Brainy Gourmet

Brainy Gourmet
The Doctor is into Delicious!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Firenza Fruittura! Carne bovina ~ di albicocca

Price per serving for two: 2.62

 
















You will need to buy sirloin for stir fry, linguine pasta if you don't have it on hand and if you are not able to pick from the garden then stop by your favorite market for a few apricots, green and red pepper and a small slim zucchini. Take your covered skillet and melt in 3 tbs of coconut oil and the same of olive oil. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder and fresh dried herbs - oregano and mint.

Chop or slice your green and red pepper and zucchini. Add them to the seasoned oils in your skillet and stir fry on med. heat. In the meantime, slice your sirloin into think strips. And, get a stock pot of hot water going for your pasta. Once your veggies are browned, remove your skillet and set aside. Add an additional 1tbs of olive oil to the skillet and lay in your steak strips when the oil begins to spit a bit. Stir fry your sirloin until browned. Pour in 1/4 cup of apricot nectar and then reintroduce the veggies, heat up for 2 min covered; then turning off the heat while you tend to the pasta.

Once the water rolls in a boil, you can add your pasta. Don't forget a pinch of salt. On the side, prepare to saute and caramelize a few fresh apricots in butter and 1 tsp of olive oil.

When the pasta is tender, drain and ladle onto a large low lipped serving dish. Top with your stir fry and serve, garnished with apricots and fresh green parsley.



Tutti i Presenti!

Fruits Abound in Summer Sun! Nettare di Albicocca ~ Marmellata di Albicocche

Guest Blogger ~ My Mom


I really enjoy this time of year. Why? Because, I see the fruits of my efforts come to fruition.
No, I am not fruity but I love fresh fruit. Italians love to pick from the garden or orchard and go straight into the kitchen. So, I want to share with you my adventure making apricot nectar and marmalade. I have my own trees and this year it was a robust harvest. With the grand kids over, we were able to get quite a bit. Here are the recipes I followed.



Nectar ~ Nettare di Albicocca
  • 1 quart apricots 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Wash and pit fresh fruit. Boil fruit and water 5 minutes. Strain. Add sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.I canned my apricot nectar in a hot water bath. In caner, bring water to boil, enough to cover jars by 1-inch of water. Put jars with hot nectar in caner and bring back to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes and remove.

Butter ~ Marmellata di Albicocche

  • 24 Medium Apricots
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice or Orange Juice
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon (optional)
Wash and remove stems from apricots, cut in halves and remove pits. Cook apricots with skin on until soft, adding just enough water to prevent apricots from sticking (about ½ cup). Push through a sieve or food mill or place in blender. This should produce about 1-1/2 quarts apricot pulp. To prepare butter, combine apricot pulp with sugar. Cook until desired consistency, stirring frequently to keep fruit from sticking. Add lemon or orange juice and flavorings if desired. Butter can then be stored following proper canning process Follow the above process used for the nectar. Listen for the lids to pop. Then you know you have a seal.


*pictured here is my first batch, which tastes as good as it looks!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Melanzane Gulasch Il Pomodoro ~ Petto di Pollo

Price per serving for two: $3.50

You will need to buy two chicken breasts or as many as you need. I often do cook for two, but any brainy gourmet knows that you can double any recipe when you need to. Since its summer, my homegrown veggies are just starting to come in. This morning I picked fresh eggplant and purple peppers along with some fresh herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano. I also picked cucumber and Italian tomatoes.

Take your skillet and melt in 3 tbs of coconut oil and the same of olive oil. Chop one whole onion, a few cloves of garlic and either one whole green or purple pepper to add to the spitting oils in your skillet. Wash and cube your eggplant and add to the onion and pepper. Once these veggies have browned, you can add either fresh diced tomatoes or one small can of diced tomatoes. Let this simmer for 20 min. For additional flavor, add your fresh herbs and I like to put in a dollop of tomato/cheese pesto.

In the meantime, take another skillet and melt in 4 tbs of olive oil and 1 tbs of coconut oil. Season your oils with fresh herbs, powdered garlic, and red pepper flakes to taste. Lay in your chicken breasts and then when browned on both sides, pour in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Let this simmer for 8 min. When your chicken is cooked through, remove and set aside. Take the delicious creamy sauce left in this skillet and add it to your eggplant/tomato goulash. If your rice is not yet ready, lay your chicken breasts back into the goulash and cover.
















For a side, prepare rice. Serve your chicken and eggplant/tomato goulash on top of the rice and garnish.




Thursday, July 16, 2015

To Poland and Back - Smacznego!

What do Poles cook and eat? 


Poles love bread and they certainly have the best bread that I have ever tasted.
















Why is that? Its definitely because Poles love bread and regard it as something precious. In retrospect, it is due to Poland's past socio-economic and political system.


During Communism farm collectives did not use the chemical fertilizers as often or ever in the same way as used today over and over again on the same soil. Also, Polish farmers to their benefit had only their seed stock to plant with ...untouched (manipulated) by human know-how.
  
The taste of bread and including potatoes is incredible. They both have a depth of flavor that tells you what it is and the care given to its production which makes you feel all their good nutrition flow right into your veins.
















I love Polish breakfast. Poles enjoy an open face sandwich (on that awesome Polish bread) with a few slices of cheese and ham topped with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. On the side or additionally, they like scrambled eggs, sausages, cottage cheese and some sweet cakes or bread rolls with butter and jam.

For dinner, one most certainly can expect soup first (chicken noodle, tomato or cucumber i.e.)


...and then meat and potatoes. Poles have a special fondness for salads as a complimentary side. My favorite is called Mizeria. This time of year, it is really delicious!


1 large cucumber
5 oz sour cream
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp salt
2 tbs freshly chopped dill (for garnish)
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Place it in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes for the juices to drain. Rinse and drain thoroughly. Arrange the cucumber in a salad dish. Meanwhile, make the dressing from sour cream and lemon juice. Pour over the cucumber and garnish with dill. Serves 4.

 Smacznego! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chicken Breasts ~ Aglio Zenzero con Gusto di Limetta

Price per serving for two: $2.58

You will need to buy a package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts.  If you don't have on hand, linguine pasta, onion, green pepper, fresh lime and garlic and ginger, then pick some up at the store.














Start by sauteing chopped onion, garlic and green pepper in a skillet with 4 tbs of coconut oil and 2 tbs of olive oil. Once the edges are browned, lay in your chicken breasts. Generously sprinkle in sea salt, red pepper flakes, and fresh dried or even fresh herbs from the garden if you have; rosemary and mint are used for this dish. Cover and let this cook for 6-8 min on med. heat. When the breasts have browned on both sides, add 4 tbs of organic honey, as much fresh grated ginger and or dried ground ginger if you have. To that, stir in 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp of lime juice. Let this caramelize on high heat and then reduce to low and cover for 4-5 min.

Prepare a rolling boil of salted water for your linguine. Once tender, drain and pour out onto a low lipped serving dish. Place your chicken breasts on top of the pasta and cover with the luscious sauce. Garnish!



Tutti a Tavola!

Place fresh halved limes out for dinner guests to squeeze for extra zing.