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.


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 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! 



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

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