Tag Archives: bread

Smells like Christmas around here

Christmas baked goods

All done! I almost wish that there was another week to go before Christmas so that I could keep up the holiday bakefest, but nope, enough of the sweets until next month. I worked on 2 more Ottolenghi recipes this week (one is an adapted version on Food52), and despite the scary amounts of sugar, I have to say that Yotam’s ideas are amazingly delicious and spot on!

Christmas baking

Clockwise from left: Halvah and Nutella Babka from Food52; recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Chocolate krantz cakes. I used nocciolata, a chocolate-hazelnut paste, in the place of Nutella. The babka is a treat at breakfast. Next, Christmas Eve Tourtière from Dish in the Kitchen. It has a savory pork, mushroom, and potato filling seasoned with sage. And lastly, coffee and hazelnut cakes. The recipe is Yotam’s Coffee and walnut financiers but I like the marriage of coffee and hazelnuts better. The batter needs chilling so this was a great recipe to put together the night before. At first I thought the mixture overly sweet, but after baking it mellows out and is just fine without the added icing that’s called for.

Hope your kitchen smells just as good. The dachshund hung around the kitchen all day long!

MisterChef 2017


Give us this day our daily bread

Panificio Stucchi Elena

I noticed in my tag cloud to the right that bread is sadly lagging behind the dogs (ya think?), Piemonte, and snow, so let this be the beginning of bulking up the bread tag and putting the focus on the staff of life. We eat it more than we eat pasta, expect an automatic refill of rolls when we dine out, and keep emergency back up in the freezer, so what gives? Mostly lack of initiative since writing a post with recipe is involving, but I will change that today beginning with…Panificio Elena Stucchi (above stash). They’re always trying new things and even offer home delivery service. Clockwise starting from left: onion focaccia, artisan loaf, pane arabo (middle eastern-style buns), cornetti (italian version of croissant) with pistachio cream, sesame seed-topped rolls with vegetable charcoal, and lastly, curry rolls (although they didn’t have a very distinctive curry flavor). It’s the first time I’ve seen vegetable charcoal used in a bakery here, but these are the same guys that were working with grapeseed flour several years ago.

Grapeseed flour and bread

Speaking of grapeseed flour, I purchased through an online source and used some in a basic white bread recipe. It suggests substituting a tablespoon of flour with an equal amount of grapeseed flour for every 100 grams of wheat flour used. Gluten-free and rich in fiber, it doesn’t have any particular flavor used in small amounts, but it might be interesting adding it to other baked products.

The Krampus: Santa’s not so little helper

«You better watch out
You better not cry
better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list,
and checking it twice;
gonna find out
Who’s NAUGHTY and nice… »

Yes, because if he finds out that you’ve been breaking bad*, he’ll just hand you over to the Krampus. You know, this dude shown below. *From the tv series Breaking Bad (best show ever), it means raising hell well beyond the extreme.

Red-faced Krampus
Selfie? Anyone?

Today’s date makes 5 years to the day that we were in in Tarvisio to see the Krampus parade and I can still remember the evening very well. Freezing cold, darkness, the smell of smoke, Mister B shaking like a leaf, and beastly man-goats thrashing whips and dragging heavy chains and balls of fire. If only selfies were trending then! Born from the depths of German folklore, tonight the Krampusse will be out in full force everywhere in alpine countries.

Since that encounter we never felt it was something to have to relive again, but each year on the eve of St. Nicholas (December 5th) I still like to recognize the tradition. There’s Krampus beer, Krampus fruit figures, and Krampus candy among other things. I took the carb route, using about half a pound of bread dough to make Karl the Krampus. Handsome, no?

Krampus bread

And if you’re a good kid?

Well I guess you simply count your blessings that Krampy won’t be giving you a whooping. This is a good time as any to mention, once again, an entirely different way of celebrating the eve of Saint Nicholas’ day here in Lecco. It’s a tale that involves apples and gold, things that kids appreciated before video games came along. The story begins as such…
Long ago, the tradition of the festival of San Nicolo (the patron saint of Lecco) continue reading

pupazzo di San Nicolò