Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don't forget: I've Moved!

Just another reminder to change your bookmarks and point your Google Readers to my new blog: Cook, Pray Love. All of the same content, just a different name and location!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I've Moved!

Friends and readers,
It's been a great two years over here at Food alla Puttanesca, but the time has come to change the name to something that reflects more of me and my ministerial vocation.

So set your browsers and Google Readers over to Cook, Pray, Love for a delicious enchilada recipe, a fabulous GIVEAWAY! and the same content and delicious food that you've enjoyed here. I'll see you over there!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Considering that I'm a graduate student, I'm actually not that big of a coffee drinker. Too much caffeine makes me jittery and scatter-brained, not so good when I'm trying to follow complicated theological arguments. But iced coffee in the summer is a different story. It's refreshing and cooling without that bitterness that some hot coffee can produce. I like it so much, that I'm going to have to start making this from decaf coffee because I want to drink it all day long. I pour in a splash of milk, a tablespoon of sugar-free hazelnut syrup, and shake it all up in a Mason jar. The recipe can be easily multiplied. I usually make 4 jars of the coffee concentrate at a time and just strain and store in the refrigerator.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
source: New York Times
Yields 2 drinks

1/3 cup medium-coarse ground coffee
1 1/2 cups water

In a jar, stir together coffee and water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cantaloupe Soup with Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwiches

Everyone knows that cantaloupe and prosciutto go well together. Those prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe balls leave me longing for a melon baller, but it's not exactly dinner. But a chilled soup and a baguette sandwich? Add a glass of white wine, and we are definitely talking. It helps because Joe doesn't think he likes cantaloupe. Too many bland, hard chunks of cantaloupe in generic fruit salads will do that to you. This was a local melon, full of juice and sweetness brought out ever so slightly by the salt. The recipe is easily halved, which I did. This is also a great summer meal because it doesn't use any heat (provided you don't bake your own baguette). Cool, crisp, and quick to make.

Cantaloupe Soup with Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwiches
source: Real Simple 
2 baguettes
2 8-ounce balls fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
1/2 pound sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cantaloupes, chilled, halved, and seeded
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

Cut each baguette in half lengthwise, then in thirds crosswise. Layer the mozzarella and prosciutto on the bottom of each baguette portion. Drizzle with the oil and sandwich with the baguette tops; set aside.
In a blender, puree the cantaloupe and salt. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with the pepper and mint. Serve with the sandwiches.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Berry Pie

I never want to actually make anything with fruit because I prefer to eat it on its own or in cereal or with yogurt. But around this time, when its prime berry season, I can justify getting more berries to use in desserts. Fruit desserts are my favorite kind of dessert anyway, especially in the summer.

I made this for a party that our HOA threw for the 4th of July, except it was on the 1st since a lot of people would be going out of town. Most of the people that live in our condominium complex are empty-nesters or single, older people with grandchildren around my age. It's kind of like living with a bunch of grandparents because they're all really nice and want to talk to us all the time. They also loved this pie. Given the plethora of desserts on the table, I thought I would be taking a lot of this home, but I only had about a 1/3 of it left. Everyone wanted to know what made up the filling. The filling is pureed berries, strained, and then cooked with cornstarch to thicken it. It sets up beautifully in the refrigerator, and a lot of people guessed that it was jam. The other nice thing about this pie is that it isn't too sweet, just very refreshing for a hot summer evening.

Summer Berry Pie
source: Annie's Eats

For the crust:
5 oz. graham crackers (approx. 9 crackers), broken into rough pieces
2 tbsp. sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm

For the filling:
2 cups raspberries (about 9 oz.)
2 cups blackberries (about 11 oz.)
2 cups blueberries (about 10 oz.)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. strawberry jam

To make the crust, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, process the graham crackers into fine, even crumbs (you should have about 1 cup of crumbs). Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small mixing bowl and toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate. Use the bottom of a ramekin or measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides, forming a crust. Bake in the preheated oven until it is fragrant and beginning to brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely while making the filling.

For the filling, combine the berries in a large colander and gently rinse (taking care not to bruise them). Spread the berries on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and gently pat dry with additional paper towels.
In a food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups of the mixed berries until smooth and fully pureed, about 1 minute. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a small nonreactive saucepan, scraping and pressing on the seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups). Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl to combine, then whisk the mixture into the puree. Bring the puree to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon; when the mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to the consistency of pudding, remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.

While the puree is cooling, place the remaining berries in a medium bowl. Warm the jelly (or jam) briefly in the microwave to melt it slightly. Add the warmed jelly to the bowl of mixed berries and toss very gently so that all the berries are coated. Pour the berry puree into the cooled crust and smooth with a rubber spatula. Evenly distribute the glazed berries over the puree and gently press into the surface. Loosely cover the pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and the puree has set, about 3 hours (or up to 1 day). Slice with a hot, dry knife and serve.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pizza with Prosciutto, Peppers, and Goat Cheese

I've mentioned before how I'm pretty sure that dough can smell fear and anxiety. If I'm in a rush, the gluten strands just will not relax no matter how much time I give them. But on Sunday, I got my pizza dough thinner than I ever have before. I had frozen a 1/2 batch of it, and I got it out Sunday morning to defrost. By the time dinner came around, it rolled out like a dream. And with toppings of goat cheese, prosciutto, and red pepper (arranged artfully by Joe), this pizza was one of the best I had ever made. I will definitely be making pizza more often now.

Pizza with Prosciutto, Peppers, and Goat Cheese
adapted from Kelsey's Apple a Day

1/2 batch pizza dough (I use Bridget's recipe.)
Cornmeal for sprinkling
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 oz prosciutto, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle your work surface with cornmeal and prepare the dough by shaping it with your hands. Brush lightly with olive oil.
3. When oven and pizza stone have been at temperature for 30 minutes remove the pizza stone and transfer pizza dough. Use a fork to prick a few holes in the dough. Bake for five minutes.
4. Remove the partially baked crust. Top with tomato sauce, prosciutto, peppers, goat cheese, and half the basil. Bake for 7-8 minutes more, or until crust is golden brown on the outer edges.
5. Allow to cool three minutes, then top with the remaining basil, salt, and pepper and serve.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Corn and Basil Cakes

The last time we were at Trader Joe's, I gave in and bought a basil plant. Our condo has exactly three windows (though they are big windows!), so there were only a few places I could put it. Now it balances on the top of the piano, and I pray that the cat doesn't knock it over. Because there's no better time than summer to have access to fresh basil. And for the price I bought that plant for, I could buy about one small plastic clamshell of basil. However, I don't know if I would have thought to use the basil in a savory corn pancake. But then again, that's why I read cooking magazines. These cooked perfectly, and the crunch and sweetness of the corn went beautifully with the basil. Plus, they're quick. And who doesn't like having pancakes for dinner?

Corn and Basil Cakes
source: Eating Well August 2010 
Yields 10 cakes (But I only got 9)

1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Whisk flour, milk, eggs, 1 tbsp oil, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in corn and basil.
2. Brush a large nonstick skillet or griddle lightly with some of the remaining tablespoon of oil. Heat over medium heat until hot (but not smoking). Cook 4 cakes at a time, using about 1/4 cup batter for each, making them about 3 inches wide. Cook until the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter, making 10 cakes total. Reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Parmesan

Even with only a half-share at our CSA, it's still slightly more produce than Joe and I can consume by ourselves, which gives us a great reason to have people over and take vegetables over to other people's parties. While I usually eat zucchini and summer squash lightly sauteed with a little garlic and olive oil, that can get a little tiresome. When I saw this grilled zucchini salad in the latest issue of Eating Well, I thought it would be a great addition to our Top Chef-watching party. I'm not sure if it completely balanced out the peanut butter-honey gelato, wonderful cookies from Love and Olive Oil, and the peanut butter pie, but I made a good faith effort! I altered the recipe slightly to make it a little easier. This would be perfect for a picnic or winery outing, especially since it's so good served at room temperature.

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Parmesan

1 medium lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 lbs small zucchini, cut into lengthwise slices
1/2 cup sliced (or chopped) almonds, toasted
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Zest the lemon and set aside the zest. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Add oil, pepper, and salt, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat until hot. Oil the grilling surface and grill zucchini slices, turning once, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Arrange the zucchini on a platter and drizzle with the reserved lemon dressing. Serve sprinkled with almonds, cheese, and lemon zest

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chocolate Sorbet

No, I didn't mislabel this post. This is chocolate sorbet, not chocolate ice cream. Like a fruit sorbet, it's pretty much water, sugar, and chocolate with a little vanilla extract and vodka thrown in. The vanilla brings out the flavor and fruitiness of the chocolate, and the vodka keeps the texture smooth and from being too icy. The article accompanying this recipe in Wine Spectator speaks of a true chocolate-lover who dislikes chocolate ice cream because he thinks that the milk and eggs and cream take away from the real flavor of the chocolate. Keep that in mind when you choose a kind of chocolate. It's worth a splurge for this recipe since it is such a crucial ingredient. For real chocolate lovers who want a cool summer treat, this is for you!

Chocolate Sorbet
source: Wine Spectator: July 31, 2010

1 cup water
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped or grated
1 tbsp vodka
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


  1. Whisk water, cocoa, and sugar over low heat until combined.
  2. Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate very gently in a double boiler.
  3. Turn heat under cocoa to medium, stirring constantly, until the liquid just boils.
  4. Remove from heat, and add melted chocolate, salt, vodka, and vanilla to cocoa mixture. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.
  6. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chana Masala

For part 2 of what I'm deeming The Fastest (And Most Satisfying) Indian Dinner Ever: this chana masala, which I served with the Five-Minute Indian-Style Cabbage. For about 15 minutes total, this is certainly up there with some of the best Indian food that has come out of my kitchen. Flavorful and complex, I can't really say enough good things about this recipe. It really fits the Food alla Puttanesca criteria well: fast, cheap, and easy but still incredibly tasty and satisfying.

Chana Masala
adapted from: Cate's World Kitchen


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1 15oz can chickpeas, not drained (or about 2 cups cooked beans with liquid)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown (5-7 minutes)
Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and curry powder, and let cook for about a minute. Stir in the tomato and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and their liquid, turn the head down to medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly. Stir in the fresh ginger, taste and add salt if necessary, then serve.