Monday, February 27, 2012

Your hand in mine

These are the hands that taught me what is soft and what is hard.
Showed the difference between cold and hot, explained the dos and the don'ts.
I have always had an extravagant relation with my mother's mom.
Pure love and strong misunderstandings haunted my childhood and puberty.

I was sleeping with her until I was 12, spent my summertime vacations till my 17.
She spent with me more days than with her own children, controlled her patience,
re- estimated responsibility and family affairs,
cooked for me so many breakfasts, lunches and dinners, made me gain 29 kilos in 4 months.
This is MariĻŒ.

Last August she had an accident, routine for the elderly.
She is now recovering after a big stroke, trying to figure out life.
Since then she is living with me, because she believes that I take a good care of her. 
Also because she wants to make sure that I cook for her family, like she did, everyday.

She likes eating mostly candies and desserts, is a passionate vegeterian at her 82 and enjoys drinking red wine like there is no tomorrow.
Today she made her first steps, alone, after eight months.
We had to celebrate her victory against imbalance with something concise and full.
Cheers gradma'.

Monday, February 6, 2012

a Silicon Inspiration

I enjoy buying kitchen utensils almost as much as I enjoy buying shoes. 

To make the long story short, with this baking mold, I was thrilled. 
One of my collegues at work (ok, not just a collegue, the absolute working-with-person) bought it for me, just one day after I said I liked it. 
So that I thank and please her, I wanted to make an exeptional recipe. 
Chocolate was the basic ingredient, as always. 

Dozens of recipes passed on my mind. Cakes, brownies, mousses. 
Until it was NYT and a marvellous recipe with Nutella. 

 It's name provoked salivation: Chocolate Hazelnut Panna Cotta
You can follow the link to see the recipe as it was published in NYT, 
or continue reading to make my version, a customised one. 

 9 gelatin leaves, 3 gr. each
80 gr. of chocolate, bitter or milk, finely chopped
300 gr of Nutella
300 gr. cream
1 cup whole milk
seeds of one vanilla stick 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk gelatin with 3 tablespoons cold water. Place chopped chocolate in another medium bowl. In a large bowl, place Nutella.  
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil. Pour half the cream over gelatin mixture and whisk gently to combine; add vanilla seeds. Pour remaining cream over chopped chocolate; whisk until smooth. Combine two mixtures; whisk well.
3. Pour one-third of the gelatin-chocolate mixture over Nutella; beat using an electric mixer on low speed until a smooth paste forms. Pour in remaining mixture and milk; beat until fully combined.

4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into the mold. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until set, about six hours or overnight. 

Chop, melt, boil, mix, whisk, freeze, unmold and share the ones you love. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bakalao or Cod?

The only cod I knew till 5 years before, was the salted one that my grandmother was cooking traditionally on the 25 of March
served with a harsh and lethal pure garlic paste.
hen in Thessaloniki, my boyfriend had prepared for me a delicious meal
consisted of little cods (the entire fish, which seems like tiny shark)
and I was thrilled about how tasteful their flesh was fried.
Then I also taste them on a yummy soup. Marvellous.
After living in northern Spain, I cooked bakalao al pil pil
and learned how to tell apart the two species
(from about 60 that swim in the freezing North Sea).
Bakalao en salazon, full of salt, in fillets or just cod
(what remind me of a baby shark).
Then it was Nobu's famous worldwide Black Cod, for which I can return again and again in Matsuhisa restaurants.  Some days ago, I had a fully step-by- step lesson from a famous chef,
how to cook cod on vapor.  And then I decided I love that fish.

Although I do not usually post recepies, I am giving an amazing-so- deadly- garlic-paste,
so that you can accompany cod in every way you cook it.
Ok, not with soups.

Spicy garlic paste

4 slices of bread, soaked in milk
200 gr of white almonds
4 cloves of garlic (or as many as we want to kill the vampires)
15- 20 saffron fibers soaked in a bowl with 2 tbs water for about an hour
2 raw egg yolks 
200 ml extra virgin olive oil 
75-100 ml white vinegar 
spicy paprikasalt and pepper

Put in the blender almonds, bread,  egg yolks and mix well for 2 min. Add the saffron, paprika and the olive oil. Then vinegar, salt and pepper.
Thick and creamy. A smelly heaven.

The recipe is from Cristoforos Peskias and it was published in Gastronomos, issue 69, January 2012.