damo267's Profile

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Left over polenta

I was born and raised in Northern Italy, and we are normally called "Polentoni" (not always meaning it as a compliment ;-) ) because we eat a lot of polenta! :-) You have had a lot of great suggestions already, but one that I see is missing is "grilled"! When we do our grilling days we always throw some slices of polenta on the grill to accompany any meat or fish that is going to be the entrée that day. Just quickly brush the slices with oil and leave them on the grill long enough for the polenta to heat through and to make those beautiful grill mark on the outside! Ahhhh...nostalgia.... :)

Feb 28, 2014
damo267 in Home Cooking

Heavy perforated pizza pans?

You know, I believe it's about finding the one that pleases you. Personally, I set long ago for the combination of little yeast/long resting time. It is a long but very easy process and gives ME what I am looking for. Plus, the recipe I use makes 4-6 balls of dough (large or medium size) and it is very practical for me to make it and freeze it for future use.
Here it is, in case anyone can find it useful. Please forgive my English if it's not always correct and if I take too many words to express a concept (this is what my husband always says! ;-) )It's actually much easier for me to make it than to describe it!

Ingredients:
7cups flour (I use half all purpose and half bread flour)
2 teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
2 and ½cup water
1/3cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt

Key steps:
1- Activate the yeast
2- Make and knead the dough
3- Let rise (at least 4 hours, but overnight is ok too!)
4- Divide in portions
***5- Freeze (this, of course, is an optional step: if not needed, skip to #6). Thaw at room temperature when needed. ***
6-Let rest another half an hour or more before stretching

Preparation:
In a plastic bowl that has a lid, mix the yeast with the sugar, about a couple tablespoon of the flour and enough lukewarm water to make a smooth cream. Leave it there for about half an hour to start the rising process. Get the rest of the flour, make some sort of a volcano, put the yeast mixture from the bowl in the middle, as well as the rest of the ingredient and knead with energy for at least 15 minutes (no cheating). Of course it's much easier if you have a mixer and let it do the job.
You must get a soft, elastic dough, still a little sticky. If you are using the mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom. Add little flour or water if needed to achieve that texture.
Let it rise for a few hours (I do it overnight) in the oven (oven must be off, needless to say) in a big bowl, preferably with a lid, or covering the dough with a kitchen towel. You can punch it down with your hands every now and then if it tends to come out of the bowl. Then take the dough and divide it in 6 portions, giving then a ball shape. If you are going to use the dough the same day, let the balls rest for at least another half an hour. If not, just roll them in flour and put them in separate Ziploc bags to freeze them. Once you need them, just thaw them at room temperature (you can take them out of the freezer at lunchtime to be ready for dinner).
Make the pizzas stretching the dough, not pushing it down to stick to the pan. Definitely do not use a rolling pin. Keep dusting both your hands and the dough with flour.

I am sure all of you will have your own recipe that works for you. This one is simply my favorite one, the one I've used for many years. I'll be happy if it can be of help to any of you! Buon Appetito! :)

Dec 06, 2013
damo267 in Cookware
1

Heavy perforated pizza pans?

Also (I forgot to mention) Mozzarella is a big issue! For as much as I ADORE great quality fresh mozzarella, this is not your best choice for home made pizza. The best, to me, is the one that you get in logs, without the liquid. Dice up that one and add it towards the end! Hope that helps :)
Ciao

Dec 06, 2013
damo267 in Cookware

Heavy perforated pizza pans?

I hope I am not being too obvious and naive here, but to me (born and raised Italian, making my own pizza since I was 6) there are just few very simple rules:
1) preheated stone, if possible, but I have used perforated aluminum too
2) high temp oven
3) bake the dough for the first 3-4 min without the toppings, just the tomato: do not use "tomato sauce" but preferably chopped san marzano canned tomatoes, drained, seasoned with good olive oil, salt and pepper and oregano, garlic if you like. Just sprinkle randomly the pieces and then just lightly brush their juice on the pizza, also on the edges. I traditionally use the back of a spoon for this, but that's because I've always done it this way :-) The lack of other toppings with allow the moisture to evaporate better and the crust to get a good color while staying crispier even if you like a lot of stuff on it (like my American family does ;-) I love my super-basic margherita! :-) )
4) after the first few minutes add the remaining toppings and put it back in the oven for finishing.
With the home oven at the right temp (as hot as you can get it) it should not take longer than 8-10 min total and the crust should be nice and crispy.
I hope that helps you and I apologize if I have been too basic, as a home cook, but I believe in simplicity, when possible, and I've always had pretty good results!
Ciao!
Daniela

Dec 06, 2013
damo267 in Cookware
1

Your Signature Dish Sucks

Intelligent, humble, effective approach to things. Loved every word of this article that I bumped into by pure chance, months after it was published. Thank you for writing it: I needed to read it.

Dec 10, 2012
damo267 in Features

Popcorn

Yes, truffle! :) I like to use truffle salt instead of truffle oil because I use a neutral grapeseed oil for popping, then add the truffle salt at the very end and, in my opinion, I get the best flavor out of it! :) Anyway, no matter how you "get there", oil or salt, it's that delicious truffle aroma and flavor that make them irresistable!

Jun 17, 2011
damo267 in General Topics

Can Lasagna be made 1-2 days ahead?

I probably did not express myself correctly: I meant that ESPECIALLY when homemade ragu (sauce) is used, and THEREFORE I know for a fact that it certainly has no preservatives, I do not like to let it sit in the fridge. I agree with the fact that the best thing is doing everything the same day, When it's not possible, I vote for freezing, But it's a free kitchen ;-)

Aug 02, 2008
damo267 in Home Cooking

Can Lasagna be made 1-2 days ahead?

Personally, even if it is only a matter of 1 or 2 days, I would suggest the freezer, rather than the fridge, especially if you made your own ragu', with genuine ingredients and no preservatives (hope this is the right word in English). And then bake them straight from the freezer, no need to thaw. It obviously takes a little longer to cook, but you get a more than decent result. I certainly agree with those who told you that lasagne (I keep using the plural like we do at home, in Italy) that have been made the day before definitely still taste good, and even have their own particular charme, in ways, but personally my fav are those baked the very same day and simply let rest for like half an hour or so before serving. Can't beat the aroma and the consistancy of the crunchy top, that way. I am not fond of frozen leftover once it's cooked, instead. Of course, it's still edible, but...not something I would do if I can help it.
Ciao!

Aug 01, 2008
damo267 in Home Cooking

Reporting Back On Your Question Posts - [moved from General Topics]

Thank you Miss Needle and Jacquilynne. Yeah, among other things I shouldn't have probably done the Italian/Not Italian thing: that's what I get for trying and be funny in a language that's not mine.
Again, thanks for the reply: at least I know I did not do anything wrong. I'll just keep staying around and get a little more familiar with how things work,
Btw: at the end my husband surprised me taking me to a nice steakhouse (Ruth's Chris) and I had good food and a good time too, so it's all good... :-). Thank you again

Aug 01, 2008
damo267 in Site Talk

Reporting Back On Your Question Posts - [moved from General Topics]

I am very new here, so forgive me in advance if I say obvious or silly things. I only wanted to let you know that I had the very opposite experience: I would have loved to follow up to a list of replies to my post requiring help on choosing the right place for my first birthday in San Antonio but I must be among the very few here who did not get a single one ! :-D (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/539100 ).
Like I said I am new here (in the U.S. and in this particular community) so I probably did something wrong when I posted my request, or maybe it was inappropriate or badly expressed, or simply I sould have just found the reply to my needs in the previously posted message...I don't know. Can I take advantage of this thread and ask for advices on how to better fit the forum or where to document myself better? If this is off topic, please just let me know: I would completely understand. Thank you in advance and ciao to everybody, Daniela (as "food-obsessed" as only an Italian could be ;-) )

Aug 01, 2008
damo267 in Site Talk

Italian Birthday In San Antonio

A-ah!!! Got you here: YES, it is soon going to be my birthday (aarghh...I will be 41 on the 26th!!!) and YES I am a real Italian, born and raised there, who happens to love food and does not know where to go eat that night.
BUT, of course, the restaurant for the occasion must be ANYTHING BUT Italian, as I eat italian every day (and I am presumptuous enough to tell you I cook pretty well ;-) )

Here is what I give you to play with for your suggestion. Pretend you are coming with us for dinner and taking us to a place where:
1) FOOD is so good I will remember it for a while
2) ATMOSPHERE IS FRIENDLY to say the least (but I find that very easy to find in Texas, I must say) as I want to relax and enjoy my night seeing happy faces around me. Not looking for elegant but snobbish places
3) food can be ANYTHING as I virtually like anything edible and have no preconception whatsoever
4) budget...well, max 50 per person, but my husband does not drink alcohol and for some reason my 3 year old son does not either ;-)
Will you help me pick a place that will make me happy that night? Pretend I'm a friend of yours and tell me the first place that comes to your mind.
Grazie mille e ciao ciao,
dani

Jul 15, 2008
damo267 in Texas

Farro Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans

I just LOVE farro and use to cook a lot with it when back at home, in Italy, Love it in soups too and in salads, cold. I will definitely try this recipe but...where do you find farro here? I looked in the aisles of the local supermarket and could not find it. I live in San Antonio,TX where I recently moved from northern Italy and sometimes even the simplest tasks, like looking for a not so common ingredient, become a problem to me. Thank you

Jun 04, 2008
damo267 in Recipes

Food shopping in San Antonio

Thank you very much, will definitely try that for the imported stuff! But like I said...I would also like to find locally grown products. Like, for instance: where do you buy your peaches, your cheese, your vegetables? :-)

Jun 04, 2008
damo267 in Texas

Food shopping in San Antonio

I am so glad I found this site and this post too! :-) I am italian and I moved to SA from Italy a few months ago. I am definitely NOT looking for the food or the ingredients I left behind me when I made the big move, but I was not prepared, I must admit, to not being able to find good "real" fruits and vegetables grown locally :-( Where do they hide them? Being the smalltown girl (if you can call a 41year old a girl...sigh...) that I am, I am not a supermarket fan, but I am pretty happy with the HEB general average quality. But...if only I could find a good special little store...that special market...something like that! I would be a happier woman :-) Other than that I simply love TEXAS and San Antonio in particular. Very happy here. Ciao ciao everybody!

Jun 02, 2008
damo267 in Texas

San Antonio's Best

I'm not adding any useful information here but I am going to use yours instead! THANK YOU ALL! I am an italian food lover who just moved to SA from north eastern Italy a few months ago. Always looking for the "right" place to eat (anyhing but Italian, needless to say... ;-) ). I am going to study all replies carefully! :-)

Jun 02, 2008
damo267 in Texas