Friday, February 18, 2011

Parrot Fish

Asian-style Parrot Fish

Dark soy, sesame oil mixed with a little olive oil, freshly-grated ginger and garlic! Yum. A little chopped green onion and blood orange. Yes!
One of my last blood oranges was squeezed for a citrus marinade that made for a nicely-flavored and springlike taste! I might be rushing the seasons a little but this easy recipe would certainly be good anytime of the year!
The Parrot Fish has a nice firm texture with lots of flavor. The bones were easily removed from the meat and so the yield is very good. I grilled the fish on the infrared for about eight minutes and finished it off in a very hot oven!
Definitely worth a try!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby Pork Dumplings

These pretty little dumplings are available at H-Mart by the bag.

I sear them frozen in a hot pan with an easy "throw-together" sauce of dark soy, garlic oil, fresh dried finger hot pepper, ponsu sauce and sesame oil. The dumplings add their unique flavor to my pan drippings-a very good start to a sauce that I build on in the pan as I stir-fry julienned pan pan zucchini, English peas and a very nice Asian green that I can't pronounce!
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Severely Cracked Winter Feet

It's always a challenge during the long winter months for me to stay warm and dry.
For others, it's a matter of keeping skin supple and smooth. Dealing with cracked skin becomes a terrible occupation for some during the frigid, wintry months.
For instant relief, I combine shea butter with avocado and olive oil, whipped together with vitamin C and E for a soothing, healing mixture. Cracked skin is healed and rehydrated in a few short days thanks to aloe vera gel.
I create a "chiffon pie" fragrance with the addition of culinary lime, lemon or orange oils. Pleasant and easier on the nose for those of us with sensitivity to carrier oils or perfumes.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Carnagie Library In Newnan

I'm excited to have the opportunity to speak as a guest of the Armchair Travelers Series at 2 PM on Friday, February 25th at the Carnagie Library in Newnan.

Blogging about food is certainly a passion of mine but being able to share my international travel experiences and passion for the Tuscan culture is up near the top of fun things that I enjoy! I hope you will make plans to stop by and enjoy the presentation.

The presentation will include video and photo montages from years of travels around central Italy; including our friends and the wonderful villages of Florence, San Guistino Valdarno, Figline Valdarno and Terranouva.
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Goodbye Winter, Come On Spring!

After an exhausting day working on three computers I decided to take a moment to relax in the brilliant sunshine that we are enjoying around North Georgia!

I headed out to the pool with a Hot Salted Chocolate topped with a buttery caramel and proceeded to soak up some sun.
Zena, usually content to play by herself at the pool was happy to have a little company! With great anticipation she and I wait for our Atlanta weather to warm into the mid to high 60's this week! Come on Spring!

Easy Hot Chocolate with Fresh Whipped Cream and Caramel Sauce

Serves 2

1 heaping tbsp chocolate morsels
2 tbsp hot cocoa mix
2 cups skim or low fat milk
pinch of salt

Whisk mixture until chocolate is completely melted and milk is hot but not boiling. Pour into pretty mugs, top with whipped cream and drizzle of caramel topping from you know where!
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tender Porchetta

After ten hours of very slow roasting the porchetta is finally ready! With steam still coming off the tender pork I sliced a few bites-unable to wait another second!

The first bite was a delicate, delicious morsel sweetened by the ground fennel! The finish was "all Tuscan" boldly flavored with a combination of young rosemary sprigs and smashed garlic! It was a "magic carpet ride" back to our favorite Friday market in Terranouva, Italy in central Tuscany!

We spent the better part of the afternoon shopping for the perfect roll due to the fact that we ate my Tuscan rolls before the pork was even halfway through the roasting process. I'll have to double up on the roll recipe next time to ensure an authentic experience.

Tuscan Rolls - Second Rising
But for now I am experimenting with several breads that I was able to buy locally . . .Panera's sourdough roll-soft on the inside with a crunchy top. Second, I wanted to make a crunchy Panini using Panera's Semolina loaf but they were sold out so I opted for a whiter French loaf, and finally I chose a seedless Kaiser roll with a much lighter crunch.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Porchetta and Fried Polenta

Butterflied Pork

Seasoned With Fresh and Dried Herbs

Fresh Garlic and Rosemary

Tied Porchetta Marinating For Roasting
I'm seriously doing some "armchair traveling" in the kitchen this week!
Old photos and video shot during our trips through Germany, Switzerland and Italy have caused wonderful food memories to resurface and off I run to the kitchen to see if I recreate some of our favorites!
My first porchetta sandwich was savored at Terranouva's weekly market-held every Friday on the town square in central Tuscany. I remember the young woman explaining the process as we waited for our crispy pork sandwich served on a nicely crusted roll. As we enjoyed our first bite of the heavenly pork she waved us back and presented us with a neatly wrapped package filled with Fried Polenta!
Sure that we had just been presented with a piece of heaven we strolled the market "ooh-ing and aah-ing" through the stalls filled with fresh fish, cheese, cured meats and fabulous chocolates!

My pork is butterflied, seasoned and tied.  I rubbed the entire piece with plenty of garlic olive oil before adding the herbs.  I also added fresh rosemary, thyme, a tiny bit of fresh oregano and fresh crushed garlic before rolling and tying the pork.  It will marinate in the refrigerator overnight before I roast it for six or so hours at a very low temp (about 190 degrees). 
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Champagne-infused Roasted Pear Salad!

And finally we are ready to eat!

The champagne-infused roasted pear is fabulous with the toasted walnuts and blue cheese! Yum!  I love the idea of this as a nice snack or appetizer plate. 
I simply simmered the pears in one cup of water, one cup of champagne, 2 tablespoons of sugar-and a faint pinch of salt for about five minutes.  I drained them and seared them in 1/2 tbsp of Olivio or equal olive oil to butter. 
The Lousisiana Crawfish Etouffee is authentic, rustic and gets a double yum-yum!  That's four yums, y'all!
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Friday, February 4, 2011

Crawfish Etouffe

Crawfish Stock
I'm preparing for a taping of my show tomorrow and Crawfish Etouffe is on the menu!
Because I live in a house with a person allergic to most crusteceans-I am estatic to make this for Home At Last viewers and ultimately, dinner!
What is it about the small, fresh-water, lobster-like crawfish that makes him okay with one crustecean-but not the next? It's a mystery! I have to wonder if the mercury levels in the fresh water are substancially lower than the salt water crusteceans.
I'm pairing the crawfish etouffee with a salad of roasted beets, (thanks Linda), a champagne "caramelized" pear and my last few blood oranges. I am planning a light blue cheese dressing and a few toasted walnuts!

I'm all about the beautiful waltz in my head when it comes to pairings! I can sense the sweetness of the caramalized pear alongside the beautiful raspberry-scented Moro orange sections and know that they will bring a nice balance to the spicey Etouffee!
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rudesheim, Germany

Tuna Fish and Cheese Pasta
I remember exactly where I was when I first tasted this heavenly pasta! Surprisingly enough, it wasn't Italy!
Bacarach, Germany, a small town along the Rhine River, wasn't my favorite German city but I enjoyed it's proximity to many fascinating historical sites and wineries-including Rudesheim and Koblenz. 
A Room With A View
Rudesheim was a quick trip from our roomy apartment in a quiet neighborhood of Bacharach.We enjoyed the narrow streets lined with pretty timbered buildings-each of them filled with wonderful crafts that made the trip worthwhile.
Beautiful hand-blown glass, Christmas shoppes filled with traditional glass ornaments and handcrafted nutcrackers made for a nice day of shopping. Restaurants offering traditional German fare as well as salads and light pastas made for an easy day-trip!
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