Tag: cooking

Small and big cooking stories – Italian Cuisine

Small and big cooking stories


Magazzini Oz, a laboratory of ideas and a forge to realize the dreams of children with disabilities

We are excited to hear about it Luca Marin, the chef and president of Magazzini Oz. We get excited because it succeeds in making you perfectly in tune with your world and with the world that revolves around it every day, in the company of so many boys less fortunate than others. Boys with a life of difficulty and discomfort behind them, sometimes even psychic, but who, if re-entered in a healthy and serene working environment, can have great opportunities for their own future and that of their families. Because we are not always talking about families, which are the mainstay of these young people in search of the future, who have been their lifelong support.

Warehouse Project Oz

To describe this beautiful project, Magazzini Oz, in collaboration with Cuki (a company that has always been very attentive to social issues), has created Small and big cooking stories: micro shorts filmed in the kitchen of Magazzini Oz.
These are stories of young people who aspire to become cooks, to achieve their work dream, their independence and the possibility of expressing their abilities at best or, at the very least, to develop them in the best way and start a career and independent life, for dream of a future of their own.

Because of the way it was shot, the shorts are intended for sharing on social channels. Micro films that tell the newspaper inside the kitchen of Magazzini Oz and the opportunity to provide greater security to children with disabilities, the trust that has been lacking for so long. In short, a way to think about designing their future work and life, a big step that many will be able to make thanks to the vision in this sense of Cuki that since the opening of Magazzini Oz (in 2014) has always supported (also economically) every project.

What Luca Marin asks companies that want to support them is continuity, because support is useful only if it is prolonged over time. This is the only way to follow the path and evolution of children until they are fully integrated into society.
The opportunity for these youngsters does not come only with the experience in the kitchen, but in the room: they are in fact prepared for serving at the tables, in the cafeteria, to manage sales in the shop, to the daily relationship with customers.

Luca Marin explains that the companies selected for the store must respect certain criteria, such as sustainability and a beautiful vision of the social, as if to maintain a common thread, a bond, very often unconscious, but that gives pleasant emotions even to those who buy the products and take them home, or have to make a gift for a special occasion, knowing that you have done good twice.

The courts

The cooking of poor recipes – Italian Cuisine


Many of our best recipes are born almost by chance, in very distant times, from daring experiments, done in home kitchens to avoid wasting food

Before tradition, cooking is experimentation. This does not mean that a great many recipes are today considered by us to be representative of our history and considered an integral part of our tradition (Italian and / or regional). But we must not forget that there was a time when what is tradition for us today was then a novelty. This is why there are no taboos in the kitchen (see the recent and ridiculous controversy over the sovranista tortellino): the kitchen is always in flux.

Tradition is the daughter of experimentation

The great chefs experiment as experimentally, as a conscious choice, as a study of individual ingredients, searching for new combinations and flavors. But there is also a "poor" experimentation, made by necessity. And many dishes and recipes that today we consider "tradition" are sons of the Latin saying: "Facis de necessitate virtutem". In short, in times when food was scarce and recycling was not a habit, but the only possible solution to fill the bellies of a whole family, and often numerous, in the kitchen bold combinations were made, strongly linked to the season and the territory .
We do not know how many of these culinary experiments have been lost over time and therefore we do not know how many good dishes have not reached us. We can only imagine (and hope) that many of these lost recipes were unsuccessful experiments and therefore not handed down. We know, instead, which dishes have come down to us, sometimes maintaining the original characteristics of a poor but exquisite recipe; other times undergoing local variations; still others turning into important dishes to be ordered not only in the trattoria, but even in starred restaurants, where they may have undergone some "modernization" or some mixing with foreign cuisines.

Special: poor dishes, but good. The recipes of the origins
New vaccinara tail.

If we went to see the individual stories of these "origins" recipes, we would discover beautiful narratives, full of joy, sadness, effort; but always full of that human doing that comes from below, made up of women and men who fight for survival and often win. And these dishes are their legacy, their legacy, their teaching: having respect for food, which should not be wasted. Never!

Our poor recipes

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The perfect 4-point steam cooking – Italian Cuisine

The perfect 4-point steam cooking


Orientals are champions of steam cooking, a technique thanks to which they prepare very refined dishes. If you cook vacuum-packed foods, it is a more common technique in restaurants than in houses, steam is known but seems currently relegated to a few ingredients and periods of diet, when you feel the need for a kitchen light and with few seasonings. Because, there is no doubt, steam cooking it's good. In reality, the two components can also coexist: with the right straight, in fact, the steam turns out to be an ally of healthy cuisine which does not exclude the taste. Rather, enhances it. Here's how, point by point.

1. The right tools
This technique requires one steam, of course. But which? Let's examine models and features.

– Those electrical they are practical, they have more stackable baskets, timers, set programs: all you have to do is arrange the food, start and think about something else because the machine does everything by itself, including turning off and keeping warm.
However, like all appliances, they are often quite bulky and in a small kitchen they do not always fit.
– Very small, on the contrary i flower baskets, made of steel or silicone, which adapt to each pot and are stored in a small space. A defect? The flared walls do not allow to take advantage of the space as it would make a flat bottom.
– Le pots equipped with one or more baskets, with flat bottom and capacious, they are now present in all the batteries and practical as they can perform the double function of steam cooker or normal casserole.
– Even some pressure cookers they are equipped with the appropriate accessory and ideal for long cooking such as whole potatoes or cauliflower with big touches.
– If, finally, you want to copy the Orientals, you can buy i stackable bamboo baskets. They exist in different sizes and are placed on a saucepan of the same diameter or in a wok, whose flared walls will hold the baskets raised from the bottom with water.
The only drawback is that wood tends to absorb aromas and more delicate foods (like Chinese dumplings) could stick. For this there are special diskettes of perforated greaseproof paper, with which to coat the basket before putting the food, but you can also use simple baking paper or lettuce leaves.

2. The basic technique
It's very simple. Just put water in the saucepan, food in the basket, lid and go, on the fire!
Of course, with some forethought.

– Thewater it must only come to touch the basket, stopping a few millimeters before to avoid that, during boiling, it goes to wet the food. Put it already hot: it will boil first. The basket can be put into the saucepan immediately.
– It is essential that, from the beginning, there is the cover, to keep heat and steam inside the pot.
– La flame it may initially be medium, to make the water boil. Then it must be lowered to minimum (if necessary, add a flame spreader net), otherwise there is the risk that the water will be consumed before the end of cooking.
– If you need to add more water, take care that it is very hot (better still, boiling) so as not to interrupt cooking: in case, raise the flame until the steam is reformed.

3. Suitable foods
Steam cooking is delicate, the heat never violent or direct. This ensures that the foods are more consistent and tasty and maintain their brilliance. However, times are even longer than a third compared to boiling and cooking in a pan.

– To avoid this inconvenience, it is good to use cut foods in small pieces or of course of small size and / or from rapid cooking, like morsels of meat or fish, prawns, peas, broccoli florets, green beans, etc.
– To be preferred i thin cuts such as slices, rondelle, brunoise (small cubes) and julienne (thin strips).
– In particular, steam lends itself very well to foods that, when boiled in water, tend to soak: formidable for cooking potatoes for dumplings, gives excellent results with the leafy vegetables (chard, spinach) and with vegetables from spongy pulp, like courgettes or aubergines, especially if you want to use the latter for creams and fake "caviar".
– Between the unusual preparations, there are sandwiches and ravioli (both classics of Chinese cuisine), focaccia, delicate omelettes, puddings and sweet pudding. Without forgetting the fruit, for salads cooked to serve still warm.

– Although influenced by various factors (size and quality of the food, which can be more or less rich in water), here is finally i maximum times:
for the leafy vegetables, it takes 3-5 minutes;
for the others, it depends on consistency which times to obtain: more crunchy, oriental, 10 minutes are normally too many. For a consistency soft, more traditional Italian style, for vegetables and soft legumes (peas, fresh broad beans, courgettes, green beans, asparagus) and for the fruit 10-15 minutes;
for the cauliflower or broccoli florets, i Brussels sprouts, le potatoes or le carrots in touches, 5-25 minutes, depending on the size (whole new chips can be up to 35-40 minutes);
prawns and scampi cook in about 5-8 minutes; thin slices or small morsels of meat, white fish, salmon in 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness;
sandwiches, ravioli, focaccia, omelettes and puddings they generally cook in about 15-20 minutes, but the time may vary depending on the recipes and the presence or absence of a filling. For some recipes, to avoid unwanted dripping, use the baking paper, which can slightly change cooking times.

4. How to flavor
As there is no contact, during cooking, with no seasoning, the natural flavor of the food is enhanced with steam. If you use quality raw materials, just a drizzle of raw oil, salt and pepper are enough to enjoy good preparations anyway.
That said, it is possible enrich them with aromas both before and during cooking.

– Before cooking, the most suitable technique is marinating. Clean and prepare the ingredients and, keeping them apart, let them season in small bowls with oil, salt, pepper, chopped herbs and various additions, from soy sauce to balsamic vinegar. Drain well and place them in the basket, lined with baking paper so that the residual condiments do not strain under but remain on the bottom, to further flavor the food.
– During cooking you can perfume the water of the steam adding wine, citrus fruit slices, aromatic leaves, specks of spices. Simmer this broth at least 15-20 minutes, so that the perfumes have time to develop and then wrap the food in the basket.
– Do not underestimate the Eastern technique, which we have already mentioned, of line the basket with ingredients such as large cabbage or cabbage leaves, but also leek sheaths or a bed of sprigs of herbs, woven together.

Roberta Fontana
Photo: Flickr / Stefan Lins
updated by Carola Traverso Saibante
October 2019

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