Ginger Orange Chipotle Chicken

Ginger Orange Chipotle Chicken

What do you know about the “Blood Orange”? The blood orange is a type of orange with a flesh that is almost-blood-colored. The fruit is about the same size as an average regular orange, though it can be smaller or larger.

Fresh Blood OrangesWhat gives the blood orange its distinctive dark flesh color is due to the a compund called anthocyanin, an antioxidant pigment common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits, making the blood orange a unique piece of fruit.

Due to the blood oranges pigments of red, it contains greater amounts of antioxidants, more than a regular orange.

The three common types of blood oranges, which are the Tarocco, native to Italy, the Sanguinello, native to Spain, and the Moro, which is a newer variety sold at the market. There are 12 lesser common blood orange varieties as well.

The blood oranges can and have been used to make marmalade, and the zest can also be used for baking. A very popular Sicilian salad that is prepared in the winter months, is made with sliced blood oranges, sliced fennel, and olive oil. The oranges have also been used to create Italian sodas among other things.

Now for our featured recipe: Ginger-Orange Chipotle Chicken, and here is what you will need.

3/4 cup ginger-orange marmalade

1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce (canned chipotles)

1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 large sweet potato, cut into wedges

2 small blood oranges, quartered

2 tablespoons avocado oil

4 large chicken drumsticks

1/3 cup mixed almond and coconut flour

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Ginger Orange Chipotle SauceIn a medium mixing bowl, mix first 4 ingredients together, and reserve 1/3 cup of the sauce.

Ginger Orange Chipotle Chicken - Ready to RoastIn a large bowl, add the avocado oil, prepared sweet potato and blood oranges, and toss to coat with oil.

On a foil-lined baking sheet, arrange orange and sweet potato wedges.

Almond Coconut Flour Breaded Chicken LegsToss chicken in flour mixture, then coat with sauce. Because the flour mixture does not contain wheat flour, this dish can be considered a gluten free recipe.

Now add the bread chicken legs to the baking sheet with blood orange quarters and sweet potato wedges. Roast in heated oven for 15 minutes. Turn chicken and brush with sauce. Continue to roast until juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes.

Ginger Orange Chipotle ChickenPlate and serve with reserved sauce. Enjoy!!

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Peaches are a Delight

Peaches are a Delight

Peaches and Herb - Peaches are a DelightThere are a few things that come to mind when we refer to peaches being a delight.

Such as ‘Peaches & Herb‘ who were an American vocalist duo, once comprising Herb Fame and Francine “Peaches” Hurd Barker. Peaches & Herb were a delight to listen too.

Peaches  Geldof - Peaches are a DelightThere is the beautiful and delightful ‘Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof-Cohen’ who was an English journalist, television presenter and model.

Peaches Scrubs - Peaches are a DelightHow about those cute and delightful ‘Peaches Scrubs‘ a brand name scrubs for nurses and medical assistants.

Then there’s those peaches that were voluntarily recalled nationwide (USA) by Wawona Packing Co. at its Cutler, California, warehouses between June 1 and July 12 of this year (2014), because they were believed to have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Local peaches at the Whole foods Market - Peaches are a DelightSeveral other soft skinned fruits as well were recalled, like nectarines, plums and pluots.

What a big setback for us all who love peaches, and especially National Peach Month (August 2014).

Because of that recall, there really have not been any good sales on peaches this year.

The cultivation of peaches began in China as early as 2000 B.C., and by 300 B.C. the Greeks and Persians were also cultivars.

In the first century A.D., Romans began cultivating peaches, and from Italy, the cultivation of peaches spread throughout Europe and to the Americas, where the early settlers planted them all along the eastern coast (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center).

There are two basic types of peaches, the ‘clingstone’ and ‘freestone’. The flesh of the ‘clingstone’ clings to the stone or pit of the fruit. The peach flesh of the ‘freestone’ separates easily from the pit or stone.

In the United States as of 2012, 26 states are cultivating peaches. In that year 965,420 tons of peaches were harvested. Of that harvest, 490,320 tons were sold as fresh produce, and 475,100 tons were processed, either canned (364,640 tons), flash frozen (90,210 tons) or dried (9,800 tons).

If you are able to budget some fresh peaches on your weekly shopping, here are some great recipes to use them in.

Basil Marinated Peaches

4 firm-ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered

1 oz. opal basil leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed)

1 tsp. grated lime zest

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Place the peaches and basil in a medium bowl, and set it aside.

Combine the lime zest, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Then pour the hot syrup over the peaches and basil. Cover, and chill for 2 hours.

You can serve them with Vanilla Pound Cake, Crepes or with a dollop whipped cream.

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Warm Berries and Peaches with Mascarpone

Warm Berries and Peaches with Mascarpone

Image credit: finecooking.com

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground ginger

4 cups ripe mixed berries (such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

3 medium ripe nectarines, thinly sliced

1/4 cup mascarpone (or cream cheese)

In a large (12-inch) skillet, combine the sugar and ginger with 1/3 cup water and put the pan over medium-high heat.

When the water comes to a boil, add the berries and nectarines and cook, stirring frequently, until the nectarines have just started to soften and the juice released from the berries has thickened slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.

Let cool for a minute and then transfer to individual serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of mascarpone.

Peach Mango SalsaPeach Pecan Cake

There is also Peach and Mango Salsa and Peach and Pecan Cake.

Peaches also have vitamins-A and C, including the trace minerals iron and magnesium, making it a fruit that enriches your blood with oxygen and helps your muscles relax.

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Easy Homemade Cappuccino

Coffee Time— This article is an update from a prior article posted April. 23, 2014. The following article is more in depth with added images—

There’s nothing quite like a freshly made cappuccino to go with breakfast. However, buying one from a commercial coffee shop is not the same as creating an authentic cup at home. You can make authentic Italian-style cappuccino at home in three easy steps.

Cappuccino with Frothed MilkCoffee has come such a long way since the days of instant granules, and the cappuccino you enjoyed on your last vacation to Italy is much more achievable at home. You can purchase a fancy cappuccino machine for several hundred dollars if you’d like, however, it isn’t necessary. You can make a great-tasting cappuccino with a few inexpensive items. Let’s take a look.

Stovetop Espresso Maker

 

Step 1:

A stove top espresso maker is essential if you want Italian-style coffee. They make about 4 to 6 ounces of espresso.  The cost starts at around $19.95 and up. They are usually made from hard aluminum or stainless steel and are suitable for use on any stovetop, gas or electric.

Making Espresso with a stove top makerTo use a stove top espresso maker, unscrew the top and bottom. Fill the bottom with water to just below the valve. Add freshly ground espresso beans to the filter. Replace the top and place the percolator over medium heat. As the water comes to a boil the steam pressure forces the water through the filter and into the top. Remove from the heat when the gurgling noise stops and the top is full. Don’t let the coffee boil or it may taste burnt.

Step 2:

First boil some water in a kettle. Next, heat the milk while the coffee is brewing. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The fastest way, of course, is in a microwave on Medium 45-60 seconds for every 1/4 cup. However, for best results, you’ll want to warm it in a small saucepan over medium heat until the milk is nearly boiling. If you have a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat when the needle reaches 149 degrees.

Pre-heat each cup with hot water from the kettle. Next, pour freshly brewed coffee into each coffee cup, and top with hot milk (reserving one-quarter (1/4) cup of hot milk per cup). The reserved milk is for making froth.

Step 3:

You’ll need a milk foamer or frother, which is available at most housewares stores. A milk foamer can be a hand-held manual or battery-operated whipper. There are also foamers made of glass with a plunger, and electric frothers that can froth 1-cup of milk at a time.

To make froth with a battery-operated frother, pour the reserved hot milk into a warmed cup. Place the frother in the cup and turn on the frother for 15-20 seconds or until milk is thick and frothy. Spoon froth over the cappuccinos and dust with chocolate and serve.

Types of Milk Frothers

CLICK Image Too Enlarege

Tips:

To clean your stove top espresso make, unscrew all parts from each other. Next empty out used coffee grounds. Rinse all parts with hot water and use a non-abrasive scourer to remove any coffee residue.

You can also brew some really strong coffee to use instead of espresso, if you don’t have a stove top espresso maker or machine. Also if you do not have a frother, warm your milk and then pour into a small jar. Shake the jar for about one minute. Pour the milk into your waiting mug of hot coffee. Spoon out the foam and top with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, etc. You’re good to go!!

Link here to Enjoy Some Coffee Art using Frothed Milk.

 

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Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage

Pesto Orrechette with Chicken Sausage

Italian cuisine is always an elaborate meal. You gather several ingredients and spend half the day or more. But this recipe , this Italian pasta dish, is fast , simple and easy in under 40 minutes. It has vegetables for lots of vitamins and minerals. Garlic good for digestion and helps fight against stomach cancer. Also controls your blood pressure.

Basil leaves contain much health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping the mineralization process in the bones.

As a side note this is a great nutritional meal for those who suffer with Schizophrenia (Read More Here: Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenic Patients).

What is pasta Orecchiette?

Pasta-Orecchiette

Orecchiette is a type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, hence the name Orecchiette which in Italian means little ears. It is pasta typical of Puglia, a region of southern Italy.

Orecchiette is about ¾ of an inch across, somewhat domed, and the center is thinner than the rim of the pasta therefore, giving the pasta its interestingly variable texture soft in the middle and a little chewier on the outer part. You can purchase it with a  smooth surface, as in the image or with ridges. Both are the same flavor and texture.

Enjoy the food video!!

 

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The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

Without question, Italy is one of the most esteemed wine producing countries in the world and the Piedmont (Piemonte) region in northern Italy ranks near the top in terms of the quality of wines it produces. Any discussion of Piedmont wines would be incomplete without shining a spotlight on the 3 “B”s of this region – Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera.

A Tale of Two Grapes

Barolo and Barbaresco are produced from the same grape: Nebbiolo. This grape is a true diva. She is fussy and demanding and among the most difficult to grow. In fact, she refuses to flourish just about anywhere else in the world. (She even takes her name from the Italian word ‘nebbia’ for the fog that settles over the Piedmont region during the fall harvest). However, she delivers the goods in terms of the quality and complexity of wines produced from her.

As a result, she is highly prized by winemakers in the Piedmont region and the best growing areas and winemaking equipment are devoted to her. It’s not surprising, then, that her most famous offspring – Barolo and Barbaresco – are so highly revered. Born of privilege and prestige, they are content to make you wait, and wait, and wait, until they are ready to be savored and enjoyed.

On the other hand, the Barbera grape (also the name of the wine) is much more laid back and easy to accommodate. She is planted much more widely, but almost never on the highly coveted southern facing slopes that brought such prominence to the Piedmont region. Traditionally, the Barbera grape was planted for quantity, not quality, so her offspring became known as everyday drinking wines.

Barolo vs. Barbaresco: Wine Royalty

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

Although both hail from the rustic, yet sophisticated Piedmont region and are produced from the same grape, there are distinct differences between these two powerhouse wines.

Both are reigning monarchs of Piedmont’s most well known wines. (In fact, Barolo has been referred to as the ‘king of wine’). In general, Barolo is the more robust, complex and masculine of the two. It has been called “stern and imposing,” but that is open to interpretation. It is, however, weightier and more like a French Bordeaux than its counterpart. Barolos tend to cost more and age better, as well.

Like Barbaresco, Barolo is not a wine you’d want to drink while young because it is too severe. By law, it must age for a minimum of 3 years between barrel and bottle; 5 years for Barolo riserva. Many require significantly longer to reach their prime.

Barbaresco, on the other hand, is the more graceful of the two. She is softer, more balanced and matures earlier. Aging requirements for Barbaresco are 2 years between barrel and bottle and 4 years for Barbaresco riserva. Non-riserva wines require only one year of oak aging, resulting in its smooth, soft, and more feminine finish.

Both Barolo and Barbaresco pair well with foods that offer big flavors that can stand up to them. Robust meats, wild game, rich pastas and creamy risottos are all worthy partners.

Barbera: Piedmont’s Traditional Every Day Wine

Remember, Barbera is the name of both the grape and the wine. Historically, both have been treated more like ‘commoners’ when compared to their more royal Piedmont counterparts. Unlike the fussy Nebbiolo grape, Barbera is so adaptable it can thrive just about anywhere. In fact, it can now be found in wine growing regions all around the world.

It’s not hard to see why Barbera has long been referred to as the ‘people’s wine.’ The adaptability and high yield of this grape made it easy to cultivate for people of all social and economic standing. It has earned its reputation as a common wine, suitable for every table. Not surprisingly, Barbera is a wine that has graced the tables of hard working Italian families for generations.

Barbera is no shrinking violet, however. With its acidic, full body and deep rich color, it is a good match for the hearty flavors you’ll find on the average Italian family table. However, thanks to its laid back character – and the fact it can be enjoyed young – Barbera has gained more widespread appeal. It can now be found in the finest restaurants, as well as in the average family home.

No matter what you’re serving for dinner tonight, when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine to grace your table, look no further than the wines of the Piedmont region of Italy.

 

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Home Made Cappuccino in 3 Easy Steps

Cappuccino with Frothed Milk

There’s nothing more delectable than a freshly made cappuccino to go with breakfast. Purchasing one from a commercial coffee shop or a local coffee house can be the same, but if you want an authentic Cappuccino, you need to prepare one  at home. Preparing an authentic Italian-style cappuccino at home can be done in three easy steps.

Coffee has come such a long way since the days of instant granules, and the cappuccino one can enjoyed on a vacation in Italy can achievable at home. You can purchase a fancy cappuccino machine for several hundred dollars if you’d like, however, it isn’t necessary. You can make a great-tasting cappuccino with a few inexpensive items. Let’s take a look.

Step 1:

Stove Top Coffee BrewerA coffee percolator, or stove top brewer as it’s sometimes called, is essential if you want Italian-style coffee. Available in one-cup to 10-cup sizes, it’s usually made from hard aluminum or stainless steel and is suitable for use on any stove-top. The brewer you see in the image to the left can be purchased starting at $19.95.

To use, unscrew the top and bottom. Fill the bottom with water to just below the valve. Add freshly ground espresso beans to the filter. Replace the top and place the percolator over medium heat.

As the water comes to a boil the steam pressure forces the water through the filter and into the top. Remove from the heat when the gurgling noise stops and the top is full. Don’t let the coffee boil or it may taste burnt.

Step 2:

milk frotherHeat the milk while the coffee is brewing. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The fastest way, of course, is in a microwave on Medium 45-60 seconds for every 1/4 cup.

However, for best results, you’ll want to warm it in a small saucepan over medium heat until the milk is nearly boiling. If you have a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat when the needle reaches 149 degrees.

Preheat each cup with hot water from the kettle. Next, pour freshly brewed coffee into a coffee cup and top with hot milk. Reserve one-quarter cup of hot milk per cup you plan to make so that you can make froth.

Step 3:

For this step, you’ll need a milk frothier. Available at any local store were sold, these range from plungers to hand-held manual or battery-operated 1-cup frothier (starting at around $10).

To make froth with a manual 1-cup milk frothier, pour the reserved hot milk into a warmed cup. Place the frothier in the cup and pump up and down for 15-20 seconds or until milk is thick and frothy. Spoon froth over the cappuccinos and dust with chocolate to serve.

Tips:

After use, rinse your stove top coffee brewer with hot water and use a non-abrasive scourer to remove any coffee residue.

You can also brew some really strong coffee to use instead of espresso, if you don’t have a machine. Warm your milk and then pour into a small jar. Shake the jar for about one minute. Pour the milk into your waiting mug of hot coffee. Spoon out the foam and top with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, etc. You’re good to go!!

Link here and Enjoy some Cappuccino Art.

 

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Peach Bellini Cocktail

Peach Bellini Cocktail

The classic peach Bellini was created by Giuseppe Cipriani, abartender at Harry’s Bar in Venice. In 1948, this unique concoction of white peach nectar and northern Italy’s own sparkling prosecco wine was named the “Bellini” in honor of artist Giovanni Bellini.

The classic Bellini cocktail is a study in simplicity. It calls for just 2 ingredients: fresh white peaches and chilled prosecco wine. Over time, countless variations have emerged, including some with peach schnapps, French Champagne or raspberry liqueur.

This version is close to the original, but uses frozen yellow peaches rather than white. A simple syrup of 1 part sugar to 1 part water can be used to provide additional sweetness, if desired.

Bellini_flutes

Ingredients:

Simple Syrup: (optional)

½ cup sugar

½ cup water


Bellini:

1 bottle of Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled

2 fresh peaches, sliced or ½ bag frozen peaches, thawed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
 

 

Directions:

In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Add peach slices and lemon juice to a food processor and blend until smooth. Scoop 1 – 2 tablespoons of the peach puree and a drizzle of simple syrup into a chilled champagne flute. Fill glass half way with Prosecco and stir lightly to blend before filling glasses.

 

 

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Differences Between Northern & Southern Italian Cuisine

The Astronomical clock in the Medieval City of Mantua in Lombardy Northern Italy

The Astronomical clock in the Medieval City of Mantua in Lombardy Northern Italy

red checkered table cloth“Let’s go find a good Italian restaurant tonight.” If you immediately envision pasta with lots of red sauce, you are not alone. Italian cuisine is very often lumped into one red-check-tablecloth-covered category.

Yes, this image is part of the Italian culinary experience, but it is only a small part of the whole picture.

If you were to travel the length of Italy, you will find a vast difference in Italian cuisine.

And that’s a bit surprising considering Italy is only about 800 miles long and 200 miles wide.

How A Small Countries Cuisine Can Vary

The answer lies in the topography of Italy.

From snowy mountains in the north to sandy beaches in the south, Italy covers every climate known to man.

How does this account for the variations in cuisine? Let’s take a look at a few culinary differences and the reasons behind them.

Meat and Seafood

Northern Italy borders Switzerland, Austria, France, and Slovenia and shares their mountainous topography.

Although snowy and frigid in some regions, the seas play a part in keeping other areas rather temperate.

These warmer temperatures and an abundance of inland lakes and rivers make the northern region ideal for pasturing several types of livestock. 

In addition, the region’s inland waters provide refuge for wild game. These rich northern resources result in meals that feature plenty of meat, cream, and cheese.

On the other hand, southern Italy has a drier, hotter climate overall and doesn’t have the rich, green pastures and deep woods needed to support livestock and wildlife.

It does, however, have a vast coastline with access to large bodies of water. This makes deep sea fishing possible.

Since southern Italy is very narrow and surrounded by large bodies of water, you can see why seafood is a staple in every household and why many meals are designed around fresh seafood.

Mozzarella Chicken with Rosemary & Marinara Sauce
Mozzarella Chicken with Rosemary & Marinara Sauce

Southern Italy is also a producer of poultry. The number of chickens slaughtered in 2019 alone was 511 million – far more than the entire population of the European Union – with 99.8% being intensively reared. 

Butter and Olive Oil

As mentioned, the northern climate in Italy with its rich pastures is perfect for raising livestock. Dairy cows are a natural fit for the region, making butter a mainstay in every household.

Olive trees need a sunny, moderate climate to grow and the balmy southern region is a perfect match. As a matter of fact, southern Italy is one of the world’s leading producers of olive oil.

Root and Vine

Northern Italy’s summers are short. Whatever can be grown in the ground or in the shade will find its way onto the table.

You won’t find a lot of ‘red sauce’ in the northern region because tomatoes are not abundant. What you will find is cheesy, cream based dishes, soups and stews using root vegetables and oftentimes cured meats.


Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Gnocchi

The southern region is where you’ll find an abundance of world-famous tomato sauce.

Thanks to a long growing season, fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs are easy to find in the south.

Therefore, fresh is the name of the game in southern Italian cuisine. Lemon, eggplant, tomato, and herbs all play a part in these fresh dishes and are often just tossed lightly with pasta and a drizzle of olive oil.

Grilled Figs and Eggplant Salad with Blackberry and Fig Dressing- detailed close up
Grilled Figs and Eggplant Salad with Blackberry and Fig Dressing

Although Italy is a relatively small country, the mountainous regions combined with almost 5000 miles of coastline form countless pockets of unique climates, resulting in extreme diversity in the country’s natural and agricultural resources.

From north to south, you can see why Italy offers so many culinary differences… and delights!

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