Tag Archives: italy

Flora’s seasonal recipe: Vegetable soup

13 Feb

photo-6I am not a trained chef. My food intuition comes from my upbringing.

I spent countless hours in the kitchen with my mom who hailed from a small town outside of Florence, Italy. Like many mothers before her who cooked with their children, she bestowed her heritage onto me through her food.

There was never a lack of food options in our home. It seemed as though something was always on the stove, in the oven or already cooked, cooled and in the fridge.

Out of all occasions, feeling sick with the sniffles, cough, fever etc…always meant that I was in for some sort of homemade soup. After each spoonful I slurped down I started to feel better.

Here’s a recipe for a simple – no frills vegetable soup for when you or your loved ones are feeling under the weather. Hopefully this will bring some rosiness to your cheeks and some energy back into your body.

Serves 4 big bowls of soup

Ingredients: (use veggies that are lying around your fridge)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 large yellow onion, cubed
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed and sliced
  • 1 medium beet, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into rounds
  • 3 swiss chard leaves, stems separated from leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups water

Directions:

Prep your ingredients: cube onions, smash and slice garlic, cube your beet, slice your carrots into rounds, remove the stems from the leaves of your swiss chard then thickly chop the stems, roll the leaves then cut them into long ribbons.

Over medium heat add olive oil, then add garlic and onions, a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the rest of your veggies, leaving the swiss chard leaves to the end. Stir it up so that all of the flavors mingle. Add water, another pinch of sea salt and your bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, then down to a slow simmer with the lid slightly ajar. Let simmer for 1 hour, or until all veggies are cooked.

If you’re feeling like you can handle cheese (dairy can affect mucuous) then top off your soup bowl with freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano.

You will feel better with every spoonful!

Fall frittata

5 Oct

3746121878_840591c02dA frittata is the perfect way to use up vegetables that are sitting in your fridge, waiting to be eaten.

In this recipe that we used in our after-school cooking classes, our students used up some seasonal vegetables and were excited to taste the outcome. After some patience, and steadiness in flipping the frittata, they were surprised at how delicious zucchini, peppers and spinach taste once sauteed, slightly caramelized, and mixed into fresh eggs.

Here is how to make this traditional Italian omelet:

Makes 2-4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • handful of cheese (optional)

Directions: Shred zucchini with a grater, or cut into thin rounds, dice bell peppers and garlic, rinse and dry spinach. Beat eggs in a separate bowl, set aside. Over medium heat, add garlic and veggies into a pan, and sautee for 5 minutes. Pour in eggs, and let cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes covered. If frittata appears mostly solid, it is ready to flip, if not cook for a few minutes longer. Place a larger plate over the top of the pan, hold the middle of the plate with a firm grip, and flip the frittata. Slowly and with care, slide the frittata back into the pan with the uncooked side down. Replace the lid, and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and slice into wedges to serve.

Makes for a great packed lunch too! Click here to read our 5 steps for packing your kids a healthy school lunch.

Photo courtesy of net_efekt

Flora’s seasonal recipe: Italian potato salad

23 Jul

557268_404383529620588_1275511543_nAn Italian recipe from my kitchen? Shocking right?!

This one is one of my favorites, especially during summer, when it’s hot out and cooking over a stove is just not as fun as it is when it’s 11 degrees outside and gets dark at 4pm! I keep reminding myself to enjoy every minute of these slow summer months, to take advantage of the long days, cool mornings, and magical evenings, even in the face of week-long heat waves.

As part of my summer celebration, I absolutely love making this salad. It brings back many memories of childhood, and tastes similar to panzanella, another fresh and fantastic Italian summer salad, with the addition of old bread, cucumbers, garlic and capers. Welcome to my world of summer!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 handful basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt + crack of pepper

Directions:

Boil potatoes (or take the easy way out and score, wrap in paper towel, and microwave). Once cooled, dice potatoes into cubes. Cut tomatoes into medium wedges, julienne your onion, chiffonade your basil. Place basil to the side. Add tomatoes and onions into a medium-large bowl. Then add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let them mingle. Finally, add potatoes, and mix it all up. Finish with a gorgeous garnish of basil. Serve and smile…

Flora’s seasonal recipe: zucchini season is upon us

29 Jun

3318366098_397809619ePopping up at farmer’s markets are those familiar long green, yellow, or striped summer squashes ready to be transformed into various culinary creations like crudites, lasagna, salads, quick breads, and my flavor of the season, carpaccio!

What is this fancy sounding food? Well, it’s from Italy, like my heritage, and was coined in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. A countess who was dining at his restaurant was advised by doctors to eat raw meat, so Giuseppe came up with a dish of thinly sliced raw beef with a creme sauce. This dish was named Carpaccio after the celebrated 15th century Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, who was known for his use of vivid color.

Zucchini comes from the Italian word “zucca” which means squash, and “zucchini” means little squash. Vittore would be proud of this seasonal zucchini carpaccio, as it’s hues are indeed magnificent!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt

Directions:

With a mandoline, or with a sharp knife, slice your zucchini as finely and as straight as possible, either length-wise or width-wise. Keep the peel on, as it holds most of the nutritional content. Lay your slices down on a plate, and squeeze your lime juice over the carpaccio, then add your olive oil. Finish with a sprinkle of salt to taste and top with some bright green lime zest.

Cheers to seasonal summer eating!

Photo courtesy of graibeard