Sunday Brunch: Bagels and Frittata

It’s hard to keep track of the days, especially when the weather has kept us from taking the dogs on a walk for a few days. But the calendar says it’s Sunday, and that means it’s the perfect time for a brunch of homemade bagels and Sweet Baby G’s frittata!

Smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers are easy to find here in Italy, and the bagels really aren’t that tough to make (here’s the recipe we use). Delicious!

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Another Exotic Lunch

SBG totally outdid herself today: Asian pork cabbage wraps with shredded carrots, chopped peanuts, and three sauces! The meat was left over from the Chinese pork buns we made a couple of days ago — absolutely DELICIOUS!!

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Huevos Rancheros, Tutto Doppio Style

Winter has really arrived here at the farm. The wind is blowing the snow around, and it’s coooooold outside.

And when the weather turns bad, we turn food crazy. Today’s main event is huevos rancheros (rancher eggs) with refried lentils spiked with Sweet Baby’s G’s salsa. Here’s the gist:

  • Handmade tortillas, cooked gently on a cast iron skillet, then lightly fried in a bit of olive oil (just until they firm up, but short of crispy)
  • Eggs fried over easy, smothered in homemade red enchilada sauce
  • Thrice cooked refried lentils spiked with SBG’s homemade salsa

We washed it down with a bit of Simone Capecci’s Tufilla (passerina) wine — totally delicious! We will definitely be making these again!

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When It’s Cold Out, Steam Them Buns!

Hahahaha… did you see what I did there?

We’ve been following Kara and Nate on YouTube. They’re a young US couple seeing the world via travel hacking. One of the things we like the most about them is that they LOVE TO EAT. A lot. Almost anything.

Watching them travel around the world has inspired us to try making non-Italian meals here on the farm. And one of the things we’ve really been hankering for ever since we saw one of their videos from Hong Kong is steamed pork buns.

Well, we finally got our hands on a bamboo steamer, and we put it to work! After some research and experimentation, we managed to pull off some really, really tasty steamed Chinese pork buns (baozi).

Sweet Baby G was in charge of the filling, and I was tasked with the dough. We used ground pork, wilted cabbage, green onions, soy sauce and sesame oil. The whole thing from start to finish (including making the dough from scratch) took about 3 hours (mostly waiting for the dough to rise). DELICIOUS!

If you want to try this yourself, we used this recipe for the filling (although we sautéed the filling before stuffing the buns), and this recipe for the dough. Give it a whirl!

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Happy New Year — 2017!

Couldn’t put our hands on any black-eyed peas (it’s a southern thang), so shifted gears a bit: lentil / chickpea veggie burgers with melted onions on homemade brioche buns. Served with chips, homemade hummus, and a local “red” beer! Buon capo d’anno, cari amici!

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Wood Burning Oven Food Fest!

We try to do some non-Italian meals, pretty much as often as we can. Today, Sweet Baby G whipped up some Thai soup… rice noodles, red curry paste, charred veggies, lime, peanuts, and mint from the garden. Totally delicious! The veggies had been roasted (almost incinerated) in our wood burning oven.

I used the oven at pizza temp to try out a bit of naan. This was my first attempt, and it turned out more like pita. But that’s okay because 1) pita is as close to Thai as is naan, and 2) pita!!

When the temp in the oven dropped to around 475F, we popped in a few handmade “pork” rolls. Yep. That’s a slow-rise bread dough spiked with fried pancetta bits and a red pepper flakes.

Finally, Sweet Baby G wrapped things up with an apple crostata… baked slowly in that oven. Amazing!!

I was going to make some slow roasted beans, but Sweet Baby G cried uncle. Maybe the next time we fire up that oven we can manage some slow-roasted meat to go with those beans… and then make some tortillas for TACOS!!

 

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Lessons Learned, Christmas 2016 Edition

Today is our third Christmas here on the farm. I started the day with a nice run with Buttercup, and then Sweet Baby G made *amazing* french toast using panettone for breakfast — just fantastic!

A couple of days ago, SBG and I went to the local “Costco” (membership restaurant supply store; one of the perks of being a farmer). We go there a couple of times a year to stock up on key provisions (e.g., Tabasco and tequila).

I stumbled upon a veal shank there and got it into my wifty middle aged head that roasting this thing in the wood burning oven would be PERFECT for Christmas.

Here’s what I learned today:

  • Despite what the high-end wood burning oven recipe book says, veal shank needs to be be roasted low and slow. Ours turned out kind of disgusting.
  • Trying new things means periodic failure. That’s okay. It’s not an adventure if you know how it’s going to turn out.
  • Sweet Baby G’s french toast was awesome. Especially thinking back on it after the nasty veal shank.
  • I snuck in a couple of pizzas between the hot-as-heck oven temperature and the disastrous shank. Pizza covers a multitude of sins.
  • Christmas means a lot to me. It’s probably not the best day to be experimenting. (Please remind me of this next year.)
  • Gidget totally OWNED the bone from the shank. Buttercup was so scared of the bone that she hid from it.

We hope you all had the very best Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever holiday is meaningful to you. Explore, go on adventures, try new things… and do it with someone who loves you!

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Châteauneuf-du-Pop Tarts!

Sweet Baby G made these our first fall after The Big Move to Tutto Doppio. We found a few pecorino vines hidden among the montepulciano. Rather than waste them, SBG had the brilliant idea to make high-end “pop tarts” out of them.

They are absolutely delicious… and SBG doesn’t add a thing to the grapes for the filling. She just slowly cooks the berries until they break open, strains out the skin and seeds, and cooks them some more until the juice turns into an amazing jam. No pectin, no sugar, no nuttin!

They are AMAZING!

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