Fresh, fast and frugal!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Po River Piedmontese ~ Spalla di Manzo

The Piedmont region of northwestern Italy (the Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including Monviso where the Po rises. This northwestern region of Italy borders with France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria and Aosta Valley.

Piedmontese cattle are not easy to come by, however; they’re still a rarity in this country, and for that matter anywhere in the world beyond northern Italy. Small farmers there maintain very tight control of the breed through an association that has managed a registry of all Piedmontese cattle for many, many generations. In fact, this association controls what may well be the smallest and most unique gene pool of any breed of cattle in the world.

The Piedmontese breed is unique in having an inactive myostatin gene that produces a ‘double-muscled’ beef that’s rich in protein and nutrients.” The Piedmontese beef doesn’t consist of the typical ‘stringy’ fibers, and the result is a natural juiciness and tenderness that doesn’t require electrical stimulation, needling, or aging.”

source ~

This is such a delicious dish "Spalla di Manzo" and very inexpensive that you simply won't believe it. The price for two per serving is just $3.25.

You will need to buy a med to thick cut chuck steak. If you don't have on hand, onion and green pepper than you should buy one of each at your local grocery. As a simple side, you can serve potatoes or pasta or polenta.

In the earlier part of your day, marinate your beef chuck steak in balsamic vinegar, seas salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes along with fresh dried herbs. When you are ready to cook, chop your onion and green pepper and saute in olive oil and coconut oil with a dollop of butter. Move to the side and lay in your beef which has been gently powdered with flour. Saute your steak, browning on all sides. Then cover and simmer for about 5-6 min on low heat. Add some beef broth and cover again for another 6 min on low heat moving the sauteed onion and green pepper on top of the steak. Top with a shaving of Asiago Parmesan.

When your side is prepared, I cooked a few potatoes, set out the plates and  call everyone to the table.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pork Cutlet Ragù alla Sarda

Price per serving for two: $2.38
I have here a delicious Sardinian ragù using pork cutlet that is often served (in this autonomous region of Italy) with a kind of polenta made from semolina flour. I prefer to pan fry the polenta. Also, the sauce is suitable for many types of dried pasta, including spaghetti and medium-sized macaroni varieties. You should serve with freshly grated pecorino or parmigiano cheese at the table. Tonight, I am serving potatoes as a side.

You will need to buy a package of pounded pork cutlet. I found a package of three for less than 3 dollars. This is a delicious and delicate meat.  You will also need to buy if you don't have on hand: onion, zucchini, fresh or a can of diced tomatoes, green olives and  heavy cream.

Take you covered skillet and melt in 3tbs of olive oil and the same of coconut oil. On med heat, add to the oils, chopped onion and chopped zucchini, stir until brown. Push aside the veggies to lay in your cutlets, cover and cook on med. heat for 5 min. Now, add your fresh tomatoes or one small can of diced tomatoes. To that add fresh basil, rosemary, and oregano along with a pinch of sea salt and garlic powder and some red pepper flakes. Cover for 2 min and then pour in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and some fresh green olives. Cover and simmer for 5 min on low heat.

You can prepare some golden yellow potatoes in the microwave.  Set the table and call in the family.

~Tutti a Tavola!

Neapolitan Meatballs: Polpette alla Napoletana

“Spaghetti and Meatballs” as we know the dish here in the US is truly a blend of old world Italian frugality and the American love for Italian food. Many people do not know that the history of the ‘Italian American’ meatball in that it is derived from recipes of the millions of immigrants that came through Ellis Island to the US from Naples and Southern Italy in the 1920s. 

Italian cooking has always been about frugal eating and living. I was surprised to read that when those Italian immigrants first came over to the US and found plentiful meats at low prices, they decided to show off their new found ‘riches’ wealth and status by foregoing the frugal practice of adding bread to ground meat dishes which back in Italy had allowed them to ‘stretch’ the meal in order to feed a large family on a little budget.

But, these ‘all meat’ meatballs turn out to be dry, and pretty much tasteless and basically spherical hamburgers. That is why, Italian Americans returned to and are returning to the traditions of the pre-immigrant Italians of nearly 100 years ago and using the “stretchers” in their recipes which makes the ‘meatball’ flavorful, and melt in your mouth.

You will need a half pound package of ground pork mixed with the same amount of ground turkey or veal you can use all three or two, always using ground pork to mix with the other choice.  If you don’t have in your pantry, you will need to buy or make dried bread crumbs (using day old bread), heavy cream, one whole onion, fresh garlic, fresh tomatoes or one large can of crushed tomatoes and of course fresh dried herbs. 

Combine in a large bowl your half pound ground pork with either turkey or veal. Add to that, a pinch of sea salt, and as much dried herbs: rosemary, oregano and mint as you like and I prefer a lot. Then add in ¾ cup of dried bread crumbs and ¼ cup heavy cream. Mix by hand and form into med. Sized balls. In your covered skillet, melt in 4-5 tbs of olive oil, add chopped onion and garlic, stir and cook on med. Heat until edges have browned.  Add your meatballs and cook on med heat, turning them over from time to time to brown on all sides. Once browned add your tomato sauce and cover, let simmer on low heat for 30 min.
Of course, you need to make the pasta. Boil water with a pinch of salt in a large stock pot. Add your spaghetti pasta and cook until tender. Drain and ladle onto a large low lipped serving dish. Pour your sauce and meatballs over the top and serve! Don’t forget to put out the grated Parmesan.

~Tutti a Tavola!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Olives of Calabria ~ Pressed Chicken Thighs with Purple Peppers,Tomatoes and Green Olives

Everyone knows that olives and olive oil from Calabria are the probably the best there is. The climate has a lot to do with that outcome; just the right blend of sun and moisture creates a perfect blend of taste in the olive.

You will need to buy a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (one per guest). You should also have on hand or buy: tomatoes, green and black olives, purple, green and red bell pepper (s), garlic, fresh rosemary and fresh dried herbs:basil, oregano and mint.

Prior to cooking this wonderful Southern Italian dish, you will need to marinate the boneless thighs by pressing them in a simple wash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with sea salt, fresh dried herbs and fresh chopped rosemary, let sit for about 1 hr.

To begin cooking, take a covered skillet and pour in 4-5 tbs. of olive oil and saute on med. half of each pepper and one clove fresh garlic. When you see browned edges on the peppers, push them aside and lay in the thighs to sear the meat on both sides. Top with any remaining herbs from the marinate cooking for about 5-6 min.

Next, add 1/2 cup of fresh diced tomatoes and their juices along with a few green and black olives; allow to simmer for 25 min. covered. While the chicken simmers, prepare a delicate risotto. Boil about 2 and 1/2 cup of chicken stock, adding 2 cups of rice to gently simmer on med heat. Once the rice is tender having absorbed the stock almost completely, add a dollop of butter, 3/4 cup of diced tomato and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Cover and set aside.

When you are ready to serve, put out the risotto into a separate serving bowl and the chicken with olives onto a large low lipped serving platter.

Garnish and say "Tutti a Tavola" which means 'everyone to the table'!

*Tip~ Green olives alone work if you do not have or have a taste for black olives. And, as for the peppers, green peppers work just as well as the other colors. There is no need to hunt for purple/red.

Roman Lamb ~ Abbacchio alla Cacciatora

Price per serving for two: $3.85

You will need to buy lean lamb 'thick' steak or large boneless shoulder to be cut into chunks. Not too many people think of lamb when you mention Italian cooking. However, lamb is an important meat used in especially Roman cooking. I found that out when I was in Rome almost 20 years ago. Roman abbacchio (lamb) is delicious. Roman cooks have a number to truly classic dishes and foremost is Abbacchio alla Cacciatora. The term cacciatora refers in this case to the seasoning, which is a mixture of garlic, rosemary, and vinegar.


To get started, heat 4 tbs of good quality olive oil into a covered skillet, add the lamb, and brown the meat on high heat seasoning to taste with salt and pepper; continuing cooking by stirring the pieces until brown on all sides. Lower the heat and add a whole clove of crushed garlic along with a sprig of fresh rosemary. This dish is so incredibly delicious because of the fresh rosemary. As you know, I use a lot of fresh dried herbs including rosemary. However, this dish in particular requires a fresh cut sprig which is truly captures the beauty of this meat.

Turn the heat back up and continue browning the meat for a few more minutes, turning it and sprinkling it with the flour, then add the vinegar and an equal amount of water. Move your wood spoon around to scrape the bottom of the skillet to dislodge any particles that happen to have stuck on the skillet bottom, and even if some appear to be almost blackened, don't worry. The taste is only enhanced. Now, reduce the heat to simmer, and cover until adding a little more liquid if the sauce looks too thick.

For the true Roman, anchovies are always part of some meal. Personally, I can do without. But, if you dare, then you can do as the Romans (when in Rome do as the Romans) . So, while the lamb is cooking, scoop a spoonful or two of the juices into a bowl and combine them with a few anchovies and 1 tbs of brown sugar to make a paste. When the meat is done, stir the paste into it and heat for another minute, then serve.

When preparing this for the American family, put the paste on the side (to use as a condiment) and serve the dish with zucchini, green and red peppers over a bed of rice.  

Tutti a Tavola! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

La Spezia Lemon Chicken Linguine

Price per serving for three: $2.22

When I was in La Spezia Italy, I ate the most amazing lemon chicken linguine dish ever. Today, I share that recipe.

You will need to buy a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts.  If you don't have on hand, onion, garlic, parsley, fresh lemons, butter and heavy cream plus parmesan, then you will have to stop by the grocer. Of course, you will need to have linguine pasta.

Take out your covered skillet and melt in 4 tbs of olive oil and 1 tbs of coconut oil and the same amount of butter on low heat. Chop one onion and add to the sputtering oils as they mix in your skillet. Besides onion, if you want you can also add one glove of crushed garlic. I never tire of the taste of onion and garlic in Italian food. Once the edges start to brown, push aside to lay in your 1/2 inch cut chicken breasts down side which has been smothered in homemade mayo, patted in dry bread crumbs and sprinkled with fresh dried herbs from the garden. Cover and let the oils and juices go to work, on med. heat. Once the meat is white, turn over and see the lovely browned side which was first turned down in the skillet.

Add to the skillet, 3/4 cup of heavy cream and cover, turn down to low heat. Start water boiling to cook the linguine, don't forget the pinch of salt. Once the pasta is just tender, drain and pour out onto a low lipped serving platter. Place your chicken breasts onto the pasta and pour out the sauce. Squeeze fresh lemon, sprinkle with parmesan, garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Tutti a Tavola! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Asiago ~ good cheese makes any meal gourmet!


Asiago, is a cow's milk cheese, produced only on the Asiago plateau in the Veneto foothills in Italy. The cheese-making tradition in the provinces of  Vicenza and Trento dates back to more than thousand years. Traditionally, it was made from sheep's milk but today it is produced from unpasteurized cow's milk.
Texture wise, Asiago goes through many changes, assuming different textures, according to its aging. There are two types of Asiago - fresh Asiago (Asiago Pressato) has a smooth texture while the aged Asiago (Asiago d'allevo) has a crumbly texture. Asiago d’allevo is matured for different time periods; Mezzano for 4-6 months, Vecchio for more than ten months and Stravecchio for two years. On the other hand, Asiago Pressato made with whole milk is matured for a month and sold fresh as a softer, milder cheese.
Depending on age, the rinds of Asiago can be straw colored and elastic to brownish gray and hard. The paste can be white to dark yellow, with small to medium irregular holes. Based on the aging, Asiago can be used for grating, melting, slicing on a variety of salads, sandwiches, soups, pastas, and sauce.

When I was in Italy visiting my family in Asiago, I tasted their parmesan first hand, straight from the shelf of the local cheese shop in Asiago. I also visited the family farm where they harvested the main ingredient. As you read above, traditionally they used sheep's milk but today this great aged cheese is from cow's milk.

In the blog about what a chef should have in their pantry at all times, cheese was listed. That list was given by chef Eric Damidot. It is my list as well and can and should be yours as it is basic. If I learned anything when visiting my family in Asiago, it was how to make something from very little ingredients.

Though cheese is a basic and by itself a gourmet meal, if you want to get really dramatic about dinner some evening, I highly recommend lasagne or black pepper fettuccine with wild mushrooms or ricotta ravioli, both of those dishes outstanding I had in Asiago.

The simplest and most frugal to make is the ricotta ravioli. All you need is olive oil, diced tomatoes, heavy cream, and ricotta cheese filled ravioli (buying at your local Italian shop unless you make homemade) and of course parmesan. 

Tutti a Tavola ~ Everyone to the Table!

Source ~

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Potatoes ~ One of the Basic Foods in any Chef's Pantry!

When I hear the word potato, I still think of it as a basic food item and I tend to think of the potato as unchanged and probably the only natural food still grown. However, potatoes were among the first to 'get messed with'. I mean to be changed into something better than its original natural self - genetically modified that is. For instance, the 'Russet' Burbank is a hybrid potato known for its flavor consistency and long shelf life. Well, if the russet has been upgraded haven't all potatoes been modified? Yes, many have including the Yukon Gold one of my favorites; which was created by Gary Johnston. But they all started out simple and you can still find what are called 'heirloom' potatoes.

Generally, it has been widely accepted that potatoes of all varieties are thought to be indigenous to South America. As early as the 1500s, Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought potato plants to Europe, where they were cultivated and ultimately brought back across the Atlantic to be grown as crops in settlements in New England and Southern Canada. Some of the transplanted varieties thrived in the so-called “New World,” but others were harder to grow. Harsh winters and dry ground made cultivation difficult.

I bet you didn't know that here in the 'new world' settlers and colonists used potatoes exclusively for animal feed. Probably, it was the unpredictable shape and somewhat bland taste that made them generally disliked by most. Yet, all of this changed when Massachusetts horticulturist Luther Burbank created the hybrid today recognized as the standard russet potato ~ the Russet Burbank.

 And, who doesn't like a plate of Russet Fries!

~ Source

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lilly's Beef Stroganoff

Price per serving for three: $2.81

You will need to buy grass fed Angus beef strips. If you don't have in the pantry or fridge, then you need to buy a package of egg noodles, onion, heavy cream, butter, mushrooms and parmesan cheese.  First, peel and chop your onion.
Next, wash and slice your mushrooms if not already sliced. Saute onion and mushrooms in 3 tbs of olive oil and 2 tbs. of butter.
In the meantime, boil water with a pinch of salt to cook your egg noodles.  Now, you can prepare your beef. Slice beef strips thinner or use them as they are if you prefer thicker cuts. The strips should be sauteed separately in a bit of olive oil along with some salt and pepper.

Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the reduced mushrooms and onions and stir. Wash some fresh parsley for garnish. Drain the noodles and pour onto a serving platter. Pour out your mushrooms and onions in cream over the noodles, top with beef strips and garnish.

Tutti a Tavola!

* parmesan on the table and for those of you like me... balsamic vinegar and olive oil!

Lilly's food preparation

Today, I learned that there are just 10 basic foods that a chef should have ready to use: butter, heavy cream, garlic, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, cheese, dried herbs and,wine.  I also learned how to make chicken stock. You will need a big pot of boiling water with one tablespoon of salt. Now,you should add one whole onion, peeled. To that, add pieces of cut up chicken, I used thighs. I let them slide gently into the boiling water. Last, I chopped fresh green parsley and added it to the pot.

It is wise to remove the chicken when cooked. Now, you have a basic chicken stock that can become any kind of soup or sauce. You can also add other meats; like meatballs.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Source of Food is Important to Any Chef

The Brainy Gourmet, like all chefs knows that the source of food is very important for taste and for health. I put taste first because as a 'sociologist' by education, I know that people (socialized individuals in a place) will eat what has been socialized in them and that means food that has been introduced as socially acceptable and most of that food as 'social knowledge' is embedded in us as 'what tastes good'.

This is true for you and for me and for everyone else in the world. Why? Because, though we think we eat what we like, we are actually eating what has been socially liked. Mother begins this socialization process for us and she always tells us that "it tastes good" when she is giving us something that she likes the taste of as she has been exposed to taste in the same way.

She also tries to get us to eat 'healthy' but it never tastes good and she knows it. So, she tells us "try it, its good for you."

In order for food to be part of our socially reality, it has to taste good. In this way, we communicate a deeper and more solid social reality with a socio-cultural continuity. Just about everyone born in America, knows the taste of a good burger and what that means. It means much more than just eating meat. It has a longer meaning connected to it that stands for America and what it means to be an American.

Taste is everything! I am pretty picky about taste and I know that some things just don't taste good. Some things taste good separately and some things taste better mixed together. Some brands taste better than others and this is the biggest concern for me. If I cannot get my brand of tomato sauce, the Farfalle will not be great. If I cannot get the fresh ground pork and veal necessary for a great bolognese, then it will only be good and worse as just so so. 

Growing my own vegetables as a main food source is also very important for me; whether its potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant you just can't go wrong and I swear by homegrown herbs, dried in my own oven. My dream is to have a bigger 'brainy' farm so that I can share the 'social' goodness of what I consider 'true source food' ~ homegrown! Which has a taste that is out of this world, the ideal reality!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hot Georgia Pork Mint Julep with Apricots

Price per serving for two: $2.75

You will need to buy a package of boneless pork ribs/chops or a pork loin to be cut into thick strips. You will also need to buy or cut fresh mint leaves from your garden. For this dish, I like to use, if in season or available in stores, fresh apricots as a condiment. My mom and I anticipate a large harvest of apricots this growing season.

However, for today, I can buy them in the local grocery. As an additional side, you can have a baked potato. Don't forget to take from your pantry or fridge butter and heavy cream.

Melt in a covered skillet 4 tbs of coconut oil and 2 tbs of olive oil. Add to the oils, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and fresh dried crushed mint and oregano (the fresh mint will be used for a garnish).  Lay in your pork on high heat and watch them sizzle. Brown on all sides. When browned, add a few dashes of Louisianian hot sauce, then 1/4 cup of heavy cream and more crushed mint. Cover and let the pork cook on low heat for 8-10 min. depending on the thickness.

In another smaller skillet, melt in 2 tbs of butter and 1 tbs of coconut oil. Lay in your washed, halved and pitted apricots. As with your pork, let them sizzle away and brown on both sides. Squeeze in some organic honey and 3 tbs.of heavy syrup from any kind of preserved/jarred fruit you have in the fridge. If you don't, then any juice you have on hand will do. To that, you can also add a splash of apricot brandy or cooking sherry.

Microwave your potatoes. Wash and cut all the fresh mint you want as garnish and to eat. Now, you are ready to serve.

Wow ~ That's good home cookin!

*To drink, I recommend a cold melon green tea on the table ... with mint.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese

Most Italian cooking is simple, fast and frugal. So, what could be more fast and frugal than good ole spaghetti with meat sauce for the family when they come for dinner.

For this dish, you will need to buy 1lb. pound of ground veal or pork whichever you prefer. One large can of Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes, one onion, spaghetti pasta and Parmesan cheese.

To begin, chop one onion to be sauteed in a skillet with 4 tbs of olive oil. Cook until the edges of the onion are brown. Next, push aside the onion and break up 'crumble in' the ground meat. Stir until all the meat is nicely browned. Using veal, you will not need to drain off any excessive fat from the skillet that developed while cooking.

Lastly, add one large can of the crushed tomatoes (of course, I recommend using your own garden fresh tomatoes peeled and crushed; but, the Red Gold is a great substitute). Stir the tomatoes, onion and meat all together adding a fair amount of dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano and a dash of garlic powder... not too much! Cover and let this mixture simmer on the stove top on low heat for at least 25 min.

In the meantime, boil your spaghetti pasta, don't forget to add salt to the water.

Wow, that's it...just don't forget the parmesan.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

FYI - Italy is the second healthiest country in the world. Why? Italians are healthy because of what they eat. There is the Mediterranean diet itself, fish, fresh vegetables, fruit and the use of olive oil in cooking. Meats in Italy are not eaten in the same portions as one will find in the U.S. and the amount of fat in the meats they prefer is also less. Meat is eaten as a separate course in smaller quantities, if at all [].

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Classic French Chicken in White Wine Sauce

Price per serving for two: $2.75

You will need to buy fresh boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Sadly, in most suburbs, people shop at the supermarket. In Europe, where I spent many years teaching and learning, I greatly appreciated that the butcher, baker and candlestick maker plus umbrella and belt and hat makers were still in operation on this or that corner in town. I could always count on fresh meat and fresh bread. I hope you are fortunate enough to be able to buy your meat and bread fresh and from the butcher and baker as they know the best and sell the best.

Begin by marinating your chicken breasts in 1/4 cup of white wine about 2 to 3 hours before cooking. I like to add olive oil as a coating and spices: red pepper flakes, garlic powder, sea salt and of course fresh dried herbs such as rosemary, oregano and lots of mint. Some people are not aware that fresh dried mint is an excellent herb for cooking any meat dish. When you are ready to cook, simply take your covered skillet and melt in 3 to 4 tbs of coconut oil and 3 tbs of olive oil on high heat. When they sizzle, lay in your breasts, browning on both sides. Reduce your heat to med. and cover for 6 min. Then add 2 tbs of fresh butter and 1/3 of heavy cream.  Reduce heat to low and cover for another 6- 8 min, depending on the thickness of your breasts.

In this time, prepare your side dish. I like to use buckwheat groats from time to time instead of rice or pasta. They are tasty and are as filling as potatoes and buckwheat is considered to be the healthier starch. You can boil them just as you would rice.

As for a vegetable, I recommend roasted green beans.

When everything comes together, pour out your groats into a serving bowl and lay your chicken onto a serving platter covering them with the lovely classic white wine sauce. The asparagus also should be served separately. The asparagus can be served hot or cold. I recommend you try it cold with a splash of olive oil. The asparagus can prepared earlier or at the time you begin the chicken.

Tutti a Tavola ~ Everyone to the Table!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Coriscan Beef Roundelette

Price per serving for two: $3.25

You will need to buy a nice lean sirloin tip steak.  If not already rolled, you can do it yourself. You will also need to either buy or take from your pantry or fridge, green olives, beet root, onions and champion mushrooms. To get started, you should chop your onion and slice your mushrooms. Then in a skillet on med. heat, melt in 4 tbs of olive oil, and 2 tbs of coconut oil. Add your onion first to brown on the edges and then add your mushrooms. Once they start to shrink down a bit, add a large dollop of butter and cover for 6 min on low heat. In the meantime, slice your steak 'rolled' into roundelette wheels. Let the wheels rest while you prepare your beet root. They can and actually should be boiled ahead of time, grated and refrigerator; drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

When your mushrooms and onions are reduced and caramelizing, you can remove them from the skillet and set aside. To that same skillet, add 4 tbs of olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and sea salt along with dried rosemary, mint and oregano. Once the oil spits, lay in your roundelettes. Cook on both sides until the juices run. Remove from heat and set aside on a serving platter. Add 4 tbs of heavy cream and some french mustard to create a delicious sauce which is to be used to pour over your roundelettes.

As for the green olives, I keep them in a bowl on the side, as some family members are not fond of them in the sauce or topping the steak.

A side of potatoes can be done either in the oven or microwave. In the traditional recipe, Corsicans like to make a polenta from chestnut flour.

Tutti a Tavola!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lamb Patties Salonica

Price per serving for two: $3.35

 This dish is full of flavor. Ground lamb is a delicious meat; it is a meat that was eaten by ancient people and is still a popular meat in many countries. The Greeks are probably most known for liking and cooking lamb. I like to make the patties simply and serve them that way; maybe with a side of potatoes~ french fried or baked. Also, you will want to have as a condiment the traditional tzatziki sauce: Greek yogurt, cucumbers and garlic.  Which you can prepare ahead of frying or grilling your patties.

Since, I do not grill out, I will be frying. As usual, I take a covered skillet and melt in 3 tbs of coconut oil and the same of olive oil. The taste of olive oil is for me very good and when it comes to olive oils, I have to say that Greeks as well as Italians and Spanish know what that first pressing is best. To my oils, I like to add my seasonings: red pepper flakes, garlic powder, sea salt and fresh dried rosemary and oregano. Once the oils and spices start to spit in the skillet, I lay in the lamb patties. It takes only a few minutes to brown on both sides. Press down on each patty to release the juices; cover and cook for about 8 min or until the patties are cooked to your liking; best is medium done in the skillet and let rest for 5 min.

Now, for the tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, and fresh crushed garlic. I just keep mixing up these ingredients and tasting until I get the flavor I want. This is a great side for the patties and even for your potatoes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

'Little Tokyo' Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry

Price per serving for two: $2.25

You will need to buy Angus beef steak strips for stir fry, onion, green pepper, yellow squash and teriyaki sauce if you don't have on hand in the pantry. Also, I like to use linguine noodles as a base; but, you can use rice noodles. To spice this recipe up, fresh chopped garlic, grated ginger, a squeeze of lime  is a nice touch but with kids it can be too strong.

First, start a pot of water on the cook top to boil your noodles. Then, do as you would for any stir fry. Chop your onion, green pepper and slice your squash. In a large skillet, melt in 3 tbs of olive oil and the same of coconut oil. Throw in the fresh veggies and stir fry. In a few minutes, add about 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce. If the water if boiling, add your pasta. When the vegetables are just tender, move aside or take out from the skillet so that you can quick stir fry your beef strips. It takes no more than 3-4 min. to cook the beef.

Check your noodles which should have been in a rolling boil now for about 8 min.  You want your pasta to be firm but not chewy. I always take out a piece to test. If they are ready, drain and quickly rinse. Pour out your pasta onto a low lipped serving plate and then pour over the top your stir fry and garnish with fresh parsley. If you want to zest it up, toss in some fresh crushed garlic and grated ginger with a squeeze of lively lime. I also keep a bottle of soy sauce in the table... since some in my family like the additional taste.

Tutti a Tavola!