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In A Pinch…

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler

I was sitting down my husband having a hot cup of coffee, steam was still rising from the top of my mug that says “Greatest Mom”, and then I remembered…I told the kids I would make some fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls. Well, luckily, I purchased some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the grocery store the other day.

I leaped out of my French Country chair with the woven sea grass, and took a few splinters in my rear for getting up so fast. I ran across the cold tile with my bare feet to the fridge. Ahhh, a life saver, in tube form…the cinnamon rolls, just needed to be popped open, and put in a cast iron skillet, ya know, for a home made look. LOL!

I pop them in the oven that is 400 degrees, and mix about 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to 4 teaspoons of “sugar in the raw”, and add that to the top. Not everyone in the family likes the frosting that comes with the Pillsbury tube. They came out of the oven perfectly fluffy, and invigorating the whole house with the smell of cinnamon. The look of them in the cast iron skillet is such a bonus.

Yes, the kids were happy, and so was my husband.

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Bacon Wrapped Albacore Tuna

“A tuna steak and salad? Seventy bucks. Welcome to Los Angeles.” Mark Zupan

For the tuna

2 trimmed sushi-quality albacore tuna loins, each about 1-1/2 pounds

Course sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

6 to 8 strips of thin cut artisanal bacon

Pepper Cream Sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large shallots, peeled and finely diced

1 tablespoon freshly ground peppercorns

1/4 cup of Cognac

1 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Course sea salt

1 1/2 tablespoon of fresh tarragon chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish

1/2 lemon

Tuna- Sprinkle tuna loins with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. For each loin, cut 4 lengths of butchers string, about 12 inches long, and lay them parallel to each other (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart). Place a strip of bacon in the center, perpendicular tot he strings. Lay a tuna loin on the bacon. Lay two more strips of bacon on top of the tuna (3 if it’s a large loin), bring the strings snugly over the loin.

Grill on a grill grate until the bacon and tuna are seared, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn with tongs to sear the remaining sides. The interior of the tuna should retain its rosy color; do not over cook. Transfer the tuna to a cutting board.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the butter once the saucepan is hot, then add the shallots. Cook the shallots until they are translucent and soft. Add the black pepper and Cognac. Add the white white, and bring to a boil; reduce by half. Stir in cream and mustard and let the sauce simmer until it coats the back of the spoon. Add salt to taste. Stir in chopped fresh tarragon and squeeze of lemon. Remove the strings, and enjoy.

This would go great with our Estate Cab. Franc. It scored a 94 in San Francisco, and won double gold. IMG_0271

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Baked Chicken and Magical Mashed Potatoes

Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well. Michael Pollan

Magical Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs of potatoes  4 ounces of butter, 2 cups of milk, teaspoon of salt

Potato ricer, and a mixer

Peel the potatoes, and cut them into small pieces, cover them with water, and start to boil. Add a teaspoon of salt to your water. Once the potatoes are boiling, check them with a fork to see how if they are soft. Drain the water off the potatoes, and in the mixing bowl add the 4 ounces of butter.

Spoon out the potatoes to the ricer, and push the potatoes through the ricer into the mixing bowl. Continue until you are finished. Add about 2 cups of milk, you may need a little more or a little less, it depends on how fluffy or pureed you prefer your potatoes.

Baked Chicken

Stop buying your bread crumbs! When your bread is starting to lose it’s freshness, leave it out so it can become dry. If you have a food processor, put the pieces of bread in there, and store your bread crumbs in a container or plastic bag. What are you going to need?

Chicken,  3 cups of bread crumbs, 1 cup olive oil, spices and herbs you like, use at least a teaspoon of each, Italian Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Tarragon, Sage and Rosemary are our favorites, but you can add what you like. Three bowls are needed, and a cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 450, wash your chicken and put it in a big bowl, Your going to need three bowls. One bowl for your chicken, one bowl for olive oil, and one bowl is going to have the fine breadcrumbs and all your herbs and spiced mixed together.

Give your chicken a bath in the olive oil, and then your going to roll the piece of chicken in the bread crumbs. Add each piece to the cookie sheet.

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It takes about 30 minutes to bake your chicken. Make sure they are crispy and brown before you take them out of the oven. The naked ones I have in the oven are ones I save for lunches. They are just given a olive oil bath, and herbs and spices.

Enjoy!

 

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Olive Oil Pancakes

Not only do we have our Sunday dinners together, but we also enjoy our Sunday breakfast. Anyone that has been to my house knows that I use olive oil for cooking, and that is no different with my pancakes.

 

 

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old fashion bowl

What are you going to need?

2 cups of all purpose flour                        1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt                                       2 large eggs

1 1/2 cup of milk                                         3 tablespoons of Olive oil

Mix all your dry ingredients first, and then add the wet ones. Get as many as the lumps out with the whisk as possible.

While you are mixing the wet ingredients, you may want to turn on your stove top so the skillet gets hot before adding your butter or your olive oil to the skillet.

Use a ladle or a bog spoon to scoop some batter to add to your hot and now oiled or buttered skillet. Depending on the size of your skillet or griddle you can do many or a few, but you will want to flip once tiny bubbles appear on your pancakes.

Once you have them on the plate you or your guests can decide if they want butter or jam on their pancakes. We use hartley farms jams, not only are they our neighbor, but a friend that makes awesome jam!

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Chicken Cacciatore

“We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between the frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores. blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.” Anthony Bourdain

As I have state before, the crock pot has become my stay at home assistant. Oh, how I love to make the food in the morning, and come home to a cooked dinner.

If you don’t already have a crock pot that browns your food, it’s better to start browning the chicken.All-Clad 7 Qt Gourmet Slow Cooker with All-in-One Browning What else are you going to need?

4 chicken breast     1 can of crushed tomatoes     2 cloves of garlic  1/2 red onion

1 cup of wine        bell pepper,  salt, pepper, oregano, and Italian parsley and fresh Rosemary

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After you brown the chicken, you are going to take them out of the crock pot for a few minutes, while you add the other ingredients.

Add your two cloves of garlic, and 1/2 red onion into the crock pot. You want your onions and garlic to be translucent. After this happens to your garlic and onions, add your chicken back into the crock pot. Add one can of crushed tomatoes, one cup of wine, your diced bell pepper, and your spices. Some people like more spices and some like less, but at least add 1/2 teaspoon of each.

Here’s the best part…IMG_9719

Let it cook low for 4 hours. It will automatically go to warm. Then when you get home you will have a delicious meal waiting for you. Add some real parmigiana cheese to the top if you like, and a rosemary on the side for beauty.  You are going to love it!

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Turkey Roast

Owning a winery means working all the time. My husband and I work 7 days a week. We love good food and good wine, so we always make time (at least on Sunday) to share our meals together. Last Sunday, I made a turkey roast. Having a crock pot is like having a helper in the kitchen. I can’t even tell you how often I make use of mine.

I have the All Clad 7 Quart Deluxe I like this one because you can brown the food before slow cooking the food. With this one you will need some high quality olive utensils. You don’t want to scratch the inside of the crock pot.

Anyway, I start my process by adding all the herb and spices I want on a plate. IMG_9660

I use about a teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt, garlic powder, coarse ground, oregano, parsley leaves, cumin, and basil. Add your turkey on the top of the herbs and spices and roll it over them.

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Keep in mind that you can edit the herbs and spices that I have added, and add your favorites. After you are done, you want to brown the turkey, add olive oil in the crock pot, and the brown should be at 400 degrees. Make sure you give the crock pot time to preheat. Add your turkey roast, and wait for it to brown on each side. You will want to flip it around with your wooden utensils.

After it’s brown, you can add the gravy to a measuring cup, and add a cup of white wine. I usually add wine to my crock pot instead of water, because it adds more flavor. Now, you are going to leave it to cook. I set mine on low for 6 hours, and then it will automatically turn to “warm” for you.

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When I got home I made rice, and peas to go with the turnkey. We had a French Viognier to complement the meal. I was too hungry to take a photo of the plated food. LOL! Enjoy!

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Morelli Family Sunday

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This is one of our favorite meals. The potatoes are really easy, peel your potatoes, set your oven to 400, add olive oil to the cookie sheet, some onions and red peppers and cook until tender. Cook your potatoes first!

The pork rolls are made from pork should cut in long thin strips, add your favorite seasoning. We prefer Tuscan or Italian seasoning, but plenty of cumin. Add bacon on the out side and inside of each strip, then roll tightly. Toothpick the roll together and bake them in the oven for about 30 mins at 400 degrees. You don’t want to make the roll too thick or the meat will not get done on the inside. Add red onions and sweet peppers to cookie sheet and you have a nice meal.

If I was going to have a wine with this one, I would choose our Merlot. Our Merlot is fruit forward and compliments the peppers and pork very nicely.