I am so glad you stopped by. Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I've been converting my Italian family's recipes to gluten free. My family and friends can't tell the difference! I also create my own delicious recipes. I will be posting new recipes weekly which will range from traditional comfort foods to gourmet dishes. Not all of the recipes will be Italian, but they all will be delicious! In addition, you will find helpful tips for gluten free living, related links and product recommendations. I welcome any specific requests for recipes. If I don't have it, I will find it! You can email me directly. A link to my email is located in my profile. . . simply click on the tab to view my full Enjoy the site!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beet and Ricotta Salata Salad

This is a light salad, but it explodes with flavor. . .

1 head of Green Leaf Lettuce cleaned and lightly torn
1 Cup of Sliced Red Beets
2 Tblspn. Red Onion finely chopped
3 Tblspn. Chopped Walnuts
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 Cup Crumbled Ricotta Salata
4 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tblspn. Red Wine Vinegar

Mix Green Leaf Lettuce, Beets and onion in salad bowl.  Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Lightly toss.  Add crumbled Ricotta Salata and lightly toss.  Sprinkle with chopped Walnuts and serve.

Braised Pork with Fennel and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Here this is shown served over Rice, but is also delicious with a side of pasta or an herb roasted potato.  Your choice!

Braised Pork with Fennel and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

4 Large Pork Loin Chops (I prefer them on the bone)
1 Large Fennel Bulb cored and thinly sliced with Frons reserved
1 Medium Shallot minced
1 Large Galic Clove minced
2 Tblspn. Lemon Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Cups Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
2 Tblspn. Capers (Non Periel)
2 Tblspn. Dried Italian Parsley
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Marsala Wine

Lightly sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper and set aside.  Heat extra virgin olive oil in large skillet over high heat.  Add pork chops and braise until they are lightly golden brown on both sides.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and add Marsala wine, stir and deglaze the pan to incorporate drippings into the sauce.  When Marsala is reduced by 1/2, add sliced Fennel, minced Shallots and minced Garlic.  Stir and cook until Fennel becomes tender.  Add Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, dried parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir sauce and allow to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add Capers to the sauce and allow to cook for 5 additional minutes.  Add the Braised Pork Chops to the sauce turning  them to coat with the sauce.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  Take reserved Fennel Frons and run your knife through them roughly.  Serve Pork Chops with Sauce on top.  Sprinkle with Fennel Frons and Lemon Zest.

Pasta with Rappi and Spicey Sausage

This is a very tastey and easy dish to make.  In this recipe I have made it spicey, but if you prefer it can be made with a mild or sweet sausage.  Enjoy!

Pasta with Rappi and Spicey Sausage
1 pound of pasta (Zitti, Shells or Orchietta is suggested.  Shown here with Shells)
1 pound of hot Italian sausage out of its casing
1 large bunch of cleaned and coarsley chopped Rappi greens
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 Tspn. Salt
1 Tspn. Black Pepper
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 Tblspn. fresh lemon zest
2 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup of dry white wine
1/3 cup of chicken or vegetable stock

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add sausage out of its casing and cook over high heat until it is browned.  Rinse chopped Rappi greens and add them with the residual water on them to the skillet on top of the browned sausage.  Reduce heat to medium and cover.  Allow the greens to wilt.  Uncover skillet and add the minced garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, wine and stock.  Stir well to incorporate.  Allow to cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook pasta, drain and add to sauce.  Stir and allow to cook on simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to allow pasta to absorb flavor.  Plate, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve with Reggiano Parmigiano cheese.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken Breasts with Blackberry Brandy Cream Sauce. . .

This recipe is great for fall.  Although I originally designed this recipe with Chicken in mind, the sauce works wonderfully with Turkey and Pork as well.  I hope you enjoy it.

Chicken Breast with Blackberry Brandy Cream Sauce

6 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 Scallions finely chopped, including white and green part of scallions
1/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 Large Red Apple cored and chopped with skin left on
1/4 Tspn. Sea Salt (for sauce) + Salt to taste to prepare Chicken Breast
1/4 Tspn. Ground Black Pepper (for sauce) + Pepper to taste to prepare Chicken Breast
1/4 Tspn. Ground Dried Mustard
1 Tblspn. Dried Parsley
1/8 Tspn. Freshly ground Nutmeg
2 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblspn. Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2/3 Cup Blackberry Brandy
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tspn. Cornstarch
1.5 Tblspn. Water

Rinse Chicken Breasts and pat dry.  Lightly sprinkle each side of each breast with salt and pepper and set aside.  Heat extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter in heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Place chicken breasts in the skillet after it is up to temperature and cook until breasts are golden brown on each side.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add Chicken Stock and Blackberry Brandy to pan, stirring to deglaze pan and incorporate the pan drippings.  Add scallions, walnuts and apples to pan and allow the stock and brandy to cook down by half.  Add cream, salt, pepper and dried mustard. Stir and allow to cook for approximately 1 - 2 minutes.  Mix cornstarch and water together in separte bowl and mix.  (This is a cornstarch flurry for thickening).  Add cornstarch flurry to sauce.  Stir and allow sauce to remain at a low boil until sauce begins to thicken.  (The sauce should coat a spoon, but should not be paste like in consistency.)  Add chicken breasts back to the pan.  Sprinkle with the Parsely and fresh ground Nutmeg.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Spoon sauce over each breast for serving.

Serves 6

Note:  Either steamed rice or Rosemary Roasted potatoes accompanies this dish well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gluten Free Salsa

There are some gluten free bottled Salsa on the shelves, but can anyone argue that fresh homemade isn't better?  Of course not!  I put this recipe together over the years and it is delicous.  You can adjust the type of peppers that you use for the desired heat.  This recipe is a medium hot.  It catches you in the back of the throat, but doesn't make your eyes water and your forehead sweat.

I am not a big fan of Cilantro, but I do like Coriander, which is the seed of the plant.  Therefore, I use Coriander in this recipe.  You can add a couple tablespoons of chopped Cilantro to the recipe if you choose to have a more predominant presence of the flavor.

Here is a link to a site that is great for describing the flavor and heat of the various peppers you can choose from for this recipe  http://www.foodsubs.com/Chilefre.html

Donna's Spicey Salsa

1/2 Cup of fresh hot peppers chopped.  I use a mix of equal amounts of Jalepeno, Hot Cherry Peppers, and Guero (also known as Caribe Chili Pepper) and I add one small Habanero Pepper.  (I remove the seeds from all of the hot peppers, but you can add some for extra heat.
3 Cups of chopped mild Peppers to include 1 Red Bell Pepper, and equal amounts of Poblano Peppers, Yellow Bananna Peppers and Anaheim Peppers
1 Large Sweet Yellow Onion chopped
3 Cans of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz. each)
1.5 Tspn. Kosher Salt
2 Tblspn. Tblspn. Fine Ground Black Pepper
1 Tblspn. Crushed Garlic
1 Tspn. crushed Coriander seed.  (I use a pestle and mortar to crush them.)
3 Tbspn. Dired Parsley
3 Tblspn. Grape Seed Oil
3 Tblspn. White Wine Vinegar
1 Tblspn. Corn Starch
3 Tblspn. Water

Heat the Grape Seed oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add the chopped peppers and onions.  Allow to cook until onions begin to sweat and peppers become slightly tender.  Add the white wine vinegar and allow to cook for 1 more minute.  Add the crushed garlic, kosher salt, pepper and coriander. Stir to incorporate and allow to cook for 3 minutes.  Add the fire roasted diced tomatoes and dried parsley.  Stir to incorporate ingredients thouroughly.  Reduce heat to medium but maintain a low boil and allow to cook for 15 minutes stirring frequently.  Taste and ajust salt and pepper to your liking.  In a small bowl mix Corn Starch and Water and stir to a smooth liquid.    Add the Corn Starch slurry to the salsa and allow to cook at a low boil for an addition 5 - 7 minutes.    Remove from heat and allow the salsa to cool.  Once cooled, add the salsa to a food processor or blender and pulse to desired consistency.

Makes approximately 2 quarts of salsa. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vodka Sauce. . .

This is a wonderful  Tomato Cream Sauce that works best with heavier pastas such as Gnocchi or Penne, Ziti, or Rigatoni. . .(Gluten free for Celiac's remember!!!)

Vodka Sauce:

2 Large Shallots chopped
1 Small Red Onion chopped
1 Medium Clove Garlic finely minced
8 oz. Pancetta diced
1/4 Cup Pignoli Nuts (Pine Nuts)
4 Large Fresh Basil Leaves roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Tblspn. Olive Oil
3 Cups Crushed Tomatoes (No skins or seeds)
1 Cup Vodka (Plain with no flavor added)
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

Heat Olive Oil in a skillet over high heat.  When hot, add chopped Pancetta and allow to brown until a light crisp starts to form at the edges.  Add the chopped Shallots, Red Onion and Garlic.  Stir and reduce heat to medium high.  Cook until Shallots and Onions begin to sweat. Add Pignoli nuts and allow the nuts to toast for a minute or two until they begin to turn a light golden color.  Remove pan from heat and add the Vodka.  Return pan to the heat and allow the Vodka to deglaze the pan while stirring and scrapping up the bits attached to the pan to incorporate the flavor into the sauce.  When Vodka is reduced by half, add the Crushed Tomatoes and stir to incorporate all ingredients.  Add heavy cream and stir to incorporate.  The sauce should be a rose color.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Add chopped basil.  Stir and reduce heat to low to medium and allow the sauce to cook for an additional 30 minutes.  Stir frequently to avoid sticking.

The above Recipe is enough for 1 pound of pasta.  Recipe can be doubled if necessary.

NOTE:  This sauce is delicious with the homemade pasta recipe that I previously posted on February 16, 2010 which can be found in the Archives. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cutlets Milanese

Chicken Cutlet Milanese

The beauty of Cutlets Milanese is that they are delicious with many types of meat.  The recipe is the same whether you use pork loin chops, beef cutlets, veal cutlets or chicken. . .
Just remember to pound your meet very thin and tender. 

Chicken Cutlets Milanese 

6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs  (See recipe below)
1/2 Cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
1 Cup of Gluten Free All Purpose Four
4 Eggs
3 Roma Tomatoes
1 Cup of Lettuce of your choice (preferably Romaine, Endive, Frisee or Arugula)
1 Cup Grape Seed Oil (I prefer this over Olive Oil because it has a higher smoke point and therefore less splatter)
2 Tblspn. Balsamic Vinegar

Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts.  Place each breast on a sheet of plastic wrap and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of the breast.  Use a meat mallot to pound the chicken to desired thickness.  This process also tenderizes the meat.  Once all breasts are pounded, place the flour in one shallow sided dish (a pie plate works well) and the eggs (beaten with a touch of water) in another shallow sided dish.  Mix the Italian seasoned gluten free bread crumbs and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and place the mixture in a third shallow sided dish.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high to high heat.

Dredge each cutlet in flour, coating both sides thoroughly.  Next, dredge the floured cutlet into the egg wash coating thoroughly.  Then press the cutlet into the bread crumb mixture.  (You can at this point redredge in the egg and bread crumbs if you wish to have a thicker batter.  However, one dredging in each is more than sufficient.

Cook the cutlets in the heated oil until they are golden brown on both sides.  (Depending on the meat choice and thickness, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.  Veal cooks faster while chicken and pork take a little longer.)

Remove cutlets from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.  Once cutlets are all done, transfer to a serving tray.  Top with chopped lettuce and chopped Roma tomatoes and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar.

Italian Seasoned Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

I make my own gluten free bread crumbs by running a loaf of brown rice bread in a food processor with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried basil and dried oregano. You can also mix these ingredients into packaged gluten free bread crumbs. Per two cups of bread crumbs I add 1 Tspn. salt, 1 Tspn. pepper, 1/2 tspn. garlic, 2 Tblspn. dried Parsley, 1 Tblspn. dried Basil, 1 Tspn. dried Oregano.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spicey Tequilla Lime Chicken Breasts

Although you certainly wouldn't want to drink this spicey marinade, the chicken breast will not be too hot to eat. . .just delicious.  Enjoy.

Spicey Tequilla Lime Chicken Breasts

4 Skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Medium Shallot minced
1 Large Garlic Clove minced
1 Small Jalapeno Pepper roughly chopped
1 Tspn. Kosher Salt
1 Tblspn.  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Tblspn. Ground Paprika
1/4 Tspn. Ground Ceyenne Pepper
3/4 Cup Tequilla (light/clear not Gold)
1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Clean and pat dry the Chicken Breasts and set aside.  Mix all remaining ingredients together and pour into a large ziplock bag.  Add the Chicken Breasts, seal and move the bag around to thoroughly coat the Chicken Breasts with the marinade.  Place in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours as you prefer based upon your time constraints.  Remove Chicken from marinade and grill until desired wellness making sure however that the Chicken is cooked all the way through.

NOTE:  Do not use the marinade to mop the chicken while it is cooking.  To do so is a health hazzard.  If you wish to use a mop then simply reserve some of the liquid prior to adding the chicken to it for marinating. 

This is a simple, fresh tasting meal that goes great with Grilled Seasoned Corn on the Cob (See recipe below) and a simple baked potato.

Grilled Seasoned Corn on the Cob 

4 Fresh Corn on the Cob with husks removed
4 pads of butter
Salt, Black Pepper, and Garlic powder (not garlic salt), to taste
1 Tblspn. Dried Italian Parsley devided 4 ways.

Place each corn on the cob on its own piece of aluminum foil large enough to roll around the corn on the cob and seal the ends.  Sprinkle the corn with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste and sprinkle with the parsley.  Add a pad of butter to each piece of corn and wrap tightly in the aluminum foil.  Place the corn on a medium to medium high grill.  Rotate the cob every 2 minutes.  Remove the corn from the grill after 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Pork Chops

This is a light refreshing grilled meat, but has an unexpected big taste in your mouth!  Enjoy. . .

4 Pork Loin Chops on the bone
1 Tspn. Salt
1 Tspn. Fresh ground black pepper
2 Tblspn. Fresh minced Rosemary
Juice of one lemon
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tblspn. Red Wine Vinegar

Rinse Pork Chops and pat dry.  Set aside.  Mix remainder of ingredients and whisk well.  Pour marinade into a zip lock bag.  Add the Pork Chops.  Seal bag and move contents around to fully coat chops.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours up to 24 hours depending on your time constraints.  Grill to desired wellness.

These are excellent with Roasted Red Potatoes. . .suggested recipe follows below.

Herb Roasted Red Potatoes

6 Medium to Large Red Potatoes (skin on)
1 Large Shallot
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tblspn. Dried Italian Parsley
1/2 Tspn. Dried Oregano
1 Tspn. Dried Basil
1 Tblspn. Fresh Rosemary
1 Tblspn. Fresh Lemon Zest Reserved
3 Tblspn.  Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley (Reserved)
4 Tblspns. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Clean Red Potatoes well with a brush since skin is being left on.  Slice each potatato length wise and then cut into wedges.  Arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheet.  Roughly chop the shallot and sprinkle over the potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle all dry herbs and fresh Rosemary over the potatoes and shallots.  Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and use your hands to mix all of the ingredients into the potatoes and shallots.  Once thoroughly coated, rearrange in a single layer.  Roast the potatoes in a 425 degree oven until the potatoes are fork tender and light golden brown.  Arrange the potatoes on a serving platter and finish with a sprinkle of the fresh parsley and lemon zest and serve.

NOTE:  Any fresh grilled vegetable is wonderful with this meal.

Monday, August 9, 2010

So sorry that I have not been posting. . .

As most of you know, my brother was very ill these last several months and recently passed away.  I have not been posting recipes during this most difficult time.  I will resume posting within the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I encourage you to look through the archived recipes which you will find on the lower right hand side of the page. Thank you for you patience.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Marinated and Grilled Lamb Chops

Savory Grilled Lamb Chops

These delicious lamb chops are a summer grilling staple at my house.  They are marinated in a savory blend of herbs, lemon, garlic, olive oil and balsamic and then grilled to perfection!  There is no residual "gamey" taste. . .I highly recommend that whether your are a confirmed lamb lover or not, you give these a try. . .I guarantee that you will be back for more!

Savory Grilled Lamb Chops

12 Lamb Chops
2 Large Garlic Cloves Crushed
1 Tblspn. Salt (Sea or Kosher)
1 Tblspn. Ground Black Pepper
1/3 Cup Fresh Mint roughly chopped
1/3 Cup Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley finely chopped
1 Sprig Rosemary (I usually cut a piece that is about 4 inches long)
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Juice of 1 Fresh Lemon

Rinse lamb chops and pat dry.  Set the chops aside.  Mix remaining ingredients in a gallon size zipper plastic bag.  Add the lamb chops to the marinade.  Zip the bag and move the lamb chops around until the marinade is thoroughly mixed and the lamb is well coated.  Place the bag in the refrigerator for 5 to 24 hours according to what your schedule permits.
Grill lamb chops to desired doneness.  I find that 5 minutes on each side over a medium flame results in a medium well done chop.

Serves 4

NOTES:  In a prior post I stated that I preferred to use dry herbs in a marinade.  While I still stand behind that, there are certain meats and fish that do better with the subtle infusion of fresh herbs.  Lamb is one of those meats.   In this recipe if you prefer dry herbs, then use 2 Tblspns. of Parsley, 2 Tblspn. of Mint and 1 Tblspn. of Rosemary.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

For those who prefer Dry Rubs when grilling. . .

     I think that dry rubs result in a very tastey BBQ.  On another note, they are not as messy on your grill.  I think the key to great flavor with a dry rub is the technique in applying it and the length of time the meat is allowed to sit with the dry rub.  Insofar as the technique is concerned, you can't just sprinkle the seasonings on the meat.  You have to get your hands dirty.  Massage the seasoning into the meat making sure that the flavor is really getting in there.  As for the time, I like to dry rub the meat at least 5 hours prior to grilling.  I have done 24 hours when I plan my menu sufficiently in advance.  This is the dry rub that I put together and it tastes great.  Feel free to add or delete spices and share your secrets with me!

BBQ Dry Rub

1/2 Cup Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Garlic Powder (Do not use Garlic Salt in place of Garlic Powder)
3 Tblspn. Ceyenne Pepper
1/4 Cup Chili Powder
3 Tblspn. Cumin
1/2 Cup Smoked Paprika

Place all ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake to mix ingredients thoroughly.  Store spice rub in a tupperware container or glass spice jar.    This rub is delicious on Ribs, Brisket and Chicken.  I have also used this rub on Sirloins.  It can be used in combination with a liquid mop or BBQ sauce on the grill.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gluten intolerance and most BBQ sauces are not a good mix. . .

      Just reading the ingredients on most BBQ sauce labels is a frightening experience for a person who can't eat Gluten.  There are a plethora of ingredients that do or may contain gluten such as, MSG, Modified Food Starch, and Caramel color.  Well, I began working on a BBQ sauce, something I had never made, shortly after my diagnosis.  I ultimately achieved a BBQ sauce that made me never want to buy it in a bottle again.  It is very easy to make.  This recipe is a nice balance between spicy and sweet.  However, the beauty of this recipe is that the seasonings can be adjusted easily to accommodate your own taste.  If you want it hotter, throw in more Jalepeno or perhaps substitute a Habanero instead.  Sweeter?  More brown sugar or balsamic vinegar.  Saltier?  add a pinch. . .you get the idea.  This BBQ sauce is great on Brisket, Ribs, Chicken, Shrimp. . .if you can BBQ it, this sauce works.  Enjoy! 

Donna's Kickin'  BBQ Sauce

3 Small Shallots finely minced
1 Large Sweet Yellow Onion chopped
4 Large Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 Jalapeno pepper minced (If you like it hotter keep the seeds, otherwise discard seeds)
4 Strips Thick Cut Smoked Bacon chopped
4 Tblspn. Ground Black Pepper
4 Tblspn. Paprika
4 Tblspn. Chili Powder
2 Tspn. Ground Cumin
2 Tspn. Ground Ceyenne Pepper
2 Tspn. Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Apple Balsamic Vinegar
2 28 oz. Cans of Crushed Tomatoes  (with no seasonings added)

Heat oil in a saucier or large skillet.  Add bacon.  When Bacon is half way cooked, add garlic, onion, shallots and jalapeno.  Cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crisped on the edges.  Add crushed tomatoes and the balance of all remaining ingredients.  Stir thoroughly until brown sugar and vinegar is incorporated with no color streaking.    At this point, the BBQ sauce should be a brownish red.  The color of the sauce is directly related to its appropriate taste.  If you prefer a darker BBQ sauce, you can add, more of the Brown Sugar, Apple Balsamic and Chili Powder at this point.  However, add only 1 Tblspn at a time of the Brown Sugar and Apple Balsamic and 1 Tspn. of the Chili Powder and taste test before any further additions.  Bring the BBQ sauce to a light boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.

Makes 2 Quarts.

Note:  If you prefer a very smooth textured BBQ sauce, simply allow the BBQ sauce to cool and run the sauce through either a food processor or blender to achieve a smooth consistency.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Veal Giuseppi. . .inspired by my husband and created by me for him. . .

Veal Giuseppi

 This is a savory, rustic dish of veal, fresh fennel and capers brought together with fire roasted tomatoes.  Veal Giuseppi is amazing served over steamed white rice.  I prefer a delicate green vegetable to accompany this dish.  Here it is shown with Garlic and Lemon Broccolini.  Enjoy!

Veal Giuseppi

8 Veal Cutlets
1 Medium Shallot finely chopped
1 Small Garlic Clove minced
1 Large Fennel Bulb
3 Tblspn. Capers (Non-Pareil)
3 Tblspn. Sliced Kalamata or Dried Black Olives (optional)
3 Cups Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Cup Gluten Free Flour for dusting Veal Cutlets  (seasoned with 1 Tspn. Salt, 1 Tspn. Ground Black Pepper, and 2 Tblspn. Dried Parsley)
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste when dish is complete and in simmer stage.
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblspn. Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup Dry Red Wine

Rinse the Veal Cutlets and pound to tenderize.  (I usually pound the Veal to 1/2 its original thickness.  Always pound from the center outward.  Often the cutlet becomes large enough to cut into two pieces.)  Dredge each pounded cutlet in the seasoned flour coating each side of the cutlet and set aside.  Chop the Shallot, mince the garlic, rinse the capers and slice the olives and set the ingredients aside.  Break down the fennel bulb.  (Cut of the stalks, but reserve the Frons, quarter the bulb, remove the core and slice the fennel and rinse.)  Heat the extra virgin olive oil and butter over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Sautee the veal cutlets until lightly golden brown on each side.  Remove Veal from pan and set aside.  Remove pan from heat and add 1/3 cup dry red wine.  Return pan to the heat  (medium heat) and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan and incorporate the pan drippings.  Add garlic, shallots and fennel to the pan.  Sautee until the fennel is tender.  Add fire roasted tomatoes and allow to cook for 10 minutes.  Add capers and black olives.  Stir sauce to incorporate ingredients.  Taste sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Add veal back to the pan and turn each piece of veal to coat thoroughly with sauce. Run a knife through the Fennel Frons and lightly chop.  Sprinkle the chopped frons over the sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer.  Allow to Veal to simmer in sauce for 30 minutes.

While the Veal is simmering, prepare the steamed white rice and the Garlic and Lemon Broccolini (see recipe below).

Garlic and Lemon Broccolini

2 Bunches Broccolini
1 Medium Garlic Clove finely minced
1/2 Tspn. Sea Salt
1 Tspn. Ground Black Pepper
Juice and Zest of 1/2 small Lemon
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Water

Prepare Broccolini by cuting the bottom 1/4 inch of the stems and rinse under cold water.  Add 1/3 cup of Water, fresh lemon juice and Broccolini to a skillet over medium high heat and cover.  Allow Broccolini to steam until slightly tender, but still firm.  Remove skillet from heat and drain water from pan.  Rinse Broccolini with cold water.  This will aid in retaining the green color.  Pat dry.  Return pan to medium high heat and add the extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic.  When oil is heated, return the Broccolini to the pan.  Season with the sea salt and ground black pepper.  Allow Broccolini to sautee until fork tender.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon zest. 

Note:  There are varying sizes of Capers.  The general rule is the smaller the caper the more mild its taste.  You will notice that I always use the "nonpereil" caper.  This caper is from the South of France and is very mild.  If you haven't tried capers in your cooking or you haven't tried the nonpereil caper, please do so!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grilling Sauces and Marinades are a challenge for those of us on a Gluten Free diet. . .

With summer upon us, grilling season is officially on!  The problem for those of us on this gluten free diet is that most marinades and grilling sauces have hidden in there somewhere in the form of modified food starch or MSG those nasty glutens that will make us ill.  From time to time throughout the summer, I will be posting some very simple grill recipes that will include sauces and marinades that are homemade and easy.  I already posted one grilling sauce recipe on March 25th.  Today I am posting a simple marinade that is absolutely delicious for chicken breasts, but is also great for lamb chops and steaks.  I will also be posting a wonderful homemade BBQ sauce in the upcoming week.

Zesty Garlic Balsamic and Herb Marinade

4 Tblspn. dried Parsley
3 Tblspn. dried Basil
1 Tspn. dried Oregano
1 Tspn. dried Marjoram
1 Tblspn. Salt
2 Tblspn. Black Pepper
1 Large Garlic Clove Crushed
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
The Juice of one fresh lemon

Mix all of the above ingredients and pour into a large ziploc plastic bag.  Place skinless, boneless chicken breast in bag and roll bag in your hand to ensure total coverage of the meat.  I refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours depending on time availability prior to grilling.

Note:  If using this mixture for lamb, I substitute 1 Tblspn. of dried mint leaves in the place of the Marjoram.  If using for steak, keep the above recipe the same, but add 1/4 Cup of Worcestershire Sauce.

Note:  Fresh Herbs do not work as well as dried herbs for a marinade.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Steak Au Pauvre with a Dijon Cognac Sauce

4 New York Strip Steaks
1 1/2 Cups fresh Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
1 Tblspn. Olive Oil
3 Tblspn. Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup Cognac (Brandy can be substituted)
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2 Tblspn. Dijon Mustard

Rinse and pat dry the steaks.  Put fresh coarse ground black pepper on a plate.  Sprinkle each steak with Kosher salt.  Place each steak onto the black pepper pressing it firmly to ensure that it is thoroughly coated with the black pepper.  Repeat for other side of the steak.  Once coated in pepper, let the steaks stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Heat olive oil and unsalted butter in a skillet over medium high heat.  Cook steaks.  Approximately 5 minutes on each side to blacken steak nicely.  If you prefer your meat well done, remove from skillet and place steak in a baking dish in the oven at 200 degrees until it is cooked through as this will allow the steak to maintain juiciness. 

Once all steaks are blackened, remove the skillet from the pan and add the Cognac.  Return it to the burner and ignite the cognac.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape pan and deglaze the pan thoroughly.  Add  the dijon mustard and the cream and stir thoroughly to incorporate.  Turn off heat and serve immediately.  Spoon sauce over the steaks and serve. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stuffed Escarole. . .a great side dish all year round!

Stuffed Escarole

1 Large Head of Escarole cleaned and chopped
1 Cup of sliced Mushrooms (White or Baby Portobella)
1/2 Cup chopped Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Cup Chopped Sweet Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
1/3 Cup sliced Black or Kalamata Olives
2 Tblspn.  Capers (Non-Pareil)
1/2 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (Unseasoned)
1 Tspn. Salt
1 Tblspn. Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Crushed Red Pepper Flake
1 Tblspn. Dried Parsley
1/2 Tspn. Dried Basil
1/4 Tspn. Dried Oregano
1 Cup of Water
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place the cleaned and chopped Escarole in a sauce pan with the water and lemon juice over medium heat.  Cover and let simmer until Escarole is cooked.  Drain and set aside.  In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium/high heat.  Add the garlic, onion, red bell pepper and allow to cook approximately 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the mushrooms and cook approximately 2 more minutes.  Add the drained and cooked Escarole stirring to incorporate the ingredients and allow to cook until Escarole is heated through.  Add salt, pepper, red pepper flake, parsley, basil and oregano, capers and olives and stir to incorporate.  Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Add bread crumbs and stir to incorporate and to allow the bread crumbs to absorb any standing liquid.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6 as a side dish.  Recipe can be doubled.

Note:  When cleaning Escarole, it is very important to make sure that all dirt is washed off or else the dish will be gritty.  It normally takes several rinses.  Often it is necessary to lift the leaves individually as overall rinsing with the kitchen sprayer or faucet is not always sufficient.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Balsamic Tomato Grilled Pork Loin Chop

Grilling season is around the corner!

This is an easy and delicious meal!  Sweet and savory with just the right amount of tanginess.  It is pictured above with Italian Green Beans with sauteed mushrooms, Grilled Plum Tomatoes and a baked potato.  This is so tastey that your family will never know how quick and easy it was!  The side dish recipes are also included below.

Balsamic Tomato Grilled Pork Loin Chop

6 Pork Loin Chops (Bone In)
1/2 Tspn. Salt
1 Tspn. Black Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Ceyenne Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Ground Cumin
1/2 Tspn. Chili Powder
1 Tspn. Paprika (Hot Paprika can be substituted)
1/3 Cup of Gluten Free Ketchup
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Mix ground spices together and rub both sides of each pork loin chop.  Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.  Whisk Balsamic Vinegar and Gluten Free Ketchup thouroughly.  Remove dry rubbed pork loin chops from refrigerator 45 minutes prior to grilling to remove chill from meat.  Grill pork loin chops turning the first time after 4 minutes.  Mop grilled side with tomato balsamic glaze.  Repeat until pork loin chops are done to your taste preference.  I prefer my pork loin chops to be cooked through with no pink, but still juicey.  This usually takes cooking the chops twice on each side for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per turn.

Serves 6

Italian Green Beans With Mushrooms

1 1/2 Pounds Italian Green Beans cleaned and cut
1 Cup White or Portobella Mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 Small Garlic Clove minced
1 Small Shallot minced
1 Tspn. Salt
2 Tspn. Ground Black Pepper
2 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Par boil the Green Beans in a pot of water until slightly tender, but with a crisp in the center.  (Approximately 2 minutes.  Drain and run cold water over the top to stop cooking process.  Let excess water drain off.  In a skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil.  Add minced garlic and minced shallot and allow to cook until the shallot is transclucent.  Add sliced Mushrooms (add additional olive oil if necessary to prevent burning).  Allow  mushrooms to turn lightly golden.  Add Green Beans, salt and pepper.  Cook approximately 3 minutes once Green Beans are added.
Note:  Never add the salt until the mushrooms are golden.  Salt will cause the mushrooms to leach fluid which inhibits the browning process.

Grilled Plum Tomatoes

6 Medium or Large Plum Tomatoes
1 Tspn. Salt
1Tspn. Black Pepper
1/2 Tspn. Sugar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Wash and dry Plum Tomatoes.  Cut off stem end.  Slice each tomato length wise.  Clean the seeds out.  Brush each tomato with olive oil and sprinkle each with the salt, pepper and sugar.  Place skin side up on the grill until grill marks form.  (Approximately 1 - 2 minutes).  Turn once for approximately 30 seconds.

Note:  The Tomatoes can also be baked in the oven.  When I choose to bake the tomatoes in the oven, I also sprinkle each tomato with parmigiano cheese.  The cheese forms a golden crust over each which contrasts with the sweetness very nicely.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Warm Endive and Raddicchio Salad in a Frico Boat

This is a wonderful recipe to serve either as a salad, an appetizer or a side dish.  The saltiness of the Frico and the slight bitterness of the Endive and the Raddicchio compliment eachother beautifully.  Frico is simply a Parmigiano cracker.  The Frico can be made in a skillet or in the oven.  They can be left flat or they can be shaped while they are warm out of the oven.  They are very elegant and tastey, but very easy to make!

Warm Endive and Raddiccio Salad in a Frico Boat

1 Head of Raddicchio chopped and cleaned
3 cups of Endive chopped and cleaned
4 Scallions finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 Tspn. Sea Salt
1 Tspn. Black Pepper
1 Tspn. Fresh Lemon Zest
1 Cup Finely Grated Parmigiano Cheese
3 Tbspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1Tblspn.  Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tspn. Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions for Frico:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the 1 cup of finely grated Parmigian cheese with the fresh lemon zest.  Divide mixture into 6 approximately even amounts.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.  (It is actually easier to line the pan with a silicone baking sheet if you have one handy.)  Spoon each amount onto the tray and flaten  into a disk shape approximately 4 to 5 inches in diameter.  Place in oven and bake until the Frico are lightly golden brown and crisp.  Usually 5 - 6 minutes.  Depending on the moisture content in the cheese, it could take a little less or more time so watch carefully.  Remove from tray immediately.  If you wish to make a bowl or a boat, place the Frico over a ramikan or small custard dish.  Do this carefully so as not to break the frico.  Shape and let cool for a few minutes. 

Directions for Warm Endive and Raddicchio Salad

Cut Raddicchio in half through the center of the core.  Remove core and chop Radicchio into bite size pieces.  You want the Radicchio chunky so do not over chop.  Chop Endive so that you have three cups worth.  Heat two tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add the Raddicchio, Endive, Garlic, Scallions, Salt, and Pepper to the skillet and sautee the ingredients until wilted and tender.  Remove from heat.  Taste test and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice and add the remaining Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.  Lightly toss.  Fill each Frico with the warm salad.

Serves 6

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Homemade Gluten Free Pasta (pictured above newly cut and prior to cooking)

Where do I start with homemade gluten free pasta?  How about the word "Yikes"!  It took me five years to make this recipe work in order to attain the texture and taste that I prefer in a homemade pasta.  The obvious problem with homemade gluten free pasta is getting it to stick together and not crumble during any of the phases, kneading, rolling, cutting or cooking.  Essentially there are two components to make this work.  First, a mixture of flours.  You cannot use simply one type of flour.  You must mix several types of flour, such as rice, tapioca, garbanzo flours or perhaps some potato starch or corn starch.  Beware though because corn starch does not freeze well at all.  Well, I've made the mixture part simple for you. I use King Arthur Gluten Free Flour. It is a mix of flours and it results in a very nice texture to the pasta dough. Second, Xanthan Gum.  I will not get into the complicated explanation of what Xantham Gum is exactly!  You could look that up on the internet.  However, it is an absolutely necessary ingredient to prevent crumbling of the pasta dough.  It can be found in the gluten free section right next to the gluten free flours. 

Note:  For those of you who are not gluten free, but want to try homemade pasta, the beauty of this recipe is that it converts back to a gluten recipe very easily.  You will simply substitute your regular flour for the gluten free flour and leave out the Xanthan Gum.

This pasta is delicious with any sauce.  I personally find that homemade pasta works best with a classic Italian Tomato Sauce, but is also delicious with a Bolognese Sauce, Pesto Sauce and Alfredo Sauce.


Homemade Gluten Free Pasta

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
5 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (optional)

 Mix the gluten free flour with salt, nutmeg and Xanthan Gum in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add eggs and water.  Use a fork or flat whisk to beat eggs and mix into flour.  Once combined use you hands to bring dough together.  Dough will be stiff.  Turn out onto a wooden board and knead until the dough is firm and holding together nicely.  Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and let set for 30 minutes.  (If you are making the non-gluten free pasta, you will knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and then cover for 15 minutes with a bowl.)

Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  I roll and cut the dough by hand to make pasta shapes such as twists (pictured above), but you can use a pasta rolling machine to make spaghetti or fettucini.  Basically roll your dough on a lightly foured board until the dough is about 1/16 inch thick and cut your shape preference.  If you like spaghetti or fettucini and want to cut it by hand, roll up your rectangle from the long side, as you would a jelly roll, and then cut your slices to the desired thickness of your spaghetti or fettucini.  Layout pasta on a lightly floured baking sheet. 

Line a baking pan with wax paper and lightly flour. Place your pasta on the wax paper and layer until done separating each layer with a floured sheet of wax paper.  When done, cover top layer with a sheet of wax paper and place the tray in the refrigerator to dry pasta.  (At least 4 hours).  If you choose to freeze the pasta for use at a later time, you may do so, but make sure that you seal the pasta in a ziplock freezer bag.

Cook the pasta as normal in a pot of boiling salted water.  Cook uncovered until tender.  This will take approximately 3 - 5 minutes as fresh pasta cooks quicker than dry pasta.  Homemade pasta will float to the surface when it is ready.

Makes 4 Servings.  (Recipe can be doubled)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Classic Italian Tomato Sauce

By special request of my friend Dena, I give you my family recipe.  Now, in my house we grew up using homemade canned tomatoes.  However, in today's day and age of both parents working, clearly most people do not have the time.  So, instead of homemade canned tomatoes, I have converted the recipe to allow for a purchased canned tomato, but it is still very good.  The key to buying the canned tomato to use is to use what is called a tomato "sauce"--NOT A PREMADE SAUCE.  There are a number of very good Italian brands, but believe it or not, Hunt's makes a very good one too!    What I look for is a brand that has nothing but the tomatoes and low sodium.  I stay away from any brand that has added onion powder, bell peppers or any ingredients that will alter the taste of your sauce.  I hope that you enjoy it. 

Italian Tomato Sauce

1 Medium Yellow Onion diced
2 Garlic Cloves Crushed  (use a garlic crusher or garlic grater for correct consistency)
3/4 Tblspn. Salt
1 Tblspn. Black Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes  (In a sauce this large, it will not result in a hot sauce.  It simply adds flavor in the background)
2 Tblspn. Dried Parsley
1 Tblspn. Dried Basil
1 Tspn. Dried Oregano
1 Large Dried Bay Leaf
4 Large Fresh Basil Leaves roughly torn
4 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cans Tomato Sauce (see note above) 13 oz. each
3 Cans Tomato Paste (6 oz. each)
1/2 Cup Dry Red Cooking Wine
1/2 Cup Water

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add the diced Onions and Crushed Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes stirring frequently until onions begin to sweat.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE GARLIC OR THIS WILL MAKE THE SAUCE BITTER.  Add Tomato Paste, water, and red wine and stir to incorporate.  Stir frequently to avoid sticking.  Add dried parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Let paste cook at a low boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly to avoid sticking.  Add Tomato Sauce and stir to incorporate paste mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Add the Bay Leaf and fresh basil.  Cook at a low boil for approximately 1 hour stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce is not sticking.  Taste after 1 hour to determine if any further seasoning is necessary.  If so, add herbs and seasonings to taste.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 3 additional hours.

Note:  My mom used to add the dried herbs with the onion and garlic to the olive oil prior to adding the paste.  I too used to do this.  However, I found that it was very easy to burn the herbs and then it looked like dark flecks in the sauce.  I avoid this by adding the herbs with the paste.

Additionally, if you want a meat sauce.  Add the meatballs, sausage, pork or meat of your choice to the sauce.  I do not cook the meat in the sauce.  I prefer to make the meat separately and then add it to the sauce.  Keep in mind that you should add the meat early in the cooking process to maximize the flavor.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hi All. . .

During the upcoming week I will be posting my recipe for a classic tomato sauce at the request of Dena.  I will also be posting a recipe for Veal in a Sherry Orange Sauce. . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pan Seared Pork Loin Chops with Sherry Cream Sauce with Corn Peperonato

Pan Seared Pork Loin Chops with Sherry Cream Sauce

8 Center Cut Pork Loin Chops without bone
Salt and Pepper
3 Tblspn. Capers (Non-Pareil)
1 Small Shallot finely minced
6 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Sherry
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

Rinse pork chops and pat dry with toweling paper.  Liberally Salt and Pepper both sides of chops.  Let chops stand for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium high flame.  Add Pork Chops to hot oil and sear on each side until golden brown carmelization occurs on each side.  (Usually 3 - 5 minutes per side).  Remove Pork Chops from pan and set aside.  To hot oil add the shallots until they begin to sweat.  Add Sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze the pan and bring the drippings into the Sherry, stirring to incorporate.  Reduce Sherry by one-half.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the Heavy Cream and Capers and stir to incorporate sauce.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes over medium low flame until sauce starts to thicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste (usually 1/2 Teaspoon of each).  Return the Pork Chops to the pan turning to coat each side with sauce.  Reduce heat to low and allow to finish cooking for 10 minutes.  

Note:  Mushrooms are a delicious addition to this dish.  If you wish to add mushrooms.  Slice them thinly.  Use either white or baby bella mushrooms.  Add them to the dish at the same time that you add the shallots.

Corn Peperonato

3 cups of Fresh or Frozen Corn
1 Cup of Roasted Red Peppers thinly sliced
1 Small Garlic Clove Crushed
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tblspn. Unsalted Butter
1 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil over medium flame with the crushed garlic and red pepper flakes to infuse the oil and butter mixture with the garlic flavor and to add heat.  Add corn and cook until corn is just tender.  Add the roasted red peppers, salt and pepper to taste and allow to cook for another 5 minutes stirring frequently. 

Note:  2 tablespoons of minced  yellow sweet oinions or chopped scallions may be added to this dish.  If you choose to add the onions to the dish add them with the garlic while the oil and butter mixture is heating.

I serve the pork over steamed and lightly seasoned white rice and drizzle the chops and rice with remaining sauce. 

Serves 4

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiano

  This is a wonderful Italian comfort food.  I will start by saying that I make my Eggplant Parmigiano "lasagna style" because my husband prefers this method.  His family was from southern Italy.  My family was from central Italy and preferred to have the Eggplant on a plate in a single layer with sauce and cheese melted over the top.  Whichever way you prefer, this recipe will work.  Simply layer the Eggplant if you would like to try lasagna style or, if not, forego that step and layout your fried eggplant in a single layer with the sauce and cheese.

     Another variation for this dish is whether to leave the skin on the eggplant or whether to peel it off.  I prefer it peeled.  I find the skin bitter and tough.  However, some people like the bitter taste and choose to leave it on.  My recipe calls for the Eggplant to be peeled.  However, skip that step is you prefer to leave the skin on.

     The next decision for you to make is how thin should the eggplant be cut?  In Italy, the more southern regions prefer a thicker cut.  The more central regions prefer a thinner cut (about 1/4 inch thick).  This is a matter of preference and the thickness you choose does not alter the recipe.  For a single layer Eggplant Parmigiano, I prefer to slice the Eggplant on the round.  However, for Lasagna style it works better to slice the eggplant long.  Again, this is your choice as the recipe is not altered by this decision.

     In order to achieve the perfect result, the Eggplant must be prepared correctly, you must use a good homemade Italian Tomato Sauce.  Do not substitute a bottled pre-made sauce.  Additionally, the cheese should be of very good quality and used liberally.


4 Medium Eggplant
4 Cups Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
4 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
4 Cups Shaved Mozzerella cheese
1 Cup of Grated Parmigiano Cheese
3 Quarts of cooked Tomato Sauce
6 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Vegetable oil for frying Eggplant
Salt for rinsing Eggplant (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 Tspn.Salt
1 Tspn. Pepper

     Make sure your tomato sauce is thoroughly cooked and heated.  Reduce to simmer and reserve for later use.

     Prepare Eggplant:  Cut off the stem of the eggplant and the opposite end (just enough to remove the dimple).  Peel the skin off using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife.  Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices (either on the round or lengthwise).  For Lasagna style (stacked) Eggplant Parmigiano, slice the Eggplant lengthwise.  Exposed flesh of the Eggplant discolors quickly so transfer the slices to a bowl of salted cold water.  Place a plate or two over the Eggplant in the salted water to press down the Eggplant.  Let the Eggplant soak until the water turns lightly brown.  This will remove any bitterness from the Eggplant.  (Usually soaking the Eggplant for 30 minutes will be sufficient for this dish.)  Drain and rinse the salt off the Eggplant and layer the Eggplant in a single layer onto papertowels.  Cover each layer of Eggplant with a paper towel and permit the Eggplant to dry off for 30 minutes.

     Pour the flour, seasoned bread crumbs and eggs into three separate dishes (I like using large pie baking dishes).  Make sure to whisk the eggs to incorporate the yokes and whites.  Add salt and pepper to the eggs.  I usually add about 1 tspn. of each.  Heat vegetable oil over medium high flame.  (Vegetable oil is preferred over olive oil because the vegetable oil has a higher smoking point and will splatter less.)  Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the Eggplant.  Otherwise, the breading will come off or be on the oily side.  (Once you see small surface bubbles in the oil, you can commence frying the breaded eggplant.)

      While waiting for the oil to come up to termperature, begin breading your Eggplant.  Press each slice of Eggplant into the flour and coat both sides of each slice.  Remove from flour and dip into the egg until thoroughly coated.  Remove from egg and coat each slice on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs.

     Transfer the breaded slices of Eggplant to the hot oil and fry until lightly golden brown on each side.  Remove from oil and place onto paper towel lined baking sheets in a single layer to allow excess oil to be removed from fried Eggplant.  I usually change the papertowels after each batch.  Allow to drain for ten minutes while breading and frying the next batch. 

     Coat the bottom of the lasagna casserole with the cooked tomato sauce.  Layer the Eggplant on the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly to permit full coverage.  Ladle more sauce over the top of the eggplant and sprinkle the layer with parmigiano and mozzerella cheese.  (More or less cheese can be used depending on your preference).  Continue layering the Eggplant in this manner until the casserole is full.  The top layer will be cheese. 

     Transfer the Eggplant to a preheated 350 degree oven and bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil from the pan and allow to bake uncovered until the top layer of cheese is lightly golden brown.  Remove from oven and let pan stand for approximately 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving.  Additional sauce can be ladled onto each serving. 

Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

I usually will make my own gluten free bread crumbs by running a loaf of brown rice bread in a food processor with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried basil and dried oregano. You can also mix these ingredients into packaged gluten free bread crumbs. Per two cups of bread crumbs I add 1 Tspn. salt, 1 Tspn. pepper, 1/2 tspn. garlic, 2 Tblspn. dried Parsley, 1 Tblspn. dried Basil, 1 Tspn. dried Oregano.

Serves 8, but will serve more if the Eggplant Parmigiano is accompanied with a side of pasta.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stuffed Rapini

Stuffed Rapini

This is a delicious green vegetable.  It is a little on the bitter side, but has a unique flavor when prepared correctly.  Rapini is also known as Broccoli Raab and Broccoli Rabe.  This particular recipe is a great side dish for meat, fish and even pasta. 

Stuffed Rapini

2 Bunches Rapini cleaned and chopped
1/2 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Giardiniera (Hot or Mild depending on preference)
2 Large Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 Tblspn. Salt
1 Tblspn. Black Pepper
1/4 Tspn. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1/2 Cup Water
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place cleaned and chopped Rapini in a large skillet with the water over medium high flame.   Sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper and all of the lemon juice Cover and let cook until wilting begins.  Uncover and allow to cook until tender and water is evaporated.  When water is evaporated, add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the remainder of salt and pepper and the Red Pepper flakes.  Add the finely minced Garlic and the Giardiniera.  Stir to incorporate and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to a low simmer and add the gluten free bread crumbs, stirring to incorporate and absorb any standing liquid. 

Serves 6

Note:  When cleaning the Rapini, cut off the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the thicker part of the stems and discard.  This recipe is delicious hot or at room temperature. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grandma's Roasted Chicken

This dish is naturally gluten free as long as the dried herbs that you select are gluten free.  McCormick herbs are gluten free.  Over the years I have made some very minor alterations to this Roasted Chicken recipe, but I must still give deference to my maternal grandma, Marietta, for this one!

Grandma's Roasted Chicken
6 Split Chicken Breasts on the bone with skin
6 pads of Herb Butter (Recipe below)
6 Tblspns.  Dried Parsley
6 Tspn. Dried Basil
1 Tblspn.  Dried Oregano
1 Tblspn. Dried Rosemary
2 Tblspn. Salt
3 Tblspn. Black Pepper
3 Tblspn. Paprika
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts and layout on a baking sheet.  Use a large enough baking sheet so that there is space between the breasts.  This will allow for better browning.  Place one pad of the Herb Butter between the skin and the meat of each chicken breast.  (You will sometimes have to lift the skin and separate it from the meat to make a pocket.)  Divide the Extra Virgin Olive Oil among the chicken breasts by drizzling it over the top of each chicken breast and rubbing it and all over the skin.  In a small bowl, combine the dried parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper and paprika.  Liberally rub the seasoning mix over the skin of each of the chicken breasts.  Cover and let stand in Refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  (You can cook the chicken after seasoning, but the meat will have greater flavor the longer it stands with the dry rub prior to roasting.)

Remove seasoned chicken breasts from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to roasting.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  When oven reaches temperature, place the chicken breast on middle shelf and allow to cook at 450 until the skin becomes golden brown and crispy.  Reduce temperature to 425 degrees and finish cooking.  (Total cooking time is usally 40 -  50 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts).

Note:  The side dishes pictured are the Asparagus Parmigiano Risotto (Recipe posted here on December 18, 2009) and Drunken Braised Zucchini (Recipe below)

Herb Butter

1 Stick of softened (not melted) unsalted butter
1 Tspn. Salt
1 Tspn.  Black Pepper
1/2 Small Garlic Clove finely minced
1/2 Small Shallot finely minced
1 Tspn.  Dried Parsley
1/2 Tspn. Dried Basil
1/4 Tspn. Dried Oregano
1/4 Tspn.  Dried Rosemary
1/4 Tspn. Dried Marjoram

Using a Mortar and Pestel combine all of the above ingredients into the softened unsalted butter.  When thoroughly combined, place the Herb Butter onto a piece of saran wrap and form into the shape of a log.  Wrap tightly and allow to harden in refrigerator. 

Note:  Fresh Herbs can be used in this dish, but I find that the butter holds longer and becomes infused with more flavor from the dried herbs.

Drunken Braised Zucchini 

6 Small to Medium Zucchini cleaned and sliced into 1 inch thick rounds
1 Medium Shallot chopped
1 Small Garlic Clove minced
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
4 Tblspn. finely grated Parmigiano cheese
4 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Sherry

Heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a skillet over medium high flame.  Add Zucchini, Shallot and Garlic to hot oil.  Allow the Zucchini to braise to a golden color and then stir to braise both sides.  (Do not add salt during braising process as it will cause the vegetbable to emit fluid and will prevent adequate carmelization of the Zucchini.)  Reduce flame to medium low and add Sherry.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate flavors.  (This process is known as deglazing the pan.)  Allow Zucchini to simmer until the Sherry is cooked off.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Season to taste with Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.  Sprinkle the Parmigiano cheese over the top and serve.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gluten Free Fusilli Pomodoro Fresco

Some of my favorite pasta dishes are those that get made from whatever we have in the refigerator.  If you don't have some of the ingredients on hand for this dish, then experiment.  Here's a tip for making the gluten free pasta:  WHEN MAKING GLUTEN FREE PASTA IT IS IMPORTANT TO ADHERE TO THE COOKING TIME ON THE BOX.  HOWEVER, A CHEFF FROM ITALY TOLD ME A SECRET THAT IS A KEEPER!  USE A PASTA PAN WITH A STRAINER INSERT.  HALF WAY THROUGH THE COOKING PROCESS, REMOVE THE PASTA AND RINSE IT UNDER COLD WATER.  RETURN THE PASTA IN THE STRAINER TO THE ORIGINAL WATER AND CONTINUE COOKING.  This technique results in the pasta holding together and having a nearly identical consistency to regular pasta.

Pomodoro Fresco Sauce

1 lb. Gluten Free Fusilli
1 Cup sliced fresh mushrooms (white or portobella)
1/4 Cup diced Sweet Yellow Onion
1 Large Garlic Clove plus 1 Small Garlic Clove minced
3 Tblspn.  Capers (Non-Pareil)
3 Tblspn. Chopped Black Olives
1/2 of a Roasted Red Pepper roughly chopped
2 Tblspn. Dried Parsley
1 Tblspn. Dried Basil
1/2 Tspn. Dried Oregano
4 Fresh Basil Leaves cut Chefanade style
30 oz. Diced Tomatoes with juice
2 Tblspn. Tomato Paste
3 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

In a low saucier or a frying pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the sliced mushrooms, diced sweet yellow onion and garlic to the pan.  When the mushrooms start to turn golden brown and the onion sweats, add the diced tomatoes with juice and the tomato paste.  Stir to incorporate and add dried Parsley, Basil and Oregano and salt and pepper to taste.  Let cook 10 minutes over medium high heat bringing to a low boil.  Add the Capers, Olives and Roasted Peppers.  Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, add the fresh basil chefanade and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.  Cook gluten free pasta according to directions (and the tip above) in a pot of boiling, salted water.  When pasta is fully cooked, but still al dente, strain and add pasta directly to pan with sauce. Raise the heat on the sauce to medium and allow the pasta to cook in the sauce for another minute.

Note:  The term "al dente" refers to the desired texture of the pasta.  When the pasta is cooked al dente there will be a slight resistence in the center of the pasta when it is finished cooking.    It's literal translation is "to the tooth". . .so you want a little resistence to the tooth.


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