Pizza of the month from 04.11.2016: PORCINI E SALSICCIA

Pizza of the month PORCINI E SALSICCIA: Porcini (prized mushroom), sausage (pork) and mozzarella

Pizza of the month PORCINI E RUCOLA (vegetarian): Porcini (prized mushroom), rucola (roket salad), mozzarella and Parmigiano

porcino

Porcini (Boletus edulis)

Boletus edulis (English: penny bun, cep, porcino or porcini) is a basidiomycete fungus, and the type species of the genus Boletus. Widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia, and North America, it does not occur naturally in the Southern Hemisphere, although it has been introduced to southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Several closely related European mushrooms formerly thought to be varieties or forms of B. edulis have been shown using molecular phylogenetic analysis to be distinct species, and others previously classed as separate species are conspecific with this species.

Where and When to Find

Boletes are typically found on the ground in woods, and on the edges of the wood. Most often, they are clumped in groups. I tend to find them near conifers, but they are also located near oak and birch. Sparse patches of Boletes will be found in the Spring, but the mass crop grows in late summer/early fall when the weather starts to turn a little cooler and moisture precipitates the air.

Prized as an ingredient in various foods, B. edulis is an edible mushroom held in high regard in many cuisines, and is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta, or risotto. The mushroom is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Although it is sold commercially, it is very difficult to cultivate. Available fresh in autumn in Central, Southern and Northern Europe, it is most often dried, packaged and distributed worldwide. It keeps its flavour after drying, and it is then reconstituted and used in cooking. B. edulis is one of the few fungi sold pickled. The fungus also produces a variety of organic compounds with a diverse spectrum of biological activity, including the steroid derivative ergosterol, a sugar binding protein, antiviral compounds, antioxidants, and phytochelatins, which give the organism resistance to toxic heavy metals. 

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Pizza of the month from 30.06.2016: SOLSTITIUM

Pizza of the month SOLSTITIUM: Mozarella, fresh mushrooms salad, Parma and Parmigiano

Pizza of the month SOLSTITIUM V (vegetarian): Mozarella, fresh mushrooms salad, Italian sun dried tomatoes and Parmigiano

SOLSTITIUM (solstice)

A solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year (in June and December) as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. The seasons of the year are directly connected to both the solstices and the equinoxes.

The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the day when this occurs. The day of the solstice is either the longest day of the year (summer solstice) or the shortest day of the year (winter solstice) for any place outside of the tropics. Alternative terms, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context, are June solstice and December solstice, referring to the months of year in which they take place.

At latitudes in the temperate zone, the summer solstice marks the day when the sun appears highest in the sky. However, in the tropics, the sun appears directly overhead (called the subsolar point) some days (or even months) before the solstice and again after the solstice, which means the subsolar point occurs twice each year.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.

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Pizza of the month from 21.04.2016: ASPARAGI

Pizza of the month ASPARAGI: Mozzarella, green asparagus, white asparagus, Italian bacon and red endive

Pizza of the month ASPARAGI VEGAN (without mozzarella)Italian tomato, green asparagus, white asparagus, potatoes and parsley 

Asparagus History

Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour, diuretic properties, and more. It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. In ancient times, it was also known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season, and dried the vegetable for use in winter; Romans even froze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Emperor Augustus created the "Asparagus Fleet" for hauling the vegetable, and coined the expression "faster than cooking asparagus" for quick action. A recipe for cooking asparagus is in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius’s third-century AD De re coquinaria, Book III.

The ancient Greek physician Galen (prominent among the Romans) mentioned asparagus as a beneficial herb during the second century AD, but after the Roman empire ended, asparagus drew little medieval attention. until al-Nafzawi's The Perfumed Garden. That piece of writing celebrates its (scientifically unconfirmed) aphrodisiacal power, a supposed virtue that the Indian Ananga Ranga attributes to "special phosphorus elements" that also counteract fatigue. By 1469, asparagus was cultivated in French monasteries. Asparagus appears to have been hardly noticed in England until 1538, and in Germany until 1542.

The finest texture and the strongest and yet most delicate taste is in the tips. The points d'amour ("love tips") were served as a delicacy to Madame de Pompadour. Asparagus became available to the New World around 1850, in the United States.

Property and use

Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten: once the buds start to open ("ferning out"), the shoots quickly turn woody.

Water makes up 93% of asparagus's composition. Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.[citation needed] The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, as the asparagus plant is relatively rich in this compound.

The shoots are prepared and served in a number of ways around the world, typically as an appetizer or vegetable side dish. In Asian-style cooking, asparagus is often stir-fried. Cantonese restaurants in the United States often serve asparagus stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, or beef. It may also be quickly grilled over charcoal or hardwood embers, and is also used as an ingredient in some stews and soups. In recent years, asparagus eaten raw, as a component of a salad, has regained popularity.

Asparagus can also be pickled and stored for several years. Some brands label shoots prepared in this way as "marinated".

Stem thickness indicates the age of the plant, with the thicker stems coming from older plants. Older, thicker stalks can be woody, although peeling the skin at the base removes the tough layer. Peeled asparagus will poach much faster. The bottom portion of asparagus often contains sand and soil, so thorough cleaning is generally advised before cooking.

Green asparagus is eaten worldwide, though the availability of imports throughout the year has made it less of a delicacy than it once was. In Europe, however, the "asparagus season is a highlight of the foodie calendar"; in the UK this traditionally begins on 23 April and ends on Midsummer Day. As in continental Europe, due to the short growing season and demand for local produce, asparagus commands a premium price.

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Pizza of the month from 13.02.2016: FEB29

Pizza of the month FEB29: Mozzarella, topinambur (Jerusalem artichokes), zucchini and 'nduja (it's a particularly spicy, spreadable pork salami from Italy)

Topinambur

Native Americans before the arrival of the Europeans cultivated Helianthus tuberosus as a food source. The tribes who first grew it traded it to other tribes in other regions. The tubers persist for years after being planted, so that the species expanded its range from central North America to the eastern and western regions. Early European colonists learned of this, and sent tubers back to Europe, where it became a popular crop and naturalized there. It later gradually fell into obscurity in North America, but attempts to market it commercially have been successful in the late 1900s and early 2000s.

The artichoke contains about 10% protein, no oil, and a surprising lack of starch. However, it is rich in the carbohydrate inulin (76%), which is a polymer of the monosaccharide fructose. Tubers stored for any length of time will convert their inulin into its component fructose. Jerusalem artichokes have an underlying sweet taste because of the fructose, which is about one and a half times as sweet as sucrose.

Jerusalem artichokes have also been promoted as a healthy choice for type 2 diabetics, because fructose is better tolerated by people who are type 2 diabetic. It has also been reported as a folk remedy for diabetes. Temperature variances have been shown to affect the amount of inulin the Jerusalem artichoke can produce. When not in tropical regions, it has been shown to make less inulin than when it is in a warmer region.

'Nduja

It's a particularly spicy, spreadable pork salami from Italy. It is typically made with parts of the pig such as the shoulder and belly, as well as tripe, roasted peppers and a mixture of spices. It is a Calabrian variation of salami, loosely based on the French andouille introduced in the 13th century by the Angevins.

The name derives from the Latin "inducere" (to lead in, bring in, introduce, conduct, lead up, bring forward). 'Nduja is made using meat from the head (minus the jowls, which are used for guanciale), trimmings from various meat cuts, some clean skin, fatback, and roasted hot red peppers which give 'nduja its characteristic fiery taste. 'Nduja originates from the southern part of Calabria, namely from the small town of Spilinga and its neighborhood. It is mainly served with slices of bread or with ripe cheese. Its unique taste makes it suitable for a variety of dishes. For example, it can be added to pasta sauces.

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