white wine

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chops

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If  you never tried  Panzanella, chances are that a dish using stale bread is on the bottom of your “must try this” list.
After all, nowadays stale bread is usually used either for bread pudding, bread dumplings, or, most likely of all – thrown into the garbage bin.
Now, I have to admit that most bread you can buy is best thrown away after a few days, since it was nothing special to begin with. But if you are a fan of really good bread, it would pain you to throw away some of it just because it has survived a few more days than usual and has become a bit stale. If this happens in my kitchen, I usually slice the bread thick and grill it, which will revive it beautifully and will give a loaf at least another 4 days of good use.
Or, surprise surprise – I’ll make  Panzanella.
The first written recipe for  Panzanella dates to the 15th century. Originally, stale bread was soaked in water, onions added, then dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. This eventually morphed into the modern  Panzanella through the addition of cucumbers and, later-on, tomatoes.
Later still, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic were sometimes added, although traditionalists still prefer the simple version of soaked bread, onions, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and sometimes fresh basil.
If I prepare  Panzanella as a main dish, I usually add boiled eggs, anchovy fillets, capers, garlic paste, roasted marinated peppers and lots of chives and fresh basil and oregano. I don’t soak my Panzanella  in water but rather in a generous amount of dressing of good olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before I dig into it, by which time the dressing has been soaked up by the bread. Usually, I over-eat on this stuff because once I start, I can’t stop until it’s all gone 😦 🙂
However, since I had grilled pork chops with this one, I kept it simple and used only bread, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and dressing. What a wonderful meal this was…….
So, I hope that next time you have some good, rustic bread which has seen better days, you will give this delicious dish a try 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Sugar Peas

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Risotto  is such a delicious, easy preparation of rice that I am amazed it does not show up more frequently in homes and restaurants. Maybe because it has a stigma of being difficult to prepare and labor intensive, which is far from being the truth. While it does take time to prep and simmer for ca 25 minutes while stirring constantly, it might be called tedious but hardly  labor intensive. It also has the advantage of being the perfect dish for a dinner party if done by the “restaurant method” – cooking the risotto about 2/3’s and then cooling off, later finishing the cooking process for just a few more minutes right before service time. (That’s how you get your risotto served on time in restaurants, otherwise too much time would pass from the time you order to the time you get served). Just remember to have the texture of your risotto slightly more liquid when you remove it from the stove top then you actually prefer the risotto when eating it, since the rice will continue to cook and absorb liquid between the time you stop cooking and the time you’ll have your first spoonful.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

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Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

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Bella say's :  Let's dig in...

Bella say’s : Let’s dig in…

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Preparation :
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season cod with kosher salt and white pepper, steam covered very slowly in butter and white wine, when cooked about halfway, set aside on a warm plate  to slowly cook through

season cod with kosher salt and white pepper, steam covered very slowly in butter and white wine, when cooked about halfway, set aside on a warm plate to slowly cook through

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simmer cleaned red beets in salted water until cooked, reserve cooking liquid,peel and dice beets

simmer cleaned red beets in salted water until cooked, reserve cooking liquid,peel and dice beets

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return beet stock to a simmer, season with garlic paste and cayenne pepper

set diced beets aside, return beet stock to a simmer, season with garlic paste and cayenne pepper

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saute onions and garlic paste in butter

saute onions and garlic paste in butter

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add arborio rice and saute another minute

add arborio rice and saute another minute

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add beet stock to the rice, enough to just cover, stir constantly, keep adding beet stock as it is being absorbed by the rice, constantly stirring

add beet stock to the rice, enough to just cover, stir constantly, keep adding beet stock as it is being absorbed by the rice, constantly stirring

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almost........

almost……..

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when rice is almost al dente, add the diced beets and heavy cream, simmer until rice is al dente

when rice is almost al dente, add the diced beets and heavy cream, simmer while stirring  until rice is al dente

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add blanched green peas to the poaching liquid of the fish, let heat through for another minute

add blanched green peas to the poaching liquid of the fish, cover again, let heat through for another minute

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add parmigiano-reggiano, check / adjust seasoning

add parmigiano-reggiano to the risotto, check / adjust seasoning

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plate risotto

plate risotto

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top risotto with steamed cod

top risotto with steamed cod

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top cod with green peas

top cod with green peas

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Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

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Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

Steamed Cod Filet With Red Beet Risotto And Peas

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Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Cepes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

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Usually,  I don’t fancy much angel hair pasta, but for these mushrooms in a light,
creamy white wine cream they were the perfect pasta to be paired with 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Saute Onions And Mushrooms In Olive Oil, Add Wine And cream, Reduce. Add Pasta , A Bit Of The Pasta Water, Salt, Pepper And Grated Aged Gruyere. If Too Thin, Add Cheese. If Too Thick, Add Pasta Water.

Saute Onions And Mushrooms In Olive Oil, Add Wine And cream, Reduce. Add Pasta , A Bit Of The Pasta Water, Salt, Pepper And Grated Aged Gruyere. If Too Thin, Add Cheese. If Too Thick, Add Pasta Water. Sprinkle With Chili Flakes And Cilantro.

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Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Ceppes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Cepes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

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Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Ceppes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Cepes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

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Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Ceppes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

Angel Hair With Morells, Shiitake, Cepes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms In Cream Sauce

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Angel Hair, Morells, Shiitake, Cepes, Baby Bellas & Oyster Mushrooms, Cream, White Wine, Onion, Garlic, Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Cayenne Pepper

Angel Hair, Morells, Shiitake, Cepes, Baby Bellas, Oyster Mushrooms, Cream, White Wine, Onion, Garlic,
Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Aged Gruyere,  Chili Flakes, Cilantro.

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The Spiced Wodka Sangria “Cure” – ( It’s Raining Cats & Dogs / Está Lloviendo Gatos Y Perros )

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It has been raining practically the whole day.
A perfect day for movies, reading, napping and a bit of liquid sunshine :
Spiced wodka sangria with berries and scotch bonnet chilies.
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Raining Cats & Dogs

Raining Cats & Dogs

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Spiced Wodka Sangria

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Spiced Wodka Sangria

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Spiced Wodka Sangria

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Ingredients :

3 parts wodka, 3 parts dry white wine, 3 parts champagne, sliced limes, assorted berries, pricked scotch bonnet chilies.

Method :

Mix all ingredients except the champagne and let steep and chill for at least 3 hours,
preferably overnight. Just before serving, add champagne to glasses and top off with sangria.

Cheers !   Life is Good !
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