Italian, Greek and other Mediterranean Recipes

Stracciatella alla Romana: Italian egg drop soup

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Egg drop soup is something I've always associated with Chinese cuisine and, until a few days ago, I had no idea that egg drop soup exists in many other culinary cultures. The Indian egg drop soup has tomatoes, the Greek version, called avgolemono, has fresh lemon juice, there is a Spanish egg drop soup called puchero (in the Philippines and many South American countries, … [Read more...]

Hummus with tahini

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Hummus is chickpeas in Arabic. Hummus with tahini is a dip or spread made with chickpea puree, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice and salt, and may or may not include garlic. It is served cold traditionally with pita.When and where exactly this cold chickpea puree appeared in Middle Eastern cuisine is unclear and there are claims that the earliest versions of this … [Read more...]

Homemade tahini (sesame seed paste)

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Sam's journey toward vegetarianism has been a huge challenge for me as a cook. I'm learning about new ingredients and new ways to prepare ingredients I've tended to ignore in the past, I'm learning to cook dishes that I've always filed away under "too foreign to try" and I'm acquiring a whole new vocabulary of nutritional values. It's amusing most times and scary … [Read more...]

Spinach, bacon and cheese frittata

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There is an Italian chef who guested on The Chew, I can't remember his name but I can't forget something he said. "Everything sounds sexier in Italian." In the case of the frittata, I agree. You say frittata and it's almost like a caress. But as foreign as frittata may sound, it shouldn't be a mystery to Filipinos. We know it just by some other name. Torta.Although … [Read more...]

Creamed sausage, potato and cabbage soup a la zuppa Toscana

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If I had access to kale, I'd have used a bunch in lieu of white cabbage. If I had, this would be a real Zuppa Toscana, that famed Italian soup that chef Emeril Lagasse swears his mother cooks the best version of. But I don't know where to buy kale -- in my lonely corner of suburbia or anywhere else in this country. Armed with the information that it is a variety of … [Read more...]

Fettuccine aglio e olio with sun-dried tomatoes

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The classic Italian spaghetti aglia e olio has only three basic ingredients: pasta, olive oil and garlic. Salt is added for flavor; parsley is sprinkled for color and texture. There are only two steps in the preparation of the dish: boiling the pasta the tossing it in the olive oil in which the garlic had been browned. In this variation, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and … [Read more...]

Holiday perfect dessert: panna cotta with peaches

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Easy, inexpensive and eye-catching holiday dessert. Classic panna cotta topped with slices of peaches arranged in a burst pattern. Gorgeous. Delicious.Panna cotta is an Italian creamy pudding made by cooking cream, sugar and gelatin, letting the mixture cool until firm, then serving it plain or topped with fruits or nuts, or even drizzled with syrup. Unlike a gelatin … [Read more...]

Budino with salted caramel sauce

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When we hear and read about how the Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world, we know it's no exaggeration. It isn't even Halloween yet but in the malls, Christmas trees and decor are already up for sale alongside the scary masks, monster costumes and pumpkin baskets.In my house, the holiday season starts a bit later. Still before Halloween but not as … [Read more...]

Fettuccine with chocolate and bacon

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Some years ago, when we were still Dream Satellite subscribers and loyal fans of Discovery's Travel and Living Channel, I saw David Rocco cook a pasta dish with chocolate sauce called penne al cioccolato. I grimaced as I watched him do it because I thought it was utterly disgusting. What a dolt I was to have passed judgment without trying the dish first. Well, I've since … [Read more...]

Bruschetta with tomatoes, basil, pimiento and cheese

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What is bruschetta? In a nutshell, it's toasted bread. It just sounds sexy and mysterious because... well, because it's Italian! Beyond the sexy name that conjures images of sipping espresso in an outdoor cafe or drinking wine on a rustic balcony overlooking acres and acres of vineyards, it is just toasted bread. What makes bruschetta special is its preparation and what … [Read more...]