Fresh, fast and frugal!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

French Swiss Border Cusine... Brainy Chicken Raclette!


Along the French Swiss border one can find a blending of culture through language and food; Swiss French is a variety of French spoken in the French-speaking area of Switzerland known as Romandy. As for food, especially cheese, one has to note the preference for cooking with Raclette. Though traditionally Swiss, this semi-hard cow's milk cheese most commonly used for melting is often used by both sides of the border.

The smell is pungent, the taste is strong and yet also buttery. It all sounds wildly European, but this cheese is great for cooking, melting and can be bought here too. This dish like many or any of the brainy gourmet's is frugal as well as delicious. I just so happen to make a raclette fondue the other night using a very good raclette bought just over the border in Wisconsin. Looking into my fridge, there was a small amount left of the raclette fondue. And, I had left over pasta as well. On the fresh side, I had crisp green asparagus and Bavarian mushrooms.

To begin, on med heat I sauteed chopped onion in olive oil and 1 tbs of fresh creamy butter sprinkled with dried herbs. I then pushed the onion aside in the skillet and on high heat seared strips of chicken breasts (skinless/boneless). I reintroduced the onion, reduced the heat and added the left over raclette along with 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream. To that... the left over pasta and another tbs of butter then covering to let simmer while I prepared the mushrooms and asparagus... washing and slicing/cutting off ends. A quick stir fry in butter until browning around the edges appeared and then poured in about 2 tbs of chicken stock, turning up the heat to high for 4 min.

 ~ Tutti a Tavola!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Brainy Meatball Sandwich... oh sammie!

Stop over for homemade...if you owned your 'own' mom and pop, this is what it would be like!

This dish can be a left over opportunity. So, if you did not eat all the meatballs from yesterday's spaghetti and meatball dinner, then here is your chance to re-invent.  

You will need:
1 package or bag of sub sandwich rolls
1 Can tomato paste
4 cloves of fresh garlic
Dried rosemary
Olive Oil
Sea salt

To begin, in a skillet, pour in 3 tbs of olive oil and add your left over meatballs to warm using med. flame /heat. Take a small can of tomato past from the pantry, open and add. Using that can, fill with water and also add to the skillet. Sprinkle in some dried rosemary. Let this simmer on low heat in the skillet, covered.

Turn on the oven to F350. Slice open (pull apart) your sub sandwich rolls and butter generously both sides of the opened rolls, placing on a perforated pizza pan. Next, top the buttered rolls with peeled and diced garlic cloves. Then, lay over the garlic/buttered sub rolls slices of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle on a bit of sea salt and rosemary to top them off.

When the oven temp is at 350, put the rolls, on the pizza pan, into the oven and toast (this can also be done in a toaster oven). By the time the rolls are ready -toasted, the meatballs should be bubbling along, remove from the stove, ladle in three or four meatballs per sandwich and it is time to serve.  Shake on the Parmesan and Enjoy!

*to make meatballs fresh, from scratch, then follow the meatball instructions from past blogs... just type in the search box - meatballs!

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Chili... some like it hot, hot and hotter

A good pot of chili is a no beaner at the Brainy Gourmet's. When it comes to beans in your chili either you love em or you don't. This recipe is similar to a Tex-Mex but true Tex-Mex chili does not have tomatoes...  

Texas chili is unique from other chilis in that it does not contain beans or tomato sauce, or any tomato product. It is made primarily of meat and a thick and flavor chili paste made from dried peppers. It is more akin to a thick and hearty beef stew that most chilis with a focus on chili pepper flavor.

For this Brainy version you will need: chopped red pepper and onion sauteed in olive oil in a large pot. After the pepper and onion have cooked down, add the ground beef 'chuck' crumbled in. Stir on high heat.

Next, reduce the heat and add 1 full brimming cup of beef stock and one small can of tomato paste. As for spices, use as much chili powder and red chili pepper flakes as anybody in my/your house can stand. Also, add a dash of salt and Italian dried herbs (including mint); and if you  dare, add a dash of garlic powder and cinnamon.

Once you get that all mixed up in the pot, let it simmer.  If it is thicker than you like, add more beef stock or red wine or a little of both. Let it simmer for at least 45 min to an hour.

*Break out the grated cheese, hot sauce and crackers...

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Brainy Moroccan Chicken Stew... in a skillet!

Stews... you can find them just about anywhere and make them in just about any cookware; even a skillet!

As you might well know, the main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous (tiny pasta made of wheat or barley); beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco. Chicken is also stewed or roasted.

For this dish, you will need skinless, boneless chicken breasts, one onion, one green pepper and red grape 'cherry' tomatoes, buttermilk and peanut butter.

Begin this dish by sauteing the onion, green pepper and tomatoes on med. heat in coconut oil, adding some red pepper flakes, garlic powder, ginger, paprika and cumin as well as either white or black pepper to taste. A lot of spicy Moroccan recipes make use of a lot of ginger, cumin, and turmeric.

Set aside the onion, pepper and tomatoes, and brown the chicken breast meat cut into chunks in the same skillet adding a drizzle of olive oil. Then return the veggies to the same skillet.

To this, add about 1/4 cup of gourmet buttermilk and 1/4 cup of heavy cream along with 1 tbs of creamy peanut butter. Stir and let simmer on low heat while you prepare a side of couscous or mashed potatoes. Once the couscous is ready and or when the potatoes are tender, drain and mash with butter and sour cream until thick and smooth. Ladle onto a low lipped plate, pour the chicken stew over the top and serve.

~ Tutti a Tavola

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Good wine makes the heart glad...

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine which makes man's heart glad, oil to make his face shine, and bread which sustains man's heart ~ Psalm 104:14

The quaint town of Valtice is located in the Czech Republic. Valtice is also a historic town situated at the border area with Austria; it is a place where history meets wine making traditions.

The family of Lichtensteins made Valtice into their residence and there developed a 'viticulture'.  Viticulture (from the Latin word for vine) or winegrowing (wine growing) is the cultivation and harvesting of grapes. ... Viticulturists are often intimately involved with winemakers, because vineyard management and the resulting grape characteristics provide the basis from which winemaking can begin.

Today vine growing, wine making and the presentation of wine are going through a Renaissance period. Vine growing areas and individual villages compete in attracting the connoisseurs and lovers of wine.

Valtice is no exception and so some time ago the town accepted the title “The Capital of Wine”. Valtice accounts for the second largest area of vineyards in the Czech Republic.

On a beautiful autumn day, you can try all the reds and whites and rose wines your heart desires. Wine, when properly produced... naturally, in good earth by caring and qualified hands, can be considered an important consumption in proper amounts complimenting any 'brainy gourmet' meal. There have been numerous studies confirming that wine has many health benefits. So, have a glass and be glad for it!

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Brainy Sicilian Garlic Chicken with Rosemary...

Don't become an angry Italian... 

Well, the only time any Italian gets angry is when dinner is late to the table! And, a good Italian Momma knows what to do... "Tutti a Tavola!" Just call everyone to the table.

And, who wouldn't become filled with happiness when Momma or Pappa or Nona puts Sicilian Garlic Chicken with Rosemary on the table... marinated in lemon juice served with roasted eggplant and or in this case....served with mashed potatoes infused with Parmesan cheese and garlic. Also, pasta topped with a red sauce can be served with this delicious chicken dish.

For this dish you will need to buy: a package of chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on. Fresh garlic, one lemon, fresh rosemary sprigs or use dried, yellow gold potatoes (six or seven med. size) and Parmesan cheese.

To begin, marinate the chicken thighs in a glass baking dish using the juice of one lemon, toss over the top 3-4 peeled and diced garlic cloves, drizzle on some olive oil and lay on your rosemary sprigs or sprinkle generously dried rosemary. Heat your oven to 400F.

After 12-15 min. of marinating time, place the chicken in the oven and roast for about 30-40 min uncovered. Check to see if the skin is crisping and if yes, turn over the thighs, return to the oven for 5 min. After five minutes or so turn the thighs back over and consider adding a few fresh washed red cherry tomatoes and a handful of kalamata olives.

Return to the oven covered, reduce heat to 350F and let roast for another 15 -20 min. Take this time now to prepare the potatoes. Wash, peel and halve, the potatoes. Add to boiling salted water and cover. When tender, drain and mash using 3 tbs of butter, the same of sour cream, a dash of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp of minced garlic and 1 tsp of dried herbs - Italian blend.