Black Rice Risotto

Black rice is not usually associated with risotto, as that distinction is saved for arborio.  Both rices however contain similar qualities in that they are able to absorb liquids and to release starch making them stickier than many long grain varieties.

 

Black rice...So I took a little weekend trip with my wife a few weeks before Christmas and we stumbled upon a tiny shop that promised to offer amazing food products.  I always enjoy walking the isles of a specialty food shop and picking the brain of the knowledgeable staff.

On this occasion the shop had set up an entire section devoted to rice.  White, brown, imported, arborio and a special Thai black rice that was billed as making a mean risotto.

I really enjoy a good risotto and although a tiresome and annoying dish to prepare, with the constant stirring, I also enjoy making one.  Now, my experience with black rice is more of a healthy rice substitute and not one for risotto.  The clerk ensured me that black rice truly did have the same absorbent qualities arborio, so I figured I would give it a shot.

Risotto with mushrooms, hazelnuts and parmesan...

Risotto with mushrooms, hazelnuts and parmesan Italiano: Risotto ai funghi, nocciole e parmigiano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days later I took out the rice but was not feeling confident with making a risotto and went with a dish I made many times before, Thai Black Rice Salad with Salmon.  (For that recipe click on the link or go to the recipe section on the sidebar).  I still had better than a cup of the black rice left and this past weekend cooked up the risotto.

Going with a recipe I have used with arborio, Black Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions, dinner was hopefully only 30 or so minutes away.  In my opinion, risotto is tiresome and time consuming, but well worth it.  I quickly discovered that the black rice made this ever more evident.  It took way longer than arborio to reach the right consistency but did in fact hold true to its absorbent quality.

Black rice with 1/2 cup of stock added.

Black rice with 1/2 cup of stock added.

5 minutes later.

5 minutes later.

Caramelized onions really make this dish

Caramelized onions really make this dish

The whole time preparing this dish I’m not feeling confident.  The pressure was really on, as everyone home was getting good and hungry.  With a tweak here and a new ingredient there the rice did its job and dinner was served to many happy family members.  Below is the printable version of the recipe.

Give it a shot, It not the most attractive meal but works on a day when you’re looking for a a healthy, something different dish to feed the hungry troops.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Black Rice Risotto
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup black rice
  • 4-5 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 3 onions, one chopped and two sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup white cooking wine
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat one tsp of oil in a large saucepan
  2. Add the chopped onion, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook until softened
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms and white wine
  4. Turn up the flame to medium-high and cook until the wine has evaporated, stirring frequently
  5. Begin to add ½ of stock or water and continue to stir
  6. Just before the stock evaporates, add another ½ cup
  7. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked but still has a bite
  8. Add additional salt and pepper if desired
  9. Just before the rice is ready to take off the heat add mascarpone cheese and stir until incorporated.
  10. At this point, you should caramelize your remaining sliced onion by sauteing in oil with a tsp of sugar
  11. When they turn golden brown they are done
  12. Top the risotto with the caramelized onions and serve hot

 

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10 Ways to Use Mascarpone Cheese

There are many ways of using Mascarpone Cheese and here are my top 10 links to some great recipes.

Cinnamon Toast

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese made from cream, coagulated by the addition of citric and acetic acids.  Mascarpone originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, Italy, which are southwest of Milan.  The origin can be traced to the late 16th or early 17th century. The name is popularly held to derive from mascarpa, an unrelated milk product made from the whey of Stracchino, which is a young, barely aged cheese

A few weeks back I gave you our recipe for Panettone French Toast.  The final touch was to add a dapple of mascarpone on top in place of butter.  Problem is you are often times left with a good amount of this cheese, wondering what to do before it goes bad.  As you may or may not know mascarpone is most notably associated as a key ingredient in Tiramisu.  Listed below are 10 links to 10 great recipes (Tiramisu included) that I’m sure you will want to try.

(The first four recipes were highlighted in a post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com)

#1 Killer Tiramisu – Years ago when I had my Italian Foods Shop, I always knew when someone was attempting to make a Tiramisu.  They would approach the counter with a package of lady fingers, a tin of espresso and asked if we sold mascarpone cheese.  I found this recipe on the internet and had printed copies to give to customers that fit the above description.  Their claim, “Best Tiramisu recipe – outperforms Olive Garden, Carabbas and maybe even your Grandmas!”  Here’s the Link, http://www.italian-dessert-recipes.com/best_tiramisu_recipe.html

Lady Fingers, a staple in most Tiramisu recipes

Lady Fingers, a staple in most Tiramisu recipes

#2 Mushroom and Mascarpone Tarts – If you are the type of person that likes a mix of sweet and savory then this dish is for you.  Great as an appetizer when you are expecting a crowd or as a more intimate dish for a planned dinner party.  Give yourself a little time to put these tarts together, and I’m sure you will find it worth the bother.  Click here for the recipe, http://www.thecurvycarrot.com/2012/02/17/mushroom-and-mascarpone-tarts-and-a-virtual-baby-shower/

#3 Sweet Potato and Mascarpone Ravioli with Caramelized Onions – I really like this recipe for many reasons.  First off it’s a ravioli, so enough said there.  Secondly, sweet potatoes and caramelized onions are high on my favorite foods list.  Add the mascarpone and you can’t help but have a winner.  The website, Vegetarian Ventures, is one I think you may want to bookmark.  To get right to the ravioli click here, http://www.vegetarianventures.com/2013/01/14/sweet-potato-and-mascarpone-ravioli-with-caramelized-onions/

Maroussia's Dumplings - Babka AUD15

#4 Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta – The inspiration for this dish seems to come from the same problem I wanted to address in this post.  What to do with left over cheese from one recipe before it spoils.  The author here, AlidasKitrchem.com, is saving two cheese with one recipe.  For those of you who haven’t experience Fontina Cheese you are in for a tasty experience.  Alida tells us “Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta is a delicious and sophisticated twist on macaroni and cheese ~ perfect for company or Sunday dinner comfort food.”  Click here, http://alidaskitchen.com/2012/09/20/fontina-and-mascarpone-baked-pasta/

fontina and mascarpone  mac 'n cheese

#5 Melon and Prosciutto Risotto – This one comes from Bon Appetit and to quote the author “I like to take a classic pairing and turn it on its head.”  If you like Risotto with a twist then you need to give this one a whirl.  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/melon-and-prosciutto-risotto

Outperforms Olive Garden, Carabbas, and maybe even your grandma! – See more at: http://www.italian-dessert-recipes.com/best_tiramisu_recipe.html#sthash.kTgoEzlR.dpufOut
Outperforms Olive Garden, Carabbas, and maybe even your grandma!” – See more at: http://www.italian-dessert-recipes.com/best_tiramisu_recipe.html#sthash.kTgoEzlR.dpuf
Outperforms Olive Garden, Carabbas, and maybe even your grandma!” – See more at: http://www.italian-dessert-recipes.com/best_tiramisu_recipe.html#sthash.kTgoEzlR.dpuf

 #6 Broccoli-Mascarpone Soup – Here’s another one from Bon Appetit that offers a cool way of adding mascarpone into a delicious soup.  Who couldn’t use another soup recipe, especially as I look out my window to a cold freezing wintry mix hitting the ground.  A soup day indeed.  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/broccoli-mascarpone-soup

Brilliant Beans n Broccoli Soup

#7 Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce – From the food network and courtesy of Giada Di Lauretiis comes a recipe I feel I really need to explore further.  My mom loved making Chicken Marsala and I could see her giving this one a try.  Serve this over the top of some Fettuccine and you have a meal the whole family will enjoy.  Here’s the link, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chicken-with-mustard-mascarpone-marsala-sauce-recipe.html#!

#8 Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries – What’s not to like about this dessert?  Ricotta, mascarpone, balsamic and strawberries make up one delicious combination.  So if winter has you down and you want to think summer, here’s the way to go.  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/ricotta_mascarpone_mousse_with_balsamic_strawberries/

Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries (alternate photo)

#9 Chicken Stuffed with Herby Mascarpone – One of the great things about doing this post was finding super cool ways of adding mascarpone to dinner recipes.  This stuffed chicken recipe is a real quick way to get dinner on the table. Recipe courtesy of Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4787/chicken-stuffed-with-herby-mascarpone

Chicken stuffed with herby mascarpone

#10 Pasta with prawns, mascarpone & lemon – Another Good Food selection, I really like the idea of pairing the mascarpone with pasta and seafood.  A cool midweek dinner idea and as the website suggest it’s best made with wholemeal pasta shapes.  Click here, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1841654/pasta-with-prawns-mascarpone-and-lemon

Pasta with prawns, mascarpone & lemon

So go ahead and give some of these recipes ideas a spin.  If you are like me I’m sure you will add some of your own personal touches to really improve the recipes and I hope we helped you discover a new food partner in mascarpone cheese.

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Zeppole – Gracie’s Italian Doughnuts

My mom loved frying foods and Zeppole, or Italian Doughnuts as she called them, were always a big hit.  I remember she made them every January as the Christmas holiday season was winding down.  Her way of keeping everyone in a festive mood.

Quartino's (#586)

Now I’m not talking about the fried dough or Funnel Cakes you may be accustomed to seeing at Italian feast or carnivals.  I’m talking real good, home fried zeppole made with sugar, eggs and butter.  Mom would dress them up a bit sometimes adding a fresh fruit topping or hot chocolate syrup for dipping.  Yeah I’m still in the holiday baking mood and my New Year’s resolution to get back on a pure Mediterranean diet has yet to kick in.  That being said, enjoy Gracie’s Italian doughnuts!

There really is  no secret to this recipe and I bet if you did a search for zeppole, this formula or one very close to it would pop up.  The important thing when making these doughnuts is to make sure the oil stays between 360° and 375°.  If the oil slips below 350° the zeppoles will soak in too much oil and become greasy.  If you don’t have a hot oil cooking thermometer, do yourself a favor and invest in one.  No home chef should be without this tool.

purple ~ 5 thermapenIngredients: (printable version below)

  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter

  • 3 Tablespoons sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup flour

  • 4 eggs

  • oil, for frying

  • powdered sugar, to dust the zeppole

  • 1 cup water

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar and salt. Cook until the butter melts.

Add the flour and mix vigorously until the dough comes together in a ball. Continue cooking for a minute or two.

Place the dough in the bowl and continue mixing until you don’t see any more steaming rising up from the bowl.  (I use a hand mixer or mix by hand.  If you have a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment).

Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing as each egg is added.Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a large, heavy pan.  Heat up the oil to 375°.

Add small balls of dough directly into the hot oil.  I use a plastic tablespoon measuring device to get the right size for my zeppole.

Fry the zeppole for about five minutes, making certain that they are cooked evenly on all sides.

Use a slotted spoon and remove the zeppole to a paper towel lined baking sheet.  Dust with powered sugar, and control the gang from knocking down the door to get them.

Keeping the oil at 360 to 375 degrees is key in making zeppole.

Keeping the oil at 360 to 375 degrees is key in making zeppole.

 

Zeppole - Gracie's Italian Doughnuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • oil, for frying
  • powdered sugar, to dust the zeppole
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar and salt. Cook until the butter melts.
  2. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the dough comes together in a ball. Continue cooking for a minute or two.
  3. Place the dough in the bowl and continue mixing until you don’t see any more steaming rising up from the bowl. (I use a hand mixer or mix by hand. If you have a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment).
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing as each egg is added.
  5. Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a large, heavy pot. Heat up the oil to 375°.
  6. Add small balls of dough directly into the hot oil. I use a plastic teaspoon measuring device to get the right size for my zeppole.
  7. Fry the zeppole for about five minutes, making certain that they are cooked evenly on all sides.
  8. Use a slotted spoon and remove the zeppole to a paper towel lined baking sheet. Dust with powered sugar, and control the gang from knocking down the door to get them.

 

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Shortcut Mussels and Shrimp with Spicy Tomato and Garlic Sauce

When I’m preparing dinner during the week, I’m always looking for shortcuts, and this Mussels & Shrimp with Spicy Tomato/Garlic Sauce is a real winner.

The other day I’m standing in line at the super market and couldn’t help but notice an item in the basket of a women just ahead of me.  Frozen mussels already cleaned and removed from the shell.  All you needed to do was run them under some cold water and they’re ready to serve.

Frozen Mussels and Salad Shrimp are a great recipe shortcut.

Frozen Mussels and Salad Shrimp are a great recipe shortcut.

I like mussels for many reasons, they’re inexpensive, quick to cook and really tasty.  What I don’t like about them is the tedious job of cleaning them and then wasting money on shells that don’t open.  When I spotted these frozen mussels I immediately headed over to the frozen fish display and picked up a package.  While I was there I also added a package of frozen salad shrimp.

On the ride home I started thinking about how I was going to use these babies and knowing that I had some fresh linguini at home I came up with the following recipe.  I hope you enjoy it.

Mussels and Shrimp with Spicy Tomato and Garlic Sauce: (printable recipe below)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • 1 large onion finely chopped

  • 6 large cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried Italian seasonings

  • 1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

  • 1 10 oz package of frozen mussels, thawed

  • 1 10 oz package of salad shrimp, thawed

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 pound fresh linguini

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions:

In a large pot or skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes.  Add the parsley, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasonings and red pepper flakes.

Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 25 minutes added the thawed mussels and shrimp and continue cooking for another 5 to 7 minutes.

IMG_0304

In the meantime bring three cups of salted water to a boil and add fresh linguini*.  Cook until al dente. Fresh pasta cooks quickly usually 3 to 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and return to pot and top with the Spicy sauce.  Mix well and add salt or pepper if needed.  Serve immediately, topped with grated Parmesan.

IMG_0306 (2)

* I am a big fan of fresh pasta and suggest that you become one as well.  It just taste better, cooks quicker and really is not all that expensive.  Our local supermarket has their own private label of fresh pastas, priced under $2.00 for a 9 ounce package.

Serve this dish with a nice California Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

Shortcut Mussels and Shrimp with Spicy Tomato and Garlic Sauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • ½ Tbsp. dried Italian seasonings
  • ½ Tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 10 oz package of frozen mussels, thawed
  • 1 10 oz package of salad shrimp, thawed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound fresh linguini
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
Instructions
  1. In a large pot or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasonings and red pepper flakes.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 25 minutes added the thawed mussels and shrimp and continue cooking for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. In the meantime bring three cups of salted water to a boil and add fresh linguini*. Cook until al dente. Fresh pasta cooks quickly usually 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta and return to pot and top with the Spicy sauce. Mix well and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve immediately, topped with grated Parmesan.

 

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Want A Low Cost Way to Espresso – Try A Bialetti Espresso Maker

You may think a low cost stove top espresso maker cannot produce good Espresso, but the Bialetti Moka Express does just that and is owned by nearly every family in Italy. 

IMG_0291

I was really happy to find a Bialetti under the tree this year as a gift from my oldest daughter.  Her and her husband are sort of coffee connoisseurs and often times will set up a mini Espresso Bar at family get togethers.  My older stove top machine just wasn’t up to the task anymore and it was indeed time for a new maker.

The Bialetti is really easy to use and makes a strong cup of espresso in about four minutes.  I tend to let my espresso brew slowly under low heat.  It may take 10 minutes but I feel it’s worth the wait.

The Bialetti has over 590 reviews on Amazon with a solid 4.5 star ranking.  There is just nothing about this machine  I don’t like.  Made of  aluminum, the stove top espresso maker produces 6 demitasse cups of rich, authentic Italian espresso and Amazon sells this NOW for $30.25 with free shipping available.

Espresso

About Bialetti – (from their website)

In Italy, where the kitchen is the heart of the home, where coffee is a passion and where the ritual bring friends and family together, Bialetti is found in nine of ten households. Why? Because like every true Italian, coffee is in our soul. And just as Alfonso Bialetti’s Moka Express revolutionized the art of coffee brewing, we’ve been crafting innovations that advance the art for nearly a century. Bialetti began in Italy, but has become a leading brand around the world because our high-quality products bring simplicity, functionality and beauty to the kitchen. Our advanced technology and distinctive styling combine to create solutions that are simple to use and beautifully designed. Today, the Bialetti family of products has grown. We bring a multitude of styles and colors to market. But our Italian heritage and passion live on in every line. When is comes to Italian coffee, the Moka Express is the premier stove top coffee maker.

Coffee Tips

Use coffee ground specifically for a moka coffee maker. Don’t use too fine ground coffee. Periodically check the funnel, the filter plate and the washer for wear. Over time, they may need to be replaced. Never use the pot without water. Never use other contents besides coffee like teas, cacao powder or instant coffee as it will clog the filter plate. If the heat is too high, coffee may have a burnt taste. Getting the optimum temperature for brewing may take some trial and error. Store coffee grounds in airtight container, away from sunlight. Use filtered water for best coffee flavor.

Before First Use

Remove all labels and packaging. Hand wash all parts with warm water. Rinse all parts thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Make 2-3 pots of coffee to season the pot. Follow “How to Use” instructions for each cycle

Care & Use

Cleaning Instructions: Wash by hand with warm water after each use. Dry thoroughly with towel. Do not reassemble the product until all parts are completely dry to avoid oxidation. Do not use soap or detergent. Do not use in dishwasher. Do not use steel wool or other abrasive products. Maintenance: Replace gaskets and funnels occasionally to keep your Moka Express in optimal working condition.

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What to do With All the Panettone You Received at Christmas – Make French Toast

Panettone – The classic Italian cake with a rich taste and natural goodness that everyone enjoys.  Problem is, during the holidays, we sometimes receive more Panettone than we know what to do with.  My solution is to make French Toast.

Two traditional panettone, perfect for French Toast.

Two traditional panettone, perfect for French Toast.

I can remember many Christmas Holidays when it looked like we would never rid ourselves of the boxes of Panettone that arrived as gifts.  My grandmother was the first person I know to turn that rich taste into French Toast.  She would invite the family over on a Saturday morning and before you knew it the panettone were gone.

The original recipe for Panettone is characterized by a fragrant and scented dough, which naturally lends itself to French Toast.  The cake, rich in butter, eggs, raisins and candied fruits is raised in a special paper form until it reaches the traditional  rounded shape of the panettone.

This year, to my delight, I received two of these often overlooked Italian cakes and whipped up a batch of French Toast the Saturday after New Years.  My son had some friends spend the night and as you would expect from teenage boys there wasn’t a crumb left.

I use a recipe borrowed from Giada DeLauentiis of the Food Network, that if you are watching calories should only be used on your cheat day.  Below is Giada’s Panettone French Toast.  Add a little warn syrup for the ideal finishing touch.

Panettone quartered slices ready to be batter dipped.

Panettone quartered slices ready to be batter dipped.

Ingredients: (printable copy below)

French Toast:

  • 1 loaf panettone bread, baking paper removed

  • 5 to 6 eggs

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200° or to a warm setting.  Trim the bottom crust of the panettone and starting at the bottom cut it crosswise into 6 3/4 inch thick round slices.  I oftentimes cut the panettone into 4 wedges to make smaller pieces (pictured above).

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended.  Add the cream, milk and sugar and whisk until well mixed.

Melt butter onto your cooking surface, I use and electric grill, and raise the heat to medium.

Dip slices into the egg custard, turning to allow both sides to absorb the custard.  Grill the soaked panettone until they are golden brown and firm.  About 4 minutes each side.

Transfer to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven as you grill the remaining panettone slices.

Transfer to plates and top with a dollop of mascarpone cheese.  Drizzle with warn syrup and add a touch of powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.

Finished product

Finished product

The boys were putting these down so fast I hardly had time to take a picture.  The two panetone, cut as shown above, easily fed five hungry teenage boys as well as four adults.

Printable Recipe:

Panettone French Toast
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Italian
 
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf panettone bread, baking paper removed
  • 5 to 6 eggs
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° or to a warm setting. Trim the bottom crust of the panettone and starting at the bottom cut it crosswise into 6¾ inch thick round slices. I oftentimes cut the panettone into 4 wedges to make smaller pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the cream, milk and sugar and whisk until well mixed.
  3. Melt butter into your cooking surface, I use and electric grill, and raise heat to medium.
  4. Dip slices into the egg custard, turning to allow both sides to absorb the custard. Grill the soaked panettone until they are gulden brown and firm. About 4 minutes each side.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven as you grill the remaining panettone slices.
  6. Transfer to plates and top with a dollop of mascarpone cheese. Drizzle with warn syrup and add a touch of powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

 

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Buffalo Chicken Wings for the Big Games

The NFL and College Bowls will provide lots of Big Games in the weeks ahead.  I know we’ll have a house full on many occasions.  I’ll be making “Gracie’s Not So Secret Buffalo Wings” for our gang.  Here’s the recipe.

PigskinFirst A Personal Rant – You know what I don’t understand?  Why is it that we have Martin Luther King Day at the end of January and President’s Day in mid February and the Super Bowl in the middle?  Do you know that more people call in sick the day after the Super Bowl than any other day.  Why can’t we figure out how to wrap this game around one of those holidays and make everyone happy?  Makes sense to me!

Below is “Gracie’s Not So Secret Recipe” for great wings.  I bake them but dip them in the hot sauce prior to baking and hit them with a second round of sauce when they come out.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 20 chicken wings (adjust ingredients if making more)
  • 8 Tbsp. melted butter (I didn’t say these were good for you, just good)
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite hot sauce ( I use a combo of Franks and Scotch Bonnet)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcester Sauce

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.  Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and salt into a resealable freezer bag and shake well.  Add the wings a few at a time and coat with the mixture.  Place the wings on the cooking sheet and refrigerate for one hour.

Just prior to baking whisk together, in a saucepan, the melted butter, hot sauce, white vinegar and Worcester  Sauce.  Add a touch of the cayenne pepper if you’re really into hot.  Over low heat bring the mixture to a simmer.

Preheat oven to 400°.  With a pair of tongs, dip each wing into the butter mix and return to the baking sheet.  Be sure to reserve some of the butter mix or make more if needed.  Bake for around 45 minutes or until the wings are nice and crispy and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and coat with additional butter mixture.

See printable version below. Enjoy the games!

 Related articles

Buffalo Chicken Wings for the Big Game
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup of all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 20 chicken wings (adjust ingredients if making more)
  • 8 Tbsp. melted butter (I didn't say these were good for you, just good)
  • ¾ cup of your favorite hot sauce ( I use a combo of Franks and Scotch Bonnet)
  • 1½ Tbsp. white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Worcester Sauce
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and salt into a resealable freezer bag and shake well. Add the wings a few at a time and coat with the mixture. Place the wings on the cooking sheet and refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Just prior to baking whisk together, in a saucepan, the melted butter, hot sauce, white vinegar and Worcester Sauce. Add a touch of the cayenne pepper if you're really into hot. Over low heat bring the mixture to a simmer.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°. With a pair of tongs, dip each wing into the butter mix and return to the baking sheet. Be sure to reserve some of the butter mix or make more if needed. Bake for around 45 minutes or until the wings are nice and crispy and cooked through. Remove from the oven and coat with additional butter mixture.

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Can A Good Wine Glass Make a Difference in a Wine’s Taste?

This post is reprinted from Gracie’s Product Review.  Good news is we found a better price on the 6 pack of Bormioli-Rocco Bordeaux glasses.  Click below.

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A good wine glass can make a difference in how your wine taste and aerates.  Don’t settle for just any glass, read our review of the Bormioli-Rocco Bordeaux Wine Glass and step up your wine enjoyment this Holiday season.

So about 10 years ago I turned into a wine snob.  I can remember the exact wine that did it to me, a 1997 Amarone produced by Allegrini.  The rich texture, and hints of chocolate and coffee combined with an earthiness that totally blew me away.

GET 6 BORMIOLI-ROCCCO BORDEAUX WINE GLASSES $27.22

That night we were dinner guests with an old friend that had a huge collection of fine wines and he loved to share them.  My wife and I always enjoyed a glass of wine in the evening but never at this level.

That night I also got an education on how to really enjoy wine right down to the glass.  The Amarone was served in Bormioli-Rocco Bordeaux wine glasses.  I ordered a six pack of these the next day.

Craftsmen of fine glassware since 1825, Bormioli Rocco formulates superior glass to create exceptional serveware for restaurant and home use. Continuous investment in research, development and state-of-the-art technology preserves Bormioli’s prominence in the industry.

A huge benefit to the Bormioli-Rocco Bordeaux wine glasses is the fact that they are designed  to release the rich aroma and intrinsic value of red wines.  They are made of professional quality and are also lead free.  Here are some additional feature as stated by the manufacturer:

  • Exceptional brightness and clarity exclusive to Bormioli glassware

  • Designed to exact standards, with the height and rounded bowl to direct the flow and natural aeration

  • Bordeaux wine glasses release the rich aroma and intrinsic value of red wine

  • Sparkling qualities of crystal with the durabilityxxx for everyday use

  • Smooth-defined rim with easy-hold stem and stable base for the perfect weight, height and balance

  • Professional quality, beautifully resonant in sound

  • Lead-free

  • Bormioli Rocco is the world-renowned Italian innovator and manufacturer of glassware that is prized for the aesthetic value, design and functionality

5 Tips to Finding the Right Holiday Wine.  CLICK HERE

Wine glasses come in many different sizes and length.  I prefer the Bordeaux style glasses mainly do to the fact that they work with the full spectrum of red wines.  Take your wine drinking experience to the next level and discover how the right stemware can provide an enhanced rich aroma with exceptional clarity.

 CLICK HERE TO ORDER BORMIOLI-ROCCO WINE GLASSES NOW

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Set of 12 – $39.95                                                    12 Piece – $39.95    

Post Thanksgiving – More Than Black Friday

While everyone is focused on Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals, I find the post Thanksgiving weekend as a great time to dig into leftovers and continue enjoying the fruits of a Holiday meal.

Thanksgiving Turkey [327/366]Like most years we had a full house for Thanksgiving and prepared many of our tradition dishes and deserts.  I of course had to start out with Gracie’s Farmer’s Antipasto.  In case you missed it CLICK HERE, for a quick refresher.  What I love most about this dish is that there always seems to be plenty of leftovers.  I store all the ingredients in a large zip lock bag, causing all the juices to blend together.  Makes for a weekend of great lunches.

As a first course we did Pumpkin Ravioli this year.  I simply took Gracie’s recipe for Manicotti (CLICK HERE) added some pumpkin puree to the filling and there you have it.  We had 22 people at our table and I made 36 Manicotti.  Oh yeah, plenty left over.  They were so good my sister-in-law had some for breakfast the next day.

Thanksgiving Table #2

This year for the first time I smoked the turkey.  Over the summer we picked up a Traeger Pellet Stove.  I knew back in July that I would be smoking the turkey this Thanksgiving.  The really great part about smoking the bird outdoors is that it freed up the indoor stove for the many side dishes my wife prepared.  What a time and space saver.

This year on top of our usual mashed potatoes, broccoli, cranberry sauce, spicy corn dish and stuffing we added a new side that is sure to become a regular.  My wife found this recipe for Sweet Potato Apple Gratin in the November 14th edition of USA Weekend.  I have enclosed the recipe below.  It’s a keeper.

Sweet Potato Apple Gratin
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10 servings
 
great Thanksgiving side dish
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger root
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and slice into ⅛ inch thick rounds
  • 8 oz. Honey-crisp apples, peeled, halved, cored and sliced ⅛ inch thick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray the inside of a 6 cup baking dish
  2. Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, shallots, curry powder and ginger
  3. Sweat shallots for 2 minutes until aromatic but avoid browning
  4. Add the chopped dates, apple cider, orange juice - simmer for 1 minute and remove from heat
  5. Place sweet potatoes and apples in a large bowl and pour aromatic mixture over them
  6. Add salt and pepper and mix well
  7. Neatly arrange and layer the potato-apple mixture into the prepared pan so that it is level
  8. Pour and spread any remaining aromatic mixture over the top
  9. Cover the pan and bake foe 30 minutes
  10. Uncover and move to the top rack of the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes
  11. Remove from the oven and serve while still hot

 

The post Thanksgiving weekend really kicks off the Holiday Season and I hope you all had a chance to truly enjoy giving thanks and had some time to polish off those leftovers.

 

wine.com

photos by: &

Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot – A Pot for All Seasons

I posted this review of the Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot over at Gracie’s Product Review some time ago but wanted to re-post it here.  This is a great pot that will serve you well.  I have owned mine (pictured here) for over 10 years and I cannot ever see myself using anything else.

Here is a quick updated review of my go to pot for everything from soup to sauce.  It’s the Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot. (re-posted)

I have the 8 quart model but it also come in a 6 quart version and many different vibrant colors.  I chose the cherry color show in the picture above.  We are at that time of year when a good stock pot is a necessity.  Between soups, stocks, sauces and a whole lot of other things a quality stockpot is worth the money.

Check Out a Great Umbrian Stew Recipe

10 years ago when I decided it was time for a new pot my search ended when I stumbled upon the Le Creuset shown above.  I was ready to spend a lot more money on a stainless steel, no stick pot, when an ad from Chefs catalog caught my eye.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I have been with this purchase.  Easy to clean, light weight and attractive, in addition to never having to worry about anything sticking to the bottom.  If you in the market for a new pot, don’t waste you money on anything else.

Save $40.00 by Ordering Now!

From Chefs Website: The enamel-on-steel construction of Le Creuset stockpots provides uniform heating for slow-simmering soups and spaghetti sauce or cooking pasta. The 8-quart size is ideal when you’re making soup or stew for a crowd; also useful for cooking pasta or rice, and for boiling whole potatoes or sweet potatoes for mashing.

The mainstay of French chefs for nearly a century, Le Creuset cookware features bold and bright colors in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit any culinary need. Each cookware piece is skillfully finished by hand. Imported. Dishwasher-safe, but hand washing is recommended. 8-quart capacity. 4 lbs. 9 3/4″ Dia.( 12 1/2 with handles) x 7 1/2″H (9 1/2″ with lid).

This pot normally sells for $130.00 but you can steal it NOW for $89.95 at Chef’s Catalog.

Product Features:

  • Enamel on heavy-gauge carbon steel construction makes stockpot easy to lift and pour

  • Stainless-steel rim on base and lid prevents chips and cracks

  • Enameled glossy porcelain coating is impermeable to odors and stains

  • Easy-clean enamel surfaces are scratch-resistant

  • Foods will not react with the enameled finish

  • Superior conduction of heat promotes faster cooking times

  • Even distribution and retention of heat ensures cookware stays hot longer

  • Heavy, tight-fitting lid seals in heat and flavors

  • Sure-grip phenolic knob is ovenproof to 450 F

  • Suited for all heat sources including electric, gas, ceramic, induction and halogen top

  • Bright color choices coordinate with virtually any home décor

Save $40.00 by Ordering Now!

Featured Reviews:

I love it!

3/12/2012 – New Hampshire, USA
This is the pot that I’ve been missing. My pasta sauce simmers beautifully without sticking and the pot cleans like a dream. It is so attractive that Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot, 8-Quart

Just right.

5/21/2012 – Naples, FL, USA
This 8 quart stock pot is great. It’s sturdy without being too heavy. I bought the marseille blue, it’s beautiful. I hate to hide it in the cabinet! Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot, 8-Quart

None

6/6/2012   – Belvidere, Il
I am giving this to my husband for Father’s Day. He is the cook in our house. He has been dropping hints about a new stock pot. The pot arrived Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot, 8-Quart

Quality and Convenience

9/1/2012   – Eastsound, WA 98245, USA
I’ve looked for a long time for just the right stockpot and this is it. The price is exceptionally reasonable, considering the quality of the Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot, 8-Quart

Professional pan for common chef

11/27/2012   – Greenfield, Indiana
I used my new pan at Thanksgiving for homemade noodles. When I use a pure stainless steel pan for the noodles, there are always noodles stuck to the Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel Stockpot, 8-Quart

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