Here's what's been cooking in Katie's Passion Kitchen lately ...
Check out these beautiful potatoes! Warm potatoes really benefit from a little champagne vinegar, olive oil and country dijon mustard in this lovely and lively salad. When all was said and done, this colorful variety of blue, yellow, red and white potatoes were combined with haricot verts (thin, young green beans), sweet onions, cherry tomatoes, finely chopped radicchio and romaine, a few warm, soft-boiled eggs and a scrumptious, French style, champagne vinaigrette. A peasant style feast of a salad! If you're not already into mustard vinaigrettes, try whisking a teaspoon or so of dijon mustard into your next oil and vinegar dressing. Add a little s & p and you will be thrilled with the result! A little dijon adds freshness and tanginess to your oil and vinegar. Try it. I even drizzle some directly into the salad bowl when I'm in a rush and toss it all together with the salad greens, olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. More mustard, more zip.
Asparagus Frittata ~ Fry some asparagus and you'll never steam it again. Asparagus and shallots fried in olive oil are joined by a mixture of a dozen beaten eggs, freshly grated Parm and shredded Italian truffle cheese (really!). Reserve a few stalks to beautify the top of your frittata with a few chunks of fresh mozzarella and pop it under your broiler til the cheese melts. I learned how to make frittatas from the frittata queen, Amelia DePalma Fioretti, mama mia. Mom's are always perfectly moist and perfectly seasoned. Especially her summertime garden zucchini frittatas. Frittata Perfectione'!
French sourdough baguette with butter on the side and a chilled bottle of Franciscan Cuvee' Sauvage California Chardonnay. Oh yeah.
Mark said that he would be happy to just eat soup every day. This easy and delicious ribollita is made with fresh and healthful kale , the usual suspects (onions, garlic, carrots & celery), canned tomatoes, chicken broth and chunks of stale bread (I used wheat baguette). I think this is a new all-time favorite. Takes me back to Florence. Think Tuscan. Think healthy (I kid you NOT! Kale is a nutritional super food. It's an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, vitamin-rich vegetable. Very high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta carotene, lutein, and it even has a lot of calcium) . Talk about good and good for you. E-mail me for the recipe if you like! I think I have it nailed. It was served up with a swirl of olive oil and some fresh cracked black. I'm not kidding. It doesn't even need cheese. And, it's even better on the second day. Here's a nice pot-shot of the ribollita ~Beans, beans, magical fruit, the more you eat . . . (when I was a kid, I thought it went "Beans, beans, musical fruit, the more you eat . . . " Anyway, I love to make a huge pot of minnestrone style soup that is packed with beans and vegetables and tons of flavor. So, last Thursday, it was dark and creepy outside, pouring rain for hours. I spent the entire day in my closet, organizing jewelry and various junk. A dreaded project. I never got dressed and soon realized that I would not be leaving the house or abandoning my project. I knew I would be cooking "off the shelf". I started late in the afternoon with a bag of Trader Joe's 17-bean and barley mix. Yes, I finally came out of the closet. I quick-soaked the dried beans by covering them with cold water, bringing them to a boil, and then soaking them for an hour or two. Yes, just read the directions on the bag. LOL. From that point, it was a refrigerator and pantry expedition for all things soup. I had a lot to work with and I was happy to be in Katie's Passion Kitchen, rather than Katie's Closet. I had half a bag of baby purple onions, one parsnip, a bunch of celery, a bag of carrots, a pound of bacon (thanks to Mark), plus some cute little pasta rings (Anelletti) (HOLD IT! I just thought of a name for this soup: Fioretti Anelletti Minnestretti ~ LOL ~ whatdya think?). OK. So, I sauteed a few strips of bacon, finely chopped) in some olive oil and added onions, parsnip, celery, carrots, crushed red pepper flakes and finely chopped garlic. Can you smell that? Then, I added the beans which had been soaked, then drained and rinsed. To that, I added chicken broth, canned whole tomatoes (crushed by hand) with their juice, some water, a few bay leaves and some salt, pepper & cayenne pepper. This soup simmered for a couple of hours with the lid ajar. (Q: When is a lid not a lid? A: When it's ajar). Some of the beans do take a LONG time to soften up. Some actually stay firm but it's a good firm. Once the flavors began to develop and the beans became tender (while I was back in the closet), I added a small head of savoy cabbage (finely sliced and chopped). After that began to cook a bit, I added a few yellow potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks and then finally the pasta (not too much or they would drink up all the broth and I would be left with a too-thick soup and some really swollen noodles ~ LOL). Um....I am a fluid retention expert ... never mind. OK. I actually took a tip from my ribollita love and tossed in a few chunks of stale bread. It thickens the soup and adds a new texture. It was really delicious, I think. This soup was served with a drizzle of olive oil (I am fully aware that I do this alot, thank you) and further enhanced with some freshly grated imported Parmeggiano Reggiano and pepper, of course. Make some today before it gets too warm out and you won't be in the mood.
Crisp, twice-baked orange & chocolate cookies featuring Patron' Citronge' Premium Orange Liqueur in the light dough and Faretti (close enough) Biscotti Liqueur in the dark dough plus tons and tons of toasted nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and cashews. Dunk me. Dunk me please.
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Passion is in fashion. Love, Katie