CyberCucina Italian Lake Country Olive Oil Give Away!

PicMonkey CollageImagine basking in the sun, on the banks of Lake Garda, Italy.  Your picnic basket is full of fresh bread, ripened tomatoes, cheese, a bottle red wine and a bottle of Montecroce Extra Virgin Gentile Olive Oil.    Sigh..

Now imagine you could be enjoying this olive oil in your very own kitchen.

CyberCucina and Dinner is Served are very excited to be able to offer not one but TWO bottles (17 oz. each) of exquisite Montecroce olive oil to one of our followers.  This Italian Lake Country Extra Virgin Olive Oil gift basket includes one bottle of Montecroce “Corposo” or “full taste” EVOO and one bottle of “Gentile” or “sweet” EVOO.  Both oils are produced from a variety of Northern Italy, locally grown olives and processed to perfection in small batches by the Ramanzini Family.

Because I know you all want this, I’ve kept the entry rules very easy:

1) Reply to this post either on my blog OR on Facebook and answer the following question:

Do you go with tried and true recipes for the holidays, or do you like to experiment with new and different ones?

2) If you are on Facebook and “like” CyberCucina’s Facebook page (search for “cybercucina.com”), let me know and I will throw you in an extra entry for you.

Now is the perfect time to browse CyberCucina’s holiday gift basket offerings and take advantage of their 20% off sale on selected holiday gifts.  For more details, visit their website at http://www.cybercucina.com.

That’s it!  I will keep this open until Sunday evening at 10:00 Central time at which time I choose one VERY lucky winner (at random, cross my heart ♥!)

Best of luck to everyone!

Ann Baker

Dinner Is Served

Roast Cornish Game Hens with Seville Orange and Whiskey Glaze

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I think about Cornish Game Hens a lot.  And how I was first introduced to theses magic wonders by my culinary inspirations Shelia Lukens and Julee Rosso, of Silver Palate fame.  I admit to being hesitant at first.  They sounded exotic, expensive.  And what if, heaven forbid, they were “gamey”?  Thankfully none of those are true.

Cornish Hen3

Cornish hens are merely a hybrid chicken.  They are small, with average weight of about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds.  Contrary to the name, they are not game birds and in fact are readily available at most grocery store chains (many times in the freezer section).  They cook quickly and half a hen is a perfect serving for one, with both white and dark meat.  Hard to do that with a regular chicken, unless you have a humongous appetite!

So now that I’ve sold you on game hens, let’s move on to the other star of this recipe: Rosebud Farms Seville Orange & Whisky Marmalade, from CyberCucina

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This is true grown-up jam, crafted in England, with imported organic Seville oranges, pure whiskey and no refined sugar.  The flavors are intense with just right blend of bitterness from the oranges, sweetness from molasses and a touch of kick from whiskey and a dash of lemon juice.   Trust me, if I were a jam making kind of person, this is what I would be making.

Of course this spread would be wicked good on a toasted English muffin with a cup of tea.  But then you have the culinary possibilities, which are endless.  Any recipe calling for a glaze, whether it be ham or turkey or roast chicken, will be made infinitely better with this jam.  My beloved cornish hen…of course, sheer perfection.

I am also imagining an appetizer made of toasted rye, aged English cheddar, and a little dab of this spread on top.   Can you imagine this with a Porter or Stout  on a cold winter’s eve?

Finally, a note about two kitchen essentials, that will make your culinary endeavors a whole lot better with this recipe and countless others.  A great pair of kitchen shears is a must have and makes jobs like halving the hens a total breeze.  My all time favorite shears are Pampered Chef’s Professional Shears:

Scissors2Secondly, if you don’t have a roll of Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Foil in your cabinet, you’re missing out on a life changing product.  No more dealing with messy non-stick spray on sheet pans.  Makes clean up almost non-existent!

Foil2A final note that you MAY recognize the sweet potatoes in the main photo?  They’re my most awesome Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes, which are a perfect accompaniment to the glazed Cornish hen.

Stay tuned for more recipes featuring products from CyberCucina!

Roast Cornish Game Hens with Seville Orange and Whiskey Glaze

2 whole Cornish Game Hens

1 jar Rosebud Farms Seville Orange and Whiskey Marmalade (see Note>)

2 lemons, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450° and place rack in upper third of the oven.

Rinse each hen thoroughly with cold running water and pat dry.  Place on a cutting board, breast side down.  Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone. Remove backbone and discard.  Then split the hen in half by cutting down the middle of the breast bone.  Repeat with the second hen.  Season both sides with Kosher salt and pepper.

Lay a sheet of Reynolds Wrap® non-stick foil onto a heavy duty sheet pan (or alternatively, spray with non-stick spray).  Arrange lemon slices on the pan so they form 4 separate rectangles.  Place one Cornish hen half, skin side up on each rectangle, like this:

Cornish Hen2Roast for 15 minutes.  While hens are roasting, bring marmalade to a simmer on the stove over very low heat to form a glaze and season with just a pinch of salt and pepper.  After 15 minutes, brush hens with a bit of the glaze and continue roasting for about 15 -20 additional minutes, brushing two more times with the glaze.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Note> If you’re not up to the seville orange marmalade challenge, then you may certainly substitute 2/3 cup of any all-fruit orange marmalade, simmered with about 2 TBS fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 TBS bourbon and a pinch of ground cloves.

Chicken and Vegetable Stew with Wild Herbs

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..or as they may call it in France: “Ragoût de poulet avec des légumes et herbes sauvages”  Ah yes, those savage herbs.  Let’s talk about those for a bit shall we?

In my recent gourmet excursion to Cyber Cucina, this was one of the very many treasures that found its way into my basket. Terre Exotique d’Herbes Sauvages.  I’m all over this one!

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Interestingly, these herbs are not French in origin but rather from the Island of Crete.  Which, if I remember any of my high school geography, is located in the Mediterranean Ocean in between Greece and Turkey.  Just take a look at this shot.  I’m imagining the herbs growning wild and filling the air with sweet scents…

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This mixed blend contains thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram and oregano.  Such a classic Mediterranean inspired combination and all tucked away in a beautiful canister.  The aroma upon opening was…intense and a bit intoxicating. I admit I closed my eyes for a brief second and imagined the warm breezes of the ocean and sweet smell of the land.  Yes, I know, I really need to get out more often don’t I?

Thinking of recipes to create using this spice blend was easy because it’s so versatile.  Any style of Mediterranean cooking would benefit from them and that covers a LOT of territory.  I initially thought of a lamb dish but in the end,  thought you’d love an easy and healthy chicken stew, made even more delicious with the addition of these beautiful herbs.

The base of this stew is a colorful array of fresh veggies.

VeggiesA great way to start, right?  Then throw in wedges of new potatoes:

2013-10-13 15.44.41Some smoky fire roasted tomatoes:

2013-10-13 15.45.34Then season your chicken with some salt, pepper and of course, this:

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Saute it all up in a skillet, let it simmer away for a mere 10-15 minutes, and you are finis!  Serve hot with a little chopped fresh parsley or if you want a little spoonful of black olive tapenade and a baguette.  You’ll love the bright flavors and warm spices and start dreaming up new uses for this versatile, wild SAVAGE blend!  To purchase these unique herbs, visit Cyber Cucina online at http://www.cybercucina.com.

Chicken and Vegetable Stew with Wild Herbs

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 medium red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, cut into thin wedges

1 pound chicken tenders, diced OR 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced

1 TBS Terre Exotique Wild Herbs (plus more to taste)*

Kosher flake salt and coarsely ground black pepper

1 can (about 14.5 oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain)

1 cup dry white wine

1 quart + 1 cup chicken stock

Fresh parsley

Season chicken with salt, pepper and about half of the wild herb blend.  Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Brown the chicken briefly (just to give it a little color), then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to the pan and add carrots, zucchini, red pepper, and onion.  Saute until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic and continue to saute for about 30 seconds.  Season vegetables with some salt, pepper and remaining wild herbs then add the cup of wine; let boil down for about a minute.  Add the potatoes, tomatoes, and broth.  Cover the pan and bring to a boil.

Remove cover and add chicken.  Lower the heat and continue to simmer until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through (about 10-15 minutes longer.  Season stew to taste with additional salt, pepper or wild herbs, if desired.  Garnish with some chopped parsley and serve.

Yields: 6 servings

*Other mixed herb blends can be substituted for the Terre Exotique should you so desire.