Tag Archives: Italian Recipe

Asparagus Basil “Risotto”

I invented this recipe on a sleepless night where I had too many random ingredients in my fridge and needed to get rid of them all.

I have to say, this dish is superb- it is cream and very reminiscent of risotto.

Asparagus Basil "Risotto"
Risotto Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
1 cups chicken broth (vegetarians use vegetable stock)
1/2 cup beef broth (vegetarians use vegetable stock)
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt to taste
1 to 1/2 cups wild mushrooms
2 cups asparagus, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces or discs (I prefer the look of discs)
1 cup grated Parmesan,
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Basil Sauce Ingredients
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Directions
Bring the chicken broth and beef broth up to medium temperature in a saucepan and maintain the temperature and keep covered with a lid.

Trim the core and cut leaves off from cauliflower. Break the florettes into chunks, then press the button a few times with a break in between in a food processor. You wanted it to still be chunky and resemble rice and not to become dust. 9 prefer to use a ricer for this step but it is a bit harder with uncooked cauliflower but the “rice” does look better.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the onions, garlic and shallot with a pinch of salt to sweat until everything becomes translucent (not browned),which will take about 5 minutes.

Add the “rice” and stir constantly adding in the liquid by 1/3 volume until everything has been absorbed, this will take 8-10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, remove from the heat and still until everything has melted beautifully. Serve immediately.

Combine together the sauce ingredients in the blender and blend on high. Pour a few tablespoons on the bottom of each place before placing the risotto on top.

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Cooking 101: Herb Roasted Chicken

I love roasted chicken and make this simple recipe at least a few times a month. It is super easy and delicious. Herb Roasted Chicken

Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil, grape-seed oil or any other oil you prefer
4 pieces of chicken breasts or 8 pieces of thighs, it can be skinless or boneless. If you are using skinless and boneless, it takes less time to cook and check on the meat 10-12 minutes earlier.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pat the meat with a paper towel to make sure it is dry and all moisture is removed.

Combine together the seasonings, oil and butter.

Pour over the chicken and rub it into the meat and place in a baking dish. If you use a metal dish, the cooking time will be decreased by 5-10 minutes.

Bake the skinless, boneless chicken breasts for 30-40 minutes
Bake the  bone-in chicken breasts for 40-50 minutes
Bake the skinless, boneless chicken thighs for 40-50 minutes
Bake the bone-in chicken thighs for 50-60 minutes

This is great on salads, in sandwiches or just the way it is.

To Brine or Not To Brine: ALWAYS BRINE!

Brining is the process of soaking anything in or saturate with salty water. This does not make the meat, vegetables or whatever you brine (I am not really sure what else you would want to brine) salty, it actually allows the water and flavor to flood every cell in the meat. It also takes any cut of meat that may be tough and tenderizes it. This easy technique can be used on ay cut of meat.
The Perfect Grilled Citrus Chicken

For all of the brines, immerse the meat in water and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of an hour, overnight or leave in the freezer labeled (cause it is very hard to tell what it is, duh!) Before you cook the meat, allow it to sit on the counter for 15 minutes out of the brine, pat dry. By patting the meat dry, you are removing the excess liquid which will allow the meat to brown.

You can watch my YouTube video on the topic here.

Thanksgiving/Christmas Brine
1 1/4 cup no-iodine added salt (2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 gallon vegetable stock
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sage leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon ice water

Chicken Wings Brine
6 cups cold water
1/3 cup no-iodine added salt (1/2 cup kosher or coarse salt)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
2-3 pounds chicken wings

Poultry or Pork Apple  Brine
1/2 gallon cold water
2 quarts apple juice
2 cup no-iodine added salt (3 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
10 whole cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Spicy Turkey Brine
2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup no-iodine added salt (3/4 cup Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cinnamon stick
2 quarts cold water

Apple Cider Poultry or Pork Brine
2 gallons water
4 cups apple cider
3 oranges, cut into quarters with peels
1 lemon, cut into quarters with peel
2 cups no-iodine added salt (or 3 1/2-cup Kosher salt or coarse salt)
2 cups packed brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
5 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons peppercorns
6 whole bay leaves
2 apples, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon whole allspice, coarsely crushed
1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced

Poultry or Pork Maple Brine
4 quarts water
2 cups dark brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup no-iodine added salt (1/2 cup kosher or coarse salt)
8-10  cloves garlic, smashed
6-8 whole bay leaves
3 large sprigs of thyme
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

Simple Fish Brine
1 gallon water
2 cups no-iodine added salt (or 3 1/2-cup Kosher salt or coarse salt)
2/3 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
2 lemons, quartered with peel on

Beer Fish Brine
4 cups light ale
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1/4 cup pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning

Steak Brine
6 cups water
1/4 cup sea salt
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed

Sweet Poultry/Pork Brine
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups no-iodine added table salt (non-iodine)
2 cups honey or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
2 tablespoons whole cloves
8-10  cloves garlic, smashed

Smokey Poultry/Pork/Steak Brine
4 quarts water
2/3 cup sea salt
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon liquid smoke

Hawaiian Poultry/Pork Brine
4 quarts pineapple juice
2 oranges, quartered with peel
1 lime, quartered with peel
2 cups brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 1/3 cups soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup no-iodine added salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
4-6 whole bay leaves
2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed

Cornedbeef/Pastrami Brine
4 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
10-12 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons pickling spices
1/4 teaspoons juniper berries
8 bay leaves

Italian Brine for Pork/Beef/Steak
6 cups water
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Fourth of July

I love everything that Independence Day stands for: reaffirming your commitment to freedom, Fourth of Julyliberty and the freedom of choice. What a beautiful concept.

As I celebrate everything else in life, I celebrate this wonderful holiday with the fs: food, friends and family.

I have compiled together all of my favorite recipes to make your Independence Day gathering that much easier. You can find all of my recipes on Pinterest.

What about decorating? I like to keep it very simple when it comes to cookout decorations. Leave out huge bowls filled with raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream. This will run the center of the table and place the desserts and appetizers at the center on top of cake stands of varying sizes. This keeps the gathering communal because it forces everyone towards the food, then they can sit down and make some new friends. Also, this makes cleanup so easy because you don’t have to worry about pulling up the decorations and putting them away. I am a huge fan of simplistic beauty.

Regardless of what you make, who you spend the day with or what you do; please remember one thing. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have so many rights that have been fought for and preserved by countless men and women. Remember to thank a veteran for their service. Happy Independence Day!

 

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I love having a delicious bowl of soup. With the abundance of peppers from my Homemade Red Bell Pepper Soupwindowsill garden, I like to make this simple recipe. You can top it with cheese, sour cream or just drink it out of an oversized coffee cup, like me!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots
1 onion (I prefer to use red or Spanish), chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
4 roasted red bell peppers
4-6 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup sour cream

Directions
Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Sautee the garlic, onions and shallots in the butter for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the roasted red bell peppers to the mixture.

Add the chicken broth and all of the remaining ingredients but the sour cream and lower the heat to low, simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, covered.

Puree the mixture in a blender and strain out the solid pieces.

Return the soup to the saucepan and add the sour cream and allow it to cook for 10 minutes on low. Serve.

Roasting Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are inherently sweet and delicious. They are my favorite thing to add toRoasted Red Bell Pepper any dish! Here is a way to kick it up another notch (in the words of the famous chef, Emeril Lagasse)by just roasting it on the oven.

This simple method adds so much flavor to the peppers, you will taste a hint of smokiness, the pepper gets sweeter and the flesh becomes so soft. I absolutely adore this. I also love canning them once they have been roasted. You can choose to either can them in vinegar or oil but always add some spices to the mix. Once they marinate in there, you can use the oil to cook with for added flavor. Genius, right??

Directions

Turn your oven broiler on low. Wash and dry the red bell peppers and place in a single row on a baking sheet. I like to cover the bottom in aluminum foil to make clean up that much easier.

Place the baking sheet with the peppers under the broiler. You have to keep a close eye because you will notice small brown bubbles will appear. You want the skin to darken but not to become completely black. This process will only take a few minutes (2-4 minutes.)

Remove the baking sheet and turn the peppers over to expose the other side. You want the entire pepper to have brown blisters throughout.

Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic sealable bag and allow the steam that is contained to separate the skin from the pepper. After 15-20 minutes, remove the peppers and the skin should come off quite easily.

Chop them up ad add them to salads, soups, serve as appetizers with a cheese plate or can then for later.

Father’s Day Brunch Ideas

Best Dad!Father’s day is right around the corner! Are you excited?? I always say that everyone goes all out for Mother’s Day but what about our dad’s? They deserve as much love and attention, so let’s try to make this Father’s Day the best yet!

Brunch out at a nice restaurant is always nice but I find that on holidays like this, everything is booked, solid. Also, do you really want to fight the crowds (love the traffic) to wait in line for 30-60 minutes for a reservation you made for sub-par food? On crazy days like this, restaurants are trying to push out orders so fast that sometimes the quality of food isn’t as great. Not only that, but you are stuck listening to kids cry, it is so loud you can’t hear yourself think and you feel rushed so the next person can be seated for their reservation. YIKES!

Why not avoid this all together and take dad and mom out the night before and then spend Sunday at home? Plan a great family brunch/bbq and serve dad his favorite foods. Lucky for you, I have compiled together a list of my favorite dishes for dad! Visit my Pinterest Page to see all of the recipes that I have compiled for this special day!

Now that the meal is planned, what about dad’s gift? If you still haven’t found dad the perfect gift, no worries! I done the leg work for you already and compiled together a list of great gift ideas any dad would love.