Tag Archives: Italy

Fresh strawberry gelato.

Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Egg-free

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More fun strawberry stuff!

I have another tasty strawberry ice cream recipe on here that takes less time, so if you’re just hankering for homemade strawberry ice cream NOW, go check it out. BUT–here’s the trouble with strawberry ice cream: it gets icy. The water content in those delicious berries is so high that it’s hard to get homemade ice cream to stay creamy after freezing without a little work. Enter this recipe. If you want silky, strawberry-y cold deliciousness, this is it.

Once upon a time (two years ago), there was a family living in Switzerland. The family loved ice cream–especially gelato. And one of the children in the family especially loved strawberry gelato. In the six months that family lived there–and the summer they spent there the year before–this little girl only ever ordered strawberry gelato. And this was a lot of times, because we (I mean they) lived down the street from a Swiss ice cream shop called Movenpick, and we spent weeks in the grips of a record heat wave with no air conditioning, so we often had literally no other recourse but to eat gelato multiple times a day during that period. (It helped that the ice cream shop was across the street from the fountains we played in to keep cool.)

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(That’s her on the left with her signature pink strawberry gelato scoop. The oldest daughter always got something chocolaty–girl after her mother’s heart–and the youngest was still allergic to dairy, so her kind and selfless mother usually got sorbet, which was also amazing, to share with her.)

Ever since getting back to the States, this little girl, who’s always been on the choosy side anyway, has been asking for gelato, and where we live, there just isn’t any to be found. So when I found a recipe for fresh strawberry gelato on one of my favorite resources for delicious recipes, I got pretty excited.

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Though the amount of actual work is pretty minimal, it takes a bit of prep and planning, so I was working on it last night, and happened to read in the blogger’s “backstory text” (whatever you call this stuff I’m writing right now that you always scroll past to get to the actual recipe) that she had never actually been to Italy to try the real thing. Being that we’re total gelato snobs now after our own travels through Italy and living in a country that borders Italy and houses lots of Italian transplants, this got my husband and me worried. But the work was pretty much done, so we were committed.

As he poured it into the ice cream maker, though, Husband kept IMG_2442licking his fingers. And as it came out of the ice cream maker and he put it in the container to freeze, he couldn’t wait to lick the spatula. And when we finally got to scoop it into our bowls and eat it for ourselves, it was a hit. My middle child, understandably the strawberry gelato expert–who also happened to be wearing a matching pink Swiss cow shirt at the time, so she must know what she’s talking about–proclaims it mid-bite-thumbs-up perfect. My husband, who also often ordered fruity gelato flavors, says it’s not Italian gelato, but it’s really good ice cream. My oldest and I always preferred chocolate–or else I was eating sorbet–so we’ll defer to them.

The verdict? We’ll call it gelato* with an asterisk. It’s really really really good ice cream, without the iciness you so often get with the homemade stuff, and in any case, it’s certainly cheaper than a trip back to Giolitti in Rome. But if you get the chance, definitely try to get to Giolitti. Maybe this’ll hold you over until then.

Fresh strawberry gelato* (or at least just really good ice cream)

Original recipe here

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced ripe fresh (or frozen from fresh and then thawed) strawberries
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Slowly whisk in milk and cream.
  2. Place the pan on medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, 5-10 minutes or until bubbling and thickening.
  3. Pour into a medium container (a 4-cup measuring cup worked great for us), press plastic wrap to the surface of the mixture, and refrigerate to cool completely.
  4. Puree the strawberries until smooth.
  5. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer into the cream mixture, using a rubber spatula to press the liquid through while the strainer catches the pulp and seeds. (Or at least most of them.) Stir well.
  6. Press plastic wrap to the surface again and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  7. Process in your ice cream maker as directed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours until fairly firm before enjoying. (Trust me, it’s worth the wait.)

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My favorite pizza.

Nut-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free option | Clean eating option

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We’re big pizza lovers in this house. Back in my semi-homemade days I had several pizza posts, but they were all boring pepperoni (or pepperoni and green peppers) pizza. Then we lived in Switzerland and spent 10 days in Italy. They don’t do pepperoni. They do salami, but trust me, it is NOT the same. So I got a little more adventurous.

In the 4 weeks between when we were told we were moving to Switzerland for 6 months and when we actually moved, I binge-watched Rick Steeves’¬†Europe on PBS–only the countries we were actually thinking of going to (sorry Estonia)–and learned, among many other things, the reported origin of our beloved pizza. It came from Naples in the early 18th or 19th centuries. Legend has it that the archetypal pizza,¬†Pizza Margherita, was commissioned in 1889 to honor the visiting Queen Margherita with the three colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella.

I ate this pizza a lot in Italy. And Switzerland. And interestingly, everyone does it differently. The Swiss just do it with tomato sauce. The Romans did a little sauce AND tomatoes. We never made it to Naples, so I don’t know if this really is the real way, but by far my favorite way of eating Pizza Margherita is this: garlic-infused olive oil (LOTS of garlic), fresh Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan for a little bite, and lots of basil.

Publix, our local amazing grocery chain, has amazing Italian-style pizza dough for just a couple bucks, so I get two: I make one pepperoni for the girls, and my husband and I share this. And I eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

No, this is not clean. This is not healthy. You can use whole-grain or gluten-free crust, and the veggies and part-skim mozzarella make it less terrible for you than delivery (or diGiorno! Ha!), but let’s keep this in the “sometimes food” category. With the chocolate frozen custard. Yum!

Pizza Margherita

Original recipe here

  • Pizza dough of choice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 or 425, depending on the instructions for your chosen pizza dough, with a pizza stone in the oven (optional but highly recommended).
  2. Pour olive oil into a medium bowl and add garlic and salt. Add sliced tomatoes; toss to coat, and marinate 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Roll out and toss your pizza dough to desired width and thickness on a large piece of parchment paper.
  4. Brush dough evenly with about a tablespoon of garlic oil marinade. Sprinkle evenly with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan.
  5. Top with tomato slices, spaced evenly, and sprinkle basil over the tomatoes.
  6. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella evenly over the top of the basil and season all over with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden, and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. If there are leftovers, reheat in a 350-degree oven–not the microwave.

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