The perfect college cookbook

The perfect college cookbook

After my first week at Cornell as a senior, I am beginning to realize how hard it is to acquire all of the spices and random odds and ends needed for many of the recipes that I want to make. So, I started looking into alternatives, and found this cookbook. Meals made with 5 ingredients in under 5 minutes…how could anything be more perfect for college students than that?
Plus, if you’re an Amazon Prime member (like I am), it’s 33% discounted! Click on the picture to order the book through Amazon!

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Truffle kale chips!

To all my dear followers, I apologize greatly for waiting two whole months to post something..but I’ve been so busy this summer and haven’t had time to cook anything worth posting. I’m interning at the Hilton Short Hills in their Sales department and have had the opportunity to work alongside the event planners, where I have learned how much passion I have for weddings and event planning in general! It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, but I’m loving every second of it! And, what you’ve been waiting for…I’ve also finally found a little time to whip up something easy and quick, nutritious and delicious!

My brother has been working on starting up a new healthy eating company, so I felt inspired and tried a hand at making kale chips! I’d say it was a success. Super easy, minimal ingredients, and kale’s pretty inexpensive!

Truffle Kale Chips

Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
2 tbsp EVOO
salt & pepper
a dash of truffle oil (optional)

Directions:
– preheat oven to 350 degrees
– de-stem kale leaves (the stem is more bitter and hard to eat) – I do this by holding my pointer finger and thumb on the bottom of the stem and pushing then up the stem to separate the leaf from the stem…if that makes any sense…
– tear the leaves into smaller, nearly bite-size pieces
– rinse the leaves thoroughly and dry in a salad spinner (or shake them out and pat them dry well if you don’t have a salad spinner)
– toss with the olive oil and spread in single layers on the baking sheet
sprinkle with salt and pepper and truffle oil (if using it..I recommend it if you can find it!!)
– bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the chips are browned
– let them cool and then enjoy!! YUMtruffle kale chips

truffle kale chpstruffle kale chips

PIZZA! (the perfect final Italian post)

I can’t believe how fast this semester just came and went. I leave on Saturday (I have 2 full days left in this amazing city) to return the United States. This has been a semester unlike even my wildest dreams. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it was. I met some of the most amazing, memorable people, ate some of the most delicious meals, visited 5 amazingly different countries and went to even more cities. I experienced culture and immersed myself in it and definitely grew as a person. I can’t wait to come back to Florence and to Europe in general. It’s really sad, though, to think that I really have no idea when the next time I’ll be anywhere near Florence will be. This has been my home for the past four months, and the most beautiful, perfect home I could have ever asked for.

Well, enough of that…on to the good stuff, PIZZA! We made it in my last class of my favorite class here, Italian Vegetarian Cooking. (yes, that’s a real class..my life is awesome) I love the group of girls in it and our teacher is hysterical and so cute. This recipe serves about 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 500g hard flour
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • 10g salt
  • 10g brewer’s yeast (fresh yeast)
  • 250g water
  • toppings as needed

Directions:

  • melt yeast in water that is lukewarm from the stovetop, let it sit until there is a froth on top
  • put the flour in a bowl and make a well in it
  • add the yeast-water mixture in thirds, mixing after each addition. With the second addition, add the oil.
  • knead the dough until it is smooth
  • allow the dough to rise for about an hour
  • roll out pieces of the dough to desired size and thickness (traditionally in Tuscany, the crust is thinner)
  • dress with whatever toppings you’d like! We used tomato sauce, mozzarella, green olives, sauteed bell peppers…be creative!
  • bake in a preheated oven at 230 degrees Celcius
  • ENJOY!

Carciofi alla Romana! (Artichokes Roman Style)

Hello friends (or strangers I should say..it’s been too long…again.)!

The past few weeks have been so amazing! Two weekends ago, I stayed in Florence for what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful weekend! I did a lot of reading in the sun and just enjoying the background noise of the Florentine culture. I love just sitting on the steps of a church, people watching, and taking in everything around and how amazing the city I live in truly is.

Then, last weekend, I went to visit one of my best friends from home, Lindsay, where she is studying in Copenhagen, Denmark. I am SO glad I was able to make it up there, regardless of how much colder it was there than in Florence! It was so awesome to see her abroad life because not only is Copenhagen such a cool and beautiful city, she lives in a host family, something I had yet to experience. When I was looking into studying abroad, I thought long and hard about whether or not I should do a host family. I thought it was be a very interesting and enriching experience where I could immerse myself in the culture, but found that Florence wasn’t the best city for host families. I am extremely happy with my decision to live in an apartment, but the Danish family that Lindsay lives with definitely made me jealous. They were so welcoming, hospitable, and kind, I just couldn’t get over it! They invited me to dinner both nights I was there, and I was very happy that we took them up on it. The food was amazing! And, it was really cool to hang out with the Danish people, they are so nice, speak great English, and are really entertaining and funny!

After Copenhagen, Lindsay came back with me to Florence. It was so great to have her here, show her how I live, and be able to tour around Florence and do things I hadn’t yet done! Then, we traveled together to Rome! We met up with our other best friend, Jenna, and she took us out our first night. It was SO fun and great to see her also! We also ran into a bunch of other people from high school that I hadn’t seen in years, which was so awesome and got me really excited to see everyone again this summer! Rome was really cool and beautiful, so rich with history! We were dead by the end of our time there, and now I am struggling to leave my bed. So, this blog post is my way of being “productive” without really having to move. (hehe)

So, on to the food…in the spirit of the Romans…

Carciofi alla Romana!

Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 10 artichokes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • EVOO as needed
  • white wine as needed
  • 80 g bread crumbs
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • salt and pepper TT

Directions:

  • Remove the outer, hard leaves on the artichokes until you get to the softer center. Cut the stem off the base. Separate the leaves one by one until the whole artichoke is opened like a flower. Dip into water with lemon to prevent oxidation and browning.
  • Chop the garlic, mint, parsley.
  • Add the bread crumbs, EVOO, and s & p
  • Stuff the artichokes with this mixture.
  • Salt the artichokes, sprinkles with EVOO, and roast them in a pot.
  • Sprinkle with wine, then add enough water to cover half of the head of the artichoke.
  • Cover the pot with a lid, cook over medium heat until tender.

Stuffed ArtichokesStuffed Artichokes Stuffed Artichokes

Tagliatelle al Ragu’!

Hi friends!

Again (for like the 4th post in a row..), I apologize greatly for making you all wait eagerly for my next post…here it is!

So, quick update: I have been super busy the last two weeks! My spring break was two weeks ago and my mom visited for it! It was SO great to have her here (and I’m not just saying that because I know she will see this…hi mom!). We travelled Italy, stopping over briefly in Bologna and Piacenza and spent two nights in Venice. Then, we drove over to Nice, France for two nights and then concluding the trip in Florence. It was all so beautiful! Venice is one of my favorite cities – so different from anywhere else in the world! They use boats for EVERYTHING – ambulances, delivery, taxis, everything.

And then there’s Nice, with it’s luxury hotels, beautiful beaches, and great shopping. We climbed up through this really cool park with a waterfall that led us to awesome panoramic views of the French Riviera. Breathtaking!

One of my favorite things, though, was being able to show my mom around Florence. Take her to my favorite spots, but experience some new places at the same time! We ate waaay too much food, but I wouldn’t take back a single bite. We were laughing the whole weekend and having a great time.

Then, last weekend, I spent Easter in the Amalfi Coast. We visitied Mount Vesuvius, Capri, Positano, and Pompei. Capri and Positano were so beautiful, and Pompei and Mount Vesuvius were just unreal. The fact that Pompei has been in ruins since 79 AD but still stands as much as it does just leaves you in awe. An awesome trip and one I will always remember!!

So, onto the recipe… this was my first go at making fresh pasta, so I basically took that over so I could learn. I was so surprised at how easy it is! I’m definitely purchasing a pasta maker when I get home. We used a manual one in class, but it was super quick and easy!

For the PASTA:

Ingredients:

  • 400g flour (you can use all semolina, we used 1/2 semolina, 1/2 regular flour)
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • pour the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the center, and break in the eggs.
  • mix the flour and the eggs with a fork and continue with your hands until the ingredients are well mixed
  • add more flour if necessary
  • knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, wrap it in transparent paper, and leave to rest 20-30 minutes
  • in the pasta machine, break into smaller pieces and pass through the pasta machine
  • cut the dough using the pasta machine or by hand

Directions for the SAUCE:

Ingredients:

  • 300 g of minced ground beef
  • 5 chopped ripe tomatoes, without skins or pips (or half a litre of tomato sauce)
  • one onion finely chopped
  • one carrot finely chopped
  • one stick of celery finely chopped
  • one cup of vegetable broth (made from boiling water with an onion, a carrot, and a celery stick)
  • 5 spoonfuls of EVOO
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Saute the chopped vegetables in the oil.
  • When they start to soften, add the minced meat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often and adding broth little by little
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally
  • In the meantime, boil the pasta and when half cooked drain and pour together with the sauce
  • Cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes

Enjoy!! Look forward to checking back in soon!

Coccoli! and other updates..

Hi friends!

I apologize greatly for making you wait in anticipation for so long for my next post…I’m sure you were all on the edges of your seats! 🙂

Anyways, Florence has been super rainy lately and it’s midterms week..so to say I’m really excited for Spring Break is a pretty safe bet. Plus, my mom will be here in less than 24 hours!!!! I’m so excited to see her, travel around Italy and Southern France, and then show her around Florence!

Last weekend, I was in Amsterdam and literally ate pancakes or fast food for every meal (and snack..). It was not a healthy weekend, but it was definitely a tasty one. For anyone who’s been to Amsterdam, I’m sure you know all about Wok to Walk. But, for those who don’t know, it is basically build-your-own lo-mein or fried rice and it’s so so good! I don’t know why they don’t have in the States..but I’m going to try to change that! Amsterdam is such a cool, interesting, and beautiful city. It’s pretty small and quite confusing to navigate, but there is a lot of cool history and a culture unlike any other. Just a walk through the Red Light District will sell you on how different Amsterdam really is. I’ve heard people talk about this city, but had no expectations or real knowledge about what it would be like. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least!

Back to Florence, though. Last week I went to a restaurant across the river called Osteria Santo Spirito and ordered gnocchi with a cheese cream sauce and truffle oil. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Very heavy and decadent, but unreal. Can’t wait to go back and try something else!

And…for the recipe…COCCOLI is a sort of savory fried dough that is traditional in Tuscany. This recipe is served with cured meats and tangy, soft cheeses such as brie or camembert or the cheese we used, Stracchino. This cheese had a creamy texture almost like cream cheese with a sort of tang that was so good with the saltiness of the prosciutto we paired it with!

Ingredients

  • 500 grams flour
  • 25 g fresh yeast
  • 1/4 litre sparkling water
  • salt
  • prosciutto or cured meat of choice
  • Stracchino cheese

Directions

  • Activate yeast. To do so, heat a little bit of still water to a little warmer than lukewarm. Crumble fresh yeast into it and stir. Add a pinch of sugar and let it froth for a few minutes.
  • Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and push to the sides so there is a hole in the center.
  • Pour sparkling water and yeast into this hole and mix, trying to avoid lumps.
  • Let the dough for at least one hour.
  • Scoop from one end of the dough to avoid ruining the fermentation. Make the scoops into little balls.
  • Fry at medium temperature. Make sure that the oil is hot enough that is bubbles around the dough when dropped in. But, make sure the oil is not smoking.
  • While frying, put a dollop of Stracchino on the prosciutto slices and roll them up.
  • Serve immediately.

I ate them by split the dough ball in half and then making a sandwich with the prosciutto and cheese in the middle. It was so delicious!

ENJOY!

Malanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmigiana)

Hi!

Being able to just hang out in Florence has been really nice. This weekend, I’ll be staying in Florence which I’ve missed doing for the past two weekends. While I love travelling and I am obsessed with the other cities I’ve been to so far, nothing compares to my life in Florence. I love my apartment, my friends, the food, the people, my classes, the architecture…everything! Tomorrow we’re going on a trip that our program provides to the aquarium in Genoa and then Sunday we’re going to a Fiorentina soccer game!

Anyways, back to the food. Eggplant Parm has always been one of my favorite meals. So, when I found out we were making it in my Italian Vegetarian Cooking class, I was pretty pumped. And, the eggplant wasn’t breaded so it was a little healthier!

2013-02-25 17.14.47

 

Ingredients:

  • 750 g eggplants, sliced thin
  • 300 g tomato sauce
  • 75 g grated parmesan cheese
  • 150 g mozzarella, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil to fry, as needed

Directions:

  • salt the eggplant and let sit for at least 30 minutes to extract excess water from the eggplant. after the 30 minutes, rinse the salt off and pat dry.
  • pan fry the eggplant until both sides are browned. make sure the oil is very hot so that the eggplant does not soak up the oil right away
  • in a mould, layer eggplants, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmigiano
  • bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes. (it should be a little more baked-looking than in my picture)
  • ENJOY!