Holiday Traditions

From Sweden to America…

Best things about Christmas and holidays are traditions that carry meaning and create memories for generations.

Baking with friends, watching carolers.. are some of our faves 😊 

Whipped up some matcha cookies!

Peanut butter chocolate melting snowmen. Trying to decorate these will definitely entertain you – try it!!

Mix was the easy part!


Klicha – our traditional spicy sweet for Christmas time made the whole house smell cozy and ‘love’! 

We kicked back after an entire day of baking — adoring the tree and magic of friendship, traditions, and holiday.  
Happy Holidays!!!

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Farm to Table Dinner Event

End of Summer is on the horizon.  We try to celebrate the season in every way possible before the cold and snow hits the streets.

Campo Di Bella farm and winery hosted a wonderful vegetarian dinner event last night. We had the joy of attending it.  

What a fantastic way to support local farming community and artisans. 

29 guests, 7 courses, and a lot of joy…


Every course was light refreshing and made us taste the summer sunshine!


Zucchini tart or art?? 😍  

Get out there and celebrate the summer!!!

Cooking with Lecce’s best Chef Gianna !

We had been waiting for this cooking experience for weeks. It was important to us to make this travel a learning experience since we love to cook and eat. 

Chef Gianna and Giorgio gave us the full experience of cooking in traditional Lecce style.  We met in the early evening by Piazza del Duomo.  We strolled together to the market in a leisurely way while getting to know more about each other.  We all have a passion for cooking, eating, and enjoying good company as a common characteristic.   

Market experience was fun, we watched how Gianna and Giorgio selected cheese, tomatoes, and other ingredients. The market owner and staff were great.  This is an integral part of feeling and breathing the whole experience.  These are the kinds of memories that are priceless.  We loved it!! 

 

We arrived at the beautiful Cooking Experience kitchen. This is where they cook and entertain the guests.  

 

It is lovely, comfortable, fully equipped with anything needed for cooking a great meal.   

The menu was focaccia, orecchiette, stuffed eggplants, and pastacciotto , which is the local custard desert.  

   
 Drinking wine 🍷🍷 while we cooked made the whole process even more fun. Chef Gianna is full of great tips and lessons. We made the entire dinner from scratch!! 

  
 

Learning how to make the orecchiette was amazing. We made eggless pasta dough that could be used for any type of pasta. Chef Gianna showed us in detail how to make the pasta.
  

We tried our best to follow Chef Gianna’s instructions. Yes! she did use the pasta we made for dinner. She was gracious and kind to say we did well.  We think we need more practice 😉

The fully hand on experience was very satisfying. We made everything together. Giorgio assured us not to worry about taking notes since he send the precise recipes to all the students. This helped us relax, concentrate and have more fun. 

 

Voilà!!   the finished pasta… it was as delicious as it looks.  What’s remarkable is that time flew by, we had great laughs, and a great meal while learning without any strain or intimidation.  Giorgio and Chef Gianna have this easy going style that makes any level cook feel comfortable.  
While we did only one day, you can customize and book several sessions with Chef Gianna.  Start planning your cooking experience; contact Giorgio for details at cookingexperiencelecce@gmail.com 🇮🇹
 

Bone Broth Anyone?

On bitter bitter cold nights one sure way of warming up is a delicious bowl of bone broth. as the temperatures dropped so did my tolerance for the cold. So I bought a pound of beef bones from my neighborhood hunting based organic butcher.

With a friends help I set out to make bone broth. It is one of the best and easiest things to make. Besides being good for your health it becomes a great base for many soups, rice, and other dishes.
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Let’s get started: a pound of bones, 2 carrots, 1 large onion, a bunch of parsley, 2 bay leaves, 5 whole all spice pieces, 2 stalks of celery, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, water to cover.

You will need a pressure cooker!!
Yes, without it you might be boiling this for days.

Roast the bones in the Owen for 30-40 minutes, then put them in the pressure cooker, coarsely chop and add the veggies and cider vinegar. Then add the spice and bay leaves. By the way you can improvise and add other spices if you like – but remember if you want to use this in cooking other meals having it plain is best. And yes… there is no salt added for the same reason.
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Once you have everything in the pressure cooker add water to cover the bones. You are now ready to cook!!! it will take roughly 4-5 hours and the aroma will fill your kitchen. This will make 2 large tubs of broth and I recommend you freeze them so you can keep on using the broth without spoiling it.

You are probably wondering why vinegar?? It helps bleach the nutrients and the marrow out of the bones more easily. Helps make the broth richer. You can adjust the quantity of how much you use as long as you use some.  IMG_3357We watched a romantic comedy, laughed, and had couple of glasses of Champaigne while the pressure cooker did all the job! Result was just yummy and its a gift that keeps on giving on these cold cold nights. Hope you give it a try! Cheers!!

IMG_3363  Umm yes.. this is how we chilled the Champaigne 😉
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Weekend Cooking: Stuffed Stuff

Love weekends when we can fully relax and cook savory cozy meals that speak to the soul and heart.

This is a favorite dish especially for cold winter nights. Yet so easy to make, but sure to delight the senses.
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Ingredients:
2 small yellow peppers
Couple medium sized zucchinis
4-5 medium sized firm tomatoes
1 lb Organic ground beef
1 cup of Organic jasmine rice
3 cloves of fresh pressed garlic
Salt
Olive oil
Black pepper
Red pepper
All spice
Crumbled feta for the top

Was the veggies and hollow them out. Careful not slice your hands open or cut through the veggies. You need both 😉 to enjoy this meal. Using a small melon baller might help, but I use a nice small sharp knife. Goal is to hollow the veggies without damaging the shell that will keep the stuffing.

Put hollowed veggies in a container of water and salt mixture (brine) while you mix up the stuffing.
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Best beef for this is organic and semi fat. Don’t go lean – the dish with be way too dry and tasteless. For vegetarians; omit the beef and use a coarse chop of the hollowed out innards, add mushrooms and viola! Turn the oven on to 475 degrees and get your baking dish ready.

Mix up the beef with spices, rice, and pressed garlic. Use as much spices to your liking and diet. Drizzle olive oil as you are mixing the stuffing – again amount is up to you. We love bathing in it so we go wild!

Stuff each veggie somewhat loosely to allow for the rice expansion as it cooks. Place the veggies upright. Once done stuffing them all. Pour a lukewarm water at the bottom of baking dish – just enough to come up to quarter of the height. With a spoon carefully put some of the lukewarm water into each veggie as well – makes for more moist stuffing.
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Cover up the baking dish with a parchment paper to help it steam while cooking and keep the moisture. Bake for 40 minutes. Then turn off the over, put crumbled feta on top of each veggie and broil till feta is pink and melty.

Pull out let it cool for 2 minutes and serve up!!
Sure to be a hit – enjoy it and let us know what you think after you tried it.
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Live well. Eat well. Love well !

Bazlama

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This is kind of bread that is very delicious and soft you can cook it 2 ways in oven or in pan so let’s start measuring the ingredients ok we need:

5 cups organic flour

50 gr organic fresh yeast

1 teaspoon organic sea salt

2-1/2 lukewarm water

Melt the yeast in lukewarm water

Put the flour in a bowl make depression in the center

Add lukewarm water gradually while kneading

The dough must stick to your hands continue kneading 10-15 min.

Cover and leave the dough until doubled around 60 min.931

Take the dough on floured surface

Separate the dough into 5 balls

Open each ball in 1 cm thick rounds with help of your hands

If you will make them in oven then open the circles on baking sheets

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Leave it 10 min.

Heat the pan and cook it

For oven version

Preheat the oven 250 C while the pan is also inside of the oven heating the pan as well.

You can add little flour, water and oil to brush on top of them (Optional) or leave it plain.

Take them on heated pans and bake them until the golden brown spots appear on top of them.

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Enjoy bazlama with butter and salt or sugar or piece of cheese or some olives maybe or what ever you may like but don’t forget enjoying and sharing them with someone

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Sharing is most delicious and enjoyable way to give something with love!

Cooking Class 1: Let’s make Samosa!

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When was the last time you took a cooking class?? Think my last cooking class was learning how to make truffles and other chocolates two years ago. So when my friend Jennifer saw the cooking class and asked if I would go – answer was a huge YES!

On our blog We write a lot about always learning and surprising yourself. So we believe in grabbing these opportunities. Listen – we don’t think we have to be good at it either. You don’t have to be half a chef to take a class.

Love eating the Samosa but never tried making them. Chef Huma S. showed us how to make them from scratch and two other dishes too. She was a great teacher, very easy going which made the class relaxing. Enjoyed her stories and cooking style; gadget free, almost all a single pot dish, … if you could only smell the cooking food mmmm

Class took 3 hours and yes we ate everything we made at the end. Delicious dinner with new people we met at the class…

Working on vegan potato stuffed samosa:
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Chef Huma made these other dishes:
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I was trying to make the Samosa too perfect, she said just pinch it shut and don’t worry so much. It will be delicious. I made quite a few of them and she was frying them on the side. We ate the Samosa with the raita sauce she made. They were the best ones I have had ;))
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Can’t wait to make these myself these dishes during fall and winter.

🌟 Chef Huma’s website is whitejasmine.com where she shares the recipes and sells her own spice mixes on the website.

If the title did not give it away already… We are doing another class to learn making something sweet – it will be surprise!!