CiaoFlorentina https://ciaoflorentina.com Easy Italian Recipes, Organic Food & Lifestyle Blog! Wed, 26 Jul 2017 02:51:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://ciaoflorentina.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/cropped-cropped-CFLogo-125x125.jpg CiaoFlorentina https://ciaoflorentina.com 32 32 Strawberry Bellini Recipe with Riondo Prosecco https://ciaoflorentina.com/strawberry-bellini-recipe-riondo-prosecco/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/strawberry-bellini-recipe-riondo-prosecco/#respond Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:14:42 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13737 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Riondo Prosecco. All opinions are 100% mine. I have some of the loveliest Italian Strawberry Bellini Cocktails for us today, made with chilled bubbly Riondo Prosecco , a white sparkling wine straight from Italy, fruity honey strawberry syrup or puree, plus an exotic touch of vanilla. […]

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Riondo Prosecco. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have some of the loveliest Italian Strawberry Bellini Cocktails for us today, made with chilled bubbly Riondo Prosecco , a white sparkling wine straight from Italy, fruity honey strawberry syrup or puree, plus an exotic touch of vanilla.

Strawberry Bellini Cocktails with Prosecco

The classic Bellini was named after Giovanni Bellini, the Italian painter. It is a mixture of peach puree and sparkling Prosecco wine, and rumor has it that it was invented in Venice Italy in the 1930s by a bartender named Giuseppe Cipriani.

So I ran with his idea but used juicy strawberries instead of peaches, plus a little special touch of vanilla to bring you this Florentina Bellini you can make at home in 5 minutes on a Tuesday. Giovanni you had a good run 😉

Really important to completely chill the strawberry puree before mixing your Riondo Prosecco Cocktails, or use already chilled strawberries, because you really want a refreshing drink in your hand.

Your go to drink for backyard entertaining all summer long, or to serve at Sunday’s brunch by the pool, or at the beach!

Riondo Prosecco is an authentic Italian import beverage with an approachable consumer price point and the perfect beverage for summer, either with friends or alone.

Strawberry Bellini Recipe with Riondo Prosecco

Easy Italian Strawberry Bellini Cocktails Made with Strawberry Puree, Vanilla and Prosecco Wine.

  • 12 organic strawberries ((medium size) )
  • 2 tbsp wild honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bottle Riondo Prosecco
  1. Slice one of the strawberries and reserve it for garnish.

  2. Half the remaining strawberries and add them to the bowl of a food processor together with the vanilla and honey. Puree until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made a couple of days in advance. 

  3. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the strawberry puree in the bottom of each glass. Slowly top with the Prosecco and garnish with a strawberry slice.

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Lemon Greek Yogurt Cake Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/lemon-greek-yogurt-cake-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/lemon-greek-yogurt-cake-recipe/#comments Sun, 23 Jul 2017 21:45:58 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13792 Easy and quick lemon Greek yogurt cake / bread recipe with a citrusy bite from fresh lemon zest balanced by the sweet aromas of vanilla and powdered sugar finish. Lovely sprinkled with some healthy chopped pistachios, a few berries or some of these balsamic roasted figs. Whatever tickles your taste buds.    There’s no butter in my recipe, […]

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Easy and quick lemon Greek yogurt cake / bread recipe with a citrusy bite from fresh lemon zest balanced by the sweet aromas of vanilla and powdered sugar finish. Lovely sprinkled with some healthy chopped pistachios, a few berries or some of these balsamic roasted figs. Whatever tickles your taste buds. 
 
Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake in Bundt Cake Form
There’s no butter in my recipe, as always I go to my healthy fat of choice: the extra virgin olive oil, forever and ever!
 
You can bake this in a simple loaf pan for nice coffee shop looking slices covered in powdered sugar, or dust off your bundt cake pan for a more festive look. You can even make it in a spring form pan If that’s what you have.
 
Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake / Loaf Slices with Powdered Sugar and Vanilla
Feel free to fold some berries into the batter as I do with my muffin cake if you insist,  however I find this to be best in its simplicity with a snow like cover of powdered sugar. 
Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake / Loaf Slices with Powdered Sugar and Vanilla
 
Because I store my pizza stone in the oven, I accidentally heat it up with the oven even when I’m not making pizza. That’s how I found out that it helps to attain a nice crusty bottom on my yogurt cake. We happen to absolutely love that, so If that’s what you are after then use your pizza stone friends!  
But remember that your cake will be done a little sooner, so I’d check it after 35 minutes.
Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake in Bundt Cake Form
 
A little lemon or marmalade glaze, Greek yogurt icing or chocolate frosting would be a nice compliment If you were after a richer dessert.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake in Bundt Cake Form with Powdered Sugar

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake Recipe

Easy and quick lemon Greek yogurt cake / bread recipe with a citrusy bite from fresh lemon zest balanced by the sweet aromas of vanilla and powdered sugar finish

  • 3/4 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon (- zested)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour (( for dusting the pan))
  • 1 tbsp butter (( for greasing the pan))
  1. Preheat oven to 350”F.

  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour with the baking powder and sea salt. Set aside.

  3. In another bowl whisk together the eggs with the sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and olive oil and whisk again until combined. Add the Greek yogurt and whisk until incorporated.

  4. Pour the wet mixture in the bowl with the flour mix and use a spatula fold together until combined.

  5. Prepare a nonstick loaf or bundt pan by coating it with a thin layer of the butter. Sprinkle with some flour tapping out all the excess.

  6. Pour the cake batter inside the prepare pan and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, for 35 to 45 minutes depending on the type of pan you are using. Check at 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean your cake is done, otherwise continue baking by 10 minutes and check again. 

  7. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before inverting onto a board or plate.

    Dust with powder sugar, slice and enjoy.  

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake in Bundt Cake Form

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Traditional Peperonata Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/best-peperonata-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/best-peperonata-recipe/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:29:23 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13770 A rustic Southern Italian dish traditionally from Calabria, made of stewed peppers with tomatoes, onions and herbs, peperonata Calabrese showcases the beauty of peppers like no other dish. Lovely as a healthy vegetarian side dish scooped over a bed of creamy polenta, as an appetizer on top of ricotta bruschetta or as a main dish […]

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A rustic Southern Italian dish traditionally from Calabria, made of stewed peppers with tomatoes, onions and herbs, peperonata Calabrese showcases the beauty of peppers like no other dish. Lovely as a healthy vegetarian side dish scooped over a bed of creamy polenta, as an appetizer on top of ricotta bruschetta or as a main dish tossed together with your favorite short pasta, like rigatoni or pene.
 Traditional Pot of Peperonata Calabrese
This is a really nostalgic dish for me as it reminds me of the man in the photo. So I make it often during bell pepper season, using a mix of colors and different heirloom tomato varieties. A healthy vegetarian peasant stew that just never gets old.
Wondering what to make with peppers and all the tomatoes this summer ? This rustic stew / sauce is it!
 
Peperonata Ingredients
There are different variations you can experiment with, I mostly stick to the more traditional recipe but crumble some goat cheese on top and whatever herbs are having a moment. You can add mushrooms ( con i funghi ), potatoes or eggplant and zucchini ( peperonata zucchine e melanzane ), even poach a couple of eggs in there at the last minute for a rif on eggs in purgatory.
 
Traditional Italian Peperonata Sauce
Simply put: an Italian ratatouille!
 
Feel free to add some olives or salty capers on top too and serve it on the antipasto platter.  
Peperonata Ingredients
 
If you like things a little spicy you may want to add a little fiery chili pepper in there, otherwise keep it sweet, mild and kid friendly as a “ Peperonata Dolce ”.

Peperonata with Tomatoes, Onions and Bell Peppers

Traditional Peperonata Recipe

A rustic Southern Italian dish traditionally from Calabria, made of stewed pepper with tomatoes, onions and herbs, peperonata Calabrese showcases the beauty of peppers like no other dish.

  • 3 bell peppers ((red, yellow and green))
  • 1.5 lb heirloom tomatoes (- mixed colors)
  • 1 purple onion ( (small))
  • 1/2 leek ((optional))
  • 2 cloves garlic (- minced)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes ((or to taste))
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (+ more as needed)
  • 1/3 cup fresh herbs ((basil, chives + oregano))
  • 1 tsp sea salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1 lemon
  1. Slice the leek in half lengthwise and reserve half for later. Slice up the other half and rinse it well in a bowl of cold water. Scoop the leeks out of the water and dry them well on a tea towel.

  2. Warm up a large skillet on medium low flame. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the leeks with a pinch of sea salt. Saute for about 10 minutes until they start to get some color. Add the re pepper flakes.

  3. Rinse and cut the bell peppers into 1 inch pieces. Add them to the skillet with the leeks and give everything a good stir. 

  4. Slice the red onion into 1 inch pieces as well and add it to the skillet. Stir well and cook everything together for about 10 minutes until the peppers start to soften and get some color.

  5. Meanwhile wash and cut the tomatoes into wedges or similar size pieces with the peppers.

  6. Add the minced garlic to the pan and give everything a good stir. Cook 30 seconds then add the tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and cover with a lid. Cook another 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes burst and release their juices.

  7. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon to the Peperonata, taste and adjust seasonings with more sea salt and lemon juice.

  8. Remove from heat and finish with a light drizzle of extra virgin olive and sprinkle with the fresh basil, chives and oregano. 

  9. Serve with crusty bread, creamy polenta, toss with your favorite short pasta or cous cous. 

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Quinoa and Lentil Salad Recipe with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette https://ciaoflorentina.com/quinoa-lentil-salad-recipe-lemon-chive-vinaigrette/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/quinoa-lentil-salad-recipe-lemon-chive-vinaigrette/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:10:33 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13756 Thank you Village Harvest for sponsoring this post.  Every day Village Harvest is planting seeds of change and growing possibilities, one bag of goodness at a time. Something Better Starts Here!   A tasty, easy and light quinoa lentil salad perfect for summer, loaded with nutrition and full of fresh flavors. Really lovely served warm or as a cold vegan […]

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Thank you Village Harvest for sponsoring this post.  Every day Village Harvest is planting seeds of change and growing possibilities, one bag of goodness at a time. Something Better Starts Here!
 
A tasty, easy and light quinoa lentil salad perfect for summer, loaded with nutrition and full of fresh flavors. Really lovely served warm or as a cold vegan dish with marinated roasted peppers on top or with fresh tomatoes, feta and dill. 
Quinoa Lentil Black Rice Salad with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette
 
Adding some goat cheese would really give it something special in my humble opinion. Pretty much anything in season this time of year would be nice piled up on top of this goodness and sprinkled with a bunch of fresh herbs.
 
I used one of my new favorite things here, the Antioxidant blend from Village Harvest. It contains organic black lentils, quinoa and heirloom black rice. Gluten free, protein packed and everything is done in less than half an hour. 
Village Harvest Antioxidant Blend
 
Because my containers are bursting with sweet onion chives, I buzzed up a delicate chive vinaigrette to toss with the lentil salad. You can make it a lemon vinaigrette or use a red wine vinegar instead. Whatever rocks your taste buds. Experiment with the ratio and see what works for you. 
Lemon Chive Vinaigrette
 
If you are looking for some lunches to go ideas and even airplane food, this quinoa lentil salad fits the bill from both a tasty and nutrition standpoint. Hope you give it a go soon.
 
I love Village Harvest products because they are more than just rice, they are about discovering new possibilities at home in the kitchen, or thousands of miles away in the fields. 
Quinoa Lentil Black Rice Salad with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette
 
There are 3 Village Harvest Organic Benefit Blend varieties at this time and they offer a distinctive combination of healthful goodness: Organic Antioxidant BlendOrganic Ancient Grain Blend and Organic Protein Blend 
Village Harvest Organic Blends
 
P.S. Wanna try this ? Complete a product request form here: clvr.li/VHBRequest
Disclosure:I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
 Quinoa Lentil Black Rice Salad with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

Quinoa and Lentil Salad with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

A tasty, easy and light quinoa lentil salad perfect for summer, loaded with nutrition and full of fresh flavors. 

  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (+ more as needed)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 cups Village Harvest Antioxidant lentil, quinoa, black rice mix
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3.5 cups water or vegetable stock (( salt free))
  • 1/3 cup fresh herbs for garnish
  • 1 lemon (-quartered)

Lemon Chive Dressing

  1. Add the chives, olive oil and lemon juice or red wine vinegar ( whatever you prefer) to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and transfer to a small bowl. Season to your taste with sea salt and add more lemon or vinegar if desired.

Quinoa Lentil Salad

  1. Add the lentil, rice and quinoa mix to a medium pot together with the bay leaf and a pinch of sea salt. Cover with the water and bring to a simmer.

  2. Cover with a lid, turn the flame to medium low and cook for 25 to 30 minutes until all water it absorbed. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit covered tightly for 15 minutes.

  3. Transfer the lentil mix to a mixing bowl ( discard bay leaf) and fluff with a fork. Pour the chive dressing on top and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste with more lemon and sea salt.

  4. Serve with marinated roasted peppers and fresh herbs on top and plenty of lemon wedges.

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Easy Pizza Margherita Recipe Video https://ciaoflorentina.com/easy-pizza-margherita-recipe-video/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/easy-pizza-margherita-recipe-video/#comments Thu, 13 Jul 2017 22:51:40 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13714 How to make an easy, authentic pizza Margherita at home, from scratch with just a few simple ingredients and a pizza stone. Anyone can make this, I promise! Video below! Named after Queen Margherita of Italy as history tells us, Margherita pizza is meant to look like the Italian flag: Red, White and Green. The […]

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How to make an easy, authentic pizza Margherita at home, from scratch with just a few simple ingredients and a pizza stone. Anyone can make this, I promise! Video below!

Thin Crust Pizza Margherita on Wooden Board

Named after Queen Margherita of Italy as history tells us, Margherita pizza is meant to look like the Italian flag: Red, White and Green.

The magic comes from the simplicity of the ingredients here:

Red tomato sauce – I use some of my Marinara made with San Marzano tomatoes

White Mozzarella di Bufala cheese -made from domesticated water buffalo milk (fresh mozzarella will do as well If that’s what you have).

Green basil leaves (Genoese), tough I have to confess fresh oregano has my heart too.

Pizza Margherita Ingredients

In true Neapolitan fashion your pizza dough needs to be no thicker than 3 mm, so do your best kids. This will be very easy If you are using my authentic thin crust Italian pizza dough recipe. Legit!

Let’s talk about the cheese!

There’s only one right way to go here and that is with Buffalo Mozzarella forever and ever! Really important to dry it well on paper towels before adding to your pizza so it won’t make your pie soggy.

Easy Homemade Pizza Margherita Recipe

Best part about this pizza is that you can bake it on a hot pizza stone (<–amazon affiliate – I’ve been using this one for about 10 years now and still works like magic) as high as your oven will go, or you can grill it in a smoking hot cast iron skillet and finish it under the broiler for nice little char marks. I throw it under the broiler regardless. 

Broiled Pizza Margherita with Marinara and Basil

Because most of the time I have some of this Marinara sauce in a jar in the fridge I naturally use that. However, If you don’t feel like cooking sauce, just use a can of San Marzano tomatoes, crush them in a bowl with some olive oil, grated garlic and fresh oregano. Season with salt and use that as a pizza sauce. I swear it is fantastico!

There is absolutely no pepperoni, no balsamic glaze, no egg, no ricotta, no spinach you guys. Keep those toppings for a different kind of pizza.

Margherita pizza is the perfect vegetarian meal next to a good glass of Italian Vino. True story!

Broiled Pizza Margherita with Marinara and Basil

I included the recipe for my thin crust Italian pizza dough below, however I’d like you to know this isn’t math, and depending on the flour you use you will need to adjust the ingredient amounts.

Below is a guide, but some flours will take less, some will take more water so adjust as needed. The important thing is that you end up with a smooth dough that isn’t too dry and isn’t too wet where it is difficult to work with. It should be just a little sticky to the bottom of the bowl. If it sticks to the sides just sprinkle in a little more flour. So you’ll have to trust your gut and start Feeling it, hope that makes sense.

Another important detail is that we will cook the pizza dough for a couple of minutes before topping it. This is how you get a crispy crust that isn’t gonna be soggy at all.

Homemade Pizza Margherita

FAQ:

How to Grill Margherita Pizza:

Use all the recipe instructions below and instead of heating up the oven just heat up a cast iron griddle or skillet. Just like I did here with this Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca!

Grill the pizza for about 3 minutes on high flame until nice grill marks form. Use a pair of tongue and flip it. At this point you will spin the sauce on top and sprinkle with the mozzarella  cheese. Loosely cover with aluminum foil to help the cheese melt along quickly as it will only take a couple minutes on the second side If your pan is hot as it should be.

Easy Pizza Margherita Recipe

How to make an easy, authentic pizza Margherita at home, from scratch with just a few simple ingredients and a pizza stone. Anyone can make this, I promise!

  • 1.5 lb Mozzarella di Bufala
  • 2 cups Marina Sauce
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

  • 5 cups all purpose flour + more as needed
  • 1.5 tsp active dry yeast (( make sure it is not expired and has been kept in a cool dark place))
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/4 cups COLD water (+ more If needed)
  1. Preheat your oven with a pizza stone inside to 500”F or as high as it will go. 

  2. Add all the dough ingredients to the bowl of a mixer with a hook attachment. Knead on low speed for about 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and only a tiny bit sticky to the bottom of the bowl. If too sticky then sprinkle in a little more flour. ( Watch VIDEO here)

  3. Transfer to a cutting board and using a sharp knife cut the dough into 8 pieces. Form each piece into small round balls and place them on a very lightly oiled baking sheet at least 3 inches apart from each other.

  4. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

  5. Sprinkle the counter with a little bit of flour, take one piece of dough and press down on it with your fingers until you have 1/2″ thick circle or oval. Using your fists and knuckles start stretching the dough until 10″ in diameter making sure not to tear it ( this should be easy since we are making small pies).

  6. Place the pie on a pizza peel or a piece of cardboard and transfer it to the preheated pizza stone ( sprinkle a little bit of flour or corn meal on the stone just before). Bake for 2 to 3 minutes then take it out of the oven.

  7. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the Marinara sauce in the middle of the pie and gently spread it around into a thin layer leaving about 1/3 inch sides.

  8. Tear some of the Mozzarella di Bufala cheese on top and transfer the pie back into the oven for another 4 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

  9. Meanwhile preheat your broiler and as soon as you remove the pizza from the oven you pop it under the broiler flames for about 30 seconds or so. Keep a close eye on it so you don’t completely burn it. 

  10. Transfer to a cutting board and allow it to sit for a few minutes for the cheese to set. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with fresh basil and enjoy.

  11. Repeat the process with the remaining pies or refrigerate for later.

More Pizza to Make:

Rustic Pizza Dough Recipe

Best Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Burrata Pizza Recipe

Burrata Pizza

Chicken pesto pizza recipe

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Ricotta Spinach Pizza Recipe

Ricotta Spinach Pizza

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Compound Garlic Chive Butter Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/compound-garlic-chive-butter-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/compound-garlic-chive-butter-recipe/#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:42:32 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13652 How to make compound chive butter at home with fresh chives from the garden, garlic and chive flowers.   A mixture of butter, herbs or spices, compound butter is a lovely condiment to many dishes. From a fresh  piece of crusty bread to grilled steak, salmon, scallops, lobster, or stirred into a risotto or mashed […]

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How to make compound chive butter at home with fresh chives from the garden, garlic and chive flowers.
 
Sliced Compound Chive Butter with Chive Flowers and Garlic
A mixture of butter, herbs or spices, compound butter is a lovely condiment to many dishes.
From a fresh  piece of crusty bread to grilled steak, salmon, scallops, lobster, or stirred into a risotto or mashed potatoes, compound chive butter is nice to keep on hand in your refrigerator at all times. You could even use it in this comforting garlic pull apart bread.
Fresh Chives and Butter
 
I’m really fond of both onion and garlic chives, but you can make this with a mixture of your favorite fresh herbs. Basil and lemon zest, capers, parsley and oregano, sage and lemon, would all be really lovely combinations too. Add fresh thyme for more of a classic “ maitre d’hotel butter “  
Orange zest and tarragon has also been on my mind lately, so I’ll try that combination next. Let me know If you give it a try first.
Compound Garlic Chive Butter Shaped into a LogCompound Butter Log in Parchment Paper
 
Add a dab of it to flavor sauces right at the end of cooking for a smooth silky finish.
Compound Chive Butter with Purple Chive Flowers
 

Serve with:

Compound Garlic Chive Butter

Compound Garlic Chive Butter Recipe

How to make compound chive butter at home with fresh chives from the garden, garlic and chive flowers.

  • 1/3 cup fresh onion chives (-snipped)
  • 2 sticks organic grass fed butter (-salted)
  • 2 chive flowers (( the purple ones))
  • 1 clove grated garlic (( optional ))
  1. Bring the butter to room temperature until softened. Do NOT microwave!

  2. Rinse and dry the chives very well on paper towels. Use the kitchen sheers to snip them into small pieces.

  3. Add the softened butter, snipped chives and grated garlic If using to a mixing bowl. Use a spatula to combine everything. Separate the tiny blossoms from the chive flowers and gently mix them into the butter as well.

  4. Spoon onto a sheet of parchment paper and fold the paper over into a cylinder. Twist the ends to seal tight. 

  5. Wrap the herb butter again in some plastic wrap and refrigerate until solid. 

  6. At this point you can use within 3 weeks or freeze for later use.  

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Zucchini Patties Recipe with Tzatziki Sauce https://ciaoflorentina.com/zucchini-patties-recipe-tzatziki-sauce/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/zucchini-patties-recipe-tzatziki-sauce/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:48:56 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13634 Easy and healthy zucchini patties, cakes, fritters or Cucuzze in Calabrian dialect, whatever you wanna call them really, made with shredded zucchini, panko bread crumbs, scallions and tzatziki sauce, then quickly crisped up in a hot cast iron skillet. Like crab cakes but without any crab!   Okay you guys, so I’ll be honest: the tzatziki […]

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Easy and healthy zucchini patties, cakes, fritters or Cucuzze in Calabrian dialect, whatever you wanna call them really, made with shredded zucchini, panko bread crumbs, scallions and tzatziki sauce, then quickly crisped up in a hot cast iron skillet. Like crab cakes but without any crab!
Stacked Zucchini Patties with Tzaziki Sauce
 
Okay you guys, so I’ll be honest: the tzatziki sauce was already made so I figured I’d give my zucchini fritters a Greek spin because they pair well nicely and I wouldn’t have to make another sauce. Turns out it is a pretty perfect combination on a hot summer day, so a total keeper.
 
They are also really lovely served with creamy ricotta, feta or goat cheese crumbles, a basil dipping sauce, tomatillo cilantro salsa, roasted red pepper sauce or with this arrabbiata. Try them all! 
Zucchini Cakes Cooking in a Cast Iron SkilletZucchini Cakes in Cast Iron Skillet
 
I give you the option to use fresh dill or oregano, to me it all depends on what I have growing in the garden. Be creative!
Stacked Zucchini Cakes with Yogurt and Herbs
 
They are perfect as an appetizer straight out of the skillet with nice slices of heirloom tomatoes on top and a grating of parmesan cheese, or a light lunch under the shade of a Pergola on a hot summer day like today. 
Stacked Zucchini Cakes with Yogurt Dipping Sauce
 
The most important thing to remember: is to drain the zucchini well after you shred them, and before you form them into patties!
Easy breezy, let’s do this!
Stack of Zucchini Fritters with Panko Bread Crumb and Tzaziki Sauce

Zucchini Patties with Tzatziki Sauce

Easy and healthy zucchini patties, cakes, fritters or Cucuzze in Calabrian dialect, whatever you wanna call them really, made with shredded zucchini, panko bread crumbs, scallions and served with tzatziki sauce.

  • 4 zucchini or yellow squash ((medium size))
  • 3 scallions (- thinly sliced)
  • 2 eggs (-organic)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (-plain)
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill or oregano (- chopped)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives (-snipped)
  • 1 cup tzatziki sauce or Greek yogurt (( for serving))
  1. Make the tzatziki sauce in advance according to this recipe and refrigerate until needed.

  2. Shred the zucchini or squash through a cheese grater and add it to a large colander. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt al over and toss to mix well.

  3. Place the colander over a bowl or your kitchen sink and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes for the salt to pull out all the moisture.

  4. Use your hands and squeeze the remaining water out of the zucchini as much as you can then add it to a dry bowl. 

  5. Important: taste the zucchini at this point to see if it needs more salt, It might not!

  6. Add the scallions, eggs, panko bread crumbs, fresh dill and black pepper to the bowl and mix everything to combine well.

  7. Heat up a large cast iron skillet over medium flame and a drop of olive, just enough to coat the bottom and your fritters won’t stick.

  8. Take a spoonful of the zucchini mixture and add it to the hot skillet. Use the back of the spoon to flatten the patties down to your desired thickness. Repeat the process but make sure to not overcrowd the pan and leave about 1 inch of space between the fritters while cooking so they crisp up nicely without steaming. Work in batches and add a little more olive oil in between if needed.

  9. Transfer the zucchini cakes to a paper towel lined plate and serve garnished with the chives and tzatziki sauce, or plain creamy Greek yogurt and lemon wedges.

More Recipes to Make:

Tomato Tart Recipe with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry

Goat Cheese Tomato Tart

Crispy Simple Crab Cake Recipe

Crispy Crab Cakes

Shrimp Polenta Cakes Recipe

Shrimp Polenta Cakes

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Pea Goat Cheese Risotto Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/pea-goat-cheese-risotto/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/pea-goat-cheese-risotto/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 21:52:32 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13604 An Italian classic, this creamy pea and goat cheese risotto with basil and lemon is sure to rock your taste buds as a side dish or main course.    Extra creamy and lemony makes the perfect canvas to serve under some perfectly seared garlic scallops, prawns, garlic spinach and creamy poached eggs, even roasted salmon […]

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An Italian classic, this creamy pea and goat cheese risotto with basil and lemon is sure to rock your taste buds as a side dish or main course. 
Bowl of Goat Cheese Risotto with Peas, Lemon and Basil
 
Extra creamy and lemony makes the perfect canvas to serve under some perfectly seared garlic scallops, prawns, garlic spinach and creamy poached eggs, even roasted salmon or chicken.
 
The peas are the sweetest this time of year and they just begged to be thrown into a risotto. However, if frozen peas is all you have on hand those will work just fine, just run them under some warm water to thaw out before adding them to the dish, or warm them up with the stock.
 
I’m really fond of honey goat cheese in here because it goes so well with the lemon and the herbs, but an herbed goat cheese would make a nice addition too. Whichever looks best at the market!
Bowl of Goat Cheese Risotto with Peas, Lemon and Basil

Pea Goat Cheese Risotto

An Italian classic, this creamy pea and goat cheese risotto with basil and lemon is sure to rock your taste buds as a side dish or main course. 

  • 6 cups vegetable stock (- seasoned to taste)
  • 1.5 cups risotto rice ((arborio or carnaroli))
  • 1/3 cup honey goat cheese
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup onion (-minced)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp onion chives (-snipped)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Warm up the vegetable stock and season to your taste. Add the peas and allow them to warm through.

  2. Heat up a large skillet on medium low flame and add the butter. Once melted add the onion and pinch of sea salt and saute until translucent.

  3. Stir in the rice and toss to coat in the butter. Add the wine and stir again until almost fully absorbed by the rice.

  4. Start adding a ladle at a time of the warm stock but leave the peas behind until the very end. You want to maintain on constant simmer. 

  5. Keep adding stock and simmer until the rice is al dente.

  6. Add the green peas, parmesan and goat cheese and stir to combine well. Squeeze in the juice from half of the lemon and add a little more stock If needed to loosen up the risotto. 

  7. Sprinkle with the chives and fresh basil leaves. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, extra lemon wedges on the side and garnished with more green peas. 

More Risotto Recipes:

Artichoke Lemon Risotto

Seafood Risotto

Truffle Risotto

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Artichoke Lemon Risotto Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/artichoke-lemon-risotto-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/artichoke-lemon-risotto-recipe/#comments Thu, 01 Jun 2017 20:46:23 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13557  A summery artichoke risotto or Risotto ai Carciofi, with bright notes of zesty lemon, creamy parmesan, perfumed thyme and fresh basil.   There just had to be a risotto in the works with the marinated artichoke hearts from the other day. There is so much wonderful flavor happening from the lemon and thyme marinade, I […]

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 A summery artichoke risotto or Risotto ai Carciofi, with bright notes of zesty lemon, creamy parmesan, perfumed thyme and fresh basil.

Artichoke Lemon Risotto with Thyme and Parmesan
 
There just had to be a risotto in the works with the marinated artichoke hearts from the other day. There is so much wonderful flavor happening from the lemon and thyme marinade, I can’t even describe it. 
 
I used both some butter and the classic parmesan cheese addition here, but this dish is easily adapted to being vegan by just omitting the cheese and adding more olive oil instead of butter. Everybody Happy 😉 


 
Pairs well with grilled shrimp, garlic scallops, salmon, chicken, a handful of steamed green peas or asparagus, garlic spinach or some roasted cherry tomatoes. 
 
To make my risotto extra flavorful I pureed half of the marinated artichoke hearts to fold in, and used the other half for garnish, something pretty to bite into you know…

Note worthy:

There’s already lots of lemon flavor from the marinade, so make you sure to taste as you go and only add more lemon juice at the end If you want it extra lemony.

Rustic Bowl of Artichoke Lemon Risotto with Thyme, Basil and Parmesan

Artichoke Lemon Risotto Recipe

A summery vegetarian side dish: artichoke risotto or Risotto ai Carciofi, with bright notes of zesty lemon, perfumed thyme and basil.

  • 1.5 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (-warm)
  • 1 batch marinated artichoke hearts ((about a dozen))
  • 1/2 cup onion or leeks (- finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 organic lemon (-j uiced and zested)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano or mascarpone cheese (- optional)
  • 4 tbsp fresh thyme and basil leaves
  • 1 pinch sea salt (+ more to taste)
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Prepare the marinated artichoke hearts according to this recipe.

  2. Heat up the vegetable stock and season to your taste with the sea salt.

  3. In a large skillet over medium low flame melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and one of olive oil. Add the onion or leeks and sautéed together until translucent.

  4. Stir in the risotto rice and toss to coat in the oils. Toast for a minute or so then hit it with the white wine. 

  5. Once the wine has been almost fully absorbed start adding in the stock a ladleful at a time while maintaining a constant gentle simmer. Make sure to stir well every time you add more stock and never let the rice dry out completely before adding more liquid. 

  6. The risotto is done in about 30 minutes, once the grains are al dente, they still have a little bite to them and not mushy. 

  7. Remove from heat and stir in the pureed artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter. 

  8. Add a little more warm stock, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice then stir again and cover with a lid and allow to sit for 3 minutes. If needed you can add a little more stock just before serving to help loosen it a little more. 

  9. Divide between 4 plates and serve with the reserved artichoke hearts on top, lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper and the fresh thyme and basil. 

More Risotto Recipes:

Seafood Risotto

truffle risotto recipe

Truffle Risotto

Pea Goat Cheese Risotto

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Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca Recipe – Grilled https://ciaoflorentina.com/spinach-artichoke-pizza-bianca-recipe-grilled/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/spinach-artichoke-pizza-bianca-recipe-grilled/#comments Mon, 29 May 2017 21:41:12 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13513 The best summery Pizza Bianca with ricotta, spinach and marinated artichoke hearts on thin and crispy crust quickly grilled on my cast iron griddle skillet.    Pizza Bianca meaning White pizza originally from Naples, basically a pizza without any tomato sauce, but you can add fresh tomatoes as a topping if you prefer.   In […]

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The best summery Pizza Bianca with ricotta, spinach and marinated artichoke hearts on thin and crispy crust quickly grilled on my cast iron griddle skillet. 
Grilled Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca
 
Pizza Bianca meaning White pizza originally from Naples, basically a pizza without any tomato sauce, but you can add fresh tomatoes as a topping if you prefer.
 
In this recipe I used the marinated artichoke hearts from the other day because they are truly to die for and perfect for summer meals.
 
Instead of cranking up the grill I actually heated up my cast iron skillet / griddle as hot as possible, stretched the pizza dough as thin a Is could and grilled it on both sides until nice grill marks form. This way it gets really nice and crisp, just like If I cooked it on a pizza stone but without cracking up the oven when its already hot outside.
Grilled Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca
 
Of course the magic here starts with the Italian Pizza Dough Recipe, which you can make the day of or prepare in advance and keep it in the fridge for 3 days. Otherwise I suggest making a double batch and learn how to freeze pizza dough for easy future living 🙂

What makes this grilled pizza Bianca exquisite is that it doesn’t need a sauce at all!

You’ll give it a lot of garlic flavor by rubbing the crispy crust with a garlic clove, then brush it with olive oil just like making bruschetta. Then we add a layer of fresh super creamy ricotta cheese, and in the same pan I actually grilled the pizza I add the baby spinach to wilt for just a minute. Trust me this is perfection!
Grilled Thin Crust Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca
 
If you insist on some kind of sauce I would go for a thin layer of basil or this sun dried tomato pesto.
 
Light, crispy, summery and healthy, these individual spinach artichoke pizzas are absolutely divine! Tough this is a vegetarian recipe you can easily add slices of this grilled chicken on top of the artichokes If you like.
 
No need to whip the ricotta neither if you get a good kind, this is really meant for lazy breezy summer days and nights as a light dinner that is loaded with flavor. And since they are individual pizzas you could even fold them in half and enjoy them as a sandwich! 
 Sliced Thin Crust Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca

Spinach Artichoke Pizza Bianca Recipe (Grilled)

The best summery Pizza Bianca with ricotta spinach and marinated artichoke hearts on thin and crispy crust quickly grilled in a cast iron griddle skillet. 

For the Grilled Pizza Dough

  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups COLD water
  • 1 lug extra virgin olive oil

the Toppings:

  • 1.5 cups fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt flakes
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Make the Pizza Crust:

  1. Add the flour, yeast and salt to the bowl of a kitchen aid mixer and combine. Switch to the dough hook attachment and start pouring in the water until all is combined. Knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and barely sticky to the bottom of the bowl. 

  2. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl add a little more flour.

  3. Dump the dough onto a cutting board and cut it into 8 pieces. Shape each one into a round ball and at this point you can individually wrap them in plastic wrapped lightly coated in some olive oil. Make sure they are loosely wrapped. 

  4. If you plan to make all 8 pizzas at once then you can place them all on a lightly oiled cookie sheet about 4 inches apart, lightly drizzle with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature in a draft free area for 2 to 3 hours. 

  5. If you aren’t going to make them all at once then wrap them loosely individually and nighter freeze or refrigerate. If refrigerated then use within 3 days for best results. Just place them on the kitchen counter for 2 hours before cooking to give them time to rise.

Make the Pizza:

  1. Preheat your cast iron grill skillet or griddle on high flame until very hot. Do not add any oil nor butter at all. Just a dry hot skillet.

  2. Sprinkle a little flour on your kitchen counter or pastry board and place one of the pizza dough balls on top. Sprinkle with a little flour and use the palm of your hands to press it in and stretch gently until very thing but the perfect size to fit your skillet.

  3. Add the stretched dough to the hot griddle skillet and grill for about 3 minutes each side until nice grill marks form and the crust is crispy.

  4. Use a pair of kitchen tongues to transfer it to a cutting board. 

  5. Take one of the garlic cloves and slice the end. With the cut side make sure to rub one side of the grilled pizza crust just like you would bruschetta. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of coarse sea salt.

  6. Spoon some of the ricotta cheese on top in a thin layer and top with the marinated artichoke hearts.

  7. Add the baby spinach to the same skillet you cooked the pizza in and toss it around for about 20 seconds or so until it starts to wilt. Transfer on top of the Pizza Bianca and serve with the red pepper flakes on top.

  8. Repeat with the remaining pizzas or refrigerate for later use. 

 

More Pizza Recipes:

Chicken pesto pizza recipe

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Ricotta Spinach Pizza Recipe

Ricotta Spinach Pizza

Burrata Pizza Recipe

Burrata Pizza

Egg Pizza Recipe with Prosciutto Ricotta and Spinach

Egg Pizza

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Marinated Artichoke Hearts Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/marinated-artichoke-hearts-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/marinated-artichoke-hearts-recipe/#comments Sun, 28 May 2017 02:10:42 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13506 Easy and good for you marinated artichoke hearts that taste like summer with a lemony twist. Gluten free and paleo, marinated the Italian way with healthy extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, herbs and a touch of garlic.    You can choose to steam your own artichokes if they are in season, or go […]

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Easy and good for you marinated artichoke hearts that taste like summer with a lemony twist. Gluten free and paleo, marinated the Italian way with healthy extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, herbs and a touch of garlic. 
Marinated Artichoke Hearts with Olive Oil, Garlic, Lemon and Herbs in Rustic Bowl
 
You can choose to steam your own artichokes if they are in season, or go for the canned artichoke hearts in water. Very important that they are packed in water and nothing else.
 
It takes less than 5 minutes to whisk up this fresh marinade and toss everything together. Best if they are prepared a night before, but a couple of hours of sitting in the fridge will work its magic too.

Remember to bring them to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving!

Lemon Olive Oil Marinade for Artichoke Hearts
 
If you want to grill the marinated artichoke hearts at this point, I strongly suggest using a veggie tray / basket so you don’t end up losing them in the grill 😉 
 
They go really well in a spinach artichoke dip, tossed in a pasta salad,  grilled chicken, as a toping for a summery thin crust pizza or bruschetta, throw them in a ricotta frittata, quiche, gratin or serve them as an appetizer on this Italian antipasto platter.
 Lemon Garlic Marinated Artichoke Hearts in Rustic Bowl

 

Marinated Artichoke Hearts Recipe

Easy and good for you marinated artichoke hearts in an Italian olive oil lemon and herbs marinade that is gluten free and paleo.

  • 12 steamed artichoke hearts
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c lemon juice (-freshly squeezed)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic (-grated)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (+ more to taste)
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (-minced)
  • 4 sprigs lemon thyme (leaves only)
  1. In a medium size bowl whisk together the olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt. Add the oregano, thyme and lemon zest and stir well to combine. Season to your taste with the sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

  2. Slice the artichoke hearts in quarters or halves and add them to a small salad bowl. Pour the marinade over the to and gently toss to coat all over. Taste and adjust seasonings again then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  3. Bring to room temperature about 20 minutes before serving. 

More Artichoke Recipes:

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Panini Recipe

Spinach Artichoke Panini

Spinach and Artichoke Soup Recipe

Spinach & Artichoke Soup

Spinach Artichoke Pizza

Artichoke Lemon Risotto

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Steak Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/sun-dried-tomato-pesto-steak-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/sun-dried-tomato-pesto-steak-recipe/#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 05:22:18 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13493 Disclosure: this post and giveaway is sponsored by SABER Grills – For the Love of Food! Quick and easy Italian sun dried tomato pesto with basil and garlic, drizzled over perfectly grilled steak with pistachios and fresh herbs. Because grilling season is officially here you guys. It was so hot today you can actually swim […]

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Disclosure: this post and giveaway is sponsored by SABER Grills – For the Love of Food!

Quick and easy Italian sun dried tomato pesto with basil and garlic, drizzled over perfectly grilled steak with pistachios and fresh herbs.

Because grilling season is officially here you guys. It was so hot today you can actually swim in the pool and not even be cold!

And who wants to heat up their kitchen when you can crank up the grill, buzz up an easy but oh so lovey sun dried tomato pesto spread to drizzle over a perfectly cooked steak and live your life ? Drink in hand, feet kicked up and everything! 

All you need to do is bring your steaks to room temperature for even cooking. While those rest you add a bunch of lovely things into the food processor, taste and adjust a couple of times until the pesto is just perfect.

I made mine without the nuts and just sprinkled some chopped pistachios on top but you can add a handful of pine nuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts to your pesto.

You could toss a green garden salad together as a side dish, go Paleo style or toss the leftover sun-dried tomato pesto with some fluffy gnocchi or your favorite pasta. It is also really nice over grilled salmon or chicken or as a spread in a sandwich. 

You can use sirloin steaks or fillets here as those cuts work great and are tender without any marinade. Just season them well all over and make sure to take the chill off of them before grilling.  

Lucky you because today I also have a fabulous giveaway and a chance for you to win a fantastic SABER Grill and other goodies below! Good Luck Friends!  

What I love about it:

At the heart of all SABER grills is an advanced infrared cooking system that eliminates flare-ups and uses 30% less fuel than traditional gas grills. The system allows for true zonal cooking, so food that requires different temperatures can easily be cooked side-by-side. It also has a wide temperature range and a rapid pre-heat cycle.

Read Saber Grill Giveaway Official Rules!

Saber Grill Giveaway 2017

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Steak Recipe

Quick and easy Italian sun dried tomato pesto with basil and garlic, drizzled over perfectly grilled steak with pistachios and fresh herbs.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

  • 4 oz sun dried tomatoes (-marinated in olive oil and drained)
  • 1-2 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup parmigiano reggianno cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (-optional)
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt (-or to taste)

For the Steaks

  • 2 X 8 oz sirloin steaks (-grass fed ( 1.5 inches thick))
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (-or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (-freshly cracked)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp pistachios (-roughly chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives & herbs (-for garnish)
  1. Add all of the pesto ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth to your liking. Taste and adjust seasonings with more sea salt and even garlic if desired. Add more olive oil as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use. If prepared a day in advance then bring it to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. 

  2. Bring the steaks to room temperature for 15 minutes and pat them dry very well with paper towels. 

  3. Drizzle with a lug of olive oil and sprinkle all over with the sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika. Make sure to rub the spices all over including the sides.

  4. Meanwhile crank up the grill to medium high. Using a pair of tongues and add the steaks to the hot grill. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side for a 1.5 inch thick steak. Grill the sides as well for about 30 seconds each. 

  5. Transfer the steaks to a plate and loosely cover. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving drizzled with the sun dried tomato pesto, pistachios and fresh herbs. 

  6. Garnish with some shaved parmigiano reggianno cheese on top!

You’ll Also Love:

Italian Steak Recipe

Italian Steak Palermo Style

Chimichurri Steak Recipe with Peppercorn Crust

Chimichurri Steak

Peppercorn crusted Steak on a Cast iron Skillet

Peppercorn Steak

Sicilian Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

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No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/no-bake-mascarpone-cheesecake-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/no-bake-mascarpone-cheesecake-recipe/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 00:38:49 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13473 The Best no bake cheesecake recipe made with creamy Mascarpone, a quick blueberry  lime sauce and an easy 3 minute graham cracker crust! Like a Tiramisu but faster and simpler!   Perfect for Christmas, Easter, Summer or a random Tuesday! just because it is so delicious and easy to make in no time!   If […]

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The Best no bake cheesecake recipe made with creamy Mascarpone, a quick blueberry  lime sauce and an easy 3 minute graham cracker crust! Like a Tiramisu but faster and simpler!
No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust, Berries and Lime
 
Perfect for Christmas, Easter, Summer or a random Tuesday! just because it is so delicious and easy to make in no time!
 
If you are a fan of my Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake then you will also love this one. It is somewhat of an unpretentious quick riff on that.
No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust, Berries and Lime
 
I actually made this beauty without any eggs at all, can you even believe it ? True story! 
 
You will need a springform pan like this one (<–amazon affiliate), but truth be told you could actually put this in a jar instead with or without the crust, whatever you feel like.
No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust, Berries and Lime
 

FAQ: Can you freeze a no bake cheesecake ?

Yes you can! Just remember to thaw it out in the fridge a couple of hours before serving.
P.S. That is not even a cake stand you guys teeheehee! Just a plate placed on top of an upside down bowl. 
No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust, Berries and Lime

 

No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipe

The Best no bake cheesecake recipe made with creamy Mascarpone, a quick blueberry lime sauce and an easy 3 minute graham cracker crust!

  • 12 oz heavy whipping cream (-chilled)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 10 oz Italian Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1 lb blueberries
  • 1 lime (-juiced)
  • 4 tbsp honey (+ more to taste)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 limes (thinly sliced into half rounds)
  • 1 rose (for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp lemon balm leaves for garnish (-optional)

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 9 Graham crackers
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar (-organic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 tbsp butter (-melted & salted)

Make the no bake graham cracker crust:

  1. Add the crackers, brown sugar, vanilla extract and melted butter to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until crumbled and everything is mixed together.

    Butter the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan then add the cracker mix. Spread it evenly over the bottom and use the bottom of a glass to press it in tightly until compacted. At this point you can refrigerate it until needed or bake it at 325” for about 10 minutes for a crispier crust.

Quick Blueberry Sauce

  1. Add the blueberries, honey and lime juice to a small sauce pan. Cover with a lid and cook on low flame until the blueberries burst, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more honey at this point if desired. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

Make the Cake

  1. Use a hand held mixer or your kitchen aid with the whisk attachment and whip the heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar until fluffy and on the stiff side. Cover and refrigerate. 

  2. Use the same whisk attachment and whip up the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, a few minutes. Using a slotted spoon start adding the blueberries to the whipped mascarpone leaving as much of the juices behind as possible. Mix only until combined.

  3. Add the whipped cream on top and using a spatula fold it into the cheese and berry filling. Take good care not to over mix this so the cake stays fluffy and creamy.

  4. Place the spring form pan with the graham cracker crust on a serving plate then pour in the mascarpone cheese mixture inside. Spread it evenly and garnish with the fresh blackberries.

  5. At this point you can pop it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to quickly set it, or refrigerate for a couple of hours or until set to your liking.

  6. Before serving remove the spring form side and garnish with the lime slices all around the cake.

  7. Garnish with a rose, lemon balm, or any edible flowers you like on top and enjoy!

Mascarpone CheeseCake with Berries and Lime

More Italian Desserts:

Berry Tiramisu Trifle Recipe

Berry Tiramisu Trifle

Limoncello Cake Recipe or Lemon Tiramisu

Limoncello Cake or Lemon Tiramisu

Frozen Yogurt Bars

Frozen Yogurt Bars

Best Lemon Bars Recipe

Best Lemon Bars

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Healthy Homemade Salsa Recipe Video https://ciaoflorentina.com/restaurant-style-salsa-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/restaurant-style-salsa-recipe/#comments Sat, 13 May 2017 21:58:45 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13464 An easy and healthy homemade salsa recipe + Video, restaurant style. Made with canned fire roasted or San Marzano tomatoes, fresh cilantro, red and green onion, a touch of cumin for that Latin flavor and a good dash of smoked paprika.    Today I have a quick post on how to make the best homemade […]

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An easy and healthy homemade salsa recipe + Video, restaurant style. Made with canned fire roasted or San Marzano tomatoes, fresh cilantro, red and green onion, a touch of cumin for that Latin flavor and a good dash of smoked paprika. 
 
Jar of Homemade Salsa Restaurant with Cilantro and Chips
Today I have a quick post on how to make the best homemade salsa, better than your favorite Mexican restaurant! Because let’s be honest: nobody can do it better than you!  
 
Healthy and fat free, this is my favorite 5 minute red salsa recipe to throw together for a pool party or any unexpected guests. Perfect to serve with chips or even drizzle over some shrimp tacos or grilled chicken. Store it in a mason jar with a lid and take it to go!
Healthy Homemade Salsa Recipe in Food Processor

 Important things to remember:

  • Make sure your tomatoes are chilled before starting or refrigerate the salsa for a couple of hours after you mix everything together.
  • Use a food processor like this (<-amazon affiliate) not a blender. Blending it just a second too much will turn it into a sort of smoothie, so proceed with caution 😉 

Bowl of Healthy Homemade Salsa with Chips

  • Take it easy with the cumin! Start with a little bit and add more after tasting the final salsa as this little spice can be pungent and a little bit goes a long way.
  • If you like your salsa on the chunky side make sure to drain the tomatoes before proceeding.
  • Be mindful of the jalapeño. If you like your salsa mild start with half, if you like it spicy then add one or even more jalapeños.  
  • Taste and adjust seasonings 11 times and enjoy!

Healthy Homemade Salsa Recipe

The best, easy and healthy homemade salsa made with canned fire roasted or San Marzano tomatoes, fresh cilantro, red and green onion, a touch of cumin for that Latin flavor and a good dash of smoked paprika. 

  • 28 oz canned fire roasted or San Marzano tomatoes (-whole)
  • 1/2 small red onion (-sliced orcut into chunks)
  • 2 green onions (scallions) (-cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 cloves garlic (-grated)
  • 3/4 c fresh cilantro leaves (+ more to taste)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 lime (-juiced)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika (+ more as desired)
  1. Add the red onion, scallions, garlic and jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor. Give it a buzz or two until chopped.

  2. Add the tomatoes without juices, spices and cilantro on top and pour in the lime juice.

  3. Very carefully press the pulse button a few quick times making sure you don’t over chop the salsa.

  4. Transfer to a bowl and taste seasonings. Add more lime and sea salt if desired. At this point you can add the reserved tomatoes juices if you are wanting a thinner consistency. 

    If you want it even smokier make sure to add a little bit more smoked paprika and mix well. 

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Sweet Potato Mash Recipe (Healthy) https://ciaoflorentina.com/sweet-potato-mash-recipe-healthy/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/sweet-potato-mash-recipe-healthy/#comments Thu, 11 May 2017 22:07:52 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13452 The best ever roasted sweet potato mash recipe that is easy, healthy, savory and made from start to finish in one large roasting pan.   Just as I finished saying summer was almost here and the pool water was absolutely perfect to stick my toes in, yesterday was time to crank up the oven again. […]

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The best ever roasted sweet potato mash recipe that is easy, healthy, savory and made from start to finish in one large roasting pan.
Sweet Potato Mash with Herbs in Roasting Dish
 
Just as I finished saying summer was almost here and the pool water was absolutely perfect to stick my toes in, yesterday was time to crank up the oven again. I kid you not, it was gloomy and damp with a Thanksgiving feel in the air. Luckily i had a bag of sweet potatoes in the pantry so I decided to throw them in the oven for a comforting but healthy meal. 
 
By roasting the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them you keep most of the nutrients inside and also add deep layers of flavors to your final dish! 
Seasoned Sweet Potatoes Roasting
 
Basically I did a spin on the forever favorite Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds, but this time around I cut them into cubes and tossed them well with lost of flavorful spices before roasting them in a super hot oven. Then I added a couple of dabs of chive butter I had in the fridge and mashed everything right there in the same pan, then sprinkle with fresh chives or whatever herbs tickle your taste buds and enjoy it steaming hot.

If you leave out the butter you can even call them Paleo 😉

Make sure you use a fork or spatula to scrape up all those golden brown bits from the bottom and the corners of your roasting pan. They will become a super delicious part of the final dish and I would dare argue that is really the best part hehe
Healthy Roasted Sweet Potatoes to Mash

Goes well with: 

Rustic Roasted Sweet Potato Mash with Fresh Chives and Thyme

Sweet Potato Mash Recipe (Healthy)

The best ever roasted sweet potato mash recipe that is easy, healthy, savory and made from start to finish in one large roasting pan.

  • 3 lb sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil + more as needed
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tbsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tbsp oregano
  • 1 pinch Black pepper (-freshly cracked)
  • 2 tbsp herb butter
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh chives and thyme
  1. Preheat oven to 400” F

  2. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.

  3. Drizzle the olive in the bottom of a large roasting dish. Add the paprika, sea salt, onion powder and Oregano. Crack some black pepper on top and use a fork to combine everything.

  4. Add the potatoes to the spice mix and use your hand to toss everything to coat well all over.

  5. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes then use a spatula to give everything a mix. 

  6. Turn the heat up to 500″ F and Cook another 10 to 15 minutes or so until the potatoes are cooked through and golden around the edges. 

  7. Remove from the oven and very carefully place the pan on a stable surface. Add the chive butter on top and using a masher rustically crush the patatoes to your liking making sure to gather any brown bits from the bottom and the corners.

    Sprinkle with the fresh chives and thyme and serve!

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Open Faced Tomato Avocado Sandwiches with Goat Cheese https://ciaoflorentina.com/open-faced-tomato-avocado-sandwiches-goat-cheese/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/open-faced-tomato-avocado-sandwiches-goat-cheese/#comments Sat, 06 May 2017 23:01:02 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13440 The best open faced tomato sandwich made with thin slices of olive bread, slathered with a fancy creamy whipped goat cheese spread, then topped with the most fragrant juicy heirloom tomatoes you can get your hands on. Without any mayo at all!   Perfectly ripe avocado slices make for a lovely addition, but totally optional. […]

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The best open faced tomato sandwich made with thin slices of olive bread, slathered with a fancy creamy whipped goat cheese spread, then topped with the most fragrant juicy heirloom tomatoes you can get your hands on. Without any mayo at all!
Open Faced Tomato Sandwich with Goat Cheese on Wooden Board
 
Perfectly ripe avocado slices make for a lovely addition, but totally optional.
 
Finish your sandwiches with a fine coarse sea salt and your favorite herbs. Chives, thyme, cilantro or basil play nice here, or you could even sprinkle them with some healthy baby arugula.
Open Faced Tomato Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Herbs Images
 
These really make the perfect appetizers for Mother’s Day, Sunday brunch or simply as a light dinner, served straight off of the wooden board you assembled them on.
 
If you would like to pack them to take to a party then arrange them on a large platter, one next to each other and loosely cover with foil. 
Open Faced Tomato Sandwich with Whipped Goat Cheese and Herbs

Open Faced Tomato Avocado Sandwiches with Goat Cheese

The best open faced tomato sandwich made with thin slices of olive bread slathered with a fancy creamy whipped goat cheese spread, then topped with the most fragrant juicy heirloom tomatoes and creamy avocado.

  • 8 slices olive bread ((small))
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes ((large ones, red and yellow))
  • 1 large California avocado ((optional))
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs (for garnish)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Goat Cheese Spread

  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp fresh herbs
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper or to taste

Make the Goat Cheese Spread

  1. Use a small food processor and whip the goat cheese together with the olive oil and the herbs until smooth and incorporated. Best to use the pulse button at first. Taste and season more with sea salt and black pepper then refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made ahead, just make sure to bring it to room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

Assemble the Sandwiches

  1. Slice the olive bread into thin slices and use a butter knife or even a spoon to slather some of the goat cheese spread on top in a relatively thin layer to your liking.

  2. Use a serrated knife and slice the tomatoes into 8 slices each. Peel and slice the avocado into 8 slices as well.

  3. Top each slice of bread with one slice of avocado, one sliced of each of the red and yellow tomatoes. Sprinkle with the sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with the fresh herbs.

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Strawberry White Wine Sangria Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/strawberry-white-wine-sangria/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/strawberry-white-wine-sangria/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 23:09:24 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13433 An easy summer strawberry sangria recipe made with white wine, a touch of orange and sweetened to taste with wild honey. Perfect for a lady’s brunch party or to make for a crowd.   Marked by fine persistent bubbles and because VOVETI prosecco has an orange blossom aroma, I just wanted to bring that out […]

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An easy summer strawberry sangria recipe made with white wine, a touch of orange and sweetened to taste with wild honey. Perfect for a lady’s brunch party or to make for a crowd.
Pitcher of Strawberry White Wine Sangria
 
Marked by fine persistent bubbles and because VOVETI prosecco has an orange blossom aroma, I just wanted to bring that out even more with a little squeeze of orange juice with the last of our oranges. To that I added lots of fragrant strawberries and a few sprigs of lemon balm, just because, but you can use mint instead. Refrigerate that for a couple of hours then serve over ice topped with some more bubbly wine.
 
If you want to make it last for a couple of days, make sure to discard the orange slices after 5 hours or so, or they will make your drink bitter. 
 
Believe it or not, as soon as the morning dew has dried up, we over here in Southern California are about ready to jump in the pool and cool off from the heat. And what better way to do that than with a fruity cold pitcher of sangria poolside, right ?! 
VOVETI prosecco bottles
 

Best part about this recipe is that its made without sugar!

So you don’t need to make any syrup, no mess, just simply naturally sweeten with honey. 
 
VOVETI prosecco is dry and features flavors or pear, green apple, melon and ripe peach that endure on the palate and invite a second glass. So you can get really creative with your sangria and go for peaches, pineapple, berries and even apples instead of oranges. Whatever fruit is available in your area, even frozen fruit works great as it keeps the drinks extra cold. 
 
Note worthy: Crafted from 100% Prosecco (Glera grapes), VOVETI prosecco is a dry brut DOC Prosecco with tempered acidity and a fresh, graceful profile.
Pitcher of strawberry sangria with oranges and white wine

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Strawberry White Wine Sangria Recipe

An easy summer strawberry sangria made with white wine, a touch of orange and sweetened to taste with wild honey. Perfect for a lady’s brunch party or to make for a crowd.

  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 2 oranges (-small)
  • 1 bottle VOVETI Prosecco white wine
  • 1/3 cup wild honey (+ more to taste)
  • 5 sprigs lemon balm or mint ((optional))
  1. Rinse the strawberries and using a pairing knife hull them and discard the green leafy ends. Slice them and add them to a large pitcher.

  2. Cut and squeeze the juice out of 1 of the oranges and mix well with the honey. Pour over the sliced strawberries.

  3. Slice the remaining orange and add to the pitcher. Top with the wine and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

  4. Serve over ice garnished with lemon balm or fresh mint.

Still Thirsty ?

Strawberry Basil Lemonade Recipe

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Cucumber Mojito Recipe

Cucumber Mojito

Grapefruit Paloma Cocktails with Limes

Paloma Cocktail

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Cucumber Salmon Appetizers https://ciaoflorentina.com/cucumber-salmon-appetizers/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/cucumber-salmon-appetizers/#comments Wed, 26 Apr 2017 22:12:33 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13396 5 ingredients, quick and easy spring appetizers made with crunchy cucumber and smoked salmon on RITZ Crackers, then finished with your favorite fresh herbs. Perfect finger food for Mother’s Day brunch, Easter and endless summer garden parties! Pretty and delicious and super fast to throw together at the last minute. I stopped at Target to […]

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5 ingredients, quick and easy spring appetizers made with crunchy cucumber and smoked salmon on RITZ Crackers, then finished with your favorite fresh herbs.

Cucumber Salmon Appetizers with Mascarpone Cream Cheese and Fresh Herbs

Perfect finger food for Mother’s Day brunch, Easter and endless summer garden parties! Pretty and delicious and super fast to throw together at the last minute.

Cucumber Salmon Appetizers with Mascarpone Cream Cheese and Fresh Herbs

I stopped at Target to pick up the RITZ Crackers and also grabbed a few of their fresh herbs and edible violas to add to my herb garden.

Cucumber Salmon Appetizers Platter with Mascarpone Cream Cheese and Fresh Herbs

Chives and dill are my go to herbs for these appetizers, but I just couldn’t help making them extra special with a few lovely violas.

I also used some mascarpone cream cheese but a creamy goat cheese would be just as lovely! Better yet, I’m going to mix and match for the next party! My basil and thyme should be all grown by then so i can get even more creative with all the different herbs.


 

Cucumber Salmon Appetizers

5 ingredients, quick and easy spring appetizers made with crunchy cucumber and smoked salmon on RITZ Crackers, then finished with your favorite fresh herbs.

  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 4 oz smoked wild salmon
  • 1/3 cup fresh chives and dill
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese ((or goat cheese))
  • 1/4 c viola flowers
  • 15 RITZ Crackers
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper fir garnish
  1. Slice the cucumber Into 1/4 inch slices.

  2. Spread a little mascarpone cream cheese or goat cheese on each cracker.

  3. top with a slice of cucumber, a piece of smoked salmon and sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs. Garnish with edible flowers and freshly cracked black pepper if desired!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Frozen Yogurt Bars Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/frozen-yogurt-bars-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/frozen-yogurt-bars-recipe/#comments Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:11:15 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13405 Healthy frozen yogurt bars made with sugar free, non fat creamy Greek yogurt, wild honey, fresh fruit a fruity blueberry purée.  Perfect for breakfast or a late night night snack, or simply to cool off during the hot summer days. These protein packed frozen bars are the best thing ever! Did you know 1 cup […]

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Healthy frozen yogurt bars made with sugar free, non fat creamy Greek yogurt, wild honey, fresh fruit a fruity blueberry purée. 

Frozen Yogurt Bars with Berries and Honey - Healthy

Perfect for breakfast or a late night night snack, or simply to cool off during the hot summer days. These protein packed frozen bars are the best thing ever! Did you know 1 cup of organic Greek yogurt has about 29 grams of protein ? True story!

Assemble a DIY frozen yogurt bar outside by the pool or for your next garden party.

Just remember to keep them on ice so they won’t melt!

Frozen Greek Yogurt Berry Bars

I made a blueberry purée just like I did for the Berry Mascarpone Cake, to mix up with my yogurt before freezing. But I wanted nice rustic textures so I chose not to use the food processor this time. Instead 3 minutes on the stove top was all it took to get those nice blueberries to burst into the loveliest vanilla berry sauce. 

Tough you could use popsicle molds like these here (amazon affiliate), I find that a shallow pan is simply perfect. You can cut them into perfect squares or just use your hands to tear them into rustic shapes.

Purple Frozen Greek Yogurt with Berries in a Pan

There are endless combinations you can do here.

Here are a few of my favorites: 

  • Strawberry + kiwi + pistachios
  • Honey + granola + bee pollen
  • Mango + strawberry
  • Cocoa powder + chocolate chunks + mint

Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars with Blueberries, Blackberries and Honey

Frozen Yogurt Bars Recipe

Healthy frozen yogurt bars made with sugar free, non fat creamy Greek yogurt, wild honey, fresh fruit and a blueberry purée.

  • 5 oz blueberries
  • 2 oz blackberries
  • 1/2 lemon or lime (-juice only)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp wild honey (+ more to taste)
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt ((non fat))
  • 5 viola flowers for garnish ((optional))
  1. Add the blueberries to a small sauce pan together with the lime or lemon juice. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes until the blueberries have all popped. Allow to cool completely. 

  2. In a mixing bowl combine together the yogurt, honey and vanilla extract. 

  3. Add the blueberry sauce and mix well.

  4. Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper and pour the yogurt mix on top.

  5. Sprinkle with the blackberries and some fresh blueberries. Garnish with a few violas id available.

  6. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours until completely frozen. 

  7. Cut or break into 2 inch bars and serve with lost of napkins. 

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Best Marinara Sauce Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/best-marinara-sauce-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/best-marinara-sauce-recipe/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 21:50:56 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13384 How to make the best, authentic Italian Marinara Sauce recipe from scratch, with organic San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. Video Below! Easy, chunky, creamy, rustic, hearty, flavorful marinara sauce or as known in America “Sunday Gravy” , is made at home with a few ingredients and a little patience. This is so good you’ll […]

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How to make the best, authentic Italian Marinara Sauce recipe from scratch, with organic San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. Video Below!

The best Italian Marinara Sauce with Basil and Garlic in a Red Pot.

Easy, chunky, creamy, rustic, hearty, flavorful marinara sauce or as known in America “Sunday Gravy” , is made at home with a few ingredients and a little patience. This is so good you’ll never be able to buy it in a jar. Gotta make your own kids!

The secret to the classic Italian sauce, lies in slowly simmering the tomatoes with onion, basil and garlic until thick and reduced and the natural sugars have concentrated their flavors. So thick you can literally use it as a pizza sauce as I do of course. 

There is no heavy cream, no wine and no anchovies in an authentic marinara sauce.

The Best Marinara Sauce with Basil and Garlic, Classic Italian!

It is a simple vegan and vegetarian sauce that you can serve with spaghetti and ricotta meatballs, clams and mussels, shrimp, chicken parmesan, peppercorn steak, mushrooms, eggplant, ravioli, lasagna or whatever your favorite pasta is. Even perfect for dipping your cheese sticks!

Q: How to thicken marinara sauce ?

A: Continue cooking on low flame until most of the water evaporates and the gravy has thickened to your liking.

Rustic Marinara Sauce with Basil, Garlic and Oregano next to spaghetti pasta.

Best Marinara Sauce Recipe

How to make the best, authentic Italian Marinara Sauce recipe from scratch, with organic San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. 

  • 2 X 28 oz cans San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion (-diced)
  • 8 cloves garlic (-minced)
  • 1 leaf bay
  • 4 sprigs basil
  • 1/3 c fresh basil leaves (- sliced or torn)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt (( or to your taste))
  1. Heat a heavy bottom large pot on medium low flame. Add a lug of olive oil and the diced onion with a pinch of sea salt. Cook for about 10 minutes until traslucent taking good care not to burn it.

  2. Stir in the minced garlic and let it infuse the oil for about 30 seconds.

  3. Use your hands and crush the tomatoes as you add them to the pot with the onion and garlic. Rustic chunks are what we are after.

  4. Add the bay leaf and the 4 sprigs of basil then bring everything to a gentle simmer. Partially cover with a lid and cook down until reduced and thick to your liking. About an hour or so. Stir a few times making sure the sugars from the tomatoes don’t stick to the bottom.

  5. After the sauce has reduced season to taste with the sea salt. Discard the bay leaf and basil sprigs.

  6. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the reserved fresh basil. Serve with your favorite pasta to transfer to jars and refrigerate up to one week.

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Easy Coconut Macaroons Recipe https://ciaoflorentina.com/easy-coconut-macaroons-recipe/ https://ciaoflorentina.com/easy-coconut-macaroons-recipe/#respond Fri, 14 Apr 2017 22:05:55 +0000 https://ciaoflorentina.com/?p=13366 Easy coconut macaroons that are chewy, flourless, dairy and gluten free, made without any condensed milk. Just coconut, egg whites, sugar and vanilla!  Legend has it that the macaroons originated sometime in the 8th or 9th century in Venice, Italy. From there they made their way to France in 1533 with Catherine de Medici’s pastry […]

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Easy coconut macaroons that are chewy, flourless, dairy and gluten free, made without any condensed milk. Just coconut, egg whites, sugar and vanilla! 

Photo of Coconut Macaroons Garnished with Shredded Coconut and Violas

Legend has it that the macaroons originated sometime in the 8th or 9th century in Venice, Italy. From there they made their way to France in 1533 with Catherine de Medici’s pastry chef. 

Melt your favorite chocolate bar in a double boiler, whisk in a little butter and turn these into some chocolate dipped coconut macaroons in no time. Or maybe you prefer a chocolate drizzle.

I like mine chewy inside but with a little golden crunch on the outside, so I toasted the coconut first. If you don’t care about that, feel free to skip the toasting step.

If you are after FLUFFY, then make sure to FOLD the coconut into the egg whites. No over-mixing allowed. 

Where to store them ?

Store in an airtight container at room temperature after they have cooled off completely. Since there is no flour and no leavening agents involved, these cookies are perfect for Passover as well. 

Photo of Coconut Macaroons Garnished with Shredded Coconut and Violas

Easy Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Easy coconut macaroons, chewy, flourless, dairy and gluten free, made without any condensed milk. Just coconut, egg whites, sugar and vanilla! 

  • 4 cups shredded coconut ((sweetened))
  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites ((organic))
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350” F

  2. Place the coconut on a baking sheet and spread it evenly. Toast it in the preheated oven for a few minutes taking good care not to burn it. About 3 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

  3. In the bowl of your mixer add the egg whites, vanilla, sugar and sea salt. Using the whisk attachment make sure to whisk until frothy and everything is combined well.

  4. Add the toasted coconut to the frothy egg whites and using a spatula FOLD until combined. Do not overmix.

  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. At this point you can use a spoon or your hands to form the macaroons into 24 golf ball size balls. You can also use a pastry bag with a wide cake decorating tip if you prefer a little more design to your macaroons.

  7. Place them on the parchment lined baking sheet an inch apart from each other.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven until golden to your liking. Check after 15 minutes then give it a few more if you like them darker.

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

  10. At this point you can store in an airtight container or dip them in some chocolate.

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