April 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I dream of being the perfect consumer, living an eco-friendly, healthy, environmentally-conscious life. I’d like to rid my own world of dangerous chemicals and food products that contribute to issues within the food industry AND my body, and find a way to do most actions just a little more care and information. I’d love to be one of those people who only eats local, organic, clean, paleo, antibiotic-free foods and buys products that support the local economy and are good for the environment and my body (I totally realize what a yuppie I sound like right now…)
But, as I reflect on my own habits I realize that there is a LOT of change needed, and I simply can’t do it all at once. As I’ve learned with my weight-loss efforts, change takes time and considering the sheer number of issues that a consumer must face, it really isn’t possible to do it all at once. So I’ve decided to compile a list of 52 habits I’d like to adopt each week for the next 52 weeks in order to make my personal universe just a little more healthful. I will tackle one habit a week and once I do I won’t go back to my old ways. Here I go (in no particular order and with corresponding money signs to denote whether the goal will require a financial investment):
- Begin going to the farmer’s market and purchasing only grass-fed, local, antibiotic-free and non-factory farmed meat.
- Buy only local (no more Mexican or Latin-American produce with the exception of certain tropical fruits).
- Build or buy a composting unit and begin composting. $
- Spend time researching the chemicals in ALL my makeup products and research eco-friendly, healthier alternatives.
- Spend time researching the chemicals in all of our beauty products (hair sprays, lotions, shampoos, etc.), research eco-friendly, healthier alternatives and compile a list for future purchases.
- Begin making my own deoderant!
- Invest in glass tuperware and recycle all of the plastic ones we have. $$
- Buy new, BPA-free water bottles (a few of them) and commit to never buying a plastic bottled water bottle again.
- Replace all Teflon pans with stainless steel or copper-coated pans. $$$
- Toss every product that has triclosan and replace with healthier alternative.
- Buy spray bottles and begin making my own cleaners, ditching the heavy chemical products found in stores.
- Spend time learning about seasonal farming, and committing myself to only purchasing food that is in-season.
- Clear pantry and stop buying any foods with synthetic preservatives or coloring.
- Invest in indoor plants for every room. $$
- I love candles BUT I don’t like that many contain dangerous chemicals. Research beeswax or soy-based alternatives.
- Research safe, eco-friendly, at-home dry cleaning alternatives.
- Switch to a biodegradable, fragrance-free, non-toxic detergent for clothes.
- Educate myself on the proper way to dispose of things such as batteries and toxic waste so I do so in the future.
- Find a more eco-friendly, healthful option to plastic wrap, ziplocks and foil.
- Take time to educate myself more about recycling and the list of items I may or may not be able to recycle.
- Switch to organic produce for all “dirty dozen” foods from here on out.
- Commit to buying all-organic dairy (right now we do organic milk and eggs, but are “ify” on butter, kefir, yogurt, etc.
- Plan out the most cost-effective way to get local, organic produce, dairy and meat.
- Become much more careful about wasting electricity. Spend time researching how to lessen my footprint when it comes to electricity use.
- Invest in a reusable cat litter-”filler-upper.” Our local petstore has a bin of litter, which you fill up with a bucket, reducing waste. $
- Finally ditch the paper towel habit (or at least set up specific rules for using them) and switch to using “bartender rags” for cleaning and dusting.
- Invest in paper napkins. $$
- Get rid of our microwave (put it outside in the garage and reserve it for rare occasions where I’ll need to reheat for a party).
- Educate myself on the fish industry and commit to buying sustainable, healthful fish.
- Make vegetarian, no-cook meals once a week.
- Invest in eco-friendly organic cotton and/or bamboo towels made with plant-based dyes. $$$
- Research accessible, cost-affordable recycled toilet paper.
- Get in the habit of turning off the water when brushing my teeth.
- Unplug electronics when they aren’t in use.
- Buy organic, sustainable sheets & pillow covers $$$
- Update our pillows with organic, non-chemical ones. $$$
- Make it a habit to carefully monitor towel-use (we tend to toss towels after only one or two uses) and invest in an outdoor towel rack so towels dry faster.
- Begin washing out own cars at home (instead of taking it to the car wash).
- Start prepping produce more efficiently to avoid unnecessary spoiling.
- Plan out my meals every Sunday, so less food and money is waste (and gas from unwanted trips to the store).
- Make sure every single bill is paperless and recycle all junk mail.
- Cut back to only indulging in added-sugar once a week in a small amount.
- Commit to buying less STUFF. For every one thing I buy, I need to get rid, giveaway or recycle something else.
- Get down to my healthy weight (long-term goal!) and eat much less food everyday.
- Wear a healthy, chemical-free sunblock everyday.
- Floss everyday and brush twice a day.
- Switch to a healthier, chemical-free toothpaste.
- Commit to eating vegetables at every meal (including breakfast).
- Purchase bicycles. $$$
- Use my hand-held earpiece instead of putting the cell phone directly against my head.
- Make the car a phone-free space, and yes, that means no fiddling with the iPhone to find a song, using it for navigation, etc. We survived (better) without these “useful tools” for decades, and we should do that again.
- Commit to everyday movement/exercise, at the very least adopting a regime for stretching.
March 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The moment I realized I had all the ingredients I needed to make these tacos happen tonight, I got excited. Probably a little too excited.
Salmon tacos have been on my list of ultimate comfort food since I tried them for the first time a couple years ago at one of my favorite Mexican places called Taco Mesa in Costa Mesa. They serve this incredible salmon taco with a creamy butter sauce along with a mango relish that is to die for. But, at $4/taco I soon realized that I needed to recreate this in my kitchen and save some dough. This recipe is all-the-way-paleo if you just omit the tortilla (replace it with mixed greens!) There’s something so incredibly delicious about salmon with agave and butter as well.
Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
- 2 pieces Wild Salmon
- 2 tbsp butter (I use clarified butter, also called “ghee“)
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
- 3 tomatoes
- 3/4 onion
- handful of cilantro
- 2 yellow mangos
- 1 lime or 1/2 lemon (I like using lemon more and more in my salsas these days)
- salt & pepper to taste
- tortillas (for a treat I use flour tortillas, but tonight I used an Ezekiel flourless tortilla)
1. Chop up the onion, tomato, cilantro and mango and combine in a bowl to make the salsa. Add fresh lime or lemon juice and then salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat up the grill (I just use a George Foreman) and add the salmon to the grill with the skin still on, face-down. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, depending on the heat of the grill you’re using. Flip over and continue to cook. You can peel off the skin at this point (Fun fact: salmon skin really grosses me out for some reason… if my hand accidentally touches it I jump, squeal and get really skeeved)
3. Once the salmon has cooked for a few more minutes, I flip it over once more to cook for about a minute on the side that had the skin (so it gets those nice, even grill marks).
4. Meanwhile, I combine the agave syrup and ghee into a small saucepan or frying pan, and melt it together on low heat. I gradually turn up the heat while stirring, allowing the agave to bubble and caramelize.
5. Transfer the salmon to a plate and pour the butter sauce over the salmon.
6. Heat either two small tortillas per person, or one large tortilla. If you have a tortilla skillet, great! If not, you can use the grill or the toaster oven.
7. Add the salmon and salsa on the tortilla and eat!
March 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Before going to Rome in December I spent a good amount of time practicing my Italian (food) vocabulary (“Il mio ragazzo è un vegetariano … mi dispiace, lui è strano”), studying up on my knowledge of Roman cuisine and scouring forums to figure out the all-important question of “Where the hell should we eat?” I am a somewhat spontaneous person but I don’t mess around with food when traveling, especially in this age of online resources and especially if you, like me, are hinged to a limited budget and don’t want any precious funds to go to waste on mediocre food. The resounding advice on many forums was rather depressing: “Rome doesn’t have a good restaurant culture.” I of course believed the throngs of ex-pats and locals who explain how every trattoria and ristorante is inferior, lacking in authenticy and tarred by tourism.
I tried not to fixate on the naysayers and kept reminding myself that even if we lived off rubbery pizza for a week, we were leaving to Sicily for Christmas where we would most certainly mangiare bene (huge post to come).
But, lucky for us, everyone was wrong about Rome.
Sure, Rome might be flooded with tourists, but there is a vibrant restaurant culture tucked away from the main piazzas and hidden down damp alleyways. I can promise you, that as someone who has eaten her way from Bari, Palermo, Napoli, the Amalfi Coast, Verona, Venezia, Sienna, Firenze and all the small villages in between, I can guarantee you that Rome is wearing its big boy pants. The key is to go off the beaten path, honor tradition and [wait for it] do as the Romans do (I give you permission to cringe…) But the adage is true. The majority of great places to dine at are located away from the main strips, serve locally-inspired fare and are filled with Italians (and I’m not talking about the strange hybrid-kind from Jersey.)
After a day of walking from the Vatican to the Colosseum we
wanted needed some hearty food to get us back up to the historic center. This trattoria pictured below, Taverna dei Quaranta serves simple, hearty, flavorful food and is highly recommended if you want to eat close to the Forum and Colosseum. We went during an “off” time (it was rather empty aside from a lingering party of Italians finishing their wine from lunch) but were treated kindly and left full and tipsy.
Before doing the whole Vatican thing one morning, Dhiren and I spontaneously stumbled upon the Italian version of Zabar’s, Castroni Caffe di Scaglione. This place is way cooler than any Willy Wonka candy shop. Your eyes (and wallet) will go nuts. Since we were in Rome days before Christmas, it was the perfect time to people watch and rummage through the seasonal products for Natale. After figuring out how to pay, we squeezed our way into a small spot on the coffee counter between a sea of morning”commuters” and had a perfect cappuccino and cornetto. We took an extra brioche stuffed with surprisingly-not-too-sweet-whipped cream to-go and received lots of stares from concerned Italians who had the misfortune of seeing us like this:
We were lucky enough to have stayed at a one-room B&B right in the heart of the historic district with ample dining options only steps away. One of our faves was Alfredo e Ada. Always a line out the door, this place boasts a cozy, dark atmosphere with a daily menu that changes according to what’s good at the market that day. Seasonal fare like radish and artichoke lasagnas, bacaloa and a to-kill-for carbonara are offered with no options for customization. In a world with way to many choices, this was happy news to me. Sometimes, all a type-A, over-analytical girl wants is to sit down, get comfortable and be told she doesn’t have options. EAT THIS AND SHUT UP. Yes, please.
I don’t care if it is 20 degrees outside, hailing or if I’m deathly sick: when I’m in Italy, I need gelato and good luck to anyone who tries to get in my way. I definitely ate an obscene amount of gelato on this trip. But out of all the places I dragged the boyfriend to, my favorite was hands-down Giolitti. Only after stumbling upon this place did we later find out its apparent history and popularity. The gelato is light, fluffy and topped with whipped cream. Highly recommended.
Another place that was relatively close to our B&B was Osteria de Memmo. We bumped into the place on accident while looking for another restaurant and now I know: this was an act of God. The food here is LEGIT. So legit, that I begged the boyfriend to bring us back a couple days later. It does have a radically different atmosphere compared to the working-class trattorias and pizza houses we typically find ourselves at. You will be surrounded by portly Milanese politicians eating piles of food, Italian desperate housewives with their Pucci clad, model husbands and sophisticated children eating swordfish. The clientele were too classy to stare at my boyfriend and I, who were poorly dressed, sweaty and brutish, lugging around a 5lb camera. The owner, Memmo, was really friendly, albeit intimidating in a “larger than life,” Godfather sort of way. We left with an extremely awkward photo with the man himself, although it won’t be seen here on account of our troll-like appearance.
The food at Memmo’s is fabulous. Flavorful pasta dishes and some of the best veal I’ve ever (or will ever) eat in my life. Though I didn’t try any of the seafood, from the looks of the place, it’s what you order here.
I’m a major pizza addict and snob and as such I knew that I had to try whatever great pizza Rome had to offer. (And to all those people who complain about how “You don’t eat pizza in Rome… it’s all about Napoli”: F You. Naples doesn’t have a copyright on good pizza.)
We were lucky to find Dar Poeta in Trastevere. First of all, this place is off the beaten path, down a dark alley in a hip part of town. Cool kids in leather jackets puff their cigarette smoke into the air while saying extremely witty and sarcastic things in Italian. Secondly, we were the only non-Italian speaking people in this place. Third, there was a long, long, awkward wait. All good signs. We sucked in our guts in order to shuffle into a tightly-packed room, sat down, chugged back a liter of wine and enjoyed our mushroom and fresh mozzarella bufala pizzas.
Nearing the end of our week in Rome, we wanted to spend less money and eat some down-home, no-frills food. Our B&B owner recommended a place around the corner from Piazza Navona called Navona Notte. We were seriously skeptical, mainly because of the name and its proximity to the Piazza. We also made the mistake of trying to come here for lunch only to find it closed. Our B&B owner Luciano pointed out rather sarcastically that this restaurant has the word “Notte” in it for a reason. This is duly noted. When they were open, we were surprised to find a humble restaurant full of working-class Italians looking to get their grub on. The food is simple, cheap and delicious. They also serve pizza from a wood fire oven. I warn you that this place is located in a highly touristy area and so you will have several restaurant owners misguide you if you ask for directions. Many people will laugh at your face when they hear “Navona Notte” and try to distract and lure you by screaming “SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS!!!!” in your face. Do not falter my friend.
If you’re heading to Rome anytime soon, I recommend:
Taverna dei Quaranta
Via Claudia, 24 00184 Rome, Italy
(For great lunch and dinner fare close to the Colosseum)
Alfredo & Ada
Via dei Banchi Nuovi, 14 00186 Rome, Italy
(For their daily-changing menu. Fabulous spot for lunch or dinner. In the antique district.)
Castroni di Scaglione
Via Cola di Rienzo, 196, 00196 Rome, Italy
(For grocery products, sweets, souvenirs and fabulous pastries and coffee. Close to the Vatican.)
Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40 00186 Rome, Italy
(Great for gelato & coffee; historic and quaint)
Osteria de Memmo
Via dei Soldati, 22/23, 00186 Rome, Italy
(Great for a special lunch or dinner; fantastic seafood, meat and pasta in an elegant atmosphere)
Vicolo del Bologna, 45 00153 Rome, Italy
(Located in a hip, youthful neighborhood, fantastic pizza)
Via del Teatro Pace, 44 186 Rome, Italy
+39 06-686 9278
(Great for a dinner on a budget)
March 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Wow this blog has gathered a lot of dust! 6 months worth of dust… my excuse has always been that I don’t have enough time, but I finally admitted to myself that since I spend hours watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (judge away) and staring vacantly at Facebook, I have no excuse. Since I last posted we moved to a (way better) apartment closer to L.A., I started grad school and the boyfriend and I traveled to Rome and Sicily in December (major food post to come). Things have definitely been on the up and up and I am now settling into 20 days of spring break (thus, the rekindling of this site!). I’m hoping to infuse this blog with some broader topics though as I move forward (because there is more to life than grub) so be on the lookout for posts on fitness, music, health, DIY, fashion and general rants. I’ll first start by posting an easy recipe from last week.
As some friends and family know, I’ve been slowly leaning towards eating more and more Paleo (a.k.a. “the caveman diet”) and for a solid two weeks I was following Whole30, which is an even stricter version of Paleo where you only eat high-quality meat & fish, vegetables, fruits and certain fats like olive oil, seeds and nuts for 30 days. Well, I didn’t make it to 30 days. I technically didn’t make it past four days, but I’m going to be delusional and not count a certain night of excessive drinking post-performance. It just didn’t happen, alright?
I nonetheless feel amazing while eating Paleo and the more I research, read and experiment the more it makes sense. For the first time in a LONG time a lot of my stomach issues disappeared and I am now 10 pounds away from weighing what I did in highschool. How do you like them egg rolls? My only complaint is that we (non-cavemen) have unfortunately been conditioned to have something called variety. So, I am trying to figure out how to eat paleo “most of the time” while being able to dip into my fav non-paleo meals without getting too cray-cray. I mean, a life without pasta and wine is not a life.
With that said, let’s talk about STEAK:
Filet mignon is seriously my favorite cut of beef and is one of the many perks of eating Paleo. It melts in your mouth, is tender and soft and is a super low-maintenance cut. All l I did was salt & pepper it and then seared it over high heat until rare. I took some fresh, chopped sage and simmered it on low heat with a couple teaspoons of clarified butter (also know as “ghee”). I chopped up some yam fries and sautéed some fresh asparagus with shallots and olive oil, and had dinner ready in 20 minutes.
[I always cut the ends off my herbs, stick them in some water and cover to keep them fresh throughout the week.]
Oh, this is making me nostalgic. Lately I’ve been indulging in a little too much sugar, and half and half in my coffee, and spaghetti, and Trader Joe’s appetizers, and bites of the boyfriend’s Del Taco quesadillas, etc…. and the result is, I don’t feel too snazzy. I’m planning to return to the “straight and narrow” starting on Monday. I’d start back up tomorrow but we are visiting the fam for brunch and while I am a strong woman, I don’t know if I can (or really want to) pass on my Dad’s amazing waffles. Before I head to sleep though, look! I bought some new Asics so I can look cool at the gym again. My old running shoes had holes in them (yes, plural) and they squeaked. I was getting some funny looks from the little old ladies at the YMCA. But now I’ll show them!
August 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My boyfriend and I have been prepping for three big events: 1) his 30th birthday, 2) a big final recital for our students, which was held at my undergraduate college and 3) moving on September 1st. SO, with that said things have been seriously sad in the food department and we’re surviving on Trader Joe’s frozen pizzas and bags of marshmallows (I wish I was kidding). Despite losing 10 pounds in May & June, I’ve pretty much given up on any form of tracking my food or attending Weight Watchers meetings this month; exercise is entirely out of the question and cooking is my last priority. These things should be the most important priority in theory, but with so much going on it has all gone on the back burner. It took all of my energy to make a simple baked mac & cheese, BBQ chicken and some frozen vegetables a couple weeks ago, and since then it’s been bagels, doughnuts, boba drinks and an endless line of no-nutrition, surgery snacks. And exercise? Totally nonexistent aside from packing boxes and painting the new place.
Once we get into our new apartment, I am going to be completely revitalizing our eating. First, we will have a GAS STOVE! Whoopie! Second, we will be living close to a couple renowned farmer’s markets. Third, our schedules will start getting into a groove with me going back to grad school and the boyfriend teaching.
I’m SO happy with our new apartment and am so ready for the move in two days. We can’t believe we found a place that actually met all our criteria: gas oven, 2 bedrooms, hardwood/ bamboo floors, ~900 sq feet of space, safe & suburban setting but 30-40 minutes from downtown LA, UCLA, Orange County, etc., laundry hook-ups, garage parking, ample storage, tons of closet space, in a triplex (as opposed to an apartment complex) AND it’s in our price range. Needless to say we are thrilled.
The only slight problem is that despite having a huge kitchen, the cabinets are kind of ugly and there actually isn’t that much counter & storage space. So, we’re going to purchase one of these babies ASAP:
Once we’re settled-in, I’ll start my regular food posts again. Check out this crazy rainbow I saw while driving on the 55 two days ago! It was actually a double-rainbow at one point, and you can kind of make it out in the second and third pictures. Anyhow, happy end-of-summer!
July 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’ve classified this under “Danielle’s Favorite Meals.”
There’s really not much to say about this dish: it was amazing, and it’s definitely a pairing I want to store in my virtual cookbook and bring out when I want to woo someone or prove to people that I am sophisticated…
Once in a rare while I will come up with an original “recipe” (i.e. I’ll throw whatever I have in the fridge together in a makeshift dinner), but usually I steal other people’s tested recipes for my kitchen. Sometimes they are fantastic, others are… well, not so fantastic. That’s where this blog comes in. I want to be able to remember the good ones and let the other failed recipes fade away like a bad trip to Souplantation.
In this case, both the balsamic reduction and risotto were recipes I found online, and both turned out amazing. I’ve just copied and pasted them here- don’t judge me. I’m way too tired and behind in posts to type out these recipe and add my personalized notes to them, and since I didn’t change much of anything in either one, there’s no need to.
Lamb & Balsamic Reduction a la All Recipes:
- In a small bowl or cup, mix together the rosemary, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place them on a plate, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place lamb chops in the skillet, and cook for about 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare, or continue to cook to your desired doneness. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter.
- Add shallots to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. If you don’t, the sauce will be runny and not good. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Pour over the lamb chops, and serve.
Asparagus Risotto a la New York Times
Adapted from Mario Batali
Time: 45 minutes
1 pound asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces, tips reserved
4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 medium red onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half the asparagus stalks and cook until quite soft, at least 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water. Put cooked asparagus in a blender or food processor and add just enough water to allow machine to puree until smooth; set aside.
2. Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add a large pinch of salt. Add warmed stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more.
4. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. In 5 minutes, begin tasting rice. You want it to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage. When it does, stir in 1/2 cup asparagus puree. Remove skillet from heat, add remaining butter and stir briskly. Add Parmesan and stir briskly, then taste and adjust seasoning. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Serve immediately.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings.
April 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
Ricotta & wheat pies are not an Easter tradition in my own family, but I have declared it a new tradition from here on out. They are crusted with a pasta frolla (a kind of shortbread), and then filled with a sweet ricotta filling, either adding chocolate or wheat berries at the end. My grandmother always made Sicilian Easter Rings growing up, and next year I’ll tackle those as a new project.
I made a total of 8 pies for Easter to give away as gifts and bring to the various households (both my boyfriend and I come from split families, so there’s always double to dish out) It was not a small feat considering my sad excuse for a kitchen and erratic stove. They turned out fabulous to my surprise. I used two different ricotta bases, and the version with the wheat was the general favorite. The wheat pies turned out lighter and creamier, whereas the ricotta pies were thicker and denser.
SO, I’ve adapted the recipe so that the base is the same, and you can simply add the wheat or chocolate chips at the end.
This recipe makes two pies. Go ahead and make the dough 1 full day in advance. It softens very, very quickly once you begin handling it. Make the wheat berries in advance too (takes about 1 hour or so).
Pasta Frolla- The Dough
- 4 sticks of butter, room temp.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup water, room temp.
- 4 cups flour
1. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Add the zests, the honey, the baking soda and baking powder. Mix for about 1 minute until everything is really incorporated.
3. Add the water, beating at medium speed until you’ve created a liquid batter.
4. Add the flour and mix until you’ve created a nice little ball of dough. Do not over-mix or knead it like you would if you were making pizza dough.
5. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for a full day.
6. Prepare your pie pan with a cooking spray or grease. Set aside 1/4 of the dough for the lattice strips on top. Roll out the bulk of the dough so it can cover the pie tin/ plate (about 13-14″). Gently lift and drop the pie tin/plate so the dough settles, and then trim off the edges.
- Work quickly with the dough, because it begins to soften immediately.
- Use plastic wrap above and below the dough while rolling it out, so it won’t stick to anything. Pull off half of the plastic wrap when you’re ready to place the dough, and then after you’ve folded it over the pie tin, peel off the remaining wrap.
- If you’re going to use metal, disposable tins, either bake the pie with three of them stacked up OR place the tin on a pre-heated baking sheet. This will help it cook more evenly.
- 2 pounds ricotta
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 tablespoons of orange blossom water (optional)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 orange
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 6 extra large eggs
- 1 pound wheat berries (prepared) or 2 cups mini chocolate chips (both optional, depending on the kind of pie you want)
6. Pour the mixture into the pie shell until it is about 3/4 full. Top it with a thin layer of pasta frolla or a lattice design. Use an egg wash and brush egg over the pie. Bake until it is golden brown, set but not too hard (it will continue cooking for a while). It took mine about 45 minutes to an hour.
- It was a PAIN to find wheat berries. I went to Target (obviously futile), Sprouts/ Henry’s, Albertson’s and finally Mother’s Market, which of course has every random nut and flake you could ever dream up.
- Be sure the wheat berries are cooked and ready to go before starting the mixture, because the actually filling takes minutes to stir together.
- Wheat berries are cooked like rice, and make a fabulous breakfast. Swap out oatmeal for wheat berries!
- If the pie is beginning to brown too much on the crust, cover it with foil.