Fresh Basil

Movie Time – Pizza Roll Time

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Yesterday  evening, looking  forward to binge-watch the final four episodes of season one of “The Crown” on  Netflix, I got settled into my favorite chair, with a bucket of peach iced tea on ice next to me and a dish of pizza-rolls in the oven.
Twenty minutes into the first episode, the rolls were ready. Another fifteen minutes of cool-down time and  voilà , a large tray of great snacks, nurturing me for the rest of the evening through episode 10, until the end of season one.
Great evening, happy as a lark, tired, relaxed, full and content.
I probably gained five lbs, but, such is the price of indulgence 🙂
(To be repeated next year for season two of “The Crown”).
2.30 am – time to take Bella for a one-hour walk around the lake………..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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More  Snacks  on  ChefsOpinion
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More  Pizza  on  ChefsOpinion
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Pizza Dough Recipe:

Ingredients :

A/P flour,   2 cups (plus more for kneading)
Water,   3/4 cup, warm
Active dry yeast,   1 envelope
Sugar,   1 teaspoon
Olive oil,   3 table spoon
Kosher salt,

Method :

Pour  water into small bowl, mix in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil, knead until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Dust with flour as you work the dough. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with moist towel. Let dough rise until doubled in volume.Punch down dough. Pull dough until desired thickness and shape is achieved. If this is too difficult, roll the dough with a rolling-pin. However, in my opinion, the pizza will turn out superior if the dough is pulled.

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Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

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Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

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Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato (Spaghetti alla Soupi)

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This  pasta-concoction deserves to be named after the cook who dreamed it up – ME 🙂
It has many of the “foodstuff’s” I love in one simple dish – pasta, pangrattato, cheese, butter, olive oil, basil, crispy fried eggs and lots of garlic confit.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to find out where  Spaghetti  grow best !!!  (Record-Harvest) !!!!
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Click here for more  Spaghetti  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Pasta  on  ChefsOpinion
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Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato

Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato

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Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato

Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato

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Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato

Tomato Spaghetti With Broccolini, Crispy Fried Eggs And Pangrattato

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chops

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If  you never tried  Panzanella, chances are that a dish using stale bread is on the bottom of your “must try this” list.
After all, nowadays stale bread is usually used either for bread pudding, bread dumplings, or, most likely of all – thrown into the garbage bin.
Now, I have to admit that most bread you can buy is best thrown away after a few days, since it was nothing special to begin with. But if you are a fan of really good bread, it would pain you to throw away some of it just because it has survived a few more days than usual and has become a bit stale. If this happens in my kitchen, I usually slice the bread thick and grill it, which will revive it beautifully and will give a loaf at least another 4 days of good use.
Or, surprise surprise – I’ll make  Panzanella.
The first written recipe for  Panzanella dates to the 15th century. Originally, stale bread was soaked in water, onions added, then dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. This eventually morphed into the modern  Panzanella through the addition of cucumbers and, later-on, tomatoes.
Later still, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic were sometimes added, although traditionalists still prefer the simple version of soaked bread, onions, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and sometimes fresh basil.
If I prepare  Panzanella as a main dish, I usually add boiled eggs, anchovy fillets, capers, garlic paste, roasted marinated peppers and lots of chives and fresh basil and oregano. I don’t soak my Panzanella  in water but rather in a generous amount of dressing of good olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before I dig into it, by which time the dressing has been soaked up by the bread. Usually, I over-eat on this stuff because once I start, I can’t stop until it’s all gone 😦 🙂
However, since I had grilled pork chops with this one, I kept it simple and used only bread, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and dressing. What a wonderful meal this was…….
So, I hope that next time you have some good, rustic bread which has seen better days, you will give this delicious dish a try 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Delicious Quickie – Bucatini Con Sarde

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Definition  of Quickie : “something done or had quickly”.
– Ok now, time to get your minds out of the gutter 🙂
We are talking about a wonderful dish, quickly and easily prepared, light on the wallet yet tasty and pretty to look at.
– Did I mention – time to get your mind out of the gutter 🙂
While I absolutely LOVE fresh sardines, for this recipe I prefer good quality! canned sardines in tomato sauce.
This dish is one of my go-to dishes when I want something tasty and quick either just for myself and Bella, or in good company when unpretentious food is welcome (Midnight snack anyone ?)
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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Bucatini Con Sarde

Bucatini Con Sarde

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Bucatini Con Sarde

Bucatini Con Sarde

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Summer Feast Salad

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Today  the temperature was hovering around 100F and the humidity was almost unbearable.
So what, you say; You have A/C, you say….
Well, we do, but Bella and I spend half a day  at the Topeekeegee Yugnee Park, which is just a few miles up the road from our house. It was very relaxing and beautiful, but oh so hot.
So when we got home, a light meal was in order and what better than a salad and a pool of iced tea to cool a scorched body down 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
I usually don’t use much fruit in my salads, but the firm, slightly tart nectarines perfectly complimented the cheese, salad and nuts.
P.P.S.
Instead of croutons I used tarallini (Small  Taralli , (sometimes marketed as “Italian Love Knots”)

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Summer Feast Salad

Summer Feast Salad

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Summer Feast Salad

Summer Feast Salad

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Penne Rigate In Merlot/Vodka/Yoghurt Sauce With Pepperoni & Fresh Basil

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Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

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My neighborhood supermarket  charges $ 3.50 for a small twig of maybe 7 basil leaves.
They sell this beautiful basil plant for $ 4.50. Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it 🙂

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Penne Rigate In Merlot/Vodka/Yoghurt  Sauce With Pepperoni & Fresh Basil

Penne Rigate In Merlot/Vodka/Yoghurt Sauce With Pepperoni & Fresh Basil

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Ingredients :

Penne rigate,   al dente, reserve some of the cooking liquid
Pepperoni sausage,   julienned
Grape tomatoes,   quartered
Greek yoghurt,
Olive oil,
Vodka,
Merlot,
Parmigiano reggiano,   grated
Garlic,   paste
Basil,   fresh
Kosher salt,
Cayenne pepper

Method :

Saute pepperoni until starting to change color, add garlic, saute until fragrant. Add merlot and vodka, simmer until most liquid has evaporated. Add  yoghurt, tomatoes, a bit of the grated cheese, salt, pepper and the pasta,  mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary. If too thick, add some of the pasta cooking liquid. If too thin, ad some grated cheese.
To serve, sprinkle with more cheese and basil leaves.

Note :
I am aware that most cooks will chiffonade the basil. However, personally I don’t like the texture this will give me. It reminds me of hair in the food which is not very appealing to me 😦
Therefore I like to add whole leaves which become soft and tender immediately  as they touch the hot food and give you a much more pleasant texture / mouthfeel 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

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