Sunday, September 19, 2010
REVIEW OF SOME WONDERFUL ITALIAN PRODUCTS-- LUCINI ITALIA
Homemade vegan pizza-- mmmmmm!
It's been a busy week! Too much writing and not enough cooking, but that's the way it goes sometimes! I just wanted to tell you about a some new products I've tried
You know that I don't write alot about new products, and only if I really like them! Companies send me products to review sometimes, but I don't give bad reviews-- I just don't review them if I don't like them! Recently, I received a big box of products from Lucini Italia.
I was intrigued by the Lucini Italia "Cinque e' Cinque" product, made from chickpea flour, and totally vegan. They sent me 3 different varieties: -- Traditional, Savory Rosemary, and Tuscan Fiery Chili.
"Cinque e' Cinque" is basically a farinata, or chickpea pancake. I had never heard it called by this name before, but evidently that is what they call it in Livorno, in Tuscany. In Liguria, where my paternal grandmother's family originated, they call it fai'na, which is a sort of slurring of farinata. I've always made it quite thin, but the package suggested that you could make a sort of vegan fritatta (which is a baked omelet) by making the farinata quite thick.
I decided to try the Traditional first. The "mix" is chickpea flour (from Canada, I might add-- they grow alot of chickpeas in the Prairie Provinces), to which you add water and salt. (You could add your own seasonings, too.) I made the thicker version, just to see what it was like. The baking technique is quite unique, but it worked!
Here it is right out of the oven, and then cut into wedges:
I served the wedges of hot, creamy Cinque e' Cinque as a main dish, topped with an Italian-style "Salsa Cruda", or raw tomato relish with black olives and basil (with our own homegrown tomatoes and basil!):
Italian Salsa Cruda
Cinque e' Cinque with Italian Salsa Cruda and potatoes sautéed with mushrooms.
It was delicious, and very satisfying! I am going to experiment with adding roasted or grilled vegetables to the thick version-- it would seem more like a real fritatta, I think.
They also sent some lovely balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a Fig & Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette:
I rarely ever buy salad dressing, but this was very tasty!
Some of our homegrown tomatoes with the Fig & Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette
The next thing I decided to try was the Lucini artisanal Pizza Sauce.
Now, I NEVER buy pizza sauce! It always tastes, well...canned...to me, no matter how expensive, organic, or whatever. But I gave it a try and made some no-knead pizza dough (the Light Whole Wheat Bread dough from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois ) in the morning before we went shopping all day, came home and threw together some of the best pizza I've ever made! I used their Pizza Sauce, my basil, sautéed mushrooms and red peppers, and Daiya mozzarella-style vegan cheese. I drizzled some of their Basil Infused Extra Virgin Olive oil on top before baking. Out of this world! The sauce was so clean and fresh-tasting, I couldn't believe it!
Here are some more shots of the pizza:
Ready for the oven!
Ready to eat!
I can't resist showing you what I made with the rest of the dough during the week--
Italian Prune Plum Focaccia!
Red Grape Focaccia!
So, I still have quite a few of the Lucini Italia products to try and I'm looking forward to it! If the pasta sauces are as good as the pizza sauce, we'll have some yummy quick meals while I'm finishing this book!
You can buy the Lucini Italia products directly from their website, and amazon carries many of them, as you can see from my links. They have a store locator on their website, though it didn't seem to work in Canada. Choices markets in Vancouver carries them, and I'll wager that any good Italian grocery store will have some of their products (some are organic). You can read about them on their website-- they get consistently good reviews!
I'll report back about my experiments and the remaining products I have to try!