Taverna @DineTaverna

TAVERNA ~ Dallas, TX

I really enjoyed my brunch at Taverna. First off, I appreciate the “fresh squeezed” Orange Juice, immensely! Yes $6 might be a high price but when you are used to real orange juice, you squeeze your own oranges at home, you hate concentrate or any bottled so called orange juices not only for their awful taste but for all the junk they are made of and how bad they are for you, it is so nice to go out for Brunch and enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice! So here you see, I really appreciate a restaurant that uses real – fresh -ingredients and serves freshly squeezed orange juice, thank you Taverna!

The atmosphere at Taverna is allegra, the inside dining area showed tables of Saturday morning Brunchers, a couple tables with balloons noticeably celebrating birthdays, the room was full but cozy. The brick walls, the open kitchen and bar give the atmosphere a warm feeling, typically Italian ūüôā The waiters are very polite, professional and friendly. The front of the restaurant opens in a very European style where customers can enjoy eating alfresco and furry friends are comfortable.

I ordered the Chef’s (oven baked ) Frittata; shrimp, arugula, white onion, toasted baby heirloom tomatoes with avocado a delicately delicious combination! Jeff ordered “Eggs Any Style”, scrambled with ham and breakfast potatoes and was very happy with his meal also.

We were delighted to have been offered a few slices of their San Daniele, Prosciutto Crudo, it was delicious, I was impressed ūüôā

All of the ingredients in the food were very fresh and natural tasting. The Lunch and Dinner Menus are inviting, typical Italian plates and a nice variety to choose from, including Gluten Free Menus ūüôā ¬†Which leaves me with the intention of coming back again!

Buon Appetito!

TECHmunch

This years TECHmunch was my very 1st Food blog convention! The convention was held at the Whole Foods Market HQ located at 550 Bowie St., a Whole foods Mega Store that you could lose yourself in, especially during a cold and rainy wet, mega event filled weekend, SXSW!  The city is overpopulated with visitors from all around for the annual film, interactive, music festivals and conferences. http://sxsw.com

TECHmunch AGENDA

A Conversation with Chef Brian Malarkey & Addie Broyles  @brianmalarkley @broylesa

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Addie Broyles and Chef Malarkey were great speakers! They spoke about food, restaurants and life.

Chef Malarkey, owner of 7 successful restaurants, uniquely named by his love for fabrics, Seersucker, Herringbone to name a couple. I really loved this idea, the combination of two of the things I love, he brought together. Yes, I was very intoned to what he had to say and his stories. Stories of his childhood, what makes the guy and how he works. I have to say I was intrigued by it all.

Take a look for yourself, http://brianmalarkey.com

At the end of the interview, conversation, explanation and advise he gave us an anteprima of what was next on his menu. He said “breakfast for dinner, eggs and…..” I think I fell in love right there.

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“How to keep your blog secure hangout”¬†Andrew Wilder¬†@EatingRules

So much info here! Back up your blog and how to! Lots of expert advise, passwords should be strong, decisive and unique, no word and number combinations, he gave plugins and a special coupon towards his own service, lots of good technical advise!

(I wish I understood more of what he was talking about!)
advised links: http://www.blogtutor.com, http://www.cloudflare.com

Introducing Cookbook Cafe – Remix your Recipes into Cookbooks

Babette Pepaj, @bakespace @CookbookCafe http://www.Bakespace.com http://www.CookbookCafe
Babette is the founder and CEO of CookbookCafe and founder of TECHmunch!
Cookbook cafe is also an app! Its all about recipes and making your own virtual cookbook! Yes, I am interested! Wow, I loved it!
Who is Babette?: http://www.socaltech.com/interview_with_babette_pepaj_bakespace/s-0023321.html

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Eric Schwartzman @ericschwartzman
Legal and Reputational Risks of Blogging
Top legal and reputation risks of flood blogging, ethics, disclosure, lots of good legal information to keep yourself out of trouble blogging!

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Kristin Guy @dineXdesign
The Value of Good Typography Hangout
Lots of fun seeing the different types of fonts and overlaying of photos! An app and website to check out, http://www.whatthefont.com

The app tells you from a photo what font is used!
Also, some cute rules to follow, like DO NOT USE the
“mom jeans of fonts” ¬†(left)

Serena Ehlrich @Serena

Dir. of Social, Business Wire, she is a HOOT! Talk about keeping the audience entertained and alert! Serena is awesome! She gave us SOOOO much info on editorial calendars, pulling the audience, brand loyal/products, rainy day writes, I actually felt like I was a serious blogger listening to Serena, much of her advise I am doing just naturally trying to keep up with my everyday life and blogging, quite a juggle but fun, just like Serena’s talk!

(How didn’t get a photo of this women? I guess she had ALL my attention!)

Natanya Anderson @Natanya

How to Rock Pinterest

Dir. Social Media @WholeFoods, Natanya says better Pinterest than Facebook for social networking food blogs! She gave a lot of info on blogging and Whole Foods pinning and social networking.

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Lunch was sponsored by Whole Foods and gift cards were given out to venture out into Austin’s huge gastronomic REAL FOOD court.

I¬†spent most my time exploring (part) of the store and taking photos. I filled my plate with a little of not nearly everything; Poblano goat cheese mashed potatoes, blue cheese stuffed portobello mushroom, Korean short ribs, chinese pork roast, balsamic roasted beets to name a few of my samples, Oh! and also took a taste of the Pork belly that was being prepared by request. I finally sat to eat I realized my lunch break was nearly finished which didn’t stop me from clicking photos while semi sitting down with a fork in my hand trying to stuff the delicious food in my mouth.

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Back upstairs to the convention for dessert! Local vendors brought in their products for us to taste.

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Gluten free and Vegan Cupcakes from  bake on Austin http://www.bakeonaustin.com

GoodPop All Natural Frozen Popsicleswww.goodpops.com

Toffee & Chocolates from http://www.thecandyjartx.com http://www.wisemanhousechocolates.com

Due to my flight out of Austin I had to miss the last two speakers at the convention. I had a wonderful time, I learned so much and learned I have so much to learn!

 

*A special Thank you to my bestie, Julie, for her hospitality,XO!

[Now I have my own business cards too!]

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Tiramisu’!

Senza glutine/Gluten free! Ta Da!

I found this recipe for grain free Lady Fingers by “Satisfying Eats” and had to try it out, it seemed to good to be true!

http://www.satisfyingeats.com/uncategorized/breakfast-in-my-world-grain-free-and-sf-tiramisu-but-not-taste-free/#comment-9967

The Lady fingers turned out like the traditional Italian “Pavesini”. An egg based, lightly sweet, thin dry cookie that when in contact with humidity absorbs and softens quickly.

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I was going to be serving the Tiramisu in separate dessert dishes so I made little round cookies to put at the bottom of the cup then a few larger circles to put as a second layer and the remaining ones I made a few inches long to fill the top of the dishes. I used a ziplock baggie instead of a pastry bag as suggested in the recipe and it worked out just fine.

I used agave nectar to sweeten the mixture instead of Stevia. I cannot tolerate the taste of Stevia. It tastes like saccharin or artificial sweeteners that luckily in my life I have never been able to use because of the terrible taste they have to me.

I have made Tiramisu’ hundreds of times in Italy. I have perfectioned the method of making the cream to a soft, thick, luscious sweetness! I love preparing it!

I use evaporated organic cane sugar, which I used my grinder to turn to powder, and of which made my egg whites and the cream beautiful champagne, beige color!

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Making the cream is simple but not easy. **There are many things to take into consideration and apply when preparing it. The eggs and mascarpone need to be at room temperature. The sugar needs ground fine. The egg whites need to be stiff and folding them into the mascarpone takes patience and delicacy.

My Tiramisu’ recipe:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 350 grams Mascarpone
  • 85 grams Evaporated organic cane sugar
  • Cacao (approximately 1 cup)
  • a couple Tbsp grated dark chocolate
  • a 3 expresso Moka of caffe (equivalent to 3 expressos)
  • Marsala (dry) to your taste

Separate eggs, beat egg whites until half way stiff, add 30 grams sugar and beat until stiff.  Cream together the yolks with 30 grams of the sugar until light in color and  until they become a creamy Рspongey consistency. Mix in the mascarpone to the egg yolk cream until all lumps are gone. Delicately add the egg whites to the cream, fold in with a wooden spoon.

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Tiramisu’ is prepared in layers. First dip the lady finger(s) in the expresso and cover with the cream.

[If you are doing a full pan dip lady fingers and make a layer at the bottom of the plate you are using, then add a layer of cream, cacao and so forth.]

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Sift cacao over the cream, enough to dust the top. Repeat with the dipped lady finger(s), then the cream, cacao, until dish(es) are full. The last layer before dusting with cacao I sprinkle with grated dark chocolate and then dust with cacao.

The expresso should be made in advance and the remaining 15 grams of sugar added to it while still warm. Add the Marsala to taste and let cool before dipping the lady fingers.

**The eggs in this cream recipe are not cooked. The cream is made with raw eggs. I advise you use fresh eggs, wash them before you crack them open. Sanitize your hands well after touching the egg shells before continuing handling, preparing the recipe.

*makes 8 servings

Buon Apetito!IMG_7713

Spaghetti anyone?

Since the beginning of Autumn I have been enjoying roasting all varieties of squash. Insistently trying to find a similar flavor to the Italian pumpkin I was used to preparing steamed, in bianco, in my minestrones and was the pumpkin I used in my delicious pumpkin & bacon sauce. The pumpkin or “zucca Mantovana” I was familiar with was a green, grey color not very tall, or big, for that matter, with a stern, bright orange pulp.

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¬† ¬†Maybe a Kobocha squash? The taste isn’t quite the same though… maybe all fruits and vegetables don’t have the same taste grown in different places? I believe my assumption to be truth. My basil plant doesn’t have near the aroma or taste as my Italian basil plants did ūüė¶

¬† ¬† ¬† Meanwhile, during my hunt I turned to a different squash and decided to give Spaghetti squash the Royal treatment! I was putting this squash to the Test. A sort of bullish expectation, taking out my my nostalgic upsetness on a squash that calls itself “Spaghetti”. Okay Mr.Spaghetti squash, lets just see what you are capable of!

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I roasted spaghetti squash and treated it as if it were real pasta, traditional spaghetti. Yes, the gluten full, wheat product I no longer consider as food for myself, and have come to the point that I do not miss it at all. I feel as if some foods are part of my past and I know how bad they are for me and I remember the bothersome side effects they gave me. No remorse. Serenity, peace and knowledge that I eat food that is good to me and for me ūüôā

[How to roast spaghetti squash, here  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-178036 ]

So Spaghetti squash, time to show me your stuff!

Ok, so, my 1st Test was Spaghetti squash “In bianco” or ” white or plain”. In bianco, is a condiment of butter or extra virgin olive oil. The butter either browned alone, with a few sage leaves or added in small pieces cold (it melts directly on the pasta itself or spaghetti squash in this case). With or without a grating of parmiggiano, you decide.

I used browned butter and sage leaves and yes, parmiggiano. I treated my Spaghetti squash as a plate of pasta. I warmed my previously roasted Spaghetti squash in the microwave for 40 seconds, added a dash of salt & pepper and poured the browned butter & sage on the squash, mixed with a fork and added the parmiggiano on top. (For even more flavor the spaghetti squash can be put directly in the pan of browned butter and sage to warm up.) PASSED!

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Test #2

I made Pesto, a somewhat lighter version, due to flavor as I spoke of above but a Basil Pesto none the less. ( I will take the time to write out my Pesto recipe in the future, I make it without measuring the ingredients so I will have to take some time to measure and write it down next time!) Spaghetti squash with pesto, Passed!

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Test #3

“Al Pomodoro”, w/tomato. To make it a quick try I used what my children call The World’s Best Tomato sauce. After years and hours of pealing and deseeding tomatoes, making my own tomato sauce, which I happen to LOVE, my kids tell me that Mari’s tomato sauce is the best. Ofcourse my next move was to ask Mari her trick! So to find out she uses tomato paste. Yep, just tomato paste. No fresh tomatoes, no saut√©ed vegetables, not even onion or garlic. Just a tablespoon butter melted in a small pan a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a little broth, fresh cream or a laddle of the cooking pasta’s water to liquify the sauce enough to serve it over, in this case, Spaghetti squash. A grating of Pariggiano and there it is, The World’sBest Spaghetti squash al pomodoro!! PASSED!

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Test #4

“Alfredo”, with broccoli and shrimp. I saut√©ed a clove of garlic and a small piece of onion, chopped, in a tsp or so of butter, I added a few broccoli florets and a few shrimp, salt & peppered, then added approximately 1/4 c heavy cream and a grating of parmiggiano. When warm and bubbly I added the spaghetti squash to the pan and cooked at low heat until warmed. Topped with parmiggiano and WOW, delicious! PASSED!

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The next Test? Spaghetti squash and meatballs…. and maybe even with my Pumpkin & bacon sauce ūüôā

Buon Appetito!

Pumpkin Bread

I’m still not sure what to call these little cakes. Thanksgiving cakes or muffins? Or Thanks for giving cakes? I have been making pumpkin bread for the past month and a half now, I’ve went through enough roasted pumpkin, maple syrup and almond flour to feed an army. That army is 3 people, Joe, Jeff and I. Ugh, please lets take a step and get past the Pumpkin moment, please.

I just moved here to Texas last June 2012. I moved here from Italy were I lived most of my life, 27 years. I had lived in the same town for 27 years and worked in the same shop for 27 years. The thought that I would ever be able to find a job here in the US and fit in was worrisome. I did find employment right away and I learned a lot. I hadn’t spoken English on a 24/7 basis is years and the lifestyle is so different than Italy’s. Italy’s pumpkin is different too, but that’s another post….

I am so Thankful for where I am. For the people around me. For their patience and support. I am in a moment that in the past I dared not imagine being but for a moment; would I, could I….pretty much a dream.

I wanted to make something for the ladies in my office to show my appreciation, to say Thank you and “Happy Thanksgiving!” Something joyful and yes, Pumpkin. You know, the American autumny Pumpkin spice tradition. I tried so many different recipes adjusting and adding my own touches but I didn’t find one that said “this is it!” ¬†So, I made my own. And, “this is it!”:

  • 1 cup Almond flour
  • 1 cup Hazelnut flour
  • 1/2 cup white Rice flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups roasted sweetie pie Pumkin
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 13 Medjool dates (*depitted and soaked in warm water)
  • 1/3 cup Butter, (melted but not hot)

Grease a muffin or loaf pan with Ghee, Butter or Evo.

This recipe made 12 cakes or square muffins and a 1 small loaf .

Mix the first 6 ingredients, the dry ingredients, in a bowl and set aside.

*Pit the dates and add them to a food processor with a few tablespoons of hot water. Let them soak a few minutes. (The longer they soak the smoother they will get when processed.) I didn’t soak them long for this recipe.

Meanwhile the dates are soaking add the remaining 4 ingredients in a larger bowl and mix well. Add the Date puree to this mixture.

Using a wooden spoon mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, a little at a time, until completely incorporated.

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Streusel Topping:

  • 1 tbsp Almond flour
  • 2 tbsp Butter (room temp)
  • 4 tbsp Rapadura (organic evaporated cane sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
  • ¬†1/3 cup chopped Nuts, I used walnuts, pecans & pine nuts

Mix all ingredients with fingertips and apply generously to the cakes.

Bake the muffins/cakes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 16 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. The mini loaf took 30 minutes +/-.

Happy Thanksgiving Ladies!IMG_6819

Fennel Gratin

Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables, both raw and cooked. Fennel’s flavor is subtle and¬†decise¬†at the same time, it is very unique.

There are two types of Fennel, male and female. The male is a plumb bulb like shape that has both a light citrusy and a sweet aromatic licorice flavor. (I personally am not a licorice fan but I do like Anise.) The female is a longer and flatter shape, a lighter taste and is best baked, grilled or braised. The male has a stronger, flavorful taste and is delicious raw, cut into salads or just by itself with a grind of pepper and a little evo, delicious!

http://www.connectionsforwomen.com/article_details.php?article_id=338

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Italian “Finocchio¬†Gratinato” or ¬†“Fennel Gratin ” was one of my favorite dishes. ¬†A crust of bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano, seasoned and toasted under the broiler until golden. I tried it my way, the Judifood way, no gluten and I omitted the Parmigiano. I used almond flour, ghee, thyme, salt & pepper. My Autumn has a whole new feel, deliciously healthy and tasteful with a crisp warm coating!

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My recipe:

Steam the Fennel slices for 10 minutes or until tender.

Turn on the broiler and melt 1/2 tbsp Ghee in a 10″ x 6″ broiler and oven proof dish.

Place the steamed Fennel in a single layer in the dish and drizzle with 1 tbsp Ghee.

Lightly salt the Fennel.

Cover the Fennel with the Almond flour and distribute remaining Ghee over the Almond flour.

Sprinkle with ground Thyme, Salt and Pepper.

Brown the Fennel Gratin under the Broiler for 10 minutes or until golden.

Buon Appetito!

Minestrone

Minestrone¬†comes from the “cucina povera” or¬†“poor kitchen”. Created and elaborated from it’s own ingredients, a mix of leftover or fresh, slightly wilted or oven roasted vegetables¬†or dried legumes¬†possibly simmering with meat broths or bones,¬†cheese crusts and¬†¬†dry bread crusts. Or like mine, without the elaboration of the last 4 listed but¬†with a touch of dried herbs. Some omit the starches, the beans, potatoes and some¬†add rice, barley or pasta.¬†Minestrone can be what you want it to be, a soup, a “zuppa” (a¬†stew-like consistency) or even a puree’. And deliciously decorated with grated cheeses, crispy bacon or like me, with¬†my favorite olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper or like Joe, pureed and topped with crispy bacon and fresh bread (below).

passata

But if you are¬†like me, you use what¬†you have including half of a roasted sweet pumpkin and rejoice from the grande finale of the composed “Minestrone”.

My Composition:

I sautéed 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves garlic in a couple tbsp. Evo in an 8 qt. pot.

I added:

  • 2 roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 medium sizes Carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 large red Potato, chopped
  • 4 handfuls of fresh Spinach
  • 4 Broccoli florets
  • 4 Cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 *handful of the following: dried chick peas, dried peas, dried cannellini beans &¬†lentils¬†(soaked for 4 hrs)

*1 handful = 1/4 cup

pot of minestrone

I sautéed all the ingredients for a few mins then added 1/2 gallon of Spring Water.

I added 1/4 tsp of:

  • maggiorana, thyme, oregano, dill weed,
  • 2 bay leaves and 3 tsps sea salt.

I let boil then simmer for an hour + and then added:

  • 1/2 roasted sweetie pie Pumpkin,¬†cut in large pieces¬†(approx. 2 cups)

I added another 4-6 cups Spring water as needed and let simmer until all the dried legumes were soft and to just the right consistancy.

Buon Appetito to Joe and I!

Joe