Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poached "Crazy Water" Sea Bass

Pesce all'Acqua Pazza or "Crazy Water Fish" originated in Capri and was a very popular recipe in the 1960's. Why is it called "crazy water" fish? The term originates from peasants who had the job of making wine for their landlords and the small amount of wine they had leftover they used for themselves and as resourceful as they were, was kept to ferment with grape stems and seeds mixed with large quantities of water and the result was basically water colored with wine thus the term crazy water.  

So how does this apply to the recipe? The original "acqua pazza" recipe was made by taking the fresh catch of the day and poaching it in seawater, olive oil and cherry tomatoes, turning the color of the water similar to the watered down wine mentioned above.  

It's a very simple and light recipe and it really only takes about 20 minutes to make. 


I took two medium sized European Sea Bass but you can use any type of white fish you have for this recipe. Gut the fish...I know gross...but someone's gotta do it! Put a large clove of garlic cut in half in the belly of fish along with some parsley and a pinch of salt. 


Add water to the pan covering only half of the dish as well as 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a cup of white wine.  Cut about 5 cherry tomatoes in half and add to the pan along with a handful of green olives. 


Bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 220°C.


At this point the fish has absorbed the water and is super moist, You will find that the skin detaches from the meat very easily and cleaning it is not at all difficult.  



Clean the fish placing the meat in a separate plate and add the tomatoes and olives along with some of the extra water that was left in the pan for more flavor. 


Serve with a salad on the side and you have yourself a healthy omega-3 packed meal :-)


Hope you enjoy this easy and very Mediterranean recipe! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Home Office Makeover

It all began with a Liatorp desk in the clearance section of our local IKEA.... I went back and forth and back and forth on whether or not to buy it.  It was a display piece that had a little scratch on the back side but other than that it looked great.  It was already assembled so I didn't have to do that part AND it was 50% off.. hmm. Decisions, decisions...So I went one Saturday with my Aunt and she said "I am not helping you lug that thing out to your car and secondly it won't even fit in your car"... she had a point. But I was worried that the next time I would go it would be gone (because that has happened to me more times than I can remember..) So I said oh well if it's meant to be I'll find it again! One week passed and I begged Mr. Amore to take me to IKEA (he hates going there) and he did...and guess what? It was still there after a week! Obviously it was a sign and I finally took that beauty home with me. 


So as it usually happens, one thing leads to another and you find yourself in a whirlwind of redecorating your entire home office space in just 48 hours... please tell me I'm not the only one that does this? Please..

Here was my home office before the makeover:


It was just a cluttered room with pet toys,  a tread mill and some weights, a really ugly desk that I hated with a passion ever since it set its little rolly wheels in my house... a sofa bed, a mixture of art work that I had no where else to put, etc. etc. I was ok with this space for a while but I really hated that desk. It was uncomfortable, there were no drawers and it was just ugly to look at. 

So the first thing I did after returning from IKEA was clear out the room. 


I gave it a nice scrub, patched up the holes and touched up the paint. 


 Out with the old and in with the new... love that fresh and clean feeling. Let the decorating commence!


I wasn't planning on getting rid of the tread mill 'cause that things gets used a lot in our house but I wasn't convinced with how it was positioned before either. I decided to move it along the front wall so that it doesn't take up that much space. 

I did know one thing though, I wanted that beautiful desk front and center. Ready to see it redecorated? 











Here is a close up of some of the art work I framed. These are prints of photographs by Nick Brandt. He is such a talented photographer. I absolutely love all his work. 



Isn't this orchid beautiful? I hope she doesn't die on me...I'm the worst with house plants. 




Above you can see a close up of the scratch I was telling you about. It's not really that noticeable  unless you look closely at it. It doesn't bother me at all.


Now you can see where I'm sitting when I read all your lovely blogs :-)

I am so pleased with how it turned out.... now I never want to leave! 

I hope you all have a great new week.

xoxo



Monday, September 5, 2016

2 Different Recipes for Stuffed Focaccia

Happy Labor Day to all of my American friends! I hope you are enjoying your long weekend whether it be relaxing, laboring or partying, the important thing is that you are well! 

This weekend we had guests over for dinner and since it's still really warm out I thought it would be nice to have dinner out on the patio. I made two different types of stuffed focaccia because they are always a big hit and even if they get left over they are great to have for lunch the following day. Today I'll share my recipe for spinach and ricotta stuffed focaccia as well as prosciutto and smoked mozzarella focaccia. Making stuffed focaccia is not really that difficult. It just takes time to make the dough beforehand and let it rise.  We had dinner at 8:00pm so I started making the dough at around 5:30.  


For the dough, here is the list of ingredients you will need: 

 - 500 grams of bread flour
 - one packet of active yeast (25gr)
 - 250 - 300 ml of lukewarm water
 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil
 - 1 tablespoon of salt 


You can either knead the dough yourself or let the mixer do the work for you. I did the kneading myself and left to rise in a sealed container for about 2 hours. If the dough seems too dry go ahead and add a little more water until smooth and elastic.  

After the 2 hours it more than doubled in size and looked great!  This is enough dough to make 2 large stuffed pies so if making just one, use half - doses. 


Now we are ready to make the focaccia. I started with the spinach and ricotta. Cook and drain your spinach (500 grams) making sure to really remove most of the water or else you will get a soggy focaccia bread...no bueno! Preheat the oven to 220°C or 430°F.

Add about 2 cups of ricotta cheese, one cup of Parmesan, a pinch of salt, pepper and a sprinkle of nutmeg. 


Mix everything well and roll out the base of your focaccia (about 2 fist fulls of dough).  Place the base on a greased baking dish and coat the dough with a drizzle of olive oil.  


Add your spinach filling on top of the dough making sure to leave some space on the sides where you will be sealing the focaccia closed with the top section. 


I added a couple small mozzarella balls cut in half before closing. Now add the top section of the dough, cover and seal the edges. Coat the top with a drizzle of olive oil and poke lightly as shown below. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. 


Next I moved onto the prosciutto stuffed focaccia. The procedure is the same so lay out the bottom section of the dough making sure to grease your baking pan. Add the ingredients you wish to add so in this case I added some slices of cooked prosciutto, black olives, some tomato sauce and smoked mozzarella cheese. You really can add whatever ingredients you prefer with stuffed focaccia.  Mushrooms, artichokes, or even broccoli work really well  here.


This was the smoked mozzarella I used...mmmmm. Love it! It has a really smokey flavor to it and it tastes heavenly when melted on pizza. Try it sometime as an alternative to regular mozzarella cheese. 


Then just go ahead and cover it sealing the edges. Drizzle the top with some olive oil and poke with a fork. Same cooking time applies here as well. 


Isn't it lovely?!





Then I served it nice and hot from the oven and it was just the perfect consistency. Crispy outside and warm inside. 

While you're here, would you like to see my outdoor table setting? Fall is almost here but I'm still really enjoying these last summer nights outside with candles and lanterns... so romantic don't you think?




Have a great week! 

xoxo

Silvana


PS - What do you think of my new design? Hope you like it as much as I do :-)


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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Home Sweet Home... Part 2

Well, I guess I should post part 2 of my trip before summer is officially over.  I've been back for a few days now and am still slowly recovering from missing my family and jet lag.  You would think I would be used to saying goodbye to everyone when I leave since I've been doing it my whole life but every time is like the first time. It hurts. Not knowing when I will see them again is an uncertainty that is not easy for me to deal with. But that's what we do...we go on with our normal routine and look forward to the next time I will get to see the people I love the most. Many don't understand why our family lives so far apart and it's not easy but we have the fortune of being able to visit different parts of the world and visit places that not everyone gets the chance to see. 

So where did I leave off? Oh yes, Mr. Amore and I left from the Philadelphia Airport to Fort Myers Florida to visit with my father.  We went from really hot in Pennsylvania to really really hot and humid in Florida but thankfully we had amazing weather for our entire stay and did not get any thunderstorms which I was told is very unusual for August in Florida. 

We got home and relaxed a bit.  That night we had DELICIOUS tenderloin steaks that my father made on the grill.  No pictures...sorry but they were exquisite. I haven't had a steak like that...ever...I think.

The next day we packed up the car and drove to Disney. I really wanted to spend a couple days at the "Mouse House" as my father calls it LOL and it was a lot of fun. 

We stayed at the Old Key West Disney Resort and it was just beautiful. When you go to Disney it's like being on another planet. The people are exceptionally nice, everyone is smiling and you never see rude staff anywhere neither at the parks nor in the resorts. If visiting the theme parks, try to stay at one of the Disney Resorts because they have buses that take you directly to the parks, drop you off in front and they run like every 15 minutes or so. You don't have to worry about parking and the resorts will hook you up with tickets and everything so you are ready to go in no time. 

via
We spent half a day at Disney's Hollywood Studios and it was H-O-T...of course I was an idiot and wore jeans the first day not realizing just how bad of an idea that was until about the third line I was waiting in under the scorching hot sun...then I wanted to die.


Anyways, we were much better prepared the next day with shorts, hat, sunblock and lots of bottled water! We went to Epcot in the morning and I have to say that we had so much fun that day. Epcot is just amazing. They have so many awesome rides and there are so many attractions to see. I would definetly say Epcot is more the adult version of Disney World. 


My absolute favorite ride was Soarin' Around The World.  It is an amazing attraction that carries you all over the most spectacular wonders of the world.  It seems as though you're actually soaring in a hang glider and is so realistic with scents and sounds.  Soo fun!  The line is super long but so worth the wait...trust me. 

Oh and definitly download the Disney App if you can so you're able to sign up for Fast Pass and see how long the waiting times are for the lines. That definelty saved us a lot of time. You can't get Fast Pass for every ride but we were able to use it for a few of them. 

My other favorites were Mission: Space and The Sum of All Thrills. These were all amazing rides.  Disney leaves me dumbfounded every time. It really is a magical place. 

Last but not least we stopped at the Magic Kingdom...how can you go to Disney and not visit the Magic Kingdom?? Not possible. 


We took the Monorail from Epcot and arrived in the afternoon. Since we were all adults and it was really hot we decided it would be a good idea to sit somewhere and grab a bite to eat while sipping a nice cold beer, right? Wrong. They don't serve alcohol in the Magic Kingdom...anywhere... Did you know that? I did not... womp womp.

The lines were incredibly long and we only went on three rides before we called it a day. I chose to go on the rides that I loved when I was a little girl: Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World and Space Mountain. We had Fast Pass for the first two rides but we had to wait an hour and a half for Space Mountain. There was a girl that actually fainted in line I guess because of the heat. I felt terrible for that poor girl. It was worth the wait though. I screamed my lungs out the entire ride and it was quite therapeutic actually :-). 

We drove back to Fort Myers right after that and got home really late. We rested up and the next day we went out on my dad's pontoon boat. I didn't know what a pontoon boat actually was and had a picture in my head of the raft from Gilligan's Island but this is actually what a pontoon boat looks like: 


We took the dogs out on the boat and I was so surprised at how well they did. They were the cutest with the life jackets on. 


This little girl was just a puppy when we got her and I was so happy to have seen her again. She's such a good dog and so well behaved.  She did really well on the boat even though she has some bad arthritis in her front legs but we just didn't want to leave her home alone. 


We took the dogs on the Dog Beach and they loved it. The beach was absolutely beautiful and so clean. I loved watching all the dogs run around in freedom and just play.  


I took this picture as we were coming up to the Dog Beach. We all had a great time on the boat and the Sea-Doo. I have to show you the picture of my Dad with Mickey on the Jet Ski. You should have seen him on that thing. He rode that like a champ! It was the cutest thing. 


So we just rode around Sanibel Island that day and it was such a great day. That jet ski was so much fun to ride on. I wish I got more pictures because it is a beautiful area.


We went home and had to get ready to fly back. That's when the sadness started to set in. We had such a wonderful time and it sucked to have to go back. The last night my father made us the juiciest Boneless Rib Eye Roast on the rotisserie that I have ever tasted in my life. The meat was sooo tender. Just looking at these pictures makes my mouth water.. 



That pretty much sums up our trip to Florida...we said our good byes, got on a plane and headed to Boston (close to where my brother lives) and there we would take our connecting flight to Rome. We happened to have a 10 hour layover...and just when I thought I wasn't going to see my brother or his new baby girl.... 

He came to pick us up and take us to his house. 

And that's where we met for the very first time...


I am an Auntie to the most beautiful, happiest baby girl that hardly ever cries and who loves to drink ice water and has the strongest little arms I have ever seen on a 7 month old baby. I was so happy for those precious hours that I got to spend with my baby brother and his beautiful family. I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished.  He is a great father to this beautiful little girl. 

Then he drove us back to the airport and we headed home. 

And now here I am back in Italy...writing this post and missing my family very much again as I look at these pictures. In the end family is all that matters and I thank God for mine every single day. 

xoxo