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Florence, Italy
Project Food Lab hopes to explore modern Italian food possibilities, creative, but also traditional, backed by thorough research into traditions, product knowledge, and techniques.
Recent Activity
following up on the project that was left unfinished 9 months ago. cantuccini biscuits. cut half as thick as usual and filled with raisins rehydrated with vin santo. this idea was stumbled upon a while back on studiokitchen. the raisins are pressure cooked with vin santo for 40 minutes. the lid is removed and rest of the vin santo is left to reduce. if you have chosen a good vin santo that is not too sweet you may want to add a handful of sugar to the reducing liquid. Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2013 at projectfoodlab : italy
it's been a difficult 9 months. and unfortunately we haven't been able to work on project food lab. but finally we are back...! after being removed from the blog for so long. it is good to see it again with fresh eyes. we ll be revamping the site. and starting on some new projects: cantuccini ripieni. (this one should be fun) pici al aglione crostini ai carciofi some research on produce: vin santo garlic (!) plus some new pages on books and equipment that we like. we hope you enjoy it! Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2013 at projectfoodlab : italy
traditional biscotti from the city of prato just north of florence. famous the world over flavoured with vanilla and almonds. some recipes with butter others without. often served with vin santo as they are often not only dry but very hard. to minimize hardness don't overwork, and add a little baking powder if it is not included in the recipe. these biscotti are the classic example for explaining the twice cooked aspect of traditional biscotti. unbaked biscotti. halfbaked biscotti. cooked enough to be cut. and sufficiently coloured. they are then cut... and finally baked again. until completely hardened. but not coloured further. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
chocolate sponge cake, apricot jam, chocolate hazelnut glaze so italians like sacher torte. but without really knowing it they like it different than it is actually made originally. strangely while they like their biscotti dry, they like their cakes moist. austrian sacher is far too dry. and austrians traditionally of course, get around this with a huge dollop of freshly whipped cream. the filling is still apricot jam, but they also often, though not always, make changes to the glaze. traditional sacher is generally has a type of chocolate frosting. italians prefer a moister glaze most often as this one, part hazelnut paste. Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
projectfoodlab added a favorite at projectfoodlab : italy
Apr 6, 2012
yes until it gets turned into a risotto in the nxt couple posts...!
baccelli e pecorino - raw fava beans and pecorino cheese there are few things that herald spring in florence like this simple dish. especially because eating fava beans raw requires that they are young. in a few months the beans become too large and are covered in a thick skin that is unpleasant to eat. at this point they can of course be peeled. (a thankless task performed in restaurants when the head chef hasn't had the time to change the menu yet...) i've seen florentines almost in tears in anticipation of this dish... and the the accompanying spring. Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
bulb fennel, orange filets, pine nuts, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil a fresh salad that almost changes its character with the seasons. in many ways, just as appropriate in the summer as in the winter. at pane e vino here in florence we served this with mashed anchovies in the vinaigrette. another addition are often raisins. pairs wonderfully with fish. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
burrata is a fresh cheese specialty of the puglia region similar but different to mozzarella. it is similar in the sense that they are both made from water buffalo milk (though of course a large part of the production is now cow's milk, in both cases) and that they are made from a similar process. they are both pulled cheeses. but burrata is filled with single curds and the freshest cream. to see it in action. check it out here. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
these are cherry tomatoes specifically called ciliegini in italian. (ciliegia being a cherry). the best of these come from the southeastern tip of sicily an area called pachino. and the cherry tomatoes from there are an IGP product. but there are other types of small tomatoes here in italy. much loved are also datterini or little 'dates' as pictured below. which are basically small plum tomatoes. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
bocconcini di pomodorini, burrata e basilico - burrata filled cherry tomato bites springtime has arrived in florence and it seemed like it was time to freshen things up. a simple spin on the traditional mozzarella and tomato caprese. it's not necessary to use burrata, a creamier version of mozzarella, but burrata is beautiful... product posts coming. Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
trenette di farro in cacio e pepe - cacio e pepe with long farro pasta the classic roman pasta sauce on a modern whole grain pasta. whole wheat pasta and pasta from different types of grains are becoming popular in italy. this is a long pasta made from farro (a type of spelt). but popular are also pasta made from kamut an ancient grain originating from ancient egypt. and barilla has brought out a line of pasta based on various beans etc. what i find discouraging is that most of theses pasta are simply substituted one for one, as simply a healthier version, without any thought given to whether the pasta makes sense with given sauce. for instance, wholegrain pasta with tomatoe sauce. tastes very 'healthy', and is maybe good in that sense, but it's not really a great match. personally i find whole grain pasta go well with rich cheese sauces. an earthy balance to the rich creaminess. hence the roman classic cacio e pepe. meaning literally cheese and pepper. already in southern tuscany the locals prefer to call cheese cacio instead of the more common italian formaggio. the cheese sauce emulsion is based solely on a little olive... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
pistachios are the culinary nut of a tree, which originated in persia, but can now be found throughout the middle east and the mediterranean area, as well as the united states. most commonly they are probably consumed salted and roasted. but they have a particularly wide function in pastries where they are commonly ground to a paste the combined with chocolate to form pistachio cremini feelings or with a custard base then frozen and churned to produce pistachio ice cream of course. on the savoury side, they find there way into cheeses particularly pecorino, or of course into mortadella from bologna. Or as was done here previously as a pistachio pesto. in italy pistachios are famously produced on the island of sicily, from the area of bronte on the slopes of the volcanoe mt. etna. they are notably greener in color and particularly flavourful. Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
projectfoodlab added a favorite at projectfoodlab : italy
Mar 3, 2012
crostata di ricotta, limone e pistacchio - italian short crust, fluffy lemon and ricotta filling, pistachios a traditional southern italian crostata paired with pistachio crumble. slight change in technique.. the ricotta is blended with an immersion blender to produce a super smooth and more liquidy ricotta. this allows the whipped eggs to keep most of the air and create a fluffier lighter filling. This filling should rise and hold its rise in the oven. traditional methods for smoothing ricotta such as passing through a sieve keep a thicker texture. essential for cannoli, but not for this crostata. Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
the best blogs on food science: cooking issues (the food science and tech site from the french culinary institute) curious cook (the website from harald mcgee. enough said) ideas in food (another great blog with a big emphasis on understanding the science and the technique.) khymos (excellent food science, molecular gastronomy blog.) the quenelle (the pastry blog of the CIA's francisco j. migoya. more tech than pastry.) ruhlman (not exactly a food science blog. but the spirit is definately in that direction.) Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
it was hard to narrow this down. and really there are many many other sites I visit regularly and really appreciate, but i wanted this to be more of a resource. it was not enough that I simply like the site. anyways it is still to be updated.. the best in general: a meandering mango (simple but well done.) delicous days (well photographed, good sense of culinary traditions. all in all a well done blog from munich) no (beautiful blog. an emphasis on technique. cutting across/working within many different cuisines, a difficult task, perfectly executed.) playing with fire and water (mind bogglingly creative. always full of surprises beautifully photographed.) smitten kitchen (the premier home food blog. few do it this good.) studiokitchen (food blog to food project to restaurant, it's awe inspiring, as is the food, as is the photography. highly technical/molecular technique but all that equipment works for the food not the other way around.) (well done blog from seattle, seafood and chracuterie) victory or death (a little geeky title but this blog on food and travel is well photographed and well written.) zen can cook (beautifully photographed, well explained technique, cuisine : modern american(??), always inspires.)... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
on baking and pastry (if not entirely at least in emphasis): (no comment is really necessary. excellently weaving food, pastry, wine and parigian culture with speckles of his personal life. pastry though is definately where this blog shines brightest.) (another authoratative site on food in france. more balanced but for me a stronger pastry resource) (my absolute favourite pastry site. informative. heavy on the technique and then some history lest you get lost..) michael laiskonis (words of wisdom from one of the best pastry chefs in the world) and his other workbook. (very well done baking blog) UPDATE: (added to pages) (thoughts from a professional pastry chef. she's hardcore careful.) Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
so i've finally begun the task of compiling what i think are the best food and culture sites. here's a preview on the best italian related... aglio, olio e peperoncino (one of my favourites from the eternal city) caput mundi cibus (another well written blog from rome) dissapore (well respected italian food and restaurant blog (more a magazine really) in italian) eataly (italy. food. wine. culture. period.) food-o-grafia (beautiful italian food blog, what i wish my blog would look like... in italian) ganzo magazine (about 'vera' italian style and culture, in america) gazzetta gastronomica (italian magazine on food, restaurants, chefs etc. in italian) il cavoletto di bruxelles (creative italian, with a belgian infusion, in italian) jul's kitchen (from the tuscan countryside) la cuisine de fabien (creative italian cuisine. in italian) in support of some local artists/designers: kappio UPDATE: have added to the pages.. anice&cannella (very well done italian food blog, in italian) (italian, food, culture, art magazine, in both english and italian) Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
spaghetti with pistacchio pesto homemade pistacchio pesto is nothing like the store bought kind. . start by toasting the pistachios. in the oven at 150°C. for some minutes. the nutty aroma should be more pronounced without any burnt smells, which would indicate that they've been in too long. then in the blender. now it becomes a little tricky. it's a little difficult to get everything to blend without adding too much olive oil. and the process will change from bender to blender. (this is a kenwood) anyways first add some oil and begin to blend. you are trying to create the spiralling mixing motion. you will probably have to help along the process. add cheese. the right balance is important. too little and it will seem to lack depth. too much and it will cover the taste of the pistachios. you can use almost any olive oil as the flavours are quite strong.(unlike basil pesto where it really benefits from using the more delicate ligurian olive oil) project food lab is in tuscany so we are using tuscan olive oil which will give it a little extra kick. traditionalists should choose a sicilian olive oil. (more fruit less pepperiness). that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
well its the new year. and there is finally some time again to focus on the blog. its been an incredibly busy fall-winter. and project food lab certainly did not expect to be in a situation where it was literally not possible to free up some time for the blog. regardless, it catered its first event as project food lab late november and there will be a retrospective update on that later. as well as some brainstorming for the next event. savory cannoli, maybe? upcoming food posts: pesto al pistacchio - pistachio pesto risotto gamberi, zucchine e vaniglia - shrimp zucchini and vanilla risotto panelle e fritelle di bianchetti - sicilian chickpea and white bait fritters torta di banane, cioccolato e nocciola- banana, chocolate and hazelnut tort as well as the usual on ingredients, books etc. happy new year! Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2012 at projectfoodlab : italy
this book maybe becomes a little repetitive. and some of the ratios are less fundamental than others. but it will change the way you look at recipes and your approach to cooking in general. the point is that it is the ratios of ingredients which are important. which change the nature of what it is you are cooking. an eye opener, and approach-changer, especially for pastry and baking. Ruhlman, Michael., Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Cooking Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2011 at projectfoodlab : italy
panna cotta - layers of semi candied peaches - saffron custard sauce - basil and yes it was frozen so as to be able to get this clean cut for the shot. below the peaches after they had been cooked briefly in a simple syrup solution. Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2011 at projectfoodlab : italy
part of the nightshade family, like tomatoes and potatoes, but unlike them not native to the new world. instead the eggplant originates in india and was introduced into mediterranean cuisines by the arabs in the middle ages. it is an absolutely fundamental staple in many parts of italy, especially further south. it can be found found grilled, baked, fried and pickled and i've seen some modern recipes where its is quickly blanched and then chilled as a type of carpaccio... (boh?) there are of course many varieties the dark skinned version being the most common. why are they called eggplants? being part of the nightshade family they were treated sceptically in northern europe. other species being poisonous. in tomatoes for example the green vines do actually contain the toxin! especially in northern europe therefore the most common use of the eggplant was of a completely white variety whose fruits resembled eggs, and were used as decorative plants. hence the name eggplant. eggplants are traditionally cut and salted with course salt to collapse the inner cells making them absorb less of the cooking oil and too rid the eggplant of bitter flavors. though many modern varieties have been cultivated adn are... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2011 at projectfoodlab : italy
this book was first published in 1988 and revised and updated in 2000. as is obvious from the cover picture it is a book in tune with the culinary mood of the time. spaghetti al pomodoro deconstructed. circular and very minimalist. but yet this book is written with such attention to tradition and authenticity, that with the right eye it remains astoundingly modern. the absolute best book on pasta in the english language. the amazing: Bugialli, Giuliano., Bugialli on Pasta Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2011 at projectfoodlab : italy