Fresh, fast and frugal!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mark's Golonka "Pork Hocks" with Spices

Yes, it was such a good meal with 'fat' meat!!!

Don't fear the fat...Everybody knows that good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. But fat from other sources serve a purpose when eaten in moderation. There are two broad categories of beneficial fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Pork really is the other white meat. Of course, the downside to this is that fat is what makes pork taste so good which explains why ham and bacon are far more popular than leaner cuts. In case you don't know, gently rendered pork fat 'lard' is really the closest substance to the natural oils in human skin. So, remember, there's no reason to fear fat because some fat in your diet is really good for you...your skin.

You will need to buy: Pork Hocks (as many per person as you need to serve).  Fresh green asparagus and pasta shells. First, you have to coat a glass dish with olive oil. Next, season the hocks with these dried herbs: paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, rosemary, mint, and sage.

Pre-heat your oven to 375. Place the hocks into the oven once the temperature is reached. Bake for about 40 minutes at 375 and then the next 60 minutes at 350 uncovered. While the meat slow cooks, boil the pasta in salted water until tender. Once tender, drain and add 2 pats of butter along with grated white cheddar cheese. Cook washed asparagus tips in olive oil on med. heat until slightly tender and then finish up on high heat to blacken.

 Enjoy Your Meal ~ Guten Apepetit!!!!

*Guest blogger ~ Mark

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mark's Italian Veal Scallopini without the Veal???

Yes, you can make this dish without veal... just use pork or even turkey or soy if you are a vegetarian. I love this dish because its fast, frugal and delicious but that's because its brainy... like my mom and me.

For this dish you will need: either thin veal cutlets or you can use pork. Marinate in lemon juice about 20 minutes before cooking. After the marinate time has finished, pound each cutlet. Prepare a flour dip with herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano along with paprika and garlic powder.

Coat each piece front and back. Start a skillet with olive oil on high heat, lay in each coated cutlet. Brown in each side and then add 1/2 cup of roasted red pepper juice and about 1/4 cup of chopped roasted red pepper (from the jar). To that add 3 tbs of capers. Reduce heat and let simmer.

From time to time, add a bit of water so that the liquid is not consumed. And, also add a few pats of butter. Start pasta to boil. You can use either angel hair or pappardelle - wide egg noodle. When tender, drain and ladle onto a low lipped serving plate and top with cutlets and sauce.


*Guest blogger ~ Mark

Mark's Mostaccioli with Italian Sausage!

Mostaccioli is always a quick fix: fast and frugal and delicious. All you need is about 1 lb of good Italian sausage. Plus, large penne pasta or mostaccioli pasta along with canned or jarred crushed tomatoes and one whole onion.

Dice the onion fine and saute in olive oil. Push aside and add the Italian sausage, crumbled in (without casing).  Brown the sausage and then add one large can of crushed tomatoes and one med. size can. Stirring add all dried herbs: rosemary, oregano, mint and basil. You can also sprinkle in some garlic powder. Let this simmer while you prepare the pasta; boil in salted water.

Once pasta is tender, drain and stir into the sauce. Serve with a fresh green garden salad and some Italian bread.  Scoot on over and meet me on the terrace and we will have lunch!


*Guest blogger ~ Mark

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Mark's Texas Style Spicy Pork!

Its great to grill out during the summer on a warm evening as the sun starts to set in the West; and  sometimes it rains... But, there's always the oven or broiler to bring back the sun.

For this dish you will need: 2 lbs of pork loin. Marinate in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, sea salt, paprika, basil, rosemary, oregano with red pepper flakes, coriander and brown sugar crumbled over the top. Let sit for about 20 min. Heat the oven to 350. Once the temperature is reached, pop them in the oven. After about 30 min. reduce the heat to 250 and let slow roast for another 25 min.

In the meantime, prepare a side of double baked, mashed potatoes with a couple pats of butter, sour cream, a shake of oregano and parmesan topped with shredded Gouda. Par boil as many potatoes as you will need. Once tender, mash along with all mentioned ingredients. Then bake on 375 for about 20 min. Remove and stir, smooth out the top, pressing down and back into the oven until crispy on top. For an additional side, green beans fresh from the garden if possible.

~ Enjoy ...

 *Guest blogger ~ Mark

Monday, June 25, 2018

Brainy Fried Chicken ~ Farm Style!

Who doesn't like fried chicken, right? Just like down on the farm...

You will need at least 5 legs of chicken (with thigh) or as many pieces per person that you will be serving. As for sides, we recommend boiled or iron skillet roasted potatoes and a cucumber salad with fresh tomatoes, sour cream and fresh chopped dill.

First, put about 2 cups of flour in a bowl along with spices: Paprika, Chili Pepper, Garlic, Rosemary, oregano, and Sea Salt (1 tsp for all). Mix the flour and spices up with clean hands. Next, put each leg in the flour and spices coating all sides.

Then, take  a deep skillet and fill up half the skillet with Canola oil, turn on high heat and wait till it is hot !!!!!! Place each leg in the Hot oil. Warning! The oil will be very hot and can pop out like popcorn... so watch out !!!!!!!!

After frying all pieces, place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at 350. Meanwhile, prepare potatoes and the cucumber salad. Once the potatoes are tender (boiled or roasted) take out chicken and serve.

Enjoy your Meal!!!!! 
*Guest blogger ~ Mark

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Here is why the Brainy Gourmet loves Onions...

If you have been to the Brainy Gourmet Webpage and clicked on Brainy Tips, you will see that the number 3 item to have in your kitchen is the onion! Onions have been a long time cooking staple in many kitchens around the world. 

Onions contain vitamin C which is long thought to help your body improve immunity. For hundreds of years, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections.  
Do you enjoy sliced onion on your hamburger? Raw onion lowers the production of bad cholesterol, thus keeping your heart healthy. Onions also contain a powerful compound called quercetin which is known to have a significant role in the prevention of cancer.  

It has been said that the use of onion helps your body to seek out free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers. And, those bright green tops of green onions are rich in Vitamin A, so do use them often in soup and salads.

Which type of onions are the healthiest? Researchers from Cornell studied 11 onion varieties, and found that shallots and Western yellow onions were the healthiest for their phenolic and flavonoid content.

If you have trouble cutting an onion and not crying about it, then here is another tip - chew gum while you cut, light a candle nearby, cut the onion underwater, wear goggles... get creative!

~ Sharing the love...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Brainy Louisiana Shrimp Creole

This popular gulf dish is so simple and tasty that its definitely brainy. Prepare as a main meal or a fancy lunch for friends this summer. You will need to buy: 1/2 lb of either frozen  jumbo shrimp or fresh from the fish counter at your local grocer. I actually like to buy shrimp fresh calculating amount per person- about 4.

If frozen then thaw out and when thawed, remove tails and marinate in fresh squeezed lemon juice while you prepare the while rice and a creole 'chutney or thick sauce' - petite diced purple onion, roasted red pepper and young green zucchini. Saute in 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs coconut oil.

Prepare wild rice in stock - 1 cup per 2 cups liquid. Check on the chutney, remove from skillet (set aside) so that you can sear the shrimp, adding a bit more olive oil and a small pat of butter. Once seared, bring back the veggie chutney and scramble together with shrimp.

When the rice is tender, ladle onto a low lipped serving plate and top with the shrimp creole. Squeeze lemon juice on top, along with some fresh chopped dill and chive; don't forget to put out the Louisiana hot sauce!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Brainy Summer Sizzlin Delights...

Look for these summer sizzlin delights on the Brainy Gourmet Blog or on the Webpage in Brainy Archives.

Whether you like fish, stir fry, braised ribs, or chicken... its sizzlin an waitin for you!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Greek Lamb with Wild Rice, Mushrooms and young Zucchini...

The Mediterranean diet offers a vast array of foods as so many distinct countries are bordered by that exotic sea: Spain, France, Italy, the Balkans, Greece, North Africa, Egypt, Israel i.e. Its not all about sea food though fish is a staple on most coasts. Greek dishes are similar to Arab cuisines found in North Africa... using lamb and yogurt.

For this dish you will need: 1 lb of chunk cut lamb (stew meat), brown mushrooms, wild rice and young green zucchini. If you don't like the taste of lamb then you can substitute using beef, pork or turkey. To begin, saute the stew meat chunks (marinated for 15 min. prior to cooking in balsamic vinegar and sea salt)  in a blend of olive oil and coconut oil, about 2 tbs of each.

Start the wild rice to boil - 1 cup rice (you can do a half blend of wild with brown or long grain white) to two cups liquid: one cup stock the other cup water. Saute sliced zucchini in a small skillet, when blackened on the edges, remove from heat and set aside. Once the stew meat is fully cooked, remove and set aside. In that same skillet, saute 8 oz of sliced brown or white mushrooms. Once cooked down, return the stew meat adding dried herbs: rosemary, mint and some garlic or garlic powder... one good shake all around.

Once the rice is tender, drain and spoon onto a serving plate, top with meat mushrooms and zucchini. Put out a bowl of plain Greek yogurt on the table and dig in.

~ Tutti a Tavola!