The Italian Dishhttp://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/Mon, 20 Dec 2021 17:16:34 +0000en-USSquarespace V5 Site Server v5.13.594-SNAPSHOT-1 (http://www.squarespace.com) An Update![Elaine]Fri, 11 Sep 2020 18:30:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2020/9/11/an-update.html427276:4750246:36235987 

 

Hello everyone!  I haven't posted in a very long time but this past year has been SO busy.  I've had some readers ask me if I'm okay and the answer is definitely yes! We moved to Arizona from Michigan and between getting our house ready to list, Covid, quarantine and actually selling, packing and moving I was pretty much preoccupied! But we finally made it out here and hopefully life can start getting back to normal.

There's still lots to do because we bought a new house and still have to move into it. I need to do a total kitchen renovation on this new house and hope to post about the process.  If you want to watch the renovation process, follow me on Instagram - I will be microblogging over there mostly instead of here.  

I am hoping to give cooking classes out here in Arizona like I did in Michigan - so if you are in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, please shoot me your email to be on the mailing list for classes next year.  I usually give a pizza making class and a pasta making class. 

 

 

I know everyone did a lot of cooking during quarantine and maybe developed some new awesome kitchen skills (did you contribute to the national yeast shortage?) Maybe you are keeping those skills up and that's a great thing.

Hope you are making it through this challenging time and we can come out on the other side with some normalcy!

 

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Announcing March 3rd Pizza Making Class[Elaine]Sun, 17 Feb 2019 18:40:45 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2019/2/17/announcing-march-3rd-pizza-making-class.html427276:4750246:36158779 

 

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019
1:00 - 4:00 p.m. 

Come join the fun and learn how to make homemade pizza!

You will learn how to make easy homemade pizza dough,
the best flour to use and the secrets to making terrific
Neapolitan style pizza.   We will also make six different kinds
of pizzas, which we will enjoy that afternoon.  
You will also make your own homemade dough
and get to take it home.  

Space is limited!  Classes fill up fast.  $75

(This class is now sold out)

Okemos, Michigan

3 day cancellation policy

E-mail me for details or click on the "Cooking Classes" tab at the top of this page. 

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Grilled Zucchini with Burrata, Cherry Tomato and Toasted Pine Nuts[Elaine]Thu, 20 Sep 2018 20:30:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2018/9/20/grilled-zucchini-with-burrata-cherry-tomato-and-toasted-pine.html427276:4750246:36111956 


There's still a lot of zucchini being picked right now and here's another way to use them.  This dish is super simple and you can whip it together in no time.  Grilling the zucchini is the only real cooking you have to do in this dish and the rest is just assembling the ingredients.  The grilled zucchini is topped with creamy, luscious burrata - mozzarella balls stuffed with cream and shreds of mozzarella.  The dish is topped with marinated cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.  It's a beautiful and delicious dish and you can serve it as a side for dinner or as a meal on its own for lunch. 

 

 

The zucchini slices are scored lightly with the tip of a very sharp knife.
The scoring allows the seasoning and oil to penetrate the zucchini.  

 

  

Grilled Zucchini with Burrata, Tomato & Toasted Pine Nuts

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 4 - 6

4 medium zucchini
4 ounces burrata
about 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 Tablespoons pine nuts 
a few leaves of fresh basil, julienned or torn into pieces
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil

 

Trim the zucchini ends.  Stand the zucchini upright. Using a sharp knife, remove a thin slice of the skin on one side, then you can start making the slices you will use.  Slice the zucchini into 1/4" - 3/8" slices.    You will get 3 slices from each zucchini. Lightly score the zucchini slices in a diagonal pattern on both sides. Brush each side of zucchini with a little olive oil.  Season generously both sides with salt and pepper. 

 

 

Place the cherry tomatoes in a small bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts. Shake the pan as you toast them and keep checking until they are golden, about 5 minutes or so.  Be careful - they can go from golden to burnt very quickly.  Set aside in a small bowl to cool. 

 


toast the pine nuts until golden

 

 

Drain the burrata and place in a bowl.  Season with some salt and pepper.  The burrata will be at its best when you add a little salt, so don't skimp on this. 

Heat a stovetop grill or you can cook these outdoors on a grill.  Cook the zucchini slices until there are nice grill marks on each side, about 3 minutes a side over medium high heat. Place the zucchini on a large serving platter, in one layer. 

 

 

Assemble the dish by breaking up the burrata over the zucchini and  scattering the tomatoes and pine nuts. If you wanted to add another layer of richness, you can drizzle a little olive oil over the whole thing. Sprinkle the basil pieces over the whole dish.   Taste the burrata and, if needed, add a little more salt. Serve at room temperature. 

 

 

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My New Favorite Pizza - 'Nduja, Sun-Dried Tomato Spread & Goat Cheese[Elaine]Tue, 08 May 2018 11:45:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2018/5/8/my-new-favorite-pizza-nduja-sun-dried-tomato-spread-goat-che.html427276:4750246:36064650 

This is my new favorite pizza.  And it's amazing.  If you like pepperoni pizza, this is a modern twist on that. Instead of pepperoni slices, I'm using 'nduja, that incredible spicy prosciutto spread that I wrote about in this post. Instead of mozzarella cheese, I'm using tangy goat cheese.  Instead of tomato sauce, I'm using this intense sun-dried tomato spread that is my new favorite thing.  I'm going to talk about the ingredients specifically below, because the ingredients really matter in this one. 

 

 

I've been using sun-dried tomatoes from a company called California Sun-Dry for years. It's my favorite brand of sun dried tomatoes.  I buy the julienned kind and make this no-cook pasta sauce with it.  My local Kroger store actually carries these tomatoes in their produce department so I'm able to buy them easily. They recently started carrying this tomato spread from the same company. I started using it on crackers and crostini and I loved it so much that I thought it might be great on pizza.  If you can buy this particular brand, do it. 

The other important brand is the La Quercia 'nduja.  This spicy spread is absolutely delicious and I stir it into pasta sauces. I've tried other brands of 'nduja and this is by far my favorite.  Whole Foods carries this in their cheese department, so most of you should be able to find it.  If you can't, you can buy it from Amazon or Zingerman's

 

 

I made this pizza a little differently than I usually do - I prebaked the crust for a few minutes before adding the toppings.  I spread the dough with a little olive oil and baked it in the oven for 4 minutes and then added the toppings and finished it off for another few minutes.  I really like the texture of the pizza this way. 

Use baking parchment to slide the pizza into the oven.  It's far less messy than using cornmeal or flour and you can actually reuse the baking parchment.  

 

Pizza with 'Nduja, Sun-Dried Tomato Spread & Goat Cheese 

for  a printable recipe, click here

you will need a baking stone and baking parchment paper for this recipe

makes 1 large pizza 

7 ounces pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces goat cheese, softened
1/3 cup California Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
2 tablespoons La Quercia 'Nduja
freshly cracked black pepper

 

Pizza dough gets a light layer of olive oil and then is baked

 

The goat cheese is spread on the crust

 and then the sun-dried tomato spread is layered on 
and then dollops of 'nduja are placed.  Then back in the oven. 

 The finished pizza:

 

 

Preheat oven to the highest setting your oven will go and place the baking stone in the lower third of the oven.

Roll out pizza dough very thinly.  Brush with the olive oil.  Place a piece of baking parchment on a pizza peel or just on the back of a baking sheet (anything that will allow the pizza to slide off easily).  Place the pizza dough on the parchment and slide it off onto the baking stone, along with the parchment paper.  Bake for about 4 minutes, until the dough is set and it is starting to turn golden brown a little.

Remove the pizza dough from the oven.  Spread the goat cheese on it, followed by the sun-dried tomato spread. Place dollops of the 'nduja all over the pizza.  Grind black pepper all over the top.  Return to the oven and continue to cook for about 3 - 4 more minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is crispy.  Remove the pizza with a wide spatula (I use this fish spatula for pizzas) and slice and serve. 

 

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Pork Osso Buco with Gremolata[Elaine]Mon, 16 Apr 2018 12:20:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2018/4/16/pork-osso-buco-with-gremolata.html427276:4750246:36055395 

One of the most satisfying dishes to eat is Osso Buco.  It is traditionally made with veal shanks but this version with pork is equally delicious and as a bonus, pork is inexpensive. The shanks contain a large bone in the middle of the meat, adding lots of flavor to this dish. Even if you are a new cook, this dish is super easy to prepare and I guarantee lots of happy diners. 

Osso buco is a dish that needs to cook for about 2½ hours, so plan accordingly. The prep is very easy - the meat is seared, removed from the pot and then a soffritto, a mixture of vegetables, is cooked.  Then all the other ingredients are added and the meat is returned to the pot, covered and cooked in the oven, low and slow. What results is an incredibly delicious sauce with meat that is just falling off the bone. Traditionally, it is served with Risotto Milanese, a beautiful golden risotto dish flavored with saffron.  You can also serve it with pasta or polenta.

 

The shanks should be pretty thick - I like ones that about two inches thick.  When you buy them, they will very likely come with the skin on over the layer of fat. Many people leave this skin on and you can certainly do that. However, I don't like it and I cut it off before I cook the shanks. It's easy to do with a very sharp knife. If you cut the skin off, you will now need to tie the shanks with twine to keep the meat from falling off the bone.  This step is not necessary, but just nice when serving the shanks because it keeps them from falling apart and makes them nice to serve a whole shank on a plate.

Most recipes call for dredging the pork in flour, but I do not do that.  I feel that the flour tends to burn a little in the searing process and I would rather just have a nice rich fond form on the bottom of the pot from the meat. 

 

There is a version which leaves out the tomato altogether.  It's delicious and pairs very well with the risotto and the gremolata. It's essentially the same recipe, just omitting the tomato. A good reason to cook the dish twice!

The finished dish is sprinkled with gremolata, a zingy mixture of raw parsley, garlic and lemon zest that is delicious.  Serve extra on the side so your diners can add more as they eat their osso buco.


Enjoy!
Elaine

Pork Osso Buco with Gremolata

for a printable recipe, click here

you will need kitchen twine for this recipe

serves 4

5 pork shanks, about 4 pounds (about 3 - 3½ pounds after skin is removed)
salt and pepper
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 cup dry white wine
1 or 2 cups chicken stock
1 28-ounce can whole or pureed San Marzano tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 lemon, zested

 

Gremolata:

¼ cup packed finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 lemon, zested
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated

 


I like to trim the skin off the shank and then wrap twine around it,
securing the meat to the bone.

 

I like to remove the skin from the pork shanks. This is entirely personal preference and you can keep it on if you want.  The pork has plenty of fat, but I also trim any real big pieces of fat from the outside of the shanks.  I make sure not to trim all the fat off, though.  Take the kitchen twine and tie it around each shank, securing the meat to the bone.

Preheat oven to 325°F. 

Season the pork shanks on both sides with the salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat (I like to use my Le Creuset Bouillabaisse Pot). Place the shanks in the pot and sear each side for about 3 -4 minutes, creating a nice crust. Work in two batches because the shanks most likely are not going to fit in the pot all at once for the searing process.  Remove the shanks from the pot to a plate.  Do not wipe out pot. Lower the heat to medium. 

Add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.  Add the chopped vegetables to the pot, including the garlic. Saute for about 6 - 7 minutes, until the vegetables soften.  Raise the heat a little and add the white wine and cook for about another 3 minutes.  Add one cup of the chicken stock and the tomatoes - if you are using whole tomatoes, just crush them with your hands as you put them in the pot.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste and lemon zest.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring, to blend the tomato paste.  Return the shanks to the pot and nearly submerge them in the sauce. Add another cup of stock if you need to. Cover with a tight fitting lid, place in the oven and cook for about 2½ hours.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata by mixing the finely chopped parsley with the lemon zest and minced garlic.

Check the shanks - they should be tender.  Remove them to a serving platter and cut off the string.  Spoon some sauce over the shanks and serve the rest on the side. Sprinkle the pork with some gremolata. Serve the pork with Saffron Risotto, polenta or pasta.

 

 

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Pizza Making Class March 4th, 2018[Elaine]Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:27:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2018/2/12/pizza-making-class-march-4th-2018.html427276:4750246:36033123 

If you live in the Mid Michign area, I am having a Pizza Making Class on 

 Sunday, March 4th, 2018.  

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The class is now SOLD OUT


Come join the fun and learn how to make homemade pizza!

You will learn how to make easy homemade pizza dough,
the best flour to use and the secrets to making terrific
Neapolitan style pizza. We will also make six different kinds
of pizzas, which we will enjoy that afternoon. 

You will also make your own homemade dough
and get to take it home.

Space is limited. 

E-mail me for details on how to reserve your space.

elainemccardel@mac.com


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Pasta with 'Nduja, Kale and Toasted Breadcrumbs[Elaine]Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:36:24 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2018/1/15/pasta-with-nduja-kale-and-toasted-breadcrumbs.html427276:4750246:35994875
  

Do you know about 'nduja?  If not, keep reading because this special Italian spread has become very popular and with good reason - it makes so many dishes even better.  'Nduja (pronounced "en-DOO-ya") originates out of Calabria, that region in Italy where all things spicy are loved. It is a sort of spreadable paste made out of pork, Calabrian peppers and various spices. You can spread it on bread or add it to sauces.  It adds not only a spicy kick but a terrific layer of flavor that is absolutely delicious. Once you have it in your fridge, you'll be adding it to all kinds of things. We made homemade pizza recently and I made myself a pizza of thinly sliced zucchini, red onion, grated pecorino and then put little dollops of 'nduja on top. It was terrific. My favorite thing is to add it into this pasta sauce recipe.  We love it.

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Jam Pastries[Elaine]Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:10:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2017/12/11/jam-pastries.html427276:4750246:36006589 

 

These fruit pastries can be a nice little dessert after a meal or a great partner with coffee in the morning. I've been having fun making and sharing these and decided they might be nice for people to make during the holidays.  They are so pretty, especially with raspberry jam.  I've made blackberry and blueberry, too, and they are just as delicious.  The dough is a snap to make in your food processor - it takes just a couple of minutes.

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Homemade Garganelli Pasta[Elaine]Thu, 16 Nov 2017 01:30:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2017/11/15/homemade-garganelli-pasta.html427276:4750246:35994888

 

If you are familiar with my recipe for Pie Dough in 60 Seconds, then you will be happy to know that you can do the same thing with pasta dough.  I make this dough in a food processor and it takes about 60 seconds.  I'm going to give you step by step photos to show you how to make a pasta shape called garganelli and even a little video to make it easy (scroll to bottom of post for video).  All you need are two ingredients - flour and eggs.  You could make it today!

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Swiss Chard Agnolotti with Brown Butter[Elaine]Mon, 23 Oct 2017 22:00:00 +0000http://www.51denimskirt.com/imported-20090913150324/2017/10/23/swiss-chard-agnolotti-with-brown-butter.html427276:4750246:35983070

I'm going to be doing a whole series of pasta recipes this fall and winter.  It's so fun to make homemade pasta and I hope if you've never tried before that maybe you will give it a go this year.  This recipe is for agnolotti, a stuffed pasta that is easy and fast to make.  I'm giving you step by step photos plus a little video to give you the confidence to try. 

This agnolotti is made with a swiss chard and cheese filling.  This filling isn't hard to make at all - the chard is simply chopped a little and then cooked down over the stove in a bit of water.  If you have a food processor, you can process the filling in a snap.  

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