Monthly Archives: October 2013

Castelvetrano Olives with Chicken Thighs and Almonds

Castelvetrano Olives with Chicken Thighs and Almonds
By Chef Lippe

olives and chicken dish 1
20 garlic cloves peeled
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil as needed
1 yellow onion cut into medium dice
1 orange, cut in wedges
2 medium-size rosemary sprigs
3 cups chicken broth
1 large bunch swiss chard, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pits removed and halved*
½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon butter

Place garlic cloves in a small saucepan along with the extra virgin olive oil. Cook over low heat until soft, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Remove cloves and set aside, reserve the oil.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place skillet large enough to hold all 8 thighs over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place chicken thighs in skillet, skin side down and cook over medium until skin is golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Turn thighs and cook for another 2 minutes. Reserve oil and chicken drippings in the skillet as you move the thighs to a deep baking dish large enough to hold them in a singled layer; set aside.

Add onion, orange and rosemary to the now empty skillet. Brown gently over medium-low heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape up and incorporate the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until onions are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Pour over chicken thighs and place in oven. Braise until juices run clear and chicken is done, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour reserved garlicky olive oil into the skillet. Turn heat to medium. Add swiss chard with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender- about 2-3 minutes.

Place chard on a warm serving platter. Remove thighs from braising liquid and place on the chard. Lightly tent with foil to keep warm. Remove rosemary and lemon wedges from braising liquid, and discard. Pour braising liquid into a sauce pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until 1½ cups remain. Add the reserved garlic cloves, olives and almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the butter, then spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve hot.

*To pit whole olives, place them in a heavy plastic bag. Use a heavy skillet to gently crush the olives, which makes it easier to pit them.

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Pecorino Fogli di Noce Salads

By Chef Lippe

 Pecorino Fogli di Noce

If you see a grey round of Foglie di Noce in a shop, grab it. The walnut leaves wrapped around this aged sheep milk cheese from Emilia-Romagna ripen only twice a year, making this cheese a seasonal offering. A cheese that is aged with the walnut leaves in airy caves, Foglie di Noce has a distinct earthy aroma and flavor with an underlying sharp touch.

As you can see from the pictures we have paired it with various fruit salads or with a pesto pasta dish another post.  For Pecorino Fogli di Noce I recommend the following; Frescobaldi Montesodi Fruina 2004 which is a very dark, very big fruit Chianti from the Marchesi de Frescobaldi 2004 vintage, or the following 3 wines that are a little easier on the wallet 2011 Valle dell’Acate Nero di’Avola, Sicilia IGT, the plush 2011 Pupillo Re Federico or the soft and plummy 2011 Tenuta Rapitala Campo

Fennel Salad with walnuts and Pecorino Fogli di Noce

pecorino fogli di noce 31 bunch of fennel lettuce

A small handful of walnuts

1/8 pound of Pecorino Fogli di Noce diced


Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar glaze

Clean and chop fennel, mix with diced pecorino and walnuts, sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Endive Salad with Cacciatorini and Pecorino Fogli di Noce

pecorino fogli di noce 44 heads of Belgian endive
1 cacciatorini salami
15 shelled walnuts Life
5 tablespoons mayonnaise

Small handful of diced Pecorino Fogli di Noce
1 tablespoon mustard
few drops of Worchester
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Wash and then cut into strips Belgian endive. Put it in a bowl and add the slice salami, Pecorino Fogli di Noce cut into chunks and very coarsely chopped walnuts.
Prepare the sauce by mixing mayonnaise, mustard and Worchester and olive oil, stirring constantly, oil and vinegar until mixed.
Serve with the sauce on the side.


Salad with pears and pecorino

pecorino fogli di noce 2pearsIngredients:

1 head of radicchio

¼ cup of Pecorino cheese shaved (Fogli di Noce, Ginepro or Manchego)

2 pears

10 nuts

Extra virgin olive oil


Shave the cheese into thin chips. Wash and dry the radicchio. Chopped walnuts into course texture. On a serving platter or individual plates, arrange the salad leaves first, then the slices of cheese. Wash pears, cut them in half and remove the seeds. Slice them and distribute them over the cheese. Serve the salad immediately topped with a drizzle of olive oil and garnished with nuts.

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Spaghetti with Asparagus and Walnuts with Parsley Pesto with Pecorino Fogli di Noce

By Chef Lippe

pecorino fogli di noce 1

Serves 4 people

1 bunch of fresh asparagus 
1 pound dry of  spaghetti 
1 bunch of fresh parsley 
¼ cup of walnuts  
1 clove whole garlic 
1/2 cup white wine 
5 leaves of fresh basil
¼ cup of  Pecorino Fogli di Noce 
black pepper


Parsley Pesto:

Wash the parsley and place in the bowl of food processor, add about 6 nuts, basil leaves, 2 tablespoons of pecorino fogli di noce cheese grated, salt, pepper and olive oil to taste, mix all together and place in the refrigerator.

Asparagus Sauce:                            

Wash and cut the ends from the bottoms off the asparagus, boil them in the “spaghettiera” (you can cut tips off asparagus and blanch while cooking stems for the 10 minutes if you do not have a spaghettiera) with the tips out of the water for about 10 minutes, cool them down by dipping them in ice water and then cut into 3 parts, setting the tips to the side. 

Cook your pasta to al dente. While this is cooking, in a large pan brown a crushed clove of garlic and add the asparagus pieces and cook on medium heat until warm, finally add the more delicate tips, deglaze with white wine and add the chopped walnuts, salt and pepper to taste.


Mix pasta with asparagus sauce, pesto and remaining chopped walnuts.  Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Fogli di Noce cheese and serve hot.


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The Last Word… Gin and Cheese!

By Chef Lippe

ginepro with balsamic

For all our Martini drinkers and we know there are a lot of you! This is the Cheese for you.  Pecorino Ginepro.  An Italian sheep’s milk cheese that’s been rubber in balsamic vinegar, oil and crushed juniper berries. And juniper berries is in which drink? Gin, yes that is right and this is a match made in heaven. The flavor the drink enhances the cheese and the cheese enhances the drink.

Cut the cheese so each slice has some of the rind, we recommend cutting a thin slice from your wedge that is then cut in half giving each piece two sides of rind or cut like a slice of pie as in the picture below.  The rind is very striking, it is a deep reddish-brown and balances out the salty taste of the cheese.  Eat at room temperature to enhance the flavors of the raw sheep’s milk add a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and your cold “Last Word” (see recipe below) sit back close your eyes think of a pine forest in Maine, the smell of pine needles and the sound of the wind in the trees. No more stress.

Last Word

¾ oz Plymouth gin

¾ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

¾ oz green Chartreuse

¾ oz fresh lime juice

Shake over ice. Strain. Enjoy!

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Barricata al Pepe a fairytale begining

Barricata al Pepe

By Chef Lippe

barricato al pepe

The Italian term for barrel aging is barricato. This is a firm, buttery cow’s milk cheese from Veneto Italy that is covered in peppercorns and has been aged in oak wine barrels for almost a year. This cheese is sweet, wine-y with plenty of peppery zip.

Serve this cheese on your cheese board paired with a fig chutney, Prosecco wine or a dry Gewurtztraminer

The Italian have a fairy tale for this cheese and it goes like this:

The tradition of making this spicy cheese dates back to an ancient fairytale. It is said that a poor peasant boy was in love with the most beautiful and richest girl in the county. The girl’s father was a money hungry man who did not believe in love and was busy looking for a rich man to marry his daughter and would not even consider the peasant boy.  The boy so in love with this girl, created a cheese from his prized cow and covered it in the most expensive of spices, from the market,  peppercorns and gave it to the father. At the sight of this work of art with all the expensive peppercorns even the money hungry father was moved by the cheese and gave his blessing to the young couple. To this day this cheese is the jewel on any cheese board.

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By Chef Lippe

Raschera Cheese1

Raschera Cheese

In fresher cheeses, the odor is fine and delicate, becoming more persistent in aged cheese. The taste is mainly sweet, nutty, fine and delicate but slightly spicy, very savory and mainly salty in ripened products.

The flavor of Raschera also changes from season to season. Spring and summer cheeses are sweet, fresh and slightly tart. Winter cheeses are more solid and vibrant. This is because spring milk is lighter and more herbal, as the Piedmonts cows are grazing outdoors, while winter milk has a taste of hay and is a bit heavier.

Excellent table cheese served well with sweet wines and young, light bodied reds preferably from the same region for a young cheese, or a more mature wine for the mountain version or a more mature cheese

RASCHERA STUFFED BABY BELLA’SRaschera Stuffed-Portabello

1 pound fresh baby portabella mushrooms
8oz Serrano ham, diced or finely shredded
½ cup onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arugula chopped 
½ cup vegetable stock
½ cup Raschera, rind removed and shredded 
½ cup white (or more vegetable stock) 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Black pepper (to taste) 


Clean mushrooms and remove the stem from the cap. Reserve the caps, but chop the stems to add to the stuffing mixture. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sautee onion in olive oil until opaque, about 2-3 min. Add arugula and still until wilted, about another minute. Add garlic and mushroom stems and cook for an additional 2-3 min. Add Serrano ham and grind in a small amount of black pepper.

Pour stock into sauté pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until liquid reduces by half. Taste the vegetable stuffing to see if it needs more salt. The Serrano may be salty enough for the entire dish, so do not add salt until this point. After adjusting the salt and pepper seasoning, add Raschera cheese and mix well.

Stuff the mushroom caps, mounding up to generously fill each cap. Cover dish and bake 20-30 min until mushrooms pierce easily with a fork. Remove the lid once done cooking, then sprinkle shredded Raschera over mushrooms. Garnish with chopped parsley or a few sprigs of thyme. 

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Halloween Mac and Cheese

Smoked San Simon and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups grated smoked San Simon
1 1/2 cups grated asiago
1/2 cup whole wheat Italian breadcrumbs (you can also use plain or panko)
10 sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.                

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt, stir until smooth, cooking for a minute.

Turn the heat down to medium low. Pour in the vegetable stock and cayenne pepper , stir until smooth, cooking for 3-5 minutes. Add in all of the smoked san simon cheese and 1 cup of the asiago cheese, reserving 1/2 cup for later. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add cooked elbow macaroni to sauce, tossing gently to combine. Spoon onto a baking dish (and/or individual ramekins).

In a small frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Fry up the sage leaves for about 30 seconds on each side, then transfer to a cutting board and chop finely.

Top the macaroni with the remaining  cheese, breadcrumbs and fried sage. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.Image

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Pecorino Ginepro

By Chef Lippe

Pecorino ginepro

Each 6 pound wheel of Pecorino Ginepro is soaked in an aromatic bath of balsamic vinegar and juniper before it is aged for a minimum of four months. The dark brown rind is created by the vinegar, though the lingering finish is kissed with gin-juniper rather than acerbic acid. Wrapped in paper, which contains moisture, the cheese is always moldy, and benefits from a few hours’ breathing. An unusual and arresting cheese, made of raw sheep milk.  This cheese is made in Lazio region of Italy and is aged between 4 and 6 months.


The flavoring process begins by bathing the cheese in oil and balsamic vinegar and then covering with a layer of crushed juniper berries for the next 4 to 5 months. In the aging process the juniper berries infuse the cheese with a pine forest aroma and the reddish brown rind is completely edible.

This cheese is a good match for either a medium bodied fragrant white or a lighter style red wine. Try Fiano di Avellino a pine scented white from Campania or a slightly tart Langhe Nebbiolo from Piemonte. Serve it with rustic and crusty bread and dry salami for a taste of heaven.

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Olives and Heart Health

The Red Cerignola Olive

cerignola red1-2000 px

Red Cerignola olive is grown in Puglia, Italy. The curing process is what makes this delicious olive stand apart with its red, red hue. The Cerignola olive is grown in the Foggia province of Puglia Italy and they are named after the town in which they originate.  This olive is extremely mild and buttery and pairs well with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Bardolino wine.

Roasted olives: Combine large, meaty olives, such as Cerignola with olive oil, garlic, fennel seed and orange zest. Roast for about 10 minutes in a 400°F oven.


The Castelvetranos Olive

olives Castelvetrano

Castelvetranos are harvested young and cured in lightly salted brine, which accounts for their bright green hue (it’s not food coloring) and meaty texture. A mild, flavor that’s both salty and sweet, the fruit appeals not only to olive aficionados, but also to those who shy away from stronger, brinier varieties. Some refer to them as the rich man’s version of the mild black olives.

1 tablespoon basil, chopped

1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound Castelvetrano Olives

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

cracked pepper, to taste

1.) Roughly chop basil, thyme, and rosemary. Whisk herbs into olive oil in a sauce pan.  Cover and infuse olive oil with herbs for 1 hour.

2.) Warm saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and olives.  Stir to coat olives and pan roast for 5 minutes or until olives are warm to the touch.

3.) Transfer olives to serving dish with toothpicks and dress in cracked pepper.  Serve with bread, cheese, or crackers and any good quality wine.

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