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Posts Tagged ‘olives’

Here come the chicken!! This is a colorful, robust and beautiful dish packed with protein and the man in my house needs that…I cook chicken occasionally and when choosing chicken, I only use free range organic, air-chilled chicken available at Whole Foods Markets everywhere. I want to take a little time to explain what air-chilled chicken is. These chickens are raised naturally in pastures on farms and are fed an entirely vegetarian diet with no antibiotic or hormone injections and no animal by-products. Air-chilled chickens are involved in a minimal processing method for cooling them to meet food safety guidelines. This method is superior to industrial poultry production which utilizes water-chilling. With this latter method, the poultry absorbs water full of chemicals to prevent diseases, salt, phosphate, and the blood and gut particles from all the other chickens in the water. Additionally, the labels on these chickens advertise “up to 5% water content.”  Air-chilled chickens are cooled to food safety standards and this method has been used in Europe for over 40 years. Each bird is individually chilled over the course of three hours. They are moved into carefully temperature-controlled chambers where cold air is misted on them. The birds then move over a mile or more on tracks in the chambers as they cool down. The flavor of air-chilled chicken is superior and of unparalleled taste. These chickens are juicy, tender and full of natural flavor and because they are not processed with water, they cook more quickly too.

Now for the health benefits: chicken is a wealthy source of a variety of essential nutrients especially high quality protein. Just 100 grams of chicken breast accounts for more than half the recommended dietary intake of protein. This helps to prevent against bone loss. Chicken contains niacin, a B vitamin, that helps protect the body against cancer. The trace mineral selenium is also present and is required for healthy thyroid hormone metabolism, anti-oxidant defense systems, and the immune function of the body. Vitamin B-6 is present in chicken and maintains healthy blood vessels. Along with niacin, B-6 helps to boost energy metabolism in the body. Phosphorous in chicken supports the health of teeth and bones as well as proper functioning off the kidneys, liver and the central nervous system. Portobella mushrooms contain a serious nutritional punch and they are low in fat and high in fiber. The portobella, like chicken, is an excellent source of selenium and a lot of other B vitamins, and their polysaccharide and beta-glucan components show anti-cancer properties. These mushrooms taste great and have broad range versatility in many recipes. Capers and olives fall into the category of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’S) and as such, have a protective effect on our cells. They are also beneficial to weight control if eaten in moderate amounts. They contain vitamin E for anti-oxidant protection and the phytonutrients known as polyphenols and flavonoids. Olives and capers also have significant anti-inflammatory properties. They protect the heart, support gastro-intestinal health fight colon cancer, prevent heart disease, reduce hot flashes and protect cell structure. Herbs are often thought of as just seasoning but they are so much more. Herbs have disease fighting antioxidants too. In fact they have more than most fruits and vegetables. Herbs have been used medicinally for centuries.

Enjoy this wonderful healthful dish.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless halved chicken breasts, washed and cleaned of any remaining skin

2 lbs. chicken tenders, washed and cleaned of any remaining skin

4 med-large size potobella mushrooms sliced

1/4 tspn. fresh ground black pepper

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 C white wine or low sodium chicken broth

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 C pimento stuffed green olives

1/4 C capers rinsed and drained

2 T minced fresh oregano

1 T minced fresh mint

1 T apple cider vinegar

2 large garlic cloves minced

1 t minced fresh thyme

Preparation:

Sprinkle the chicken with freshly ground black pepper

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the mushrooms and brown the chicken on both sides in the oil.

Remove the chicken and mushrooms from the skillet and cover to keep warm.

Combine the remaining ingredients and put into the skillet. Stir to loosen brown bits in the skillet. Bring to a boil.

Return the browned chicken and mushrooms to the skillet and lower the heat.

Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is tender and the juices run clear.

Plate, garnish with fresh herbs or lemon wedges and serve.  Yields 6-8 servings

mangi bene!!

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The Great Tomato Caper

 

For Thanksgiving, I wanted to create a fresh easy-to-make and different Tomato salad to wow the guests.  I was inspired at the local Dave’s Market in Smithfield, R.I. where I found vine ripe tomatoes, Campari tomatoes (a mix of red yellow and purple small tomatoes), heirloom yellow tomatoes and grape tomatoes. Yum Yum Ho!! here is my recipe…

INGREDIENTS:

6 vine ripe tomatoes

2-3 yellow heirloom tomatoes

1 box of Campari mixed tomatoes or  a container of gourmet medley tomatoes (small size yellow, red and purple tomatoes)

1 small box of grape tomatoes

2  –  8 oz. packages of fresh Mozzarella cheese (I used Rhode Island’s own Narragansett Creamery brand-ooh so good)

a bunch of  fresh Basil (inhale deeply  aaah!)

a small bottle of capers

1 container of pitted Calamata Olives

1 container of pitted bright green Castelzetrano olives

Balsamic Glaze (this is Balsamic vinegar thickened to a syrup consistency and purchased at the market)

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Red Wine Vinegar

Fresh ground pepper

Garlic Powder

PREPARATION:

Find a beautiful  large size bowl to assemble the ingredients

slice the vine ripe and the yellow heirloom tomatoes to 1/4  inch thickness

Leave all other tomatoes their original size as they are bite sized

begin to assemble the sliced tomatoes one layer at a time standing them up or at an angle but not flat

sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and garlic powder as you go along

alternate with the same thickness of the mozzarella chees sliced to 1/4 or slightly wider thickness

tear 1 inch pieces of basil to put between the tomato and mozzarella slices

continue to assemble like this until you have about 3 inches of space at the front of the bowl.

Now add all of the smaller size tomatoes in this space and also toss some over the tomato/mozzarella/basil.  Do this so as to appeal to the eye.

Sprinke some capers over all

Toss in the 2 types of olives also for visual appeal

Now the assembly is done and it should look beautiful and colorful

Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over all in a vertical pattern

Do the same with the balsamic glaze. This is rich and beautiful

Drizzle some red wine vinegar over all

sprinkle fresh ground black pepper over all

Garnish with Basil leaves at the center or 1 or more of the  edges

Finito, Buon Appetito (finished and good appetite)

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