Cook N Bake Spanish Series: Bunyols de Carabassa

Cook N Bake Spanish Series Buñuelo

Dear Reader,

If last week you were anxiously waiting for a brand new Spanish recipe, we apologize for having skipped our Cook N Bake blog! Rometti decided at the last minute to take time off for Thanksgiving, but to make up for it we will soon have reviews of some great places that we experienced during this past holiday weekend.

This week we are making the last stop of our trip throughout Spain, and for the occasion we are going to order dessert: some cheerful, crispy Bunyols.

Bunyols, also known as Buñuelos, are a typical sweet from the Valencian region, located on the Spanish East coast. Built around one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean, Valencia, this region couldn’t help but being in contact with foreign populations and cultures, and its cuisine was influenced in some part by Arabian traditions, Moorish to be specific.
As a matter of fact, the first traces of Bunyols recipes date back to the XVI century, when the Moorish apparently introduced them to Spain. Bunyols were also popular in Italy though, as documented by a recipe written by a roman gastronome in the I century a.C!
Bunyols are fried dough-balls covered with sugar, often associated with Las Fallas, a traditional celebration of Saint Joseph which takes place in Valencia in March. You can find Bunyols also around the month of November, when they are cooked in occasion of the All-Saints holiday. So yes, they are perfect for this holiday season!
Although Bunyols have become a traditional treat throughout Spain, Valencia’s most typical Bunyol is the Bunyol de Carabassa, with the addition of pumpkin in the dough. These Bunyols are simply delicious if savored with a cup of hot chocolate on the side.

Ingredients:

2 kg (about 4.5 lb) of pumpkin
10 g (3.5 oz) of yeast
1 kg (2.2 lb) of flour
1 litre of water (34 oz)
Olive oil
250 g (9 oz) of sugar

Roast the pumpkin and puree it until it becomes a soft paste.
Take the flour and add water, sugar and yeast. Don’t forget that yeast works better if you mix it with some warm water until it starts foaming! Finally, add the pumpking paste to it and work it until you get a consistent dough.

Let the dough rest for a while in a warm corner, covered with a wet towel.

After about two hours, or until the dough has doubled in size, start forming little balls which you will then fry into a frying pan with hot oil. They need to stay in the oil for about 30 seconds, until they are gold.
Decorate the Bunyols by sprinkling some sugar on top of them. Consume them alone or with some hot chocolate.

~Enjoy!

Happy Hour Tuesday: Loquacious Cocktail

Rometti Limoncello Happy Hour Tuesday Loquacious Cocktail

Happy Hour Tuesday!

This week we have an unusual drink for you, another shade of orange that will caress your palate with its delicate flavor: the Loquacious Cocktail.

As the name suggests, the Loquacious Cocktail is made with loquats, orange pear shaped fruits, relatively small, that ripe towards late winter or early spring. Loquats are originally from China, but they were exported, among other countries, to Japan, where they found their perfect environment to grow. That is why they are also knows as Japanese medlars.

Loquats are very interesting fruits, you could confuse them for apricots, to which they have nothing else in common but the color! In fact to eat loquats you have to peel off their skin and be careful not to bit too deep into their succulent and smooth flesh because loquats have 5 big seeds inside!

These sweet, peachy and citrusy fruits can be muddled to make a delicious drink which we know of thanks to David Alan, the Tipsy Texan who listed the Loquacious Cocktail in the book The American Cocktail (and also thanks to lisa is cooking at lisaiscooking.blogspot.com!).

If you want to surprise your friends with a unique cocktail that tastes like a tropical fruit medley, the Loquacious Cocktail is what you need!

Ingredients:

About 6 seeded loquats
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Rometti Limoncello
1/2 oz Simple syrup
Ice
Lime juice
Peel the loquats and muddle them in a cocktail shaker with some simple syrup. Add ice, vodka, Rometti Limoncello and lime juice to the shaker. Shake well and double strain into a chilled glass.

~Enjoy!

Image from lisaiscooking.blogspot.com

Happy Hour Tuesday: Sgroppino al Limone

Rometti Limoncello - Sgroppino al Limone

Happy Hour Tuesday!

During Thanksgiving week you with undoubtedly spend a significate time in the kitchen. Between the stuffing, the cranberry sauce. the gravy, mashpotatoes and pumpkin pies, you better get your hands to work and your stomach to empty because on Thursday evening no matter what you will probably be stuck on the couch with a full belly and heavy eyes. But don’t discourage, knowing that the major strength of this week for both hosts and guest is indeed to consume such an abundant meal, Rometti has something for you that won’t take you more than five minutes to prepare and surely will help your digestion at every sip: Sgroppino al Limone.

Sgroppino al Limone is a frothy lemon drink made with a base of vodka and the addition of Prosecco and Rometti Limoncello. Sgroppino, which it’s said to have originated in Venice back in 1528 as a drink to consume in between courses to cleanse the palate, is not to be confused with a sorbet. As a matter of fact, Sgroppino is liquid, and sorbet is a frozen fruity ice cream made without dairy! But Sgroppino still has sorbet among the ingredients, and that is because sorbet has been around for ages and evolved into a more sophisticated, alcoholic version called “sgropin” in Venice, thus Sgroppino.

If you have already started or if you are just about to start preparing a magnificent Thanksgiving dinner, we recommend that you take those extra five minutes before serving to prepare this delicious Sgroppino al Limone… you will be thankful for it!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

2 cups good-quality lemon sorbet, softened
2 tablespoons vodka
1/3 cup Prosecco wine, chilled
4 tbsp Rometti Limoncello
mint to garnish

Chill the champagne flutes.
Whisk the lemon sorbet until smooth. Gradually whisk in vodka, Prosecco and Rometti Limocnello. Make sure you don’t whisk it too much or it’ll be too liquid. Serve into the chilled champagne flutes and garnish with a mint leaf.

~Enjoy!

Wine Spotlight: Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1997

Rometti is proud to introduce a new series called Wine Spotlight.  Many of our readers have enjoyed our Rometti Limoncello cocktails and the great cuisine recipes from all over the world, however no meal would be complete without some amazing vino.

This week’s Wine Spotlight is not just on an exceptional bottle of wine from the past but also about a winery / family that is consistently producing some incredible wine in California’s Napa Valley.   It was in 1993 that the Leonardini Family took control of the Whitehall Lane estate with a commitment to produce award-winning wines.  They have achieved nothing short of that, with Wine Spectator / Enthusiast ratings of 90+ consistently throughout the years.

It was about 10 years ago a family friend introduced me to a bottle of wine that truly put to the test my underdeveloped palate.  It was a bottle of 1997 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.   This vibrant dark ruby colored wine was aged for 28 months in French and American oak.  The nose explosively hits you with blackberry, raspberry, while the taste has great complexity.  The creamy smoky sweet oak develops with flavors of cherry, plum, along with lingering depths of seemingly limitless flavors. It is why this big and bold wine is one to remember.  1997 was the vintage of the century in California and in many parts of the world, it’s no wonder this bottle was ranked #3 on Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of 2000.  If you are able to find one, prepare to spend over $100 and be ready to drink.

Years since, my pallet has evolved and I’ve continued to enjoy Whitehall. I picked up a case of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (WS 90) in late 2010 hoping to hold, but bottles flew off the rack within 3 months, all in good company at least.

On your next trip to Napa, I urge you to drive north and find this gem in the valley.

Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 1997

Rometti Score: 95

Wine Spectator: 91 Points

Wine Enthusiast: 90

————————————–

Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyard 

1563 South St. Helena Hwy St. Helena, CA 94574 Ph.800.963.9454  www.whitehalllane.com

Cook N Bake Spanish Series: Gazpacho

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Spanish Series - Gazpacho

This week we are in Andalusia, in the South of Spain, where Gazpacho was born as one of the simplest Mediterranean dishes that has become nowadays one of the trendiest dishes around the world.

Gazpacho is a word of uncertain origin: maybe from the Mozarab caspa, which means “fragments”, or from the Hebrew gazaz, “break into pieces”. Regardless of how the word originated, this healthy, refreshing dish seems to have been around forever, probably imported to Spain as an Arab soup of bread with olive oil, water and garlic (Spain was part of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages). Eventually the Romans added vinegar, and the Spanish added salt.

Gazpacho can be prepared with so many different ingredients, and garnishes can vary too. The typical recipe includes stale bread, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, olive oil, salt, vinegar, wine, onion and garlic. These are all peeled and blended together, but some of the chopped pieces are served aside so that people can add them to the soup as garnish by themselves.
Cordoba, one of the cities of Andalusia, serves a gazpacho called salmorejo, with chopped hard boiled egg and ham on top. In Malaga, gaspacho is called ajoblanco and it’s made of bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and vinegar, often served with melon and grapes.

The traditional recipe is a perfect Summer meal, but can also be enjoyed throughout the year as a side soup. Here is a recipe from Martha Stewart Recipes of how to make a delicious and refreshing Gazpacho, and croutons to go with.

Ingredients (6 servings):

2 cups cubed crustless day-old bread
2 garlic cloves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, preferably beefsteak, seeded
1 four-inch piece English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 one-inch-thick slice green bell pepper
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup cold water, plus more for soaking
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup torn rustic bread
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Gazpacho:
Cover bread with cold water, and let soak for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cover garlic with water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes; drain.
Transfer garlic to a blender. Squeeze excess liquid from bread, and transfer bread to blender. Add 2 teaspoons salt, the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and vinegars. Puree until smooth. With machine running, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, blending until emulsified. Blend in cold water. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate gazpacho until chilled, at least 3 hours (or up to 1 day).
For the croutons:
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add bread, and fry, tossing constantly, until pale gold and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bread to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide chilled gazpacho among 6 bowls. Drizzle with oil, and top with croutons just before serving.

~Enjoy!

Happy Hour Tuesday: Clementine Lemon Champagne Cocktail

Rometti Limoncello Clementine Lemon Champagne Cocktail

Happy Hour Tuesday!

We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving and we all know what that means: that after reuniting with our families around a well dressed table to give thanks and enjoy a piece of stuffed turkey, it’s time to put turn the page and prepare for Christmas! And with that, all of our pretty orange decorations will disappear in favor of warmer red tones. So this week, in honor of the Fall and its fun, pumpkin-tinted shades, we decided to take in consideration a delicious, sweet and refined champagne-based drink called Clementine Lemon Champagne Cocktail.
This drink uses three different kind of citrus fruit, which means that other than enjoying our palate we also intake vitamin C and other nutritional citrus contents that can impact our health in a beneficial way. Pomegranate for example helps preventing from heart disease and is a good antioxidant; clementines contain calcium, vitamin A (also an antioxidant and fundamental for the bone growth), and fiber. Lemon juice contains also a good amount of iron, potassium, copper and calcium.
Clementine Lemon Champagne Cocktail is a celebration of sweet and sour, and its fun orange color will only brighten up your days (or nights). So buckle up for winter my friends, and in the meantime enjoy this effervescent drink which of course always tastes better in good company!

Ingredients (2 servings):

250 ml (about 8.5 oz) Champagne, chilled
1 pomegranade
150 ml (5 oz) clementine juice
20 ml (0.6 oz) Rometti Limoncello
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar cane

Cut the pomegranate in half, save some of the red berries for decoration and squeeze the rest with a citrus-fruit squeezer until you have about 100 ml. Add fresh clementine juice, lemon juice and Rometti Limoncello. Add Champagne and sugar. Pour in a glass filled for half with ice and stir.

~Enjoy!

Recipe and image from http://www.undejeunerdesoleil.com

Cook N Bake Spanish Series: Coca de Recapte

Rometti Cook N Bake Spanish Series Coca

Our tour through Spain continues with the discovery of historically rich North-Eastern region that confines with France: Catalonia.
Catalonia’s origins go back to the Middle Ages, when Barcelona and other counties were considered Frankish feuds. It was only with the marriage of the Count of Barcelona, Ramon Barenguer IV, with the Queen Petronilla of Aragon that the Kingdom of Aragon was finally created and slowly got back its counties from France, which happened only in 1258. It was around this time that the term Catalunya began to be used, from castle’, the person who ruled the castle (or castellan).
Catalan cuisine, a Mediterranean cuisine, uses fresh ingredients and embraces both pork, poultry, lamb and, particularly on the coast, fish.
Sauces and condiments are also typical of Catalonia: picada is only one of the many mayonnaise-based, characteristic sauces that you will find in this region.
Among all the unbelievably fresh and flavory dishes that the Catalan cuisine offers, the pick of the week fell on Coques, plural for Coca. And no, it’s not a surrogate, Spanish version of Coca Cola! But if you have a little knowledge of English ethnology you might have guessed that the word sounds almost like “cake”. Coca is in fact a pastry made with either sweet dough (with eggs and sugar added), or savory dough(with yeast and salt) an decorated with nuts, fruit, meat, cheese and vegetables. Coques can also be closed, which means they have a filling, or open, in this case meaning with a pastry base and topping. And it’s not over yet! Coques might even have a hole and look like donuts, or they can be eaten without toppings just to accompany a meal. Finally, Coca is a typical dish for festivities like Christmas and Easter, and the common Coca de Recapte is typically consumed during picnics (recapte means “picnic”).

Ingredients:
12 gm fresh yeast or 2 tsp dried yeast
½ tsp caster sugar
50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
500 gm (3 1/3 cups) plain flour
80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 fresh bay leaves
1 each large red and green capsicum (350gm each), seeds and membrane removed, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp coarse polenta
250 gm zucchini (about 3), very thinly sliced
300 gm cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Combine yeast in a bowl with 330ml lukewarm water and stir until yeast dissolves. Add sugar, 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil and ½ tsp fine sea salt and whisk together. Cover and stand in a warm place until foamy (25-30 minutes). Add flour and stir to combine, then place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead on low speed until soft and smooth (10-12 minutes). Rest for 5 minutes, then knead again until smooth and elastic (4-5 minutes). Cover and stand in a warm place until risen (25-30 minutes).
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bay leaves, sauté until slightly golden (4-5 minutes). Add capsicum and garlic, then cover and cook, stirring regularly until capsicum is tender (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, set aside.
Preheat oven to 220C. Divide dough into six equal portions, then roll out on a lightly floured surface into 30cm tongue-like shapes. Sprinkle three well-oiled baking trays with polenta, place dough pieces on top, cover and stand in a warm place until slightly risen (12-15 minutes).
Toss zucchini in a bowl with a little salt and remaining extra-virgin olive oil. Brush pizza bases lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and divide onion and capsicum mixture among the bases, leaving a 1cm border. Scatter tomato, zucchini and parsley over the top, drizzle with a little more oil and season to taste. Bake until bases are golden and crisp (10-12 minutes) and serve immediately.

ENJOY!~

Recipe taken from MoVida Ristica: Spanish Traditionas and Recipes by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Happy Hour Tuesday: Singapore Lemon Sling

Rometti Limoncello - Singapore Lemon Sling

Happy Hour Tuesday!

The protagonist of this week’s blog is a South-East Asian cocktail that has been around for almost a century and comes all the way from the Raffles Hotel Singapore: Singapore Sling. Born to be a very feminine drink – as a matter of fact the color is pink!- Singapore Sling is a must for men and women that travel to Singapore, and it is surely appreciated all over the world.

Precursor to Singapore Sling was a drink called Strait Sling, that for some reason in the late 1920’s stopped to be served, and once the hotel decided to serve it again they could not find the original recipe. We do have though a scribbled recipe that can be seen at the Raffles Hotel Museum and that seems to be one of the notes from the original recipe, based on gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine and pineapple juice.

Singapore Sling is one of those drinks that have had modified quite a few times that pretty much everywhere around the world the taste is different from the one served at the Raffles Hotel. Sometimes more gin was added, other times pineapple juice would be substituted by club soda to give it that foamy aspect, sometimes some bartenders skip the Benedictine and bitters at the base of this complex cocktail.

Today Singapore Sling is considered Singapore’s national beverage, and it’s not by chance that it was created at the Log Bar of the Raffles Hotel which takes the name after Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. And guess what, Ernest Hemingway was a frequent guest here too!

Rometti would like to present you a slightly-revised Singapore Sling version with the introduction of Rometti Limoncello. Singapore Lemon Sling is a bittersweet, textured cocktail that mixes orange and lemon flavors with herbal hints. We hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

1 oz gin
1/2 oz cherry brandy
4 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz Cointreau® orange liqueur
1/4 oz benedictine herbal liqueur
1/3 oz Rometti Limoncello
1/3 oz grenadine syrup
1 dash Angostura® bitters

Put all of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass and garnish with a slice of pineapple or a cherry.

~ENJOY!

photos © Grablewski, Alexandra

Cook N Bake Spanish Series: Hornazo

Cook N Bake Spanish Series Hornazo

This Thursday we explore the Castilla y Leon region of Spain, better known as The Land of Roast, where modern cuisine and tradition merge into a blend of unique flavors and aromas.
A great variety of  food conferences and festivals take place in Castilla y Leon, where cooking is a true passion to be explored. Pork is the local meat for excellence, as a matter of fact our dish of the week is filled with pork loin. Today we are going to cook Hornazo.

Hornazo is similar to a meat pie. It’s made with bread dough and filled with tender bites of pork loin, hard- boiled egg and chorizo, a kind of pork sausage. The dish seems to be born in Salamanca, and typically it is an Easter specialty dish (it is usually eaten at the end of Lent as the egg is seen as the symbol of the Resurrection of Christ), however nowadays it can be found and savored throughout Castilla y Leon. The tradition says that in the 1700s during Lent the prostitutes could not stay and live in Salamanca where they would have distracted the men during such an important, religious time of the year, and they were allowed to return only after Easter Sunday. Their return was celebrated by young students with this picnic-style dish on the traditional Lunes de Aguas (Monday of the Waters).
Hornazo can vary depending on the area, some people add ham, others use wheat flour, beaten eggs, or add more oil. Whether it is hot or cold, Hornazo tastes always delicious.
If you are planning on traveling around Europe in the near future and make a stop in the Castilla y Leon region, be prepared to eat lots of lomo, chorizo, salchicho, morcillo and costillo! If you don’t like pork, or ham, my dear friend, you will have to find a way to survive since in Salamanca and surrounding areas it’s almost impossible to find a chicken sandwich!

Ingredients:

1 Kg (35 oz) Flour
20 g (0.7 oz) Yeast
150 g (5.30 oz) Chorizo or spiced sausage
100 g (3.5 oz) Serrano ham
100g (3.5 oz) Pork loin
2 Eggs
Water
Butter
Salt

Preheat the oven at 265 F.
Prepare the dough. Mix the yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 cup of flour. Once the dough looks firm, turn it into a bun shape and let it rest on a wooden board or in a bowl covered with a wet towel until it doubles in size.
In the meantime boil one egg and remove the skin of the chorizo and Serrano ham. Slice them and place them in a skillet to fry for a short time. Slice the pork as well.
Place half of the dough on a tray and spread the meat on top of it, keeping the pork on top. Add the egg peeled and cut into slices. Cover everything with the remaining half of the dough.
Beat the other egg and spread it over the surface of the dough. Bake for about 30 min until golden brown. Let it cool before serving.

~ENJOY!

Image from eladerezo.hola.com