Zanzana Colombiana #2: sicurezza e cibo

[Continua da Zanzana Colombiana #1]

Di certo, l’ansia securitaria non era mancata in questo viaggio. Alla partenza di Zanzana, in tanti si erano agitati, temendo improbabili rapimenti o furti, pur sapendo che il computer aziendale di Zanzana era stato rubato in ufficio, a Milano, e conoscendo le storie di numerosi studenti stranieri derubati, perfino in albergo, appena messo piede nella Città da Bere. A Bogotà si vedeva polizia privata dappertutto, all’aeroporto la dogana faceva la scansione dei bagagli anche in uscita, in fiera ti offrivano un antifurto per il computer, non sapendo che tu te lo porti anche in bagno, controllavano la borsa anche quando te ne andavi: non si sa mai che avessi preso il computer di qualcun’altro. Zanzana rimaneva abbastanza in paranoia su questi temi, ma non poteva dire di essere in un ambiente dove non si facesse attenzione.

Zanzana aveva avuto un’esperienza piuttosto approssimativa del cibo di queste parti, ma era mangiando che aveva davvero capito a quanti chilometri da casa si trovasse. Qualsiasi cibo, anche quello dall’aspetto più innocente, nascondeva sempre qualcosa di inaspettato, come le era successo con il Lomo alla Criolla, apparentemente una semplice bistecca con salsa di pomodoro e cipolle. Spezie, colori, combinazioni di dolce e salato, frutti completamente sconosciuti: le soprese erano sempre in agguato. Una delle esperienze più memorabili era stato il Desayuno Santafereño, colazione tipica consumata domenica che, invece di prepararla a una giornata di lavoro, le aveva fatto desiderare di tornare a dormire. La meraviglia era composta da cioccolata calda, formaggio, porzione di frutta (con l’immancabile papaya, della quale Zanzana, se potesse, porterebbe a casa un bancale), arepas (focaccine a base di farina di mais bianco o giallo e, a volte, uovo) e due tamales. Il simpatico tamal è una polpetta di farina di mais, farcita di ceci, carne di manzo e pollo bollita, pezzetti di grasso di maialino e cotenna, il tutto avvolto in cottura in una foglia di banano.

Ecco i due Temal

Ecco i due Temal

Dopo un po’ di esitazione Zanzana, una volta giunta a Medellin, aveva deciso di affrontare i due frutti che le avevano fatto trovare in camera, e che iniziava a sospettare non fossero lì per bellezza: le Granadillas.

Granadilla superstite

Granadilla superstite

Zanzana aveva faticato non poco ad aprirla, per poi scoprire che aveva una buccia parecchio spessa e croccante, ma facile da staccare. L’interno era composto da semini avvolti in un liquido dolce piuttosto denso, e la faceva sembrare una parente esotica del melograno (in realtà appartiene alla stessa famiglia del frutto della passione). Presa dall’entusiasmo, Zanzana ne aveva mangiate quattro, portandone una anche all’amica N., che le adora, ma vi sconsiglia di divorarne altrettante.

Granadilla aperta

Granadilla aperta

Un’altra esperienza piuttosto notevole era stato il Churrasco, a Quito: nella versione ecuadoriana, una bistecca circondata dalle immancabili patate fritte, carote e fagiolini, un bell’avocado e per non farsi mancare niente due uova a sormontare il tutto. Zanzana si chiedeva se da queste parti possano essere apprezzati i cibi che non prevedano la presenza delle uova o delle patate oltre a pensare che forse, per le persone di qui, non sia facilissimo apprezzare le cucine europee, che devono sembrare abbastanza pallide nei sapori rispetto alle abitudini locali.

Churrassco: leggero prima del viaggio

Churrasco: leggero prima del viaggio

Annunci

Focaccia di Recco can save you from the Reality

Focaccia di Recco

Focaccia di Recco

Zanzana was lucky to spend a very long holiday for Christmas. It was nice, full of people and things to do, with an undetermined number of hours passed in the kitchen and even a successful fight with homemade Mayonaise, with Zanzana’s motto “Il riposo è morte – rest is death” perfectly realized.

Now everything is over, and Zanzana had to be back to the Reality. Just before that, she tried to make her return softer with one of her favourite dishes, and now she is relaxing by describing it to her 25 readers: Focaccia di Recco. This is a flat, unleavened kind of Focaccia with cheese, from Recco, a small town close to Genova, in Liguria. You can find hundreds of recipes and videos for it online, and find your favorite way to prepare it, but this is also protected now by a specific association, controlling the way it is prepared and sold in the region where it comes from, as many local specialties in Italy. Zanzana adores Liguria, its nature between mountains and see and its food, which in her opinion represents the wilderness and harshness of the environment in that region. Pesto sauce, another Zanzana’s favourite, comes from here!

Around Sestri Levante, Liguria, July 2012

Around Sestri Levante, Liguria, July 2012

Zanzana likes it a lot also because it represents the kind of food she loves to prepare, to eat and to spread around: very simple, clean, basic food prepared from scratch, with raw materials but in many cases with special, unique ingredients, coming from a very specific region which they represent. With the time, Zanzana finds more and more difficult to buy industrial products and even to eat things that she can not prepare herself. She is guided by this saying, even if she does not remember where she found it: “Try not to buy anything which would not be recognized as food by your great grandmother”. Imagine how many things you have to avoid in a supermarket!

Ingredients

400 gr. “0” Flour

350 gr. Stracchino

4 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil

a little salt

1 cup warm water

Stracchino and dough waiting to be used

Stracchino and dough waiting to be used

Mix all the ingredients together, except for the cheese, then let the mixture sleep covered for at least one hour. In the meanwhile, prepare your Stracchino cheese, which you will put inside the Focaccia. This is a fresh, cow milk cheese, with a slightly sour and salty taste. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, until it reaches 1-2mm thickness, and divide it in 4 parts (you will get 2 focacce with the quantities I have mentioned). This is a part requiring a little skills to make a very thin dough: Zanzana advises you to get inspired by this video, for example. The website Viva La Focaccia is a great one for many types of baked items, and also has many pages in English. Put the first piece obtained in the baking tin, and add many small Stracchino pieces on it. Cover it with another piece of dough and make some small holes on it, close it along the edges, adding extra virgin olive oil before putting it in the oven warmed at 220 C Celsius (or more, if your oven allows it).

Focaccia just before being cooked

Focaccia just before being cooked

Cook for 10-15 minutes, and add salt and a little more oil before eating it. Zanzana normally turns off the oven after 10-15 minutes, then leaves the Focaccia under the electric grill, so it becomes more tanned 🙂 If you go to Recco or around there in Liguria, don’t forget to try this focaccia, but be prepared, as the one you will find will have much more cheese and oil on it than the version I am suggesting you. It is also very probable the dough will be thinner. After one whole day of Reality, Zanzana is still dreaming about it! In fact, Zanzana and her husband have eaten both the Focacce produced yesterday 🙂

Focaccia  n.1

Focaccia n.1

Focaccia n. 2

Focaccia n. 2

Sunday Panini with Olive Oil – Panini all’Olio

Pane all'Olio - Sunday Bread with Olive Oil

Pane all’Olio – Sunday Bread with Olive Oil

Today Zanzana has baked some bread with extra-virgin olive oil. This reminds her when she was studying at university and working in a rotisserie on afternoons and weekends. She was preparing bread with L., the owner, on Sundays, in the early morning, as the store was not receiving bread on that day as during the week. To be honest, L. was making bread and Zanzana was helping, but she has probably understood some basics and anyway found the whole process quite fascinating.

She has prepared this kind of bread also for Christmas lunch, when her family visited her. The result was quite good, even if Zanzana normally prefers to bake more rustic, crispy kinds of bread, as you can read here, while this is a soft one.

Christmas Bread with Olive Oil

Christmas Bread with Olive Oil

She got her inspiration here; this is the recipe she has used today:

1 Kg Flour, divided as follows: 50% Manitoba or “0” Flour, 40% “00” Flour, 10% wholemeal Flour;

200 gr. sourdough (this was quite strong and ready for making bread, as Zanzana used it a lot in the last days, otherwise you have to refresh it the day before);

Water as much as needed, 2 cups more or less;

100 gr. Extra Virgin Olive Oil;

1 teaspoon of honey;

1 teaspoon of salt.

Melt the sourdough in warm water, add honey and flour, add salt, knead everything for 15 minutes, adding water until an elastic dough is done. Let the dough grow for 15 hours, knead again and give bread the shape you prefer. As you can see, small rounded panini or “maggiolini”, long rolled panini, are the best for this type of bread. You can leave them grow for another hour, then put them in the oven at 180 degrees, after having sprinkled them with a little olive oil and flour. They can cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven, but be careful as they don’t have to get out too tanned!

Happy New Year and Buon Appetito!

Panini all'Olio in the Kitchen

Panini all’Olio in the Kitchen

Zanzana makes Butter

Zanzana learned how to make butter at home here. She is not sure this is a really sustainable or cheap solution, as you have to buy cream, to whip it using electricity…She decided to do it anyway as a kind of ‘On Demand’ solution: she does not use butter that much, just for desserts or risotto, so she just makes some when she needs it, and does not keep any stock of that.

It is anyway very easy: take 500 ml of cream (you will obtain 200-250 gr butter)

Prepare the cream to make butter

Prepare the cream to make butter

Whip the cream and leave the mixer work until the liquid part separates from the butter

Whip the Cream

Whip the Cream

Butter is almost Ready

Butter is almost Ready

In this way you will obtain butter and buttermilk, which you can use in the morning for your caffelatte 🙂 or instead of milk when you prepare a cake.

Press very well the butter you obtained, before storing it in the fridge or freezer, if you are not planning to use it in the next 3 days.

Butter is ready

Butter is ready