Raise your glass to the holiday season with this tangy, alcohol-free virgin cocktail.
• 8 ice cubes
• 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
• 1/4 cup simple syrup
• 1 cup sparkling grapefruit water
• 1/2 grapefruit, sliced into wheels
• 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1. In 2 highball glasses, equally divide the ice cubes, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and sparkling water.
2. Garnish with grapefruit slices and pomegranate seeds.
Paninis: Italy’s Classic Sandwich Gets a Modern Twist
The Evolution of Panini: From Classic Toasted Delight to Global Phenomenon.
Paninis, the quintessential Italian toasted sandwich, have traveled through time and cultures, garnering aficionados across continents. The journey of this delectable delight, from a simple meat and cheese stuffing to a versatile culinary canvas, embodies the beauty of fusion cuisine.
Originally, a panini sandwich was nothing more than an Italian ‘toast’ filled predominantly with prosciutto and cheese, distinctly marked by the grill lines of the panini press. As the panini ventured out of its homeland, it began to acquire a myriad of flavors and fillings influenced by regional preferences.
Take central Italy, for instance. Their paninis are a carnivore’s delight, brimming with luscious roasted pork. While the core essence remains the same – cheese and meat, toasted to perfection – the variations are endless.
Today’s paninis, though true to their roots with the characteristic grill lines and rich fillings, have been revitalized. The type of cheese, the choice of meat, and the addition of vegetables and condiments are all open to interpretation. Local flavors and ingredients often dictate the panini’s stuffing, making it a globally relatable yet distinct culinary experience.
For the adventurous souls who wish to dabble in crafting their own panini masterpiece at home, here’s a tantalizing recipe for the ‘Hot Sicilian.’ This recipe not only offers rich flavors reminiscent of Italy but also adds a spicy kick.
Hot Sicilian Panini Recipe
- 1 loaf Italian bread (eight half-inch slices)
- ½ pound deli shaved ham
- Packages of hard salami & sandwich pepperoni
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- 1 medium tomato (thinly sliced)
- 1 medium red onion (thinly sliced)
- Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil
- Optional: banana pepper slices (pickled or fresh).
- Lay out the bread slices. Begin with a slice of provolone on each piece.
- Top four slices with salami, ham, and pepperoni, while the remaining four get the tomato, onion, and optional pepper rings.
- Season all slices with parmesan, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Combine the halves to form four sandwiches.
- Toast using a preheated panini press or a skillet, pressing down with a spatula. Check every two minutes until golden brown.
The panini, a testament to the timelessness of Italian cuisine, serves as a reminder of how classics can be both preserved and innovated upon. Whether you’re enjoying one in a quaint Italian café or whipping up your own ‘Hot Sicilian’ at home, the panini guarantees a bite of Italy’s rich culinary history with every crunch.
The Remarkable Health Advantages of Chicken: More Than Just Protein
September Marks National Chicken Month: Unpacking the Nutritional Powerhouse that is Chicken.
This September, as families gather around the dining table to celebrate National Chicken Month, it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge more than just the taste of this staple ingredient. Chicken is not merely a versatile culinary option but also a nutritional powerhouse that can contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle. From weight management to mood enhancement, here are some compelling reasons why chicken should be a regular feature on your plate.
Chicken is an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids necessary for the body’s daily function. Consuming a single chicken breast provides several ounces of lean protein, essential for building muscle tissue. Protein isn’t just for athletes; it plays a crucial role for people of all ages. Research shows that eating a diet rich in protein can help strengthen bones, thereby reducing the risk of age-related conditions like osteoporosis.
Dr. Samantha Lewis, a leading nutritionist, elaborates: “The amino acids in chicken are the building blocks for muscle and bone health. Incorporating chicken into your diet can improve bone density and muscle strength, which is especially important as we age.”
Maintaining a healthy weight is a concern for many, and chicken can play an essential role in this endeavor. A high-protein diet is known to boost metabolism and induce satiety, helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day. The lean protein in chicken provides a feeling of fullness, which is crucial for weight management. Keeping weight within a healthy range has numerous benefits, including lowering the risk of hypertension and heart disease.
It turns out that eating chicken can also affect your mental health positively. Chicken contains tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin, commonly referred to as the “feel-good hormone,” plays a significant role in mood regulation.
Dr. Emily Thompson, a psychologist specializing in nutrition and mental health, says, “The correlation between diet and emotional well-being has been a subject of research for years. The tryptophan in chicken contributes to increased serotonin levels, providing a natural mood booster.”
Besides protein, chicken is packed with essential nutrients that can significantly benefit your health. For instance, chicken is a rich source of vitamin B12, which is crucial for brain development and function. Other valuable nutrients like choline, zinc, iron, and copper also abound in this versatile meat.
However, the health advantages can vary depending on which parts of the chicken you consume and how you prepare it. Generally, white meat cuts like breast are lower in calories compared to darker cuts like thighs and drumsticks. To optimize health benefits, experts recommend baking or boiling chicken instead of frying and removing the skin, which is high in saturated fat.
In celebrating National Chicken Month this September, consider not just the culinary diversity that chicken brings to the table but also the plethora of health benefits it offers. From muscle and bone strengthening to mood enhancement and vital nutrient provision, chicken proves itself to be more than just another piece of meat. So why not make the most of this versatile, nutritious food not just this month but all year round?
The Sweet and Simple History of Jams and Jellies
The delectable spoonful of jam or jelly that you spread across your toast every morning is more than just a sweet indulgence. It’s a quick source of energy, a delightful treat, and a fascinating piece of food history that has evolved over the centuries to become an integral part of our breakfast routines.
Jams and jellies, despite their sweet nature, are surprisingly light on your health and your wallet. They provide a low-calorie alternative to many traditional spreads like butter. A report by the International Jelly and Preserve Association reveals that a tablespoon of butter has 102 calories and 12 grams of fat, while an equivalent amount of jelly contains only 48 calories and no fat. It’s a sweet trade-off, indeed.
The story of these sweet spreads in the U.S. begins with Jerome Smucker in 1897. Smucker started his company with an Ohio cider mill, pressing apples to make apple butter. It was a humble beginning for a company that would eventually become synonymous with a wide variety of sweet jams and jellies.
In 1917, another sweet success story unfolded when Paul Welch, the founder of a now-famous brand, got the first patent on grape jam. His unique recipe for “grapelade” was sold to the U.S. Army and quickly gained popularity among soldiers, a testament to the universal appeal of these sugary spreads.
Fast forward to today, and the market is flooded with a plethora of jams and jellies. From the traditional flavors like grape and strawberry, which remain the most popular flavor, the spectrum has expanded to include exotic variants such as kiwi, pomegranate, and even dandelion. The evolution of jams and jellies reflects our changing tastes and willingness to experiment with flavors.
Jams and jellies, once simple fruit preserves, have grown into a diverse array of flavor profiles that cater to every palate. Their low-calorie content and sweet taste make them a favorite addition to our daily meals. The next time you slather your toast with jam or jelly, remember the sweet history that makes each bite possible.
Cool Off With Our Cold Pea and Mint Soup
This refreshingly smooth soup is the perfect light snack on a hot day! Share this delight with friends and family.
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 4 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed
• 30 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock
• 1/3 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 4 ounces whipping cream or plain yogurt
• A few mint leaves for garnish
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes. Don’t let them brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add the peas and stock to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the mint and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add a little water or stock if necessary. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
5. Whether serving the soup warm or cold, add a splash of cream and a few mint leaves as a garnish.
This recipe can be frozen (without the cream) or stored in the refrigerator for three days.
Embrace the Summer Vibes With Our Grilled Shrimp With Cherry Tomatoes and Zucchini Ribbons Recipe
Want to feel like you’re on holiday by the sea? Prepare this tasty shrimp recipe.
• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
• 5 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
• 1 teaspoon paprika (or cayenne pepper or chili powder, to taste)
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
• 2 small zucchinis
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Chopped herbs like rosemary, dill, or parsley for garnish
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the white wine vinegar, half of the chopped garlic, the paprika, and the salt and pepper. Mix well to coat the shrimp and marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F (use convection mode, if available). In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the other half of the minced garlic, the Italian seasoning, and a dash of salt and pepper. Whisk lightly. Add the cherry tomatoes and coat them with the mixture. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. While the shrimp are marinating and the tomatoes are in the oven, use a potato peeler to make long, thin zucchini ribbons.
4. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter. Add the zucchini ribbons and cook gently for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat until tender. Don’t let them brown. Season the ribbons with salt and pepper and remove from the pan. Set aside.
5. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on each side.
6. Return the zucchini to the pan and pour in the hot tomatoes and their juices, if any.
Dive Into a Dreamy Summer Dessert With Our Semifreddo with Raspberries and Pistachios!
Looking for a refreshing summer dessert that’ll blow your mind? Get ready to dazzle your guests with this fruity Italian recipe.
Servings: 6 to 8
• 14 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
• 12 ounces heavy whipping cream
• 3 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup whole pistachios for garnish
• 7 ounces fresh raspberries for garnish
• 1 tablespoon icing sugar for garnish
• A few mint leaves for garnish
1. Place a standard-size loaf pan in the freezer.
2. In a large bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks using a mixer or whisk.
3. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until pale yellow and smooth.
4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
5. Pour and gently mix the egg yolk mixture and the whipped egg whites into the large bowl containing the whipped cream.
6. Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and pour in the mixture.
7. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
8. Remove from the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
9. Spread the thawed raspberries over the mixture. Cover the thawed raspberries with the chopped pistachios. Carefully invert onto a serving plate. Garnish the top with whole pistachios, fresh raspberries, icing sugar, and a few mint leaves and serve.