Italian

il Trullo Dartmouth

Eggs Benedict on grilled ciabatta with house-cured Sustainable Blue salmon, baby spinach, crispy fried capers and polenta fries

Eggs Benedict on grilled ciabatta with house-cured Sustainable Blue salmon, baby spinach, crispy fried capers and polenta fries

il Trullo, located at King's Wharf in Dartmouth, asked me to do some shots for their upcoming new website.  

One of the perks of the jobI got to try everything and the food is soooooooo goooooood.

il Trullo is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, dinner only on Saturdays, brunch and dinner on Sundays and closed Mondays.

Breakfast Pizza with béchamel, house-cured pancetta, chopped broccolini, smoked mozzarella, two cracked eggs and hollandaise

Breakfast Pizza with béchamel, house-cured pancetta, chopped broccolini, smoked mozzarella, two cracked eggs and hollandaise

Buttermilk pancakes with ricotta, whipped vanilla mascarpone and macerated berries

Buttermilk pancakes with ricotta, whipped vanilla mascarpone and macerated berries

Beef carpaccio topped with baby arugula, shaved pecorino, aged balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and truffle powder

Beef carpaccio topped with baby arugula, shaved pecorino, aged balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and truffle powder

Salumi board with a rotating selection of cured meats, local and imported cheeses, house-pickled vegetables, Puglia Cerignola olives, fried pizza dough and homemade crackers

Salumi board with a rotating selection of cured meats, local and imported cheeses, house-pickled vegetables, Puglia Cerignola olives, fried pizza dough and homemade crackers

Handmade bronze-die cut squid ink spaghettini with shrimp, scallop, mussels, cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh red chilis, olive oil

Handmade bronze-die cut squid ink spaghettini with shrimp, scallop, mussels, cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh red chilis, olive oil

Pizza 'il Trullo' with homemade fennel sausage, Genoa salami, mozzarella, chilis, fresh rosemary, lavender honey drizzle

Pizza 'il Trullo' with homemade fennel sausage, Genoa salami, mozzarella, chilis, fresh rosemary, lavender honey drizzle

Pizza Funghi with garlic cream, béchamel, mozzarella, mushrooms, truffle powder, cured grated egg yolk, crispy sage leaves

Pizza Funghi with garlic cream, béchamel, mozzarella, mushrooms, truffle powder, cured grated egg yolk, crispy sage leaves

Seared chicken breast, butter poached potato, roasted corn and chicken ravioli, onion ash enamel, pan sauce

Seared chicken breast, butter poached potato, roasted corn and chicken ravioli, onion ash enamel, pan sauce

Cookbook Review : Per La Famiglia : Roasted Tomatoes

Jenny Jack, aka The Brunette Baker, gets me. Not only is she one of the friendliest and funniest food blogger connections I have made in my travels, but, when she sent me an email if I'd like to participate in a blog hop for Emily Richards new Italian cookbook 'Per La Famiglia', I mean COME ON. She KNEW I couldn't / wouldn't say no. With my 10+ year experience working in and managing Halifax's (and arguably the Maritimes) best Italian restaurants (il Mercato, Ristorante a Mano and da Maurizio), it was a no brainer to add me to the #PerLaFamigliaBloggers list. 

When my copy of Per La Famiglia arrived, I immediately sat down at flipped through the pages - pages filled with gorgeous warm photography that made me want to make every. single. thing (because let's be honest, I buy and collect cookbooks for the photography - everything else is a bonus). Between the recipes for gnocchi, cannoli, doughnuts and many many other amazing sounding dishes, it was the roasted tomatoes that caught my eye. I looooovvvvveeeeee slow roasted tomatoes. The complexity and depth of flavour that roasting brings out in a tomato is one of the wonderments of cooking to me. I love to eat them by themselves, on polenta, in pasta or rice, on crostini, in salad - the list goes on and on. I have my own method of roasting tomatoes but I was eager to try Emily's version because her recipe calls to slice the tomatoes in halves where I normally do slices. Brushed with good olive oil and fresh chopped herbs, the tomatoes were fantastic and as Emily mentions in the book, freeze well.

Please take a moment and check out the incredible recipes the other #PerLaFamigliaBloggers are making

Jenny from The Brunette Baker is making Ricotta Cannoli

Julie from Dinner With Julie is making Ricotta Spinach Gnocchi

Chrissie from The Busy Baker is making Amaretti Cookies

Heather from The Tasty Gardener is making Squash Hazelnut Rotelle

Britt from My Daily Randomness is making Tiramisu

Libby from Libby Roach is making Nonna Ortenzia's Meatballs

Kristy from She Eats is making Egg and Raisin Bread

Gwen from Devour and Conquer is making Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter

Tiffany from Eating Niagara is making Potato Doughnuts

Nancy from Gotta Get Baked is making Hazelnut Chocolate-filled Cookies

Amanda from Once Upon A Recipe is making Balsamic Roasted Pear Wedges with Prosciutto

Nicole from Culinary Cool is making Spinach Ricotta Canneloni

Carole from Yum Yum Factor is making Pickled Eggplant

Christina from Strawberries for Supper is making Baked Pasta with Sausage and Ricotta

We're giving away a sweet prize of a signed copy of Per La Famiglia, a gnocchi board and a 3-piece Microplane Elite Grater/Zester set - enter below for your chance to win! (please note - leaving me a blog comment is mandatory to open Raffle Copter) - 

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec. No purchase necessary to enter. Giveaway will run from Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 12:01am to end on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 11:59pm. Winner is chosen at random via Rafflecopter. Winner will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to respond.  If not, a new winner will be chosen. Winner selected MUST correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question. Winner's name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. Prize value is approximately $75CDN.

I received a free copy of Per La Famiglia and was asked to share my thoughts in exchange. Thank you very much to Whitecap Publishing for the complimentary book and Microplane for the contest gift set!

Lobster Risotto

Lobster Risotto - serves 4 - 6

4 C chicken stock

8 strips thin-cut bacon or 4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 C Arborio rice

1/2 of a 750mL bottle dry white wine

1 - 1.5 C cooked lobster

3 - 4 Tbsp butter

2 large handfuls grated Parmesan

- heat chicken stock in a pot until steamy – remove from heat

- heat a large, high-sided skillet over medium-low heat

- add chopped bacon to skillet and cook halfway, about 3 - 4 minutes

- add onion to skillet and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes

- add Arborio rice to skillet and cook until rice is translucent around the edges, about 2 - 3 minutes

- add 1/2 of wine to skillet and cook rice until wine is completely absorbed, about 3 - 4 minutes – stir rice occasionally to prevent sticking - add other 1/2 of wine and cook rice until wine is completely absorbed - stir rice occasionally to prevent sticking

- add one ladle of hot chicken stock to rice and cook until stock is completely absorbed – stir rice occasionally to prevent sticking

- continue to add hot chicken stock, one ladle at a time, until rice is cooked al dente, about 30 minutes***

- turn off heat and add cooked lobster, butter and grated Parmesan to rice – stir until butter and cheese are melted in and absorbed

- spoon onto platter and serve

***you may not use all of the chicken stock – I usually taste my rice for doneness once I've used about 3C of chicken stock and I will turn off the heat when my rice is still fairly al dente, because, when I add the butter and cheese, the heat in the pan will continue to cook the rice - after sitting for a few minutes it's usually perfect

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Fontina Quiche with Oven-Roasted Honeyed Tomatoes featuring The Food Girl In Town

A few weeks ago, my friend Gabby, aka The Food Girl In Town (whom I met through Halifax Food Bloggers) and I decided to make a food video together. We've both visited France and Italy (in fact, Gabby was in Paris, Normandy, Bologna and Rome just over a month ago), and are both head-over-heels in love with French and Italian food culture, so we thought making a French-Italian-inspired Quiche would be a delicious way to spend the day. I have always wanted to make a quiche but have never made one from scratch. My heavens it was tasty. Salty, creamy, buttery, cheesy - who wouldn't want to eat that? It took us six hours to shoot the footage for our 3-minute video, but don't worry, you can make yours in probably about an hour.

Below are some still photos I took throughout the day and at the very bottom of the post is the recipe for the quiche.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prosciutto, Asparagus, Fontina Quiche with Oven-Roasted Honeyed Tomatoes

Oven-Roasted Honeyed Tomatoes

1 Roma tomato

2 Tbsp honey

1Tbsp olive oil

kosher salt

Crust

1 C flour

2 Tbsp grated Fontina

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 C butter, cut into small pieces then frozen

2-3 Tbsp ice water

Filling

1 C blanched asparagus, chopped

1 C chopped prosciutto

2 C grated cheese

3 eggs

1 C milk

1/2 C heavy cream

1 tsp salt

Oven-roasted honeyed tomato slices

- preheat oven 225º - slice tomato thinly into 6-8 round slices – arrange on parchment lined baking sheet – drizzle with honey and olive oil - sprinkle each slice with kosher salt– bake 1-1.5 hours until dark red and shriveled

combine flour, Fontina and salt in food processor – pulse to mix - add frozen butter pieces and pulse until crumbly - with the machine running, add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough starts to form into a ball - dump dough onto floured surface, gather loosely into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, chill in fridge 30 minutes

- preheat oven 350º - roll dough on well-floured surface, large enough to cover the bottom plus inside walls of 9-inch tart pan – pick up dough with hands, drape over pan, press dough into bottom, in along  the edges and up the sides of the tin –roll pin over the edges of the tin to cut off the excess dough – prick bottom of dough all over with a fork and bake dough 35-40 minutes until golden – remove from oven and cool on rack

bring 2-3 cups water to a boil (we used the kettle) – chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces – in a heat-proof dish, cover asparagus pieces with boiling water and let sit two minutes – rinse asparagus under cold water until cool - drain

sprinkle half of cheese over bottom of baked crust - top with prosciutto and asparagus - sprinkle remaining cheese on top - whisk eggs, milk, cream, and salt until frothy - pour egg mixture into pie crust – top with oven-roasted honeyed tomato slices

bake quiche at 350º 30-40 minutes until edges are set but still jiggly in center – cool 20 minutes minimum

Our crust recipe was inspired by THIS recipe by Ina Garten (we subtracted the sugar and added cheese in it's place) and our filling was inspired by THIS link from The Kitchn. 

If you have a moment, please visit Gabby's awesome blog www.thefoodgirlintown.com!

Saskatoon Berry Crostatas

You may remember my BFF Angela sent me a care package from Manitoba a while back. Tucked inside the box, along with some gorgeous creamed honey, Manitoba maple syrup and a bag of hemp hearts, was a can of Saskatoon Berry pie filling.

Yesterday afternoon, when I was checking on my Vin d'Orange, I saw the can of pie filling sitting on the pantry shelf and decided to make Crostatas.

From Wikipedia: 'Similar to the French galette, an (Italian) crostata is a rustic free-form version of an open fruit tart that may also be baked in a pie plate.'

I know fresh fruit, or even frozen fruit, is better than canned, and I would definitely love to try fresh Saskatoon berries, but for now, the canned pie filling would have to do.

I highly recommend Ina Garten's Crostata dough recipe. I've been making it for a few years now and it always turns out beautifully - I just change the filling based on current season, craving or inspiration.

To make a nice clean circle, I roll out small balls of dough, flip a cereal bowl upside down, then use a sharp knife to cut around the edge of the bowl.

After my dough circles are cut, I dollop a generous amount of pie filling in the middle of each circle and start folding in the edges of the dough all the way around the outside. When all of the crostata edges are folded, I dip my finger in egg white and rub the white over the exposed crust of each crostata and then, I sprinkle the crusts with coarse white sugar.

To me, the canned Saskatoon Berry pie filling kind of tasted like a cross between cherry pie and blueberry pie - all in all not a bad thing - but I'm hoping once I finally make it out west to visit my BFF, I'll get to try the real deal!

What about you? Have you ever had Saskatoon berries?

Negroni Poached Pears

I love the notion of classic cocktails, especially the Negroni - a perfect marriage of Sweet Italian Vermouth, Campari and Gin - but the reality is, I'm kind of a sissy when it comes to hard liquor.

I prefer the flavour of alcohol to be masked by pretty flavours like elderflower cordial, fresh-squeezed Clementine juice or interesting homemade simple syrups.

And yet, something about old-fashioned classic cocktails calls to me.

So I got to thinking - maybe I could enjoy a Negroni by balancing the dominant alcohol flavour more towards my liking.

It worked.

A tender poached Bosc pear resting in a pool of dark and rich, sweet and deeply-bitter syrup will give my New Year's Eve table the wow factor I was hoping for.

Negroni Poached Pears

4 small-medium Bosc pears

1 C Sweet Italian Vermouth (aka Red Vermouth)

1 C Campari

1 C Gin

1 C Water

  • lay whole cored pears on their sides in a small pot that gives them enough room to move around a bit - add Vermouth, Campari, Gin and Water to pot - David Liebovitz recommends cutting a parchment circle to cover pears while poaching - I totally did this and recommend doing it too - bring liquid to a simmer/gentle boil and cook pears 25-30 minutes, maintaining a constant simmer/boil the whole time - I lifted the edge of the parchment every 5 minutes or so and gave the pears a bit of a turn 
  • gently remove pears from Negroni liquid with a slotted spoon and stand each one upright on a plate - put plate of pears in fridge to cool - turn up heat on liquid to medium-high and boil Negroni syrup down to about 1/2 C, around 30 minutes - pour hot Negroni syrup into a heat-proof vessel (I used a Pyrex measuring cup) and set aside to cool
  • serve cooled pears topped with cooled Negroni syrup - if you want to get fancy you could add a dollop of lightly-sweetened whipped cream, a wedge of Clementine for squeezing and a mint leaf