanks for everyone for voting me so that i've been admitted to the second round of this challenge.
Here i am again,and this time it's getting tougher...because a tuscan farmer like me doing classical ethnic recipes..?! are you really sure you want to see that ? :-)))
When i was in Honeymoon in French Polynesia on July I bought some vanilla  sticks from the island of Taha'a ,a place full of Vanilla Trees where you could really feel the smell everywhere !
Then...i was wondering what could i do with this wonderful vanilla ? and then i remembered that i ate a Mexican Dessert in Tijuana made with vanilla, so i've been collecting some datas on it and now i'm presenting it to all of you,
From Polynesia to Mexico,we could really say that this recipe have travelled a lot :-)
Enjoy !

Flan de Vanilla

As i've said before this is a typical mexican dessert,we could say that for the countries of central america this is the equivalent of the italian "budino",this one is really aromatic with vanilla,cinnamon,lemon and orange.

Ingredients :

Skin of half a orange
Skin of half a lemon
1 Stick of Vanilla
1 Stick of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Cornstarch
150g. of Sugar
500ml of fresh milk
2 Eggs Yolks
Topping Ingrendient : Caramel Sauce

Preparation :

1) Beat the eggs with sugar,cornstarch and a bit of milk.

 2) Put the rest of the milk on the fire and add the cinnamon and the stick of vanilla (cut it in the lenght and open it as in the picture) add the skins of lemon and orange as well and let everything gently boil.

 3) When it's boling strain the milk to remove the skins and the sticks then add the previously beated eggs in the milk and stir using a whisk.

4) Put the mixture back on the fire and,stirring continuously,until it starts simmering then take it away from the fire and,using a strain,pour the mixture into six molds
Let the flan chill to room temperature and then put the molds into the fridge for at least 2 hours.

At the moment you want to serve it,cover it with some caramel sauce.
If,after reading all of this,you still think i deserve your vote...:-)

Voting Open: 6AM Pacific Time September 27th through 6PM Pacific Time September 30th

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Prosciutto "Bazzone"

Prosciutto Bazzone's origins are around the late nineteenth century, when families of farmers living around Serchio river slaughtered pigs weighing 200 kg,thus about 18 kg thighs. The production process at the time, maintained even today, provided that these hams, heavy and elongated, were placed together with other parts of pork (bacon, lard, cheek) in a stone basin (pond) for seasoning,adding salt, garlic, spices and wine. The Prosciutto Bazzone currently weighs an average of 13-15 kg depending on the season, shows a typical elongated shape and with a step of about 4-5 cm along the edge (Bazza,in italian), hence the name. The meat is usually deep red and may have small infiltration of fat that give a taste quite recognizable but delicate. The Prosciutto Bazzone  of Garfagnana and Serchio Valley  is, since 2004 a  Slow Food product,and it is still made using  the old tradition recipe. After trimming, the hams are placed in groups of 5-6 into a stone basin of Cardoso Stone by adding salt, pepper, spices, bay leaves, garlic and rosemary. After 90 days, the hams are removed from the tanks, washed and left to dry in cold adapted, temperature and humidity controlled. Once dried, covered with a shirt are composed primarily of pepper, garlic and spices, then hung from the ceiling of rooms adequately ventilated or in dark cellars. After a minimum of 20-36 months of slow maturation, Prosciutto Bazzone is ready for use. Thanks to Antica Norcineria

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Project Food Blog Post #1 "Reasons behind my choice to start a Food Blog"

We interrupt our regular scheduled programming for my Challenge One submission to the Project Food Blog competition. The find the next food blog star!
You already know my story,but here's the reasons that maked me decide to partecipate at this contest :
Apart from the food passion,i've also been a huge follower of internet since the early 90's.
After spending some years surfing on the net,i've decided to become an "active" user,so i started writing about my job and my passion,which is the same thing : Tuscan Cooking.
While i was travelling around the world,i've started to notice something which was often done abroad :
Recipes that are modified and adapted to the taste of the country they're prepared in.
In my opinion that's not the right thing to do,as the original taste and ingredients would be modified,making it just another recipe,which is not the original thing anymore, example : a simple plate of "Fettuccine al Pomodoro" re-invented and adapted to a french nouvelle cousine making it more rich and colorful at the eye,ignoring that the secret behind the original Italian recipe was not that,but the simplicity and the quality of the ingredients like tomatoes,home made pasta and freshly harvested olive oil,so if i would want to give something more to this plate i would instead,for example,add fresh home-made pasta prepared with eggs from the farmer.....that would really makes the difference !
To make it short....yes im here to win,like everyone else,but my first objective is to "broadcast" my message to every family,to teach them how to make a real Italian dish,so that for a Sunday Meal they could really let their families taste the true taste of Italian Cooking,in my case,the Tuscan Cooking !

If,after reading all of this,you still think i deserve your vote...:-)
Voting Open: 6AM Pacific Time September 20th through 6PM Pacific Time September 23rd

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stringhe in Umido (Stewed String Beans)

Stringhe are a Tuscan heirloom string bean; the word Stringhe means strings and the reason for the name is obvious -- when they're harvested fagioli stringhe are 40-50 cm long, or about 18 inches.
Stringhe are also called S.Anna beans, fagioli serpente "snake" beans. Again, references to their length. Production of stringa is limited to the Lucca,Valdarno (between Arezzo), Florence, and Prato, and you'll find them in local vegetable markets (production is limited enough that they're more difficult to find in supermarkets) throughout the summer.


gr 600 string beans (washed, topped and tailed)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
A slice of tuscan prosciutto
2 large ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper


In a saucepan put some minced onion and garlic,tuscan prosciutto, chopped tomatoes, Stringhe beans (string beans), basil, olive oil, salt and a little water. Cook slowly until everything is well cooked and juicy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Filetto di Manzo all'Alpina "Beef fillet with porcini mushroom cap"

Ingredients for 4

4 beef fillets

4 porcini mushrooms caps
extra virgin olive oil


Clean the porcini mushrooms caps. Put them in a baking pan and season with olive oil, salt, red pepper, sliced garlic, calamint and a splash of wine. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees. Cook the tenderloin on the grill. Then place the fillet on a plate and above the cap of porcini mushrooms. Dress with extra virgin olive oilAccompany with a red Sangiovese wine

*Look my post about Garfagnana Porcini Mushrooms

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Black Figs Tart

Hello everyone !
After my 2 months break (i spent my Honeymoon in French Polinesia and California) i'm back again in the "old world".
Sorry about this long absence,but now i'm all freshened up and ready to bring you new recipes...
This morning  my father came back from his farm (Maolina) with a basket full of figs and so i got the inspiration to make this...

Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree.
Wrapped in a thin, deep-purple to black skin, the juicy, red-pink pulp of this fig is packed with small, edible seeds. The flavor is sweet and floral, reminiscent of honey. A slight shriveling or cracking near the stem end is caused by the sun and is a common characteristic.
High in fiber, figs are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, thiamine, potassium and protein. Figs are considered to be an antibacterial and anti-ulcer food, as well as a natural laxative.

Ingredients for 8
2 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ cups sugar, 2 ½ sticks softened unsalted
butter, a
heavy 1/2 cup figs preserves, 2 egg yolks, 5 crisp sweet
apples, 1 heavy cup wallnuts.
Soften butter and combine with eggs, sugar and flour. Work
the dough until the consistency is soft and delicate. Prepare
a mold on a shallow-edged baking sheet with parchment
paper. Smooth dough onto the full surface of the mold.
Spread with figs preserves. Slice figs and layer on top
of the preserves. Sprinkle the figs lightly with sugar and
scatter the wallnuts.
Bake 30 minutes at 350F. Dust with confectioner's sugar,
cut into squares and serve.