Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine

Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine

There are many varieties of vinegar’s. Like red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, and white vinegar.

Vinegar’s are used for pickling, de-glazing pans, marinating meats, making sauces and is found in some desserts. White or cider vinegar’s are even used for house cleaning and disinfecting as well.

Commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine is red wine vinegar, and is a common staple in most French homes. Most red wine vinegar’s can be matured up to two years. White wine vinegar is tangy in flavor and can be used in place of lemon juice in sauces like, Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces, can also be used in making vinaigrette’s, soups, and stews.

It’s also an excellent base for homemade fruit or herb vinegar’s. Wine or white distilled vinegar’s are flavored with herbs, spices or other seasonings, like garlic, basil and tarragon, making a tasty and aromatic addition to dressings.  As for fruit infused vinegar’s, they are that commonly done with balsamic vinegar’s, like raspberry, blueberry or pomegranate.

From the kitchen to cleaning house, doing the laundry, and even used for medicinal purposes, vinegar is the most versatile of products, and versatile is defined as “capable of turning with ease from one thing to another.”

Our featured recipe is – Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine -, and yes it uses red wine, and red wine vinegar. Here is what you will need.

herb - wine marinade for Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine2/3 cup red wine

6 tablespoons tomato paste

3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked from steams

3 sprigs marjoram, leaves picked, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

½ cup red wine vinegar

3 1/2 pounds of chicken parts, legs, thighs, or breast, with bone and skin

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional

1 pound tri-color baby potatoes, do not peel

3 small red onions, quartered

6 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise

½ cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

chicken marinading in herbs and red wineMix together the wine, tomato paste, thyme, marjoram, and vinegar. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (optional), then place in a large bowl with the wine mixture. Coated the chicken pieces well, and set aside in the refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

vegetables arranged in a glass baking dishPlace the potatoes in a medium to large saucepan of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, drain.

Arrange the onions, carrots, and cooked potatoes in a large glass baking dish and pour in the water. We were not able to purchase the tri-colored baby potatoes, so we used small red potatoes cut in half.

marinated chicken and vegetables in a glass baking dishArrange the chicken pieces skin-side up on top of the vegetables. Pour the marinade over the chicken-vegetable layer. Cover with tin foil and roast for 30 minutes.

Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine - fresh out of the ovenRemove the foil and baste the chicken with the cooking liquid. Roast another 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the skin is crisp.

Platted - Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine and VegetablesPlate and serve.

Here’s another recipe using white wine, that we are sure you will also enjoy. Link here to view: Roasted Chicken Drumsticks and Vegetables with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce. You will enjoy the aroma of the fresh tarragon, in this recipe!!

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Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

You may heard of the Paleo Diet, and are also unaware what the diet consists of.

The paleolithic lifestyle also known Paleo Magazineas the Paleo Diet, is a diet that attempts to recreate or endeavors to imitate the eating patterns of our ancestors lifestyle, who lived 1000’s of years ago.

They did not eat food that was processed, refined, cooked with toxic oils, or that contained sugar, unlike the majority of the foods that we eat today (The PaleoSecret).

There are a small number of cultures in the world today, who continue to live a paleolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Those who live in a modern society cultures, try to recreate elements of a paleolithic lifestyle, and do so in an attempt to improve or enhance their health, fitness and happiness by avoiding the common diseases that most of society faces today, which include obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, allergies, depression, and chronic stress.

the paleo diet verse a non paleo dietThe paleo diet encourages eating generous amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter or clarified butter.

The diet also promotes not using oils made from vegetables, or that are hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated including, but not limited to, margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.

Olive oil and avocado oil’s are encouraged for consumption, but only use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over food (PaleoLeap – Paleo 101).

A paleo diet is neither vegetarian or vegan. Paleo eaters eat meat, unlike vegetarians, though they will eat dairy or eggs (depending on the person), and unlike vegans who eat no meat at all, including the by products of animals, such as dairy products, eggs, and even honey.

Now for our featured recipe: Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style, and here is what you will need.

2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted ghee

1/3 cup raw honey

1 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla

1 1/4 cups blueberries

A few pumpkin seeds and berries for topping the muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 mold muffin pan with baking cups.

Preparing step by step Blueberry Muffins Paleo StyleIn a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, making sure there are no lumps.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and incorporate together. Next fold in the blueberries.

bluebery muffin dough in a 12 well muffin panDivide the batter among the 12 muffin molds, filling each cup 3/4th of the way. Top with pumpkins seeds and a few berries.

Blueberry Muffins Paleo StyleBake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.

Enjoy some other desserts using alternatives to whole wheat or grain flour, both Paleo approved.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Orange Almond Cake

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Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

150 px

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthocyanins are plant pigments widespread in nature. They play relevant roles in plant propagation and ecophysiology and plant defense mechanisms and are responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).

Being the antioxidant chemical that it is, anthocyanins help to fight free radicals in the body, and is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer plant-based compound.

Medical research with anthocyanins, have found that the compound may protect against obesity. Medical study’s have noted that mice fed an anthocyanin-enriched high-fat diet for eight weeks gained less weight than mice fed a high-fat diet without anthocyanins.

The reason for less weight gain in the mice fed a diet high in foods containing anthocyanins, is the fiber content as well. When eating foods high in fiber, the food eaten benefits the body more in respects to nutrition, rather then turning it to fat storage in the body.

Fruits and vegetables are not the only food source containing anthocyanins, as legumes or beans also contain this natural plant compound, and are also high in fiber (Read More Here About Legumes: The Health Benefits Of Beans).

Enough of the science lesson, now for our featured recipe: Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup, and here is what you will need.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced fine

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups chicken stock

Radishes, avocado, and cilantro for garnishing (optional)

cooking onions and sweet potatoes in a sauce panIn large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, and cook onion, garlic, salt, chili pepper, and sweet potatoes, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until mixture smells fragrant.  

bring soup to a boilAdd chicken stock, and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook another 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

mixing ingredients with chicken broth in a large sauce potNext add the black beans, and stir in, cooking another 5 minutes.

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Unexpected Chedder CheeseLadle into soup bowls and top with radish slices, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and shredded cheese.

We used a cheese exclusive to Trader Joe’s. One day they were giving out cheese and wine samples. The cheese sample include the “Unexpected.” You red right, the Unexpected.

The store clerk explained to me, that the cheese manufactures made a mistake in processing this cheese.

But Joe said keep making it, and we will purchase it, and so it is. The cheese taste great. As the package describes, it is a Cheddar with hints of Parmesan.

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Hibiscus – An Elixir From The Tropics

Hibiscus - An Elixir From The Tropics

The hibiscus is native to tropical regions of the world, though to pinpoint its exact origin, is unknown. The plant will grow in some arid regions, like California. In the USA, the hibiscus grows well in Florida, and Hawaii.

It is the national flower in the Republic of Haiti, and is the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali, the red flower in particular.

The hibiscus was introduced to the “New World” when it was brought over by African slaves.

Medicinal Benefits of the Hibiscus

The hibiscus has medicinal benefits, as it a good therapeutic for the heart, and kidneys (diuretic). Medical studies have documented that the hibiscus potent antioxidant activity and beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Antioxidants help to boost cell growth, immune system and decreases the risk of cancer and cataracts.

It appears the flower has beneficial effects on blood pressure as it is a diuretic, and the compounds in the flower bud inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a chemical compound that can increase blood pressure.

Purchasing and Using the Hibiscus

The hibiscus can be purchased dried, as a tincture, or in capsule form. Buying it dry has a great benefit as you can make a tea with it. To receive the health benefits of hibiscus if using it as a tincture, it is recommended to take 1 teaspoon twice a day, and in capsule form, take 1,000 mg  2 to 3 times a day.

There are no known detrimental side effects to using this elixir from the tropics. It is advised though, to have caution when consuming it if you are taking doctor prescribed diuretics.

Hibiscus is a great skin cleanser. Scrubbing the hibiscus leaves on the face and neck helps to remove dead skin, and can help to clear up acne, as the leaves can also remove blackheads and whiteheads.

Hibiscus oil for smooth skinHibiscus oil, which is extracted from the hibiscus leaves, can  help to smooth and soften skin.

Hibiscus has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-aging properties, helping to slow the aging process of the skin.

The hibiscus acts as an antispasmodic, reducing muscle cramps, stomach cramps and menstrual cramps.

It is highly effective in losing and controlling weight. The flower bud has an enzyme called amylase, and it breaks down the starch and sugar in the body, thus helping to loss and reduce weight.

Preparing Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus is sold prepared in tea bags, though it is better to buy the whole flower dried and prepare the tea yourself. There are several different recipes for making homemade Hibiscus tea, also known as Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water).

If you want to make an individual cup of tea, just pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of chopped hibiscus. Let steep for about 15 minutes, then strain, and add raw honey or coconut sugar. You can also pour it over ice to drink cold.

Agua de JamaicaHere’s a great recipe to make a gallon of Agua de Jamaica.

6 cups water

2 cups dried hibiscus petals

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch ground cloves

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 pinch ground allspice

1/2 cup chopped piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar cones)

1 1/2 cups white sugar optional to use coconut sugar

Place 6 cups of water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.

Stir in the hibiscus, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer until the water has turned a deep red, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Stir the chopped piloncillo into the hibiscus water until dissolved, then set aside to cool 15 minutes.

After cooling, strain the warm liquid into a 1 gallon pitcher through a wire mesh strainer. Squeeze as much liquid from the petals as you can, then discard the petals.

Stir in the white sugar or coconut sugar until dissolved, then pour in enough cold water to fill the pitcher, but be careful not to dilute the flavor. Serve immediately or let stand overnight for best flavor.

 

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The History of Pesto Sauce

Pesto Sauce

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and from the time the Italians invented pesto it has always been prepared with crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and including Fiore Sardo, a cheese made from sheep’s milk.

It is possible the mineral-rich seaside soil and temperate climate of Liguria is why pesto sauce has  become a beloved sauce in northeren Italy, as they have the perfect conditions for growing basil.

The Meaning of Pesto

Different Materials to make Mortars and Pestles

Click To Enlarge For Better Viewing

The Italian word for pesto: pestare, means to pound, or to crush. Pesto was originally prepared with a marble mortar and wooden pestle.

The ingredients were pounded or crushed with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar.

The book “Pesto Genovese: an Ageless Benchmark of Great Italian Cuisine,” writes that the ancient Romans ate a paste called moretum, prepared by crushing cheese, garlic and herbs together.

Because the term pesto is a generic word for anything that is made by pounding or crushing, that leaves the original pesto sauce recipe open to flexible and differing ways to prepare the sauce.

Flexible Ways to Prepare Pesto Sauce

In accent Provence, France the pesto was prepared without using pine nuts, as no pine trees grow there to provide the nuts. Sometimes almonds are used instead of pine nuts, and mint leaves are mixed in with the basil leaves. Some have even used spinach or cilantro in place of basil.

grated Asiago cheese

Grated Asiago Cheese

The interchangeable use of the nuts and greens just depends on your taste. In our kitchen at Splendid Recipes and More, we have used pecans in place of pine nuts, and almost always use Asiago cheese in place of the traditional Parmesan cheese.

Here’s the recipe for the traditional pesto sauce, though as we said, at Splendid Recipes and More, we use Asiago cheese. Here is what you will need.

Pesto Sauce - over head shot2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, no stems

¼ cup pine nuts

2 large garlic cloves

½ cup grated Romano/Parmesan or Asiago cheese

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, except oil, and pulse. Start to add oil slowly, pulsing until ingredients form a smooth paste.

Note: If you do not use right away, or there are left overs, store in a jar with a layer of olive oil on top to prevent discoloration, and top jar with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator. Will store for 3 to 5 days.

Pesto is no doubt one of the worlds most loved sauces, next to the mayonnaise and the Mexican traditional salsa.

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Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

 

Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

When we don’t feel good, most of us might turn to the medicine cabinet. As it may have pain relievers for sore muscles or a headache, stomach ache, fever or even diarrhea. The medicine cabinet and what it may offer to you in times of failing health is only temporary.

Why not look to your kitchen to relieve your aches and pains? Are we crazy asking that question, you may say. There is only food in the kitchen. That is the point. Our health is dependent on what we are eating.

When you choose to start living a healthier lifestyle and look for alternative ways to better your health, have you ever considered what the kitchen has to offer you in this respect?

There are particular food ingredients, and there are many of them that have positive health benefits, that are actually good for your aches and pains.

What are they, you are asking?  They are herbs and spices.

Here are a few of those healthy spices and what they can do for you.

Cayenne Pepper – This is known as a spice with a zing to it. Many spicy dishes contain cayenne pepper, and for this reason some shy away from eating it.

But actually, you should embrace it and use it more often. It’s known to increase your fat burning metabolism so you help shed pounds by as much as 25%. It also is an anti-inflammatory spice, reducing pain.

Garlic - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet Ginger Ginger is known for its ability to help with nausea, but can also calm an aching stomach, as well as reduce acid reflux.

Cinnamon – This is an excellent spice to help aid the bowls with diarrhea attacks and an upset stomach. It coats and sooths the stomach and digestive lining.

Garlic – Garlic can help keep lower cholesterol levels and it can decrease your blood pressure. Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory, relieving pain.

Allspice - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

 

Allspice – Allspice is a natural stimulant that can help relieve problems in the stomach with indigestion and gas. It works much like cinnamon, coating and soothing the digestive lining, relieving pain and inflammation.

Mustard – This is an excellent spice for those who suffer from respiratory problems.  It’s another stimulant that is a helpful aid in squashing respiratory ailments.

Peppermint - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet Peppermint – This is a pleasure-filled spice that is tasty and helps with insomnia.  As an added benefit, it can help with digestive disorders and also bouts of tension.

Turmeric – This is an antioxidant that defends against free radicals.  It is a great anti-inflammatory and reduces pain throughout the body.

Herbs and spices are more commonly known as methods used to liven up our food. What most don’t realize is that there are certain spices that actually help you lead a healthy life while making your food taste good.

The next time you’re planning your dinner menu, think to yourself, “What can I be doing for my health when I spice up our favorite recipes tonight?”

 

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