05/16/12 Braised Chicken with Basil and Olives

"Mente sana in corpo sano." (Sound mind, sound body.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Angela's Organic Oregano Farm!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Spinach and Garlic Soup
  -Braised Chicken with Basil and Olives
  -Salmon with Asparagus and Almonds

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Angela Reina       

 Recipe: Spinach and Garlic Soup

Spinach and Garlic Soup
Zuppa Spinaci ed Aglio


4-5 cups tender spinach
1 quart vegetable stock
1 bulb of garlic, skin removed, smashed, and sliced
1/2 cup diced chives
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons whole yogurt
Salt and pepper


In a small bowl, combine the cream and yogurt and set aside.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over a medium-low heat until the butter starts to froth.

Add garlic, stir frequently and watch closely (the garlic should not burn or turn brown).

When the garlic is soft, pour in the vegetable stock.

Turn up heat, and bring everything to a boil.

Afterward, turn down and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

Add the chives and spinach.

Turn off the heat.

Wait five minutes, then carefully puree the soup in at least three small batches.

Return the soup to the pot.

Add 3-4 tablespoons of the cream mixture.

Taste, and adjust the salt.

Turn heat to low, stir, and gently reheat soup.

Serve with splashes of the cream mixture. Makes 3-4 servings.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Braised Chicken with Basil and Olives

Braised Chicken with Basil and Olives
Pollo Brasato con Basilico e Olive


8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
1/2 cup chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/3 cup halved and pitted black olives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 onion, chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper


In a large deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately high heat.

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place the chicken in the frying pan and brown well on both sides for about 8 minutes.

Remove the chicken.

Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Reduce the heat to moderately low.

Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the rosemary and wine.

Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to break off any brown bits.

Boil until the wine is reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the broth, tomatoes, olives, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the chicken, skin-side up, with any accumulated juices.

Cover and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Shove the chicken to the side of the pan and then mash the garlic cloves with a fork.

Stir in 1/8 teaspoon pepper and basil, bring just to a simmer, and serve. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Salmon with Asparagus and Almonds

Salmon with Asparagus and Almonds
Salmone con Asparagi e Mandorle


1 and 1/4 pounds salmon fillet (skinless), cut into 4 pieces
1 pound green beans or asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons capers
Freshly ground black pepper


Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Season the salmon fillets with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook until a dull color throughout, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Transfer to plates.

Fill a second skillet with 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil.

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add the green beans, cover, and steam until just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Drain and transfer them to plates.

Clean the skillet and heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until the almonds and butter are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the capers.

Spoon over the salmon and green beans. Makes 4 servings.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure, a sample of today's edition:

How To Win An Italian Oscar, Talent Unnecessary

Rome - March 27, 2012 - Italy's "Oscars" are infested with nepotism and corruption, according to an article in a leading Italian newspaper yesterday. The famous David di Donatello awards, widely regarded as the country's top film honors, are, according to the newspaper, in urgent need of a drastic overhaul.

The awards are selected by a jury of "the relatives of important industry figures, politicians, building contractors, and the usual suspects" and are unworthy to be called the "Italian Oscars".

The 1,600 members of the Italian Academy which votes each year included politicians linked to Silvio Berlusconi, a garbage collecting manager from Rome's famous Cinema Adriano, the wife of the twin brother of controversial and corrupt senator Marcello Dell'Utri, and several members of the powerful De Laurentiis family, the newspaper alleged.

National film academies are usually composed of eminent professionals from particular film-making disciplines: cinematographers to decide the best cinematography award; film editors to decide the winner of that particular gong, and so on and so forth.

The paper said changes were needed immediately to restore the awards' honor ahead of the 2012 ceremony.

First launched in 1955, the David di Donatellos are named after the twin renaissance sculptures by Donatello, and are handed out in May each year. They usually honor mainly films of Italian origin, but there is also a best foreign language film category.

The current president is Gian Luigi Rondi, the 90-year-old critic who recently stepped down as president of the Rome film festival.

Since the early 1980s, Italian cinema has emulated Italy’s cultural devastation: an inward-looking attitude, hooked on incredibly bad television, and dependent on one human being. If Fellini was the maestro of Italian cinema during its golden years, psycho dwarf Berlusconi arranged its collapse.

With very rare exceptions ("La Vita Bella"), Italy’s national story from the 1980s until 2008 was defined by the first-rate films it could no longer make.

With his television stations, Berlusconi's succeeded in changing the people themselves. The jackass has taken everything down to the lowest common denominator. Haven't you noticed we've become ignorant nincompoops and dull as mussels?

And then you have the 1,600 members (including a garbage man) of the Italian film academy who are worshipping their owns big heads and awarding "David di Donatellos" to garbage:

"Primo Amore" (First Love) (2004)
Nominated for best supporting actress, producer and director.

Vittorio is looking for a woman who matches his ideal. Through a classified ad he meets Sonia, a sweet, pleasant, intelligent girl. However, she weighs 125 pounds...which according to Vittorio is way too much. A goldsmith by trade, Vittorio is obsessed with the desire to shape Sonia's body and mind as does a fire with gold.

"Only In Italy" Review: Fascinating movie. Hard to believe the movie wasn't written by Orson Welles and it didn't win the Ace-Hole Award. Hollywood is so turned on they want to unfreeze Walt Disney so he can meet with the producer to negotiate distribution.


Good Morning, Aman (2009)
Oscar for best new director.

An Italian boxer strikes up a friendship with a Somali immigrant.

"Only In Italy" Review: "Porca vacca", that's some plot. We asked the cinema manager to put it on fast-forward and it still went too slow! We saw no effort put into this film. So, on the way out of the cinema we gave an additional 8 Euros as a donation towards making a good one.


Tutta colpa di Giuda (2010)
Oscar for best original song.

A prison-set musical about a female theater director who sets up a reinterpretation of the Crucifixion.

"Only In Italy" Review: The comedic moments failed to make us laugh and the musical numbers are meaningless. The producer and director remind us of people who take home videos and call it a movie.

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