October 20, 2017

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Spaghettata di Mezzanotte

Spaghettata di Mezzanotte

Pasta is great, but Spaghettata di Mezzanotte? Now that is something to talk about! Full of flavor and spice, we love using Dried Pasta Sauce to create simple yet unforgettable meals. Give this Spaghettata di Mezzanotte recipe a try! 

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

Paradiso dei Golosi Dried Arrabbiata Sauce Mix 

1 lb. Spaghetti

½ Cup extra virgin olive oil 

½ Cup chopped parsley 

Optional: ½ lb. Guanciale (or bacon)

Directions:

1. Optional: Cook guanciale (or bacon) until crispy. Drain well. Set aside.

2. Use a few tablespoons of Paradiso dei Golosi Dried Arrabbiata Sauce Mix , reconstitute the sauce with water and saute in olive oil. Add cooked guanciale and coat cooked spaghetti.

3. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

October 18, 2017

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Breakfast From Around The World

Breakfast from Around the World

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you thought that breakfast had to be a plain old bowl of cereal, or a couple of miserable looking fried eggs with burnt bacon, you are very much mistaken! Breakfast foods are actually very versatile when you think about it, especially when you begin bringing in influences from all over the globe. Breakfast foods from continent to continent, and country to country for that matter, are very diverse yet equally delicious. To help you get an idea of just what types of foods you could be starting your morning off with, here’s a look at breakfast foods from around the world as we look at what people in different countries tend to enjoy first thing in a morning.

French Butter Croissant

France – When people think of Continental breakfasts, nine times out of ten they think of French breakfast foods. Fresh warm buttered croissants with jam and butter are firm favorites. Some people enjoy dunking their croissants in their French coffee. Pain au chocolate is another favorite. This is a buttery brioche bread containing fresh chocolate spread. Palmier pastries are also well worth experiencing. The name means ‘palm tree’ which is not surprising when you see the shape of this pasty. It is crunchy, flat, and deliciously decadent, yet unusually light. For something a little more luxurious, Eggs Royale is a must. This dish consists of two thick slices of brioche bread, topped off with smoked salmon, and finished off with two poached eggs drizzled in Hollandaise sauce before being sprinkled with fresh chives. Delicious!

Russian Syrniki Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Russia – Russia is home to some truly delicious and unique flavors. Whilst the breakfast foods do indeed vary from region to region, there are some tried and tested Russian staples that help to create a truly memorable breakfast. In Russia, breakfast is all about speed, which is why sandwiches such as cheese or Kolbassa sausages are often consumed, as they can be eaten whilst on the way to work. Another firm favorite is a simple, yet hearty and delicious meal consisting of three or four fried sunny side up eggs in a pan, topped off with pieces of cooked Kolbassa sausage, and sprinkled with fresh dill. ‘Syrniki’ (cottage cheese dumplings) are also very popular and easy as they contain an egg, cottage cheese, salt and pepper, and a little flour and can be cooked quickly and served with sour cream and jam.

 Spanish Cinnamon Sugar Churros

Spain – Spanish breakfast foods are actually very simple, because instead they tend to eat a large meal for lunch around midday. More often than not, a basic yet delicious roll containing fresh jam will be consumed, though soft cheeses and luncheon meats are sometimes preferred with freshly toasted bread and butter. Churros are another Spanish breakfast staple. These are very similar to donuts in that they’re made from a light dough that is fried and sprinkled with sugar. Their shape however, is long and thin.

 Muesli Cereal with Yogurt and Fruit

Germany – Germany is famous for its delicious sausages, so not surprisingly, they like to start their day off with sausage. German sausages come in all shapes and sizes, and often, you’ll find many a German tucking into a sausage sandwich to start their day. For lighter fare, Muesli cereal is also very popular for breakfast in Germany. Muesli contains a variety of oats, seeds, grains, and various dried fruits. Served with ice cold milk, the Germans love it, and you will too! Another standby for German breakfast is good old fashion toast! Grab a slice of hearty German bread and use it to dip into a soft boiled egg. Spread German preservatives too!

October 15, 2017

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Get Steep into the History of Tea

Delicious Hot Tea

Tea is the most popular beverage worldwide, not counting water. Every country drinks tea in some shape of form. That’s because it has a history almost as old as time itself.

It was traded to Asian nations first. However, in Chinese folklore, it is said that Emperor Shennong was the one to discover tea in 2737 BC. According to the story, leaves from a tea tree blew right into his boiling pot of water. It emitted a sensational aroma so he tried it, and the rest is history.

Authentic Tea from Around the World

Even though it was around prior to that time period, China is still considered the place where tea came to be. Regardless of which story you choose to believe, tea spread from China in the 8th century to surrounding areas.

In 1618, China presented it to Russia’s Tsar Alexis. The Portuguese were the ones to spread it into Europe though. Astoundingly, Great Britain was the last of the European nations to get this “new” old beverage, in 1662. As an imported luxury, it was a drink for royalty. To this day, tea is still highly regarded in England though the price has become affordable for everyone. In olden days, it was something only the wealthy could afford and they were careful to have portraits painted showcasing themselves drinking the beverage fit for a king.

Loose Leaf Tea

Now in modern times, tea is everywhere and very accessible. Which type you choose to drink is all a matter of preference. You’ll find that there are thousands of different types of tea. True teas all come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. Those teas are divided into four categories: white tea, rich with antioxidants and a delightful yet mellow nectar-infused flavor; green tea, an incredibly popular tea with EGCG, the most potent antioxidants of all, oolong tea, one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive teas; and black tea, the most popular of tea types in the Western world with Earl Grey and English Breakfast Tea the most chosen selections. Beyond the true teas, you’ll find herbal teas which are made from a variety of different plants, like chamomile for example, one of the most soothing teas for relieving stress and promoting relaxation for restfulness.

Authentic Japanese Matcha Green Tea

You’ll find teas in tea bags or sold loose where you’ll need a strainer to keep from sipping the leaves up. It’s really a matter of preference. Which one will you fill your cup with?

October 15, 2017

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Your Ultimate Guide to Vinegar

Salad with Vinegar Based Dressing

Photo by: Karolina Grabowska

Vinegar is an absolute staple in every home. It can be used for cleaning without causing damage to your home, and of course, it can be used to cook a variety of things. While white vinegar is the best for cleaning, when it comes to crafting cuisine in your kitchen, you might be wondering what the difference is between all the vinegars out there.

This handy guide should help you when selecting new vinegars to try out. Vinegar is a delicious way to add a bit of tang to your dishes without needing much salt. Here are some of the most commonly used vinegars and what they can do for your cooking.

Pork with Apple Cider Vinegar Glaze

Apple Cider Vinegar

Another one you might have in your pantry is apple cider vinegar. It gives your food a tart taste with a slight hint of fruit. It works best for your salad dressings or for concocting marinades and homemade condiments. Try adding it to sauces with pork!

Fresh Oysters with Mignonette

"Kumiai oysters, pirul mignonette, olive oil" by T.Tseng

Wine Vinegars

There are a vast variety of wine vinegars out there, typically a blend of red or even white wine. It’s most prevalent in Europe though, so if you’re looking to add a touch of European class to your cooking, try out wine vinegar. The ones made with higher quality wines and aged for several years are the best kinds to get. Sherry wine and champagne vinegar are also nice specialty choices, though they tend to be more expensive. What can you use wine vinegar for? It will elevate the sweetness of fruits like berries or melon, and if you want people to beg you for your salsa recipe, add a little wine vinegar to it. Adding Champagne Vinegar to a mignonette for oysters is a classic delight!

 Balsamic Vinegar Reduction with Caprese Salad

Balsamic Vinegar

Not all balsamic vinegar is created equal. Traditional balsamic is like a fine wine, created in a complex way. It’s made with trebbiano grapes grown near Modena in Italy and is aged for a long time, generally around 6 years right on up to 25. It’s not easy to get so you’re most likely to find commercial balsamic wherever you go. Some of it is produced in Modena too but it isn’t labeled with the Consortium of Producers of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena seal like the traditional variety. Traditional or commercial, balsamic vinegar has an intricate flavor that complements salty items like goat cheese, adds harmony to spinach, and a bold contrast to strawberries, likely why you’ll find those 3 ingredients served in salads with a balsamic vinegar-based dressing.

 Authentic Sushi

Rice Vinegar

If you like to try out Asian cooking, you’ll want to keep rice vinegar around. This clear vinegar comes from Japan and is imperative to mixing with your rice if you want to have the proper flavor for your sushi. It’s clean and mild and works quite well on salads and stir-fry. Additionally, you can look out for red and black rice vinegars too which will lend a different sensation to your culinary creations.

October 10, 2017

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Turkish Patlican: The Extraordinary Eggplant Salad You Need

Turkish Eggplant Dip Patlican  

In the tasty world of Turkish cuisine, there are a great many dishes fashioned from eggplant. It’s one of the main ingredients you’ll find there, which is good news if you like eggplant. And even if you don’t, Turkish cuisine can turn you into an absolute lover of all things eggplant.

Such is the case with Turkish Patlican. It’s one of the shining stars of Turkish cuisine. This cold salad is often served as an appetizer and is made from roasted eggplant and seasonings and is served chilled.

Istanbul, Turkey

 "Istanbul" by Pedro Szekely

Patlican can come in other varieties too, some of them hot. You’ll see it presented in the scooped-out eggplant, and it almost resembles a shoe. In fact, Patlican Papucaki is the name of that dish, with “papucaki” coming from the Persian word of “paposh.” In Turkish, this translates to “shoe” or “slipper” which is very fitting of the presentation.

Eggplant for Turkish Eggplant Salad Patlican

However, you don’t need to go through all of that or become Cinderella searching for her lost slipper of eggplant. You can enjoy Turkish Patlican straight from the jar. Tamek makes two varieties of Turkish Patlican. You’ll find it in Roasted Eggplant flavor as well as Hot Roasted Eggplant flavor. The difference between the two is that one is spicy whereas the other is not.

 Falafel Plate with Turkish Patlican

 "House Felafel Salad - Limor's AUD30" by Alpha

If you’re a fan of spicy things, you’ll probably enjoy the spicier version. If not though, the Roasted Eggplant flavor will do just nicely. You can serve it prior to any meal, or make it as a dip which is perfect for parties. Everyone will love the slightly smoky flavor of the eggplant melded with garlic. Even people that don’t typically enjoy eggplant will find this to be a tasty treat. Often, they’re surprised to learn that it’s made with eggplant.

Garnish it with cilantro, or add red peppers if you wish. It goes beautifully with fresh toasted pita bread. You can also include a tray of olives, artichoke hearts, and other lovely items to adorn it with. It’s an eggplant salad dish that you’ll wish you’d discovered sooner, but hey, there’s no time like the present to start making up for lost time!

October 10, 2017

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Apple, Swiss & Prosciutto Rollups with Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey

Apple, Swiss & Prosciutto Rollups with Nature Nate's Honey

If you are like us, then you love snacking! Let's add a twist to our normal snacking routine and embrace these delicious Apple, Swiss & Prosciutto Rollups. The secret to making these Rollups so tasty? Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey and some wonderfully delicious Prosciutto!

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

1/8 cup of Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey

6 pieces La Quercia Sliced Prosciutto Americano, cut in half lengthwise

12 slices of Swiss cheese, softened

1 apple, cut into 12 wedges

Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Lay a piece of La Quercia Sliced Prosciutto Americano on a clean workspace. Top with one slice of Swiss, lining up the left edges of both pieces.
  2. Place an apple wedge on top. Tightly roll the prosciutto and Swiss together around the apple.
  3. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Serve with Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey for drizzling.

 

October 08, 2017

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The Sweet Life of Pralines

Aux Anysetiers du Roy Chocolate Praline Fondue

Some people think pralines are nuts, however that’s not completely true. Pralines are a confection made from nuts, sugar and cream, so while you’re not mistaken about there being nuts involved in this, pralines themselves are not nuts.

Belgium is, quite arguably, one of the best places for chocolates in the world. Pralines in Belgium are revered as the luxury chocolate, with a shell filled with soft, almost liquid filling. However, other places do pralines well too in their own way.

 Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Untitled by kristina

In France, pralines are a firm blend of almonds along with caramelized sugar. American pralines are a bit softer. They have a creamier texture made from syrup derived from either hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds plus milk or cream. With American pralines, they’re more like fudge.

A wonderful way to enjoy that praline flavor is to use it as a fondue. Dark Chocolate Praline Fondue by Aux Anysetiers du Roy is spectacular for turning an ordinary occasion into an extraordinary one. Aux Anysetiers du Roy was an intensely popular restaurant in the 1960s, located on Paris’ Ile Saint-Louis near Notre-Dame. The authentic recipes they presented were Provençal specialties that used olive oil, garlic, and aromatic herbs.

Chocolate Covered Oranges

"Chocolate Covered Orange Clementine Cuties on a plate next to a bowl of oranges" by Shari's Berries  

Among the many delightful things they offered, chocolate fondue was one of the most popular. Available in a perfectly-sized microwavable crock, it makes adding a luxurious dessert to the end of a dinner party or something special for a romantic night for 2 incredibly easy. Once heated, dipping fresh strawberries, bits of cakes, marshmallows, or cookies into it is divine!

 Dark Chocolate

Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

There are plenty more ways to enjoy praline flavors from around the world too. Some others to try are Bergen Marzipan Rum Pralines and Gluten Free Assorted Premium Pralines Chocolates by Venchi. They make for great gifts for birthdays or just to make someone, even yourself, feel special. The mere taste of pralines is enough to melt all your cares away. It’s nice to partake in something special every now and then. Serve it with champagne and toast to a good life!

October 08, 2017

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Chorizo: The Spanish Sausage You’ve Been Missing

Spanish Chorizo

"IMG_0862a" by insatiablemunch

Spain’s glorious chorizo, or pork sausage, is like a gift from the heavens. It incorporates an ancient Roman method that utilizes natural casings for a delicious flavor. While chorizo is made in many of other countries including Portugal and Mexico, the variety from Spain is one of the most revered in the world.

Spanish Chorizo

"Chorizo Rioja" by photoskate 

In Spain, chorizo has a very distinctive smoky flavor and a very deep red hue thanks to the use of dried and smoked red peppers. Chorizo comes in short, long, hard, or soft varieties. There are also leaner versions of it, which are commonly served at room temperature. You should enjoy these leaner chorizo varieties as an appetizer or tapas with some good wine and cheese. The fattier versions are used for cooking, the fat rendering off to make for a divine dining experience.

Spanish Chorizo

"Hummus with Chorizo & Roasted Hazelnuts-2" by jules

Chorizo can also be sweet or spicy. There was once a rule of thumb that declared long and thin chorizos were sweet and short ones were spicy, but it’s not set in stone. Chorizo is made from chopped up pork and pork fat. It’s seasoned with smoked paprika and salt. Depending on the type of paprika used, it will either be spicy (picante) or sweet (dulce).

Spanish Chorizo

"Necessary Chorizo" by J B

The best way to eat chorizo at room temperature is to slice it up onto crusty bread for a sandwich. You can grill it or fry it when you cook it. Or try simmering it in some form of alcohol for a real treat.

Spanish Chorizo

"Hobba Brekky at Hobba in Prahran" by Katherine Lim

Palacios is an authentic Spanish brand of chorizo that uses an old family recipe. They make their chorizo the traditional way. You’ll find Palacios chorizo in mild and hot. It’s ready to eat as-is, or you can cook it if you’d prefer it at a hot temperature. Palacios dry cures their chorizo so you can eat it right out of the package with a crusty loaf of bread and a lovely glass of wine. Try something from the La Rioja wine region for a beautiful match made in heaven!

October 02, 2017

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A Handy Guide to French Sauces

Filet with French Sauce

"fillet" by stu_spivack

When it comes to French cuisine, the most important aspect to master is the sauce. Famed French chefs will tell you that the sauce is what matters the most in French cuisine. It’s a belief that’s been passed down since Marie-Antoine Carême established what he felt were the four major sauces used in French cooking back in the beginning of the 19th century.

French Bechamel Sauce

 "The Feve Brunch - Croque Monsieur Strata" by Edsel Little

Auguste Escoffier contributed to the sauce roster in the early 20th century and now, if you head to culinary school and attempt to try your hand at French cookery, you’ll find 5 major French sauces that are considered the building blocks of French cuisine: Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomato, and Velouté. From these sauces, the other famed French sauces can easily be composed.

However, not everyone has the time to cook award-winning French cuisine every night. Or wants to, for that matter. A brilliant time-saving yet tasty solution is to look for sauces by Bénédicta, which has been making sauces since 1961 and is now one of the most popular sauce companies in France.

Filet with Bearnaise Sauce

"Chateau Briand" by Salim Fadhley

Bearnaise sauce is traditionally made with butter and egg yolks. It incorporates wine, vinegar, shallots, and estragon. It’s a rich and creamy sauce that is an absolute delight on meat or fish.

Sweet potato fries with French Aioli

"Süßkartoffel Pommes mit Tomaten Mayonnaise" by Stephanie Kraus

Bénédicta also makes an Aioli Garlic sauce. If you love garlic, this is a great addition to just about anything. You can use it in so many ways though adding it to any fish dish brings out the pure and simple flavors of the fish without pummeling it with garlic. Another brilliant way to use it is to put it on crab cakes.

 French bourguignonne sauce

Bourguigonne sauce, also known as burgundy sauce, is very delicate. This is where that main tomato sauce of French cookery comes in. Preparing that expertly is how you render this lovely sauce. Marry it with burgundy wine and it is ideal for fondues with meat. It adds that perfect touch of class.

French Steak au Poivre

"filet mignon au poivre" by jeffreyw

Peppercorn sauce, or Poivre, is more of a versatile sauce choice. Egg yolks and Dijon mustard are among the other ingredients that help bring out the strong and refined flavor of the freshly ground peppercorn. It’s a wonderful sauce to have handy because it happens to go equally well with white and red meats.

If you want to make French cooking happen in your kitchen but aren’t up for learning how to become a master of French sauces just yet, stock up on Bénédicta’s sauces to bring that French flair home with you for dinner every night.

September 20, 2017

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Baci Perugina Amped Up S'mores

Baci Perugina S'mores

Let’s take some time from our hectic schedules and be amongst family and friends. If your family is like ours, that means food has to be involved! With the perfect amount of chocolate and hazelnut, using Baci Perugina is the perfect way to amp up your s'mores. Give this delicious Baci S'mores recipe a try, you and your family will be happy you did!

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 Box graham crackers

8 Baci Perugia Candies (whichever flavor you prefer!)

1 Bag large marshmallows

 

Directions:

  1. Use skewers or thin wooden sticks to toast the marshmallows over a campfire or grill to desired level of toastiness. Transfer toasted marshmallow to a graham cracker square.
  2. Place Baci Perugina on top of toasted marshmallow and top with another graham cracker square.
  3. Squeeze down like a sandwich and eat!
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