Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Brainy Spanish Chicken with Rice and Black Beans...


Ah, Barcelona ... One can only imagine the dishes being prepared. 

It sounds exotic but if you have in your pantry: rice, onion, green olives, jarred roasted red pepper, canned diced tomatoes and black beans... you have the making of a great Spanish dish. The only item you may have to pick up on your way home is a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

To begin, in a deep small skillet, saute chopped onion and diced roasted red pepper in olive oil. Push aside to add the chicken thighs. Sear a bit then bring back over the top the onion and pepper. Cover for about 6 min. Next, add as many green olives as you like, pitted and cut in half if you like. 

Turn the oven to 375F. Pour out the chicken, onion, red pepper and olives into a ceramic or glass baking dish, cover with one small can of diced tomatoes. Drop in a few dashes of Tabasco, red pepper flakes, and dried herbs. Cover and bake in the oven for about 40 min. reducing the heat to 350 after the first 25-30 min.

In this time, prepare the rice (boil on the stove/range) and black beans in the same skillet as the onion, pepper, olives and chicken. Once the rice is tender, drain and ladle onto a low lipped serving dish including the beans, top with grated cheese. When you set out the Spanish Chicken, squeeze fresh either lemon or lime juice over the top and or fresh chopped cilantro or parsley.



Leave the Tabasco on the table, pour the wine and enjoy!

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Root Vegetables are Brainy Gourmet...

Gimme some roots...

Veggies don't have to be green to be good!

French cut parsnips and carrots sauteed or roasted are delicious. The taste is a sweet-savory nutty flavor. This vegetable side is very easy to prepare and goes with any meat. If you don't want a whole bag of em, look for them sold singly... use one large parsnip and carrot. Just slice them lengthwise which is a 'french cut-julienne' or ... larger like French Fries.

To a covered skillet, add olive oil and preferred seasonings are: garlic powder, sea salt,and  red pepper flakes along with dried herbs - rosemary, mint and oregano. In ten to twelve minutes, voila.  The cost of this side is less than $2.00.






Saturday, January 12, 2019

Home Baked Bread... nothing compares!




Ingredients:
7 and 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water – 100 degrees
1 tbsp. granulated yeast= 1 small package of instant
1 and 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt, and 1tsp of sugar.


In a bowl, mix the warm water with the yeast, salt and sugar. Using warm water allows the dough to rise quickly and to the right height. This dough needs at least 6-8 hrs to rise in a warm place. When it has mushroomed, use the “scoop and sweep” method.

This is done by reaching into the flour container with a cup and scooping up a full measure all at once sweeping the top of the cup level with a knife.  Do not knead the dough!

Do not punch down the dough, do not play with it. With this method, you are trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible and punching it down knocks out gas. The gas bubbles create a light and crispy crust.


To bake: preheat the oven to 425, take a handful of dough and plop it down on a prepared pizza pan (oiled and sprinkled with dry bread crumbs). Drizzle olive oil over the top of the dough along with a generous sprinkle of fresh dried herbs before baking. Pop in the oven and watch it get crusty brown providing a kitchen full splendid aroma.


After slicing, cut thick slices (toasted or not) and pour on the olive oil...


*Note ~ This recipe makes a lot of dough; whatever you don't use can be refrigerated or frozen.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stir Fry ~ Fast and Frugal...

A few things that the Brainy Gourmet has always advocated and will continue to do: fast, frugal and delicious. How to arrive at that? Do what the Brainy Gourmet started doing, adhere to your preferences in terms of taste: sweet and savory.

In respect to savory, there is included preferences for saltiness, bitterness and spiciness... Once you understand your preferences, you won't really need a recipe. You will come to know through practice just how much of one thing over another makes the taste you like.

Begin with a stir fry dish because that is where sweet and savory meet up in a flash in a pan. And, you won't go broke experimenting since you can begin with simple ingredients: fresh green and red peppers, zucchini, broccoli, silvered carrots and chicken breast strips... or just opt to keep it veggie.

The usual spices go like this: red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, coriander, turmeric/cumin, ginger and soy sauce.  You may not know it but in the coriander is a bit of sweetness. For the sweeter taste bud, use honey and even cooking sherry will add sweetness.

Also, keep in mind that the veggies used contain sugar. Carrots and broccoli have enough glucose to sweetened any dish; but those are my taste buds talking.

For this stir fry, lean pork loin was used cut into small half dollar sizes and seared in garlic infused olive oil; and of course, adding my preferences for sweet and savory. Green and red pepper were tossed in last so that they remained crisp... all of which was served over brown rice noodles.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Benefits and Beauty of Tabasco ...


Hot drinking chocolate... spice it up with Tabasco sauce!

Did you know that a teaspoon of original Tabasco sauce contains zero calories and zero grams of fat? The sauce doesn't supply essential nutrients, such as protein, fiber, vitamin C, calcium or iron, but its lack of calories or fat means it can have a valuable place in your healthy eating plan. The green jalapeno flavor supplies 6 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. The sweet and spicy flavor contains 15 calories per teaspoon, but the other flavors, including buffalo, habanero and chipotle pepper, are calorie- and fat-free.

Tabasco sauce contains capsaicin, a pain reliever, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Capsaicin also aids in digestion and reduces the symptoms of indigestion, Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno note in their book "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods." 

Capsaicin might also reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Capsaicin might be useful in weight loss, by activating satiety cues after eating, according to a 2005 article published in the "International Journal of Obesity." Though you don't eat topical capsaicin, it's interesting to note that it's often used as a pain reliever or to help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis.







*Online Source ! https://www.livestrong.com/article/487195-tabasco-pepper-sauce-benefits




Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Turmeric is Curcumin and its good for you!


There's a lot of exciting buzz around turmeric these days, and there's plenty of good reason for it. Hidden deep in the plant's bright yellow roots is an extraordinarily powerful compound called curcumin that has the unique ability to block an enzyme that causes inflammation, while combating free radical damage to highly sensitive vital organs like your heart and brain. In fact, curcumin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits can revolutionize your health from head to toe.

Curcumin is so powerful that some are calling it the "natural remedy of the century. "If you think that inflammation is something that only happens when you're injured, or is simply a minor annoyance you're making a big mistake. Many experts now believe low-grade systemic (or "silent") inflammation is a major risk factor for a host of health concerns.

Is curcumin a simple way of reducing inflammation?  Well, its certainly an alternative way to reduce free radicals that cause inflammation. It can be used in cooking as well as directly... in coffee or tea. It also comes in capsules that can be taken by mouth. Combined with exercise and a diet of healthy food, its a brainy start for this new year.

*Source ~ online article by: Joshua Corn, Editor-in-Chief of the Live in the Now Newsletter.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Epiphany Cake for January 6...



This is a type of Epiphany Cake 'tarte' called - Galette des rois! 

In France, Christmas and New Year's Eve is all about oysters and foie gras, but on January 6th, it is all about the Galette des Rois (King’s Cake)! Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi, traditionally observed on January 6.

Here is a basic recipe...

Use ready-made butter puff pastry
4oz ground almonds
3oz sugar
2oz soft butter
1 egg (preserve a little of the yolk)
• Divide the pastry in two parts; roll each out into a circle about 9in across. Preheat the oven to 410F.
• Mix the almonds, sugar, butter and egg to a smooth paste.
• Place the first circle in a baking tray and spread the paste evenly across.
• Dampen the edge of the first disc and lay the second over it. Press down with a fork. Glaze the top with the egg yolk; decorate with a knife (a leaf pattern is traditional, but criss-crossing is easier).
• Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Serve slightly warm (5 minutes at 350F if reheating).