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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Fig and Almond “Cake” with Rosemary, Anise and Sesame Seeds

Fig and Almond “Cake” with Rosemary, Anise and Sesame Seeds

Well, I wouldn’t call it a “cake”. But the author is the one who decides. I found the recipe in Nancy Silverton’s “Pastries from the La Brea Bakery”. It sounded like a perfect accompaniment for a cheese platter and I wasn’t disappointed in the flavor. The initial presentation was quite impressive but, as I suspected, the “cake” was not easy to cut through the whole almonds in the middle of rather soft layers of figs. We ended up serving it from the bowl. Nobody complained, the flavor was still delicious. But the next time I make this thing (and I will, it’s definitely worth it) I’d use chopped or, better yet, sliced almonds instead to ensure easy and neat cuts. The cake can be made a couple of hours in advance but I would not recommend assembling it a night or so before – the almonds will lose their crunch.

Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s “Pastries from the La Brea Bakery”

Tim and Rosemary

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Tofu, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Strudel with Red Pepper Sauce

Tofu, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Strudel with Red Pepper Sauce

Even the most eager carnivores need a break once in a while. This is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. It’s tasty, healthy, full of protein. If you have preconceived opinion regarding tofu (which I think you should not), I can reassure it’s not going to be noticeable since the cheeses play the dominant role here. And nobody whom I served this strudel could not recognize the tofu presence. It makes two large strudels, but I usually freeze one for later – I like to stock my freezer for emergencies.

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Asparagus-ricotta tart with Comté cheese

Asparagus-ricotta tart with Comté cheese

Finally the weather is getting warmer. Neither the soul nor body demand for stew for supper. Quick and flavorful tarts and quiches are replacing hearty meals. Serve a crisp-fresh green salad on a side and don’t forget a glass (or two) of fine wine.

I spotted the recipe in the Bon Appetite (or may be Gourmet…) but didn’t follow the exact measurements. I’m always generous with cheeses, so, I might use more than was suggested – all for the best… The tart is very, very good. And the prep takes almost no time at all.

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Brown Butter, Lemon, and Caper Biscotti

Brown Butter, Lemon, and Caper Biscotti

This is an adaptation of Martha Stewart’s recipe. To assure the crispiness of the cookies I substituted some part of the flour for cornmeal. For the same reason, I let them dry in the turned off oven overnight (suggested baking time was not enough in achieving the crisp, dry-throughout texture). Anyway, I liked the end result – the texture was right and they tasted well.

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Tiny Twice-Baked Potatoes

Tiny Twice-Baked Potatoes

Besides being tasty, these are great because they can be made well in advance (up to two days). Just wrap and refrigerate the potatoes until you are ready to bake them the second time. Don’t forget to bring the potatoes to the room temperature before baking.

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