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Posts Tagged ‘olive oil’

A few months ago, we travelled to Orlando, Florida to attend a tradeshow related to my husband’s business.  My brother and sister in law who live in South Florida, Mandy and Frances, met us there.  One afternoon, Frances and I took a break from the show to go shopping in Orlando’s world famous outlet malls as well as browse at upscale shops.  One of our stops was at The Mall at Millenia where we got hungry, so we went to a California Pizza Kitchen Restaurant for lunch.  We shared a white bean hummus as appetizer topped with tomatoes and flat bread and a pizza with mozzarella, fontina and gorgonzola cheeses, thinly sliced pears, caramelized onions, hazelnuts and baby greens (something to try with my bbq homemade pizza recipe with a little white truffle oil of course!).  It was delicious! I had tried white bean hummus before at other restaurants like Cien Vinos in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and often made traditional chickpea hummus at home.  This variation, is a great appetizer or light lunch. In the months following our trip, I started experimenting with recipes and quantities to make the white bean hummus at home and here is the outcome.  So far, I’ve had great reviews from family and friends!  I want to hear your comments and suggestions.

Enjoy!

Tips:  Before juicing the lemon, grate the lemon zest and use it to make Nieves’ Lemon Bread.  Also, sometimes the solids and oil in tahini (ground hulled sesame seeds) separate, so make sure they are fully incorporated to form a paste by mixing with a spoon before adding to the recipe.


Tuscan White Bean Hummus

Ingredients

white bean hummus

30 ounces canned Cannellini Beans or Alubias (drained)

1/4 cup tahini

6 cloves of garlic peeled (8 if you like it extra garlicky)

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 yellow lemon approximately)

tomato topping

2 roma tomatoes cubed

1 tbsp fresh basil coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

pepper to taste

pita bread or pita chips

Procedure

1. Place all hummus ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop ingredients roughly. Then turn on for about 2 minutes until smooth paste is formed. You may add a bit of cold water if you want to reach a smoother consistency.

2.  Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients of the tomato topping in a bowl.

3.  To serve, spoon and spread white bean hummus in a serving plate and top with tomato mixture.  Serve with pita bread, flat bread or pita chips.

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Once again, you can see the colors of the italian flag in this dish. Insalata Caprese is one of my all time favorite salads.  I like to serve it over a bed of fresh spinach.  Refreshing and light!

The word mozzarella comes from the italian verb “mozzare” which means to cut.  Mozzarella di bufala is made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo, a bovine which has it origins in Asia but is now found in southern Europe, South America, Northern Africa and India among others.  Mozzarella di bufala is a bit saltier and softer than regular cow’s milk mozzarella.  The best quality is considered by many Mozzarella di Bufala di Campania made in the geographical areas of Lazio (near Rome) and Campania (Naples, Salerno, Paestum, Pompeii, including Capri) Regions which became protected by the European Union under Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC like in wines) in the 1990’s. It literally melts in your mouth!  In short, mozzarella is made by heating the milk (to separate the whey form the curds), resting, spinning and pulling the cheese curds to shape into balls. The cheese maker will knead the curds like bread by hand, pull-out and cut the mozzarella balls once the cheese curds have reached the desired consistency. This is a semisoft cheese and has a high moisture content. That is why it is sold in specialty food shops in brine and vacuum sealed.  On the other hand, good quality mozzarella di bufala is made in many other countries in Europe and the Americas.

Insalata Caprese (salad made in the style of Capri) can also be called Tricolore Salad which also includes avocado.  If you want to splurge (it is more expensive than regular mozzarella) and the best flavor and quality, use mozzarella di bufala when you make homemade pizza. Use it as a topping or make Insalata Caprese Pizza.  It is amazing!

Buon Appetito!

Insalata Caprese

about 6 servings

Ingredients

2   7 ounce mozzarella di bufala balls

2-3 roma tomatoes

2 tbsp fresh basil coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

pepper to taste

drizzle of good quality aged balsamic vinegar (optional)

Procedure



1.  Slice mozzarella and tomatoes.  In a plate, alternate placing one slice of tomato over each slice of mozzarella.

2.  In a small bowl, place the chopped basil with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir with a spoon.

3.  Spoon mixture over mozzarella and tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

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