Fresh, fast and frugal!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Beef Stroganoff...

When Beef Stroganoff is served, you think: rich and creamy and romantically delicious! You can even imagine that you are at some far off tucked in European bistro...

For this dish you will need: quality cuts of beef (stew meat or thick sirloin cut into chunks), one medium onion, dark brown Bavarian mushrooms, beef stock, heavy cream and wide egg noodle pasta - Tagliatelle.

To begin, marinate the beef in balsamic vinegar and pink Himalayan salt for 30-40 min. When that time is nearly finished, in a large skillet saute the onion in olive oil until dark brown on the edges.

Remove from skillet and in the same skillet, brown the mushrooms, adding 3 tbs of butter. Once the mushrooms are darker and tender, remove from the skillet putting them aside with the onion and sear the beef in chunks (drained) in the same skillet, adding a drizzle of olive oil.

Bring back into the skillet the onion and mushrooms, pour in about 3 tbs of beef stock, a half shot of either white wine or vodka, stirring on high heat. Then turning down the heat, add the heavy cream about 1/2 cup, cover and let simmer while you prepare the pasta and a side of blackened asparagus.

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water until tender, drain and ladle onto a low lipped plater. The asparagus should be flash stir fried in olive oil, then cover to simmer on medium high adding 1 tbs of beef stock.

 Serve all together, start the music and pour the wine...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Italian Chicken ....

Mmm, didn't I just blog that skillet cooking was/is the best? Yes, indeed, I did. However, that does not mean that the brainy gourmet never likes to roast or bake in the oven. Oven roasted takes longer; Italians call it - slow cooking. And, sometimes that is exactly what you want from a dish, a certain flavor that comes from slow cooking.

As the title suggests, oven roasted rosemary chicken with tiny potatoes is absolutely delicious. To begin, you will need chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on (provides flavor). You will need green pepper, sun dried tomatoes, and tiny colorful potatoes as well as one fresh lemon.

Before roasting, marinate the chicken thighs in fresh squeezed lemon juice, garlic powder and sea salt along with dried herbs: rosemary mixed with oregano and mint and a hint of lavender. Drizzle over the top some olive oil as well. Let that stand for 30-40 min. Preheat your oven to 400f. When the temp is achieved, pop in the chicken.

While the chicken begins to sizzle in the roasting process, chop up one green pepper and prepare sun dried tomatoes by reconstituting them in boiling water.  Wash as many tiny potatoes as you need. Then take out the chicken and try to fit in cut up green pepper, the potatoes and sun dried tomatoes in and around the chicken thighs.

Let this roast in the oven for about 60-90 min (1 hr and half) turning down the heat to 325. The key is the very hot oven to start with. In the meantime, prepare green beans or asparagus as an additional side.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Benefits of Rosemary ...

I have always liked the taste and smell of fresh and or dried rosemary; but, I had no idea that it had so many interesting and healthful attributes.

Rosemary's botanical name is Rosmarinus officinalis meaning 'dew of the sea' which is probably 'due' to its native Mediterranean habitat.

When I was in Italy, I found it growing naturally just about everywhere and I used it everyday in my cooking. I still use it in all my cooking from soup to sauce and even in tea.

Rosemary is easy to grow at home and also easy to harvest and to dry (right in your own oven). Rosemary provides a wonderful flavor to just about anything you cook. It is also touted as a brain booster, as aroma therapy, a memory aid, a hair growth tonic, an anti inflammatory and numerous other health benefits.

Online Source ~

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thai Chicken in Peanut Sauce on a bed of Linguine...

The Brainy Gourmet has never been about brainy ideas when it comes to dinner time. Its about being brainy with what you have and knowing what you like and what you can afford to do; that's frugality which never lacks in flavor!

Anything and everything is good on a bed of linguine. This pasta is not as wide as fettuccine or tagliatelle.  Its something in between.

For this dish, you will need linguine pasta, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sun dried tomatoes, hand stirred peanut butter and heavy cream or coconut milk if you have. To begin, saute chopped onion in olive oil and a pat of butter until brown on the edges.

Push aside and sear the thighs on all sides. Bring back the onion and simmer adding 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Next, add 1/3 cup of hand stirred peanut butter and 1/4 cup of heavy cream... tossing in several chopped/diced sun dried tomatoes and a handful of dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano.

While this simmers, boil the linguine and prepare any other side you want to serve.  Before you serve, drizzle in a squeeze of lemon juice and a shake of red pepper flakes along with a drop of soy sauce.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Italian Steak with Sun Dried Tomatoes on Linguine...

Italian cooking whether in the high mountains, piedmonts or by the sea should never be an all day long cooking process. It should always be spontaneous, fresh and full of flavor. This dish is just that.

For this dish, you will need either round steak or flank steak cut into strips marinated with a  squeeze of lemon juice, meat tenderizer or use a dash of sea salt. As for the rest of the ingredients, you may want to stop off and pick up some young asparagus spears or green beans, a jar of dried sun tomatoes, Kalamata olives and a box of linguine pasta or potatoes.

Start the water to boil for the pasta. Then, sear on high to med heat the marinated steak in 3 tbs of olive oil and some oil dregs from the jar of sun dried tomatoes, sprinkle in some garlic powder, red pepper flakes and dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano. Do not over cook.

Next, push the steak aside or remove (if you prefer your meat med. rare) and sear the asparagus or green beans in the same oils, toss in several sun dried tomatoes and olives. You can bring back the steak (or leave out preferring med. rare) and drizzle on a splash of hazelnut balsamic vinegar and 2 tbs of beef stock for a clean finish.

When the pasta is tender, drain and ladle onto a low lipped serving dish so you can top the linguine pasta with the steak, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes and olives.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Tuesday at Home ~ Meatloaf...extraordinary!

I always say, meatloaf is extraordinary because its ordinary made special.  That's home cooking and that's being brainy. I do hold to a standard meatloaf mixture but as far as choice of ground meat... its no holds barred or anything goes except for maybe fish.

For this dish, you will need about 1 lb of any ground meat.  I like to use: beef, turkey, pork and even veal. The standard mixture or key is what not to put in. Don't add oatmeal, crackers, ketchup, canned soup, mushrooms, peas, broccoli etc. Keep it simple!

To begin, mix one pound of ground meat with 2/3 cup of dry bread crumbs. To that add, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, dried herbs, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  If the mixture seems too sticky, add more bread crumbs. If it seems to dry, add more cream.

Heat your oven to 375. Pour a few drops of olive oil onto a glass baking dish. Form your meatloaf and plop it in the dish and into the oven. Let is sizzle for about 15-20 min. Then reduce heat to 350. Now, here is where you can get creative 'brainy'. If you have any left over gravy or sauce, pour it on top. When using ground beef, pour in some beef stock and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.

Let the meatloaf bake for another 20 min. Then top with a zig zag of tomato paste and back into the oven for 10-12 min more while you prepare a side in the meantime.

~ Tutti a Tavola!