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
Ingredientsfor 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines
If 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
1.½ lb. chicken cutlets (not paper thin)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ to ½ cup of flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup capers
½ lemon, juiced
¾ cup dry 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.
No one wants to cook during the hot days of summer. For this reason, I like to create different salads and pair them with a protein. Today, I picked up a rotisserie chicken and some sourdough baguette to go with my delicious salad. It’s easy and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. Recently, I started using a nice wooden bowl. I prepare the dressing right in it, and then, I toss the salad. This way, you avoid more cleaning and save time. Follow me in the kitchen and watch me whip a quick meal.
Warning: If you are allergic to nuts or any type of seeds, omit the pumpkin seeds.
Serves: 4-6 as a side dish
Level of difficulty: Easy
1 – 5-oz bag of mixed field greens
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 organic strawberries, sliced
1 handful of pumpkin seeds
4.5 oz. garlic and herbs goat cheese, broken into pieces
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar. Slowly, pour the olive oil and continue whisking until it emulsifies. Drop the greens, strawberries, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese. Toss well.
I served it with 2 store-bought rotisserie chicken, (only 1 in picture) and some sourdough bread. My family smeared the goat cheese on the bread and it was divine.
Cook’s note: You can substitute pumpkin seeds for pecans or walnuts. If you don’t like goat cheese, use another soft cheese of your choice.
Happy Tossing from My Kitchen to Yours!
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
I have been making this chicken dish for years, and my family always devours it. Cacciatore, means hunter-style in Italian. You will need to allow a couple of hours from start to finish, as the sauce will have to simmer to obtain rich and deep flavors. Follow me in the kitchen, and let’s cook along, a hearty and satisfying meal.
Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Medium
5 lbs. whole chicken, cut up in eight pieces *
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. oregano
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 cup onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1.1/2 red bell pepper, cut in julienne
26 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
32 oz. prepared tomato sauce, of your choice (no meat)
1/4 cup water, if necessary
Pinch of sugar
Sprinkle of garlic powder
6 oz. portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. butter, to pan fry mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil to pan fry mushrooms
Parsley to garnish
1.1/2 lbs. spaghetti or pasta of your choice
1) Season chicken with salt, pepper, and oregano. In a large Dutch Oven, on medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, and brown the chicken 4 minutes on one side, and 2 minutes on other side. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TASTE, THE CHICKEN IS STILL RAW ON THE INSIDE. Set aside. Add 2 tbsp. oil, and repeat another batch.
2) Remove chicken and set aside. Keep the flame on, saute’ onions, garlic, deglaze with wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan. Put the chicken back, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, if needed, sugar, salt and pepper, garlic powder. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
3) Uncover, add the bell peppers, stir, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
4) In the meanwhile, in a small frying pan, over medium high heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, and butter, saute’ the mushrooms until they are nice and brown. Add mushrooms to the chicken. Simmer another 30 minutes, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally.
5) While the chicken is simmering, boil the water for your pasta, according to package directions. Drain, and plate the dish as seen on my photo. Garnish with the parsley.
Tips: * if breasts are too big, cut them up in 2 each. Warning, sometimes, there may be small bones in the sauce. Please let your guests or loved ones know ahead of time.
Wine pairing: Any italian red table wine, such as a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Chianti, or Rosso. Keep it simple and inexpensive to complement the hunter’s style theme.
With today’s busy lives, people are pressed for time, and need quick and easy recipes for weeknight meals. These Chicken Lettuce Wraps take no time, and are delightful. This is my creation, and I am happy to share my passion in the kitchen with all of you.
Serves: 4 Degree of difficulty: Easy
3 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup red bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup canned water chestnut, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 lbs ground chicken
1.5 – 2 tbsp. Soy sauce, low sodium
Dash of Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup carrots, grated, + more for garnish
1 head of bib, or butter lettuce leavesPreparation:
In a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, heat oil, add onions, peppers, water chestnut, garlic, ginger. Saute’ for 5 -6 minutes, stir occasionally.
Add chicken, stir fry for 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, Cayenne pepper, carrots, salt, fry while stirring for another 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. (Do not attempt to taste unless you are certain chicken is cooked, and has an opaque color)
Fill the lettuce with the chicken and serve with a peanut, soy or any sauce of your choice. Serve with brown or white rice on the side for a complete meal. Try this easy and delicious meal, and your family will appreciate your love for them, through your cooking.
Recently, I purchased a variety of spices because I like experimenting in my kitchen. I love to support small businesses like Kouzounas Kitchen, I know how much the owner, Krystina pours her heart and soul into her products. Her spices are very fragrant with intense flavors, and the best part about them, they are organic. I used the Q-It Up Seasoning on chicken thighs, and they came out finger licking good on the grill.
Serves 4-6 Level of Difficulty: Easy
2 packages of chicken thighs, skinless, bone-in (about 4 lbs)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Q-It Up Seasoning Rub
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Season the chicken with salt & pepper on both sides. Place in a large bowl, add the Q-It Up Seasoning, olive oil, and lemon juice. Rub it all over the chicken, and let it marinate for at least two to three hours in the fridge. Take it out 30 minutes prior to grilling to bring it to room temperature. This way, the chicken will cook evenly.
2) Pre-heat the BBQ grill on medium high, arrange the chicken in a single layer and cover. Cook on one side for 10-12 minutes, turn them, lower the heat, cover and cook other side for another 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. It is recommended to fully cook poultry until it reaches 165 degree F. temperature for safe consumption.
Q-it up Seasoning is made of a splendid combination of spices including Cinnamon, and smoke flavoring. Please visit KouzounasKitchen to check out her lovely assortment of spices. I also recommend the Herbes de Provence, and the Mediterranean Seafood Rub.
These opinions are mine, and based on my own experiences. I would never do a review on a product that I did not believe in. I hope you will give them a try.
Coq Au Vin, literally means in French, Rooster in (red) wine. It is a delicious dish made famous by the highly famed French chef, Julia Child. It is indigenous to the Burgundy region of France. In keeping with the tradition, it is nice to use a Pinot Noir, however this time, I used a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, (from the Rhone region of France) that was readily available. I have used both wines in this dish, and each time, it came out scrumptious. I recommend making this on the weekend, or when you have some free time. This will need 30 – 45 minutes in prepping time, including frying the chicken, then, an hour and fifteen minutes, (75 minutes) in the oven. You will have ample time to do some cleaning, while the chicken is simmering nicely in the oven.
There are many variations to this dish, but I always like to experiment, and put my spin on it. With today’s busy lives, it is hard to find all the ingredients, in order to keep the authenticity in some traditional dishes. If you can’t find a rooster, by all means, use a chicken, like I did. I am so excited to share with you my mouth-watering version of Coq Au Vin. You will be doing some juggling, so, grab your apron, your kitchen tools, and get cooking with me!
Serves: 4 -6 Degree of difficulty: Medium-difficult
Prepping time: 30-45 minutes, including frying the chicken. In addition to this, the chicken will cook in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
1 – 4 lb. chicken, cut-up in eight pieces, skin off
1 cup red wine, ( I used a Chateauneuf-du-Pape which worked wonders, but a Pinot Noir will do just fine.
1/2 container of chicken broth low-sodium
6 garlic cloves, chopped
6 oz mushrooms, sliced
8 oz frozen pearl onions
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3 tbsp. olive oil, + more if necessary
1 tbsp. butter
3 strips of bacon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, + couple with the stems for garnish
1 bay leaf
1) Have your butcher, cut up the chicken in eight pieces, and remove the skin. Season chicken with salt and pepper and drench in flour. Remove all excess flour and set aside.
2) On medium-high heat, in a large Dutch oven pot, heat up 1 tbsp. olive oil, brown the bacon, remove and set aside. If the bacon rendered too much fat, remove some, but please, be careful. You can replace the fat with another tablespoon of olive oil.
3) PLEASE FOLLOW ME CAREFULLY HERE! In the same pot, brown the chicken, 2-3 minutes or so on each side, you will do this in batches. Remove and set aside. (Please do not attempt to taste the chicken, as it will still be raw on the inside.) This is where you will be doing some juggling, you can either turn the burner off, and start step #4, or do step 4 and 5 simultaneously,( only if you feel comfortable doing this.) If not, please do not forget, to pre-heat the Dutch-oven pot before starting step #5.
4) In a small frying pan, on medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp. butter, and 1 tbsp. olive oil, sautee the sliced mushrooms until they are golden brown. DO NOT add any salt, as it will make them watery, and prevent them from getting a golden brown color. Set aside.
5) On medium-high heat, in the Dutch-oven pot, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, sautee the garlic until it releases its aroma, then add the tomato paste. Brown together as you see it in the picture. Deglaze with the wine for 1-2 minutes, add the chicken broth, chopped tomatoes, pearl onions, bay leaf, thyme, bacon, sautéed mushrooms. Mix well, add the chicken, and season the broth/sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (DO NOT TASTE IT, AT THIS POINT, CHICKEN IS STILL RAW) Bring to a quick boil, then turn the burner off.
6) In the meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, place the pot, COVERED on the middle rack. Let it braise for about one hour and fifteen minutes in the oven, or until chicken is cooked through. Do not overcook as the chicken will fall apart. At the halfway point, be sure to give it a good stir. Continue cooking in the oven until the time is up.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and serve it with a side of brown rice, or potatoes. Your loved ones will enjoy this hearty and delightful meal.
I realize this is not a weeknight meal, but I hope you will give it a try, when you have a couple of hours to spare in the kitchen. I consider this, an affordable gourmet dish packed with amazing flavors, and beautiful aromas.
Wine pairing: Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region, or any medium-bodied red wine of your choice.
“I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.”
Bon Appetit from Gina’s Kitchen
Thank you Julia Child for making cooking so much fun, and for teaching us so many tricks in the kitchen.
The main reason I wanted to start this blog, is to share with you my passion for cooking and savoring ethnic foods during my travels around the world. I have visited many places, including various islands in the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands, Mexico, Costa Rica, many countries in Europe, Turkey and the USA where I now live with my beautiful family. I’ve been inspired by a variety of cuisines, and fascinated the way food plays a major role in the different cultures. I haven’t had the chance to visit beautiful Trinidad, a nation consisting primarily of two Caribbean islands just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. However, I’m very fortunate to have some wonderful friends from that country. It is known for its rich cuisine and famous for its colorful and festive Carnival. My dear friend Shamin is from there and she loves entertaining. She occasionally serves this delicious Stewed Chicken, which is always a big hit at her gatherings. I’ ve asked her for the recipe for this traditional dish, and she was gracious to provide me with the list of ingredients and the method of cooking. I’ve made it on several occasions for my family and everyone loves it. This dish may take a little practice but once you get the hang of it, it can become part of your meal rotations. I took the time to measure all the ingredients and kitchen-test them. I would love to share this very special recipe with you today.
Degree of difficulty: Easy – Medium
This recipe will take a minimum of an hour not counting the time for marinating.
3 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, bone-in
1 and 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped *
1 head of garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 + 2 tbsp. olive oil (5 total)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1) In a large bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. In a food processor, add the cilantro, garlic, thyme, soy sauce, 3 tbsp olive oil, vinegar ( salt and pepper, optional) Pulse but do not liquefy, you should see bits and pieces of the ingredients. Pour over the chicken and add chopped onions. Give it a good stir and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. If you have the time, I recommend marinating it overnight to infuse all the flavors.
2) On medium heat, In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the sugar and spread it around. As soon as it starts to bubble, lower the heat and stir in the ketchup, be careful, it will splatter a little. (This will be a quick process, if you wait too long, the sugar will get dark and the results will be unpleasant.
3)Drain the chicken well and place them in a single layer on the pan, raise the heat to medium high and let them brown for about 3 minutes on one side, until they have a nice golden color. Turn them and brown other side for another 2-3 minutes.
4) Pour the marinade over the chicken, bring to a quick boil, reduce the heat to LOW,cover and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can check it halfway through, the sauce should be simmering nicely. When the time is up, check and make sure chicken is thoroughly COOKED, if not, allow an extra 5- 10 minutes. Serve over white or brown rice.
My grown son Peter-John is usually my taste tester, and his reaction was, “Oh my goodness! screaming from the top of his lungs,” this sauce is so good!” This happened to be the best one I ever made because I marinated it overnight.
*Traditionally, Culantro is used in this dish, but since Cilantro is more readily available, it makes for a nice substitution. It is fun to have a variety of dishes in your repertoire, and interesting to savor international cuisines from all parts of the world. I hope you will get creative and try this exotic and delicious dish. Wishing you Bon Appetit from Gina’s Kitchen.
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....
It's more than LUCK; it's love and comfort in in every POT! More than that it's the words, feelings, fashion and stuff that make this blog a MUST!! More than that the purpose of this blog is to evoke unity and pride through food, words and expression of love to illuminate and motivate.