Category Archives: Food

Olive Tapenade, Gina’s Style

 

Tapenade is a  Provençal dip/spread that consists of olives, capers and sometimes anchovies. I love anchovies but I am not using it in this recipe.  You certainly can add them for more richness if you like them.  Beware of the  high level of sodium in all the ingredients.  This mouthwatering spread is also found in Italian cuisine.

“Olive-based tapenades with anchovies and/or vinegar are ubiquitous in Italian cuisine and are documented in ancient Roman cookbooks dating back thousands of years before the appearance of the Occitan word tapenade. One of the earliest known tapenade recipe, Olivarum conditurae, appears in Columella‘s De re Rustica, written in the first century AD.[3] .[4] Cato the Elder (234–149 B.C.E.) includes a recipe for Epityrum, an olive spread very like a tapenade, in chapter 119 of his “On Agriculture.”

Follow me in my kitchen and let ‘s have fun with this delicious spread.

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer – Level of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and rinsed
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted (Sicilians are the best) *
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leave Italian parsley + more for garnish
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil + more to drizzle
  • Half of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • Roasted red bell peppers for garnish, fresh or jar ones
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread, sliced  or crackers*     Preparation:
    1) Place Kalamata and green olives, parsley, oil, lemon, capers and garlic in a food processor. Pulse 25 times by stopping each time until you obtain a chunky but moist consistency, showing small bits of olives and other ingredients.
    2) Place in a serving bowl and chill. (Optional)
    3) Spread on delicious crusty bread or crackers. Drizzle with olive oil.
    Garnish with parsley and roasted peppers.This spread makes a dazzling appetizer and can be made ahead of time. Cook’s notes: I used Spanish olives, and they worked nicely.
    I don’t recommend that you add any salt to this spread, even if you’re not on a sodium-restricted diet. You can toast the bread to add that extra touch.  The choice is yours. Wine Pairing Suggestions: A lovely chilled white, such as a sauvignon blanc, or any white or red varieties of your choice. Make sure, the acidity level is low to medium. This way, it will not take away the sharpness nor compete with the saltiness of the dish.  It’s ok, if you don’t consume alcohol, either way, you will enjoy this luscious appetizer.I hope you will try this recipe and share your thoughts with me. Please take pictures and I will randomly select a lucky recipient’s photo to be featured on my Instagram profile.  The deadline is May 16th, 2017.                          Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,  Gina Martino Zarcadoolas aka Foodiewinelover
    My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
    WSET-Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
    Global Cuisines & Cultures Aficionado

 

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