My experience with preparing and cooking the assorted dishes for Cinema Cuisine, Italy, was that much more care, devotion, patience and love had to go into each dish. What do I mean? Oftentimes in the kitchen, as much as possible, I try to be efficient and quick in my approach to making a meal. I embrace delicate measures when necessary, but otherwise, I’m multitasking and moving from one dish to the next, incorporating one spice or ingredient after the next. After much sweat and heart, the meal is complete. Shortly after, I either feel one of two things: a strong sense of accomplishment and elation or a mild sense of disappointment and anxiety. These feelings are common because I’m either pleased with my creations or I’m displeased with–by my standards–an unsatisfactory outcome. Either way, I’m able to enjoy my creations with a loved one and, being the critic that I am, dissect the many facets of the meal. With this in mind, for my Italian meal I allowed self and outside critique, but I channeled a level of love into the process of making the dishes that I rarely do. It was one of my most enjoyable cooking experiences yet.
Before the big meal, my love and I knew we needed to begin the process of making the homemade pasta for a few reasons, but mostly because we had never used a pasta maker before. For the winter holiday of 2012, we received an authentic, Italian press (with some extra attachments) and a bamboo wooden drying rack for the pasta. Up until the end of June, we had yet to crack open the box, and this lack of attention to this thoughtful pasta making gift set in motion my idea of choosing Italy as our next film and cuisine exploration.
Below you’ll find many recipes and my FIRST VIDEO that you too could incorporate into a day or days of Italian themed dishes. Most of them are my own creations and ideas, but some are inspired by wonderful chefs I’ve discovered. I hope you enjoy every bite and appreciate the process of making this meal or meals as much as I did. What is more, as the Italians do, enjoy this meal with a group of people and even encourage a potluck. Making all of these delicious recipes and more could turn into an all day affair. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying.
A quick note on L’eclisse. Why–before the viewing of this film–I had yet to see an Antonioni film, escapes me, but I can say these dishes couple consummately as their simplicity matches the contemplative and confident manner of this movie. Please, enjoy every bite and every frame.
Keep a look out for our podcast where you’ll hear much more depth into L’eclisse. I’ll post it in a few days! Please let me know what you think of the recipes and the tweaks you made to your own creations. And remember…bite responsibly!
Raw Cacao, Avocado Pudding/Spread w/ Apple slices & Italian Press Coffee
- 2 ripe medium avocados
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 3 tbsp unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk to taste
- 1 to 2 tbsp pure maple syrup to taste
- 1 or 2 drops of liquid stevia to taste (slightly more liberal w/ powder version)
- 6 tbsp raw cacao
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large apple of your choice (pear)
- fresh coffee beans
- coffee press
- Slice the avocado lengthwise to break past the outter skin barrier, remove the pit and spoon out contents into high powered blender/food processor
- Add vanilla, maple syrup, raw cacao, cinnamon and the first tbsp of almond milk
- Blend until a smooth, creamy texture is reached (note: Add remaining tbsp of milk if mixture is too dry. Additionally if not sweet enough, add in stevia–take care to not add too much initially as excessive amounts could make the pudding/spread too bitter.)
- Slice apple with skin on and enjoy it with liberal amounts of this delicious pudding
For Coffee Press
- Coarsely grind two tbsp of coffee for ever 6 oz of water
- Begin to heat water, don’t boil
- Place ground coffee beans at the bottom of your press
- Pour VERY hot water (not boiling) over beans and immediately cover with coffee press lid, but do NOT press down filtration piece yet; let sit for 3-5 minutes
- Press down filtration press piece and pour into your favorite mug
This dish could also be made with soft and soaked medjool dates (6 to 8). I happened to not have any on hand. Raisins would also be a nice substitute.
Also, Italians often enjoy their chocolate spread with bread or toast.
For a more dense protein treat, add some pre-soaked raw pecans (you’ll get a flavor closer to Nutella but without the hazlenuts).
Should store, refrigerated for up to two days. After two days I’d smell it/taste it.
Italian Summer Salad
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 large portions or 6 smaller portions)
- 1 head romaine lettuce (chopped)
- 1/2 large cucumber (sliced thinly into half moons)
- colorful sweet peppers of your choices (I chose: 1 purple, 1 red, 1 green, 1 banana; thinly sliced rings)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (if you’re watching alkalinity, nix this and add an extra 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)
- salt to taste
- course, freshly ground pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp & 1 tsp dried Italian herb mixture (my mixture is: thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram; if you have fresh herbs available, curve the amount; also, the dressing cannot be kept as long)
- After cleaning, chopping and drying lettuce, place it in a large bowl
- Add pepper rings and cucumber slices
- Toss with clean hands until vegetables are all mixed
- Pour liquids into a jar and then add remainder of ingredients
- Place lid on the top of jar and shake until mixture combines
- Before mixture separates, conservatively pour over salad
- Enjoy salad soon, or lettuce will wilt. If only enjoying in single portions, plate salad portion and drizzle dressing over individually. Secure remaining dressing with lid, store at room temperature
- Please see my previous post for the beet ball recipe HERE.
- Some tweaks: I adjusted the herb mixture, type of mushroom and nut when I made these recently, and unlike my old post, I find that golden beets do bring out a more savory nature to these balls.
Sauteed Summer Squash
- 3 summer squash (yellow & zucchini, mixture of your choosing; thinly sliced into half strips)
- 1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil/coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- After slicing squash and mincing garlic, heat skillet over medium heat and add oil
- Once oil is hot–should move like water in the pan–gently place squash slices into skillet and gently toss until every piece is covered with oil
- After beginning to brown, add garlic
- Cook until gentle (to fork) and garlic is fragrant, lightly browned, but not burnt; about 7 minutes
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, serve and enjoy ^_^
Homemade Pasta (gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)
Recipe by: Cassie
- 2 tbsp flax (ground)
- 6 tbsp warm water
- 1 3/4 cup chickpea flour (additional amount for rolling out and pressing)
Check out my very first instructional video (also streaming on YouTube) on how to make homemade pasta!
- I made farfalle and fettuccine noodles (both of which fell apart to some degree). I’ll need to do my own personal tweaking to the recipe for the future. Don’t overcook!
- SALT the water!
- Make sure you have plenty of flour for rolling out and putting dough through pasta press, otherwise you’ll have a sticky mess.
- I also recommend keeping a small bowl of cool water nearby wherever your hands are when rolling out the dough. This works much better with moist hands (the dough will not cling to your fingers in such large clumps with a little water).
- Have a partner! Though you could make this pasta alone, I think it would be more fun and easier with a buddy.
- Give yourself plenty of time and space. Don’t let the ingredients deceive you, this recipe is relatively time consuming, especially if you’re in a moderately cramped space.
- Please do not get discouraged if you are in a one butt kitchen or don’t have a pasta press, this is completely doable without both, but it will be more challenging. Respect your space and the amount of time it will take to make.
- Kick back and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll botch the recipe and process and find yourself very frustrated.
- Stick to the instructions in the video. Although I’m an advocate of going with the flow in recipes, skipping or rushing a step could lead to problems.
Walnut Basil Pesto
- 1/2 to 1 cup raw walnuts–depending on how ‘nutty’ you want your pesto (soaked w/ apple cider vinegar for 6 hours, rinsed)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups loosely pressed basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less to your desired consistency)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less to your desired consistency, taste)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place nuts, oil and all other ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor
- Begin to blend and slowly increase speed to high
- Use bowl scraper to wipe sides of container and blend once more to catch the rest of the ingredients that may have splattered
- Depending on the consistency you want (either chunky or smooth), pace your blending
- Serve mixed into pasta (specifically for this recipe) and freeze the remainder in an ice-cube tray covered in plastic wrap
- This will make a sizable amount. Try freezing the remainder in ice-cube trays and cover with plastic wrap. Later, you have a quick meal as all you’ll have to do is pop a pesto cube onto your dish and heat it up or thaw it out.
Italian Creamy White Sauce w/ Parsley and Grape Tomatoes
Follow directions HERE for dressing then do the following:
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 garlic clove (yes, more garlic)
- 3 tsp dried Italian herb mixture
- water to desired consistency (unsweetened almond milk for a thicker consistency)
- 6 grape tomatoes (quartered)
- handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (gently minced; lucky me, this go round I had some from my herb garden!)
- Follow instructions for dressing FIRST
- Next, add cashews, garlic, Italian herb mixture and water
- Blend once more
- Serve mixed into pasta (add in parsley and quartered grape tomatoes), or over your favorite, homemade gluten-free pizza crust (without the added parsley, just the tomatoes)!
- Italians typically serve a plain or ‘pasta blanco’ for ease of digestion as a more minimal dish. I dressed up the idea but created a vegan, high protein/omega-3 cream sauce, free of soy and other additives.
About two years ago (although I think in the pc we said one, but it has been almost two) my husband and I began a fun ritual on Fridays called ‘Foreign Film Fridays’, wherein we would choose a country, a film to represent that country–whichever one of us was in charge of picking the country and film, would prepare a meal representative of that country. It was such a blast, but as our schedules grew busier, Foreign Film Friday sadly fell by the wayside. You all will be happy to know, it has been reincarnated, but on Sundays! So, we lost some lovely alliteration, but we gained a more relaxing day, with more time to prepare. Also, I do the cooking/preparing and we are going to alternate picking the country/film. One of Matthew and I’s biggest passions in life is film, and we both have a deep connection and fondness for food. This podcast has allowed me another way to connect food to all of you out there.
I’m very happy to introduce my very first podcast and even more pleased that I’m launching it in conjunction with connectabite. Please, be forgiving when you listen to it as this is our first ever time to attempt this, and though we’re both avid podcast listeners ourselves, there is certainly a separation in action of something you love. Needless to say, here it is! I hope you enjoy and I’d really like to start a dialogue about what you hear. Tell me what you don’t like, what you do like, was it funny, was it awkward, could you understand what we’re saying, did you appreciate our commentary, etc…
CLICK HERE: –> (right click here) Cinema Cuisine Ep.1 – England
Below you’ll find the recipes to the meals I created, plus sources to some of them. I hope you will join us in foreign film connecting and food and share with me your experiences, recipes, ideas and so forth. I’d love to chat about it all! Maybe some of you have recommendations? Enjoy both listening to the podcast and preparing these recipes, and remember…bite responsibly!
Gluten-Free Orange Pecan Scones
Recipe inspired by Alex Jamieson
- 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flour
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 egg replacer (could also substitute ground flax or chia seeds)
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- Zest from one organic orange
- 1/2 cup & 2 tbsp unsweetened almond, coconut, rice or other plant-based milk ( I used almond)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I broke them into pieces with my hands rather than processing them in any way)
- ½ cup raisins (you could also substitute another dried fruit)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Take special care with the coconut flour as it will want to clump together. Use a fork and sift through large bulges.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg replacer, maple syrup, orange juice, zest, and milk.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until blended thoroughly. If the dough seems too dry and isn’t sticking together, use another tablespoon or two of milk. Dough should feel almost spongy.
- Dump in the pecans and raisins. Then wet your hands to evenly distribute the nuts and dried fruit through the dough.
- Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out evenly sized scones and place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and gently press down to flatten to 1/2 in thick with palm.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- These are slightly crumbly scones but have a nice density. They aren’t as heavy and thick as I was used to, but they are gluten-free, thus for what they are, fantastic! I was so fretful the entire time I was making them/they were baking, that they would turn out flat and fall apart because there is no fat, and for must scones that a key ingredient, but these were only slightly crumbly as I mentioned and had the most divine flavor.
- We enjoyed these with a hot cup of English Breakfast tea and the combination was superb!
- I have a few ideas on how to improve/perk up the recipe and someday I’ll post my newest re-creation.
British Beetroot Salad
- romaine lettuce (cleaned and chopped)
- two medium beets (washed, peeled, and cut into small triangular wedges then cooked until tender, yet firm to form)
- green peas (portion size is up to you, I’m a sprinkler/dumper)
- two green onion (diced at an angle into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (previously soaked-about 6-8 hours, and rinsed)
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tbsp dulse
- 3 to 4 tbsp (or more depending on your taste buds) Organic horseradish mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt (or more depending on your taste buds)
- freshly crushed black pepper to taste
- onion granules to taste
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
- For Salad: layer as follows – lettuce on the bottom, followed by green onion, peas, and top with whatever amount of beets sound yummy to you
- For Dressing: in a high powered blender, add to blender all ingredients starting with water, seeds, lemon juice, then horseradish mustard, and so forth. Blend on low and increase to high until a thick, white creamy sauce is before your eyes. Do a few taste tests to make sure it’s just right for you. The dressing should resemble the ubiquitous ‘Ranch’ dressing that so many love. Drizzle dressing over salad. Enjoy before main entrée.
- You’ll have plenty of leftovers if you’re making this for just two, enjoy this delicious salad for a few days. Store the dressing in a clean glass jar.
Lentil & Mushroom Shepherds Pie
Recipe inspired by Susan Voisin (via Nava Atlas)
- 8 medium golden yukon potatoes
- olive oil to taste (for potatoes)
- 1/2 cup rice milk (rice/quinoa blend-unsweetened)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or coconut oil*
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (I used white)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 6 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 1 cup cooked brown lentils (creates about 3 to 31/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)
- 1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium, gluten-free tamari (fermented soy sauce)*
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot
- 8 to 10 ounces baby kale leaves
- cooked millet, maybe a day or two old
- Dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
- Mix together olive oil, potatoes and some salt (to taste) then add the milk and mash until fluffy. Cover and set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the tamari (optional) herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring gently, then letting the mixture rest to disperse flavors. Combine the arrowroot with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
- Add the kale in small handfuls, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish. Distribute the millet on the bottom of the dish. Pour in the lentil mixture evenly, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. The potatoes should spread almost as if they were thick frosting. Spread with a spatula/bowl scraper.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes–to set–then serve.
- This would be especially tasty with a British inspired onion gravy–vegan and gluten-free of course, but I didn’t make one this time.
Also, I was so anxious to try this dish, I didn’t let it set for the 5 minutes initially, but the next day when we had leftovers, oh, so yummy!
Also, I thought you’d want to know we did indeed record this on a Sunday, but editing and the like took a bit longer. :p
“Isn’t it stimulating, getting back to a basic sort of life for awhile? Surrounded by trees and nature, one feels a glorious stirring of the senses, a rejection of poisonous inhibition, and a fecund motion of the soul” – Monty, Withnail and I