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Throughout our travels we look for restaurants that are away from the touristic path, and venture out to where the locals enjoy great food, local flavors and great chefs that have fun and love what they do. A fun and delightful experience each and every time.

The base of this recipe started on a trip that we took years ago while we stopped at this quaint restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas. Throughout the years we enjoyed it over and over on those busy late nights of homework and all sorts of after school activities.

Having a couple of extra minutes and seen that I just bought some fresh cod, I wanted to have fun with new flavors.

So here a new version of an old-time favorite. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

FILLETS OF COD PICCATA WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS, TOMATOES AND GREEN OLIVES

4 large Cod fillets

Salt and Pepper

All-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

¼ cup dry white wine

1 tsp. minced garlic

½ cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. capers, drained

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup marinated artichoke hearts

¼ cup marinated green olives, chopped

2 diced fresh tomatoes

Chopped fresh parsley

Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, then dust with flour.

In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and heat over medium-high.

Sauté the cod fillets 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip the cod fillets over and sauté the other side 1-2 minutes. Transfer the cod fillets to a warmed platter; pour off the fat from the pan.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, lemon juice, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, chopped olives and capers and cook until the juice is halved and tomatoes are soft.

Add the remaining butter and return cod fillets with any juices to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.

Transfer to a warm plates and serve immediately.

Been gone all last week, coming home was so whole-hearted and wonderful.

After all the excitement, the little trinkets, delicious goodies that I brought back with me, were opened and enjoyed, the food requests came up. Pasta was on the agenda and no second choice was suggested.

I have this favorite recipe that I have been making for years now and each times I fall in love with the flavors. A delicious sauce with carrots, peas, shrimps, cream and white wine. I do happened to have frozen fresh shrimps at the house thanks to Pete at Personal Gourmets Foods and our evening dinner was prepared in less than 45 minutes.

The important part of this dish is to do all the prep work beforehand. The carrot ribbons take the longest to prepare and I strongly advise to start with that. Add more garlic to your likings as well as white wine.

Left overs are delicious… in case you are wondering.

Enjoy!!

Giangi

LINGUINE WITH SHRIMP AND SAFFRON SAUCE

 

¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth, plus 1/3 cup

2/3 pound linguine pasta

4 teaspoons turmeric

4 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup chicken broth, low sodium

1 ½ cup heavy cream

4 medium carrots, cut into ribbon strands with a vegetable peeler, core discarded

1 cup frozen peas

In a small bowl let the saffron soak in the wine for 5 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the linguine with the turmeric until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking and add the shrimps stirring for a 1 minute. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until the shrimp turn pink, and transfer with tongs to a plate. Add the saffron mixture to the skillet and boil the mixture until almost all the liquid is evaporated.

Add the broth, the cream and the carrots, peas and boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed

Add the shrimp with any juices and the linguine well drained to the skillet.  Add the 1/3 of cup white wine and stir well together.

Serve piping hot.

It is always a treat to have some extra time to prepare a meal and leaving the hustle and bustle of the day behind and enjoying some fun time in the kitchen. Having a recipe that required to be cooked in the oven… well that is the ultimate dream for me.

Besides having more free time, I love the wonderful aroma that will welcome you and will linger in your house making you hungry for the meal to come.

I do love this recipe and I love how my family cannot wait to sit at the dining table. Not to mentions simple, delicious and great leftover tasting even better the day after.

TIP: You can add peas if you wish when you add the carrots. When selecting the red potatoes make sure that they are all the same size so they all will all cook the same. Insert a knife in the middle of the potatoes to make sure that they are cooked through and done.

Bon Appetit!!!

Giangi

Pot Roast with Vegetables

POT ROAST WITH VEGETABLES

1 tablespoon vegetables oil

1 4 pounds boneless chuck roast, rolled and tied

2 onions, chopped fine

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

¼ cup red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

1 bay leaf

1 pound carrots cut diagonally into 1 inch thick slices

1 ½ pounds small red potatoes, peeled

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 ½ tablespoons cold water

Minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large heavy flameproof casserole heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it brown the beef, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper on all sides. Transfer the beef to a plate, add the onions and the garlic to the casserole, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until the onions are soft and golden.

Stir in the tomatoes, the vinegar, the sugar, the bay leaf, and 2 ½ cups water, bring the mixture to a boil, and add the beef. Braise the beef, covered, in the oven for 1 hour, add the carrots, and braise the mixture covered for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and braise the mixture, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the beef and the vegetables are tender.

Transfer the beef with slotted spoons to a cutting board and let it stand, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Skim the fat from the top of the cooking mixture to a boil. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add enough of it to the boiling cooking mixture, stirring to thicken the gravy to the desired consistency.

Simmer the gravy mixture, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes, season it with salt and pepper, and discard the bay leaf.

Slice the beef, arrange it on a heated platter, and transfer the vegetables with a slotted spoon to the platter. Spoon some of the gravy over the beef and serve the remaining gravy on the side. Garnish with the parsley.

If I had my way, I would eat fish every days. If my family had their way, it would be meat. After a couple days of turkey, fish was welcomed with open arms from everyone.

Perusing my dear friend and chef Eliane web site, La Serviette Blanche, I came across a recipe that looked fantastic and decided to replicate it. I had just purchased cod and wanted to do something different with my mashed potatoes and the Brussels sprouts.

I did not know what to expect when I decided to have cauliflower and mashed potatoes together, and I must admit, and I am addicted to them.  A bit thicker texture, but the flavor just delicious. Next time I will process the cauliflower in the blender for a smoother texture.

The Brussels spouts I decided to blanch them to shorten the cooking time and to remove the bitterness from them. And who does not like chestnuts?

Enjoy!!

Giangi

Tonight’s December 1st, 2014:

Wine Steamed Cod with Cauliflower Potato Mash and Chestnut Brussels Sprouts

WINE STEAMED COD

4 pieces of cod, all the same thickness and size

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup white wine

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper each pieces of cod.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pieces of cod, making sure they do not touch. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on each side. Add the wine, cover and continue cooking until all the wine is evaporated.

MASHED POTATOES AND CAULIFLOWER

 

This is kind of my rule for measuring the ingredients:

1 medium to large baking potato per person

1 ½ cup cauliflower florets, stem cut short

1 to 1 ½ tablespoon of butter for person

Heavy cream to reach the desire texture (a bit less than 3 to 4 tablespoons per person)

Salt and pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes in quarters. Clean the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Place potatoes and cauliflower in a large pan of salted cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

When potatoes and cauliflower are inserted with a knife and are tender, drain.

Return to the cooking pan and let the heat dry the excess moisture. Add salt and pepper and with a hand masher or a potatoes presser, press the potatoes – cauliflower until all mashed to desire consistency.

Add the butter and mix well. Add the heavy whipping cream and continue to mix well. Taste and add more salt if necessary, or butter.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS

2 Cups of Brussels Sprouts

1 cup whole steamed Chestnuts (Williams Sonoma)

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan bring water to a boil.

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, remove the lower part of the core, and discard the outer layer leaves, if needed. Once the water is boiling place the Brussels sprouts in the pan and blanch for 3-4 minutes, or until the core is slightly soft. Drain and rinse under cold water.

In large skillet melt the butter. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté.

Add the whole chestnuts and cook until hot, a couple of minutes.

 

Panko Prawns

I am not too much of a shopper. I always go to the store with my grocery list and can get a cart filled pretty fast with all the necessity. I know where everything is located and get lost when the store plays cute with me and changed things around. The audacity of the marketing department to mess with my shopping!!

With that said, we are fortunate to have a wonderful service by Pete at Personal Gourmet Foods. All our meat, poultry and fish is delivered to us. Each  piece is individually packaged. No more packages of 5 pieces for a family of 4… with that also come the bountiful selection of quality meats, fish and poultry that we can choose from.

Fish is always the first item that is running low and we love the selection that is presented to us.

Prawns are a favorite and almost a staple.

Usually we prepare pasta with them but last night I was in the mood of something different and decided to prepare them as I would chicken cutlets: with panko and egg mixture.

Deliciously fun dinner enjoyed with a green salad.

A strawberry sorbet ended a fun and great evening.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s November 10, 2014 dinner:

Breaded Panko Prawns
Mixed green salad
Strawberry Sorbet

 

PANKO PRAWNS

1 pound of prawns
1 cup all- purpose flour
2 extra large eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup Panko
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dry marjoram
Oil
Salt and pepper

On a shallow dish combine the flour, salt and pepper. On a second dish, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third dish, combine the bread crumbs, panko, and marjoram and parmesan cheese.

Coat the prawns on both sides with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread crumbs mixture.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, ½ inch up to skillet side, and cook breaded prawns on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown on each side. Do not overcrowd the skillet.

We all have items in our refrigerator and freezer that we cannot live without and must  always have. For me is Puff Pastry. Easy to thaw, endless recipe possibilities, great with left over and perfect for a quick last minute meal. Not to mention the perfect pastry when you have no minutes left and guest are coming and you need an appetizers now.

Did I mention the pastry is perfect for individual fruit pastry for an afternoon snack?

I had some turkey left over after an event and wanted to prepare something else than your usual sandwich or pasta with it. As I stood with refrigerator and freezer doors open, my next dinner was been created.

Took out all the necessary out and assembled our dinner in less than 10 minutes. Dinner was devoured and enjoyed. Something different is always welcome.

TIP: You may use chopped ham, sausage meat, blanched bacon, chopped cooked beef or all vegetables that you will blanch prior to placing in with the cheese mixture.

Just have fun with it and let your imagination take over.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

Turkey and Cheese Puff Pastry

Mixed Green Salad

TURKEY AND CHEESE PUFF PASTRY

1 Puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 cups of cooked turkey, chopped
1 cup of ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Nutmeg, dash
1 egg
Salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven at 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.
Roll out the puff pastry until is doubled in size, and thin
Cut in half to have two sheets.
In a large bowl mix the chopped turkey, 1 egg, ricotta, and mozzarella, dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the turkey and cheese mix in half and place on each puff pastry half, leaving 1 inch space on the three ends. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg. Bring the puff pastry over the mixture and seal the edges with a fork.
Brush all over the pastry with the beaten egg and place in the warm oven.
Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the top is nice golden.
Remove from oven and let rest for a couple of minutes and serve.

 

Apple Pie

Apple pie is all I could think of. The air is nice and crisp early in the morning and late in the evening. The leaves are turning into this beautiful golden color, the sweaters are coming out of the closet. A great cup of coffee or tea with some apple pie is the perfect ending to a great day. It can be enjoyed after a great meal, or sitting in your favorite chair and enjoying a quite moment.

Here is my family favorite. As soon as they see me coming home from the store with extra apples, their faces light up as they know what they will get to enjoy.

From my family to yours, enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

APPLE PIE

1 Pastry crust – I use Pillsbury
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
½ to ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll out the pie crust in a 9 inch pie dish. Make sure the crust is all the way up to the rim. Poke lightly the dough and place in the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove and let it cool off.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, vanilla extract and the brown sugar.

Add the sliced apples to the pie dish. Cover with the egg mixture.

Place a pie shell shield to cover the border of the dough or make one with aluminum foil.

Lower the heat to 375°. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes. The top should be nice a golden brown, and the middle should not be runny.

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