Miz Chef

Cooking Up a Healthy Life


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Torta Salata di Zucca (Squash Cake)

Lombardia

Welcome back to my Regions of Italy project, based on La Cucina—The Regional Cooking of Italy by Accademia Italiana della Cucina (The Italian Academy of Cuisine).

As I write this, the world is in the thick fog of the pandemic COVID-19, or coronavirus. With so many of you in quarantine (or more diplomatically referred to as shelter in place), you’re trying out all those recipes you’ve been wanting to try. Well, now’s a great time to journey with me through Italy.

Today, we’re in Lombardia and I’m offering one of that region’s specialties, squash cake. Although it’s called cake, it’s actually more like a savory loaf with a sweet edge, kind of like corn bread.

What makes this recipe unusual is that it calls for mostarda di Cremona. Also known as mostarda di frutta, it’s candied fruit packed in mustard syrup. (Mostarda di Cremona, from the town of Cremona, is a particular blend of whole or large pieces of various fruit, and is the most well-known variety of mostarda.) If you taste it right out of the jar, you get hit with an unmistakable mustard flavor, reminiscent of yellow mustard, with only an undertone of sweetness. Once incorporated into a dish, the flavor blends in seamlessly and you end up with a complex recipe with an interesting flavor that you can’t quite pinpoint (but it’s the mostarda!).

Anyway, try it out. I hope you like it.

By the way, the note in the original recipe says it’s best to make the mixture a day ahead, but I missed my opportunity to do that. I made it the same day and it was fine.

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Limoncello Sunrise

This was a particularly difficult month and week for me, so I decided that this week’s recipe should be a cocktail. I had quite a few cocktails and glasses of wine this month to get me through, but this one turned out nicer than I had expected. I used homemade limoncello, but any brand that you get from the store will do.

It’s a bit on the sweet side, so give it a taste. If you want to tone down the sweetness, add a little less o.j. and/or a bit more rum. It’s called “sunrise” because it looks like one of those types of drinks that are reminiscent of…well, sunrises. Little umbrella optional. :- ) Enjoy!Limoncello Sunrise

Limoncello Sunrise

1 ounce limoncello
1 ounce rum
4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice (~2 juicing oranges)
1 tablespoon grenadine or strawberry syrup
1 orange slice
¼ cup crushed ice or 1 or 2 cubes

Place ice in a tall glass. Add the limoncello, rum, and orange juice and mix. Pour in the grenadine or syrup and let it settle at the bottom. Garnish the glass with the orange.

Makes 1 cocktail.