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Amalfi Coast In Liguria, Italy Desktop Background

Bologna, Sorrento, Naples, Here I Come!

April 16, 2015

As most of you may know, I love to travel… it’s my favorite way to explore other cultures and enjoy their foods. It’s really the best way to get to know new a new place.. and I get to have delicious food and wine!

So, we are off to Italy… my all time favorite destination. I love, love visiting Italia and have been lucky enough to go numerous times in the past. The goal now is to explore different regions of the fabulous country. So, this visit will be going to Bologna which is in the Emilia Romagna region which is in the northeast area of the country. This area is not frequented by tourists as much but it is very well known for of course the famous bolognese sauce which my daughter is super excited about… it is also known for it’s cured meats, like mortadella as well as wine grape varieties like Lambrusco and Sangiovese!Bologna-vista02
Next stop will be to Sorrento, home to the famous Amalfi Coast. The area is abundant in citrus fruits, olives and loads of seafood. I am looking forward to the beautiful vistas, the limoncello (a lemon digestive) and the yummy food! We will of course visit Pompeii and other sights but my focus as usual will be food!

Our last stop will be Naples! I am very excited about this bustling city.. although not as modern as the other larger cities in Italy, I am looking forward to the grit and charm. Of course the focus will be to eat as much pizza, gelato and delicious Neapolitan pastries!!!

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All in all, I am looking forward to relaxing, people watching (as the Italian are very well dressed and are super friendly), eating delicious food and drinking inexpensive good wine!!! I will of course be blogging from there so stay tuned for my Italian adventure!!

 

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Carrot Orange and Avocado Salad1

Carrot Orange and Avocado Salad

April 15, 2015

This was a yummy salad indeed- a bit different as it has carrots, oranges and avocado.. well, why not?? I always associate a carrot orange salad when I have Moroccan food- so I decided to add avocado to the mix and it was yum!!

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 navel oranges, cut into segments
  • 1 avocado, cut in 1 inch dice
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon salt

Add the carrots, orange segments and avocado into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro, green onions, mint, lemon juice, honey, oil and salt. Mix well and let the salad sit for 20 minutes before serving.

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Brown Rice with Roasted Pepper and Tomato

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Brown Rice

April 14, 2015

This was a yummy rice to serve with the chicken… healthy and delicious. It is made with brown rice but no one knew!!

  • 1 cup roasted red/yellow peppers, freshly roasted or jarred
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Transfer all the ingredients to a blender and blend till a smooth sauce is formed.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped

Heat a wide saucepan with the oil and add the pepper sauce. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the rice and salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and partially cover with lid. Cook for 20 minutes and then cover with lid and cook on very low for another 20 minutes or till rice is cooked through. Take lid off and check for seasonings. Add the cilantro, green onions and mint. Mix well and serve warm.

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Harissa Chicken with Cilantro1

Harissa Chicken with Cilantro

April 13, 2015

I made a Moroccan inspired meal and it was delicious.. I served with a yummy red pepper rice.. stay tuned..

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup harissa
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon

Marinate the chicken pieces in the harissa, lemon juice, salt and cilantro. Refrigerate over night or for at least 2 to 3 hours. Take out of the fridge half an hour before cooking. Skewer the chicken pieces, drizzle with olive oil and broil in the oven till golden brown and cooked through. Add the lemon juice on top. Serve with rice and a salad.

Harissa Chicken with Cilantro

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Pasta with Potatoes and Green Beans

Linguini with Haricot Vert, Potatoes and Pesto

April 12, 2015

Perfect dish for meatless Mondays! I have made this dish many times but I decided to jazz it up a bit with adding my own homemade croutons. It’s not in the recipe below but it’s quite simple. I took a baguette and diced it into 1 inch squares. I then cooked some grated garlic in olive oil, drizzled it all over the cut up bread on a cookie sheet and baked the whole thing for 5 minutes- and voila.. I had yummy croutons. It adds a great crunch to the dish…

  • 2 medium yellow skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Heat a wide frying pan with the butter and olive oil. Add the potatoes and sauté on medium high heat, stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes or till the potatoes are golden brown and cooked through. Take out of the pan and keep aside.

  • 2 cups Haricot vert, trimmed
  • ½ pound linguini
  • Salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the beans. Cook for a minute and immediately place under cold water, dry and keep aside. Add the pasta in the same boiling water and cook till done. Drain and spare half cup of the pasta water.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup basil pesto, homemade or store bought (recipe follows)
  • Salt

Reheat the frying pan and add the olive oil. Return the potatoes to the pan with the green beans, pesto, pasta and the ½ cup pasta water. Mix well and heat everything through on medium heat. Check for seasonings and serve.

Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt

In a food processor, add the garlic and pine nuts. Process till smooth. Add the fresh basil and while the processor is on, drizzle the olive oil slowly till the consistency is smooth and wet. Take out in a bowl and add the cheese, lemon juice and salt. Store in the fridge.

 

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Coconut Chicken

Coconut Chicken Curry

April 8, 2015

I taught this dish yesterday in one of my cooking classes and it came out delicous. When I was testing the dish, I started with something completely different. It was okay, tasted fine but it didn’t stand out. So I decided to add some mustard seeds, crushed tomatoes and onions. That made a big difference in the taste and texture of the gravy. I love going out for south-indian food, especially since I am from the north. I then like to come home and try to replicate the dishes to the best of my ability. Hope you enjoy my version of a south-indian chicken dish!

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch pieces

Marinade

  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3-4 inch ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sauce

  • 1 medium white onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low fat coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Mix all 5 ingredients and marinate the chicken for 2 to 3 hours. In a heavy saucepan heat the olive oil and add the mustard seeds, cook for about a minute until the seeds begin to sizzle. Add the chicken with the marinade, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, salt, garam masala and sauté for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Add the onions and cook for 5-6 minutes while the chicken cooks. Add the crushed tomatoes, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let it simmer till the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning and add the cilantro.

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Chicken Parm with Broccoli Rabe Pesto1

Chicken Parmesan

April 7, 2015
  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups homemade marinara sauce
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese sliced

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.  Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.  On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt.  On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.  Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.  Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.   Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.

Lay the cooked chicken pieces in an oven proof casserole.  Ladle spoons of marinara sauce over all the chicken pieces.  Add the mozzarella slices on top and bake for 5-10 minutes in a 350 degrees oven until cheese is melted.  Serve with pasta or in a sandwich.

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