Monday, July 14, 2008

Focaccia di Cipolla

Sweet onion. So pungent yet so so sweet. Simple, available everywhere and capable of producing a feast at a moments notice. I like them raw, I love them caramelized, but most of all I love them baked atop Focaccia. Baked onion, red or white holds up perfectly, it doesn't loose its delicate crunch but sweetens impressively. Complemented every step of the way by its lover rosemary. I love focaccia.

1/4 ounce active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
pinch of sugar
5 cups of olive oil
olive oil (don't skimp)
fresh chopped rosemary
fresh chopped thyme
fresh crisp chopped onion
ripe plum tomatoes

add a few tablespoons of water to 1/4 ounce of the dry active yeast. add a pinch of sugar and let sit for 15 min. add the rest of the ingredients and knead dough until its no longer sticky. let sit in warm kitchen covered with a damp kitchen towel for an hour or until double in size. spread dough onto an oiled baking sheet (rimmed). preheat oven to 500 degrees. bake in middle rack for about 30 mins or until brown and crisp. cool, drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

new laptop

Back on after almost a week without a computer. I had a terrible accident with my old one. I accidentally slammed the top on while my ipod port lay atop the keyboard. Awful. So, I have a new baby laptop. Feels good to be back on, I never realized just how dependant I have become on the web. Yikes. I hate to admit it but I depend on it way too much.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Eating

As it gets warmer, I begin to crave certain foods more and more. There's a smell in the air that is unique to the warm Chicago summer winds. My tomatoes in the garden wont ripen until well after July. I love tomatoes. In the mean time store bought ones will do. Everyone has a special food, a certain flavor, scent that brings you back to a special place. Tomatoes are just that. My mother, a proficient Gardner, always grew her own heirloom tomatoes. She does to this very day in her small garden. Fed, watered and loved the tomato veins took off every summer. We always had tons of juicy sweet summer kissed tomatoes. She would toss them into salads, roast them, and always serve a fresh pico de gallo loaded with perfectly diced tomatoes at every meal. Once they ran out, you knew summer was over. Tomatoes are specially dear to Catalans. If you ask anyone who grew up in Catalonia what comes to mind when they smell a ripe tomato, they will all answer pan con tomate. Some have dared to call it Catalonia's most exquisite delicacy. I agree.

Pan con tomate is a very simple snack that has been enjoyed by generations of Catalans. It is simply perfect. All you need is good day old bread, fresh juicy tomatoes, garlic and good extra virgin olive oil. I use the same ingredients to spruce up my summer salads. I turned the beloved Catalan tomato bread into rustic crutons.

I cubed store bought roasted garlic ciabatta and tossed in lots of olive oil, good, olive oil and a tomato puree that i made. Sprinkle with salt and toast under broiler until golden.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

the woods and the toad

little toad on the damp forest floor.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Italian Roast Espresso

Saturday mornings are the only time some of us have to relax. Or at least try. For those in the food biz its nerve wrecking, as you know a busy night is ahead of you. I never really gave up my Saturday mornings though. When your growing up Saturday mornings are for sugary cereal in front of the television. Its a great feeling knowing another week of hard work has gone by.Even if you do work weekends, you should always take time to enjoy Saturday morning. Make time to do whatever it is that makes you feel at home, and at peace. Let it be a time of healing. We all have different rituals. Some the sugary cereal in front of the tv, for me its a strong Italian Roast espresso the American way, watered down and sugary. I know , I know its awful to water down a good espresso, but it is what I enjoy while reading the latest issue of bon appetit, or the latest blog entry of my favorite bloggers (Orangette)while staying in bed for hours. Italian roast, being an intensely robust roast, give the South American beans a smoky, rich, bold flavor that makes cafe Americano work. No cream, and just a sprinkle of Raw sugar. (sigh) cant wait for Saturday morning!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

directed by woody allen , starring Penelope cruz , and scarlett johansson.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Like its distant Mediterranean cousin Mahon cheese, Ibores is also coated in olive oil and paprika during its two month aging period. Ibores comes from the rugged, hot province of Extremadura in western Spain. Extremadura borders Portugal in the west. It is mountainous and famous for its goats. Ibores is made with rich goats milk, and is a great alternative to fresh goat cheese, it packs the same delicious tangy flavor. Its a dry aged cheese with a crumbly dry texture not like any other goat cheese I have tasted. Its perfect with a dry white wine and some salted almonds. perfect for hot weather! Overall I loved Ibores, but I must say Garrotxa is still king of Spain's goat cheeses to me.