Good Enough Mother:
An Authentic Taste of Europe
(Disclosure: I was compensated and given product for this review. Opinions are my own.)
I feel fortunate that during my life I have had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. I have experienced the warm, sandy beaches of the Caribbean, seen the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest and Canada. When I was filming a vacation traveling show, I spent time in a good portion of the states in this great country.
But there is one place that remains on my bucket list: Italy.
I am DYING to visit Europe! I want to experience the beauty of Rome and Venice as well as nosh on the delightful flavors from the Tuscan region.
I will get there someday. Until then, there is nothing stopping me from experiencing the amazing flavors of Europe right from the comfort of my own home.
Very recently I was given an opportunity to check out some of the wonderful cheeses of Europe. Now before I go on, let me say I like cheese as much as the other mom but having an opportunity to work with the Asiago Fresco PDO, Asiago Stagionato PDO and Pecorino Romano PDO means I will never look at cheese the same again.
More on that in a moment but first, what I ventured into the kitchen to make.
I decided to go with a couple of recipes that I think work well this time of year and are Ladimax Lifestyle friendly. Ladimax Lifestyle is the women’s health and fitness company of which I am a co-owner. Our goal is to show women that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean lack of flavor. So with an eye on health and flavor I set out to make a couple of dishes, Baked Garlic Romano Turkey Thighs and Quinoa Pasta Mac-n-Cheese.
Here are the ingredients I used for the Baked Garlic Romano Turkey Thighs:
½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano PDO cheese
Skinless turkey thighs
4-5 teaspoons panko crumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
I chose turkey thighs for a couple of reasons; first, I love the dark meat of the turkey for its hearty, savory flavor. Secondly, turkey is a great source of protein. So while my family will love the recipe and I can still stay on track with my health and fitness goals.
First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder and Pecorino Romano cheese. Moisten turkey thighs with water and lay on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with panko crumbs on each piece of turkey. Return to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until turkey is cooked thoroughly. Tops will be browned and turkey incredibly juicy. You can finish them off under the broiler for a minute or two to get them extra browned on top. Season with a dash of fresh parsley, if desired.
For the Mac N Cheese I used the Asiago PDO, both the fresh and the aged to create a unique blend of flavors for my Quinoa Mac n Cheese.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups uncooked whole-grain elbow macaroni
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup shredded Asiago PDO cheese (fresh and aged)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons julienne-cut fresh basil leaves
In 8-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add panko crumbs to oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown; set aside.
In 5-quart Dutch oven or saucepan, cook macaroni as directed on package. Drain; return to Dutch oven.
Meanwhile, in 1 1/2-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. In small bowl, beat together water and flour, using whisk, until smooth. Stir milk mixture into oil in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat; cool 3 minutes. Stir in cheese, salt, nutmeg and pepper just until cheese melts; stir in 1 tablespoon basil.
In Dutch oven, cheese mixture into cooked macaroni until well combined. For each serving, sprinkle macaroni with about 1 tablespoon panko topping and about 1 teaspoon basil.
Both dishes were a massive hit with my family, better than the usual fare.
I would like to think it was my culinary skill that may have played a role but truly it was the quality of the ingredients. Using the cheeses with PDO in the label means they come from protected geographical areas with as much history as taste. There are a lot of imposters out there so make sure your Asiago orPecorino Romano has PDO on the label.
How can you tell you’re buying authentic PDO products? For Pecorino Romano, look on the rind for the words Pecorino Romano along with rounded diamonds that contain the outline of a stylized sheep’s head to ensure you are buying certified Pecorino Romano PDO. Be careful as Romano cheese is very different than certified Pecorino Romano, which is a centuries old Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Romano can be made anywhere and with any kind of milk. For Asiago PDO from Italy, look on the rind for the word “Asiago” pressed into it. There are many domestic Asiago cheeses disguised as Italian by using Italian flags or colors, so its important to look for PDO or made in Italy.
Have you ever used either Pecorino Romano PDO or Asiago PDO and if so, what did you make? And if you’d like more information on Pecorino Romano PDO or Asiago PDO, click here http://uncommoneurope.eu.