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Focaccia di Recco – Treating Myself

When I treat myself to a personal “food wish,” it’s usually something I’ve eaten out and become obsessed over, and this episode is a classic case. There’s a Ligurian restaurant called Farina near us, and I’ve become a full-blown focaccia di Recco stalker. 

After watching them make it in front of me so many times, I had to give it a try. It doesn’t look like the focaccia most of us are used to, but come to find out, “focaccia” simply means any flatbread cooked in a hearth, and varies region to region.


This particular example hails from Recco, and is nothing more than some Stracchino cheese trapped in between two, super-thin layers of dough. The dough is nothing more than flour, water, olive oil, and salt; but thanks to a very hot oven, and this probably ancient technique, some serious flatbread magic happens.

As I confess in the video, I was scared to use too much cheese, but I’ll use more next time. At Farina, you can see a thin layer of the molten Stracchino oozing out between the layers. My Crescenza cheesewas basically absorbed, but while you couldn’t see it, you could certainly taste it, and it was amazing.

The obvious question is, can you add other fillings to this? Yes, but don’t. It’s perfect…as long as you find the cheese. Please, find the cheese (no substitutions will be offered #toughlove). 

 By the way, I’m officially recommending the quarter sheet pan seen herein, which is what they use in the restaurant, but I think a round tart pan would work as well. In fact, from what I see online, the round pan seems to be the standard. I can’t wait to try this again, and sincerely hope you give it go as well. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 2 small or 1 large Focaccia di Recco
*2 cups all-purpose flour (9.5 by weight)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water           
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp fine salt
*use enough flour to form a soft, but not too sticky dough. Knead for about 5-6 minutes to from a smooth, elastic dough. Let rest 1 hour at room temp.
12 oz Crescenza or Stracchino cheese (6 oz for each focaccia) 
extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, to taste for the top
Bake at 500 degrees F.for about 6-7 minutes, or until well-browned

Cheese Straws – These Don’t Suck

I took a few things for granted in this cheese straws video.
I assumed you could tell how delicious they were as I crunched into them, which
is why I never said as much. I also assumed you’d figure out how, where, and
when to use them; as I failed to give my usual serving suggestions. I was so
taken by the sound and texture of these cheesy sticks, that it just never
occurred to me to state such obvious facts.


So, for the record, let’s make this official. These really
tasted great, and that’s without any embellishments whatsoever. There are so
many things that will work with this technique, including, but not limited to
garlic butter, fresh herbs, crushed nuts, and/or literally any dried spice. As
far as approved uses, it’d be easier to list things this wouldn’t work with.

Any soup, stew, or bowl of chili would look substantially
better with some of these alongside. A few cheese straws will make that sleepy
bowl of leftover pasta suddenly seems special again, and substituting them for
toast at breakfast is a proven crowd-pleaser. Dipping toasted bread into a
runny egg yolk is nice, but dipping with a warm, crispy cheese straw? That goes way beyond nice.

As long as you use some nice, grate-able pungent cheeses,
and cook them long enough to get crisp, there’s no way these won’t be great. I
hope you give them a try soon, and report back with all your brilliant
adaptations. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
frozen puff pastry
about 2 tsp olive oil , or as needed
about 1/2 cup total finely grated aged cheddar and
Parmigiano-Reggiano, or more as needed
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

A delicious Halloween treat that’s light and easy to make. If you need an idea for a healthier Halloween dessert at your next party – look no further!

Confession: I strongly dislike candy corns. As a kid I was always disappointed to find them in my trick or treat bag. But candy corns are such great inspiration for Halloween treats and decorations, I just had to share this.

You basically layer orange and yellow fruit in clear cups and top with whipped cream. I used mandarin oranges and pineapple because I love the combination, but you can also use mangos, melon, oranges – whatever. These cute little jars I found in Homegoods are perfect to use as cups, but you can use clear disposable plastic cups if you are having a party.

For a whipped topping that is lighter than the average whipped cream yet not full of “fake” ingredients I’ve been making this light whipped topping by whipping my cream and folding in Greek yogurt. Cuts the fat down and tastes delicious!

If you prefer to use whipped topping, go for it or if you want to have this for breakfast I say just top it with vanilla yogurt. But for dessert – I wouldn’t change a thing! Hope you try this, you will LOVE it!!

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

Servings: 8 • Size: 1 parfait • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts 

Calories: 151 • Fat: 6 g • Carb: 23 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 3 g • Sugar: 21 g

Sodium: 20 g  (without salt) • Cholesterol: 20 mg

For the Lighter Whipped Topping: (makes 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)

For parfaits:

  • 2 2/3 cups diced pineapple (fresh or canned)
  • 2 2/3 cups jarred mandarin oranges, drained

Directions:

To make the lighter whipped cream, place a metal mixing bowl and metal beaters of a hand mixer into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream. Using a hand mixer, beat just until the cream and vanilla reaches stiff peaks, about 2 – 3 minutes. Fold in the Greek yogurt.

In 8 oz jars or clear plastic cups place 1/3 cup mandarin oranges in each, then 1/3 cup pineapple. Top each with 3 tablespoons of whipped cream.