Brainy Gourmet

Brainy Gourmet
The Doctor is into Delicious!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mashed Potatoes with Iowa Pork Cutlets and Applesauce!

Just finished making homemade applesauce and what could be better than to serve farm fresh boneless Iowa pork loin chops 'pounded down' into 'cutlets' as the side... I mean as the main course along with a mound of creamy mashed potatoes.

To begin, saute chopped onion in a skillet of olive oil and butter until browned. Pound down or out the pork loin chops into 'cutlets'. Next, push aside the onion and lay in the pork cutlets, add to the skillet dried herbs. You can coat the meat first with an egg wash and pat in dried bread crumbs...but you don't have too.

Once the meat is nearly white with just a bit of pink yet in the center, pour in 1/2 cup of heavy cream, adding a tbs of Dijon mustard and then tossing in a few sun dried tomatoes. Stir and let simmer on low while you wash, peel and cut in half or quarter yellow gold potatoes to boil and mash with a dollop of butter and 1/4 cup of milk.

Put out the applesauce and enjoy!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Green Zucchini ~ The Italian Squash!

Zucchini is simply a variety of summer squash commonly used in Italian cooking. Some recipes actually refer to it as 'Italian squash'. Italian recipes using squash range from very simple to quite complex. One simple, traditional Italian recipe involves stewing zucchini with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil.

My mother always cooked for us and preserved in jars what she referred to as 'Italian Goulash' and of course its main veggie was Zucchini squash. Come a snowy winter evening, that goulash was a bowl of summer sunshine.

Basically, when it comes to cooking can stew it, fry it, roast it and even bake it with olive oil and herbs or bake it into a sweet breakfast bread. This summer squash can be found in many countries and kitchens. In France, it is even used to make the famous 'Ratatouille', a kind of goulash.

A bit of parmesan on that please...

 ~ Tutti a Tavola

Friday, August 18, 2017

Linguine Pasta ~ So Uncelebrated... Not!

Linguine originated in Genoa in the Liguria region of Italy. Linguine is a pasta something like Fettuccine. For some people, the name may sound a little bit strange. It may be because the name linguine means "little tongues" in Italian. 

It seems that when it comes to linguine most think of 'Linguine with clam sauce' or 'Linguine with Shrimp'. It doesn't have to be. It can be served with a basic Marinara sauce minus the clams and shrimp. It can be used with many meats and served with buttery pesto as well as tomato sauces.

In fact, if you want to make an Asian dish that asks for rice noodles and you don't have any or can't find any to buy, just be brainy and use Linguine.

*Scroll Brainy blog pages for the above Linguine dishes or go to the website and click on Brainy Archives.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Baked Brie ~ A Simple, Delicious No Brainer...

You don't have to be dramatic to be brainy. But, your family will think its a staged event when you serve baked brie with either a cold tomato gazpacho or a hot garden goulash and serve dinner in the backyard...

Buy as many small round brie as you think you will need. And for every two brie, one pop open packaged croissant dough. Simply wrap each brie until covered, set on a non stick baking sheet and bake at 350 until golden brown.

While they bake, prepare a quick cold tomato gazpacho or a hot garden goulash. Either or takes pretty much as long as the brie does to bake. For either, dice finely: fresh tomatoes, onions and green peppers along with zucchini if you do the goulash.

The cold soup 'gazpacho' can be done in a blender. The goulash can be done on the stove top... the key to quick cooking time is dicing all veggies finely. If you prefer larger 'chunks' that's fine only the cooking time will be a bit longer; and, use a bit of fresh tomato juice as a starter base.

Brainy Chicken Scallopini

I would like to remind readers that the Brainy Gourmet is not about recipes as in promoting "The Brainy Gourmet's recipe for ...". The Brainy Gourmet blog has always been about encouraging home cooks to be frugal with flavor!

Frugality is not a common word these days and yet it should be. There is nothing wrong with getting the most from your food dollar. Being frugal is about not wasting time and money on ingredients.

The Brainy Gourmet blog promotes using what you have in terms of basic food items and adding to that when you can. Check out the basic pantry list on the right side margin of this blog. And, get cooking being brainy in the kitchen.

Today, is Wednesday and its Italian night. Yet, nearly every other night at our house is Italian night. That is because I am half Italian. To begin making this dish - Chicken Scallopini, you will need to buy: boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can buy with skin on and bone in, removing them yourself. Its cheaper as in 'frugal' to buy that way.

Pound down the thighs and pat both sides with bread crumbs. Saute onion in olive oil and dried Italian herbs. Push aside the onion, add a dollop of butter to the same skillet, turn up the heat to med. and lay in the thighs. Brown on both sides and bring back the onion over the top. To that add 3-4 tbs of capers, 3-4 tbs of pimento (or diced roasted red pepper) and 1/4 cup of heavy cream along with 2 tsp of tomato paste for a rich creamy sauce. *Note- buy tomato paste in a tube. This way you can keep in the fridge for many uses until it runs out.

Prepare angel hair pasta as the sauce bubbles slowly.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hawaiian Meatballs ~ Brainy Island Exotic!

Dinner in Hawaii...tonight???

So simple and yet so island exotic. Hawaii brings thoughts of beaches and coconuts. Exactly, why this dish is called 'Hawaiian' meatballs. You will need: Sesame Teriyaki sauce, ground beef (or turkey), grated organic coconut, bread crumbs, one large garden fresh green pepper and one whole onion. Also, you should have on hand heavy cream and dried herbs; all of this is to be mixed into the ground meat and shaped into meatballs. As a side, any rice medley will do.

To begin, make the meatballs mixing 1 pound of ground meat, about 1/4 cup of grated coconut and 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs along with 1/4 cup of heavy cream and fresh dried herbs: mint and sage as a bit of cinnamon basil if you have fresh from your backyard or window sill garden.

Fry formed meatballs in a large skillet in olive oil and coconut oil on high heat.  Once browned, turn down the heat and add 4 tbs of beef stock. Let the meatballs simmer on med. heat for 6-8 min covered.

Next, remove lid and add 1/4 cup of Sesame Teriyaki sauce. With the lid off as you stir, a thick glaze will caramelize as the sauce bubbles up around the meatballs. Remove from heat the meatball skillet setting aside while in a separate skillet, saute the green pepper and onion in coconut oil. Let them sizzle away as you prepare a rice side.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

stroll the beach after dinner... if only to imagine it...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Garlic Ginger Pork with Green Peppers

When you cook without a recipe, your imagination is relied upon heavily. And, that's when you get to be really brainy as a home chef. If someone in the family wants Asian food for dinner, you can say - "no problem... let me see what I can do".

Asian cuisine is simple, fresh, frugal and most of all - spicy. You don't need to use exotic spices. I find that garlic and ginger along with red pepper flakes can be all you need. For this dish, you will need to have/buy: butterfly pork loin chops. Yep, that is all. The rest of the ingredients you should have on hand: garden fresh green pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves or powder, fresh ginger or powered, and one orange or orange juice will do.

To begin: pound down the chops with a meat hammer and then marinate in a glass dish for 15 min in orange juice (just to cover) 1/2 tsp of fresh ginger, 1 clove of fresh chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes and a pinch of sea salt. After that time, get a skillet hot with coconut oil and a bit of olive oil (just to cover the bottom). Lay in the chops, toss on top sliced green pepper. Treat this as flash cooking or a stir fry but without too much stirring.

Serve with seared or blackened apricots and garden greens!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Quickest Brainy Pasta Dish Anywhere!

And, its not just from anywhere... its from nearby Rome in Marina di San Nicola.

A friend of mine gave me this recipe years ago after a trip to Rome. I was in Rome too but I never had this dish while there. Its definitely a more seaside pasta when you think about the ingredients and certainly a no brainer as it is one of the brainiest pasta dishes you can make anywhere.

All you need is linguine or fettuccine pasta, two cans of tuna in oil; and, of course you can use tuna steak (grilled then broken into chunks) from the grocer. One whole onion, butter and olive oil and sour cream as well as heavy cream, dried herbs and Parmesan cheese.

Saute chopped onion in olive oil and butter, then add either fresh crushed garlic or organic powdered garlic, dried herbs: rosemary, oregano, mint and a bit of sage. Once brown and even a bit crispy on the edges, dump in two cans of tuna (not drained), 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Stir and let simmer while you prepare the pasta. A great side to this dish is either roasted or pan fried zucchini with sun dried tomatoes.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tomatoes ~ Brainy Fruit for Life!

Dr. Mercola

Tomatoes are rich in flavonoids and other phytochemicals that have anticarcinogenic properties. They're also an excellent source of lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, which is most concentrated in the jelly-like substance that surrounds the seeds, as well as vitamins A, E and B-complex vitamins, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.

Tomatoes are actually a fruit and not a vegetable; they contain a number of valuable nutrients, and according to recent research, organically-grown tomatoes are even more nutritious than their conventionally-grown counterparts. One of the most well-known nutrients in tomatoes is lycopene — the compound that gives tomato its deep red color.

Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that has been shown to have potent anti cancerous properties. This compound is not naturally produced in your body, so it must be supplied via your diet. Other fruits and vegetables also contain lycopene, but none has the high concentration of lycopene that the tomato boasts. Interestingly, when cooked, the bioavailability of lycopene increases rather than decreases, as is the case with many other raw foods, as heat has a tendency to destroy valuable nutrients.

That said, you're best off avoiding canned tomatoes and tomato sauces as can liners tend to contain potent estrogen mimics such as bisphenol A (BPA), which is also a toxic endocrine disrupting chemical. Your best bet is to make your own organic tomato sauce from scratch, or buy organic sauce sold in glass jars.

Lycopene's antioxidant activity has long been suggested to be more powerful than other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, and recent research revealed it may significantly reduce your stroke risk (while other antioxidants did not). The 2012 analysis9 followed over 1,000 men in their mid-40s to mid-50s for more than 12 years.

After controlling for other stroke risk factors, such as older age and diabetes, they found that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest. Other antioxidants, including alpha carotene, beta-carotene, alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) and retinol (vitamin A), showed no such benefit.

So, serve up the tomatoes any and every which way you can...


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stone Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

If only there were time for slow cooking and slow eating...

Though hurried by the rush of everyday, it takes no time at all to make this savory dish; even if you don't have a brick 'stone' oven. All you need are a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts, mayonnaise (homemade if possible), Parmesan cheese and dried herbs. To begin: turn on the oven and pre-heat to 425.

Next, drizzle olive oil into an oblong glass baking dish and lay in your chicken breasts. With a spatula, generously spread mayo over the top of the chicken breast. Sprinkle each breast with a pinch of salt, garlic powder and grated Parmesan; top with fresh dried herbs: rosemary, mint and of course oregano. Bake on 425 for the first 10 and then at 375 for the next 25-30 min or until the tops are crusty brown and chicken is cooked through.

In the meantime, before the chicken is done, prepare your sides: angel hair pasta, and a green salad.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Its Wednesday ~ Its Italian Night...

At our house, most every other night is Italian night but make no mistake...Wednesday is Italian night. And, I always try to make my specialty ~ Farfalle. What is that? Its just bow tie pasta with the best sauce ever!

To begin: you can use either ground 'mild' breakfast sausage or 'mild' Italian sausage - without casing. Take one large onion and saute in olive oil along with dried herbs. Crumble the Italian sausage into the onion and brown along with the onion and herbs. Add to that, either garden fresh peeled tomatoes or a med. can of diced tomatoes. Let this simmer while you prepare a side of eggplant and zucchini in butter and herbs. And, boil your pasta until tender. Serve on a low lipped plate, garnish with greens!

~ Tutti a Tavola!