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.