All Posts By: NANCY DeLUCIA REAL

Home » Articles posted by NANCY DeLUCIA REAL

Israeli Shashuka – 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

 

 

No-Bake Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Creams & Sauces On February 1, 2019 0 Comments

Create the best Valentine’s Day dessert ever! All you bake is a 10-minute crust!

Serve this chilled dessert with Kickback CBD Ground Coffee –  you’ll chill, too! Get the brew here- CALI RISE – MEDIUM ROAST  |  CALI DAZE – DARK ROAST

Prep time: 25-30 minutes (crust & filling)
Cake cool/set time: 6 hours or overnight
Makes: One 9-inch cheesecake

First, make the crust:

Crust Ingredients:
One 9-inch springform baking pan
One 9-inch parchment paper circle (place paper on inverted pan and trace a circle; then, cut it)
1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (use 1 to 1-1/3 packages inside box; ground in food processor)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Butter the springform pan (bottom only); place parchment circle inside pan bottom and gently press so that it sticks. Set aside.

3. In a 2-cup mixing bowl, using a fork, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter together until uniform.

4. Transfer the graham cracker crumb mixture to springform pan.

5. With the fork, smooth out the crust ingredients up to the pan edges. With your fingers, press the crust evenly.

6. Bake the crust on a rack set in center of oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, transfer the pan with crust to a counter or trivet to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the raspberry cheesecake filling:

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
2 cups boiling water
One 6-ounce package raspberry-flavored Jell-O®
Two 8-ounce packages Philadelphia® cream cheese (regular, not “light”), at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Decoration – raspberries, mint leaf sprigs, cherry gummy candies, chocolate hearts covered in red foil, white chocolate pieces

Directions:
1. In a 2 or 3-quart glass or porcelain bowl, slowly add the boiling water to the Jell-O® mix until it is all dissolved. Keep stirring the mix with a spoon until you no longer see the pink powder.

2. Transfer the bowl with liquid Jell-O® to refrigerator, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes. It should be cool, NOT SET.

3. In the meantime, in a stand mixer bowl (or a bowl using a handheld electric cake mixer), beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract.

4. Beat at high speed until mixture is uniform. Set bowl with cream cheese mixture aside.

5. If using a stand mixer, transfer the cream cheese mixture to another large bowl – you will now use the stand mixer bowl to beat the whipping cream.

6. In a clean 4-quart bowl and using a handheld mixer (or the stand mixer bowl), beat the whipping cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.

7. Using a spatula, gently and gradually (a little at a time) stir the raspberry Jell-O® liquid into the whipped cream.

8. Mix it slowly until the mixture is evenly-colored (reddish-pink).

9. Then, with a handheld wire whisk or spatula, gently and slowly add the whipped cream mixture to the cream cheese filling in bowl. Mix until it is all evenly-colored.

10. Pour the raspberry cream cheese filling into the prepared springform pan.

11. Transfer the cheesecake to refrigerator – uncovered – for 6 hours or overnight.

To Serve Cheesecake:
1. Take a knife and run it between pan sides and cheesecake.

2. Carefully/slowly release sides of springform pan.

3. Place cheesecake (with bottom of pan) on a serving platter and decorate it. Serve.
Note: Cheesecake keeps (refrigerated) up to 5 days.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Shrimp & Scallop Salad with Olive Oil & Lemon

In Meats On January 8, 2019 0 Comments

We’re a week into 2019 and you’re probably on a diet, right? Okay, I get it. But it doesn’t mean you have to eat bland or boring foods.

Make this simple shrimp and scallop salad. Dress it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Enjoy it with a green salad or your favorite side dish!  If it’s just two of you, the leftovers will last 3 days (refrigerated).

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3/4 pound fresh wild, medium shrimp (shelled & deveined)*
3/4 pound bay scallops (frozen & thawed)
1/2 red bell pepper, stem & seeds discarded
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, stems removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 2 fresh lemons (limes can be substituted)
salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Place shrimp in a 3-quart saucepot and cover with cold water; bring to a boil.

2. When shrimp come to a boil, cook 3 to 4 minutes or just until their flesh turns opaque and pink.

3. Drain shrimp and place in a 2-quart glass or porcelain bowl; set aside.

4. Place scallops in a 1-quart saucepot and cover with cold water; bring to a boil.

5. When scallops come to a boil, cook 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, taste a scallop. If it tastes raw, cook for up to 1 more minute.

6. Drain scallops and add them to the shrimp in bowl; set aside.

7. Cut the flesh of red bell pepper into 1/4-inch thick strips. Cut strips into 1/4-inch pieces and add them to the seafood in bowl.

8. Add parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; toss gently.

9. Taste the shrimp and scallop salad; adjust seasonings, to taste.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

*NOTE: Opt to purchase wild, medium shrimp from Mexico – their flesh tastes sweet. If shrimp are farm-raised, they taste bland and flavorless. When seafood markets sell shrimp either frozen or frozen and thawed, they are considered “fresh” or “fresh frozen”.