Tag Archives: Italian Food

One dough, two pizzas a continent apart

By Lakshmi:

Home made pizza is a staple in our household.  We make it in a myriad of flavors, each one vanishing off the tray as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Last week, I had a bunch of kids come home from school and decided to do two pizzas with one dough.  The first was a good old Margarita and the second? A Mexican pizza with salsa, avocados and cheese!  Here are simple instructions to create both.  We’d love to hear about your favorite pizza making experiences as well!

Recipe and how to for dough

1 tbsp sugar

2.5 tsps dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tbsps olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour

Salt to taste

Dissolve the sugar in a cup of warm water, add the dry yeast and let bubble for five minutes.  Next add the 3 cups flour, salt and olive oil and knead the dough with your hand or Kitchen Aid with a dough hook till the dough is gathered and springy.  Set aside for 30 minutes till the dough doubles in size.  Divide into two balls for two pizzas.

Recipe and how to for Margarita pizza

Half a cup of tomato sauce

A cup of fresh mozzarella

A few basil leaves torn

Preheat over to 500 degrees F.  Roll out one ball of pizza dough and lay on a pizza tray.  Use a spoon to spread the sauce in a concentric circle around the dough.  Arrange fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves on the sauced up pizza dough.  Bake in the top rack of the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the circumference bubbles and is brown).  Take out and serve!

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Recipe and how to for Mexican pizza

Half a cup of fresh or store bought salsa (I used fresh home-made chunky salsa made with two tomatoes, a garlic clove, half a red onion, a green chilly, two tbsps of cilantro pulsed in a blender with salt and pepper)

One avocado sliced into thin slices

A cup of Mexican cheese blend or queso fresco

A few tbsps of fresh cilantro

Preheat over to 500 degrees F.  Roll out one ball of pizza dough and lay on a pizza tray.  Use a spoon to spread the salsa in a concentric circle around the dough.  Arrange the sliced avocado, cheese and cilantro on the sauced up pizza dough.  Bake in the top rack of the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the circumference bubbles and is brown).  Take out and serve!

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I cannot begin to tell you how much the kids loved these pizzas.  And it really is not that much work!

 

A little twist yields a memorable gnocchi dinner!

By Lakshmi:

Last year, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a guy who was as obsessed with creating and eating good food as I was.  So it was natural that when this guy started a food blog, I turned to it for inspiration.  Recently, the team behind this food blog breakingnaan.com wrote about their success pairing fettuccini with fenugreek leaves (a leafy vegetable widely available at Indian grocery stores).  The minute I read this, I started thinking about my favorite Indian dish on cold winter days…aaloo methi or potatoes with fenugreek leaves.  And then the light bulb went off!  I could create an Italian version of this dish by pairing gnocchi with fenugreek leaves!

Here’s how you can create this dinner in under 30 minutes.  Start with the ingredients below.

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Clean the fenugreek leaves well to remove all sand and grit and chop finely.

Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package.

Heat some olive oil, add a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes and two cloves of crushed garlic.

When the garlic sizzles, add the fenugreek leaves and cook for about five minutes till the leaves are wilted.

Now add the cooked gnocchi to the fenugreek leaves and toss till the gnocchi are coated with the leaves (about a minute).

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the dish and serve hot!

Presto! Here’s the finished dish!  We did not have a morsel left over:)

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A Trip Down Memory Lane Creates The Perfect Eggplant Caponata

By Lakshmi:

Did you ever eat a dish at a restaurant that has lingered on your taste buds for years to come? And have you tried to go recipe free to create that dish from memory…adding a little bit of this and a shake of that till you taste that nirvana moment?  That’s exactly what went down in my kitchen this weekend.

Over a decade ago, during one of our many trips to the DC area, we had tasted the perfect Eggplant Caponata – the depth of the eggplant, combining with the sweet tanginess of the tomatoes and that never can go wrong taste of garlic to create the perfect marriage.

And here’s the equation I used to recreate that amazing taste at home.

1 Eggplant + 4 small tomatoes +1 red onion + 2 cloves of garlic + 1 Tbsp of capers + 3 leaves of basil + 2 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Salt + Pepper = One Amazing CAPONATA!

Simply dice the veggies and smash the garlic.  Heat the olive oil, fry the onions, add the garlic, give it a stir and add the rest of the veggies/capers/salt/pepper and cook till the eggplant is cooked and blended with the tomatoes and onions (about 10-15 minutes).  Garnish with basil leaves and serve with fresh bread or pita chips or anything else!  I went overboard and baked a fresh pan of focaccia and served the caponata on open faced sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and a mini caprese salad on the side!

If you’ve tried to create a dish based on taste/smells/memory, we’d love to hear your experience!!