Pizza a la Giovanni

Source:  Giovanni Cir. 1970’s
(Giovanni had his own Pizza ristorante in San Jose, CA)

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Pizza a la Giovanni
I met Giovanni in 2009 at the organic vegetable stand that we frequent on Saturday’s. He was a nice older Italian man, with a heavy accent. Being from 100% Italian descent, I was interested to talk with him, learn where he came from, etc. We scheduled a luncheon with him and my family. He stated he was a retired pizza maker, and that he would make the pizza. Agreed…. Now, I’ve been making, or trying to make pizza for years, and though it was good, when I tasted his pizza, I realized I had a lot of work to do. His dough was truly perfect! Being that I use 100% organic ingredients and he uses restaurant grade pizza flour probably with starters and enhancers in them, could be in part some of his success. However, since I switched to his method, I have had a huge improvement in baking my pizzas. Every time I make it, and we eat it as a family, the comment is: “It’s like Giovanni’s” – that is all I need to hear! Giovanni and the family continued our Pizza pleasure on a regular basis. He taught me a lot about food, wine making, vinegar making, making grappa, and just learning to enjoy food as a culture. Enjoy.
Course 2 Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 120 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course 2 Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 120 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
Dough
  1. Ingredients to make 2 large pizza’s Begin to boil 1 potato until soft and ready for mashing. Prepare the yeast with about 1 c. water (luke warm). Add yeast and water together, and let yeast dissolve and bind with the water.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, salt,
  3. olive oil, and mashed potato.
  4. Add water-yeast mixture
  5. and combine
  6. now add the water and kneed
  7. until a nice supple ball is formed. This should take about 5-10 min. Cover and let rise, minimum 2 hours. (or put in a clean plastic bag and put in refrigerator)
Topping
  1. When dough is ready, cut in half, and on a floured surface, begin to form into a large flat circle. Use your fingers, not a rolling pin. Just begin to push from the center, and form a large round shape.
  2. When dough is the size of your pizza pan, place on pan.
  3. prepare your cheese
  4. Begin with olive oil on dough, then tomato paste,
  5. then sauce,
  6. cheese,
  7. and toppers.
  8. Bake @ 200ºC or 375ºF until pizza is brown and crusty. Now precut
  9. Usually 20-25 min. cut and serve.
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Last chance for Fall

We’re approaching the last week of September.  The nightly temperature is now dipping below 10 degrees Celsius.  The days are starting off foggy and colder, and sun is a rarity.

This means, it’s the last chance to gather up your herbs for the winter.

Decide which herbs you want during winter.

The usual assortment is:
peppermint + spearmint assortmentsverbena
cintron-melissaoswego
wormwoodoregano
rosemarysage

 

sage, rosemary, verbena and spearmint drying for winter storage

Cut what you can, and lay out in a dry safe spot and allow the herbs to dry naturally.

When dried to completion, clean the leaves from the stems, and store in an airtight ziploc bag, or a glass jar, labeled.

For the oregano and rosemary, you can combine the two, chop finely, add salt, and put into a season jar to have for your sauces and pizza toppers.

oregano drying

Next on the list is transplanting the delicate herbs from the garden, to a pot that can be brought indoors.

The few delicate varieties I bring in are the Moroccan mint, verbena, and oswego.  Kept in the right indoor location, even in a basement or garage, with a few occasional waterings is all you need to do for these girls.  Then, in spring after the last freeze, you can return them to their original spot.

 

Biscotti

Source:  Nonna (my grandmother) 1980’s

 

 

 

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Biscotti
My mom has been making these hard, Italian cookies for as long as I've been around. Over the years, I have been able to enjoy biscotti cookies from my nonna, my aunties, and other Italian friends. One great biscotti memory was from a wonderful old Italian friend nick-named, “Chick”. He was a spirited old devil, who would get in his kitchen every December and bake several batches of his biscotti cookies for all his compadres. We were lucky enough to be in his group, and would get his famous christmas delivery every year. They were delicious. Here's to you, Mondo "chick" Chickarello. Bake up a batch, and bring some to share with your compadres. Enjoy.
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle and upper positions and heat oven to 325*. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light, about 2 minutes, beat in vanilla, liquor and anise.
  4. Combine wet with dry ingredients and then almonds to form sticky but workable dough.
  5. On your paper lined baking sheet, pour the dough in the center of the sheet. You might use 1 sheet, or 2, depending on the amount of batter.
  6. Begin your first bake. Place sheet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until firmly set and a golden brown color. This step the cookies are almost baked.
  7. Take sheet out, and slice about 1" thick sticks, so cut on a diagonal. paint on egg white, sprinkle top w/ a tad of sugar and return to a reduced oven at 100-150 Celsius to dry out and harden This step usually takes 30-45 min.
  8. take out when finished and let cool completely. Biscotti's should be hard and strong.
  9. here is how they look from the side
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Latschi a la Ferdi

Source: Vintage:  Our friend’s father-“Ferdi” (Master Baker/Owner in Switzerland) cir.  1960’s

Latschi (usually on Sundays)

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Latschi a la Ferdi
This was a great recipe to work with. The dough is very soft and pliable, and the outcome is just amazing. Trying to describe the Latschi: Somewhere between a soft bread and a pastry. I think the powder sugar sprinkled on top tricks me into thinking it’s a pastry-but don’t be fooled, it’s actually a bread! What makes this recipe so special is that it seems to be a very sacred recipe from the baker. The braid, shape and taste is very unique to this region; more specific, unique to his town of Switzerland. I’d for sure prime the yeast with a few Tbs. of tepid water before you add it; you probably need to add quite a few more scoops of flour to the recipe than it calls for-just add until the dough is no longer sticky and becomes a nice soft dough which is not sticking to your fingers. Kneed this dough into a nice soft ball and cover to rise. The longer you let it rise, I think the better-first time we made the dough in the late afternoon and let it rise overnight, the next batch, I made in the morning and we let rise 8 hours or so. Also, play around with your string size; we worked w/ two sizes, a thinner string which of course gave us smaller Latschi, or a thicker (yet still 12″) string, which gave us a larger Latschi. Finally, when baking, you will bake until it just turns golden. Monitor these babies close-they seem delicate and can quickly over-cook.
Cuisine Swiss
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 150 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Swiss
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 150 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
Dough
  1. Heat butter on low heat until melted, then add the milk to the warm butter mix, thus giving you a lukewarm temperature.
  2. Mix all ingredients in order and then kneed it for 3 – 4 minutes, or until dough is nice, soft and warm from kneading. Let it sit for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight (but covered)
  3. Cut away a 2 inch piece and roll the dough out about a 1/2 inch in diameter and roughly 12 inches long.
  4. Let the prepared dough sit for another 30min. (it usually takes you about 15 min. or so to prepare the ropes ahead of the assembly of the Latschi, so once you are finished, you do not have to let the ropes rise longer if you wish not to)
Forming
  1. Begin to form the braid by starting with 2 ropes (same length)
  2. cross them, always the same way(it makes it easier)
  3. Check out the picture1
  4. Check out the picture2
  5. Check out the picture3
  6. Check out the picture4
  7. Check out the picture5
  8. Check out the picture6
  9. Check out the picture7
  10. Pick up the Latschi and fold both ends under to form a bit of a “ball”, then place on a lined cookie sheet. I found I was able to get 9 per cookie sheet.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and let it bake for 12 – 15 min. After the Latschi are cooled of, use power sugar lightly. Enjoy.
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Anisbrötli or Anise Cookie

Source: Beerli Family Recipe cir. 1940’s

Anisbrötli

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Anisbrötli or Anise Cookie
Another wonderful recipe to add to your Christmas heritage. All of these old Beerli family recipes are kid friendly and the kids love assisting during these festive times. I make these little treats every year. They are a harder type of cookie due to the fact that the recipe contains no butter, just lots of eggs and sugar. It's a perfect holiday cookie for dipping into hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and a cold glass of milk for Santa. Enjoy!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. With the wire mixer attachment, mix the sugar with the 4 whole eggs, and beat until it foams. (about 5 min.)
  2. Change your attachment to the batter attachment and add the anise seeds and the flour mixture together with the sugar and egg mixture. Pulse until well combined.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough until it's about 1/4″ thick
  4. select your cookie cutter shapes, and begin to cut the dough, placing the finished cuts on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. note: keep cookie cutters well floured on the base to avoid sticking
  5. Your cookies will now stand over-night or for 4 hours minimum so they air dry.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 200 Celsius, and bake for 15-20 min, until they begin to slightly brown around the edges. Take out, cool, and can be stored in paper-lined cookie tin during the holiday season.
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