Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade -over-head-

This is a very hot 2014 summer. If you found a refreshing drink to cool you down great. But if your still looking we have an idea, Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. Teavana is screaming at the top of their lungs, “Shake up your summer iced tea.” Of course you do that by making fresh lemonade and add one of their green or black tea concoctions. Do not under estimate Teavana, they know how to bring flavor’s together and mix them with tea leaves.

Teavana logo

Did you know green tea has catechins that can trigger adominal fat loss? The antioxidents in green tea can protect against glaucoma and other common eye disease. The catechins in the green tea reduce the harmful oxidative stress in the eye. Green is also said to fight type II diabetes and LDL or bad cholesteral. Green tea also supports healthy skin.

Some of us buy bottled green teas, and energy drinks that contain green tea extracts, but all the above mentioned is really only possible when buy the tea leaves yourself and make the tea at home. Processing doesn’t always hold the integrity of the tea or in other words its full potential of benefits.

Here’s an info-graphic we made and used on our other website –Health News library

Brewed home made green tea more anti oxidents

Now for the featured lemonade: Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. Here is what you will need.

ingredients for Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

12 teaspoons Blackberry Mojito Green Tea

1 cup lemon juice, from 5 lemons

1/2 cup sugar (optional to use Teavana’s rock sugar)

6 cups fresh water, boiled

used ingredients for Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Bring the fresh water to a boil in a large sauce pot. The boil point should reach 175 degrees. turn off heat and add the tea mixture, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain off tea mixture and add tea to a glass serving container. Stir in sugar, and add lemon juice and stir some more.

blackberry mojito loose leaf green tea

Image credit: Teavana

It is also worthy to note, the ingredients found in this tea are all natural. They have been dried and then re-hydrated by the hot water. As the tea is steeping you can smell the blackberries and raspberries as though they were fresh picked. There is also some dried apple in the tea mix.

Because they start with fresh ingredients and the finest tea leaves, the used tea mixture is still eatable. We did eat some, and it was really tasty.

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Once the tea has cooled some, add ice to a tall glass and pour some Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade freshness, and enjoy!!

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How to Cook with Cantaloupe

How to cook with Cantaloupe

June. 22, 2014 till present July. 1, 2014,  here at Splendid Recipes and More we have posted about everyone’s favorite summer time melons, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew (link here if you missed the articles).

Mark a vendor at our local Farmer’s Market gave us a lot of tips to choose the best melon to enjoy this summer.

We found a few recipes that we thought you would enjoy. The first one is Mark’s idea, which is roasting with cantaloupe. What you may say, roasting a cantaloupe? Yes and here is what Mark had to say.

“Cantaloupe, Mark says, probably isn’t a fruit you think of cooking with. Aside from having it in a fruit salad, the idea of cooking with it just doesn’t seem like it would work, and especially given its water content.” Mark goes on to say, “You really can cook cantaloupe and make some amazing dishes with them.”

So I asked Mark, “What cooking idea or technic you have in mind?”

He said, “Roasting cantaloupe is a wonderful way to cook with it. As a matter of fact, roasted cantaloupe takes on a whole new taste. So if generally speaking you don’t like cantaloupe, then try it roasted , you will be pleasantly surprised.”

Roasted cantaloupe can be a great topping for your breakfast cereal in the morning, or maybe on your ice cream for dessert.  Or mix it with some Greek yogurt.

Here’s the recipe…

Roasted Cantaloupe

roasted cantaloupe

Roasted Cantaloupe
Image credit: http://www.vegwithanedge.com

If you’re looking for the how to, it’s really quite simple.

First, slice the cantaloupe in half, and scoop or cut out the fruit.

Preheat you oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the seeds. Then cut the cantaloupe into chunks.

Place into a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey and a splash of vanilla for a slightly different taste.

Place coated melon onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cantaloupe begins to caramelize. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Mix the cantaloupe up in a large mixing bowl with some favorite summer berries, like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. Mix in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar infused with raspberry or pomegranate. Spoon mixed fruit into the two shelled halves of the cantaloupe. See finished product by viewing the header picture of this article. Serve and enjoy.

Grilled Cardamom Cantaloupe with Swiss Cheese Crumbles

Grilled Cardamom Cantaloupe with Swiss Cheese Crumbles
Image credit: http://www.misskitchenwitch.com

You can also grill cantaloupe, and Mark says, “Cantaloupe actually grills very nicely.”

Slice your cantaloupe and put a little brown sugar on top. Then pop it on the heated grill for a few minutes on each side just to get some nice grill marks on it. Serve it with your favorite ice cream.

You can also leave cantaloupe the way it is and pair it with some other great foods to help you find a way to enjoy cantaloupe that much more.

 

Finally, a sweet and salty appetizer, why not try this Melon and Prosciutto combination.

Melon and Prosciutto

1 large cantaloupe

Prosciutto Wrapped Melon Balls

Prosciutto Wrapped Melon Balls
Image credit: http://www.bellalimento.com

3 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto or fully cooked ham

Cut cantaloupe in half and remove seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out pulp or cut pulp into bite-size cubes.

Cut prosciutto or ham into 1-inch wide strips. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around each melon ball. Fasten prosciutto with a toothpick.

If you’re going to have cantaloupe and cook with it, just get creative. It’s a sweet fruit, so experiment with your palate and see what you can create. Make a salsa or a cantaloupe puree, or just add it to the side of a tasty shrimp and basil Aioli. Just have fun with it and enjoy cooking with cantaloupe.

What are your favorite cantaloupe recipes?

 

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Leafy Green Salads as a Main Course

Different types of lettue greens

Summer is just around the corner and the leafy greens that were planted as seed in the early Spring are sprouting from the ground about now. Have you considered what you are going to do with all those fresh leafy greens that will soon hit the market?

leafy greens sproutingOr maybe you have a home vegetable garden, with leafy greens now sprouting?

Will here at Splendid Recipes and More we have some options. Making up a leafy green salad and adding chicken breast to it, and of course a dressing or vinaigrette.

Chicken breast is the lean meat of the poultry bird. A great choice for weight control. The method of cooking the chicken is either to Broil, grill or bake it. These methods offer good nutrition and flavor.

What is your knowledge of all those wonderful greens you see in your garden or in the produce department of your favorite market?

There’s: Kale, Spinach, Arugula, Red and Green leaf lettuce, Cabbage, Endive, Radicchio, even Cilantro, Mint, Fennel, and Basil.

They are all a nutrition powerhouses and excellent source’s of vitamins A C, and K, and some like kale are a good source of calcium, as well as folate and potassium.

The benefits of eating these greens are weight loss and control, as they are a high fiber food. Cuts your risk of high blood pressure plus heart disease. Eating any of these greens will reduce blood clotting, reduces calcium in arterial plaques, reduces inflammation, and you will get improved memory and eye sight as well.

Of course you can add some color to the salad, like red, orange or yellow bell peppers. Don’t forget the cherry tomatoes, red onions or even some wild carrots (they have varying colors as well).

Now that we are all salivating for a Salad as a Main Course, here are some recipes (follow the link for the written recipe with instructions)…

Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

 

Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

 
Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad...close up

 

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad

 

 

Baja Citrus Chicken Bowl

 

Baja Citrus Chicken Bowl

 

 

 

Follow this link too more recipes, Salads as a Main Course.

 

 

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The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

The 3 “B”s of Piedmont Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera

Without question, Italy is one of the most esteemed wine producing countries in the world and the Piedmont (Piemonte) region in northern Italy ranks near the top in terms of the quality of wines it produces. Any discussion of Piedmont wines would be incomplete without shining a spotlight on the 3 “B”s of this region – Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera.

A Tale of Two Grapes

Barolo and Barbaresco are produced from the same grape: Nebbiolo. This grape is a true diva. She is fussy and demanding and among the most difficult to grow. In fact, she refuses to flourish just about anywhere else in the world. (She even takes her name from the Italian word ‘nebbia’ for the fog that settles over the Piedmont region during the fall harvest). However, she delivers the goods in terms of the quality and complexity of wines produced from her.

As a result, she is highly prized by winemakers in the Piedmont region and the best growing areas and winemaking equipment are devoted to her. It’s not surprising, then, that her most famous offspring – Barolo and Barbaresco – are so highly revered. Born of privilege and prestige, they are content to make you wait, and wait, and wait, until they are ready to be savored and enjoyed.

On the other hand, the Barbera grape (also the name of the wine) is much more laid back and easy to accommodate. She is planted much more widely, but almost never on the highly coveted southern facing slopes that brought such prominence to the Piedmont region. Traditionally, the Barbera grape was planted for quantity, not quality, so her offspring became known as everyday drinking wines.

Barolo vs. Barbaresco: Wine Royalty

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

vineyars near Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

Although both hail from the rustic, yet sophisticated Piedmont region and are produced from the same grape, there are distinct differences between these two powerhouse wines.

Both are reigning monarchs of Piedmont’s most well known wines. (In fact, Barolo has been referred to as the ‘king of wine’). In general, Barolo is the more robust, complex and masculine of the two. It has been called “stern and imposing,” but that is open to interpretation. It is, however, weightier and more like a French Bordeaux than its counterpart. Barolos tend to cost more and age better, as well.

Like Barbaresco, Barolo is not a wine you’d want to drink while young because it is too severe. By law, it must age for a minimum of 3 years between barrel and bottle; 5 years for Barolo riserva. Many require significantly longer to reach their prime.

Barbaresco, on the other hand, is the more graceful of the two. She is softer, more balanced and matures earlier. Aging requirements for Barbaresco are 2 years between barrel and bottle and 4 years for Barbaresco riserva. Non-riserva wines require only one year of oak aging, resulting in its smooth, soft, and more feminine finish.

Both Barolo and Barbaresco pair well with foods that offer big flavors that can stand up to them. Robust meats, wild game, rich pastas and creamy risottos are all worthy partners.

Barbera: Piedmont’s Traditional Every Day Wine

Remember, Barbera is the name of both the grape and the wine. Historically, both have been treated more like ‘commoners’ when compared to their more royal Piedmont counterparts. Unlike the fussy Nebbiolo grape, Barbera is so adaptable it can thrive just about anywhere. In fact, it can now be found in wine growing regions all around the world.

It’s not hard to see why Barbera has long been referred to as the ‘people’s wine.’ The adaptability and high yield of this grape made it easy to cultivate for people of all social and economic standing. It has earned its reputation as a common wine, suitable for every table. Not surprisingly, Barbera is a wine that has graced the tables of hard working Italian families for generations.

Barbera is no shrinking violet, however. With its acidic, full body and deep rich color, it is a good match for the hearty flavors you’ll find on the average Italian family table. However, thanks to its laid back character – and the fact it can be enjoyed young – Barbera has gained more widespread appeal. It can now be found in the finest restaurants, as well as in the average family home.

No matter what you’re serving for dinner tonight, when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine to grace your table, look no further than the wines of the Piedmont region of Italy.

 

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Blueberry Cheesecake in a Jar

Blueberry Cheesecake in a jar

Here’s a fun way to enjoy cheesecake. We used blueberries, though you could use any fruit you like. Enjoy!!

Here is what you will need:

1 ½ cups graham crumbs

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

6 short wide mouthed mason jars

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil for a water bath.

Wash mason jars in hot soapy water. Let air dry.

Meantime, crush gram crackers in a plastic bag to equal 1 ½ cups (about 8 to 10 crackers). Fill each jar with ¼ cup of cracker crumbs, set aside.

Cream sugar and cream cheese together, using a food processor. Next add eggs, one at a time mixing in after each addition. Mix in lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add Greek yogurt and mix in till well incorporated.

Divide the cream cheese filling among the jars (about 1 cup per jar) and smooth the tops. Top with 7 to 8 blueberries.

Place the filled jars in a roasting pan and place pan in the oven. Pour hot water into roasting pan to come about 1/2 inch up the sides of the jars, taking care not to get any water into the jars.

Bake until the cheesecakes are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes for the taller jars, 40 to 45 minutes for the rounder jars.

Remove the jars from the water bath with tongs and let cool to room temperature. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

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Delightful Differences between Northern and Southern Italian Cuisine

The Astronomical clock in the Medieval City of Mantua in Lombardy Northern Italy

The Astronomical clock in the Medieval City of Mantua in Lombardy Northern Italy

red checkered table cloth“Let’s go find a good Italian restaurant tonight.” If you immediately envision pasta with lots of red sauce, you are not alone. Italian cuisine is very often lumped into one red-check-tablecloth-covered category.

Yes, this image is part of the Italian culinary experience, but it is only a small part of the whole picture.

If you were to travel the length of Italy, you would find a vast difference in Italian cuisine. This may be a bit surprising considering Italy is only about 800 miles long and 200 miles wide.

How could the cuisine vary so much in such a small area?

The answer lies in the topography. From snowy mountains in the north to sandy beaches in the south, Italy covers every climate known to man. How does this account for the variations in cuisine? Let’s take a look at a few culinary differences and the reasons behind them.

Meat and Seafood

Northern Italy borders Switzerland, Austria, France, and Slovenia and shares their mountainous topography. Although snowy and frigid in some regions, the seas play a part in keeping other areas rather temperate. These warmer temperatures and an abundance of inland lakes and rivers make the northern region ideal for pasturing several types of livestock.  In addition, the region’s inland waters provide refuge for wild game. These rich northern resources result in meals that feature plenty of meat, cream, cheese, and game.

On the other hand, southern Italy has a drier, hotter climate overall and doesn’t have the rich, green pastures and deep woods needed to support livestock and wildlife. It does, however, have a vast coastline with access to large bodies of water. This makes deep sea fishing possible. Since southern Italy is very narrow and surrounded by large bodies of water, you can see why seafood is a staple in every household and why many meals are designed around fresh seafood.

Butter and Olive Oil

As mentioned, the northern climate in Italy with its rich pastures is perfect for raising livestock. Dairy cows are a natural fit for the region, making butter a mainstay in every household.

Olive trees need a sunny, moderate climate to grow and the balmy southern region is a perfect match. As a matter of fact, southern Italy is one of the world’s leading producers of olive oil. You can see why olive oil is a staple in every kitchen in southern Italy.

Root and Vine

Northern Italy’s summers are short. Whatever can be grown in the ground or in the shade will find its way onto the table. You won’t find a lot of ‘red sauce’ in the northern region because tomatoes are not abundant. What you will find is cheesy, cream based dishes, soups, and stews using root vegetables and oftentimes cured meats.

The southern region in Italy is where you’ll find an abundance of world-famous tomato sauce. Thanks to a long growing season, fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs are easy to find in the south. Therefore, fresh is the name of the game in southern Italian cuisine. Lemon, eggplant, tomato, and herbs all play a part in these fresh dishes and are often just tossed lightly with pasta and a drizzle of olive oil.

Although Italy is a relatively small country, the mountainous regions combined with almost 5000 miles of coastline form countless pockets of unique climates, resulting in extreme diversity in the country’s natural and agricultural resources. From north to south, you can see why Italy offers so many culinary differences… and delights!

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Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Platter with Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (in the image there is only 3 chicken breasts)

1 cup goat cheese

1 cup chopped blueberries, frozen or fresh, chopped*

1 cup bread crumbs

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ cup olive oil

*use a food processor on chop for a few seconds or other means to chop blueberries. I personally use a Progresso food chopper. Link here for another recipe by Splendid Recipes that shows using the Progresso chopper: Smoked Turkey Black Bean Bell Pepper and Corn Salad

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl mix the goat cheese and blueberries together. Set aside.

chopped blueberries and goat cheese

Measure out bread crumbs and place into a large bowl. Mix in ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with fowl and set aside.

preparation for Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Trim fat from breasts, and cut a slit in the middle, not cutting through completely, just enough to make a pocket. To stuff with cheese mixture.

Pull back the top side pocket of each chicken breast and stuff with ¼ cup of cheese mixture and cover. Making sure mixture is packed well into pocket.

brushing olive oil over chicken breast

Next brush the tops of the chicken breasts with olive oil. Grab chicken breast with one hand at opening side and lift brushing the underside of breast with olive oil.

Place each breast separately into bowl with crumbs and bread meat on both sides. Place meat, bottom down into prepared baking pan.

Place pan into oven and bake for 29 minutes. Turn oven to broil and place pan 5 to 6 inches from element for 1 minute to toast the crumbs lightly. Chicken should be 165 degrees internal temperature to be done.

Plate and serve.

Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

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