Bye, bye, Blogger! SGCC has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If it does not redirect, please visit
http://stickygooeycreamychewy.com
and remember to update your bookmarks.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

OMGOMGOMG! I Won!

Really?!

Ever heard of "Does My Blog Look Good in This"? According to its founder, Andrew of Spittoon Extra, DMBLGIT is "a monthly food photography event, called by some as the grandest food porn event available on the web.", where "Food bloggers submit their best photos from posts they completed during the previous month which are then judged and scored. Winners are made covering three categories (edibility, aesthetics, and originality) plus three overall winners." Each monthly contest is hosted by a different food blogger.

April's DMBLGIT was hosted by Gine of I Dolci Fanno Felici, and guess what? I WON Overall First Place!!! I am absolutely giddy! I am also terribly flattered and honored. I've been submitting entries to this event every month for a year and this is the first time I've even placed.

So, are you ready to see my winning photo?

Are you sure?

Better go put on some sunglasses first, so as not to hurt your eyes looking at my dazzlingly brilliant, award-winning photo! I'll wait.

Okay. Ready now? Here it comes.......

TA DA!!!

pom-icecream2

It's my Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream!

And, not only did I get a much-appreciated ego boost......

dmblgit_green apr 2009

I also get to show this super cool badge on my blog!

I want to thank Gine and all of this month's DMBLGIT judges from the bottom of my heart for acknowledging my work. You have no idea how much it means to me. I'd also like to congratulate all of the other winning photographers as well. Their work is outstanding! Please make sure you stop by Gine's site and see for yourself.

Ciao for now!

P.S. I hope you know I was kidding about the dazzlingly brilliant part! ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

cheesecake-1

One would think that with all of the rich and decadent desserts I create for this blog, I live in a house full of "Sweets Junkies". Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, I am the only one who fits into that category, and even I have my limits! Believe it or not, Mr. SGCC has never even tasted 90% of the desserts I've made in the year and a half that I've been blogging. Cookies, cakes and pies just don't do it for him. I find it difficult to comprehend, but I've learned to live with it. There are a few sweet treats, however, that he really does enjoy like the occasional slice of Key lime pie and a good cheesecake. In fact, whenever he does allow me to make a cake for his birthday, it almost always is a cheesecake. So, since his birthday happens to be next weekend, this month's Daring Bakers challenge couldn't have come at a better time! I made some delectable cheesecake to share with you here, and have one biding its time in the freezer for the big event.

cheesecake-7

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. Now, I have no idea who Abbey is, except that she's a good friend of Jenny's and she makes a helluva great cheesecake!

I absolutely loved this challenge for several reasons, not the least of which I've already mentioned. I also happen to adore cheesecake myself, so believe me, it was no hardship at all to complete the challenge. We were given the basic recipe and told that we could tweak it to our heart's content, using any kind of crust and flavorings that we wanted.

cheesecake-collage-2a

With total creative freedom, my brain kicked into overdrive. However, I knew that if I wanted Mr. SGCC to love it, I'd have to keep it relatively simple. With that in mind, I decided to make an almond flavored cheesecake with a crunchy amaretti cookie crust. I topped it with a layer of sweetened, whipped creme fraiche and and almond-scented peach puree. I also made a few mini cakes to give away topped with Bing cherries poached in an almond syrup and a bittersweet chocolate ganache. (Well, actually I'm keeping one of the chocolate ones for myself!) I also swapped out one of the bricks of cream cheese called for in the recipe for an equivalent amount of mascarpone, which I feel gives a mellow flavor and a more silky and luxurious texture to any cheesecake. Besides, I'm Italian. What more can I say?

cheesecake-8

This recipe was a bit different from my "go to" cheesecake recipe. It provides for baking the cake at 350 deg. F. for an hour and then turning off the oven and letting the cake sit in the oven for another hour. I usually bake my cheesecakes at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. After an hour's baking time, my cake was still very jiggly, and I must say, I was concerned. After an hour sitting in the oven, it was still very jiggly, and I was even more concerned. However, after a nice overnight chill in the fridge, the jiggle was gone and it was damn near perfect.

WHEW!

I have to tell you, this was one of the best cheesecakes I have ever tasted! It was rich and impossibly creamy - yet light and fluffy all at the same time. And, the amaretti crust was oh, so much better than a traditional graham cracker one! It was delicious and stayed nice and crunchy even after a little seepage from the water bath. I really can't recommend this recipe enough. If you're a cheesecake fan, you will love it!

cheesecake-2

Please don't forget to check out the new Daring Kitchen to see how the rest of the DBers fared this month.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

Crust:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used an equal amount of crushed amaretti cookies.)
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I omitted this.)

Cheesecake:

3 bricks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature (I used 2 bricks and 8 oz. mascarpone.)
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean) (I used almond extract.)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I used Amaretto.)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

May Dinner and a Movie: Shirley Valentine (and a little Souvlaki)

Who hasn't ever questioned the relevance of their place in this world? Very few, I would imagine. I think you know what I mean. Maybe you've stood in front of your mirror one day and asked yourself, "Who the hell am I, and what am I supposed to be doing here?". Or, perhaps you've reached a point in your life where you look back and wonder what happened to all of your dreams and the plans you made. Have you gotten so bogged down in the everyday minutia of your life that you lost yourself somewhere along the way? Are you merely existing instead of living? If true contentment can only come from within ourselves, why do most of us have such a hard time finding it?

I struggle with these issues myself from time to time, and I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. It's important to stand back and take stock of yourself sometimes - to question where you've been and where you're going. It helps us to grow and evolve and hopefully, to become better. One of the reasons that I chose Shirley Valentine as this month's Dinner and a Movie selection, is because this award-winning British film examines these struggles in a very charming, poignant and humorous way. It struck a chord with me when I first watched it back in 1989, and is even more relevant to me today.

article-1148369-005BE9A900000258-518_468x311

Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw is a fortysomething housewife from Liverpool wondering what has happened to herself, as she feels stagnant and in a rut. She has become a proverbial doormat. Her family pays her so little attention that she's taken to talking to her kitchen walls in order to keep a conversation going. She's always dreamed of going to Greece, and when her friend wins a trip for two to Mykonos, Shirley uncharacteristically puts herself first and accepts an invitation to go along. She packs her bags, leaves a note on the kitchen table, and takes off on her dream vacation!

Immersed in her stunningly beautiful surroundings, Shirley takes stock of her life after years of marital neglect and mundane domesticity. What she discovers there is a new awareness of who she is and what her existence can be with just a little effort on her part. (A little tryst with a hunky Greek doesn't hurt matters either!) When her nice, but complacent husband Joe arrives on the island to bring her back to Liverpool, Shirley is forced to make the most important decision of her life.

souvlaki-6

Another reason that I chose Shirley Valentine, is because I felt that there was a lot of inspiration to be had in it when deciding on your DaaM submissions. From the humble chips and egg to a myriad of mouthwatering Greek specialties to choose from, everyone should be able to come up with a fabulous dish like this Souvlaki I made a few weeks ago.

Anyone who spends any amount of time surfing the food blogs has probably come across Peter from Kalofagas. Peter is a Greek from Toronto who writes a wonderful blog devoted to Greek food and recipes. Not only is he a creative and adventurous cook, he is like a one man Greek Tourism Board! With every recipe he presents, he shares a bit of Greek history and culture as well. Whenever I visit Kalofagas I am tantalized, inspired and always impressed!

souvlaki5

Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes or rice pilaf. Pork is the traditional meat used, although it can also be made with chicken, beef or lamb. I made my Souvlaki with pork, using Peter's recipe. Let me just say, it was terrific!

tsatziki-3

To go along with the Souvlaki, I also made Peter's Tzatziki, which is one of the classic sauces in Greek cuisine. It is a creamy and delicious combination of yogurt, cucumber, dill and garlic, which makes a refreshing accompaniment to grilled meats.

dinner_movie

I hope I've convinced you to play along with my co-host Marc from No Recipes and I this month and give Shirley Valentine a watch. It is a really lovely and sweet movie with an important message. May's post date will be on May 20. Please visit our Dinner and a Movie page for all of the details on submitting an entry for the round-up. I hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dinner and a Movie: Wedding Crashers and Rumaki

wedding_crashers_ver1

Wedding Crashers is on the marquee this month at Dinner and a Movie. This romantic comedy is about Washington, D.C. divorce mediators John and Jeremy, business partners and lifelong friends, who share a unique hobby - crashing weddings! Their plan is to charm their way into any wedding - and into the hearts of every bridesmaid - for just one night. But, at the biggest social event of the year, John breaks the rules and falls for Claire, the daughter of the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, while Jeremy is left at the mercy of her "stage-five-clinger" sex-crazed sister Gloria! John and Jeremy are later able to finagle to a weekend party at the sisters' family estate, where hilarity ensues and they both learn a few lessons about love.

Okay, I'll admit that Wedding Crashers is not my idea of great cinema. If my co-host, Marc from No Recipes hadn't chosen it for this month's DaaM, I probably would never have given it a chance. But, I did really enjoy watching it. This film had a lot more going for it than the trailers gave it credit for.

wedding crashers

Who doesn't love a great wedding? I know I do! And, I've certainly been to my share of them. But, let's face it. Aside from celebrating some happy couple's undying love, blah, blah, blah, beginning their new life together, blah, blah, blah, the main reasons most people attend weddings are for the food, and hopefully, an open bar! A visit to the open bar before one heads over to the buffet is often recommended, because unfortunately, the food is sometimes also blah, blah, blah.

If you attend enough weddings, you eventually come to recognize "standard wedding fare". These are the items that seem to pop up at every reception, as though there was some universal wedding menu checklist that every bride had to choose from. Those mini quiches, shrimp cocktails and Swedish meatballs never fail to make the cut.

rumaki1

For my submission this month, I've made for you the King of the Cocktail Hour: Rumaki! I don't think I attended one wedding during the 80's that didn't have this little gem on buffet line.

Rumaki is a Polynesian-style hors d'oeuvre. It was invented by Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr, known as "Trader" Vic. Its ingredients and method of preparation vary, but usually it consists of water chestnuts and nuggets of chicken liver marinated in soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar which is wrapped in bacon and and broiled. Rumaki was a hugely popular wedding and cocktail party nosh in the 60's, 70's and 80's.

rumaki2

While traditional Rumaki does feature chicken livers, there are also many other versions using different proteins for those who are "liveraphobes". Happily, I am not one of them! For those who are, I have also prepared a variation made with sea scallops and pineapple. I wouldn't want anyone to feel left out!

Rumaki isn't difficult to prepare, as it doesn't require a lot of ingredients. Rolling them up can be a little tricky, though. I've used a recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine from as the basis for both versions.

dinner_movie

Traditional Rumaki
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:

1/4 lb chicken livers, trimmed and rinsed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
24 canned water chestnuts, drained
12 bacon slices, cut crosswise in half
24 wooden toothpicks, soaked in water for 1 hour

Directions:

Cut chicken livers into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir together soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and curry powder. Add livers and water chestnuts and toss to coat. Marinate in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.

Remove livers and water chestnuts from marinade and discard marinade. Place 1 piece of bacon on a work surface and put 1 piece of liver and 1 chestnut in center. Wrap bacon around liver and chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Place rumaki on a broiler pan and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Then, move the oven rack up to 2 inches from heat, and turn on the broiler. Broil rumaki for about 2-3 minutes per side, turning once, until bacon is crisp and livers are cooked.

Serve immediately with Spicy Pineapple-Apricot Dipping Sauce (recipe follows).

Scallop Rumaki

Ingredients:

12 large sea scallops, sliced in half horizontally
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
24 canned water chestnuts, drained
24 small fresh or canned pineapple chunks
12 bacon slices, cut crosswise in half
24 wooden toothpicks, soaked in water for 1 hour

Directions:

Stir together soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and curry powder. Add scallops and water chestnuts and toss to coat. Marinate in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Preheat broiler.

Remove scallops and water chestnuts from marinade and discard marinade. Place 1 piece of bacon on a work surface and put 1 scallop, 1 chestnut and 1 pineapple chunk in center. Roll up in the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Broil rumaki on rack of a broiler pan 2 inches from heat, turning once, until bacon is crisp and scallops are cooked, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately with Spicy Pineapple-Apricot Dipping Sauce (recipe follows).

Spicy Pineapple-Apricot Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup pineapple preserves
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup pineapple-apricot horseradish sauce (Silver Spring brand) or honey mustard
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sambal oelek (Thai chili sauce)(more if you really like it spicy)

Mix all ingredients together in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and set aside.

Previously, on Dinner and a Movie:

Moonstruck, featuring Pasta Norma

Chocolat, featuring Chocolate Truffles

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flavor of the Month: Matcha Fro Yo

matcha-froyo-title

I decided to mix it up a little for this installment of Flavor of the Month. Instead of ice cream, I've made you an unbelievably delectable frozen treat: Matcha Frozen Yogurt. I know you're gonna love it!

Yogurt has always been one of my favorite foods. Why wouldn't it be? It's smooth, creamy, delicious and nutritious. Ever since I swirled my spoon into that first container of Dannon Strawberry Fruit on the Bottom yogurt as a kid in the 70's, I was hooked. Then, came Yoplait. You didn't even have to stir that kind! Plus, it sounded so French! I knew it had to be something special.

Of course, now that I'm older with a much more sophisticated palate, I've expanded my horizons on the yogurt front. I love to cruise down the dairy aisle at Whole Foods and try out all of the different brands. My absolute favorite is the Canadian company Liberté's Méditerranée Yogurt. It's a rich sundae-style (fruit on the bottom) yogurt that is quite simply the most delicious fruit yogurt I have ever eaten. It is difficult to find here in the States, and I usually have to special order it. Another yogurt that I really love is Fage Total Greek Yogurt, especially with some luscious orange blossom honey drizzled on top!

matcha3

As much as I adore yogurt, one thing that I've never liked so much is frozen yogurt. Around the same time that Dannon and Yoplait were gaining popularity in the U.S., companies like TCBY started jumping on the bandwagon with their so called "frozen yogurt" products. The rationale behind it was that since yogurt was looked upon as a health food, frozen yogurt was a healthier alternative to other frozen desserts, namely ice cream. Good concept, but crappy tasting product - at least as far as I was concerned.

What I found most offensive is that no frozen yogurt I had ever tried tasted remotely like yogurt at all. Enter Pinkberry, Red Mango, Sunni Bunni and the like, which represent the new wave of gourmet frozen yogurt. These products carry a premium price tag, but the ones I've tried actually taste like yogurt. Really, really, really, good yogurt!

matcha-froyo1

And guess what? You can make your own incredible frozen yogurt that tastes even better than those uber premium brands mentioned above. And, it is ridiculously simple to do!

The basis for this recipe came from my favorite ice cream guru, David Lebovitz. In his book, The Perfect Scoop, he shares several super easy recipes for homemade frozen yogurt that I have made almost weekly for the past year and a half. David makes his fro yo with nothing but yogurt, sugar and natural flavorings.

For my Matcha Frozen Yogurt, I've done the same, using thick, Greek-style yogurt, sugar and Japanese matcha, which is the finely ground powder of the highest-quality, most revered part of the shade-grown green tea plant. Traditionally used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, matcha can also be found used as a flavoring in sweets, pastries, cakes, shakes, ice cream, and alcoholic beverages. It has a kind of faintly grassy taste that somehow marries well with sweets. When churned into frozen yogurt, it morphs into clouds of delightfully tangy, subtly earthy frozen perfection. Another bonus of matcha is that it's known for having phenomenal antioxidant properties as well as many other health benefits. It is also the loveliest shade of green you'll ever see!

matcha4

Matcha Frozen Yogurt
(Printable Recipe)

4 cups Greek-style yogurt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended. Refrigerate several hours until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Store in the freezer until it reaches your desired firmness.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Enjoy!

Previous Flavor of the Month entries:

Toasted Coconut-Sesame Brittle Ice Cream

Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Amaretti Torte

amaretti-torte

Years ago, when we were teenagers, my cousin Phyllis got a part-time job at a very well known Italian bakery in New York City. I was already living in Florida at the time, where anything Italian pretty much didn't exist. We didn't even have a Domino's for crissake! I was so jealous picturing Phyllis covered in powdered sugar, surrounded by piles of cannoli, zeppole, sfogliatelle and numerous other delectable Italian pastries. What a dream job!

Phyllis was always very petite. I asked her once how she managed not to gain weight working in such a fairyland of sugar, butter and pastry cream. She told me that at first, it was hard not to sample everything in sight. But, that after a while, she got kind of sick of being around all of those pastries, cookies and cakes and lost her appetite for them. Impossible, I thought! Sacrilege! But, after a year and a half of baking for this blog, including a year of TWD, I kind of understand what she meant.

amaretti-cake3

I've always considered myself to have a major sweet tooth, though I never really baked much before SGCC. It was, and is, very exhilarating and rewarding to try new things and share them with you here. I've created desserts that I never dreamed I would ever be able to pull off! And, I have! But, to be honest, I just don't get that same thrill looking at a freshly baked chocolate layer cake cooling on my kitchen counter that I once did. Ganache and Italian buttercream don't hold the same allure for me anymore. I find that after just a few small bites, I'm done.

How could this be? Am I jaded? Have I really lost my desire for sweets?

I don't think so. I just think that too much of a good thing is sometimes.....well.....too much!

So, has this unwelcome phenomenon ever happened to any of you? And, if so, how have you handled it? I'd really love to know.

amaretti-2

That being said, I really must tell you that I had no problem at all scarfing down a big slice of Dorie's Chocolate Amaretti Torte! It kinda did thrill me. (Maybe there's hope for me yet!) She calls it "15 Minute Magic" because the whole recipe can be whipped up and ready to bake in under fifteen minutes. Although, you'd never guess after tasting it. It's another flourless recipe, using ground almonds and amaretti cookies for substance. It is rich, dense and fudgy - almost like a brownie - but with a bit of a nubby texture from the nuts. Coated with a glossy dark chocolate ganache and topped with an almond kissed whipped cream, it was an absolutely dreamy dessert!

amaretti-cake4

Kudos to Holly from Phe.MOM.enon for choosing this week's fabulous TWD recipe. You can find the recipe for this torte on Holly's site. You can also see lots more Chocolate Amaretti Tortes over at the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This is the Day the Lord Has Made

Here's wishing you all a very happy Easter filled with peace, joy and love!

Easter-sunrise

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SGCC Encore: Italian Easter Pies

Easterpies5

It's hard to believe that we're already about to celebrate Easter again! It is said that as we get older, time seems to pass much more quickly. I can attest to that. Though I've still got a long way to go before I'm eligible for AARP discounts, time does seem to be whizzing by me at warp speed!

One of the things that my family looks forward to each year as Easter approaches, is enjoying the various traditional Italian baked goods associated with the holiday. They're not fancy. There's no Swiss meringue, chocolate ganache, puff pastry towers or spun sugar decorations in the lot. Just simple, rustic goodness made by loving hands and warm hearts.

Last year around this time, I posted a series of articles about my Easter baking adventures with my mother. We made Easter Bread, Italian Rice Pies, Easter Wheat Pies and Mr. SGCC's all-time favorite, Pizza Rustica.

Since Easter Sunday is just a few days away, I thought it would be nice to give you a little round-up of these classic Italian Easter specialties, in the hope that I might inspire you to try one, two or all of them!

Easter Bread is a rich and slightly sweet yeast bread, that is braided and baked with colored eggs entwined in it. It is very similar to challah. Although it is a very popular Italian specialty, many other European cultures also boast their own version of it too.

EasterBread6

This particular Easter Bread was made using the master recipe for brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. This was the first time I'd made Easter Bread using Zoe and Jeff's method, and it was a smashing success! The loaves were beautifully burnished on the outside, and soft and pillowy on the inside. I don't think I'll ever make it any other way again!

pizzarustica6

Pizza Rustica is a traditional Italian Easter pie with a ricotta base, which is then filled with a variety of dried meats and cheeses. The name literally means "rustic pie". My Pizza Rustica is big, cheesy, creamy and gooey hunk of a pie stuffed to the gills with six, count 'em, SIX different kinds of dried and fresh MEAT! Pizza Rustica is best eaten when it is completely cooled. You can even eat it right out of the fridge. Although it is traditionally enjoyed at Easter time, it makes a hearty and satisfying meal anytime.

pizzarustica3

Pastiera di Grano or Torta di Grano, and are said to have originated in a convent in Naples, Italy. They are dense and moist ricotta based dessert pies filled filled with cooked grains and delicately flavored with the essence of oranges. The traditional preparation uses wheat berries, but over the years many different evolutions of this dish have emerged, using a variety of different grains, such as barley and rice. I think this is probably because wheat berries are not always readily available. The grains are the key component of these pies, because they represent Spring, rebirth and the Resurrection. In my family, we always enjoyed them after Mass on Easter Sunday.

Easterpies10

My mother and I make very different versions of this Italian classic, although both are very delicious. My Torta di Risi is made with arborio rice and a phyllo dough crust. I also like to add some mascarpone cheese to the ricotta in my filling, making it extra rich and creamy.

easter-pies-2

Mom's Pastiera di Grano features a traditional rolled pie crust and a ricotta/barley filling. She also separates her eggs and whips up the whites for a lighter and fluffier pie.

All of the recipes for these fabulous pies, along with much more information, can be found by clicking on the links in each section. I hope that you'll take a few minutes to check them out. If you decide to give any a try, please let me know what you think.

NOTE: I know that today is TWD day. I actually do have an awesome Banana Cream Pie to tell you about too. Unfortunately, I was taken out by a pesky stomach bug last Sunday, (while I was making the pie), and I had to put it on hold for a few days. I have all of the components ready. I just need to assemble the pie and photograph it. So, hopefully by tomorrow I'll be able to look at food again without retching and I can get that post up!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

POMegranate Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Remember this?

pom-syrup2

Well, last night I used some to make this:

POM-pork2

It's a POMegranate Glazed Pork Tenderloin that I made using the leftover pomegranate syrup I made a few weeks ago with my POM Wonderful juice. Since I had already used the syrup to make some delicious ice cream, I wanted to try it in a savory recipe too. Pork marries well with so many different fruits, so I thought I'd try it with a pomegranate twist.

This dish was so ridiculously simple to prepare that I'm almost embarrassed to tell you about it. Except, that it was so darn tasty, it wouldn't be fair of me NOT to tell you about it.

First of all, you need to make some pomegranate syrup (or molasses as some have called it). You can find the recipe in my Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream post.

Then, salt and pepper your tenderloin and brown it on all sides in a hot skillet using a little olive oil.

After that, brush the pork with the syrup and roast it in a pre-heated 400 degree F. oven for about 10-15 minutes until it is cooked to your liking.

Let the meat rest for a few minutes, slice it up and DIG IN!

POM-pork1

THAT'S IT!

Here's another fast, easy and delicious pork tenderloin recipe from the SGCC archives:

Pecan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Georgia Chutney