Author: aleja12

Morano Gelato: deep awakening of the senses

People are ready for ice cream at 11:00am… We usually have the case filled by 2:00 or 2:30. Nobody makes it fresh every day. Our goal is to sell out our flavors every day.

—Morgan Morano

Gelato literally means frozen in italian. Modern gelato was developed by the alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri during the Renaissance. Ruggieri created the first gelato flavor, fiori di latte, for the court of the Medici Family. This summer, my husband and I spend the month of July in Hanover, New Hampshire, near the Vermont border. A week after our arrival in town, we were transported back in time, and to Florence, with this very first italian gelato flavor (fiori di latte) at Morano Gelato, located downtown.

Morano Gelato manufactures and sells traditional Southern Italian-style gelato. Morgan Morano, the business founder, spent six years apprenticing with Antonio Cafarelli, an artisan gelato maker based in Florence, Italy. Morano came back to Upper Valley, and began selling her ice cream at the Norwich Farmer’s Market, Vermont in 2010.  The gelato became very popular and she moved her business to the back of Rosey Jekes Apparel Store in Hanover. Morano opened her first dream shop, the one I visited, in 2012. Morgan sold her business and focused on expanding her brand. She has since, expanded to Chestnut Hill, MA and Westfield, NJ. Around 2016, Morano bought back the parlor located in Hanover. During an interview with John Lippman, Valley News Staff Writer, Morgan stated that “partnering for recontrol of the Hanover store is the keystone of her plan several years in the works to expand the eponymous gelato brand at locations through franchise agreements. This will be the flagship store going forward,” Morano said, explaining it will be the place to showcase the business to potential franchise owners, train them how to properly run the operation, and the place for “recipe development” of new gelato flavors and products “before we roll them out at other stores.”

My fascination with Morano Gelato is that my first job in the food industry, about 38 years ago, was formulating natural fruit bases and nut-based butters to be used in ice cream. The business name is Helados Pops, located in in San José, Costa Rica. Although different product and business models, inevitably, every time I went to Morano’s gelateria, I wore my Quality Assurance hat.

People often think gelato and ice cream are the same, however, the processes and ingredients are different. Essentially, gelato contains about 20-30% air incorporated to the base, while ice cream holds about 50% air. In Italy, gelato making varies significantly from region to region. A typical gelato base from the south of Italy is made mostly with whole milk, dry powder milk, light corn syrup and lower percentage of cream than ice cream. The total content of fat in gelato is around 4 to 9% while the ice cream fat content is around 14-25%. Due to the lower fat content and the percentage of air incorporated in the emulsion, the gelato is lighter, smother and creamier than ice cream. Also, lower fat content intensifies the flavor of the gelato. Another difference between gelato and ice cream is that egg yolks are an important ingredient of the base of ice cream, while in gelato, egg is used for flavor. Morano says “an authentic gelato rarely contains egg yolks. If we use them is just for a bit of flavor.”

 In addition, storage and serving temperatures are different between ice cream and gelato. Ice cream is usually stored at 10°F, while gelato is store around 25°F. The higher serving temperature of gelato helps to attain the perfect consistency, mouth feel and helps to taste better the flavors and sweetness of the product. If stored at ice cream temperature, the gelato turns into a “concrete block and decreases the flavor intensity. Ideally, the gelato is served with a spoon known as “spade.” The spade is flatter than the ice cream scoop and helps to scoop the gelato without disturbing most of the rest of the product in the container.

Over the month, I sampled the same flavor three or more times. Each flavor of sorbet and milk-based gelato I tasted consistently presented defined flavors, same colors, and creamy textures through the whole month of July 2018, a hot-muggy one in New England. In general, I can say that all gelatos have a distinctive-balanced dairy flavor. I did not feel any excess of dairy fat or dairy-cooked flavors or egg. Neither could I feel the smell or flavor of powder milk. The proportions of sugar/fruits or other flavors were very well balanced. All flavors and colors were very defined, as well as the textures of the different gelatos. I was very impressed with the delicate balance achieved in gelatos using sea salt, as an example, caramel and chocolate. All the fruit-based gelato I tried had a taste of fresh-ripe fruit. Overall, the spectacular mouth feel (time from the moment the gelato touches your tongue, to the moment the gelato is swallowed) awakes all taste buds.

By the end of our visit to Hanover, I tested pretty much all flavors offered at the shop. There were about 12 to 16 flavors, made daily with fresh ingredients. Some of my favorite flavors were: Cioccolato Fondente, Bacio (Chocolate-Hazelnut “Kiss”), Gianduja (Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut), Lampone, Limone, Pompelmo, Kiwi, Fior di Latte, Caffè, Crema Fiorentina (Vanilla Custard with Citrus), Pistacchio (Sicilian Bronte Pistachio) and the iconic Straciatella. Don’t panic, all gelatos also have English’s translations.

Three or more times per week, I ate my scoop or cone at the store, and carried home containers with two or three flavors. I was very pleased to see how well the gelato held the texture, even under the scorching sun of summer after walking with the gelato six blocks away, just a little blue ice under the cardboard container. The gelatos were always creamy, without presence of large ice crystals, or sandy texture. That said, after storing Morano Gelato in the regular home freezer for more than a day, the product turned hard and more difficult to scoop than the fresh product.

The parlor is spacious, vibrant, modern, very clean and well illuminated. Friendly crew helps the folks waiting on line, and patiently gave the patrons, a few requested spoons of the unique flavors offered that day. The gelato is beautifully displayed, decorated with the swirls formed when filling the containers and, in some cases, a little bit of a fruit on top of each container.

I am very inspired by this young-hard working and creative entrepreneur, with a passion for gelato, discipline and vision. Additionally, knowing that Morgan Morano started her business at the Norwich Farmers Market (mentioned in previous posts), and that Morano supports local farmers and business, made every walk to her store a double treat.

If you cannot make it soon to any of her stores, look for Morgan Morano book The Art of Making Gelato, 50 flavors to make at home. I’ll write about the recipes later. Meanwhile I am waiting for my tapioca starch and light corn syrup to arrive.

Boston Globe Interview with Morgan Morano

89.7 Listen Live: Local Boston NPR

 

A taste of Vermont: Norwich Farmers’Market

The farmer market opens during the summer in an open space, very close to  Hanover, New Hampshire and Norwich, Vermont. It is a joy go on Saturday morning to  this fabulous farmers’ market.   Right after crossing the Connecticut River, over Hwy 5, and about half a mile from King Arthur Flour, this market offers something for everyone.

The soft cheese from Woodcock Cheese Farm Company is very yummy, the yogurt from Sweet Cow  is flavorful and full of texture.  Farmers offer  locally produced fresh herbs, duck, fresh eggs, pickled egg and cumbers, grass feed meat, great sausages,  fresh greens and vegetables.  Lots of  pastries, prepared food, cut flowers, crafts, and of course, folk music and little children dancing and playing on the grass.

Norwich Farmers’ Market

Market Math/ Matemática de Mercado

 

Above: Sample of the book’s pages. Arriba: Muestra de algunas páginas del libro.

Published by the Editors of Food and Wine, this 2015 book provides simple recipes with just 50 ingredients. The recipes are easy to prepare and easily adapted to other ingredients found though the seasons.  There are also  good pictures of the final dish.

Among my favorites  recipes are:

  • Sesame-Ginger Chicken Meatballs, p. 81
  • Mushroms Carpaccio with Chive’s Oil p. 155  This recipe is an exquisite side dish, easy to prepare and to pair with meat, fritatta or “tortilla española.
  • Charred green beans with Apricots p. 16.  For this recipe, I have changed the Apricots for Peaches, Nectarines and Cherries and works very well.
  • Apricot and Ricotta Tartines p.17

Publicado por los Editores de Alimentos y Vino, este libro del 2015 proporciona recetas utilizando 50 ingredientes.  Las recetas son fáciles de preparar y facilmente adaptables a los ingredientes encontrados en las diferentes estaciones del año. Además, presentan fotografías del plato final.

Entre mis recetas favoritas están:

  • Albóndigas de Pollo con Ajonlí y Jengibre, p.81
  • Carpaccio de Hongos con Aceite de cebollinos (también conocidos como cebolletas) p. 155.  Esta receta es exquisita. Es una guarnición perfecta para carnes y es muy buen  acompañante de  frittatas o tortilla española.
  • Vainicas carbonizadas con Albaricoques (Damascos) p. 16
  • Tostadas con Albaricoques (Damascos) y Ricottao p.17

Prepared Meals: Potpourri June 2018

Mini Kabocha Squash, Corno di Toro Peppers and Onions

Mini Kabocha

Mini Kabocha squash is similar to buttercup squash on the outside. Kabocha squash has a  firm flesh, dark yellow color, and a nutty, earth flavor with a touch of sweetness. Although there are many ways to cook squash, I prefer to steam them whole. The recipe calls for peeling the squash but leaving the peel add a bright green color to the dish and another layer of texture. Serve with potatoes or whole rice for a veggie version. Also a fine complement for steak, fish, chicken or seafood. 

Side dish
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients

2 mini Kabocha squash *
2 Corno di Toro peppers (one red and one yellow)
1 small red onion
2 scallions
2 tablespoons of chopped italian parsley
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

* Kabocha Squash from Zuckerman’s Farm. All other ingredients from the Farmers’ Market, California Ave., Palo Alto.

Preparation
  • Preheat  convection oven at 350 °F and bake the Kabocha for approximately 30 minutes. Insert a stainless pin to test firmness. Once the pin goes through the peel, there should be no resistance to the pin. **
  • Cool the Kabocha until you can safely handle it.
  • Peel the Kabocha and remove the seeds. (I use a pair of kitchen scissors to separate seeds from flesh.)
  • Cut the Kabocha into bite sizes.
  • Cut the peppers in half. Remove the stem and seeds and then the peppers into smaller byte sizes.
  • Finely dice onions and scallions. Keep them separate.
  • Add the olive oil to a medium size pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until transparent for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the peppers and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the Kabocha, parsley, scallions, salt and pepper to the pan, mixing all ingredients gently. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and cook for 3 more minutes until heated through.

 

** The pins I use are sold for lacing the turkey. Otherwise use a sharp knife.

Optional

Add other ingredients like nigella seeds and ground sumac.
Sprinkle micro-greens on top.

Print the recipe

Some Cows from California, Schoch Dairy

 

Click here to go to Schoch Website. Pulse aquí para ir al sitio de Schoch.

Click here to go to Schoch Website. Pulse aquí para ir al sitio de Schoch.

Schoch Family Farmstead

They manufacture aged cheeses, such as Junipero and Farmstead Jack. Those were my favorite cheeses last week. The Junipero is a low moisture,hard cheese. It shows few eyes, crumbles with facility and it has a crunchy texture. The flavor is sweet and nutty, with mild acidity. It has an earthy, clean finish and overall sapid sensation. My taste buds love the tangy flavor of the rind. The rind is natural, edible (it’s not made out of wax).

The old style Swiss yogurt is also made with raw whole milk. It comes in glass bottles that the company collects at the market. The yogurt maintains its flavor and consistency through the whole week. It is like having a bowl of yogurt at the farm.

I like to think that their cows are the happiest herd in the world. They live eating lettuce and other greens from Salinas from their ocean view home.

They are every Sunday at the Farmer’s Market, California Ave. Palo Alto, CA.

This is a linkto a video by Kristy Downings Rocks.

 

 

Finca Integral Savegre, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

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Click here to watch the hens’ video. Pulse aquí para ver el video de las gallinas

Finca Integral Savegre  was born with the interest of use all the natural resources existing in a dairy farm, showing the bio-dynamic power of the earth, animals, plants,micro-organism, the sun and the moon in an ecological way.

the Farm has a trajectory of more than sixty years dedicated to the artisan cheese.  It’s located by the bank of the  División river, which later interwine with the Savegre river, to form one of the cleanest rivers in America.

 

Monet and Food

Book cover

Book cover

Monet’s Palate Cookbook, The Artist and his Kitchen Garden at Giverny,  Libro de Cocina del Paladar de Monet, El Artista y su Jardín para Cocinar en Giverny.

I just added this book to my collection. It has magnificent photographs and so far, recipes are also very good, diverse and reproducible.

Justo añadí este libro a mi colección.  Contiene magníficas fotografías y hasta la fecha, las recetas son muy buenas, diversas y reproducibles.

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