Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: February 2016

comfortfoodcover

This time of year the weather can be quite unpredictable. A few days of nice, warm, sunny weather and them the cold comes roaring back. Those are the days when you want some warming comfort food again. Here are a few recipes to keep you comfy.

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Chicken Osso Bucco

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lb)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 8-oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 3 teaspoons lemon peel
  • 28 oz can Italian crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 16 oz dried linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F.

In shallow bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Coat chicken in the flour mixture and shake off the excess flour.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the coated chicken and cook 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.

Place chicken in an ungreased 13 x 9 inch (3-quart) baking dish; set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Italian parsley, 2 teaspoons of the lemon peel, the tomatoes and chicken broth; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Pour tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or a meat thermometer inserted in the chicken registers 165°F.

Cook pasta al dente and drain.

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown; remove from the heat.

Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon peel. Serve chicken over pasta and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture.

comfortfood3

Mushroom Broccoli Flatbread

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 oz package frozen broccoli florets, defrosted
  • 1 lb pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 ½ cups (6 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°F. Coat a large (15 inch) cookie sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

Dry broccoli on paper towels.

Press pizza dough to the edges of the pan. Bake about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.

In a small bowl, mix the oil and garlic. Brush on the baked pizza crust. Top with mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, cheese and pepper flakes.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the cheese is melted. Cut into squares to serve.

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Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

8 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ¼ cup butter plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chopped fresh Tuscan kale (lacinato)
  • 28 oz can diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (2 cups)
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

Heat the oven to 450°F. Line 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with foil; lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the olive oil until well blended. Spread on the prepared pan in a single layer.

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Bake 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and golden brown.

In a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven, cook pasta al dente and drain. Return pasta to the pan.

In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Add flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy. Gradually stir in milk; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Coat a 13 x 9 inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Stir roasted vegetables, sauce, kale, tomatoes and chickpeas into the cooked pasta in the Dutch oven until well blended.

Spoon half of the pasta mixture into the baking dish; sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat with remaining pasta mixture and remaining 1 cup cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the bread crumbs until well blended.

Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly onto the pasta mixture Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bread crumbs are light golden brown.

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Steak with Italian Mushroom Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz baby portabellas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 (1-inch thick) boneless steaks, such as NY strip or ribeye (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato (marinara) sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season steaks with salt. Place oil in the pan, then add the steaks and cook 3 minutes without turning.

Turn steaks and cook 5–6 minutes or until the steaks register 145°F (for medium rare) on a meat thermometer.

Remove the steaks from the pan; cover to keep warm. Add mushrooms, onions and pepper flakes to the pan; cook and stir 5 minutes.

Add stock and tomato sauce to the mushroom mixture. Reduce heat to low; simmer 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until reduced by about one-half. Stir in parsley.

Slice steak; top with sauce and Parmesan cheese. Serve.

comfortfood2

Quick Bean and Italian Kale Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion,
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery,
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-½ cups water
  • 14.5 oz can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 15 oz can low sodium Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chopped Italian kale, stems removed
  • ½ cup dry small pasta shells, uncooked
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.

Add water, undrained tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce; stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil.

Add kale and pasta; stir. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until the kale and pasta are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

'I reduce my stress with comfort food. Now none of my clothes are comfortable.'

‘I reduce my stress with comfort food. Now none of my clothes are comfortable.’


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The province of Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. Trieste enjoys a beautiful natural location, as it is surrounded by the Carsic hills and the Adriatic Sea.

The province is located in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy and was first established in 1920. It contained the current territory of the province, as well as, significant portions of the Kras plateau and the region of Inner Carniola in present-day Slovenia. After the end of World War II, the Free Territory of Trieste was established as a free state. In 1954, Italy and Yugoslavia came to an understanding and the territory was divided between the two states. Zone A of the free state became the new Province of Trieste and Zone B was administered by Yugoslavia. The Province of Trieste formally became a part of Italy on 11 October 1977, by the Treaty of Osimo.

triestecityhall

Trieste City Hall

Trieste is composed of several different climatic zones according to the distance from the sea and/or elevation. The average temperatures are 6 °C (43 °F) in January and 24 °C (75 °F) in July. The climate can be severely affected by the Bora, a northern to north-eastern wind that can reach speeds of up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) per hour.

The Italian language is spoken within the whole province. In the city of Trieste, many people speak Triestine, a dialect of Venetian. Besides standard Slovene, which is taught in Slovene-language schools, three different Slovene dialects are also spoken in the Province of Trieste.

Roman Arch

Remains of a Roman Arch

Trieste was one of the oldest areas of the former Hapsburg Monarchy (1382-1918) and it was one of the most important ports in Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest and Prague) and was also known as an important hub for literature and music.

Trieste, which probably dates back to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33–32 BC by the Roman Emperor Octavian. Roman influence continued during the 1st and 2nd centuries. A Roman theater lies at the foot of the San Giusto hill, facing the sea and much of the theater is made of stone. The statues that adorned the theater are now preserved at the Town Museum.

Miramare Castle

Miramare Castle

Along the coast, one can admire three ancient castles and the city center boasts Venetian influences, complete with calli (narrow streets) and campielli (small squares) and a majestic cathedral. The Castello Miramare, or Miramare Castle, was built between 1856 and 1860 from a project by Carl Junker working under Archduke Maximilian. The Castle gardens provide a setting of beauty with a variety of trees, chosen by Maximilian. Today, the gardens include: two ponds, one noted for its swans and the other for lotus flowers, a bronze statue of Maximilian and a small chapel.

Trieste Square

Trieste Square

Since the 1970s, Trieste has had a huge economic boom, thanks to a significant commercial shipping business. Trieste is also Italy’s and the Mediterranean’s (and one of Europe’s) greatest coffee ports, as the city supplies more than 40% of Italy’s coffee. Coffee brands, such as Illy, were founded here and are headquartered in the city. Currently, Trieste is one of Europe’s most important ports and centers for trade and transport.

triestecafe

Trieste Cafe

The cuisine in Trieste Province is rich and varied, due to Austrian, Venetian and Friulian influences and quite distinct from the rest of Italy. After years under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many parts of this region prepare hearty cabbage soups and delicate pastries. Bean soup with sauerkraut is typically served as an antipasto. Frico, another antipasto, consists of shredded cheese with a bit of flour that is baked or fried until crisp.

White fish soup (made with mullet, bream, flounder, etc) is cooked in a cast iron pot with a little oil, whole garlic cloves and fish flavored with white vinegar and black pepper. Pickled turnips are used to accompany roasted or boiled meats. They are made by cutting turnips into small slices and slow cooking them in a pan with olive oil, bay leaves and a piece of pork. Polenta is cooked with cheese and ravioli are made with a potato, cinnamon, raisins and a herbs. In Trieste, lasagna is kept simple and sprinkled with a special sauce made with butter, sugar and poppy seeds.

Desserts include strudel made from a thin layer of dough rolled around a sweet or savory filling and they are either baked or boiled. Gubana, “guba” meaning “piega” (to fold) in Italian, is a very traditional pastry that somewhat resembles strudel and usually comes with a minced apple and grappa filling. Presnitz is a dessert of puff pastry rolled up with walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, figs, prunes, apricots, raisins, grated chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and rum filling. Legend has it that a Trieste baker invented this cake in honor of Princess Sissi of Austria. The cake is popular during Christmas time.

Wines are mostly white and remarkable for the number of grape varieties that are used in their blends, like Refosco, Terrano, Malvasia, Tocai and Rebula. Italy’s popular grappa, distilled from the skins, seeds and stems of many types of grapes left over after wine making, is also produced here. Beer is popular here also. Many Italians, especially in the northeast, finish off their meal with a glass of distilled grappa.

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Jota (Bean and Sauerkraut Soup)

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces dried cranberry (borlotti) or kidney beans
  • 1/2 pound pork shoulder, trimmed and cubed or 1 ham hock
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 10 ounces sauerkraut, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Place the cranberry beans in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain.

In a large Dutch Oven or soup pot bring the cranberry beans, pork, bacon, onion, water, garlic, bay leaves and salt to a boil. Cover and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour.

Rinse sauerkraut thoroughly in a large bowl of cold water, then drain in a colander and rinse again. Add the drained sauerkraut and potatoes to the pot with the beans. Continue simmering, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30-45 minutes. Discard bay leaves before serving. Garnish with parsley.

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Goulash (Gulash) Trieste style

Ingredients

  • 800 g (1 3/4 lb) stewing beef (chuck), cubed
  • 800 g (1 3/4 lb) onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon bay  leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Italian diced tomatoes
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Polenta

Directions

Saute the onions in oil in a large saucepan, over low heat. Add the meat with the herbs and simmer until the meat begins to brown.

Dissolve the paprika in a little warm water and add it with the tomatoes along with enough warm water to make enough liquid to just cover the meat.

Season with salt and simmer over very low heat, covered, for an hour or until the meat is very tender. Serve over polenta.

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Brodetto alla Triestina (Trieste-style fish stew)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds cleaned, whole sea bass, without the head, tail and fins, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 2 pounds cleaned, whole striped bass, without the head, tail and fins, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ pound cleaned squid, cut into 1 inch rings
  • 2 eight-ounce lobster tails in the shell, each cut into four pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups fish stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Salt, if desired
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined,
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 14 mussels, scrubbed

Directions

Heat the oil in a very large pot with a heavy bottom and, when it is hot and almost smoking, add the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the pieces of sea bass, striped bass and lobster tails in the pot. Cook, turning the pieces occasionally, over high heat for three minutes. Add the vinegar and stir. Cover and cook about one minute.

Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Cover. Cook five minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and cover. Cook three minutes.

Add the squid, salt and pepper to taste and partly cover the pan. Let cook eight minutes.

Add the shrimp, clams and mussels and cook five minutes longer or until the mussels and clams open. Serve immediately.

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Trieste Chocolate Mousse Cake

Sponge Cake:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:

  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

For the cake:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll (baking) pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat in egg yolks one at a time.

In a separate medium bowl, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt until the whites cling to the beater. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Then, carefully, fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the batter and, carefully, fold it in without decreasing the volume.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake 12-15 minutes, or until cake starts to pull away from the sides. Do not overbake. This makes a thin cake layer.

Cool a few minutes on a wire rack and then invert onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.

For the filling:

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in the microwave or  in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes.

Add rum and vanilla and stir until smooth. Refrigerate 1 hour. When cold, whip the filling until its volume has doubled.

Assembly:

Cut the cake in half and place one half on a rack. Spread the filling over the cake and top with the remaining cake half. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the glaze:

Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on full power 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir until completely melted and smooth. Let cool 10 minutes.

Set the rack holding the cake over a pan or wax paper to catch the drips. Holding the glaze 2 inches above the cake, pour the glaze evenly, using a spatula to cover the sides, if necessary.

Refrigerate 20 minutes or until the glaze is set. This cake is very rich. Cut it into small squares. Refrigerate leftovers.


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Using a slow cooker is a great way to save time and still prepare a nutritious meal. Assemble the meal in the morning, put it in the slow cooker and at the end of the day, dinner is ready — without much mess or many dishes to clean. The device requires only a small amount of electricity to do its work — compared with a standard oven — and a slow cooker uses a lot less energy, so it won’t heat up an entire kitchen the way an oven does.

Cooking with a slow cooker can also be an economically smart choice, because you can use cheaper cuts of meat. Condensation acts as a self-baster, so tougher cuts of meat become tender in a slow cooker. Just because you’re saving time and money doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing taste. Vegetables cooked in a slow cooker can absorb stocks and spices, giving them fuller flavors.

The high and low settings on the device allow you to adjust the temperature for the length of time you want the meal to cook. Today, slow cookers come in all shapes and sizes. There are manual cookers, programmable cookers with digital timers and small cookers designed solely for heating dips. Slow cookers can be either round or oval to accommodate different types of food and they can range in size from one to seven quarts.

It is common knowledge that a slow cooker is good for making soups and stews, but did you know you can make lasagna in a slow cooker?

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Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

LOW 5 hours 20 minutes

6 Servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 6 oz baby spinach leaves
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups tomato or marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 dried lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1-½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions

Spray the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach; cook 3 minutes more or until the mushrooms are tender and the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.

Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pepper in small bowl; set aside.

Spread 3/4 cup sauce mixture over the bottom of the slow cooker pan. Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce mixture, breaking noodles to fit.

Top with 3/4 cup sauce mixture, ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

Add 3/4 cup sauce mixture and the remaining 3 lasagna noodles, breaking to fit. Spoon remaining sauce mixture over the noodles.

Cover; cook on LOW 5 hours until the noodles are tender. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Pork Shoulder Sugo

Called sugo, bolognese or ragu, depending on the region — or gravy among some Italian Americans — Italy’s long-simmering meat sauces are legendary. There is a practical side to a ragu, as well, because they get better a day or two after cooking, so they are ideal for dinner parties. They also freeze well for instant pasta meals during the week. Reheat the sauce, cook the pasta and make a salad. You have dinner all set.

LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, peeled
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 28 oz container Italian crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken stock
  • 6 oil-packed anchovies

Directions

In large bowl, mix onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork shoulder 4 minutes on the fattest side, then turn and cook 3 minutes each on the other 3 sides. Transfer to 6-quart slow cooker.

Add onion mixture to the skillet with the pork juices; cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown. Add red wine; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in tomatoes; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Pour mixture over the pork in the slow cooker. Add chicken stock and anchovies; stir liquid.

Cook on Low heat setting 8 hours or High heat setting 4 hours.

Transfer pork to a cutting board; cool slightly. Cool liquid 10 minutes, then carefully puree in a blender in batches (or use an immersion blender), and return the mixture to the slow cooker.

Set the slow cooker to the Warm heat setting. Shred pork, discarding any pieces of fat. Add pork to the liquid in the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Leave on warm until you cook the pasta. Dress the pasta with some of the sauce.

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Tuscan Chicken and Beans

6 servings

HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil cured Italian olives
  • 1 can (15 oz) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 cups cooked orzo pasta
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Directions

Coat the bowl of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place onion and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Season chicken on both sides with Italian seasoning, thyme and black pepper and arrange the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Drizzle lemon juice over the chicken and evenly spoon tomatoes and olives on top.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, stir in the beans and oregano.

Serve chicken and sauce over cooked orzo. Garnish with lemon slices.

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Italian Steak and Peppers

4 servings

HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless round steak, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Cubanelle peppers (Italian long peppers), seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 sweet (Vidalia/Walla Walla) onion, sliced
  • 8-10 oz white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Purchased polenta that comes in a tube shape, sliced into rounds and grilled or broiled
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Directions

Coat bowl of slow cooker with cooking spray.

Season both sides of the steaks with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker. Scatter Cubanelle peppers, red pepper, onion and mushrooms over the top of the meat.

In a small bowl, combine broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Pour over peppers, onions and mushrooms.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Place grilled polenta rounds on the dinner plates. Add the steaks and some of the peppers, onions, mushrooms and spoon some of the sauce over the top of each steak. Garnish with basil leaves.

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Italian Sausage and Farro Stuffed Peppers

4 servings

LOW for 4 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large red, orange or yellow bell peppers (7 to 8 oz each)
  • 12 oz sweet Italian pork or turkey sausage links, casings removed 
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (chili) flakes
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¾ cup uncooked pearled farro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Cut a 1/2 inch off the top stem end of each bell pepper. Remove the seeds and membranes; rinse the peppers. Remove the stems from the pepper tops and chop the pepper tops; set aside.

Combine the two cheeses and set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, cook sausage and crushed red pepper over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain. Remove to large bowl; set aside.

In same skillet over medium heat, add onion and garlic; cook and stir about 3 minutes. Add chopped bell pepper tops; cook 2 minutes. Add zucchini; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, pepper and salt. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat.

Add farro to the sausage in the bowl and mix to combine. Add onion mixture; mix well. Gently stir in 2 tablespoons of the basil, the oregano and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.

Divide this  mixture evenly among the peppers.

Pour 1/3 cup water into a 5- to 6-quart oval slow cooker. Place stuffed peppers upright in the slow cooker, leaning against each other and the slow cooker sides to prevent them from falling over.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours or until the peppers and farro are tender. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the tops of the peppers.

Cover; let stand 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the peppers to serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.

'Whatever's the most durable. This is the fifth year it's been regifted.'


IMG_0147

Beef brisket is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat that requires a long cooking time at a low temperature, but the wait is worth it. Beef brisket is a cut from the breast section and sold boneless. Because brisket is a tough cut of meat, it’s best when braised (that is, simmered in a small amount of liquid), either in the oven, in a slow cooker or on the stove top.

Two different cuts of brisket are available. Unless the recipe specifies one or the other, either may be used in recipes calling for boneless beef brisket:

  • Beef Brisket Flat Half (also called thin cut, flat cut, first cut, or center cut). With its minimal fat, this cut is generally the more expensive of the two.
  • Beef Brisket Point Half (also called front cut, point cut, thick cut, or nose cut). This cut is the less expensive and has more fat and flavor than the flat cut.

There are so many ways to prepare this cut of beef, but the recipe below is one of our favorites. I like to serve it with homemade baked beans and coleslaw. The brisket tastes even better if made the day before. Slice the cooled, cooked beef and place it in a baking dish. Pour the sauce over the sliced beef and cover the dish with foil. Refrigerate the dish overnight and reheat the next day in a 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes. Leftover brisket also makes a great sandwich.

BBQ Brisket

This recipe requires advance preparation.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb beef brisket
  • 3 tablespoons brisket rub, recipe below
  • Barbecue Sauce, recipe below
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Cooking spray

Brisket Rub

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

For the rub:

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar. You will need 3 tablespoons for this recipe and the rest can be saved for other uses.

To make the BBQ sauce:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a cover and refrigerate until ready to cook the brisket

Place the brisket in a dish and coat all sides with 3 tablespoons of the rub. Cover the dish and refrigerate the brisket overnight.

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The next day, bring the brisket and BBQ sauce to room temperature. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the brisket in the pan. Pour the BBQ sauce over the brisket. Pour the beef broth around the bottom of the pan. Cover the dish tightly with foil.

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Bake for two hours and remove the baking dish from the oven and turn the brisket over. Cover with the foil and bake for 2 more hours.

Uncover the baking dish and continue to bake the brisket for one hour or until very tender.

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Let the brisket rest for 15 minutes. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with the sauce.

Homemade Baked Beans

Baked Beans

For this recipe, the beans do not have to be soaked overnight. Check the sell by date to be sure the beans are not old. Old beans do not cook evenly and tend to be tough, so the cooking time is much longer.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried navy beans, washed and drained
  • 3 slices thick bacon
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Directions

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cook the bacon until crisp in a Dutch Oven. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and when cool, break into small pieces. Set aside

Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat until tender. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add mustard and garlic powders, honey, molasses and ketchup. Stir well.

Add the beans and cooked bacon and stir until coated in the sauce. Add the water, return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil.

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Cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook for about six hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water, if necessary, to keep the beans barely covered.

After five hours remove the cover and add the salt and vinegar. Stir until blended.

Cook the beans for an additional hour or until the sauce is thick and the beans are tender.

Apple Fennel Coleslaw

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12 servings

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Gala or Fuji apple, peeled and grated

Salad

  • 3 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 3 cups very thinly sliced savoy cabbage
  • 3 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and shredded
  • 2  green onions, thinly sliced

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, honey or agave, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the grated apple and mix well.

To the same bowl, add the cabbage, carrots, fennel and green onions, tossing until well combined. Chill until serving time.

Later in the week you can use some of the leftover brisket to make sandwiches. Here is an easy recipe to make homemade rolls to make those sandwiches extra special.

sourdough rolls

Easy Homemade Sourdough Sandwich Buns

8 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 ¼ cups bread flour
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Cooking Spray

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable. This dough does not come together in a ball.

Push the dough to one side of the bowl and coat the bowl with cooking spray. Push the dough to the other side of the bowl and coat that side of the bowl.

Push the dough back and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough evenly in a greased hamburger pan – use about ¼ cup of the dough in each of 8 bun cups.

Let rise covered for one hour. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes until golden. Switch the pans halfway through the baking time. Cool on a wire rack.


oristanocover

oristanocover1

Oristano is a province on the island region of Sardinia in Italy. It is the smallest province in Sardinia. A large area of the province’s western coastline is part of the Gulf of Oristano and the land is mainly flat with some marshland. Oristano Province contains many protected areas: Monte Arci Regional Park, the Sinis Peninsula – Mal di Ventre Island Marine and the S’Archittu a Santa Caterina Natural Monument near Cuglieri. The Stagno di Mistras is a protected  breeding ground for gulls and flamingos.

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The province was founded in the 11th century BC by the people of Tharros. There is a monument to Eleonora d’Arborea, who was an important figure in Sardinian history and ruled the area from 1383 to 1404. The Tower of St. Christopher dates from 1291 and the cathedral, rebuilt in the 18th century, dates from 1288. Oristano is now an agricultural and fish-canning center.

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oristano2

A series of folkloric events and festivals are hosted here throughout the year. The most popular is the Sartiglia, a horse race of Medieval origins, held in Oristano on the last Sunday and Tuesday before Lent. San Salvatore hosts the traditional Corsa degli Scalzi (the Barefoot Race) that gathers hundreds of people on the first Saturday of September. They dress only in a white and carry a wooden statue of Jesus Christ from the village of Cabris to the Church of Cristo Salvatore. Sedillo, on July 6-7 hosts the Ardia, a horse race to honor Constantine I, the Roman Emperor. In Marrubiu, the honey, cheese, sausage and wine festival (sagra) takes place on the first Sunday of September.

pane carasau

pane carasau

This traditional, yet unique Sardinian cuisine combines food from the sea and the farms. The local specialities include pane carasau, thin sheets of flatbread that stay super crispy for days and go perfectly with Sardinian cheeses or with the local honey. All the cheeses and ricotta are made from ewes’ milk and range from very spicy to sweet.

bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs)

bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs)

Most popular is bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs) that are either sliced or grated over pasta and other foods. Fregola, small balls of handmade pasta similar to couscous, are served with seafood. Lorighittas are a special pasta made out of two thin pasta ropes wound together and usually served with sausage and tomato sauce. Panadas are oven baked pies with meat, fish or vegetables.

 fiore sardo cheese

fiore sardo cheese

Other specialties include malloreddus alla oristanese (gnocchi made from durum wheat and served with spinach, beets, eggs and heavy cream, myrtle hen (a hen boiled with aromatic herbs and myrtle branches) and su ghisa is a stew prepared with different types of meat.

Vernaccia di Oristano

Vernaccia di Oristano Grapes

Noteworthy wines include the Arborea, Vernaccia di Oristano (a world-famous wine), Nuragus, Vermentin, Sangiovese, Semidano, Moscato and Bovale.

Lorighittas

oristanopasta

Small rings of double twisted fresh pasta called lorighittas are typical in the province of Oristano. Traditionally, lorighittas are seasoned with a sauce made from tomatoes and free range rooster, or a meat ragu or a sauce made with beans, ricotta and saffron. At the beginning of August, a festival takes place where you can watch the local women making this pasta. If you calculate that 16 lorighittas make a serving then it will take at least 3 hours to prepare the dough for 4/5 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 lbs (600 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) table salt
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons (10 grams) extra virgin olive oil

Directions

On a board or counter mix all the ingredients: flour, water, oil and salt until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and pinch off a piece of dough. Roll it into a long string about ⅛ inch thick (0.2 cm diameter).

Roll the string up with a double turn of the strand on three fingers (index finger, middle and ring) and make a double ring. Cut off the excess dough.

Twist the two “strands” of dough between your fingers to form a braid.

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Spicy Tomato Sauce for Lorighitta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Two garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cups oven roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly grated fiore sardo cheese, to taste

Directions

In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil, then add the smashed garlic and chili pepper.

Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove garlic and add salt, to taste.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then add the Lorighittas. The time needed is a bit variable, depending on the size of Lorighittas, how dry they are, etc.

Stop the cooking process when the Lorighittas are ready by pouring a glass of cold water into the pot, stir and, then, drain the Lorighittas.

Place the drained pasta in a bowl and toss with some tomato sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve immediately.

oristano8

Sea Bass in Vernaccia di Oristano Wine

Vernaccia di Oristano is a white Italian wine grape variety grown on the island of Sardinia that is designated Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) of Vernaccia di Oristano based in the province of Oristano.  Vernaccia di Oristano is a distinct variety that is not related to the Tuscan wine grape Vernaccia used to make Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sea bass
  • 1 small onion. finely chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leafed parsley
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup black olives
  • 1 cup Vernaccia di Oristano wine

Directions

Clean, scale and wash the bass.

In a large skillet with a cover, sauté the onion chopped, some finely chopped parsley and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. As soon as the onion becomes golden, add the sea bass and the remaining olive oil. Cook over low heat for ten minutes, turning the bass over after 5 minutes. Add the olives and Vernaccia, cover the pan and cook until the fish is done. Divide each fish in half and serve with the sauce.

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Winter Vegetables with Bottarga

Sardinian caviar is found in mullet. The mullet is greatly appreciated in Sardinia for its eggs. These eggs are washed, placed in a wooden box and covered with salt, then pressed to make them flat. It is a favorite garnish in Sardinia called Bottarga and it is used to top a wide variety of dishes. The first people to salt and season the egg sacks of mullet were the Phoenicians.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 small fresh carrots with tops
  • 2 heads of fennel
  • 4 chard leaves
  • 40g mullet bottarga
  • Large pinch of dried chili flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 ½ fl oz (100 ml) good, delicate olive oil

Directions

Prepare the vegetables:

Peel the carrots, leaving a little bit of the green top on them — if large, split in half lengthways. Remove the outer layer of fennel and cut the fennel into six or eight wedges depending on its size. Cut the chard leaves in half.

Boil a large pot of salted water.

Grate the bottarga finely into a mixing bowl and add the chili, lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the boiling pasta water. Let rest for a few minutes, then mix with a whisk to make a smooth paste. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk to make a light emulsion.

Boil the vegetables — they should all take roughly the same time, but you may have to scoop out the chard leaves early, if the stalks are thin. You want the vegetables to be soft enough to cut with a fork, but not mushy. Drain the vegetables and mix them with the bottarga sauce. Serve warm.

oristano5

Sardinian Amaretti Cookies

Traditionally these cookies are mixed by hand.

Makes about 13-14 amaretti.

Ingredients

  • 9 oz (250 g) finely ground almonds
  • 2 drops of almond extract
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 small lemon, zested
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Extra sugar for coating your hands

Directions

Preheat the oven to 160 °C (330 °F)

Place almonds, sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl

Add egg whites a little at a time.

Place extra granulated sugar on a plate.

Dampen the palms of your hands with a little cold water and press them into sugar on the plate. This helps to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.

Roll a small quantity of mixture into a ball (roughly the size of a ping-pong ball).

Roll the ball in the dish of extra sugar.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Oristanomap


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Eating in the Mediterranean style is a healthy choice.

The Mediterranean people use olive oil in almost everything they eat. So, what is healthy about olive oil? Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, may reduce inflammation, which could help prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases, as well as certain cancers.

The traditional Mediterranean diet utilizes lots of fish and vegetables and very little meat. Whole grain foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, polenta, rice and couscous are also a key part of the diet. Fruit is “what’s for dessert” in the Mediterranean and other important staples include nuts, legumes, yogurt and small amounts of wine.

Here are a few recipes to give you a taste of the Mediterranean.

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Spinach Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen spinach, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), white and light-green parts only, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 12 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 roll (20 sheets) from a package of frozen phyllo dough (Athens brand), thawed and at room temperature.
  • Olive oil nonstick cooking spray

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Heat the oil in a saute pan and add the garlic and scallions. Cook for a minute or two until the scallions soften. Add the spinach, cook for a minute and remove the pan from the heat. Cool to room temperature.

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In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, feta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in the cooled spinach mixture.

Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Reserve 5 layers of phyllo dough for the top and keep them covered with plastic wrap. Use 15 of the phyllo sheets for the bottom of the dish keeping the sheets covered  with plastic wrap after you remove each sheet of dough.

Place one sheet of dough in the baking dish off-center so it overs one side of the dish and hangs about 2 inches over the side of the baking dish. Repeat the layering so each side of the dish is covered in this manner. Coat each sheet with cooking spray after you place it in the dish.

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Spread the spinach filling on top of the phyllo layers. Take the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo dough and layer them over the filling, coating each sheet with cooking spray as you place it on top of the filling. Fold the overhanging side pieces of dough onto the top layer. Coat with more cooking spray.

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Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the phyllo is golden brown. Let rest before cutting. Can also be served at room temperature.

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Lemon and Olive Baked Fish

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless fish fillets
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the baking dish
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lemon slices
  • Large Italian green olives (Castelvetrano, if available)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the fish fillets in a baking dish coated with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Beat lightly with a fork. Pour this mixture over the fish.

Scatter some olives around the fish. Sprinkle the top of the fish lightly with panko crumbs and place a lemon slice on top of each fish fillet.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking.

Italian Tomato Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tomatoes (any type, as long as they are good quality)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 2 generous pinches of sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Thinly slice the tomatoes into rings and place them into a serving bowl.

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a small  bowl. Mix well.

Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and let the dish sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving.


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Are you concerned about how much food we waste? I know I am and a good way to stop the waste is to come up with ways to use leftovers that are not boring. Another way to not be wasteful, is to keep track of your food purchases that you keep in the refrigerator and the pantry. The bell peppers that looked so beautiful at the market won’t look that way when you find them in the back of the refrigerator vegetable bin two weeks later.

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Recently, I roasted a pan of winter root vegetables and served them with slices of leftover turkey meatloaf. You can see the recipe for the Apple, Sage and Turkey Meatloaf on the post link:

https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/01/05/healthy-weeknight-meat-entrees/

The meatloaf and the roasted vegetables went very well together. Of course, there were plenty of roasted vegetables leftover and I decided to make a Roasted Vegetable Galette with the leftover vegetables for another meal later in the week.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 4 medium golden beets peeled and quartered
  • 6 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 2 bunches fresh carrots, tops removed and cut into thirds
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, core removed and cut into eighths
  • 6 large cauliflower florets cut from one head
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Several thyme stalks and sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the oil and honey on a large baking sheet with sides. Add the vegetables and garlic and mix until all the vegetables are coated in the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and distribute the herbs evenly over the vegetables.

Bake for an hour or until the vegetables are tender and browned. Stir the vegetables after about 30 minutes to prevent sticking.

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Roasted Vegetable Galette

Tip: Make 2 Galettes – one for dinner and one to freeze. The extra Galette will come in handy on a night you do not feel like cooking. All it needs is a salad. I made a cucumber salad to go with our dinner and it was just right.

One Galette serves 4

Ingredients

  • Two prepared 9 inch pastry rounds
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 cups diced roasted root vegetables, divided

To assemble the Galettes:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place parchment paper on two large baking sheets with sides.

Place one pastry round on each baking sheet.

Place 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in the center of each pastry round and top each with 3 cups of the diced roasted vegetables, leaving a 1 ½ inch pastry border.

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Brush the uncovered pastry with water.

Fold the border up and over the filling to form a rim, pleating as you go. See photo above.

Bake the Galettes until the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

Wrap the second Galette in heavy duty foil, place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze.

When you are ready to use the second Galette, place the foil wrapped Galette on a baking sheet in a 400 degree F oven and heat for about 45 minutes. Open the foil and expose the top of the Galette during the last 15 minutes of baking.

cucumber salad 1

Dilled Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup Greek low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

Directions

Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.

Toss the cucumbers with 2 teaspoons salt and place them in a colander set over a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.

In a medium serving bowl, combine the yogurt, dill, vinegar, agave and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Remove the cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with paper towels. Add to the bowl with the yogurt dressing; toss to combine. Chill until serving time.


Gardens of Palazzo Vicentini.

Gardens of Palazzo Vicentini.

The Province of Rieti  is located in the northeast section of the Lazio region in the heart of Italy and was established in 1927. The territory is mostly mountainous and there are two artificial lakes created during the Fascist period. There are several protected areas in the province. To the south lies the Parco regionale naturale dei Monti Lucretili and to the southeast is the Riserva regionale Montagne della Duchessa. Between the two areas is the Riserva naturale Monte Navegna e Monte Cervia. These areas support a diversity of wildlife, particularly birds such as herons and grebes. Numerous castles, fortresses and Franciscan sanctuaries can be found throughout the Rieti Province.

Mount Terminillo in summer.

Mount Terminillo in summer.

Remains of the Roman Bridge (3rd century BC)

Remains of the Roman Bridge (3rd century BC)

During the Roman Empire the province was a strategic point in the early Italian road network, that was known as the “salt” track and it linked Rome to the Adriatic Sea through the Apennine Mountains. According to Roman tradition, a stone bridge was laid across the Velino river and a large viaduct was built to bring goods from the road directly to the cities. After the fall of the Roman Empire the province suffered destruction by invaders. The area was rebuilt during the 12th century and for a time it was a favorite Papal seat.

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Bell Tower of St. Mary Cathedral

Palazzo Comunale.

Palazzo Comunale.

Feasts and festivals are also among the province’s highlights. A festival dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua has taken place for 600 years in the old town of Rieti, with a procession through the streets. In Antrodoco, the Sagra degli Stracci (Festival of Rags) is an occasion to taste local culinary specialties. The Festa della Madonna della Neve e del Toro Ossequioso (Festival of Our Lady of the Snow and of the Fulsome Bull) is held in Posta, in which a man rides a harnessed bull and brings it before the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, where it will be made to kneel three times. The Festa Dolce Primavera (Sweet Spring Festival) in Castel Sant’Angelo is a competition between the 10 municipalities in preparing the most delicious desserts. There are many any are carnival festivities, with floats parading through the towns of Amatrice and Magliano Sabina during the celebrations.

Fontana dei delfini. fountain in Vittorio Emanuele II square

Fontana dei delfini. fountain in Vittorio Emanuele II square

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Farmers’ Market Vegetables

The presence of forests means that local produce includes chestnuts, mushrooms, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, juniper and white and black truffles. The farms produce fresh, salted or seasoned cheese, such as ricotta made with goat’s milk; the Fiore Molle from Leonessa, flavored with saffron and pecorino from Amatrice. Growing conditions for vegetables is ideal, especially for garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, artichokes, olives and grapes. Sausages come from Leonessa and Amatrice and dry sausages are made in the city of Rieti.

Fried pizzas in the Rieti area are usually eaten with cold meats like ham, sausage or pork loin and they are sometimes stuffed with vegetables and cheese.

Fried pizzas in the Rieti area are usually eaten with cold meats like ham, sausage or pork loin and they are sometimes stuffed with vegetables and cheese.

Amatriciana is one of the best known pasta sauces in Roman and Italian cuisine.

Amatriciana is one of the best known pasta sauces in Roman and Italian cuisine.

La Copeta

La Copeta

Local favorite dishes include stracciatelle in brodo (similar to egg-drop soup); spaghetti all’amatriciana; pollo (chicken) alla diavola; stracci di Antrodoco – thin pancakes filled with meat sauce and cheese; stufatino garofolo and spezzatino di pollo (chicken stews), agnello in guazzetto (lamb stew) and porchetta di Poggio Bustone (pork).
Sweets include: terzetti alla reatina, soft cookies made with honey and nuts; copeta are  made with honey and nuts between layers of bay leaves and pizza di Pasqua (Easter pizza).

A well-known local wine is Colli della Sabina D.O.C. and it is available in white, red and rosé.

rietimushrooms

Bruschetta with Porcini Mushrooms

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 slices ciabatta bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic
  • 8 oz fresh porcini mushrooms
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper

Directions

In a hot grill pan, toast the bread on each side; then lightly rub one side with a clove of garlic and drizzle each with olive oil. Set aside.

Slice the mushrooms thickly taking care to keep the stalk and the cap intact.

Smash the garlic cloves with the flat blade of a knife.

In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and butter and fry the smashed garlic for a few seconds before adding the mushrooms.

Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat until they are browned and just cooked. Remove the garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the bruschetta on warm plates and top with the mushrooms and parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

rietieggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 (1 pound or smaller) round dark purple eggplants
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil for the baking dish
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 pound ground veal or pork or beef
  • 3 cups canned crushed Italian tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a box in the center of each eggplant half, coming about half an inch from the sides and cutting down to within half an inch of the bottom.

Using a large spoon, pry the center free. It should come out fairly easily and use the spoon to scrape any excess eggplant from the inside of the box.

Place the eggplant shells cut side down on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Cover the excess eggplant flesh with plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat, cleaning all the eggplants.

Chop the onion and combine it with one-fourth cup of the olive oil in a large skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the meat to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Finely dice the reserved eggplant flesh and add it to the skillet and cook until the eggplant has softened completely, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and parsley and remove from the heat.

Oil a large baking dish with the remaining olive oil and pour the remaining crushed tomatoes into the dish. Arrange the eggplant halves in the baking dish. They should fit tightly.

Spoon the meat mixture into the eggplant halves, dividing evenly.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 15 minutes, then remove the foil and spoon some of the tomatoes from the bottom of the baking dish over the eggplant.

Re-cover with aluminum foil and bake, spooning the tomato mixture over the eggplants once after another 15-minutes.

After 45 minutes total cooking time, scatter the grated cheese generously over the top of each eggplant. Bake uncovered until the cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

rietipotato

Boiled Potatoes with Celery

Ingredients

  • 2 tender inner celery stalks, sliced diagonally 1/8″ thick
  • 2 lbs boiling potatoes (about 6 medium potatoes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Oil-cured black olives, for garnish

Directions

Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil.

When the water comes to a rolling boil, add salt and, then, add the celery. Blanch until it is still slightly crunchy, about 2 minutes.

Remove the celery using a slotted spoon and scatter it on a baking sheet to cool.

Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain them and place on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel them using a paring knife. Carefully cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices.

In a large bowl, season the warm potatoes with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil over the potatoes and mix well. Add the parsley and celery and mix well.

Let it sit for an hour. Garnish with the olives and serve at room temperature.

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Roman Honey Sesame Cookies

Makes about 40 small cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature; extra melted butter for dipping the baked cookies
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

Directions

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine butter, honey and eggs with an electric mixer until well combined. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Cover and chill the dough about 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease two baking sheets. Form chilled dough into logs and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure not to overcook or they will be dry.

While warm, dip in a bowl of melted butter and then into a bowl of sesame seeds. Cool on a wire rack.

rietimap


fortwocover

Are you planning on going out for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s day this year?

You might want to reconsider. My husband and I prefer to have our special dinner at home because years ago we would go out and we were always disappointed. The restaurant charges were higher than normal and the food was not always up to expectations. The restaurant was crowded, they had lots of reservations, the staff were exhausted and we were rushed through dinner. Got to turn those tables! Some advice. Instead, stay home, cook a great meal and enjoy a romantic evening at home. Below is a special dinner you can make at home and, even with beef tenderloin and lobster on the menu, you won’t spend anything like what a restaurant meal will cost you on Valentine’s day.

First Course

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Lobster Risotto

For 2 divide the finished risotto in half and serve half for dinner with the lobster. Save the other half for another dinner or some great arancini. I am not in favor of making half a recipe for risotto because I think the taste is affected.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen lobster tails (about 2 medium), thawed
  • 5 cups salt-free chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lobster tails and boil over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the lobster meat turns white.

Drain and set aside to cool.

When cool, remove the lobster meat from the shell and chop it into 1-inch pieces; set aside.

Warm the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep it hot over low heat.

In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and onion and cook, about 3 minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to be absorbed before adding the next.

Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, half of the lobster meat and 2 tablespoons parsley.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve:

Place in a serving dish and top with remaining lobster pieces; garnish with parsley.

Second Course

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Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Tomatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, seeded tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (each about 4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme

Directions

In a small saucepan bring vinegar to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the tomatoes into the hot vinegar reduction. Set aside.

Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, turning once.

Allow 7 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) and 9 minutes for medium (160 degrees F).

To serve:

Spoon the vinegar tomato sauce over the steaks and sprinkle with thyme.

fortwo4

Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Shallots

Ingredients

  • 12 oz green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook for one minute. Add the green beans and season with salt and ground pepper.

Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until green beans are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and serve.

Dessert

fortwo3

Chocolate Crepes with Raspberry Sauce

12 servings

For the sauce:

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For the crepes:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar

Directions

Place water and 3 1/2 cups of the raspberries in a blender; cover and process for 3 minutes until smooth. Strain the raspberry puree and discard the seeds.

Place the puree in a small saucepan along with the cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar; bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.

In a blender, blend flour, milk, cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, eggs and oil until smooth.

Heat a small nonstick skillet on medium-low flame. When hot, spray with cooking spray to coat bottom of pan.

Pour 1/4 cup of the crepe mixture into the pan, swirling the pan slightly to make crepe thin and smooth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bottom of the crepe is light golden brown.

Turn the crepe over and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until light golden brown. Repeat with remaining cooking spray and crepe mixture.

This should make 12 crepes. You can freeze the extra crepes for another time.

To serve:

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce into the center of each crepe. Fold into quarters, top with some of the remaining sauce, a few of the remaining fresh raspberries and dust each with powdered sugar. Serve warm.


mardigrascover

Mardi Gras 2016 Pensacola, Florida

When you hear it is Mardi Gras time, you probably think of New Orleans and Rio with floats and parades and lots of carnival beads.

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But did you know that Mardi Gras is also one of the great Italian holiday traditions? The ancient Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a lot of food, drink and general debauchery. When the Christian religion emerged in ancient Rome, its leaders decided to use the pagan festivals to their advantage rather than try to outlaw them. Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter, starts a period of Lent fasting and abstinence in the Christian church. Knowing that a period of lean eating was coming, the idea of Carnival or Carnevale was born and it was combined with those ancient Roman feasts to create Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday”.  Originally, Carnevale  was just one day – the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday. It was a day when families would cook luxurious, rich food in preparation for the forty days of the Lent.

Carnevale in Campania, Italy

Carnevale in Campania, Italy

The tradition was adopted by the French who gave it its present name and added the tradition of dressing up. By the end of the 17th Century, the Mardi Gras festival had come to America. The tradition of Mardi Gras then spread, literally, across the world.

In Italy certain foods are traditional for Carnevale. On the Amalfi Coast and throughout much of southern Italy there’s a migliaccio di polenta made with corn meal, sausages and grated cheese. Naples serves a very rich Lasagne di Carnevale. Throughout much of the Peninsula, however, Carnevale is an occasion for lots of sweet pastries – fried fritters of one kind or another that are quick to make and fun to eat. There are three broad categories made throughout Italy: Lombard’s Chiacchiere, Tuscany’s Cenci and Rome’s Frappe – all sound quite different but look and taste alike.

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In America, King Cake and classic Cajun and Creole favorites like Gumbos, Jambalaya, Hurricanes, Beignets, Étouffées, Moon Pies and Fried Po Boy Sandwiches are all traditional Mardi Gras foods. The next few days we will be celebrating Mardi Gras here on the Gulf Coast with lots of parades, parties and much food. The photos above are from the parade on Friday.

Want to celebrate Mardi Gras with delicious food but without all the fat and calories, try some of the makeover recipes below.

BBQ Shrimp with Remoulade

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Traditional New Orleans BBQ Shrimp are usually cooked in 1 ½ cups of butter. See original New Orleans’ recipe from Mr. B’s.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 small bunch scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 3/4 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Chopped parsley
  • Remoulade Sauce, recipe below

Directions

In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium high. Add celery, scallion whites and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add Creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add Worcestershire, lemon and shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink and coated with sauce, about 4 minutes. Garnish with scallion greens and parsley.

Serve with Remoulade sauce on the side.

Remoulade Sauce

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1  tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1  teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon sweet relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Creole-Style Black-Eyed Peas

mardigras8

This dish gets its smoky flavor from lean Canadian bacon and ground chipotle pepper.

.Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6 ounces sliced Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Directions

In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the water and black-eyed peas. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.

Drain the water and return the peas in the saucepan. Add the broth, tomatoes, onion, celery, green pepper, Canadian bacon, garlic, mustard, chipotle pepper, Cajun seasoning and bay leaf. Stir together and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water, if necessary, to keep the peas covered with liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste..

Remove the bay leaf, pour into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve over cooked rice, if desired.

Blackened Catfish with Creole Mustard

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Creole mustard is a spicy, hot mustard that you can usually find in the grocery stores.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for brushing on the fish
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 (4 to 6-ounce) catfish fillets
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into 8 wedge

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the paprika, cayenne, salt, thyme, black pepper and sugar in a small bowl and stir to evenly combine; set aside.

Brush both sides of the fish lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the blackening spice mixture. Press on the spices to make them adhere to the fish.

Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat until very hot and add the fish to the dry, hot pan. Cook the fish for 2 minutes.

Remove the fillets from the pan and place the fish, uncooked side down, onto a baking sheet pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Mix the mustard and softened butter together. Top each cooked fish with a little mustard butter and serve with lemon.

Chicken Jambalaya

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6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 stalks celery, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs, skin removed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 links pre-cooked Cajun-style andouille sausage or sun-dried tomato chicken sausage (about 6 oz), halved lengthwise, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • One 14 1/2-oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions for garnish

Directions

In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.

Add onion and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are almost tender, about 3 minutes.

Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until browned,

Stir in sausage, broth, 3/4 cup of water, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, paprika and cayenne. Stir in rice, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste and garnish with green onions.

mardigras



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