fat free opinions on a food centric life

Tag: Italian

Peposo with Roasted Pepper Salad on Focaccia

Peposo with Roasted Pepper Salad on Focaccia

You’re wondering what peposo is, right?  Or perhaps you know what peposo is and you’ve already wondered how it ended up in a sandwich.  If you’re like me, you may even just want to take a big bite of it right now because it’s dinnertime […]

Spinach Lasagne with Ragu alla Bolognese

Spinach Lasagne with Ragu alla Bolognese

I think it’s fair to say that I equally enjoy baking sweets as much as I enjoy cooking something savory.  Regardless of what it is, I normally rise to a challenge and can’t think of a better way to spend a day in the kitchen […]

Italian Almond Orange Cake: Mediterranean Meal’s Dessert

Italian Almond Orange Cake: Mediterranean Meal’s Dessert

Moroccan spice blend for lamb...
A week ago, I decided to ask friends over for dinner — friends I've known for a very long time.  It's the group I've mentioned before; the females know each other by profession, and the husbands by default.  It works and we all enjoy getting together to eat. 

It's a good thing we enjoy each others company, because this time, the food was less than stellar.  Sure, I'm being my usual critical self, but still.  Maybe it was because the week of warm temperatures had lulled me into thinking summer was around the corner and I was daydreaming.  Or that I'd quietly enjoyed taking my time in the kitchen that day thinking about the sequence of what I'd make first, then next, swearing I'd have good photos to use this time.  It was truly my favorite kind of day. But I know cooking for a group of people needs to be more than just pleasant time spent in the kitchen for it to be delicious as well.

I'd been in the mood for Mediterranean flavors and had a boneless leg of lamb in the freezer. Something Moroccan seemed perfect for the evening and although I scanned many recipes that sounded truly delicious, I settled on one from a cookbook one of my older sons had given to me:  The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by Tess Mallos.  The only problem is that the lamb meat would need to be cut into chunks for the Seksu Bil Lahm or Couscous with Lamb and Vegetables.  It seemed a waste to cut the leg of lamb up for the dish even though the flavors were exactly what I'd wanted.

The night before the party, I changed my mind and chose a different recipe instead.  You know what they say about changing your mind at the last minute, right?  So…

The spices' aroma was heavenly...

…this post won't be about the Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Leg of Lamb.  Lovingly rubbed, basted in an interesting honey-lemon syrup, and roasted to an internal temp of 145 degrees, the meat was too done for me…

Shrimp, calamari, clams...
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…and it won't be about the Seafood appetizer with Romesco Sauce I made because I sort of threw it together and will have to try it again, writing down the ingredients.  It's a bit challenging to do all of that when people are waiting to eat…

IMG_9075 IMG_9077

…nor will this be about my second attempt to make a Briami me Feta or Greek Vegetable Casserole with Feta.  Even though the layers were oh, so patiently put together, and carefully seasoned before baking for 90 minutes, the very thinnly sliced potatoes were not done. Par-boiling is definitely in order next time.  And there will be a next time because the flavor of this casserole was truly delicious — especially with a bite of the lamb.  Maybe next time, the lamb needs to be layered in the casserole.

Italian Orange Almond Cake

No, this will be about the dessert, which is where my day began last Saturday morning in my kitchen.  It will be about the Sformato di Aanci or Orange and Almond Cake that was so very moist and delicious.  Jenny of All Things Edible, an old Daring Baker friend has a new house and is celebrating with a Housewarming.  Join in on the celebration and send her a recipe to share before January 30th.  The more the merrier, right?  We think so!

Dinner with Friends is always good...

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I Say Cassata, You say…

I Say Cassata, You say…

I’m sitting here eating cake.  It’s 10:45 am, I slept decadently until a quarter past nine, and no one is here but me and my cake.  And it’s not just any cake. It’s Cassata. I know.  I never heard of it before last week, either, […]

Almost Cochignano’s Meatballs with Marinara & Papardelle

Almost Cochignano’s Meatballs with Marinara & Papardelle

In less than 30 days, we’re leaving for Italy.  It hasn’t quite set in yet, even though I’ve been swamped with securing lodging, booking reservations for the busier sights, and familiarizing myself with three very different cities for our 12-day vacation.  I’ve found a cute […]