All Posts By: NANCY DeLUCIA REAL

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Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin

In Vegetables On June 12, 2019 0 Comments

SEE FOTO ON INSTAGRAM THE KITCHEN BUZZZ

Tired of the same old, same old cauliflower? Here’s a roasted, spicy version of this otherwise boring vegetable.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 cauliflower head
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried, red chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Cut cauliflower into florets measuring about 2 inches each. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and chili pepper flakes; set aside.

4. Place cauliflower in a 4-quart saucepot; cover with cold water.

5. Bring cauliflower to a boil; boil 2 minutes.

6. Drain cauliflower.

7. Coat each cauliflower floret with the cumin-oil dressing.

8. Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 20 minutes.

9. After 20 minutes, remove cauliflower from baking sheet and transfer to a serving bowl.

10. Mince the mint and parsley leaves; toss them into cauliflower. Taste and adjust salt leaves, if needed.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

Cabernet Pear & Custard Desserts

In Desserts, Creams & Sauces On May 6, 2019 0 Comments

These Cabernet Pear & Custard Desserts can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated. And yeah – two days before Mothers’ Day! You won’t have to cut and serve cake on individual plates  ’cause it’s all done ahead of time. Everyone will love it! Blessings to all my moms!

Active prep time: 30-40 minutes
Inactive prep time: 2 to 3 hours (for custard to set & chill in refrigerator)
Serves: 4

Ingredients for the Custard:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated white sugar (unbleached)
2 cups whole or low fat milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks

Directions:
1. In a 2 to 4-quart saucepot set on a cold stove burner, stir cornstarch and sugar until blended.

2. Gradually (a little at a time) and with a wooden spoon, stir in milk, salt and vanilla extract.

3. Transfer 1 cup milk mixture to a small bowl and whisk in the egg yolks until uniform,.

4. Pour the milk-egg yolk mixture into the saucepot and whisk until blended.

5. Set stove burner on medium-high heat.

6. Cook custard mixture, stirring constantly, until steam rises. To prevent scorching, lower heat to medium.

7.  When custard reaches a boil, set heat on low and stir for 1 minute until it thickens.

8. Set saucepot with custard on a trivet on counter – divide custard evenly among four small glass or porcelain bowls. Immediately cover each custard bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and set – about 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, poach pears in wine-

Ingredients for the Pears:
750 ml (1 bottle) Cabernet Sauvignon wine
2/3 cup granulated white sugar (unbleached)
2 pears (any variety)

Directions:
1. In an 8 to 10-quart saucepot, bring the wine to a boil.

2. When wine boils, stir in the sugar. Immediately lower heat to medium or medium high so that the wine simmers.

3. Simmer-boil wine until it reduces by half – about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. When wine has reduced, peel pears and cut them in half (lengthwise).

5. Core the pear halves and gently add them (hollow-side down) to the simmering wine.

6. Cook pears for 3 to 4 minutes. After 3 to 4 minutes, using 2 forks, gently turn them over.

7. Cook pears for an additional 1 to 3 minutes. After 1 minute, check doneness by inserting pointed knife in center of one pear – it should feel tender but not overcooked. If needed, cook pears 1 to 2 more minutes.

8. When pears are done, using a flat, slotted spoon, gently transfer them to a dinner plate; set aside to cool completely. Pears can be made one day ahead, covered in plastic wrap and chilled in refrigerator overnight.  For Chantilly Cream-

NOTE: IF BUYING PRE-MADE WHIPPING CREAM IN A CAN, OMIT THE FOLLOWING RECIPE

Ingredients for Chantilly Cream
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 to 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
pastry bag fitted with a star tip

Directions:
1. Pour whipping cream into a 4-cup mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour cream in mixer bowl.

2. Using a handheld mixer or in stand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

3. With mixer running, add the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until lumps dissolve. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, according to taste. Set the Chantilly Cream aside in a small bowl, covered, in refrigerator until ready to garnish the dessert.

Assemble the Pear & Custard Desserts:

1. Transfer the custard bowls to a counter or work surface.

2. Gently dry each pear half with paper towels (on both sides).

3. Place one pear half, hollow side down, in center top of each custard dessert. Set aside.

4. If using store-bought whipped cream, decorate the pear-custard bowls around the edges of custard.

5. For homemade Chantilly Cream garnish, transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

6. Make single rosettes with cream, side by side,  around edges of custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the desserts.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

 

Israeli Shakshuka – Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce

In Eggs Selections On April 19, 2019 0 Comments

I just returned from Israel last night. There are no words to describe the beautiful people, culture, history and gastronomy! Every day, for breakfast, I enjoyed Shakshuka – poached eggs in tomato sauce.  Here’s the delicious recipe I learned in Jerusalem. Happy Passover!

Prep time: 8 to 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white or brown onion
1/2 of a red bell pepper, finely chopped
1-1/2 to 2 cups tomato purée
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground paprika
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 eggs
parsley leaves and fresh dill, for garnish

Directions:
1. In an 8 to 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the onion and bell pepper; stir fry until mixture has softened.

3. When onion-bell pepper mixture has softened, stir in the tomato purée; bring to a boil.

4. Cook tomato sauce on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. After 5 minutes, stir in the paprika, salt and ground black pepper.

6. Cook the tomato sauce for an additional 10 minutes. It will reduce and thicken.

7. After 10 minutes, break the eggs and drop them gently into the skillet – leave about 2 inches between the eggs.

8. Cook eggs until they are to your desired consistency. Serve immediately with Matzo crackers.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Chocolate Ricotta Cake – Happy Easter

In Meats On April 1, 2019 0 Comments

During Holy Week (one week prior to Easter), it is customary for Italian Roman Catholic women to prepare baked goods for the upcoming feast on Sunday. Finally, on Easter Sunday, Southern Italians make a gran finale with homemade ricotta cake.

This chocolate ricotta cake is one of my traditional recipes. Just mix all ingredients together and bake the cake – that’s it. It’s chocolaty and moist. Enjoy this dessert at Easter!

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Bake time: 25 to 35 minutes (every oven will differ in temperature)
Makes: One 9-inch cake

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
2/3 cup granulated, unbleached sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil (preferably safflower or sunflower)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2% milk fat)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar and nonpareils candies, for garnish
fresh mint leaf sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Chantilly Cream (found in The Kitchen Buzzz’s Recipes)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt & ground cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.

3. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch spring form pan; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted chocolate, sugar, egg, oil, ricotta cheese, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.

5. Gradually (a little at a time), whisk in the combined dry ingredients. Keep mixing until the batter is smooth and thick.

6. Pour the batter into prepared spring form pan, cleaning sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

7. Transfer the cake pan on a rack set in center of oven.

8. Bake cake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, insert a pointed knife in center of cake. If knife comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake cake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes. Test once more (the cake should be done). If not, bake a few minutes more and test again.

9. Transfer the cake to a counter to cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

10. When cake is cool, using a knife, gently loosen the cake from sides of pan and remove.

11. Place the cake on a serving platter.

12. Dust top of cake with powdered sugar and nonpareils. Garnish each serving with mint leaf sprigs.

13. Serve this cake by itself or with a dollop of Chantilly Cream (recipe is in The Kitchen Buzzz’s Recipe index).
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On February 28, 2019 0 Comments

In Italian, cacio e pepe mean cheese and black pepper. This term also stands for a type of pasta from Roman cuisine. Spaghetti cacio e pepe is made by Italians all over Italy because it is made quickly and with few ingredients. Personally, I enjoy this dish at home because it tastes better than in most restaurants and it’s a lot cheaper. Try making this yourself – you’ll love it!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 pound (16 ounces) spaghetti (you can also use another pasta variety)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (the sharp, imported Locatelli variety, preferred)
1/4 cup minced, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley (garnish)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:
1. Bring a 6 to 8-quart pot of water to a boil.

2. Add spaghetti and cook for 10 minutes, or until it is al dente (crunchy-tender).

3. When spaghetti has cooked about 6 minutes, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet. DO NOT LET IT SMOKE.

4. When oil is hot, stir in the garlic and black pepper and fry until the garlic is barely tender – DO NOT LET IT BROWN.

5. Transfer the skillet with garlic-pepper mixture to a cold burner.

6. Meanwhile, reserve about 3/4 cup boiling liquid from spaghetti.

7. Heat the garlic pepper mixture in skillet and drain the spaghetti.

8. Immediately add drained spaghetti to skillet and toss over high heat.

9. Stir in some of the boiling liquid – it should thicken the spaghetti mixture.

10. Immediately stir in the cheese and toss spaghetti until it is evenly-coated.

11. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with minced parsley. Ask guests to add red pepper flakes, if desired.

Wine Pairing: Chilled Fiano di Avellino (Italian white wine), Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real