Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sangria Granita

I’ve made Granita many times. The first time I fearfully followed the recipe. Me a seasoned cook scared to mess up! Well it came out great and since then I’ve made many varieties including Blood Orange, to White Sangria and Peaches.
Granita, Also known as ‘granita siciliana‘, originated from Sicily. In most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Other areas throughout Italy have different desired textures. This is acquired as a result of different freezing techniques. It is related to sorbet and Italian ice and as stated before goes from chunky in the west to smooth in the west.
This particular one is unbelievably simple and shows that you can literally use whatever you have on hand to create an elegant easy desert on short notice. I should mention taking the freezing time in to account! That’s the
only issue with my “short notice”.

Granita Sangria
½ a Lemon
1 Orange
2 cups water
1 Cup fruit juice
6 tablespoons sugar
5 Cloves
2 Cups Red Wine
Heat Water, Sugar, Cloves to a boil remove from heat.  Here if you choose to you may also zest the fruits and add it.  The zest from the fruits will give an added depth to your Granita!

As soon as its not too hot add fruit juice, lemon juice, fresh orange juice cinnamon and set aside to cool. You can adjust the taste to make it sweeter if you like.
Place in a large shallow pan and add the two cups of red wine. Swirl the liquid in the pan and place in the freezer.

As the mixture starts to freeze use a fork to constantly swirl the mixture. Do not allow it to get solid. This is the hardest part of the whole thing but
you must pay attention to avoid having one big block.

It will look like this

And then like this

And finally, the finished product.

I serve granita in Martini glasses rimmed in organic brown sugar. Here’s one of my faves to serve it in! Enjoy...

Ernest Hemingway Marinades

The use of prepackaged mixes and marinades are not one I always fully endorsed but as it turns out not all are created equal. And I if I find a gem chances are I’m going to share it! As a Foodinista (God that ista this is so overdone) I love finding new ideas and flavors and I prefer to find it in a supermarket so that it can be easily obtained by all!
The brand is Ernest Hemingway Marinades and the particular one I overused is Kenya Lemon and White Wine. I can’t begin to tell you the ideas that kept coming up due to this marinade. So I have a few dishes I would like to share with you that were inspired from this humble bottle!

My husband hates vegetables. Indeed he thinks that he ate enough vegetables and now there is no need to keep up with the current movement of the healthy eater. I discovered that he will eat micro-greens salad. I guess they’re so tiny and frankly to me, so delicious he cant help himself! So the idea to pair them with seared scallops was quite exciting with this marinade.

The Scallops fresh from Fairways were marinated in the marinade for two hours with a wonderful bulb of shallots (my onion flavor for the Summer 2010). If you want a more intense flavor do it longer but be careful you may end up with a cevechie type effect so two would be the maximum for scallops. As usual an extremely hot pan and canola oil as it stands up to more intense heat and has a neutral flavor unlike olive oil.
Quickly sear each side less that 3 minutes on either side. Add the marinade to the frying pan after the scallops are done and cook until reduced. The shallots will caramelize sweet. Place the shallots on top of the micro greens and garnish with the reduction.

Another dish this marinade effortlessly complimented was a swordfish. I marinated it and broiled it with Sweet Vidalia onions. Basmati rice and a salad of Raddichio and Butterleaf lettuce. Lay the leaves flat on top of each other. Roll tightly and chiffonade. I only added fresh ground black pepper and a tad of oil more to the dressing.

Another simple quick and easy dish is to take jumbo or colossal shrimp and marinade them. Again fresh chopped shallots and fresh ground pepper with a dash of chili pepper flakes.  It's a quick and easy snack and a great appetizer.

Simple and easy these dishes can be made in less than half an hour for a quick and easy weekday meal or like the scallops and micro greens a beautiful first course for an elegant dinner party.
Elegant Eating! 
And you are welcome.


The restaurant located in the SOHO district, New York City takes its name from Barolo, a town in the Piedmont region of Italy. Think where the knee would be of the boot geographically speaking and that’s the area! There is an extensive amount to information about this area were the famed Barolo “The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines” hails from, for here too you get Barbaresco and the Nebbiolo grape the base of Barolo wine, Barbera, (the other one I recognize), and foods such as Risotto and, Polenta, White Truffle, hearty Seafood Stews and Earthy Meat dishes that lend themselves well to this complex wine and others in the region.

Well not my intention to be and Italian historian for you to fall out of your chair in boredom, lets talk FOOOD! My first exposure to this restaurant was a Sunday morning reading the newspaper, and watching a show called Brindiamo, well the TV was really watching me but I started to pay attention when Ornella Fado the show’s host showed the garden terrace in the restaurant! I love finding little nooks and crannies like that in Manhattan. You feel transported if only for a moment from the hustle.
Serralunga d'Alba, Piemonte, Italia

Well I watched her enjoy a tour with the owner Paolo Secondo, he himself from the Barolo region and Chef Bergamini who delighted her by preparing some of the dishes on the terrace!
I have to warn you up front one of her favorites the focaccia Genovese which is a typical bread from the region of Liguria tends to be more salty than what many are used to but I enjoyed it with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip!

the place

There is a story behind this water feature! Positively forgot though but here are some view of the terrace. All this tucked away for you to enjoy in the middle (well not exactly middle on a map) of Manhattan.

Ornella Fado and Paulo Facundo At the water feature in the garden terrace
Another view of the terrace

The Terrace at night....

It was a ladies lunch day with a 11 year old nephew thrown in for good measure. We went to The Frick Collection, a must see if you visit New York and an old favorite of my family. Pearl River next, Sis had things she wanted to get for the home. Pearl River has a treasure chest of all kinds of goodies from Asia (and a little tea place if you keep going up!). Anyway we left there, I peek Top Shop out the corner of my eye (its right across the street) but resisted temptation as its more my kinda stop than theirs!

Everyone was hungry nephew wanted Ollies (our regular) and we didnt want to go too far to feed that hunger! We ended walking right up Broadway and the long front entrance of Barolo kept calling us in. We took a peek and after looking at the menu decided this would do nicely for lunch. Sis doesn't like to compromise especially when it comes to Mom by the way so this was perfect.

Old fashion Italian, white tablecloths, and the three glasses for water, white and red! Yes it was getting better as we walked in. We went through the front dining room up the stairs to the terrace dining room where you could then proceed to the garden with the water feature as the focal point but alas we couldn't sit outside because it was a bit too hot. We got a great banquet booth and the sky light in that room as you can see from the pictures made it as nice as being outside.

We sat against the wall in the booth in the background

Well Mom was in heaven, sis happy, myself elated and my nephew utterly fasinated.......with his new "Verizon wireless" (note the quotes because he kept saying that like the two words were mated for life).

the food

Impeccable service, Pelligrino water, Genovese focaccia, olive oil and balsamic vinegar all came quickly! The waiter waited on us with such care and was quick to explain to my Mom what to expect with the Orata. (yes I'm getting there).

So we started with the appetizers the Polpo Grigliato con Patate e Olive (Grilled octopus new potatoes and black olives tossed in light lemon vinaigrette and olive oil cured olives with capers), I can't begin to tell you the joy of cutting into an Octupus with a fork. The lemon sauce never overpowered the dish but just lent an undernote of citrus and acidity while the capers and olive oil cured olives gave a saltiness and bite perfectly complementing the Octupus. The Zuppa del Giorno (Soup of the day Roasted tomato and Fennel Soup) on a hot summer's day was just what the heat ordered. The hint of char reminding you of the grill was quickly mellowed out with sweet tomatoes refreshing fennel and a swirl of basil coolie dancing on top with creme fraiche. Wait, Im still tasting....
FRITTO MISTO DI PESCE (Fried calamari, shrimp and zucchini) was the nephew's choice and we ordered his when we did the appetizers because, well you know kids! And as you can imagine he could not finish it so I helped, and often. You have got to try this heaping helping of heaven. The calamari was no more than you should expect, the zucchini was not SOGGY (it can be done) but the shrimp had me (and Mom) at HELLO. Hello Shrimp, that reminded me that it could be deep fried and still tender because it wasn't over cooked, and the ocean sweetness that says fresh, today, and not frozen...yes I can tell. Now good-bye you delicious morsel while I eat you! Have you ever spoken to your food? You will here!

The Spagetti and Lobster were my Sis and my choice cause, well, its lobster and its pasta, and we were not dissapointed with a spicy red sauce, al dente (for real) spaghetti, and two generous lobster tails, again not frozen! Ah it doesn't stop on the fresh seafood here. Mom had the broiled Orata with potatoes. This fish, this medeterranian fish from the bream family was considered sacred to the goddess Aphrodite. I googled it! I had to. The flavor closest to the snapper fish is still better than the snapper fish. They fly this stuff in and it is well worth it! And by the way Aphrodite I get ya!!!

The sweetest, fluffiest flesh that you could imagine and butter and baby potatoes! It was a whole fish and though they wanted to fillet it for Mom she wasn't having it. I helped her there too. Never had that Orata fish before! Definitely will again! On the side garlic spinach a simple saute in butter with paper thin slivers of garlic.

Generous portions served meant hardly a space for desert but who could avoid trying at least one right! Well we also agreed and ordered Tortino di Cioccolato Fondente (Flourless dark chocolate cake with white chocolate sauce and fresh berries)
Gelati e Sorbetti del Giorno (Raspberry) Tiramisu (Layered cake with mascarpone, ladyfingers and espresso coffee),

I think that was it! By then I was so drunk with food and hospitality it really didn't matter. Total delight that place for lunch and we left feeling this would be added to our list.

I dont want you to miss out on this delight and we did not go into the fine wine list because we didnt drink that day. Suffice to say a wine list boasting over 1200 labels can be found here for you to explore with gracious assistance.Stop by you'll delight all your senses here!!!

398 W Broadway
New York, NY 10012-4302
(212) 226-1102

All restuarant pictures taken from Barolo's website. I did let someone know and the other picture credits are available at Google images. Seems I was so busy eating it didn't occur to me to take pictures. Ah the mistakes of a fledging commentator/critic!
Resource credits to:

Beef Braciole

The idea to make Beef Brascilole came from watching our wonderful Lydia Bastanich make it and then I having flash backs of years ago when one of my friends even went to the German butcher shop, (metzgerei) to get the proper cut of meat to make the dish for her German boyfriend. I kept craving it! As a tried true and tested carnivore (and that’s nothing to brag about considering for a substantial part of my life I was raised not vege but vegatarian) I just kept having visions of this dish once I saw Lydia but in particular the part where she is removing the cords used to hold the roll together. The steam rising off the roll and then as she cut it, you could see the roll effect and the love put into it. Cheese subtlety melting in between the rolls. Yummm!
Well one day in the grocer I saw a package with the cuts for this dish! I thought I can do this!!! It was a well marbled piece of meat that, well no matter how well marbled would have to lend itself to some cooking and thank goodness the meat was sturdy as well!

I didn’t have pine nuts BUT I had toasted soy beans! That’s what you see ground there, along side fresh garlic, and grana padano parmesan (the only one I use). Its also traditional to add sweetness in the case of Germans we add gherkins or pickle relish but I choose to use currants chopped fine to add a twist!

Salt and pepper were all added to the meat, Oh and the Tuscan Mills Herbs. This is in your grocers or supermarket and if not email and I will send it to you! I have a collection of them but this one works with this dish in particular maybe due to the simplicity of ingredients.

The pasta used here is Piccolini. The rolls in the pasta hold more of the sauce or seasoning which is always a bonus!

I add olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, oregano, cherry tomato, fresh chopped Italian parsley and tossed lightly

The dry ingredients were placed on the meat along with the currants and then I realized I had no twines and I had no skewers! A requirement in my kitchen, so what to do! I looked in the closets and in the refrigerator and the only thing I could come up with was spaghetti, linguini to be exact! Well I carefully used them to secure the meat and it worked! Be that as it may I do not recommend this unless you got desperate like me. The pasta gets crisp in the oven and if your guests are not wary they may experience an unfavorable crunch!

I stuffed and secured them and lovingly placed them in a Pyrex dish seasoned with olive oil, baked them at 350 for 45 minutes. I then took fire roasted tomatoes added some brown sugar n beef stock and poured on top of the rolls. Finished off with parmesan cheese and put back in the oven for another half an hour.

I cant tell you how good it smelled! I cant tell you how good it tasted, but I can show you the finished product!

Oh the cherry tomatoes used were the mixed colored super sweet ones!