Gina’s Exquisite Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash
Meat for Hungarian Goulash
Meat for Hungarian Goulash
Seared meat for Hungarian Goulash
Seared meat for Hungarian Goulash
Preparing Hungarian Goulash
Preparing Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash

 

I must admit, it’s been a long while since I made Hungarian Goulash. I know it has 2 main ingredients: beef and paprika. I searched the internet and came across a multitude of recipes. I was inspired and decided to make one with my spin on it. I am not claiming it’s the most traditional, but I think it’s very close to it. I noticed some recipes called for some veggies, but I wanted the meat to be the main focus without any distractions. So, follow me in the kitchen for my own version of Hungarian Goulash. I usually cook for a crowd and always have leftovers. This recipe can easily be divided in half. This dish starts out on the stove and continues to cook in the oven.  You will need a Dutch Oven or a large pan with a lid that can withstand the heat in the oven.

Serves: 10 -12  Level of difficulty:  Medium –  prep time: about 1 hour including searing the meat. Cooking time: 1.5 hours – Allow a minimum of 2.5 hours from start to finish. This recipe can be done in a slow cooker. I recommend you research this method of cooking on Google.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs. beef for stew, cut-up in cubes
  • 6 tbsp. flour for drenching
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. + 2 tbsp. Hungarian Paprika
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil + 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 container of chopped tomatoes, 26.46 Pomi brand*
  • 32 oz. 50% reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Sour cream 1/3 less fat for garnish
  • Flat leave parsley for garnish
  • 1.5 lb. egg noodles

    Preparation:1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F.2) In a large plastic or stainless-steel bowl, season the meat with sea salt, 1 tsp. paprika, and pepper to taste. Mix well. Add the flour, mix until all the meat is coated. Shake off the excess.
    3) in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat, heat up 3 tbsp. olive oil and 3 tbsp. vegetable oil. Start searing the meat. Make sure you hear that sizzling sound. Do this in batches, three minutes on one side, and two minutes on the other side. Remove, and repeat the process. Set aside in a large clean bowl.
    4) In the same pan, using the same oil, add the onions, saute’ for 2 minutes, add the garlic, 1 minute,  tomato paste, and stir well until it’s caramelized. Deglaze with the beef broth while stirring. Add chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp. paprika, meat and bay leaves. Bring it to a full boil and the turn the stove off. Cover and place it in the preheated oven. Cook for at least 1.5 or until the meat is fork-tender. While the meat is the oven, cook your egg noodles, as per package directions.
    5) Serve the Goulash over egg noodles, garnish with fresh parsley and a dollop of sour cream.

    Cook’s note: Shake off the excess of flour to avoid a dirty pan.
    At the halfway point, check the meat, give it a good stir.

    This is one of the most soul-warming dishes on a cold winter day. Enjoy!

    Bon Appetit from My Kitchen to Yours!

    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas – Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
    Culinary Aficionado and WSET-Level 2 certified wine connoisseur

     

Gina’s Eggplant Caponata

 

Eggplant Caponata
Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant, also known as aubergine is probably my all-time favorite veggie. It’s so versatile and is used in many cuisines throughout the world. Today, I am sharing with you my eggplant caponata that I have been making for many years. I have tweaked it a little, to reflect the ingredients in the traditional version. It originated in Sicily and there are a few recipe variations. Traditionally it’s served with hard boiled eggs and crusty bread. Ideally, I recommend using green Sicilian olives, but to stay within budget, I use pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives. This recipe can be doubled for a larger crowd.

Serves: 2-4 as a side dish or 4-6 as an appetizer – Level of difficulty: Easy – Prepping time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut-up in cubes*
  • 1 – 1.25 tsp. sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + more to drizzle
  • 1/4 cup onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped *
  • 1/4 cup Pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, drained
  • 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 pinches of sugar (dissolved in vinegar)
  • pine nuts, optional
  • basil, cut into chiffonade for garnish

    Preparation:

    1) Season the eggplant with salt and pepper.
    2) In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil, sautee onions and celery for about 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    3) Add eggplant, it will absorb the oil, it’s ok, just keep stirring to avoid burning for 2 minutes or so.
    4) Add tomato paste, brown until it caramelizes, another 2 minutes. Keep stirring.  Add tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar/sugar, pine nuts.
    5) Lower the flame to medium and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove.
    6) Serve in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with basil.

Wine pairing suggestion: A Nero d’Avola for red, or  Insolia for white wine lovers. Both grape varieties are indigenous to Sicily and would make a stunning pairing with the caponata.

Cook’s notes: 1) I used Pomi brand chopped tomatoes. If you want it to have more sauce, add more tomatoes.  You can certainly use fresh tomatoes. 2) Feel free to add more oil, if you need to. 3)  Buy the eggplant the day before or preferably the same day if possible to ensure freshness.

Buon Appetito!

Base recipe, method of cooking and photos
by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken

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As mentioned in the “About” section of my blog, I am of Middle Eastern descent on my mother’s side. I enjoy the richness and the intense flavors of their cuisine. I love experimenting with food in my kitchen. Recently, I created this dish, made with Middle Eastern couscous, chicken thighs and some aromatic spices indigenous to the region. It is so delectable, it makes me want to do the belly dancing. Put on your apron, grab a glass of wine (if you drink) and follow me in Gina’s kitchen.

Serves: 6-8 as a main meal – Level of difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
12 chicken thighs skinless, bone-in
Olive oil – Follow recipe
2 tbsp. sumac + more
2 tsp. 7 spices *
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups Middle Eastern couscous
32 oz. lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 red bell pepper cut in julienne
Flat leave parsley for garnish
16 oz. Greek 2% yogurt, sumac, olive oil to taste

Preparation:

1) Season the chicken with 3 tbsp. olive oil, sumac, 7 spices, salt and black pepper.  Let it marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

2) In a large Dutch pan, on medium-high to high heat,  cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil.  Sear the chicken,3 minutes on each side.  Be careful, as there will be some splattering.  Set aside. Do a second batch, and repeat. Set aside.
3) In the same pan, saute’ the onions for 2 minutes, garlic, 1 minute, add the tomato paste and stir until it caramelizes, another 2 minutes or so. Stir well.
4) Add the couscous, continue stirring for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth.  Layer all the chicken thighs on top, add chickpeas, bell peppers.
5) Bring to a boil. Lower the flame to med-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. It should come out nice and moist.  Garnish with parsley.
6) in a serving bowl, place the yogurt, sprinkle with sumac and olive oil to taste. Serve with the meal.

Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken
Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken

 

7 Spices
7 Spices
Couscous
Couscous

 

Greek yogurt, Sumac, olive oil
Greek yogurt, Sumac, olive oil

Cook’s notes:
1) The 7Spices contain, coriander, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and other spices as indicated on label.
2) The sumac and 7Spices can be found at Middle-Eastern/Arabic specialty stores.

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe, and will attempt to make this delightful dish.

Recipe developed and created by: Foodiewinelover
Photos taken by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

Gina Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines

Gina’s Luscious Tomato Bruschetta

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Luscious tomatoes

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Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer. It’s a commonly mispronounced Italian word. In America, many people say bru’shetta, but in Italian, it’s pronounced: bru’sketta. How ever you pronounce it, it’s an easy and enticing appetizer. Your guests will enjoy every bite of its lusciousness. I suggest that you have two loaves of bread on hand, in case you burn the first batch. It’s happened to me a couple of times, but luckily, my guests never found out. It’s important that you are glued in front of the oven, because that one extra minute will create an unappealing presentation and an unpleasant taste. Follow me, and let’s have some fun in the kitchen.

Degree of difficulty: Easy –  Serves: 8-10 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. of grape tomatoes, cut-up
-1/4 tsp. of sea salt
-Freshly ground black pepper, optional
-1 tbsp. flat-leave Italian parsley, chopped
-1 tbsp. basil leaves, chopped
-1-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
-3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (+ more to drizzle)
-2 loaves of bread, sliced diagonally
-Parmegiano Reggiano, parmesan cheese for grating

Preparation: 

1) In a medium-sized ceramic or glass bowl, mix tomatoes, salt, black pepper, parsley, basil, garlic, vinegar and oil together.
2) Refrigerate for a minimum of an hour before serving.
3) In a single layer on a flat tray, drizzle the bread with olive oil and broil for 2-3 minutes until it’s golden brown in color. Remove immediately.
4) Spoon the tomatoes on top of the toasted bread. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve at once. Voila! Repeat the process as needed.

Cook’s Notes:
1) Broil the bread, just before your guests arrive
2) Instead of adding garlic to the tomatoes, you can rub it on the bread before broiling it and then, toss it out. It is an Italian technique.
3) Do not use the top shelf of the broiler as it is too close to the burner.
4) Do not leave the oven unattended.
5) Use Italian or French baguette bread

I hope you will make this delightful appetizer. I suggest you practice broiling the bread a couple days before your event.  This way, by the time your guests arrive, you have mastered the technique.

Wine suggestions: Sparkling wine, Prosecco, Champagne or a lovely crisp white wine of your choice.

Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year full of bubblies!
Have fun and stay safe!

Gina/Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines

Recipe: Foodiewinelover
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

Gina's Luscious Tomato Bruschetta

Filet Mignon with a Sherry Cream Sauce

Filet Mignon with a Sherry Cream Sauce. It’s a festive and delicious dish for your holiday table…Season’s Greetings from our home to yours!

Foodie WineLover

If you are celebrating a special occasion and want to make a nice impression, this is the dish. I recommend to do this on the weekend since it is time-consuming, but worth every effort. First, start with the sauce and set aside.  Decide what side/starch you’re making and start prepping, next, sauté the mushrooms. Lastly, prepare the meat.

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FiletMignonandmore 006

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FiletMignonandmore 019

Serves: 4
Degree of difficulty: Medium – Difficult
(It’s time-consuming but easy-to-follow.  Allow a minimum of 1. 1/2 hours from start to finish)

I will start with the method of cooking for the meat first, since it is the featured dish. Otherwise, follow my directions in the introduction to make things easier in the kitchen.

Filet Mignon

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2. 1/2 lbs pre-cut Filet Mignon, 4 pieces*
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

1) Season the meat with salt & pepper and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes…

View original post 467 more words

My Chicken Piccata

imageIf you are pressed for time,  all you need is about 20 minutes to make Chicken Piccata.  Piccata is a method of cooking. A thin sliced of chicken or veal is coated in flour, pan-fried and served with a sauce.  Veal Piccata originated in Italy but the chicken version is more popular in the United States. Chicken breast is commonly used to make this great dish. This recipe is perfect to add flavors to plain boring chicken breast. Today, I am sharing with you a very simple weeknight meal that is quick and delicious. Follow me in the kitchen.

Serves: 4 –  Degree of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb. chicken cutlets (not paper thin)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of flour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3/4 cup of white wine, Chardonnay
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Lemon slices for garnish

    Preparation:1) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Drench in flour, and shake off the excess. Set aside.
    2) In a large skillet,  over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and butter. Pan fry the chicken for 3 minutes on one side. Flip the chicken, add capers, lemon, wine. Cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
    3) Serve over pasta. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

    Wine pairing suggestions: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vernachia, Verdicchio, Vermentino.

    Happy Cooking!

    Gina/Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

Wine Pairing, Thanksgiving Edition

Sonoma Loeb, Pinot Noir
Sonoma Loeb, Pinot Noir

 

Elegant La Crema Pinot Noir
Elegant La Crema Pinot Noir
Belle Glos Pinot Noir
Belle Glos Pinot Noir
Louis Roederer Champagne
Louis Roederer Champagne

 

 

 

Tattinger Champagne
Taittinger Champagne
Moet & Chandon Sparkling wine
Sparking Rose’
In Memory of My Beloved Dad - One of his favorite wines
In Memory of My Beloved Dad – One of his favorite wines

We don’t get to appreciate the beauty of autumn in South Florida, but at least, we have slightly cooler weather to make the holidays more enjoyable. Sadly for me, this is a somber time as it’s the first holiday season without my dad around. I will pretend to be in the mood and try to get in the spirit.  This is a time  where families and close friends gather around a bountiful table and celebrate with food and wine. Thanksgiving is literally around the corner and it’s time to show gratitude to our loved ones.  For those of you who are hosting, I am sure that your menu is in place but don’t forget to add this wine selection to your list. Today, I will help you pick some delightful wines to serve with your Thanksgiving feast. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. There are many reasonably priced wines that will work wonders.

I want to keep this as simple as possible without getting technical with fancy wine terms.  Wine pairing is subjective and everyone’s palate is different.  Let’s not stress over which wine goes with what food. These are my wine suggestions to add a little pizzaz to your party and make it fun for your guests.

I recommend Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay as basic wines for your cheese platters and appetizers, including seafood.  Make sure the white wines are not overly chilled because this effect can take away from the flavor profile of the wines (herbaceous, lime, peaches, pears, oranges…) If you want to impress your guests, add other interesting whites such as Vermentino, Verdicchio  or Albarino. The list is endless and the choice is yours. Keep in mind not everyone has a palate for white wine,  be sure to have some light to medium bodied wine such as Gamay or Pinot Noir.

White wines such as Riesling, and Gewurztraminer are lovely choices for your Thanksgiving dinner. They both add sweetness and aroma of spices, which complement the holiday theme beautifully.

Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc pair deliciously with vegetables such as asparagus and green beans.

Pinot Noir is an excellent red wine to pair with the turkey especially if you have mushrooms in your stuffing. It will bring out the characters of earthiness . There is a vast selection of Pinot Noir in the market. Check out some Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley region In Oregon. They tend to be more rustic with notes of cranberries and on the earthy side.  They’re often compared to the wines of Burgundy. However, if you are on a budget, I recommend Josh Cellars Pinot Noir, Mark West, or Mark West Black Pinot Noir.

When in doubt, you can always rely on bubblies.  They’re festive and vary in prices, from the least expensive to the most sophisticated. Sparkling wines and Prosecco are fantastic choices and won’t break the bank. If you are having a fancy affair, Champagne is always a good idea.

Dessert wines:  Fortified wines are a great choice to pair with decadent desserts. Tawny Port pairs nicely with pumpkin and cherry pies, Muscat d’Asti with apple pies, Mavrodaphne with baklava,  chocolate mousse cake with Brachetto d’Aqui.

This is not a wine tasting party, and it doesn’t have to be precise. Use this blogpost as a guideline to help you decide which wine to serve at Thanksgiving. The holidays are already stressful and there are far more important things to stress over. I am also featuring one of  dad’s favorite wines called Quattro Mani, a Montepulciano d’Abbruzo. It’s very inexpensive and has lovely hints of vanilla.

I hope you will have some fun with these ideas and enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving From My Family To Yours,

Gina/Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

All the featured wines have been tasted, and the photos were exclusively taken by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover.

Mark West Black Pinot Noir
Mark West Black Pinot Noir
Pouilly-Fuisse' Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France
Pouilly-Fuisse’ Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France
Franciacorta Ca'del Bosco
Franciacorta Ca’del Bosco
Vinsanto - a delightful Greek dessert wine
Vinsanto – a delightful Greek dessert wine

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