Posts tagged ‘florentine’

January 1, 2009

Crespelle

Often when we think of crepes, we think of lacy thin pancakes with fruit syrups and whipped cream toppings.  This delicious appetizer puts an end to these thoughts.  This is a classic Italian dish server during Lent, when meat is to be avoided.

As with a lot of Florentine dishes, it includes the standard of spinach, though I prefer to kick it up a notch with Arugula leaves mixed in as well as a few sprigs of Italian parsley.  Arugula is a Roman spinach leaf and isn’t always easily found in your local grocery store.  Often you will have to scour the organic section to locate a nice bag.  If your climate allows, you might give growing it a try, as once you start, it takes hold and is rather reproductive.

This dish also includes ricotta cheese and I suggest not using a low fat one as there tends to be a good deal of liquid run off and can make your crepes soggy.

Typically I segregate the recipes when we are stuffing a separate component, but this crepe recipe is unique to this recipe and not the same you would want to use for your Sunday morning sweet tooth.

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 3/4 cup milk

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup flour, unsifted

1/2 teaspoon iodized salt

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

~

1 pound fresh spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped

1/2 pound fresh Arugula leaves, washed and finely chopped

1/4 pound fresh Italian parsley, washed and finely chopped

1 cup boiling water

1 egg

1/2 cup fresh Romano cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/ teaspoon ionized salt

1 15 ounce container ricotta

  • In a medium mixing bowl, blend 3 eggs, milk, melted butter, and flour until well blended.  Mixture should be rather thin, like a pancake batter.
  • In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Pour in batter by 1/4 cup ladles at a time, cooking each until lightly tanned.
  • Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 150 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine green leaves.  Pour boiling water over leaves and drain into a collander promptly.
  • In a dry large bowl, beat egg, ricotta, Romano, salt and nutmeg until well blended.
  • Stir in leaves.  Blend well.
  • Drop 1 – 2 spoonfuls of filling onto each crepe and roll up.  Secure with a toothpick.
  • In a large baking dish, prepared with non-stick spray or a little olive oil, arrange filled crepes.
  • Bake for fifteen minutes or until crepes are crisped.
  • Remove toothpicks and serve warm.
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January 1, 2009

Pollo Florentine

Ask anyone what Florentine means and they’ll say it means spinach; except Italians.  The association of spinach and Florence, Italy actually originated in England.  When Catherine de Medici introduced spinach to English cuisine, since she was from Florence, spinach and egg or cheese mixtures became known as Florentine.  Actual Florentine dishes usually are seafood rich with olives and squashes and potatoes.

This dish uses prosciutto, which is an uncooked Italian ham, chicken and a spinach and cheese blend.  Even though prosciutto is salt cured, I guess I am a bit of a worry wart in that I always cook it anyhow.  I also use fresh mozzarella for this recipe, it blends much better with the ricotta than the shredded type that has drying agents applied.  The extra spinach mixture I bake for twenty minutes in a separate dish and serve with the chicken.

Ingredientspollo florentine 16

3 cloves garlic

1/4 pound Italian parsley

1 pound fresh spinach

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella

1 egg

1 cup ricotta

4 slices prosciutto

4 boneless chicken breasts

2 Tablespoons bread crumbs

Directions

  • Chop parsley and spinach, combine into medium mixing bowl.
  • Press garlic cloves into spinach blend.
  • Use a cheese slicer to loosen shreds from mozzarella ball.
  • Add egg, ricotta and mozzarella to spinach blend.
  • Beat thoroughly until well blended.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Slice chicken breasts open.
  • Spoon two heaping spoonfuls of spinach blend into chicken breast pocket.
  • Close and wrap prosciutto around chicken.
  • Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Serve.

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pollo florentine 12

January 1, 2009

Peposo

One of the drawbacks to Florida living is the lack of need of curling up in front of a cozy fireplace with a nice fleecy blanket and a big bowl of warm soup to heat you from the inside out.  For that reason, I don’t make stews and soups as often as I used to when we lived north of hell, but I do enjoy them.

Peposo is an Italian beef soup, meaning pepper stew, usually with a good kick of spice.  This is from the Tuscan region of Italy and there is a story that Filippo Brunelleschi, the Italian architect, popularized this dish.  The original recipe calls for this to be cooked in a kiln or oven in a terracotta earthenware dish at very low temperatures for about 2 – 3 hours.  I do this in my crockpot with the setting on 10 hours.  On the stovetop, you should set the burner to a low heat.

Don’t skimp on the meat, there is nothing worse than chewy gristly meat in your stew.  I would suggest a good thick and well marbled steak, not a sirloin or market type.  And a lot of recipes include lots of hearty vegetables, but this stew actually is really good with very little more than meat and flavour.

Ingredients

2 pounds steak, 1 – 2 inches thick, cubed to bite size chunks

3 Roma tomatoes, peeled and crushed

4 cloves garlic, peeled

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup red wine*

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

*If you wouldn’t drink it in a cup, don’t put it in the pot!  As for what type of red wine, this really comes down to preferences.  I use chianti.

  • Add all ingredients to your cooking pot of choice.
  • Add cold water, so that water is no more than an inch over all of your ingredients.
  • Cover and cook at a low temperature until meat is tender and broth is thick.
  • Serve warm with fresh toasted bread.