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
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)
WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur
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.
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!
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
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.
Recipe developed by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
All rights reserved 2017
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.
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,
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
All the featured wines have been tasted, and the photos were exclusively taken by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover.
Here is another one of my mouth-watering pasta recipes to include in your weekly repertoire. It is a classic southern Italian dish from the Puglia region. Some people use Pecorino Romano cheese and hot Italian sausage. This my variation of an easy-to-follow recipe and super tasty. If you like spicy food, I recommend using the hot Italian sausage to add some kick to this dish. Let’s have some fun in Gina’s Kitchen.
Serves: 6 -8 Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
1 lb Orecchiette, pasta shape (little ears)
3 lbs. sweet Italian sausage with fennel, cut up in pieces
In a medium-sized pot, boil the sausages for about 15 minutes. Drain well. Add 1/4 cup olive oil in same pot, and sear them on each side until they obtain a nice golden brown color. You may have to this in 2 batches. Remove, cut each link in 2-3 pieces. Set aside.
In the meanwhile, in another pot, bring salted pasta water to boil, and cook according to package directions. 5 minutes prior to cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe and cook in same water. This will save you time and less cleaning. Drain well. Drizzle with a little oil to avoid clumping. Set aside.
In an extra large skillet, on medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, sautee the garlic, deglaze with chicken broth, cook for 1 minute, add the pasta with the broccoli rabe, sausages, season with salt & pepper, and finish with the cheese. Add more chicken broth if necessary. Lower the heat, stir well to incorporate all the ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil and serve at once.
Wine pairing suggestions: A chilled Gavi, Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio, or a Riesling if you are using the hot Italian sausage. Always cook with love and your food will love you back!
Recipe written by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for FoodiewineloverFoodiewinelover
My Food, Wine, & Travel Lifestyles
It’s the holiday season, and Christmas is literally around the corner. I am hosting Christmas Day, and need to work on a menu, and finish my shopping. This time of the year is overwhelming for me, but there is a joyous feeling in the air, that goes with the madness of the season. I recently made a dish called: Braciole, pronounced brajole, or brashole, and is the plural for braciola. It is considered a thinly sliced of meat, stuffed with garlic, parsley, and salami or prosciutto. Most grocery stores have it pre-sliced, or you can have the butcher slice it for you. Some people use flank steak, but I always use top round. In Italy, this dish is called involtini, and the stuffing/filling can vary depending on the region. If you are still wondering what to make for Christmas, or your holiday dinner, this is the perfect and festive dish for you. It is a bit time-consuming, but the good news is, you can make it 1 or 2 days ahead of time. Please keep in mind, some people do not consume red meat, be sure to have chicken, fish and veggies grace your holiday table.
Serves: 9-12 for a seat-down dinner or 10-15 for buffet style dinner, served with other food. Level of difficulty: Medium-difficult Time from start to finish: 2.5 – 3 hours, depending how fast you do all your prepping.
Ingredients for the meat:
Olive oil for pan frying
3 lbs. top round steak, thinly sliced
1 – 6 oz jar of peeled garlic, chopped *
one large bunch of flat-leave parsley, chopped
1/3 lb. prosciutto, roughly chopped
Freshly ground pepper *
Butcher twine *
Preparation for the meat:
1) Place the meat on a butcher block, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the seasonings lightly, depending on your sodium diet, on both sides of meat. Keep in mind, the prosciutto is salty. I recommend you use less than more. You can always add more later, but if it’s over salted, the food will be ruined. It’s hard for me to give you measurements, since I use my fingers to sprinkle the seasonings.
2) Next, with the tip of your fingers, grab some garlic, parsley, and prosciutto, one at a time, and place at the end of the meat, as shown on the picture. Roll it, like a jelly roll, and repeat the same process. You will work an assembly line, and use the butcher twine later.
3) Once, your meats are rolled up, it’s time to tie them up with the butcher twine, by securing both ends. There may be some leftovers, garlic, parsley, and prosciutto. Save to use in the sauce.
4) In a large pot, on medium high heat, heat up olive oil, Sear the meat on both sides to obtain a nice brown color, about 5-7 minutes. Do this in batches, and set aside.
Ingredients for the sauce:
1-2 tbsp. olive oil, if necessary
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 container Pomi, chopped tomatoes
1 container Pomi, strained tomatoes
1 large jar of Mids, prepared tomato sauce, meatless*
1/4 cup of water, put in jar and shake it to get all the sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
pinch of sugar, optional
Preparation for the sauce:
Using the same pot, add more oil, if necessary, brown the tomato paste, add all the tomatoes, water, leftover fillings, salt & pepper, sugar, and put the meat in the sauce. Bring to a boil, simmer on low heat for about 2 hours, uncovered, until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally, to make sure the pot doesn’t burn on the bottom. If you feel the sauce is too thick, add very little water, and continue cooking.
Pasta1) 2 lbs. of Rigatoni, or any pasta shape of your choice.
2) While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil for pasta. Add salt, and cook as per package directions, or al dente, to the bite.
3) Drain pasta, drizzle with olive and some sauce to prevent clumping. Set aside. The sauce should be done, and the meat tender by this time.
4)Remove the braciole from the sauce, and use a pair of shears to cut the twines. (You will need some patience, while I was doing this, my guests were having their salad.) Arrange them in a nice rectangle platter. This presentation is ideal for a seat-down dinner party like I had. Serve with the pasta. However for a buffet-style, or for a holiday table, slice them, and arrange them on a beautiful platter. It is more decorative, and appealing.
1) Some people use toothpicks to secure the meat, but I prefer using the twine.
2) Freshly ground pepper goes so nicely with the meat.
3) If you don’t want to use garlic from the jar, go ahead and use fresh, just allow more time for peeling. Nothing wrong with fresh ingredients, I actually encourage it, whenever possible.
4) Some recipes add cheese to the filling, but, I prefer grated Parmigiano Reggiano, (parmesan cheese), on top of the pasta.
5) This recipe yields 9 meat rolls, but, some people shared one. There were leftovers, and, it was even better the next day.
6) For a small dinner gathering, I recommend you ask your guests if they consume meat or shellfish. Let’s not forget about gluten-free pasta for those who cannot have regular pasta. This may create extra work, but if you are having guests, it’s important to accommodate their diet, and ensure they enjoy their meal.
Wine pairing suggestions: My lovely aunt and cousin were visiting from abroad, I decided to go all out. I paired this delectable dish with a Barolo, the king of Italian wines. The pairing was magical, and everyone was pleased with my culinary creation. You can also pair this dish with a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon of your choice. You want a big wine to stand up to the meat.
Recipe by Gina for Foodiewinelover
Images by Gina for Foodiewinelover
Wine pairing suggestions by Gina for Foodiewinelover
This will probably be my last post before Christmas, therefore, I would like to wish all of you, a happy holiday season, and a Merry Christmas from my home to yours.
In closing, I would like to share this quote: “Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”
Gina, Foodiewinelover My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a classic, and traditional Italian dish that originated in the Lazio region of Italy. Ideally, guanciale is used, but it’s not a common ingredient to find in the United States. The next best thing I recommend, is using pancetta, or bacon. This sauce is usually paired with a pasta shape called bucatini. It’s like a thick spaghetti, but hollow on the inside. It soaks up the sauce perfectly. This recipe is easy, mouth-watering, and can be done in very little time, on a weeknight.
2 tbsp. Olive oil
3/4 lb. pancetta, cubed
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 chopped Tomatoes, Pomi brand * 26 ounces
14 ounces of San Marzano tomatoes (1/2 of 28-ounce can) *
Salt to taste, for sauce and pasta water
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of sugar, optional
Flat leave parsley, 1/2 tsp. chopped
1 lb. bucatini, pasta
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Serves: 4-6 Level of difficulty: Easy
1) Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add salt.
2) in the meanwhile, in a medium-sized saucepan , over medium heat, heat olive oil, pan fry the pancetta, 5 -8 minutes until it renders some fat, remove, set aside.
3) In the same pan, add onions, garlic, sauté for couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, sugar, parsley, cooked pancetta.
4) Bring to a boil, and simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes or so. Stir occasionally.
5) While sauce is simmering, drop pasta in the boiling water, cook according to package directions. I like it al dente, which means to the bite.
6) Drain the pasta, be sure to drizzle some oil, and a little sauce to avoid clumping. Give it a good stir. Set aside. Taste sauce, adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Once you taste the pancetta and the seasoning in the sauce, it’s time, to drop the pasta in the sauce. Turn the stove off, mix well to coat every strand of pasta. Place in bowls, sprinkle with cheese.
Tips: You can use any brand tomatoes of your choice, and they don’t have to be San Marzano. Sugar is optional, and not necessary. I use it at times to get the right balance of acidity.
Wine pairing: My friend, and fellow sommelier, Certified Italian Wine Specialist, Angela Santarelli, recommends a wine with acidity to balance the fat. Her ideal pairing with this dish would be a Sangiovese based wine. Her second go to for red, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. She also suggests exploring some wines further South, in the Campagna region.
Hello everyone! This is probably my longest blog post to date, because it is my favorite, and most passionate subject, Food & Wine. This explains my blog name, Foodiewinelover. I have put together a compilation of my dining and wining experience on Heavenly Cheeses, Food & Wine Pairings. Please do not forget to read the descriptions on all my photos. Cheeses are among my favorite food groups, and when I’m entertaining, I love pairing them with delicious wines. There is an abundance of cheeses, and wines from all corners of the world, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough time to mention all of them. Ideally, I love pairing cheese with the wine from the same region, or country, especially when I’m having a themed party. However, there are no set rules about it, and, you can mix and match food and wines from different countries, as you please. There are hard, soft, and semi-soft cheeses. One of my favorite cheeses is Parmigiano-Reggiano, an Italian Parmesan cheese, aged 36 months, that I brought back with me from Italy. To me it’s considered the king of Italian cheeses, and has a lovely nuttiness to it. According to Giada de Laurentiis, a famous Italian Chef, it’s best if you pick it with a knife, to get into all the nook and crannies, for optimal flavors. In general, white wine is ideal to pair with cheeses because of their higher acidity content, and boost up the layers of flavors of cheeses. However, If you are not a big fan of whites, don’t fret, red wines also make a nice pairing. Ultimately, you decide what works well with your palate. I am also sharing with you some delectable food that goes with some interesting wines. Here are a few suggestions to impress your friends at your next gathering.
If you are a salmon lover, pick a lush Pinot Noir from Oregon, or one from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma county, California. They both would make great choices. For any white fish, select a crisp white wine, if you want to get fancy, try a delightful Sancerre, (Sauvignon Blanc) from the Loire Valley. If you are on a budget, stick to a nice chilled chardonnay. Spicy food pair well with an off-dry Riesling, Viognier or Gewurztraminer. Pungent cheeses such as Gorgonzola, or Blue Cheese stand up to dessert wines, port or cognac. Sauternes, a French dessert wine, with notes of apricots, is a nice complement to Roquefort cheese and Foie Gras. Let’s not forget about Ricotta cheese which is used in savory dishes such as stuffed shells. They make a great pairing with a nice Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino, or any medium-bodied Italian reds. Ricotta cheese is also used as a scrumptious filling in cannolis, and goes well with a Moscato d’Asti, a lovely dessert wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. If you are looking for a match made in heaven, my friend, fellow-sommelier, Certified Italian Wine Specialist, Angela, from Constant Wining suggests pairing a cantuccini, an Italian biscotti, with Vin Santo. We had it at one of our Italian-themed wine party, and it was a major hit, and a fantastic way to end a superb evening with fun friends. Mascarpone, is an italian sweet cheese, and one of the main ingredients in the delectable dessert Tiramisu. It can be paired with either the Vin Santo, or the Moscato d’Asti.
I am posting links to some of the cheeses that I feature in this blogpost, so you can learn more about their process, origin, and history.
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.....