Tag: meat

Vegan meat: the possible alternative – Salt & Pepper – Italian Cuisine

Vegan meat: the possible alternative - Salt & Pepper

It has now been well over a decade since some visionary entrepreneurs began to study how to get one "Vegetable meat". Quotation marks required for a protein product which, in fact, is alternative to the meat. And we did not use the term "alternative" at random: because more and more consumers are approaching the world plant based while not being vegans or vegetarians. Not to replace foods of animal origin, but to have an extra food to be included in a diet that remains omnivorous. Among them, the more and more numerous flexitarians who, for various reasons, choose to reduce the consumption of meat, fish and derivatives. But also many curious who discover burgers, meatballs, minced meat and morsels that are ever tastier, fun to cook and with the added value of sustainability.

What are
Let's say immediately that they are protein products which, however, differ greatly from those typical of the soy-based veggie diet, such as tofu, or gluten-based such as seitan. The main feature is in fact that of getting closer, in consistency and taste, to the meat. Thus, the "minced" ones are red and succulent as if they were beef, the "pulpy" ones have an elongated fiber structure similar to that of chicken or pork. They have a good flavor, the so-called “umami” which could be translated as “savory flavor”. As for the formats, in the beginning they were i burger, or patties: the classic mashed meatballs to eat in a sandwich, with fresh vegetables and standard sauces. While today the variations are numerous and, in honor of the traditional specialties of street food, they often have English names like nuggets (nuggets, i.e. croquettes), pulled (frayed), chuncks (morsels), meatball (meatballs), minced (ground), sausages (sausages).

A growing success
The names chosen by the start-ups that, overseas, first launched the green challenge (we told about it in this post and in this other one), they expressed the full meaning of the bet: Beyond Meat (where "beyond" means "beyond") e Impossible Burger they were declarations of intent, even before being trademarks. Today, plant-based meat is a solid reality that is increasingly appreciated, as confirmed by the data collected by the delivery companies: both Just Eat that Uber Eats they put the vegan burger at the top of their customers' veggie choices. And the competitors of the two American companies are more and more. Brazilians of Future Farm they are inspired (and aspire to inspire!) "to the pro-earth generation, finally in favor of our planet". In Europe, the challenge was taken up by the Swede Ikea, which he has revisited in key cruelty free its famous meatballs, while the world of start-ups has recently seen the birth of the Spanish Heura and the switzerland of Planted. The latter, "incubated" in 2019 at the Zurich Polytechnic and become a reality thanks to the initiative of 4 students, has just landed on our market with a very specific choice: not to focus on various burgers and minced meat but only on variations " solid ".

The list of ingredients
The formulas developed by the different companies are, in fact, very different from each other. From the point of view of taste, the most effective proteins proved to be those obtained from peas. However, especially in ground products, they are mixed with many other ingredients: mainly soy, but also other legumes and cereals, fats, fibers, starches, thickeners, stabilizers. Additions needed to get it right consistency of burgers, sausages, meatballs, “chorizo”, frankfurters and company. It is to shorten the list of ingredients as much as possible that Planted has decided, on the contrary, not to "create" anything minced but "meat" solid, easier to "put together". Thus the "chicken", morsels that resemble a tender chicken breast, is prepared with pea protein and fiber, water and rapeseed oil. To these 4 ingredients the "pulled" (pictured above), made up of frays, adds oat and sunflower proteins, while the "kebab" is in thin slices flavored with Middle Eastern spices. The ingredients are a short supply chain, coming from local crops: thus, environmental sustainability is also ensured. Pursued by most of the companies in the sector, which adopt competitive production systems in terms of saving of water resources And drop in CO2 emissions.

The nutritional aspect
Interesting to note how the products plant based have a caloric intake similar, if not inferior, to the corresponding animals and in any case a content of saturated fats significantly lower. Then, of course, it all depends on the recipes: both at the origin (the flavored versions are generally richer) and in the kitchen, where the products natural they can be sautéed, browned and seasoned with oils and sauces, while still being one healthy choice thanks to the starting nutritional composition. And providing one more reason to really make it a viable alternative to change our diet and our impact on the environment around us.

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
January 2022

Bourguignonne: meat becomes convivial – Italian Cuisine

Bourguignonne: meat becomes convivial

Set up a bourguignonne, to be enjoyed with the family or with a small group of friends, is the easiest way to make everyone happy, propose something original and … eliminate the effort. In fact, we did not use the verb "set up" at random: whoever decides for this formula must worry more about setting utensils and ingredients than cooking in the true sense of the word. The cooking of the bourguignonne will, in fact, be the task of the diners. While your commitment will be limited to the choice of raw materials and the preparation of sauces only. Of course, with the advice of Salt and pepper!

What is that
The bourguignonne is a type of Fondue or, better, of fondue, as all those preparations are called that they are cooked on the table, in a special container, placed on a small stove. Among many variations (meat or fish, with oil or Chinese broth, even chocolate desserts), bourguignonne is undoubtedly the most famous, of Swiss origin but very common in Piedmont, Val d'Aosta and neighboring France. The traditional version includes chunks of meat, to be skewered on special forks and dipped into a pot filled with very hot oil. In a few moments, the cubes brown to perfection and, once drained, are seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper and / or dipped in a sauce.

Which meat and which cooking
The classic meat for this dish is the beef, especially tender and lean cuts such as the fillet steak, the sirloin or it rump: rapid cooking, in fact, would not have time to tenderize more consistent parts, such as the pulp suitable for stews and the like. If the adult bovine is your choice, no one will have to worry if the inside of the morsels remains a little rare. The cooking to the "pink", slightly ahead of the rare one, is indicated for veal, beef, loin or fillet of pig. The preferred grade can be identified by removing the bite from the fork and cutting it in half: in case, you can plunge back into the oil for a few more moments.

What about poultry? Ni
We know that chicken and turkey they must always be consumed well cooked and therefore for this alone they would be less suitable for bourguignonne, in which it is difficult to guess the right cooking point. Not only that: the pieces of meat are grasped and put on the forks with your fingers and it is always inadvisable to touch the poultry meat, without then washing your hands immediately, due to the risk of contaminations from pathogenic germs, such as salmonella. The best thing, if you want to use them, would be to invite diners to help each other handle the raw meat with another fork, without touching it.

The right cut and quantities
The morsels should be small enough to cook in a minute or two. The ideal are dice of a couple of cm on each side, nevertheless, otherwise they burn quickly. You can ask the butcher to prepare them for you. Better still to buy the whole piece and cut it yourself, after eliminating any greasy parts, skins and nerves, just before going to the table. As a quantity, calculate at least 150-200 g per serving. Don't be afraid to abound: there will always be someone ready to finish the last bites left to cook!

The cooking fat
The best ispeanut oil, which holds up well the high temperatures to which it will be subjected for a long time. It should be poured into one quantity enough to get to about half of the pot: no more because otherwise, sizzling and bubbling, it could come out. It gets hot on the kitchen stove: the flame of the stove is not very powerful and it would take too long to reach the right temperature. Just before the oil starts to smoke, the pot is carefully brought to the table, placing it on its support.

The equipment
Bourguignonne pots can be of various materials: copper, steel, cast iron, enameled metal. The important thing is that they heat up, maintain and spread the heat well, because the flame on which they will be held is not very strong and the risk is that the oil inside does not reach or maintain the right temperature for cooking: the result would be “boiled” meat soaked in grease. For this reason, earthenware containers used for others are not suitable fondue more delicate, such as cheese or chocolate. Nor, much less, the stoves with the "tealights", the candles low that develop moderate heat. The right accessory, housed at the base of the support on which the pot is placed, has a metal burner, inside which is contained a spongy material, to be soaked with the appropriate liquid or alcohol or in which to house a tray of specific fuel (all these products can be found in the most well-stocked household items). The set is completed forks: with an insulating handle, made of wood or other materials that do not overheat, they are quite long, generally at two "hook" tips, to avoid that the meat, during cooking, shrinks from coming off. Often on the handle they show a different color for each fork: it is used by diners to identify their own when there are many in the pot. The sets provide for a maximum of 6 people: if there were more, it is better to put two on the table, so that everyone can easily reach their own and that there are not too many pieces cooking in the same pot at the same time.

The table
There are specials plates with compartments: a large one in which to put the raw meat, some small lateral ones for the sauces. Division is important because raw meat must not come into contact with any type of seasoning (salt or sauces) otherwise, by inserting it into the oil, it can produce dangerous hot splashes. If you don't have this type of dishes, serve the meat in individual cups, the sauces in bowls and arrange for each diner a saucer in which to deposit the cooked morsels. In addition to that, normal cutlery will be needed, knife and especially, fork, as we will see shortly.

The security
Having on the table, literally at hand, a fire, a red-hot pan and boiling oil invites you to caution. Let's start with the stove: you need to turn it on only a few moments before going to the table, so that it lasts as long as possible. The intensity of the fire it can be adjusted by turning the ring nut that lets in more or less air, fueling combustion. But if, during the meal, the flame becomes gradually less vigorous, it is necessary to remove the stove, close it with the special lid and make sure to suffocate and completely extinguish the fire before adding new fuel: spraying liquids or putting flammable materials on a flame is always very dangerous. As we told you, to avoid splashes of oil, there must be nothing on the meat: neither salt, nor sauces. Many use to add one to the pot right from the start half a raw potato, which would prevent the oil from overheating. Finally, it doesn't occur to you or your guests to bring the meat to their mouths directly from the fork of red-hot cooking: the bite is removed with the help of a normal fork, with which it is then passed into sauces and condiments.

The side dishes
Given the informality of the occasion, the most suitable side dish for bourguignonne is a pinzimonio, served in individual glasses: the vegetables can be dipped in the same sauces as the meat and refresh the palate. For the same purpose, you can serve bowls of green or mixed salad. Although together with the meat they are very greedy, the potatoes baked in the oven risk weighing down the menu. Rather serve them baked, or boiled, cooled, cut into pieces and seasoned with a little oil, a hint of mayonnaise or mustard and chives.

The right sauces
And so we come to the accompaniments. On the table there must be salt and pepper and you can use ready-made sauces such as Ketchup, barbecue, mustard creamy or rustic, worcester etc. Obviously the sauces home made they will give an extra touch to your bourguignonne! There mayonnaisein particular, it can be made at home and personalized in many ways. Here are some ideas referring to 100 g of "basic" mayonnaise: a tablespoon of minced gherkins and capers pickle; a teaspoon of horseradish fresh grated or in cream; a teaspoon of ketchup and a tablespoon of vodka; 50 ml of fresh cream or yogurt, a few pieces of chopped mustard and a pinch of chopped parsley and tarragon. Find many other ideas for a mayonnaise enriched in this post. Play to mix flavors and colors: this way, your bourguignonne's table will be even more inviting and beautiful to look at.

January 2022

New Year's Risotto: the best meat and fish recipes – Italian Cuisine

We welcome 2022 with a refined, delicious and original first course: on New Year's tables, ladies and gentlemen, Risotto

On the festive table a Christmas as to New Year's traditional first courses are often found from lasagna to the cannelloni or the fresh filled pasta such as ravioli or cappelletti in broth. And if this year instead we wanted to venture with a New Year's risotto? If you are a beginner, let's be honest, we do not recommend it as a first course. Risotto has its own rules and when prepared for more than 8 people it risks being less successful. However, we do not give up on surprising our guests and making them spend an unforgettable evening at the table. For this, below you will find a useful in-depth study on the rice / risotto of our school and our 15 proposals for New Year's risotto.

Rice, risotto: useful information before cooking

The rice it is used in the kitchen to make numerous and different preparations, from cold dishes such as salads or hot dishes such as first courses, soups, side dishes and even desserts. When one says rice, one immediately thinks of risotto, undisputed protagonist of the tradition of Italian cuisine.
The creamed rice is what we call risotto, whose origin comes from the dialect of the Piedmontese-Lombard area, and it is a rice cooked in an aromatic sauté and then in boiling broth, completed with the ingredients that each time characterize it in a different way and finally creamed with butter and cheese.
the choice of the different species and varieties of rice depends on the characteristics of the different rices, in relation to the type of preparation to be made. THE laughed brilliantly they are more suitable for the realization of typical dishes of Italian cuisine (risotto and soups) due to the greater dispersion of starch that occurs during cooking; the others laughed, such as the parboiled, are more suitable for the preparation of dishes in which the grains must be dry and shelled at the end of cooking.
For the preparation of a good risotto, the rices that keep cooking best are chosen, namely i superfine laughs. The cooking times indicated for the different brilliant rices vary from 12 minutes (common rice) to 18 minutes (best superfine rice).
The main methods of cooking rice are the creamed rice or risotto (sauteed rice, arancino, timbale); the boiled rice (English or white rice, rice in broth, rice in cagnone, rice pudding); the pilaw rice (baked rice, tiella of rice).

New Year's Risotto: 15 recipes to greet 2022

Here we are ready to give you 15 proposals for New Year's risotto, with no limits between fish or meat or vegetables. We use the ingredients we already have at home due to the Holidays, from citrus to dried fruit: Risotto with castelmagno and bergamot, Laurel risotto with mandarin and almonds, Risotto with citrus, Risotto with candied citron, capers and sage, Creamy risotto with almonds. Let's add noble ingredients: Risotto with scampi and citrus fruits, Rice with lobster, Orange risotto with duck ragout. Speaking of the latter, here is a recipe that makes a very refined single dish: Duck breast with plums on Parmesan risotto. Let's go to the classic Salted risotto with fondue, Risotto with cheese and pepper or the timeless Saffron risotto. Another tip is to venture following a great chef's recipe with Risotto with water (Oldani style) with burrata, cedar and mint. We close with two well-wishing proposals: Risotto with sparkling wine with lemon and rosemary And Risotto with artichokes and pomegranate.

Here are our 15 proposals for New Year's Risotto, also in the photo gallery!

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