Author Archives for FoodieWineLover - Gina (Martino) Zarcadoolas

About FoodieWineLover - Gina (Martino) Zarcadoolas

My name is Gina (Martino) Zarcadoolas and I am the name behind the blog Foodiewinelover. I am of Italian and Middle Eastern descent, but spent part of my early childhood in Haiti. It's a small country in the Caribbean (formerly known as Hispanola, because the island was occupied by Haiti and the Dominican Republic before both nations became independent.) I am married to a Greek and I currently live in South Florida, where there is a big Cuban influence. As you can see, I am multi-cultural, and I enjoy traditional and authentic dishes from various cuisines. I am a vivacious woman with a zest for life and enjoy living La Dolce Vita. I am a wine enthusiast, and recently received a Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits from the world-renowned "WSET Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust". I am a culinary aficionado and a world traveler. In between blogging, I sell and invest in Real Estate. I have been inspired by many different cuisines during my travels abroad, and I am fascinated, the way food plays a major role in cultures all over the globe. I have had the pleasure to visit many countries and cities in my lifetime, and savored many delicious ethnic cuisines. I am currently writing a cookbook. Stay tuned! I am really excited to discover WordPress and share with you my passion for food, wine and travels around the world. I feel blessed to have visited so many places such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti (where I lived), Mexico City, Taxco, Acapulco, and Cancun in Mexico; Nassau, Paradise Island, in the Bahamas; St. John, St.Thomas, San Jose, Guanacaste in Costa Rica; Rome, Naples, Capri, Positano, Florence, Venice, Lake Como, Milan, in Italy; Lugano, Switzerland; Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, in Greece; Kusadasi and Ephesus in Turkey; Corsica, Monacoville and Montecarlo in Monaco; Nice, Cannes in France; Barcelona in Spain and Palma De Majorca. Most recently, I visited Cartagena, Colombia. I currently live in the USA with my beautiful family. In 2013 I visited wine country, Sonoma and Napa Valley, and had the time of my life. In 2017, I explored the world of Tuscan living and wines from that region. I also visited Positano, the Amalfi Coast and Naples where I relished on some authentic Southern Italian Cuisine. I cook passionately, and I love to entertain family and friends, while sipping on some amazing wine. I will share with you some of my delicious culinary creations, and some beautiful pictures that I captured during my travels. I hope you will sit back, relax and enjoy My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles.

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

Bacon

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

 

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

A Memorable Egg Sandwich, A Lifeguard Special on Montauk Beach

This delicious breakfast transported my hubby, Peter, to Montauk, Long Island, where he spent his childhood. The beaches are a paradise for surfers and fishermen. The weather is unpredictable, and the fog can roll in at anytime of the year. Montauk is famous for its Lobster Roll and the briniest clams.  I’m fortunate to have visited this charming village, and the surrounding towns of Southampton and East Hampton.  Many celebrities from all over,  and New Yorker’s flock to East Hampton to enjoy the pristine beaches and the glamorous life.  A visit to the Lighthouse in Montauk is a must.  Peter’s father used to own the concession at Hither Hills Campground in Montauk, Long Island, while his mother, Dorothy ran the General Store. One of her specialties was the egg sandwich that she made for the lifeguards, hence, the name: “The Lifeguard Special”.  Peter always told me about this famous sandwich made on a poppy-seed roll.  I’ve always wanted to try, but could not find the rolls with the poppy- seeds. Finally, I decided to call my local grocery store, and ordered the rolls from their bakery department. They were freshly baked,  warm and soft. (New York, undeniably makes the best bread.) This may take a little practice before you get it right, and the time will vary, depending on the pan you use and your stove.

Average time: From start to finish 10-15 minutes – Level of difficulty: Easy-medium

Servings: 1 per person – Make 2 at a time

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 eggs, over-easy
  • 2 slices of American cheese*
  • 2 Kaiser rolls with poppy-seed
    Preparation:

    1) Start by cooking the bacon, however way you do it. I did mine in a cast iron pan until crispy. Remove and drain them on a paper towel.
    2) In a frying pan over medium-heat, heat olive oil, crack the eggs open, and cook until the egg white is about 75% (more or less)  done, as seen on picture. (You may have to lower the heat)
    3) Flip the eggs, add 2 strips of bacon and a slice of cheese on each. Cover for 1-2 minutes. Remove at once, and  place on the roll, egg side up.
    When you bite into it, the eggs and cheese should be oozing some deliciousness.
    * I used Cheddar instead of American cheese.
    I hope you will try this delectable breakfast in your kitchen, and refrain from eating at those fast food chains. I always say, if you cook at home,  you know what you’re putting in your food, and you run less risk of contamination.

    The General Store at Hither Hills Campgrounds

    The General Store at Hither Hills Campgrounds

Hubby and our son Matthew on a foggy day

Hubby and our son Matthew on a foggy day

Pristine beach in Montauk

Pristine beach in Montauk

Cousins at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk

Cousins at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
World renowned – WSET (Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust)
Level-2 Certified Wine Connoisseur.
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines & Travels

Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

 

Gina’s Penne Alla Vodka

Guanciale

Guanciale

Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

If you are looking for some comfort food that is rich and satisfying, I’ve got this delicious pasta recipe that will make you smile from ear to ear. Penne alla Vodka is not a traditional dish and its origin is unknown. It’s popular in the Italian-American community, however, because of its richness, it is not part of my weekly repertoire. You can serve it with a protein and a veggie of your choice.  I used some guanciale that I brought back with me from Italy.  This pork fat is not available in most grocery stores in the USA (unless, you go to a specialty store) and it’s perfectly ok to substitute it with pancetta.  Let’s get cooking!  Put on your apron,  and follow me in the kitchen.

Serves: 6-8 Difficulty level: Easy to intermediate
Allow about 1 hour of prepping and cooking time

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. guanciale or pancetta
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup Vodka
  • 1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 32 oz. jar, prepared sauce (meatless)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Italian parsley, rough-chopped
  • 1.5 lb. penne pasta
  • Parmigiano Reggiano,  (Parmesan cheese)Preparation:

    1) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, sauté the guanciale for 2-3 minutes, add the onions, cook for 2-3 minutes, then the garlic, 1-2 minutes. Deglaze with the Vodka. Cook for about 2 minutes.
    2) Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the flame, simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    3) In the meanwhile, bring pasta water to a boil, add salt and cook penne al dente or as per package directions. Drain well. Return to the pot. Drizzle some of the sauce on the pasta so it doesn’t clump up.
    4) At this time, the sauce should be almost done, slowly pour the cream into the tomato sauce, and gently stir it in one direction. Let it simmer on low for 5 minutes.
    5) Use a ladle to pour the sauce over the pasta. Mix it well until each pasta is drenched in the sauce. Serve it in a large decorative bowl.  Sprinkle the cheese on top and garnish with parsley.

    Buon Appetito!

    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
    World renowned – WSET (Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust)
    Level-2 Certified Wine Connoisseur.
    Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines & Travels

    Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

    Penne alla Vodka

Fattoria di MonteMaggio, A Magical Boutique Winery in Tuscany

Enjoying La Dolce Vita with Ilaria at Fattoria di Montemaggio

Enjoying La Dolce Vita with Ilaria at Fattoria di Montemaggio

Ilaria is giving me a lesson on the Sangiovese grape

Ilaria is giving me a lesson on the Sangiovese grape

My husband and I recently took a spectacular trip to Italy and visited some amazing regions, rich in cultures and traditions.  One of our destinations was Tuscany and we were living our dream of “La Dolce Vita” (the sweet life). We were blown away by the beauty of the rolling hills and the lush cypress trees. Finally, all the landscape pictures we had seen were coming to life and the views were similar to that of a postcard. On the first day, we got to visit this beautiful winery called: Fattoria di Montemaggio, located in Radda in Chianti in the heart of Chianti Classico region.

It’s truly magical with a stupendous view of the valley, and well-manicured grounds. There were full-blown roses and fresh artichokes growing in the immaculate garden. Ilaria, the estate manager greeted us with a beautiful smile and gave us a tour of the vineyards. It was clear how passionate she was about her job and demonstrated a great knowledge in the viticulture and viniculture process of wine making. She gave us a little lesson about the stubborn Sangiovese grape, as I explained in an earlier post:  The temperamental Sangiovese grape variety . I pointed out to her that the ground seemed very dry and she replied: “we need to make them suffer”. Of course, she was referring to this particular grape variety.  After a tour of the vineyards and some photo snapping, it was Denis, the cellar manager, who guided the wine tasting.  We enjoyed a lovely selection of wines in the company of Riccardo, our amazing tour guide and the multi-talented Katarina Andersson. She is a translator, an educator and a wine writer at: Grapevine Adventures. The wines were luscious and of high quality which were no surprise to us, after seeing the labor of love that went into producing them. Fortunately, because of the terroir and the micro-climate, Fattoria di Montemaggio is able to grow many grape varieties such as: Sangiovese, with small additions of Merlot, Pugnitello, Chardonnay, Malvasia Nera, and Ciliegiolo.

A few months ago, I was able to get their Chianti Classico in my area and paired it with Pork Chops in Tomato sauce. It worked delightfully.  I brought back a couple of bottles from this recent trip and cannot wait to crack them open. If you intend to visit Tuscany, I highly recommend that you put Fattoria di Montemaggio on your itinerary. You will be very happy with this gem of a place.

Ilaria, the estate manager at Fattoria di Montemaggio

Ilaria, the estate manager at Fattoria di Montemaggio

The rose garden at Fattoria di MontemaggioThe view at Fattoria di MontemaggioIMG_8849The views at Fattoria di Montemaggio

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post on this beautiful winery and the enchanting photographs that I captured during my visit. My wish for you is to have the opportunity to visit this lovely place and bask under the Tuscan Sun.

Happy Travels!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Level-2 -World renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust
Level-2 Certified Sommelier
Culinary Personality, Cookbook Author and Lover of Global Cuisines

Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
and by Katarina Andersson – Wine Writer

Fattoria di Montemaggio

Fattoria di Montemaggio

 

 

Exotic Moroccan-Style Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine marinade
I am so fascinated with global cuisines that I jump from Italian pasta dishes, to Greek deliciousness, Middle Eastern delights, Caribbean flavorful dishes to other exotic cultures. Today, I am taking you on a journey (via my blog) to Morocco for a taste of My Chicken Tagine. A tagine is an earthenware pot in which this dish is traditionally cooked in.  Using preserved lemon is also part of the tradition, however in this recipe,  I used fresh lemon instead. No, I have not been to Morocco but I love the way they use aromatic spices in their dishes. Put on your apron and follow me in the kitchen for this delightful meal.

Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Allow up to 2.5  hours from start to finish

Ingredients for chicken marinade:

  • 5-6 lbs. chicken thighs and legs, skinless
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + slices of lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for marinade

  • Remaining ingredients: 
  • 6 -8 tbsp. of olive oil for searing the chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1.5 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • 8 oz chickpeas
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

    Preparation:

    1) Marinate the chicken for at least one hour,  with onions, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon, lemon juice, olive oil.  Keep refrigerated for 45 minutes and keep at room temperature for 15 minutes prior to cooking it. Please keep your house cool.
    2) In a large tagine or Dutch-oven, over med-high heat, heat olive oil, and sear the chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. You will do this in batches and use more oil as needed. Remove and set aside.
    3) In the same pan, add the onions from the marinade, sauté for couple minutes, add garlic, sauté for 1 minute, tomato paste, 1-2 minutes till it’s rust in color. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Deglaze with the wine for 1-2 minutes.
    4) Add the chicken, broth, olives, chickpeas, carrots, raisins and lemon slices as seen in picture. Bring to a boil.
    5) Cover and simmer on low flame for 30 minutes. Remove cover, simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Serve with Moroccan couscous. Bon Appetit!

    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas – Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
    WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur
    Global Cuisines & Cultures Aficionado

Salade Lyonnaise/Frisée Salad with Pancetta

This quintessential salad originated in Lyon, France. It’s a classic salad that is found in many bistros throughout the country. I consider it a gourmet dish, and does require a little juggling in the kitchen. This kind of lettuce is called Frisée  (pronounced: Freezay) also known as curly endive. This salad has a lot of textural components that create an explosion of flavors in the palate. The French use lardon as their pork fat, but I put my twist on it and use pancetta. The combination of the mildly bitter green, savory pancetta, tangy vinegar, succulent shallots and the runny eggs make for a creamy and delectable taste sensation. I assure you, in the end, you will want to sing La Vie en Rose. Put on your apron and follow me in the kitchen.

IMG_6633

 

Salade Lyonnaise/Classic Frisee Salad

IMG_6616

Pancetta

 

Serves: 5-6  Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Frisée (curly endive) remove bottom piece, rough chopped
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + more to drizzle
  • 1/2 lb. of pancetta, or bacon chopped*
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar* + 2 tbsp.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 5 eggs, poached
  • Water to boil the eggs (in a medium-sized pan)

    Preparation:

    1)  Wash the Frisée, pat dry with paper towel. Rough chop and place them in a very large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    2)  In a large frying pan, on medium-high heat, heat 4 tbsp. olive oil. Brown the pancetta for 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally.  Remove with a slotted spoon.Set aside.

    3)  In the same pan, lower the heat to medium, add the shallots and sautee’ for 2 minutes. Deglaze with vinegar and cook for 1-2 minutes. Set aside or keep it on the warmer.

    4) In the meanwhile, time to poach the eggs. In a medium-size pot, fill up with water  and add 2 tbsp. vinegar. Bring water to a boil. Crack the eggs in a large plate. Slide them in the boiling water. Give it one gentle twirl with a large spoon (do not break the eggs) and let it boil on medium-high flame for 2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon. There will be some egg white separated from the eggs. Do not use them. The eggs should come out whole as seen in the first picture.

    5) Time to assemble the salad.  Pour the hot shallot dressing and pancetta on top of the salad. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes to sip down to the bottom.  Place the eggs on top, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Right before serving, gently break the eggs with a knife, so they can run into the salad. At this point, after receiving all the compliments, toss well.  You can also create individual salad bowls with an egg on top. The choice is yours.

    My family went crazy over this salad! My hubby said: Where are you going to get a salad like this?? This is awesome!! Everyone was fighting for the eggs and the pancetta. It was beyond marvelous, and makes a fantastic accompaniment to any protein of your choice. This can also be served as a main meal with a piece of french baguette.

    Wine pairing suggestion: Chardonnay or a nice Chablis which is a chardonnay from the Burgundy region in France. Otherwise, pick a white wine you like and make your own pairing.

    Cook’s notes: 1) If you want to get fancy, you can use Champagne vinegar instead of apple cider.

                                                   Instagram Feature Contest:

Here is a mini contest: Make this salad in your kitchen (you can use bacon instead of pancetta if you want).  Take the best photos and tell me how you like this salad. Please email me at Ginafoodiewinelover@gmail.com and write under the subject line: Lyonnaise Salad Contest. A winner will be picked on Monday, April  10th, 2017 by 6:00 PM Eastern time. The one with the best photos and caption will be featured on my Instagram profile and will be seen (world-wide).  Every participant MUST have an Instagram account set on public settings. You must follow me on Instagram and tag 2 friends under the comment line. This can come later, after you enter and submit your photos.

Disclaimer:  WordPress, Instagram and its affiliates are NOT sponsoring this contest and shall be released from all responsibilities and liabilities that may occur  from this contest. By entering this contest, you also agree to hold harmless Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover.  Let the fun begin!

Happy Cooking! Good Luck!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Culinary Aficionado
WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balsamic-Glazed Flank Steak with Orange Gremolata

photo (44)

 

Gremolata

Gremolata

FoodieWineLoverDecember2014 049

Mise en place for Flank Steak

 

For all meat lovers, this Balsamic-Glazed Flank Steak with Orange Gremolata is a delicious dish to add to your repertoire. It’s easy and makes for a beautiful presentation. Put on your apron, and lets get cooking!

Serves: 4 – 6     Degree of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients for the Steak

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs. flank steak
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Season the entire steak with salt and pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Keep your house cool)

In the meanwhile, prepare the Gremolata and the glaze.

Ingredients for Gremolata

  • 1/2 cup flat-leave parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
    Mixed together and set aside.

Ingredients for glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 TBSP. olive oil

Preparation:

1) Heat olive oil and saute’ the shallot until it’s not longer translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil and reduce on very low heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

2) Grill the steak on high heat for about 4- 5 minutes on each side, depending on your desired doneness. I cooked it for 10 minutes which resulted in a medium, medium rare temperature. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to retain its juices. Slice it diagonally against the grain. Place it on a rectangle serving dish for a delightful presentation. Drizzle the glaze on top, and sprinkle the Gremolata all over the steak. Voila! A wonderful and refreshing way to dress up the meat to the nines. Serve it with a side dish of your choice.

Wine pairing suggestions: Syrah or Shyraz from Australia

Bon Appetit from Gina over at Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover (Canon Rebel T3)
Culinary Aficionado
WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur

 

 

Gina’s Delicious Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce over Pasta

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If you love pork chops but never had them in tomato sauce, you are in for a treat. I use the thin pork loin chops and a variety of tomatoes such as canned San Marzano whole, strained and chopped tomatoes, and a jar of my favorite meatless sauce.

Gina's Delicious Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce over Pasta

Gina’s Delicious Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce over Pasta

Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Easy-Medium
Allow 2.5 hours from start to finish – This recipe can easily be divided in half but why would you want to do that when the leftovers taste even better!

Gina's Delicious Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce over Pasta

Gina’s Delicious Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce over Pasta


Ingredients: 

  • 4 lbs. pork loin chops, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + more if needed
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 -26.46 oz. container strained tomatoes (Pomi brand)
  • 1 – 26.46 oz. container chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand)
  • 1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, whole, crushed by hand
  • 1 jar of Mid’s meatless tomato sauce (32 oz) or any of your choice
  • Garlic powder to taste, optional
  • 1.5 lb. spaghetti or any pasta shape of your choice
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, grated or shaved
  • Flat-leave Italian parsley for garnish

    Preparation:

    1) Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large heavy- bottom pot, on medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Sear the pork chops about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove them. Add more oil if necessary. Do this in 2 batches. Set aside.
    2) Add more oil to pot, saute’ the garlic. Add the tomato paste, stir until it’s nicely caramelized. Add all the tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Add the pork chops to the sauce, bring to a boil. Lower the flame, and simmer on low heat for about 1.5 -2 hours covered with lid-tilted. Stir occasionally to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The sauce will become very thick and rich in flavors. This dish tastes even better the next day.
    3) While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
    4) Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and pour some of the sauce over it. Mix well until every strand of pasta is covered with the sauce. Put it in a serving bowl. Arrange the pork chops on a platter. There will be plenty of sauce left for those who like extra sauce. Don’t forget the cheese and garnish with parsley. Your guests will be wowed by the richness of this dish, and will ask for seconds.
    My wine pairing suggestions: I recommend a nice Chianti, Rosso or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Of course, the choice is always yours.

    Cook’s notes: 1) Use whatever brand of sauce you like. If you feel the sauce is too watery, uncover it toward the end to let it reduce.
    Disclosure: I did not get monetary compensation for these products.
    Warning: There may be small bones in the sauce. Please let your guest or loved ones know.

    Gina’s Delicious Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce over Pasta

     

    Recipe developed by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
    Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
    All rights reserved 2017

    Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,

Gina aka Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET- Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
Culinary Aficionado

 

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 tablespoons sumac + more
2 teaspoons 7 spices *
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups Middle Eastern couscous
32 ounces lower sodium chicken broth
½ cup chickpeas, drained
½ red bell pepper cut in julienne
Flat leave parsley for garnish
16 ounces Greek 2% yogurt, sumac, olive oil to taste

Preparation:

1) Season 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, 2 minutes, garlic, 1 minute, add tomato paste and stir until it caramelizes, another 2 minutes or so. Stir well.
4) Add the couscous, continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add chicken broth.  Layer all the chicken thighs on top, add chickpeas, bell peppers.
5) Bring to a boil. Lower the flame to medium-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

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