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Ice, Ice Baby

So this week here in the DC region, mother nature decided to provide us with a nice covering of ice. If you’re not from the area, any precipitation in this area really messes up any travel plans one might have. The best thing to do on a day where you wake up to a bunch of ice is to stay inside and get some chores done. My chores for the day included making some treats for work. Luckily, I had some help, one of my friends who lives a few blocks away came over to help.

We made some salted caramel popcorn and packaged them up in bags to be distributed to my coworkers this week. I used my mom’s recipe for caramel popcorn and added some Fleur de Sel – a french sea salt – at the end to give the popcorn some extra special flavor. We also made some scotchies (butterscotch rice krispie treats) which remind me so much of my childhood as my grandma made them every year. We dug into them while they were still warm and gooey.

Salty and caramely goodness

Still gooey!

Of course to help us along we had to have some wine! Since it was chilly out, I warmed it up for us. This is totally the season for some mulled wine! It’s basically like a warm, spiced sangria that is easily adaptable. I like to use a robust, full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. I picked Winc’s Pacificana Cab because it has a lot of red fruit flavors and would stand up to the add-ins. Also, this Cab is oaked which imparts some vanilla and baking spice flavors into the wine which will in turn help spice up mulled wine.

I’m calling this Cranberry-Orange mulled wine. To the wine, I added some cranberry juice cocktail, orange zest, freshly squeezed orange zest, fresh cranberries, a cinnamon stick, and a star anise. I let it sit in the crock pot to warm up for a few hours, allowing the flavors to really meld. The mulled wine has so much flavor, and you can easily add whatever fruit/juice/spices you want to make it unique. Want to make your own this winter? Try some at a discount by using this link: https://hi.winc.com/2lhy61q4ll7.

Pasta and mulled wine, I can’t think of a better pairing.

Also, we had to have a lunch break. We needed it to be quick and easy and we found the perfect Back to Basics recipe. The tagliatelle with truffle butter is so easy and SO good. Literally, this is one that you HAVE to make. The reicpe does require a few specialty ingredients but they’re worth it. Ina recommends Cipriani brand tagliatelle.

The brand is actually named after a man named Giuseppe Cipriani who opened Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy back in the 1930’s. This pasta is very high quality and it only cooks in 3 minutes flat! It’s super fresh and SUPER good. Here is a link where you can purchase it on Amazon: Amazon - Cipriani Pasta.

The other ingredient you’re going to want is White Truffle Butter. Truffles are extremely expensive to buy on their own but truffle infused butter is much more affordable. Visit http://www.dartagnan.com to purchase. I recommend stocking up and buying a few extra and keep them in the freezer then just pop them out when you need them. The butter is great in sauces, on chicken, potatoes, you name it. It’s especially amazing in this pasta dish because the tagliatelle absorbs the sauce.

A bowl full of goodness

Seriously this pasta could not be easier. The longest part is waiting for the water to boil. All you do is heat the cream and butter up in skillet over extremely low heat (I had mine on the lowest heat setting) and then add your cooked pasta and done. I served it directly out of the pan with the Parmesan shavings and chives on top. I can’t really think of any way to make this dish any better. Granted – it isn’t healthy by any means, but when you just need an easy, quick, and comforting meal, this is it.

With this being my last post before Christmas, I just want to wish everyone happy holidays and happy eating! 🙂

 

 

Print Recipe
Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter
From Back to Basics by Ina Garten, page 152
Course Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat the cream, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper over very low heat and mix to combine. Keep the butter and cream over very low heat.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. If using Cipriani brand, it'll only be 3 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, reserve some cooking liquid and drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the butter and cream. Add as much of the pasta water as needed to keep the pasta very creamy.
  4. Garnish with with chives and shaved Parmesan.
Recipe Notes

If you don't have tagliarelle (aka tagliatelle), fettuccine works well.

 

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That Pumpkin Roll

Howdy folks! Glad to see there was a lot of interest in the salad that was posted last week. I hope for those of you that tried it, you loved it. Or if you decided to try Winc and get some wine, I hope you enjoy it as well. If there are any kinds that you have questions about, let me know, I’ve had my fair share of them so far so I can give you some pointers on those that I have tried. 🙂

So many of us know that Thanksgiving is coming up next week. Unless you rely upon the retail industry to tell you, then you’ll likely think that next week is Christmas. Anyway Thanksgiving is here – a joyous holiday that celebrates eating! Whether you’re celebrating with your family, friends, coworkers, pets, whomever, there is usually one staple that pops up after the turkey and sides and that is something pumpkin. 😀 I, along with the throngs of fervent fans, have been lining up for some pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks since September. Now it’s time to glorify our love of it and make it into something edible. Traditionally, the pumpkin dessert comes in the form of pie. However, leave it to Ina to take her pumpkin spice to another level for Turkey Day….a Pumpkin Roulade.

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So, I’ve totally made this before – not Ina’s, but I think it was just a generic recipe that I had found. I’ve also grown up with what we called Pumpkin Roll, so this wasn’t too new to me when I saw the recipe. I did note a few differences though. First, Ina adds more spice to her cake which adds a lot more flavor as I’ve discovered. Second, her filling is made with mascarpone cheese. Think of this as the Italian version of cream cheese and can be found in the grocery store either in the specialty cheese case (where the brie and smoked gouda are) or it’ll be with the cream cheese. It’s not quite as dense as American cream cheese and it has more of a ricotta consistency. Lastly, she rolls hers differently than I’ve seen/done it in the past, which I’ll get into in a second.  Let me talk about a few other things first.

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Roulade is a fancy French term for anything that is rolled as it comes from the French root word meaning “to roll”. It doesn’t have to be a dessert, in fact Ina’s got a nice recipe for a Turkey Roulade in Back to Basics that I’ll get to try later. I think that the idea of rolling the cake is a bit daunting. I remember I had to have my mom help me out the first time I made one because I didn’t understand how just roll a cake up. The batter has a higher ratio of eggs to flour than most typical cakes which makes it more spongy and pliable. You also bake it on a half sheet pan so it is long and thin which aids in the rollage process. The most important aspects I’ve learned of making a roll cake is that you have to use a liberally confection sugar dusted kitchen towel (and when I say liberal I mean it, think Bernie Sanders liberal, as the sugar keeps the cake from sticking) AND you have to do the rolling while the cake is hot. If you wait to let it cool, it’ll just break apart. So have your kitchen towel dusted completely with confection sugar on the ready and flip that cake out as soon as it comes out of the oven, and roll it up.

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Speaking of rolling, let’s get to what I wanted to mention earlier. I didn’t follow Ina’s recipe exactly on this. She recommends rolling from the short side so you get several layers and albeit a more dramatic presentation. The end result is a taller cake, but shorter cake so when you slice it, you get more per slice but less slices if that makes sense. The roll that I’m used to, I’m going to call the West Virginia Roll because that is how I learned to do it. This is the exact opposite of Ina’s method. You roll from the long end so it is longer, there aren’t as many layers but you get more slices out of it. As I decided I wanted to take this to work, this was great because I easily got about 16-18 slices out of it. It really just depends on how you prefer to do it. It’ll taste the same, trust me on that.

Pre-roll

Pre-roll

I also made a minor change to the filling as well. I used half cream cheese and half mascarpone. I just think that the cream cheese is a bit thicker so it holds up when slicing better. You can totally use all cream cheese if you can’t find mascarpone or just don’t feel like using it. Your choice. Oh! Ina also has you put crystallized ginger in the filling. Never heard of it or had it? It’s basically ginger root that has been sliced and cooked in sugar syrup until it get’s really chewy. It’s SO good. OMG. It still has the spice from the ginger but the sweetness makes it more palatable. You can find this easily in the grocery store with the dried fruits.

Sweet AND Spicy - I like

Sweet AND Spicy – I like

Now, let’s talk about wine. Winc gave me a little lesson in wine, specifically European wines that have to be “declassified”.  I know that this gives the perception that there is something wrong with the wine or it is low quality.

De "Classy"!

De “Classy”!

Winc assures us otherwise. In fact, they pointed out that high profile vineyard in Europe often have to declassify wines due to other countries’ wine laws. An example: the vineyard’s yield exceeded its yearly allowance. So they bottle those that are allowed under their vineyard and the remaining wine is bottled under seperate cover and sold below market value. Sooooo essentially, declassified wines are my jam. High-end delicious wines for cheap! Sign me up. Now, Winc won’t tell us what kind of wine it is or where it is from – so we are left guessing. They did give a clue that the grape grows really well in and is native to Piedmont, Italy. From my research, the king grape of Peidmont is Nebbiolo, so that’s what my guess will be. The tasting notes of this wine are cherries, vanilla, and rosemary. SO GOOD! This wine would pair well with some turkey and dressing, not to mention a ginger filled Pumpkin Roulade. You still have a few days to order if you want some in time for Thanksgiving, the shipping is SUPER fast, so if you want some and want to get a discount on your first order, use my link and give Winc a try: https://hi.winc.com/2lhy61q4ll7.

Happy Thanksgiving! Take some time to reflect on what you are Thankful for and enjoy your time with family and friends. 😀

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Print Recipe
Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream
From Back to Basics by Ina Garten, page 212.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cake
Ginger Buttercream
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cake
Ginger Buttercream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Liberally grease and flour a half sheet pan (13x18x1 inch). If you wish, line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine. Place the eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Alternatively you can use a hand-mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter should be pale yellow and thickened. Add the pumpkin and mix. Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. The batter will be thin. Bake the cake for 10-12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.
  3. While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton kitchen towel on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar evenly over it. (This prevents the cake from sticking to it). As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel (don't be scared). Peel away the parchment paper if you used it. Lightly roll the warm cake and the towel together (don't press), starting at the short end (or long end if you're going for the WV roll). Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix the mascarpone cheese, confectioner's sugar, and cream together for about a minute. (Make sure that the cheese is at room temperature otherwise it won't mix together well at all). Stir in the crystallized ginger and salt.
  5. To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the filling evenly onto the cake. Reroll the cake in a spiral using the towel to guide it. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve sliced.
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