Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Healthy Lemon Garlic Chicken

This recipe is one of the easiest to prepare and because you grill skinless , it is a healthy summer choice. The chicken is first marinated for at least an hour, which allows it to fully develop the flavor of the and garlic, and just before grilling, it is coated with a chipotle rub. The one I used is a Wild Cherry Chipotle rub which adds a smoky wood flavor, but any chipotle rub would work. I served this with freshly made potato salad and water cress drizzled with balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil, but it is also great served with a green salad and fresh bread.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • Dried Chipotle Rub
For the Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and the freshly ground salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Skin the chickens, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. With a sharp knife or scissors, make deep cuts to the bone on both sides of the drumsticks, and on the fleshy part of the thighs. This not only allows the flavor of the marinade to penetrate deeply, but also ensures that the meat cooks through to the bone as quickly and evenly as possible.
  4. Add the chicken to the marinade mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavor to develop.
  5. After an hour, remove chicken from the marinade and coat one side of the chicken with chipotle rub. Discard the marinade.
  6. Grill the chicken with the rub facing down on a pre-heated medium hot grill for 10 minutes, turn and coat the second side with rub and grill for a further 10 minutes. Continue grilling for a total of 30 - 40 minutes, turning once, until no pink remains. The temperature of the chicken should be at least 165° F. Do not be tempted to turn the temperature to very high, as this causes the chicken to dry out, it stays moist if cooked more slowly.
  7. To serve, place the chicken on serving plates and garnish with lemon wedges and water cress.
As an alternative a 1/2 teaspoon of can be added to the marinade for a spicy chicken, and this goes well served with a ranch dressing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Changing Face of Wine

I recently bought a bottle of at the supermarket, and like many people, as I hadn't tried this wine before, I bought it purely because of the cool bottle which is sleek, seductive and sexy. The wine was Voga Italia Pinot Grigio, and it did, in fact, turn out to be pretty good.

Pinot Grigio is a popular white wine produced in Northern which is often very light and crisp. Voga Italia have combined the two regions of Veneto with Trentino to create what they believe is the perfect Pinot Grigio. Its taste is described as full and rich with fresh aromas of ripe apples and pears. I drank it chilled (the suggested perfect temperature for this wine is 46 - 50° F) with spicy , and it also pairs well with seafood.

Like the very popular Yellow Tail wines, that started out with only two wines - one red and one white (I believe they have many more now), Voga Italia also has just two wines, the white Pinot Grigio and a red wine called Quattro. I have not tried the , but as it is a fusion of four varietals - Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet and Pinot Noir, I am definitely going to as we are, after all, a fusion website (well, that's my excuse). It is described as smooth and velvety with rich, ripe berries and spicy overtones, so that sounds good.

But forget all that, if you have guests to dinner, they are going to love the bottles! The bottle is not unlike that of Voss Water - ultra-modern, sleek and elegant with Scandinavian minimalism. Talking of minimalism, I bought my wine at a local supermarket for only $8.99, so like the Yellow Tail people, I think Voga Italia are appealing to people who maybe wouldn't normally drink wine, and also trying to dispel the myth that good wine has to be expensive. I will certainly be testing this wine out on my dinner guests, and even if you're not a wine drinker, it's worth checking out the Voga Italia website which is also sleek, seductive and sexy and looks like a cross between an exclusive nightclub and Victoria's Secret!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mushroom & Smoked Paprika Steak Sauce

If you're looking for something different to serve with your grilled steak, try this super easy sauce which will liven up the most boring meal. It is flavored with Smoked Spanish which is available in a tin from specialist and gourmet food stores. You can use regular paprika, but the smoked paprika really adds a woody flavor to the food and brings out the subtle flavor of the sherry. I used flank in this recipe, but this sauce works well with any cut of meat.

  • 8 ounce button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1/2 level teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chicken demi-glaze
  • 1/2 ounce butter
  • 1 ounce flour, sieved
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • sea salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water (if needed)

1. Melt the butter in a saute pan, and saute the mushrooms for 1 minute.
2. Stir in the sherry and bring to a high heat and let the alcohol burn off. Turn heat to low.
3. Carefully fold in the sieved flour to coat the mushrooms, then slowly add the milk, and gently heat, stirring all the time until it forms a smooth paste. Add the demi-glaze.
4. Add the paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. If the mixture is too thick, add a little of the water.
6. Serve over grilled meat with a green side salad and french bread.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hostess Gifts for Cat Lovers

Every time I look in a cooking magazine, it is clear that parties on the beach or in the yard are on the menu and, in fact, most of the sales at the Gourmet Fusion store recently have been "grilling related".

This weekend on a buying trip I was looking for that could be given to the host or hostess of these great grilling parties and came up with some interesting finds. Here are a couple of items which would be great for a cat loving party giver. The picture shown at the top is Gourmet Fusion's Love Cats Mega Mug by Typhoon (we also have a mug for Chocoholic's as well) and these make great gifts instead of chocolates. They come in a fun gift box with all kinds of witty comments and hints, they are dishwasher and microwave safe and made in England from 100% fine porcelain.

If fun dining is on the menu, you might also think about our sleeping cat napkin rings that are practical as well as cute and would thrill any and probably raise a smile from any non-cat lovers in the family, as well!

Monday, June 4, 2007


Tapas, the traditional Spanish "small plates" have become increasingly popular throughout the US and Europe with bars opening up in every major city, and it is easy to see why. In drinking and eating automatically go together, and you always nibble on something if you stop by a bar or cafe for a drink. It can be a simple plate of olives, chorizo sausage and crisp loaf of bread, or something more elaborate that includes Spanish omelettes, shrimp and garlic, and potato salad.

These bite sized hors d'oeuvres are more than just appetizers, they provide a leisurely way to enjoy many different tastes and the companionship of friends - in other words the Spanish way of life. Wherever you are in Spain, tapas bars come alive in the early evening, in a tradition not unlike English pubs, and people socialize over food and drinks until it's time for dinner. Tapas date back many centuries when inn-keepers realized that by creating these bite-sized portions they could attract more people into their inns, and soon each began trying to create something better and different from his neighbor, resulting in a vast array of wonderful recipes.

So next time you invite friends over, why not do tapas and drinks at home? The below is just one of the many from the fabulous book "Tapas" by Richard Tapper (seriously that is the author's name) and the hand-painted tapas dishes and traditional terra-cotta cazuelas pictured above are available in the Gourmet Fusion store.

Mushrooms with Bacon (Champinones con tocino)
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces diced tocino or bacon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb button mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  1. In a frying pan over high heat, warm olive oil.
  2. Add tocino and fry for 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms and stir well.
  4. Add wine, salt, pepper and parsley and cook over high heat until most of the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are cooked, 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Black Olives

This has got to be one of the best salads in the world. It tastes amazing, looks beautiful and is simple to make. What could be better than that? You can see why salad is one of the most popular salads in restaurants as an appetizer or as part of an antipasto plate.

Insalata Caprese (which means salad in the style of Capri) is a very simple dish made with sliced , plum tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, black pepper and olive oil. In this variation, we use small cherry tomatoes and add and black olives and there is no need to season with salt. This gives the dish a very colorful and festive look and adds a zing to an already wonderful meal.

Ingredients (this will make 4 small plates or 1 large plate)
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese (ideally buffalo mozzarella, but you can use any)
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 Bunch of Basil
  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 15 - 20 Pitted Black Olives

  1. Slice the mozzarella into slices about 1/4" thick
  2. Arrange the cheese and halved tomatoes on one large or four small appetizer plates
  3. Arrange basil leaves randomly between the cheese and tomatoes
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  5. Place the black olives decoratively on the top
  6. Grind the black pepper over the salad
  7. Garnish with basil leaf
Serve immediately with fresh crusty bread, or pizza dough balls for mopping the oil and vinegar.