Archive for June, 2011

Italian Soda

June 25, 2011

Ok so this post may seem lazy but I am headed away for a much needed kid break with my hubby so I will make this short and sweet. I am in love with Italian Soda. I had it at a coffee shop back in NC and ever since then I have been smitten with it. I am a soda-holic and I had recently cut out all soda that is not clear, because of the dyes and other chemicals, and I stopped drinking diet soda. So this pretty much limited me until I found Hansens all natural soda. Think yummy soda with no food coloring or chemicals or anything bad in flavors like cherry vanilla and mandarin lime. You can find it at one of my favorite places, Trader Joes.

So in lieu of a 40 min trip to TJ’s in Fresno I have been making my own soda. How do you do this you may ask? Well I remembered the Italian Soda and I decided to make that at home. All it has is Torani Coffee syrup, in whatever flavor you like, and club soda. About 2 1/2T of syrup and one can or small bottle of club soda and stir it up and viola, you have your own natural soda. The syrup comes in many great flavors, my favorite is vanilla soda – tastes like cream soda, or the amaretto syrup for a yummy amaretto soda. The best part is it only has 16g sugar a glass compared to 40+ of regular soda. Oh and there is sugar free syrup if you are trying to cut out the sugar. So grab some club soda and your favorite flavor – orange, vanilla, coconut, whatever and make your own soda that satisfies your craving but can make a more natural and less sugary version.

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a little dish of Cielo

June 24, 2011

I am always pleased when my mom invites me over for dinner because a) I don’t have to cook, b) I don’t have to clean up (thanks dad) and c) its always delicious. Usually my mom sticks to the recipes I grew up with but sometimes I get invited when she tries an amazing new dish. But I must add that I can’t complain when she invites me over for her favorite “go to” recipes (if you check my veins I am pretty sure her marinara is flowing through them, ok I will post her secret recipe later if she allows me to). This time she was inspired by a recipe she saw on the today show from a famous Italian family, the Scotto family. She made a dish that was pure cielo (it means heaven in Italian). It sort of reminded me of an italian bowl of jambalaya or a hash. It was called Country Style chicken and sausage with peppers, onions and potatoes. If you are looking for a tasty flavorful dish that will knock your oven mitts off, try this dish! Oh and to make it taste even better, my mom added one cup of cooked pasta shells at the end, I think the pasta really made the dish.

Country-style chicken and sausage with peppers, onions/potatoes 
The Scottos 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, finely chopped

2 pounds chicken cutlets, cleaned and cut lengthwise into 1 1/2- x 1/2-inch size pieces

1 1/2 pounds New Potatoes, washed, cut into quarters, skins left on

1/2 cup onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips

1/2 cup red peppers, cleaned and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips

1/2 cup yellow peppers, cleaned and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips

1/2 cup green peppers, cleaned and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips

2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Salt and pepper

Preparation
1. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch heavy bottom (nonstick) skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute sausages until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer sausages with a slotted spoon to a bowl, reserving oil in skillet.
2. Add chicken, garlic, rosemary, oregano and chili to skillet and brown, turning frequently. Reduce heat to moderate, add potatoes, cook until tender.
3. Add peppers and onions, cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add wine and reduce to about ¼ cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, toss well, top with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature. You can add one cup of cooked pasta to toss with the rest at the end if you like.

Makes 4 servings

Coffeecake is good for you

June 10, 2011

This is what I am baking to bring down to San Diego to see Campy, will post pics. It was the one enjoyable part of going to the dentist last week, as I saw it in the waiting room magazine. It has all of my favorite ingredients, sugar, butter, more sugar, chocolate, coffee, maple syrup, pretty much all the necessary food groups. I needed a new coffeecake recipe bad, I stick to my old standbys too much. I’ll let you know how it comes out…

Oh and this recipe was in the same issue, I have to make these beautiful Italian flag themed cookies soon!

Cacciatore redone

June 5, 2011

So I have had little time to cook lately with my hubby coming back so I have been sticking to a lot of my old reliable recipes from here. I recently bought some Butterball Turkey strips on sale so I decided to use them in Chicken Cacciatore to make it more healthy. I used my same recipe from here and followed the same steps except I used the strips which cook much faster than chicken on the bone and I also used my own tomatoes for the sauce. I had 4 large too ripe tomatoes that I cooked down with some olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and onion and it came out great. I had quite a bit of it so I stuck it in the freezer in the hopes that a recipe would call for some crushed tomatoes or tomato paste. I also had left over pepper and onions from making Italian sausage with peppers and onions, made too much of the veggies and too little of the sausage, so I froze the extra already cooked peppers and onions and viola! when this recipe called for both, I already had them cooked and ready. So I guess this was a potluck of random stuff from my freezer! anyhow the cacciatore came out great with the turkey and homemade crushed tomatoes and peppers and onions.

To make it feel more fancy I decided to make more homemade pasta. Yes I have a problem, now that I figured out how to do that I make it quite often. I used 100 grams of flour to 1 egg and made enough for one portion for me and the girls (since pasta maker calls for 400g to 4 eggs for a full pound). This time we cut it into angel hair, since my pasta machine offers fettucine or angel hair options. My sous chef Fifi (wow, even her nickname sounds french) helped with the fettucine as you can see above. So here’s to a remodeled cacciatore that came out molto bene, the perfect way to end a busy week.

I also did this one other night to toss the fresh pasta with some mussels I cooked in a wine, tomato, and garlic sauce, that way I feel fancy but I dine in for only pennies!

Ristorante Campanella is always open if anyone wants to try my homemade noodles or if you want me to make you a batch for you to use at home in your own recipe.