Brainy Gourmet

Brainy Gourmet
The Doctor is into Delicious!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fettuccine Alfredo ~ Every Which Way Possible!

How many ways can you make Fettuccine Alfredo? Well, let me count the ways...

I can count several but there are for sure all kinds of regional styles and a few that just about everyone knows: traditional which is just with a creamy white sauce and parmesan cheese; and to this traditional style some chefs like to add chicken.

Then there is Roman style with tuna which happens to be my favorite. And, Mediterranean Style as in  'Frutti Di Mare" which is pretty fishy: with either shrimp, or squid, or scallops and Roman style fits in there too; after all, Rome has access to the sea.

For any reader of this blog that is just getting started as a brainy gourmet, stick with the traditional but it's not too difficult to add some sautéed chicken breasts (cut into chunks). The traditional sauce is basic: butter, heavy cream, (sour cream - but not necessary) and Parmesan cheese.

If you want to thicken the sauce that requires a bit of flour added to melted butter to create a roux 'paste' which you then add the heavy cream to.

I have made Roman Style a number of times on this blog. To begin, you make the traditional white sauce adding tuna (in oil); when serving, put out fresh lemon to squeeze on top and extra Parmesan cheese of course.

All in all, any Fettuccine Alfredo can be a dish all by itself or served as a side with grilled fish or roasted chicken.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fill the Tank with Food that Satisfies ~ Food Myths Busted...

...among those busted is that gluten free products are really very good for you.

“One of the biggest issues in recent years is people trading in cookies and pasta for gluten-free options thinking they're doing themselves a huge favor,” says Isabel Smith, R.D., a New York City-based celebrity dietitian and fitness expert. “In many cases, gluten-free products contain way more garbage than the gluten-containing ones do.”

And you’re certainly not saving in the price department, either. “Gluten-free products are often much more expensive and usually also higher in calories, sugar and fat,” says Elizabeth Shaw, R.D.N., a San Diego-based dietitian.

So, why not eat food that fills the tank and really satisfies like homemade chicken and dumplings ...

* Brainy Source ~
* All dishes can be found on the left margin or in Brainy Archives!

From Tuscany with Love ~ Pappardelle in Tomato Sauce with Green Olives!

Pappardelle are large, very broad, flat pasta noodles, similar to wide fettuccine. The name derives from the verb "pappare", to gobble up.This type of pasta originates from the region of Tuscany.

Cook the pasta first in salted boiling water until tender; drain and rinse. Then, set aside while you prepare the sauce. Saute one chopped onion in olive oil in a large skillet. Next, add crushed tomatoes (1 large can) or about several fresh tomatoes from the garden: washed, peeled and crushed.

To that initial sauce, add whatever fresh dried herbs you have: rosemary, mint and oregano are my favorite but you can also add marjoram. Select some large green pitted olives to also add. Introduce the pasta into the sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

* This dish was prepared by guest blogger ~ Marek B.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Harvest Time ~ Stuffed Pork Loin with Sun Dried Tomatoes, a Side of Root Veggies and String Beans Blackened!

The title or name of this dish says it all!

Basically, all you need to whip this up in about 45 min is a 1 lb boneless pork loin, cream cheese, a few dried plums, champignon mushrooms, one onion, one carrot, one parsnip, a package of fresh string beans and sun dried tomatoes.

To begin: open the pork loin (cut down the middle and gently spread open) to lay out flat until you have a fillet (do not pound). Season with Himalayan sea salt, garlic powder and dried herbs. Sear the loin on all sides in a skillet of olive oil. Once you have done that, remove the seared loin and set it aside to rest.

Next, chop one onion and half pound of champignon mushrooms, stir fry in the same skillet that you seared the loin in adding a bit more olive oil and a dollop of butter. Once browned, push aside in the skillet and remove from the heat.

Turn your attention back to the loin, smear the open face side of the loin with cream cheese and lay in as many sun dried tomatoes as you can fit. Fold it over and lay it into the skillet with the onion and mushrooms (you can tie the loin with string). Let this simmer while you prepare the root veggies and fresh green string beans.

Wash the beans and cut off stem tops if needed. Peel the carrot and parsnip, then julienne slice.  In an other skillet, add olive oil, 2 dollops (tbs) of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Stir fry the veggies until just tender and slightly blackened. As the pork is nearly finished, toss in several dried plums. Serve on a low lipped plate, pouring out the rich liquid with mushrooms and plums.

~ Tutti a Tavola!
Call everyone to the table.

Blood Sausage ~ Boudin Noir with Applesauce!

Blood sausage is also known as Boudin noir. It is  a dark-hued blood sausage, containing pork, pig blood, and other ingredients. Reading online, you will learn that there are variants of Boudin: blanc and noir. Both are very popular in French, Belgian, Cajun and Catalan cuisine. In Britain, blood sausage 'Boudin noir' is called "black pudding", probably introduced after the Norman invasion.

Blood sausage originates from a peasant table which means it was a frugal way to make the most of an available inexpensive or even 'thrown out' yet potential food source.  Many European cultures including Poles love to eat blood sausage and have made it for the very reason above. It is really good, full of flavor and contains buckwheat or barley groats. Some eat it for breakfast and some just eat it any time of the day.

This weekend, it was prepared for breakfast along with pancakes/crepes and hot applesauce with cream. Check your local deli for Boudin and try it. It is simple to cook... just fry in butter or lard or olive oil. It cooks up fast and satisfies fast!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Have a Brainy Weekend!

Check out what's been cookin... everything with Pork that you could possibly think of!

*Check past posts for ingredient/preparation/cooking information...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani ~ Brainy Gourmet Style!

eat at home as if you just stepped out for dinner....

This dish is a favorite in the Brainy Gourmet kitchen. Why? Because it is so simple and delicious. Basically, all you will need are: skinless/boneless chicken breasts, onion, garlic, heavy cream/plain yogurt, tomato paste, a couple of tasty spices such as cumin, coriander and paprika and also some dried herbs like mint and rosemary.

Melt on med heat in a deep skillet 2 tbs of olive oil and 1/2 stick of butter. Next, saute in the oil and butter whole one chopped onion and one glove garlic until browned, then add cubed chicken breast meat, continue to cook on med heat.

To this add 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of yogurt, one small can of tomato paste and your spices/herbs (using as much as you like; recommending 1 tsp of each). Cover and let simmer on low (30-40min) while you prepare sides. My family likes to eat this with potatoes and or buckwheat groats. You can also serve as a side a hearty dark green winter squash which is really nice baked and then mix with mashed potatoes... one way to get the kids to eat a good for them vegetable medley.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Be Brainy isn't that hard ~ Its Re-creationed Carbonara...

Italians are into re-creation, using what was to make something new or different! For instance, take last evening's pork shoulder diced and added to angel hair pasta to make a truly brainy carbonara.

What's 'angel hair' pasta? Its a very thin pasta called capellini which means little hairs. As for the 'angel' ~ Capelli d'angelo is literally angel hair; hence, "angel hair pasta" in English.

Such thin pasta is preferred when making carbonara. Which interestingly enough, the recipe for it, is not fixed. This is exactly why the Brainy Gourmet loves to make and why this dish is the model for brainy cooking. In a brainy kitchen, recipes are not fixed in 'stone'...
  • To begin, the pork is fried in fat, which may be olive oil, lard, or used less frequently butter; the pasta is cooked and drained.
  • A mixture of raw eggs, grated hard cheese, and ground black pepper is combined with the hot pasta; no longer directly engaged on the stove/ heat to avoid curdling the egg. The fried pork is then added and the mixture is tossed, creating a creamy sauce ~ Advice - as for the pork, you can use quality bacon chopped finely also use one chopped onion and occasionally diced roasted red pepper for color that pops. 

The key to this evening's dish was adding to the carbonara finely chopped or 'pulled' left over pork shoulder meat, retaining some of the gelatin that formed.  Stir the meat into the bacon and onion mixture.When the pasta is tender, drain and follow the above direction. Lastly, ladle onto a low lipped plate, top with fresh dried parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Can't Get Enough Applesauce ~ Its Astronomical!

John Glenn, the first American to eat applesauce in space during the Friendship 7 flight in 1962.

John Glenn

The Brainiest food is applesauce. That is why, it was one of the first foods eaten in space by astronauts. Its certainly a blessing to many because applesauce is gluten free and generally free of artificial sweetener, salt, preservatives, coloring and anti-caking agents.

Eat it cold as a snack or hot on oatmeal, groats or rice for breakfast, or as desert after dinner in a bowl topped with heavy cream... who needs pie!

Keepin it simple or when stacking them high...

*Source ~

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Soup and Bread ~ Use Pork Shoulder for Stock!

Pork butt, despite its colorful name, does not come from anywhere near the butt (or behind) of the pig. In fact, quite the opposite. Pork butt is a cut of meat from the shoulder of the pig. Seriously.

This cut of meat is perfect for making soup stock... which can become any kind of soup. Other than making stock for soup, some home chefs slow roast it in the oven with veggies and more than some like to roast it alone... then shredding it to make 'pulled' barbecued pork sandwiches.

As I said, this cut of pork makes a great soup stock that is rich and full of flavor. When it comes to stock, keep it simple, one pork shoulder to one large stock pot of water with 2 tsps of salt, one full leek and fresh dried parsley.

And, of course, you can add carrots and celery stalk to the pot if you want to which can be strained out with the meat retaining the stock. This allows you to make any kind of soup throughout the week.

The developing stock (before straining) needs to cook on the stove for up to 3 hours on low heat with a slow rolling boil.  After this time, the pork shoulder will become very tender. As mentioned above, strain out the meat and any additional veggies to be served individually in soup mugs (this keeps the stock pure) along with a couple of Kluski - Polish 'egg' noodles and fresh baked rye bread. 


Food ~ For some cooking and eating is a daily battle; yet, for others it's a no brainer...

Over the years, we have been told that some foods are good for us and others not. If we listen to our own bodies, most of the time, they will tell us what is good for them and what is not.

The Brainy Gourmet recognizes that for some people, cooking and eating can be a daily issue and for others it is not. For that those that battle daily, consider what is that you battle or what is an issue. 

Perhaps, its not cooking but rather a problem of eating certain foods and avoiding others. Perhaps, its that you don't cook because you just don't like to or it seems like work to follow a recipe... getting all the 'right' ingredients. 

We mislead ourselves into thinking that cooking at home is work or a burden. According to recent psychology studies, cooking for yourself is beneficial emotionally and physically. Cooking at home should be a pleasure. 

You don't have to have a recipe using expensive and or exotic ingredients. Basic ingredients will always prove delicious. Refer to the basic pantry list on this blog to get started. 

If you require gluten free, that doesn't mean you can't be a Brainy Gourmet and cook no brainer. Its easier when you know what you can have; i.e. quinoa, buckwheat groats or potatoes instead of pasta. Again, if your battle is with certain foods, find things to cook that you can have and be a Brainy Gourmet!

*Source ~

"food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do"
 ~ 1 COR 8:8.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Wheat or Rye... which is better?

 to eat or not to eat...

While eating a good whole grain wheat bread provides more protein, consuming rye bread results in a better insulin response compared with consuming refined wheat bread, according to a 2003 study by researchers from several universities, including University of Kuopio in Finland. The researchers concluded that the results may be related to the molecular differences in rye bread compared with wheat bread, related to the structure of starch within the bread.

That is why rye is often considered a superior grain to wheat or barley in terms of weight loss efforts. The type of fiber in rye is somewhat unique, in that it is extremely binding with water molecules, meaning that it makes you feel full very quickly. The problem with being on a diet is that you are often hungry, so you inevitably give in. However, by removing the feeling of hunger and creating some sense of satiety, the type of fiber found in it can keep you from snacking in between meals or overeating, which are two surefire ways to mess up your weight loss program!

"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry" ~ John 6:35.

*Source materials ~

Friday, October 6, 2017

Setting the Table ~ Eating at Home Should be Better than Eating out!

One way to ensure that eating at home is way way better than eating out is to set the table properly - simple and as elegant as possible. Use white dishes, they show off the food better...making it stand out on the plate in terms of eye appealing color. Use white napkins but not strictly; certainly do not use paper towels. And, use clear glassware and simple silverware.

It takes no more time to set a simple table in this way than it would to put out paper plates or a mishmash of colorful patterned stoneware. Make your family feel special when eating at home!

You can decorate for the seasons; use can wood, instead of a woven plastic or simulated bamboo like place-mat, that will add a special touch...and your family will feel blessed!

Italy is the second healthiest country in the world ~ Its the Food!

Yes, 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.

And, let's not forget the wine, when consumed in moderation, it makes the heart glad.

"Wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts" ~ Psalm 104:15.

Sources ~  [].

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese ~ Abbondanza!

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 [].