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Chiacchiere (Italian Carnival Fried Dough)

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Today in Italy is celebrated Fat Thursday, the traditional Catholic feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and Carnevale. Carnevale is the most colorful and playful period of the year, when everyone wears a costume or a mask, and celebrates in the streets with festive parades, allegoric floats, coriandoli (paper confetti), stelle filanti (paper streamers) and delicious sweet treats such as Chiacchiere. Chiacchiere are sweet crisp pastries, deep-fried, sprinkled with powdered sugar and are known by different names depending on the regions in which they are prepared :

Lombardy : chiacchiere

Bologna : sfrappole

Tuscany : cenci

Rome : frappe

Tentino Alto Adige & Friuli Venezia Giulia : crostoli 

Liguria & Piedmont : bugie

Sardinia : meraviglias

No matter how we call them, Chiacchiere are simply delicious.

Buon Carnevale!!!

…another recipe homemade, simple and delicious included in my cookbook “A Queen In the Kitchen“.

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Available on:

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Amazon.com (US)CA, Amazon Europe: (ITFRESDE) and UK.

Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini & Angelica- BreadLoveAndDreams.com

 

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 30 min. + 30 min. to rest

Cook Time : 2 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 pinch of salt

1 shot of Grappa

vegetable oil for frying

powdered sugar, to dust

 

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl place the flour, make a well then add sugar, butter, eggs, salt and Grappa.

Kneed by hand until the dough becomes soft and pliable. (You can also knead with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook).

Cover with plastic paper an allow to rest for 30 minutes in a cool place.

Divide the dough in 4 equal parts.

With a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.

Cut the dough with a pastry wheel or serrated knife into rectangles 2×4 inch , make 1 or 2 incisions in the middle of each rectangle.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot then fry the chiacchiere in small batches until both sides are golden brown.

Drain with a slotted spoon and place the chiacchiere over a serving plate covered with paper towel.

Dust with abundant powdered sugar while warm.

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Hazelnut Crème Brûlée…Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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“Cooking is love made visible.” ~ Anonymous

Hazelnut Crème Brûlée is my way to celebrate the “sweetest” day of the year. Crème Brûlée is a French dessert consisting of a rich custard base, topped with a layer of caramelized sugar. I flavored this scrumptious dessert with hazelnut spread and garnished with organic fresh berries.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams

Servings : 6

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 15 min.+ 2 hours rest

Cook Time : 45 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

5 egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pint heavy whipping cream, room temperature

6 tbsp hazelnut spread

granulated sugar, to sprinkle

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven at 250 F degrees.

With a hand or stand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar until white and frothy.

Stir in the vanilla extract.

Gradually add the heavy whipping cream and whisk until smooth.

Spread evenly a tablespoon of hazelnut spread on the bottom of each ramekin.

Pour the cream mixture into the prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the top.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until set but still trembling in the center.

Allow to cool at room temperature.

Let rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Sprinkle each custard with a thin layer of granulated sugar and caramelize with a kitchen torch until a crispy top forms. (If you don’t have the torch, place the ramekins under the broiler for a couple of minutes)

Serve immediately accompanied with fresh berries.

Valentine’s Cooking Class

Watch me LIVE tomorrow at 12pm on  https://www.facebook.com/foodiamocom for a very special Valentine’s Cooking Class at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.

Stay tuned and  Buon Appetito!!!

#bertozziamerica #risoacquerello #oliomacchiozzi #iiclosangeles

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And The Winner Is…

Congratulations to KIM WATKINSON, the lucky winner of a family-4pack free admission to the LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show, the West Coast’s largest baking and sweets expo.

Thank you all for entering the giveaway !!!

A special thanks to LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show .

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HOW TO Make Pinwheel Pastries

Simple, fun and delicious, the pinwheel pastries are ready in no time. Watch my easy-to-follow video recipe and learn how to make them. For this recipe I’ve used apricot jam, strawberry jam and hazelnut spread but all jams, preserves or nut spreads work well.

Keep it always homemade, simple and delicious.

…if you like it, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/AlessandraGambini

Enjoy!

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Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams

Yields : 6 pinwheel pastries

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 15 min.

Cook Time : 20 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

puff pastry, thawed

apricot jam

strawberry jam

hazelnut spread

whole milk

granulated sugar

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven at 350 F degrees.

Slightly flour a work surface.

Gently roll the thawed puff pastry .

Cunt the put pastry into squares.

Make incisions 1 inch from the center towards each corners.

Fold every other tip towards the center, pressing a little bit in the center.

Place 1 teaspoon of your favorite fruit or nut spread in there center.

Move over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 20 mints or until golden brown.

 

 

 

Potato Gnocchi

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“Giovedì gnocchi, Venerdì pesce, Sabato trippa”.

“Thursday gnocchi, Friday fish and Saturday tripe”.

Italian saying.

Thursday is the day on which people in many parts of Italy prepare gnocchi. Many restaurants offer gnocchi on theirs menus too.

Potato gnocchi are traditional Italian little dumplings made with potatoes and flour, served as PRIMO (first course). Despite the simplicity of this recipe, gnocchi are a very versatile food. Delicious with any kind of condiment, I usually toss mine with tomato sauce or ragu’ (Italian meat sauce), but they are superb also with browned butter and sage, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Simple, quick, inexpensive and delicious, the perfect alternative to pasta.

Buon Appetito!!!

…another delicious recipe included in #aqueeninthekitchen

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A Queen In The Kitchen

Authored by Ale Gambini

Photos by Maurizio OTTO De Togni

L.A.-based Italian food writer Ale Gambini presents traditional Milanese and Northern Italian dishes, handed down from her beloved Nonna Fernanda. Nearly a century of authentic Italian recipes, accurately explained step-by-step, prepared using only the freshest, finest and healthiest ingredients that are native to the region of Lombardy and Northern Italy in general. This book includes the staples of the Milanese cuisine such as Milanese risotto, veal ossobuco and Panettone (Christmas sweet bread).

Available on:

buy4

Amazon.com (US)CA, Amazon Europe: (ITFRESDE) and UK.

Photo by Ale Gambini & Maurizio “OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDreams

Yields : 4 to 6 servings

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 40 min.

Cook Time : 2 min.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds potatoes

2 cup all-purpose flour

1 pinch sea salt

1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Fill a medium pot with cold water and salt.

Peel and wash the potatoes and place them into  the pot.

Bring to boil and cook until the potatoes are tender throughout.

Flour a work surface.

Place the flour in the center of the floured work surface.

Make a well and mash the potatoes with a potato ricer into it.

Add the egg and a pinch of salt.

Mix all the ingredients together with a fork then knead with your hands.

Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces.

Drop the gnocchi into a pot of  boiling salted water and cook until they rise on top  (usually 1 minute).

Remove the gnocchi quickly with a skimmer, shake off the excess of water and plate the gnocchi.

Toss with tomato sauce, ragu’ sauce or browned butter and sage.

Sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese.

 

 

LA Cookie Con & Sweets Show 2017 + Giveaway

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Dear foodies and sweets enthusiasts, the 3rd Annual LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show Returns February 18-19!

The West Coast’s largest baking and pastry expo will take place February 18 & 19, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. With nearly 50,000 guests expected throughout the weekend, sweets enthusiasts can enjoy free samples from over 275 local shops and national brands, meet their favorite foodie TV stars, watch baking demonstrations, and participate in hands-on workshops.

The LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show will be complete with five stages and classrooms for workshops focusing on Traditional Baking, Vegan/Gluten-Free/Paleo Baking, Cake Decorating, Cookie Decorating, and the Celebrity Guests stage. Attendees can also admire the incredible cake displays as part of the Decorator’s Showcase competition. 100% of the proceeds from the Decorator’s Showcase entry fees will benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.

Fun for the whole family, The Kids Zone will offer free face painting, cookie decorating, crafts, games and more.

Special Guests:

Duff Goldman of Food Network fame and Elise Strachan, Founder of My Cupcake Addiction, who has amassed over 10 million followers worldwide. Rosanna Pansino, New York Times best-selling author and creator of the show ‘Nerdy Nummies’, which airs on her YouTube channel Rosanna PansinoBurt Ward, known best for playing Robin in the Classic Batman TV series, will be speaking on stage about his career. He also created a healthy dog food company, Gentle Giant, that helps improve the health of your pooch through nutrition. Burt will also be bringing the 1966 Batmobile, which will be on display throughout the weekend. 

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be giving away a family -4 pack free admission for the  LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show .

To enter this giveaway, simply :

 

The winner will be choose randomly and announced on February 7th 2017.

The winner will be notified via email.

The prize will be sent via email.

You must be 21 years old to qualify for this prize.

Giveaway sponsored by LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show.