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28 November 2015

One-Pot Spicy Chicken Salsa Rice

Christmas season is coming to a close and with two kids in Elementary School, the Yuletide season has another meaning for me. Christmas recitals, parties, projects and you can insert sick kids too! My husband and I are in full-throttle going through lists of things needed for the coming Christmas projects and recitals. It's a treasure hunt of odd things for the projects and costumes.

27 November 2015

Ornellaia Estate

You know that something special awaits you as you enter the Cypress Avenue in Bolgheri lined with elegant cypress trees standing like royal soldiers, because like any cypress-lined road in Tuscany, something supremely beautiful is at its midst. My destination - Tenuta dell'Ornallaia (Ornellaia Estate), the winery where excellence is supreme, in both its wines, arts and passion. 

25 November 2015

Teriyaki Chicken Over Miso Rice

Just with the color alone you know that you will get a very tasty chicken and rice dinner. The secret for a delicious-looking chicken is when it has a rich color of almost burnt brown. Because of the soy sauce and honey, I got the result that I was looking for. And the flavor is teriyaki - that makes it even a world better because aside from sushi and sashimi, teriyaki is the third best Japanese food for me. So let's start with this simplified version of chicken teriyaki that I paired with miso rice. It's easy and and really worth your time. I can actually do this over and over again.

23 November 2015

Asian Sweet and Sour Fish

Contrasting flavors of sweet and sour, as the name suggests, is typically found in Asian dishes. The most popular can be pork in Chinese cuisine but whole fish can also be covered in this delectable sauce cooked with strips of carrots, onions and ginger like in the Philippines. Mmmmm. Did anyone say sweet and sour fish? This is one of my favorite childhood dishes and I think it's time I introduce it to you and maybe, you can try making it at home. So take out that Asian food lover in you and make this easy fish recipe.

21 November 2015

Garlic Pineapple Chicken with Pineapple Ham Mixed Rice

I love pineapples and when I add them to the dishes I prepare, I love them even more, be it sweet or savory. So, yes, I am one of those people who would stop at an entry in a menu when it's written Hawaiian because for me, it is synonymous to pineapples. I grew up knowing that all Hawaiian dishes have pineapples in them but I know now that it's not true. But going back to the pineapples, here is one of my favorite meals that I created with loads of pineapples in them.

13 November 2015

Sofia, Bulgaria: What I Saw and Where I Ate

Built in 1882, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, this Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral became an iconic architectural landmark of Sofia.
Sofia happened more than two weeks ago and I can still remember vividly how this city took me in a tight embrace. Simply told, I loved every single minute I was there: the relaxing walks I had, taking in the sights, drinking the local wines and the trying out the food, be it international or traditional. Sofia is so full of surprises that are waiting to be discovered and appreciated. For a tourist, this is the place to be because the mixture of modernity and history in an energetic young city (after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989) is a very interesting experience. Plus you don't need to dig deep in your pockets because the prices are still very affordable.

11 November 2015

How to Make Homemade Tagliatelle (Without a Pasta Maker)

Did you ever think of making your own pasta instead of buying them? I know, it can be intimidating to make your own because perhaps you don't have a pasta maker sitting around in the kitchen or just because you don't think you will be able to carry it off. Don't worry, the answer to the two questions is that yes, you can make your own tagliatelle even without a pasta maker and yes, you will definitely be able to do it - like a pro! I learned this from a chef in a show cooking who was making the pasta like it is the most natural thing in the world. And I am excited to show it to you too. Shall we start?

09 November 2015

Spaghetti with Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Ragù Sauce

I believe that I am not alone in having leftover problems when meals are finally concluded and I start clearing up the table. Being the one who takes care of the before and after meals at home, I tend to push everyone to eat up and not leave the leftovers. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I'm not. I don't like wasting food. However, there is one kind of food that always (whatever I do) remains. Rotisserie chicken and roasted potatoes are quite popular in Italy and they are usually sold side by side the pizza al taglio (pizza by the meter) in the pizzerie

08 November 2015

Arcadia Vineyards and Bakucha Hotel & Spa in Northern Thrace, Turkey

While the sun was rising, we drove through Thrace countryside making our way from Vinero Winery to Arcadia Vineyards on the last day of our Turkish press trip. With 3 hours traveling time in between them (but just about 2 hours from Istanbul), we left Vinero with our boxed breakfasts at half past six in the morning, groggy from a very early start, with the still dark skies looming above us. At around ten, we finally entered Arcadia Vineyards' estate as Zeynep Arca Salliel met us with an enthusiastic welcome.

07 November 2015

Vinero Winery, Hotel and Spa (Porta Caeli) in Thrace, Turkey

Turkey. The first time I set foot on it was last year at the airport, as I transited in between flights. I wondered how it was like outside, in a country that is known to be bustling with rich culture, history and diversity. It's the meeting point of Asia and Europe and inquisitiveness was engulfing me as I waited for my ongoing flight. I told myself that maybe, in the near future, I will be able to satisfy the myriad of curiosities that are crossing my mind and see for myself how Asia and Europe are bridged together in one place. That "near future" arrived sooner than I hoped because along with this year's Digital Wine Communications Conference 2015 (#dwcc15) in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, there was also a 4-day pre-conference press trip to Istanbul and Thrace in Turkey and that is where I discovered Turkey and its wines.

03 November 2015

One-Pot Spaghetti al Pomodoro

When I was speaking with a friend once whose work life is a combination of traveling and running around her neighborhood (in those rare moments that she is home), I just realized how badly she needs alternatives for using her time wisely. That includes having home cooked meals that don't need elaborate and long preparations because with a life like that, the easiest and most possible option is always take-away. Perhaps it's more delicious than home cooked meals at times but healthwise, I would still go for the ingredients that I bought myself and put together in my pan.

30 October 2015

Miso Ramen (with Homemade Ramen Noodles)

No, I did not disappear from the face of the earth even if I feel like it after not writing for almost two weeks in my blog. At the moment, I am in Sofia, Bulgaria, waiting for my flight back to Rome. I had been away the past days in Wine Press Tours in Turkey and Bulgaria plus a Wine Convention to get to know the indigenous wines of both countries. That will be a series of posts that I will be writing as soon as I sort out and organize the notes that I had been jotting down everywhere. If you want to take a peek at how these two countries are, just visit my Facebook page where you can see all the photos I had been posting. Maybe you will even find Bulgaria and Turkey as new travel destinations. But for now, let me get back to my old routine and share with you this Asian recipe that you can make from scratch even from the ramen noodles (if you feel like it).

17 October 2015

Cheese-Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers

I like creating food with less ingredients as possible and these Cheese-Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers use only three basic ingredients: bell peppers, cream cheese and chives. If you really want to stretch it, you can skip the chives. But only if you can't find them or you don't like the oniony taste like my husband. He takes his time in picking them away one by one. I always tell him that he is missing out on such a delicious combination of flavors but any uncooked relative of the allium family really can't stay on his plate.

16 October 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Chicken

There's nothing easier than to gather a few ingredients, throw them all in the slow cooker and just forget about it while you mind other things. And I can even say that it's pure magic when the dish that was so effortlessly put together is a big winner. Slow cookers are really great help in the kitchen. With its slow cooking at a low temperature, the flavors blend amazingly well while the meat becomes very tender. I especially like using it when I am cooking chicken because I find the meat to be more tender than usual and the absorption of flavors is ten times more.

12 October 2015

Roasted Whole Chicken with Oranges, Fennel and Olives

Sunday is the only day of the week when we can be lazy and be allowed to stay much longer in bed (dog included). After a very late night of staying up with friends over a great dinner and getting home at almost 2 in the morning, we were all groggy with sleepiness. Only our dog had the energy to jump around as if we didn't see each other for years when we actually just separated for a few hours. But dogs are done that way. Loyal, perennially happy and just beaming with love for his family. We love you to the moon and back too little one.

10 October 2015

Spicy Asian Salad with Tofu, Peanuts and Shrimp

It may not compare to a tender, juicy beef burger but it can go down smoothly to a much better digestion and abundant nutrients backing up every single forkful that you eat. Shrimp, tofu and and fresh salad leaves. That is a very healthy choice that your body would probably be thankful for right now. And it has exciting blends of flavors too. If you love Asian food, then hop right in and find out how good this salad is.

Easy Roasted Cauliflower

I have to be honest, cauliflower is one of my least favorite vegetables. There are only three cauliflower dishes that I can really enjoy and this Easy Roasted Cauliflower is the fourth one.  Mentioning the other three recipes, I think I should share them with you. I suggest that you try them because they are worth your time and effort. Pasta with Cauliflower  and Raisins is a traditional Sicilian dish that my mother-in-law taught me, Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole is a simple and healthy vegetarian dish that you can pop in your slow cooker anytime and lastly, the Roasted Cauliflower Soup which is one of the 3 detox soups that are great to have on the days you want to go light.

08 October 2015

Baked Coconut Shrimp

These shrimp have the hearty notes of a tropical island. I can imagine the sun, sand and the sea and I can also smell the coconut. Coconut and shrimp are two of the biggest representatives of tropical islands because they grow there in abundance with superior quality. These shrimp are simply coated with the coconut along with some Panko then baked in the oven. And the lime - don't forget to include it because it gives a much better taste. It is more aromatic than lemons so if you can, try not to substitute with this recipe.

06 October 2015

Social Media Day (#SMDayExpo) at the Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy

Travel the world in one place. At the EXPO in Milan, you can do just that. To see everything, you need days to see most of the 1.1 million square meters of sprawling area of exhibitions of incredible pavilions from different parts of the world. Left and right, as you walk along its grand main corridor, various participating countries, 145 in total, showcase pavilions of every imaginable architecture exhibiting their unique interpretation of the EXPO's theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

02 October 2015

Iced Coffee with Homemade Muscovado-Coconut Creamer

I took out my socks today. I have been going around with sandaled feet for the past four months that it feels strange to start covering up again. I had an extra-long summer this year because I went to the Philippines (tropical weather - hot!) at the end of May and when I came back to Italy in July, summer just started. This had been my longest summer and I guess, I am ready to say goodbye to it and make room for some autumn cold. But I am not letting go of it just like that because I still have a coffee drink to share with you. It's a very refreshing one with loads of ice and an exotic flavor of coconut and muscovado sugar together.

01 October 2015

Sautèed Tofu and Vegetables in Oyster Sauce

The local fruit and vegetable vendor seems to have a bright smile everytime his shop is full of shoppers. True, for economic reason, that is a probably the best reason behind that curved angle but I think there is more to that amused smile than just good business. He seems to be the kind of person who likes to promote good health and good food through what he knows best - the fresh vegetables and fruits that he is selling every single day. I have a feeling that if doesn't need to pay his bills, he will stuff all our bags with fresh produce that we can cook and feed our families with - for free!

Frozen Blueberry Cheesecake Balls

As much as blueberries as very healthy, they are also very fun to be creative with. It remains one of my favorite ingredients in making something good, delicious, purply and healthy in the kitchen. The kind that pulls my daughter's attention because she is crazy about everything purple. These Frozen Blueberry Cheesecake Balls are are great to pop in the mouth (maybe if you make them lightly smaller than my version).

30 September 2015

Honey Sriracha Chicken

Sweet and spicy at the same time. It has all the Asian prints in them. This Honey Sriracha Chicken is a hit in my own table. Chicken, for that matter is always well accepted by my kids and on a step closer to healthier options, they even prefer the white meat. Lucky! Soy sauce, honey, sriracha, ginger, lime are the main ingredients that work together in this simple and delicious dish. It is a kind of chicken meal that is perfect for a weeknight dinner. It requires easy ingredients that you most probably already have at home and cooking doesn't require so much expertise in the kitchen. It's really great when you are pressed for time.

29 September 2015

Pasta with Green Beans and Pesto

Green is the color that makes imaginary allergies come out from kids because well, vegetables have that color. It's funny when I serve the greenest of all greens on the table and see pouts and big eyes. Oh, and complaints like I am mistreating them. Sigh. I was a kid too and I also went through that green allergy phase. Green food only goes with the right age I guess and I will wait for the time to happen when they request for a green dish.

28 September 2015

How to Make Eggless Mayonnaise

In the kitchens, whipping up dishes has completely evolved to a more versatile one. We can create them according our needs and most especially, according to how we want them. Gluten-free diets, vegetarians, vegans, there are no limitations anymore because with so many available ingredients we have nowadays, anything is possible. Let's start with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is commonly done with eggs, olive oil (or extra virgin, depends on where you are), lemon juice or vinegar and salt. Vegans can't eat it because of the presence of animal products. You can create a simple one at home without the eggs too if you are vegan. Substitute them with plant-derived unsweetened milk like kamut, hemp, almond, hazelnut, oat, etc.). Just put everything in the immersion blender and press to mix until it becomes creamy and gets that mayo-like consistency.