Semolina and Sesame Bread

Semolina and Sesame Bread

This bread is traditionally made during spring as a welcome to returning sun at Macrina café in Seattle. Well, I baked it as a goodbye to the central star of the Solar System. Forecast doesn’t sound promising at all. Once the rain gets started here it won’t stop until very late spring. I’m afraid I finally have to accept the fact the summer is over. And I don’t like autumn…

Semolina and Sesame Bread

I am sending this photo to the CLICK Crust event.

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Crisp Lavash Crackers with Roasted Pepper Sun-Dried Tomato Anchovy Dip and Sweet and Sour Asian Eggplant Sesame Dip

Roaster Pepper Dip

Another month, another Daring Bakers’ challenge. This month challenge is quite different from the previous ones. First of all, it’s a savory dish and the second, it’s vegetarian. Even more, the dip or spread for serving with crackers is supposed to be vegan. Well, the eggplant dip matches this category, but the roasted pepper one is not-so–vegan, since I couldn’t resist the temptation and added the anchovies. I love these gutsy things that much.

The both dips are delicious and different. The crackers that I served with Italian pepper dip are sprinkled with coarsely ground pepper, sea salt, and fennel seeds. And the second batch, meant for the Asian eggplant dip, I sprinkled with sesame seeds. I didn’t serve them all at once of course. Every dip-crackers set was served, on its turn, with a nationally appropriate dinner.

Eggplant Asian Dip

The dough recipe is adapted from Peter Reinhart.

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Chocolate Phyllo Triangles with Cream Cheese and Nut Stuffed Dry Fruits

Chocolate Phyllo Triangles with Cream Cheese and Almonds/Pecans Stuffed Apricots/Prunes

There were some phyllo dough leftovers occupying my fridge. I needed to get rid of it and that’s how these pastries were born. They are good and easy to make, and even worthy of buying a new package of phyllo. Don’t limit yourself by using exactly the same dry fruits as I did. Follow your preferences. It can be dates, figs, different nuts, whatever you prefer. If you decide to go with dates, you might want to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds between the dough layers for adding some Middle Eastern flair. The possibilities are endless; use your imagination!

Phyllo triangles ingredients

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Chocolate Juniper Financiers with Blackberries

Chocolate Juniper Financiers with Blackberries

I had this idea in my head for a while. I wanted to combine the chocolate and blackberries with a spice beneficial mostly for pork and poultry – juniper berries. For me, it seemed like a nice match, especially with earthy blackberries. I picked the last berries from the bushes in the backyard and put this strange idea of mine to life in the form of the chocolate financiers. The taste was quite interesting, in a good way :) Simply put, the financiers were not just edible but also enjoyable.

Chocolate Juniper Financiers with Blackberries

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Italian Plum Upside-Down Ricotta Cupcakes

Italian Plum Upside-Down Ricotta Cupcakes

These are very Italian cupcakes. The list of the ingredients speaks for this well. There are fresh ricotta cheese and cornmeal, ground pine nuts and Italian prune-plums. The upside-down idea is not an exclusive American invention either. Italians have been flipping their cakes for a long time (crostata invertina (for example, with rhubarb and anise) is a wonderful and well known Italian treat).

The cupcakes are incredibly tender, almost melt-in-your-mouth. Ricotta and ground pine nuts contribute to their richness and added cornmeal adds a light crunch. The cupcakes are not too sweet with just a hint of honey, and pleasant tartness from fresh Italian plums. I blogged before about my forever love to everything upside-down. I love the moistness and gooey caramel topping, as well as the using of fresh fruit. In this recipe I substitute commonly used light brown sugar for more flavorful Muscovado. It does improve already nice taste. The cupcakes are terrific warm from the oven, served with a generous dollop of mascarpone cheese. But even when completely cooled they are very, very good.

Since this month Sugar High Friday theme is “Cupcakes” I’m submitting this recipe as my entry for this event. Make sure to check Fanny’s blog who is this month SHF host. She’s already posted her own cupcake recipes which are very original and absolutely delicious.

I’m also submitting it to La Cucina Italiana event.

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Paste Fritte (Fried Pizza Dough with Soppressata and Sage)

Paste Fritte (Fried Pizza Dough with Soppressata and Sage)

I was feeling lazy today. It happens sometimes. To tell you the truth it strikes me far more often than I’d like. So, instead of cooking dinner I fried a big basket of bread sticks (they can be called that :) studded with Soppressata and flavored with sage. And I made a big bowl of the crisp-fresh arugula salad to go with these fries. And wine, of course… There were no complaints.

The recipe is an adaptation of Carol Fields’s recipe from her wonderful book “Italy in small bites”. Truly, I don’t know who writes better about Italian food and traditions than her. The book is pure enjoyment. As well as the bread sticks :) You can add small cubes of pancetta or ribbons of prosciutto to the dough. I went with Soppressata since that what I had in the fridge at that moment. Use different kind of herb as well, if you wish.

Paste Fritte (Fried Pizza Dough with Soppressata and Sage) Inside

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