Gubana, a traditional nut-filled yeasted bread, hails from Fruili, in Northern Italy. Similar to babka and strudel, it delivers many of the flavor nuances that distinguish Eastern European and Slavic pastries. Copious amounts of marsala-drenched raisins, nuts and cocoa filling are rolled up in an orange-scented dough before being coiled into a round pan….
I honestly feel pesto is as close to perfection as it gets. This simple green sauce that borders on divine can be used as a sauce or marinade for pasta, meats, vegetables and salads and its proportion of ingredients are fully customizable. That being said, this is my family’s favorite version, served traditionally, with pasta.
Each summer, we grow 3-4 huge pots of basil, which makes enough pesto to feed my family through the winter months. Freezing individual 1-2 ounce scoops of sauce, before vacuum sealing, keeps it fresh tasting and worthy of serving. Using the best quality ingredients will make the sauce that much better.
Dolma, dolmeh, sarma or dolmades (plural) are fabulous little stuffed vegetable rolls, the most popular being those wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves. Thought to have originated in the Middle East and adapted by surrounding regions including the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Central Asia, both Turkey and Greece like to lay claim to its origin. Modern day dolmades are readily accepted as one of the shining stars of ‘Mediterranean cuisine’. Dolmades are a classic example of regional and historical adaptation, utilizing whatever vegetables, grains, spices and scraps of meat that were readily available. Although the vegetarian versions are referred to as fake or lean dolma, there is nothing fake about the tangy flavor of these bite-size morsels, made with fresh dill, pine nuts and lemon. The perfect finger food appetizer (mezze) or side dish, dolmades are a favorite party or picnic food, as they can be made a day or two ahead and store well in the refrigerator. The added bonus is that they are gluten-free….