Saturday, August 28, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
After returning for a trip to Italy back in March, I just can't shake the feeling that I need to share some of the food's and recipes I experienced. As I write my next book I will share some of my highlights I experienced while "on the back roads".
Florence, the city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the richest and wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance; in fact, it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages.It was long under the de facto rule of the Medici family. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
Artichokes My Way
One of the great food we encountered in Italy were the artichokes. I love artichokes just about any way you could possibly prepare them. It’s on of those veggies most misunderstood and missed cooked. Not this one!
3 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced
4 Medium Artichokes, Trimmed very well.
1 Cup,or a little more..White Wine
Salt & Black Pepper
Juice Of 1 Lemon
4 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat, add the garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute. Next add the artichokes and coat well in the oil. Add the wine, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until the artichokes are fork tender, about 25 minutes. Add the fresh chopped parsley and toss. Place the artichokes on a serving platter. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Drizzle over the chokes and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Taste for Life:
Recipes for eating and living better from “The Happy Diabetic”
We’re changing the way you eat one recipe at a time.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Eight chefs entered; four remain
|It began in July. Two by two, area chefs arrived at the Trinity Farmers' Market in Bettendorf on Monday afternoons to throw down in the Home Grown Iron Chef competition sponsored by Scott Community College.|
The chefs -- Rory Bancroft of Aramark at i wireless; Matt Mulder of Amber Ridge/Arbor Village Clubhouse; Aman Razdan of Red Crow Grille; Sean Dittmer of Oakwood Country Club; Brandon Zawada of Aramark at John Deere World Headquarters; Dustin Head of Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano; Robert Cook of the Faithful Pilot, and Aaron McMahon of the Outing Club -- had come to compete.
But really, said Scott's Lysa Hegland, they began lining up for the competition immediately after the end of last year's Home Grown Iron Chef. "We had a dozen chefs calling us, asking how they could participate."
To compete, the chefs had to agree not only to abide by the rules of the competition, but to provide a dish for spectators to sample. They also had to contribute a raffle item to the Scott Community College fundraising effort.
As for the rules, the chefs were allowed to bring their own cooking equipment. But the food they were to prepare? That was a mystery. The chefs would have to use whatever protein was provided to them by Home Grown Iron Chef organizers. The vegetables and herbs would be what was fresh at the market that week, donated by the vendors.
In fact, event organizers were so intent on preserving the mystery of the meat the chefs would have to prepare that employees at Great Midwest Seafood Company and Johnnie's Market, where the meat for the competition was purchased, were sworn to secrecy.
After the meat of the week was revealed, the chefs had one hour to prepare three dishes, though ultimately only one could be submitted for judging.
Over four weeks, the chefs were faced with squab, with emu, with elk and with conch.
They were also faced with crowds who watched every flick of the knife and sizzle of the saute pan. Market-goers filled three rows of folding chairs lined in front of the chefs' work station. When those filled up, spectators set up their own folding chairs.
"It is very energizing to sit right up where the chefs are at and watch them at work," said Ms. Hegland. "In a lot of ways, these spectators at the market have gotten a taste of what it will be like to sit in the 'hot seats' at the final competition."
And now? Four of the chefs have been eliminated from the competition. Four remain: Chefs Bancroft, Razdan, Zawanda and McMahon.
They will face off in the final showdown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Isle Center of the Isle of Capri, Bettendorf. One of them will be named Home Grown Iron Chef 2010.
For those wishing to attend the final showdown, tickets are available for $25, $40 and $50. The highest-price tickets secure a "hot seat" location closest to the chefs.
Two local judges will be joined by visiting chef Paul Virant to determine the winner of the final showdown. Mr. Virant is executive chef and owner of Vie Restaurant in Western Springs, Ill., recently rated as one of the top 40 restaurants in the United States.
Chef Virant is no stranger to high-intensity cooking competitions. In fact, he was himself a contestant last year on the television show Iron Chef America.
In addition to judging the dishes prepared by the final four Home Grown Iron Chef contestants, Chef Virant will offer a cooking demonstration at the showdown. Students from the Scott Community College culinary-arts program will work with him to prepare a caramel mousse with candied almonds and fresh market vegetables ahead of the event. Attendees of the final showdown will have a chance to enjoy the dish.
Those who attend will have a rare treat, Ms. Hegland said. "We will have food you wouldn't be able to try except at an exquisite restaurant."
In addition to sampling Chef Virant's mousse, watching the competition and taking in the cooking demonstration, attendees of the final showdown will be able to participate in raffles and bid on items in a silent auction.
All proceeds from the Home Grown Iron Chef competition support Scott Community College programs and scholarships. For more information or to reserve a spot at the final showdown, call (563) 441-4063.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
SAUTEED SWISS CHARD...of Love
4 nice serving!
A bed of greens makes a delicious accompaniment to Arctic char. Serve with buttered rice or pasta if you like.
Let's put it together!
1 bunch Swiss chard 5-6 stems , 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, thinly sliced 3 cloves garlic, Pepper to taste Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil.
Wash chard well in a large basin of cold water. Drain well. Cut or strip leaves from the stems. Slice stems into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside in a bowl. Roughly chop leaves and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of the Olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until the soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes on a low heat. Reduce heat if the garlic is cooking too fast. Add chard stems, cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in chard leaves, cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 tablespoon water, if necessary, to create enough steam to cook greens quickly. When ready, greens should be wilted but still bright green. Squeeze lemon juice over the top, then drizzle on the soy and sesame oil.
Friday, August 6, 2010
|1 Lemon Lemon Juice|
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic -- finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
3 Teaspoons Cumin
1 Handful Fresh Mint -- finely chopped
6 Large Chicken Breast
3/4 Cup Yogurt
Cilantro -- for garnish
|Place all ingredients in food processor, except chicken, yogurt and cilantro. Process to a paste. Rub this mixture over the chicken and marinate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Drain juices from baking dish and place into a pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to 1 cup. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Place chicken on platter, pour yogurt sauce over and sprinkle with cilantro.|