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Posts Tagged ‘lemons’

I didn’t take enough photos when I was there, I didn’t take enough notes thinking  I would remember a lot more! But not everything becomes a story and not everything was of enough interest to translate into a blog post.

BUT, there are snippets here and there that deserve a mention or at least a look see;

Something that you see all over Italy are beautiful fountains, not all of them like the magnificent Trevi Fountain.  I saw a woman washing her hands in fountain such as the one below in Florence one evening.  This lovely antiquity is on the main road in Guardia Sanframondi, set just off the sidewalk and available for all, so egalitarian!  A cool sip of water on a hot summer day, a splash of water on warm face, a quick wash y of your hands, sticky from dripping gelato!

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You’ve heard me speak of the new old town built around the medieval town.  Here’s a glimpse of Peter leaning up against the stairwell to the apartment that we stayed in last year and this year.  He loves the location, so central to everything – well that and it had two wide screen TVs!

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So sweet, so luscious, delicious and bountiful!  Spring in Guardia means being surrounded by beautiful fruits and vegetables growing and are there for the picking!

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”Mom, how come none of these places serve like a breakfast sandwich”?  It does seem like there are two universal Italian breakfasts;  many years ago when I was in Italy but much farther north, ( Tuscany, Emilio Romagna, Lombardy, Veneto), I had a delicious breakfast every day of frutta, formaggio, Parma, pane, sort of a deconstructed breakfast sandwich.  However here in Guardia, a cream or chocolate brioche and coffee was the daily offering.  Mom to the rescue ( I need my driver to be happy).

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We never did find out what it was with Amalfi and lemons!  They were  everywhere so we stopped on the side of the road ad bought two. Unfortunately we never got to taste them before it was time to head back to the U.S.A. I hope Cindy and Steve enjoyed them.

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Then there was the day, I asked Raffaele to take me to the town of San Lorenzillo where there is a master ceramist, he introduced me to last year. Most people think of Cerreto Sannita as the ceramic city, and in fact it’s town center is home to many shops featuring elaborately ornate and intricately detailed ceramics.

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Not So Ornate – However Almost Every Piece Is In This Palette

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I Wish I Had Taken The Time To Focus And Enlarge This Picture Because These Statues Are Exquisite

I found another postcard from Guardia…..

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Name That Saint!

 

Raffaele arranged for a couple of us to go to the top of the castle, I think I wrote about that little adventure earlier, ( https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/the-sights-and-sounds-of-guardia). When we were walking around the roof top  and looking over the parapet, I spied this.   Do you think a bird or the wind carried the seed to the top of this wall where it took root and blossomed?

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Rising From A Rock

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest

Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest

Perhaps you didn’t read yesterday’s blog about a Month of Sundays;  Besides the mundane explanation of the expression, I intended another nuance to the meaning as it relates to this blog.  Sundays were often “the” family dinner day and a big bowl of macaroni with Sunday Sauce was the norm.  A true Sunday Sauce contains more than one meat and often three.  Sunday was the day of special treats – the extra meat in the sauce and for me growing up, ice cream for dessert!  So I got it into my head that I would do a  month of  Sundays(not literally) of  pasta recipes, nicknamed The MacaroniMarathon.

If you have never experienced pasta with vegetables, you don’t know what you’re missing!  Not only are the ingredients fresh and healthy, the meal is also economical.  With doctors and nutritionists across the country advocating at least one or two meatless meals a week, a pasta dish with vegetables solves your dilemma as to  what to cook.  Roasting the cauliflower brings out the sweetness and the lemon zest adds just enough zing to counterbalance the saltiness of the capers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 lbs) cut into small florets (about 7 cups)

1 red onion cut into 1/4 ” slices

1/4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

coarse salt and ground pepper

8 oz orecchiette or small shells

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley

2 TBS finely grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450°.  Toss together cauliflower onion, capers and 2 TBS olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread vegetables in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  

Roast, stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and browned, about 40  minutes.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil.  Add pasta, and cook until al dente according to package instructions.  Drain

Toss hot pasta with remaining 2 TBS olive oil, the parsley, and lemon zest.  Add cauliflower mixture and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living, November 2009

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This Isn't Your Nonna's Macaroni

This Is Not Your Nonna’s Macaroni

PASTA WITH FRIED LEMONS AND CHILE FLAKES

Well not exactly because in this cook’s kitchen, Barilla pasta reigns supreme.  I love the flavor of their macaroni products.  I worked late tonight and I still have to pack for my long-awaited trip to Florida to see my daughter and my grandchildren.  I knew I wanted to make a simple pasta dish so tonight I made yet another version of a vegetarian pasta dish.  And referring to it as vegetarian is a bit of a stretch.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lemons

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti

4 TBS EV olive oil, more for drizzling

1 tsp kosher salt, more as needed

Pinch of sugar

3 TBS unsalted butter

3/4 tsp. chile flakes (could not find so I used crushed red pepper)

2/3 cup Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese, more to taste

Black pepper as needed

1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

1/3 cup parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Finely zest 2 of the lemons and set aside.  Trim the tops and bottoms from the other 2 lemons and cut lengthwise into quarters;  remove seeds.  Thinly slice the quarters into triangles.  Blanch the lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a dish towel.  Blot dry.

In the boiling water, add pasta and cook until just barely al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/2-1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet ( I used my braising pan), heat 1 TBS olive oil over high heat.  Add the dried lemons pieces and season with a pinch each of salt and sugar.  Cook until the lemons are caramelized and browned at the edges, 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Melt the butter with the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat.  Add the chile flakes and zest of both lemons;  cook until fragrant.  Whisk in the reserved pasta water.

Toss in pasta, juice of 1 lemon, cheese, black pepper and the remaining salt.  Cook until pasta is well coated with sauce.  Toss in the caramelized lemons and the celery leaves and parsley if using.  Taste and add lemon juice if needed.  Serve, topped with a drizzle of oil, more cheese if you like, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Recipe by Melissa Clark, New York Times

This was an amazingly different, delightful and very delicious dish.   My husband was astounded, he had wondered just how these pieces of lemon were going to taste in his favorite pasta, linguine!  He was so surprised;  about every 5 minutes he said, how tasty the pasta was and how delicious the lemon pieces were.  Quite frankly, although I pride myself as someone who can discern a good recipe just by reading it – well even I was pleasantly surprised at the flavors melding in my mouth.

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You just never know where you’ll find a good recipe!  

Yesterday, Rob, a friend in my office was scrolling through the Food Network website looking for a recipe that might catch his eye and whet his appetite enough to be inspired to cook that evening.  Actually I’m learning that he cooks A LOT!  Pretty cool huh?  Well we have this little triangle of foodies/cooks and we sit near each other and nothing beats boredom than discussing what we cook, where we shop for food and where we dine.  

So Rob found this recipe and he said it looked good, it looked simple and he had most of the ingredients already at home.  He flashed around a photo of the finished dish and Elinor and I agreed this sounded like a winner.  Elinor did think that the dish would be better if bone-in skin-on chicken thighs were used rather than the chicken breasts as indicated in the recipe.  That brought on a whole discussion of the the health benefits (or not) of the different cuts of chicken.  Too bad Rob hadn’t found the recipe the day before because the recipe called for fresh Rosemary sprigs and Elinor was quite willing to barter some sprigs for a chicken thigh!  

Flash forward to today – this morning I emailed Rob asking him for the recipe thinking it would make a great weekend dinner.  He sent it to me.  When I got to the office around 1:30 this afternoon he and Elinor were having lunch in Town Square – our lunch area.  I joined them with my container of soup and found out that Elinor was dining on a chicken breast (uh huh, yesterday she said she didn’t like them at all) but then you know what they say,” beggars can’t be choosers”.  That is NOT to imply that she was begging;  Actually I would have to own up to casting a glance at her and the chicken and was rewarded with a bite of the chicken and a mushroom!   It was really tasty!  More talk about what parts to use and I concluded using some chicken thighs and chicken breasts, some skin on and some not would work for Peter and me.  I can’t wait to make it.  Going to use my braising pan (Really I can’t sing the praises of that kitchen tool enough).

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

SKILLET ROSEMARY CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

3/4 lb. small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered if large

Kosher salt

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 1 TBS leaves

1 clove garlic, smashed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed, halves reserved)

2 TBS olive oil

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, (6-8 oz each)

10 oz cremini mushrooms, halved

DIRECTIONS

Preheat  oven to 450°

Cover potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water.  Bring to a boil over MED-HI and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.  

Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 tsp salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife.  Transfer the paste to a bowl.  Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil.  Add the chicken and turn to coat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over MED-HI heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon.

Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast uncovered until chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 -25 minutes. 

Recipe is from Television Food Network

 

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LEMONS Yeah!

LEMONS Yeah!

Ahhh lemons! They herald the coming of Spring (but are available all year long as long as you don’t care too much about their carbon footprint) and add a splash of color or a splash of zing to just so many things.  If you read this blog regularly then you know that many of my recipes call for lemon juice or lemon zest.  Put a bowl of lemons and limes on your kitchen table and the whole room lights up and puts a smile on your face.  How is it that two fruits so tart and sour can be so sweet?  

Lemons are USEFUL – see previous blog https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/sooooo-when-life-gives-you-lemons/ and you’ll discover many uses for lemons.  Today’s blog, another Ode to Lemons is all about the benefits of hot lemon water!  Yes, that’s right, HOT LEMON WATER.  I know some of you must have had grandmothers or mothers who, every morning, drank a cup of warm lemon water – believe me they knew what they were doing!

Here are 16 ways in which drinking hot/warm lemon juice will benefit your health!

Lemon is an excellent and rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies

Lemons contain pectin fiber which is very beneficial for colon health and also serves as a powerful antibacterial

It balances maintain the pH levels in the body

Having warm lemon juice early in the morning helps flush out toxins

It aids digestion and encourages the production of bile

It is also a great source citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium

It helps prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases

It helps reducing pain and inflammation in joints and knees as it dissolves uric acid

It helps cure the common cold

The potassium content in lemon helps nourish brain and nerve cells

It strengthens the liver by providing energy to the liver enzymes when they are too dilute

It helps balance the calcium and oxygen levels in the liver In case of a heart burn, taking a glass of concentrated lemon juice can give relief

It is of immense benefit to the skin and it prevents the formation of wrinkles and acne

It helps maintain the health of the eyes and helps fight against eye problems

Aids in the production of digestive juices

Lemon juice helps replenish body salts especially after a strenuous workout session

Packed with all the goodness, make it a point to begin your day with a glass of warm lemon juice. Its cleansing and healing effects will have positive effects on your health in the long run. However it is very important to note that lemon juice when comes directly in contact with the teeth, can ruin the enamel on the teeth. Hence, it is advised to consume it diluted and also rinse your mouth thoroughly after drinking lemon juice.

Source: http://www.undergroundhealth.com/health-benefits-of-drinking-warm-lemon-water/

And a shout-out and thanks to Gail, my favorite sourcer-er for sending me this article.

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In the last couple of years I seem to be making more recipes that call for lemon zest or orange zest and so a couple of years ago I bought a Zester and then went on to buy another microplane with slightly larger holes and blades and is best used for grating cheese and chocolate.  

I don’t have a kitchen filled with lots of gadgets and expensive knives, quite the contrary actually.  However, when I find a kitchen tool that makes putting together and cooking a meal easier, I’m all for it.  I love using my zester and using it when  you can zest a whole lemon over a bowl or pot is so easy.  BUT when I have to measure out a tablespoon or two and am zesting the lemon over a small plate, the zest ends up on the counter and elsewhere.  Then you have to scrape up the zest and scoop it into a measuring spoon.  

Well LOOKY HERE! Edgeware Better Zester is a creative new product that has taken zesting to a new level.  This handy tool has  little zester teeth that are coated with a food-safe nonstick coating, similar to the popular brightly-colored Kuhn Rikon knives. Also, it has a plastic attachment on the back that catches all the zest.  

Where this really shines, though, is in that zest catcher. It has measurement markings, so you can shake the zest into the bottom and see how much you’ve collected so far. Then, when you’re ready to get your zest, you can slide the zest catcher off and it sort of squeegees everything off the zester, leaving you with clean blades and all the zest neatly caught in the little attachment. Works perfectly, every time. 

Add A Little Zest To Your Life

Add A Little Zest To Your Life

This super kitchen aid  is available online through several stores and Amazon.  The average price is $14.95

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