Happy New Year to all of our readers out there! We hope 2013 will be a wonderful, joyful and prosperous year for you all!
The Rometti team
In a few days we will be celebrating one of the biggest and oldest traditions, Christmas, so for our weekly Cook N Bake blog we picked a traditional Hawaiian recipe. If you don’t have a Christmas menu planned yet, this one perhaps could be a great idea for a Christmas dinner that your guest will remember for its originality: Kalua Pig.
In Hawaii a party with entertainment and food is called Luau, and Kalua Pig is one of the main dishes served for the occasion together with loom salmon, poke, and fruity desserts. In Hawaii Kalua pig is traditionally cooked in an underground oven called imu, which is an earthy oven, a dirt pit where koa wood is set (koa is a typical, local Hawaiian wood), and once the flames die out, a few rocks are placed on top of the imu in order to maintain the heat. Eventually the meat, after being seasoned, is also stuffed with hot rocks, wrapped in banana leaves, and placed in the imbue, which is covered then with a wet burlap, sand and soil. After seven hours the pig is usually fully cooked and at this point the meat is shredded and ready to serve. Its taste is very smoky and earthy. Such a great flavor can be reached with the addition of liquid smoke when you don’t have an actual imu, however as you may know, it won’t taste exactly the same.
Now, dear Reader, you are probably thinking now that you can’t cook a Kalua Pig without a pig, and without an imu. Well, yes you can! All you need is some pork, liquid smoke, a banana leaf and a few ti leaves. Make sure also to give yourself plenty of time because the meat will need to be slow cooked.
Serve the Kalua pig with rice, mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage.
4-5 lb Pork butt
2.5 tbsp Hawaiian salt (or Kosher salt)
2 tbsp liquid smoke
1 banana leaf (or 5 unreeled bananas will also do the trick)
4-6 leaves of ti (or aluminum foil)
Trim any excess fat from the roast. Make several shallow long cuts along the roast or pierce liberally with a fork. (This allows the salt and liquid smoke to penetrate the meat.) Rub with salt and liquid smoke. Wrap the roast with banana leaf or in the absence of same, place whole bananas on top of meat .
Cut the ribs from the ti leaves and wrap over the banana leaf. Substitute aluminum foil, if ti leaves are not available. (Ti leaves can often be obtained from a local florist). Tie securely with twine.
Roast in a 325-350 degree oven for about 45 minutes per pound. When meat is done, remove ti leaves, banana leaf (or bananas) and shred pork.
Recipe from Mel Tootoo’s Lu’au & Catering, NC.
Image from Seoul Taste
Happy Hour Tuesday!
Outside the streets are dressed up with soft, round lights; houses are decorated with sparkling Christmas trees and joyful, cheering music is playing on the radio, in the stores, and sometimes if you’re lucky also at work. Whether you have been living surrounded by mistletoes and Christmas lights for over a month now or for just a few days, you can’t deny that this is it: this is THE week before the 25th of December, and the magical Christmas atmosphere is stronger than ever!
For the occasion Rometti has found a delicate, sophisticated yet fun drink, Pink Cello Champagne.
If you have never tried pink champagne before, you are probably wondering what makes it pink and how it differs from regular champagne. Traditionally the saignee’ method is used in order to get the rose’ (pink) tint to the champagne: the skins of black grapes (normally used for red wine) are left to soak with the clear juice for a short amount of time. Not letting the juice sit on top of the skins for too long is what avoids the champagne to turn into red, but a light pink. As an alternative some champagne producers speed up the process by blending the champagne with a little bit of still Pinot noir red wine (about 15%). It’s thanks to the addition of red wine that pink champagne has a distinguishable, earthy aroma. The addition of Rometti Limoncello adds a citrusy, sweet and sour taste to the pink champagne which marries so well its red fruity full flavor.
Pink Cello Champagne is a pretty, sparkling, festal drink which can be savored in between conversations or can accompany fish (salmon in particular), chocolate, strawberries, pizza and any kind of vegetable, better if spicy!
Ingredients (serves about 10):
1 bottle of pink Champagne
200 ml Rometti Limoncello
2 tbsp Pink sugar
Place the sugar in a small plate. Wet the edges of the champagne flutes with some lemon and dip them in the pink sugar. Fill the champagne flutes with 1/4 Rometti Limoncello and fill the rest with pink champagne.
Image and recipe from http://www.asplashofvanilla.com
This wine spotlight shines on a tremendous wine producer in Montalcino, Italy. Altesino has long been one of Montalcino’s top producers. Founded in 1972 Altesino has brought on a new era of top quality Brunello wines.
All Brunello di Montalcino wine is made exclusively from Sangiovese grapes grown on the hillsides of Montalcino just 20 miles (30km) south of Siena. The word Brunello translates roughly as ‘little dark one’, and is the local vernacular name for Sangiovese Grosso, the large-berried form of Sangiovese which grows in the area. You could say Sangiovese grapes have adapted well in the region…planted here impressively since 800 AD.
Arriving in southern Tuscany’s Montalcino region you feel as if you have done just that, arrived as if there was nowhere else you should be. The lush landscape of the spring is nothing short of heavenly, and the winter is quiet yet calming in its rustic brittle nature. You could say its the hibernation of things to come as wine makers look to the harvest of the new year. But work doesn’t stop on a cold December morning. Rometti had the great pleasure of meeting up with Altesino’s General Manager Claudio Basla who started with Altesino from their very first vintage. Basla is quite the joker, but one thing is curtain he is truly passionate about his wine. He shared with us what makes their wine tick, and talked about what makes the Montalcino region one of the most prized places in the world to produce wine, as well as how Altesino is positioned very well to consistently be one of the great authorities in Italian wines.
The Altesino estate covers approximately 80 hectares. The vineyards consist of ~45 hectares, sub-divided into the “crus” of Altesino, Macina, Castelnuovo dell’Abate (in the district of Velona), Pianezzine and Montosoli. Other than Sangiovese di Montalcino, the majority of the grapes grown (used to make Brunello, Rosso di Montalcino Palazzo Altesi), there is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (blended with Sangiovese di Montalcino to make Alte d’Altesi and Rosso di Altesino), Trebbiano and Malvasia (for Vin Santo) and Vermentino, Chardonnay and Viognier used to make Bianco di Altesino.
Because the Altesino vineyard plots are spread out in parts of the region giving different exposures to the vine, how does this put you at an advantage?. “different winds and temperatures, northern parts are protected by the winds, when there are hot vintages the north facing vinyards will give ideal production, in complicated vintages the south faceing vineyards can also deliver ideal productions. There are merely different exposures, plots and microclimates.” says Basla.
What is it that makes Brunello’s stand out from other wines? “…the particularity of Brunello di Monatlcino is that there is compulsory longer aging. At least two years in wood, then at their discretion they can continue to age in barrels, tanks, or bottles. Many factors such as vintage, size harvest, and capacity of barrels dictate the true aging process. This aging extends to four years prior to selling to the market.”
We later cracked a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino 2001 in the Siena’s Piazza del Campo after a great day of tasting. The wine opened up nicely with a matured strawberry, and cherry notes, it later evolves with dark tones of chocolate, and light oak, perhaps hints of tobacco. Once it rolls off your tongue your hit with some acidity but the tannins hold firm to a nice smooth velvet finish.
Altesino continues to produce some impressively elegant wines with 90+ ratings on their ’04, (WE 94) ’06 (SP 91, WE 90) ’07 (SP 92, WE 91).
Altesino – Brunello di Montalcino 2001
Rometti Score: 92
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Enthusiast: 91
Altesino s.p.a. – societa’ agricola
Località Altesino, 54 53024 Montalcino (Siena)
Tel. 0577 806208
Fax 0577 806131
Last week we started the new, Hawaiian Series by illustrating a very easy snack. The dish for this week is a little more layered and sophisticated, but still something that you can pull off easily for a last minute dinner: Sesame Seared Tuna (with wasabi dressing). The inspiration came from Pacific’O, a local restaurant in Lahaina, Maui, where they offer an amazing menu with only ingredients grown at the local O’o Farm. Among the simplest yet more interesting dishes is the Sesame Seared Fresh Fish (Pacific’O Original) with island salad greens, wasabi sesame dressing and rice.
You can pick your favorite fish, as long as it is fresh, but in order to stick to the Hawaiian theme, we recommend using tuna, which is the most important fish in the Hawaiian cuisine. Tuna has become so popular since in ancient times it was salted, dried and brought on long journeys due to its long conservation. A sesame seed crust gives that fully, savory little crunch that contrast so well with the softness of the fish. Sesame is also a great source for Omega 6 acids and proteins.
Although Sesame Seared Tuna is a healthy, tasty dish as it is, it’s the wasabi sesame dressing that enhances and enriches the flavor of the dish. Together with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, wasabi is the ingredient that strikes one’s palate because of its mustardy, peppery taste which complements the delicacy of tuna and sesame.
Sesame Seared Tuna can be served with greens and rice, and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. This makes it the perfect dish all year long: it can be a quick, savory lunch, or a simple, sophisticated dinner accompanied by a glass of wine.
For the fish:
1/4 cup Black sesame seeds
1/2 cup White sesame seeds
4 (about 6 oz) Ahi tuna steaks, about 1″ thick
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
For the wasabi dressing (served 4):
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp wasabi paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Combine the black sesame seeds and the white sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Stir them until they are completely mixed.
Season the tuna with salt and pepper and coat it with sesame seeds by placing it in the shallow dish first on one side and on then on the other.
In the meantime mix the soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add sesame oil and wasab. Wisk it until homogeneous.
Warm up a non stick pan until smoking. Arrange the tuna in the pan and cook both sides until the sesame seeds start turning gold, but do not overcook it (about 1 minute each side). Repeat for all the other 3 tuna steaks.
Serve the tuna on top of a green salad and pour the wasabi dressing on top of both. If served with a side of steamed rice it will make a complete meal.
Happy Hour Tuesday!
We are only fourteen days from Christmas, and the holiday spirit is growing, as is our excitement. For many, the list of gifts to shop for is still long, and if that wasn’tenough, we still have to think of the what to serve for Christmas dinner. If work is keeping you extremely busy and you’re behind with your Christmas checklist, we recommend taking advantage of this week’s drink, Christmas Sour, designed by Jared Lacs, bar supervisor at the Four Season’s lounge in Palo Alto, Quatttro.
Christmas Sour is made with Midori, Rometti Limoncello and sour mix. For those of you who have never experienced Midori, it is a liqueur made in Japan and arrived in the US in 1978 when it was launched at a party at the famous Studio 54, in New York. The name Midori is in fact of Japanese origins and means “green, emerald“. Midori’s main ingredient is a premium melon, very hard to grow, produced in Japan, which provides a sweet melon taste to this fascinating liqueur.
Christmas Sour will be a sensational touch of color, and taste to your holiday party thanks to its bright green and red tones. Although its vibrant color might trick you into thinking that it tastes sour, the sweetness of Midori and Rometti Limoncello balance the sour tones and leave you with a nice fruity aftertaste.
Served with appetizers for a Christmas cheer with the family or to accompany a chocolaty dessert, Christmas Sour is the perfect drink to brighten up your holiday season.
2 oz Midori
1 oz Rometti Limoncello
2 oz sour mix
1 Maraschino Cherry to garnish
Add Midori, Rometti Limoncello and the sour mix into a shaker. Shake well. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
Recipe and image from http://www.zimbio.com/Holiday+Cocktails/articles/4/12+Awesome+Elegant+Holiday+Cocktails
If you think it’s been too long from your last vacation, maybe a tropical paradise will fit you perfectly… If you miss the sunshine while lounging on the beach with waves crashing a shore…Well, get your kitchen prepped and ready to start cooking some Hawaiian food, because Rometti is bringing a little bit of sun this holiday season with our Cook N Bake , Hawaiian series!
Although fresh vegetables, fish, slow cooked grilled or barbecued meat, pineapples and coconut are typical hawaiian ingredients, this week we focused on a very popular local Hawaiian snack made with canned meat called Spam Musubi! I know I know, those of you with a very refined palate will probably turn up your nose at the thought of this, but stick with us on this one you won’t be disappointed!
Spam Musubi has Japanese influences like o-mosubi, or o-nigiri, a ball of rice stuffed with a salty or sour flavor, wrapped in seaweed (nori). But Hawaiians made it their own by using one of the most Hawaiian common ingredients, Spam. Spam (shortened from spiced ham) is a canned product made of precooked meat. It was invented in 1937 and was introduced in Hawaii during WWII as a quick, portable and life saver snack that didn’t need to be refrigerated. Since then, Hawaiian’s never stopped using it, especially with dishes of Asian influence that it goes so well with!
Although small, Spam Musubi is an explosion of flavors which can be enhanced by sprinkling some furikake on top. Furikake is a mixture of sesame seeds, dried seaweed, sugar, salt, powered miso, dried salmon, and many more additional ingredients. Moreover, in some places Spam Musubi is breaded and fried, or served with teriyaki sauce. You can really make it anyway you like, but what we are illustrating today is the original recipe.
Whether you miss Hawaii or you are simply curious about what they typically eat in the middle of the morning put these ingredients on your next grocery list and go on an adventure with an Hawaiian cooking experience!
1 can Spam
3 cups uncooked sushi rice
1 Musubi maker
Tip: have all the ingredients ready to assemble so the Spam will still be hot at the serving temperature.
Cook 3 cups of sushi rice (better if you have a rice cooker).
Mix some soy sauce and sugar in a bowl. Start with equal amounts and adjust based on what your preference is.
Put a saute’ pan on a burner until it gets really hot. Open the can of Spam and slice it into eight pieces (or ten if you want thinner slices). Place them on the pan to grill for about 1 to 2 minutes. At this point pour the soy sauce mix over the Spam which will get a caramelized/salty flavor. When you think the slices are as crispy as you desire, transfer them into a place.
Cut the Nori strips in half and lay the musubi mold on top of it, in the middle. Put a generous amount of rice into the mold. Use the handle to press it down as much as you can, you want to get it as compact as possible since it is supposed to be a portable snack. Sheke some furikake over the rice. Lay a slice of Spam on top and shake another layer of furikake. Add a second layer of rice and give it a final press.
Remove the musubi maker and quickly wrap the nor around the rice.
Eat right away or cover with a plastic wrap for later.
recipe from http://www.seriouseats.com
image from http://www.theunexploredlandofadulthood.wordpress.com
Happy Hour Tuesday!
This week we are going to present you with a timeless, classic cocktail, adequate for every occasion, including holiday parties, this cocktail is a perfect anecdote to break the ice and start a conversation: Limoncello Collins.
Limoncello Collins is a variation of the classic Tom Collins, which appeared for the first time in Jerry Thomas’ “The Bartender’s Guide”. It is also possible that the name was taken after the British writer John Collins, as some claim, although both drinks are listed in Thomas’ masterpiece.
What is known with certainty about this drink is its connection to a non-existing character, Tom Collins, who was portrayed as a mysterious man who in 1874 would go around and speak behind everyone’s back. “Have you seen Tom Collins?” became the most popular question for people living in New York, Pennsylvania and surrounding states, to make the listener agitate and look around for Tom Collins, while Tom Collins was nothing more than a prank! This joke eventually grew and became the Great Tom Collins’ Hoax, at the point that newspapers in order to get the attention of the media of the time started publishing articles about Tom Collins’ sightings.
The herbal taste of the gin marries very well with the sweetness of the limoncello (originally the Tom Collins cocktail uses only lemon juice), and together with mint leaves create an explosion of freshness and zesty flavors.
Ingredients (8 drinks):
16 oz Rometti Limoncello
12 oz Gin
8 oz Fresh lemon juice
24 Lemon slices, thin
16 oz Club soda, chilled
8 Mint springs
Combine Rometti Limoncello, gin and lemon juice in a pitcher. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Take 8 collins glasses and press the lemon slices against the inside of each of them. Add ice. Stir the Rometti limoncello and gin mixture and pour it into the glasses. Stir 2 oz of Club Soda in each glass and garnish with mint.
image and recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com