Welcome to CiboChat!

CiboChat is the Food and Culture blog of FUA Florence University of the Arts. This blog project reflects our aim to share the cultural and especially gastronomic experiences of our students, faculty, staff, and Florentine locals. Check out our Florentine Food Guide for how to dine like a local!

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Blog

Simple Gazpacho Recipe

Have you ever heard about cold vegetable soup? Gazpacho is what you are looking for! Gazpacho is a spicy soup that is usually made from chopped raw vegetables (such as tomato, onion, pepper, and cucumber) and that is served cold. This traditional Spanish soup is full of vitamins, perfectly refreshing, and replenishes the missing minerals and vitamins during hot summer days. Gazpacho will surprise you with not only its full vegetable taste, but also with low-calorie nutrients, rich in fiber that will keep your hunger at bay. Just stop by the nearest local food market and you can enjoy the soup in a truly brief time.

Ingredients:

1 kg florentino tomato 1 feta
2 red bell peppers 1 avocado
1 celery stalk a handful of spring onion 50 gr strawberries fresh basil
10 basil leaves cucumber dices
2 garlic cloves chili peppers
50 gr tropea onion olive oil
250 gr cucumbers (skin and seeds off)
Salt to taste

Method:

Juice celery, basil, red bell peppers, garlic and tropea onion first. Combine the juice with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, strawberries, and mix everything together in the food processor or in the blender. Keep it cold in the fridge. If you don’t want to buy so many ingredients for the garnish, you can complete your gazpacho with just a few suggestions for decorations or just choose which vegetables you like best. As a basic standard, we recommend using fresh basil, feta, and olive oil.

Chicken salad, with seasonal vegetables, olives, capers, pine nuts.

Today’s recipe is a flexible dish that can be prepared anytime of the year, not necessarily just summer. By switching the vegetables with ones that are available during the season you can adapt this salad for spring, fall and even winter. You can also use it as a way to upcycle any leftover chicken you might have knocking around the fridge!

Ingredients
500 gr chicken legs and thighs, de-boned
2 yellow and red bell peppers, cut julienne
8 green friggitelli peppers, cut julienne
1 tbsp celery leaves, finely chopped
50 gr celery stems, thinly sliced
40 gr pine nuts, toasted
40 gr raisins, soaked in water
40 gr desalted capers
60 gr pitted olives, halved
10 leaves of salad greens, sliced
80 gr spring onions, thinly sliced
8 nr cherry tomato, quartered
To taste: pumpkin seeds oil, apple vinegar, salt, pepper

Method
Start by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper and sear it in a frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Don’t cook the chicken throughout the pan, let it finish cooking in an oven at 180°C for 10 min. When fully cooked let it cool down and slice it into thin strips and set aside. Sautee the bell peppers in a pan with olive oil, sprinkling a little bit of salt to season. Toss all vegetables both in a bowl and dress with pumpkin seeds oil, salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar, lastly add the meat and mix. Serve in a bowl and enjoy!

Spaghetti with octopus ragù

Ragu is a surprisingly versatile sauce, it can be made with many different meats and ingredients, and, in some versions, it can be vegetarian if not vegan! One can eat it with pasta, as it is commonly done, but nothing is stopping you from putting some on a slice of bread and eating it as crostino. One can also think of it as an Italian ancestor of the sloppy joe. Today we’re bringing you yet another version developed by the faculty and students of Apicius School of Hospitality. Inspired by traditional dishes that can be found both in Naples and Genoa, this one features octopus meat forgoing the more traditional beef or pork. Incredibly flavorful and easy to prepare, this dish can work both as the centerpiece of a dinner with friends or something you’re fixing for yourself on a weeknight.

Ingredients:
6 garlic cloves, chopped
6 chili peppers, chopped
250 gr Tropea onion, diced
150 gr celery stalk, diced
2,5 kg canned tomato, pureed
200 gr olives, chopped
300 ml white wine
2 octopuses
Basil leaves to taste

Method:
Start by cooking the octopus in a pot full of simmering hot water.
While the octopus is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan. Subsequently adding the onion and celery, followed by the garlic and chili peppers, let everything cook together for 2-3 minutes without letting it get brown. Then deglaze all the ingredients with white wine, let all the alcohol from the wine evaporate and then add tomato puree and leave it to cook for 10 minutes. At this point the octopus will be cooked, so chop it and add to the sauce together with the olives. Cook for 20 more minutes adding the fresh basil leaves towards the end and salting to taste. Once you’ve prepared the sauce, you can cook the spaghetti. Follow the instructions on the box and strain when they are al dente. As the last step, let the strained spaghetti cook in the pan with sauce for a minute and then they’ll be ready to be served. As the last garnish you might sprinkle some chopped parsley on top when serving the pasta.

Vivoli Gelateria Serves Winning Array of Flavors While Contributing to a Delightful Neighborhood Atmosphere

By Kirsten Wandrey

Every visitor knows: when in Italy, you must try as many gelato varieties as possible. In Florence, this is especially good advice. The city has a long-running connection to gelato, as the alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri is frequently credited with inventing the earliest form of gelato in the court of Caterina dei Medici.

(more…)

Panzanella

Panzanella is a typical tuscan salad with the main ingredient being bread. It’s not uncommon to see this dish during the spring and summer, being  both fresh and filling at same time. Our Apicius students have taken the basic recipe and put their own spin on it, making a complete meal for this spring season. 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 240g Tuscan bread (Preferably stale)
  • 2  Red onions
  • 1 Fennel
  • 2 Celery sticks
  • 20g Cherry Tomatoes
  • 20g Black olives
  • 30g Parsley
  • 10g lemon juice
  • 30g Lemon zest
  • 50g Olive Oil
  • 100g White wine vinegar
  • 150-200g Water (adjust if needed)
  •  Pepper To Taste
  •  Salt To Taste

Method

Start by removing the bread’s crust, and cut it into small chunks and set aside. Meanwhile dice parsley, celery and red onion, cut the black olives into thick slices, and slice the fennel. Mix white wine vinegar and water then put the diced red onion inside to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

Drain out the marinated water and add more water to decrease the flavor, then quickly soak the bread inside, don’t let it get too soft, it should be damp but not falling apart. Once soft enough squeeze out the water. Put all the vegetables and bread into a bowl, mix with a dressing made of  lemon juice, Olive Oil, salt, pepper, and serve on a plate with some chopped parsley on top. Be sure to enjoy it on a warm summer day!