Tag Archives: dip

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

 

Advertisements

Baccala Mantecato, A Venetian Delicacy

img_2237 img_2236I first found out about this delicacy when I was visiting Venice in 2007 with my beautiful family. I was intrigued because I had never savored baccala that way before. Baccala is Italian for dried salted cod fish. It’s a delicious spread (dip) that originated in the region of Venice, Italy. It’s not that difficult to prepare but it can be a bit tricky. If you follow my instructions carefully, your spread will be a success just like mine. You will be using fillet (boned) code fish that’s cured in salt. It’s usually found in a plastic bag near the seafood department of your grocery store. I am certain, you can also find it in the outdoor markets without the plastic, depending what part of the world  you live in.  Fear not, it’s cured with lots of salt and it’s not easily perishable. If  you don’t properly prepare it, you will be left with a dish that is inedible due to the high sodium content. You will need a little less than two hours from start to finish to obtain the final results. Today, I am using a food processor and not my hands, which could be a daunting task. This is the perfect appetizer for an Italian-themed party, and pairs lusciously with Prosecco or any bubbly of your choice. I promise you, if your guests like seafood, they will be impressed with your culinary skills.

Serves: 8-10 as an appetizer –  Level of difficulty:  Medium

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Salted Cod Fish boned
  • Water to boil the cod fish and potatoes
  • 2 medium gold potatoes, peeled, cut up
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish, optional
  • Garlic bread, crostini,  or polenta

    Preparation:
    1) Rinse the salt off the fish. Next, In a large plastic bowl, place the cod fish and cover it with fresh room temperature (tap)  water. Let it soak for about 45 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat the same process for another 45 minutes. (You will be adding fresh water and let it soak a second time)  for a total of at LEAST 90 minutes. Drain again.
    2)Place in a large saucepan, cover with fresh water and boil for 5-7 minutes until it becomes a little flaky.  There will be large chunks and it will not fall apart at that point.  Drain. Set aside.
    3) In the meanwhile, boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. *
    4) It’s time to put it all together. In a food processor, put the cod, potatoes, garlic, half and half and PULSE for about 40 – 60 seconds or so, until all the ingredients come together nicely. At that point, you should see some little chunks of fish, and the mixture will appear a little dry.
    5) Slowly, add the oil and run the food processor on HIGH until you obtain a mousse-like texture as in mashed potatoes. (about 30-60 seconds). Always, check your food to make sure you do not over process it. You will run the risk of changing the texture by liquefying it too much. The spread will look creamy, with flakes or little shreds of fish. It’s done. Look at my pictures!
    6) Spread it over bread,  drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with black pepper and parsley.  You can also serve it in a bowl, and let your guest dig in. Traditionally in Venice, it’s served over polenta. Either way, you eat it, it will be delectable and very enticing to the taste buds.
    I hope you have enjoyed this delicious and healthy recipe, and plan to make it soon. Let me hear about your experience. From what I gather, people are having a difficult time obtaining the right consistency. It may take some practice.
    Cook’s notes: * You can use the same pan you used for the cod to boil the potatoes to avoid a mess in the kitchen.
    Make sure the sauce pan is large enough, if not, the water will overflow and create a mess when cooking the fish.  I have a few tricks up my sleeves, having been in the kitchen for nearly 30 years. To make the bread, drizzle with olive oil, and a dab of butter. Broil for 1-2 minutes. Voila!

    codfish2016
    Salted Cod fish

     

     

img_2245
Baccala Mantecato – Exclusive pictures by Foodiewinelover

All photos are exclusively mine except for the small picture of the bag – I wanted to show you what it looks like. If it says boned, chunks, it will work also. It’s IMPORTANT that you used the fillet (without the bones) Keep in mind, there are probably different companies depending on where you live.
This recipe was created in my kitchen and I take full credit for the measurements and method of preparation.

I hope you will try this delicious spread and share your thoughts with me. I would love to hear your feedback. I may come back to add some personal photos from our trip to Venice. I need to publish this today, as my followers on social media are patiently waiting for the recipe.

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas – Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

 

Guacamole for Super Bowl 51

preppingguacamoleI wasn’t planning on making anything today, but I decided at the last-minute to share with you my simple and very delicious guacamole. It’s just in time for the Super Bowl, and it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. Guacamole is a very popular dip made with avocados, and is a major crowd pleaser, especially on Game Day!

Servings: 6-10 as a dip with tortilla chips – served with other food
Level of difficulty: Super easy

Ingredients: 

  • 6 Hass avocados, peeled and scooped out of skin
  • 1-2 lime, juiced *
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded, diced
  • 1/4 cup of red onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1 jalapeño, diced – optional – plus more for garnish
  • sea-salt to taste – don’t be afraid, it will need it *
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bag of tortilla chipsPreparation:

1) In a large mixing bowl, add the avocados, lime juice, tomatoes, onions, oil, jalapeño, salt and pepper. Use an old-fashioned potato masher, and mash it about 20 – 25 times by hand. I use this method because I like my guacamole chunky, and this way, it stays nicely on the tortilla chip. Who wants a runny guac??

2) Place in a serving bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes to one hour. When ready to serve,  taste for flavors, add more salt, and lime if necessary.  Give it a good stir. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with jalapeño. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Your guests will be dancing salsa while watching the game.

Cook’s Tips:

1) Use the small avocados because they taste better. Always have extra ones because you never know if one will be rotten on the inside.

2) Always check for acidity, the amount of lime you will use, will depend on how juicy they are.

3) Unless, you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you will need to use salt to bring the flavors together.

4) As you can see, I avoid using strong spices because I want to taste the avocados…

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Enjoy!!!!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

Guacamole
Guacamole by Foodiewinelover

Gina’s Hummus Recipe #2

My mother is of Middle Eastern descent, and I enjoy her delicious cooking.  I grew up eating all sorts of Arabic food,  including hummus. I always have it with some texture, and little specs from the chickpeas.  You can find my classic recipe here:  Gina’s Hummus. Recently, I watched a video that Joumana  Accad, author of Taste of Beirut posted on Facebook.  She is an expert in the Lebanese culture, and  a renown food stylist. She gave away the secret ingredient to make a very creamy hummus. She uses Greek yogurt in her recipe.  When I told my mom about it, she rolled her eyes. Don’t get me wrong, she likes both ingredients, but didn’t think they would work together. I decided to give it a try, and I must tell you, Joumana was spot on.  Although, I got the yogurt idea from her, I played with the ingredients and came up  with this ratio.

Serves: 4-6 Level of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 16 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed *
  •  2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Tahini, sesame paste *
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt, secret ingredient
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • Cumin, for garnish
  • Flat leave parsley for garnish
  • 3- 4 garbanzo beans for garnish

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor, blend the beans, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, tahini, water, yogurt, and oil, until it reaches a creamy consistency.

2.  Pour in a medium serving bowl,  garnish with cumin, beans, parsley, and drizzle olive oil on top of it.  Serve with Pita chips, or bread. This makes a delicious appetizer for a dinner party, and you can easily double the recipe. The yogurt gives it a delightful touch, and  it will melt in your mouth.  You can also sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top for a festive look, instead of the chickpeas.

Being a cook is all about experimenting, diversify in the kitchen, creating delicious and healthy dishes,  and to satisfy our palate. My philosophy is, if you have a recipe down path, and it works great, that’s wonderful! However, I believe, it’s also important to change things up in the kitchen, and play with texture, color, and presentation. The food has to appeal  to the  eyes first, then, we relish it with our taste buds.

*Ideally, using dried garbanzo beans is better, if you have the time to cook it, I recommend it.

* Tahini or sesame paste can be found in specialty stores, and is one of the main ingredients to obtain a delicious hummus.

Hummus
Secret ingredient recipe inspired by Taste of Beirut
Image by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

In closing, I would like to thank Joumana for her amazing talent, and contribution to the  culinary world.

Always remember to sprinkle a little love on your meal ❤ ❤ <3! Merry Christmas &  Happy Holiday Season From My Home to Yours,

Gina, Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

 

 

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce This Greek must-have condiment is used as a dipping sauce for a variety of dishes. I use it with lamb dishes, chicken souvlakis and Keftedes, Greek meatballs. Today, I will share with you, my version of Tzatziki Sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt (2% milk fat) I use Fage brand
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1/4 tsp. white vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Mint leaves, chopped, optional

Preparation:

1) Place garlic in food processor or blender, and slowly add oil until it is nicely blended.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, add the yogurt, garlic mixture, cucumber, vinegar, salt,  pepper and mint. Mix well. Garnish to your liking! Chill for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Kali Orexi

Baba Ganouj, Eggplant Dip

Eggplant

Eggplant

You say Baba Ganoush, Baba Ghanoush, Baba Ganouch, I say Baba Ganouj or Baba Ghanouj.  In my opinion, they all may be right depending on what region of the world you’re from. Baba Ganouj is a typical Middle Eastern dip made with eggplant. I learned how to make it from my Arabic Mom. If you love eggplant like I do, you will enjoy this recipe. It’s simple, healthy and yummy. Ideally, it is better to char the eggplant on an open flame for more intense flavors, however, today I will share with you the roasted version, and a quick story to go with it. Many years ago, (when I was in my twenties) I was roasting an eggplant, then, I heard a loud explosion. I looked in the oven, and the eggplant had splattered all over the oven. I realized, I needed to pierce some holes in the eggplant to let the air out. Who knew? LOL! It was scary and funny at the same time. I learned my lesson since that experience.

Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer

Level of difficulty: Easy – Medium

Ingredients:

  •  1 large eggplant, roasted
  •  1 lemon, juiced
  •  2 -3 garlic cloves, chopped
  •  1 handful of flat leave parsley, chopped
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
  •  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, generous amount + more to drizzle
  •  2 tbsp. Tahini (Sesame paste) found in some grocery or specialty stores. Highly recommended

Preparation:

1) IMPORTANT! Pierce holes in the eggplant with a fork or knife, to avoid it from exploding in your oven. Drizzle some oil on a tray, and roast the eggplant in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until soft on the inside.

2) Remove from the oven, scoop out the eggplant pulp with a spoon, leaving the skin.  Put it in a medium-sized bowl,  and use a masher to break it down until the desired texture. I don’t like it too creamy, but that’s a personal preference. Add lemon, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and Tahini. Mix well. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, and serve with Pita chips.

Tip #1) When choosing eggplant, make sure they are firm, with no bruises. After you buy them, I recommend that you use them within a couple of days. I can’t begin to tell you how many times, I had to throw eggplant away, because they got buried in the vegetable bin section of the fridge. You will notice the brown spots all over. Some eggplants can be bitter, luckily for me, that was never an issue. I hear some people are allergic to eggplant, please be aware of that.

Tips #2) If you buy the Tahini in a jar, after sitting for a while, you will notice the oil will surface to the top, make sure you stir it well before using it.

Happy New Month! Bon Appetit from My Kitchen to Yours,

Gina