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Cucina Aurora Rosemary and Oregano Infused Olive Oil


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This 100% Italian rosemary and oregano infused olive oil by Cucina Aurora combines the subtle, light and mellow flavor of rosemary and oregano that just tastes like home. The meditative, peaceful qualities of rosemary and oregano will embrace you when you call on the quiet healing power of this herb-infused oil. Loaded with sacred rosemary, a favorite therapeutic herb of health and happiness for the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and complimented by warm, peaceful energy of oregano, this oil is designed to allow you to slow down and relax, banishing stress and negative energy and embracing love and peace.

Cucina Aurora imports olive oil from Italy, Tuscany to be exact.For the herbs to flavor the oil to their high standards it takes roughly 2-3 weeks for the herbal infusion process to be completed. I’ve used infused oils before but this one stand out to me because it actually has pieces of rosemary in it, giving it a stronger and fresher taste. 

Cucina Aurora infused olive oils are made with all natural ingredients. They are GMO-free, gluten free and vegan. Cucina Aurora does not, never has and never will use artificial ingredients, or preservatives. Please note, although Cucina Aurora does not at this time process any gluten or wheat products, they are not a dedicated or certified gluten free facility.

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This oil is flavorful yet subtle and can be combined with salads, or sauteed vegetables, or used as a spectacular starter for a chicken or vegetable soup stock. It is also excellent over roasted potatoes or chicken. 

Rosemary Oregano Potatoes
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 lbs. Potatoes (redskin or Idaho)
  2. 4 Tbs. Cucina Aurora Rosemary Oregano Infused OliveOil
  3. 1 tsp. salt
  4. 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  5. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into wedges.
  3. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except the cheese. Make sure the potatoes are evenly coated with the oil.
  4. Place in ovenproof baking dish, and cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes. Test potatoes for doneness.
  5. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on potatoes and cook 5-10 more minutes until cheese is golden brown.
Gluten Free Boston and Beyond http://glutenfreebostonandbeyond.com/
 

Cucina Aurora oils are perfect at room temperature and should be stored with other cooking oils in your home; it should never be refrigerated. The infused oils have a shelf life of 1 year if they are not opened. Once opened, they are best if used in 6 months but may last longer.

These delicious artisanal infused olive oils are lovingly hand-made in the USA in Salem, New Hampshire and available in 12 oz glass bottle. 

Why should you buy Cucina Aurora Olive Oil?

Our owner, Dawn Hunt, AKA “The Kitchen Witch” starts every recipe with love and positive intentions. All of the recipes for Cucina Aurora’s products come right from her and have been thoroughly tested for the picky eater, the 5 minute meal maker, as well as the discerning chef.

It took many years for Dawn to perfect her Olive Oil infusions. She searched all over and tested many different types of oil from California, Spain and even Greece. But warmth and flavor of Italian olive oil was the perfect pairing for her fresh, authentic and delicious flavor infusions.

Unlike many oil infusions you may find, Cucina Aurora only uses 100% Olive Oil. Many other brands might use a combination of Canola, or Sunflower oil, Cucina Aurora NEVER uses oil blends. Not only do they love what they do, but they love our customers. They consider each and every customer family. 

You can purchase Cucina Aurora infused olive oils on Amazon for $19.99 (this includes free shipping). 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Whiskey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

My sister made this sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving.  She originally wanted to use Guy Fieri’s (a Food Network Chef) recipe but our mom bought maple syrup instead of agave. It was a big hit at dinner, everybody loved it. To make the cooking process more efficient, and because we already have a hundred and one things to do Thanksgiving morning before the guests arrive, cook the sweet potatoes the night before. Cool and refrigerate over night.  Do everything else in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Jameson whiskey (or other gluten free Whiskey) I promise Jameson is gluten free, click here to see their gluten free statement
  • 2 cups crisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and cook the potatoes whole, do not pierce. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the potatoes are soft. Let cool. When cool, peel and cut into 1/2 inch slices.

2. In a small saute pan lightly toast the pecans over over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the maple syrup and spices. Simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add the whiskey and simmer for 5 minutes more.

5.  Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Arrange the sweet potatoes, alternating with the apples. Pour the whiskey-pecan mixture over the top..

6. Bake for 30 minutes, basting the top with the whiskey sauce once at 15 minutes.

7. Serve warm.

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Gluten Free Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Cool, refreshing, delicious and healthy, these spring rolls are great as an appetizer or entree.

My sister and I had so much fun making these together. We went to a local farmer’s market to get all the ingredients; ssing fresh vegetables and herbs will boast the most flavor and color. These were such a hit at our family party yesterday, so much so they were requested to be made for the next family gathering! This is one of the best, most flavorful dishes I have made in a long time.

This is also a great recipe to make with friends or kids, its fun and easy to make. The prep – cutting all the vegetables – is a bit time consuming, about 20 minutes, but the rest is a piece of cake. Rolling the rice paper might take a few tries to perfect, it can be very sticky, but just make sure that once wet, you place the rice paper on a flat surface and not let it stick to each other.

Ingredients

2 red bell pepper, julienned
2 large carrots, shredded or julienned
2 cucumbers, seeded and julienned
2 avocados, pitted and cut into thin strips
4 oz rice noodles
1 pound cook shrimp (optional)
juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
2 bunches of scallions, chopped
Mint (can also use basil, cilantro – the more herbs the more flavorful the rolls will be) I suggest using more than you think you need. This is where most of the flavor will be coming from so don’t use sparingly!
12-15 Rice Paper Wraps

Preparation:

If using shrimp, slice them in half lengthwise. Place in a bowl and coat with the juice of one lime. OR is using small shrimp, cut up into small pieces, this is also helpful if you do not have a lot or shrimp.

It is also a good idea to pour lime juice over the avocados to keep them from browning (especially if you are making these hours or on day in advance)

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with rice vinegar.

Place mint, scallions, basil, and/or cilantro in a blender and blend until finely chopped.

Line all ingredients up, almost like an assembly line, to make preparation easy.

Fill a pie plate or bowl with lukewarm water. One at a time, dip rice paper into the water, shake off any excess, and transfer to work station (a plate will work just fine). Let stand for 30 seconds until it is softened.

Arrange rice noodles on rice paper. Top with two or three strips each of the red pepper, avocado, cucumber, carrots and a pinch of scallions and mint, evenly spread across the vegetables, leaving a one-inch border along the edge. (The fillings may be placed on the rice paper in any order you’d like.)

Roll up the rice paper, pressing down on the fillings with your fingers – this is important to keep the roll tight –  fold one side over the fillings, folding the sides in as you go. Press to seal. Repeat with the remaining rice papers and fillings until you run out.

Cut rolls in half and serve with your favorite dipping sauce; sweet and sour, sweet chili, or soy.


 

Gluten Free Baked Eggplant Tomato and Mozzarella

This recipe is courtesy of my sister Katie. We went to Sowa Market today and bought fresh vegetables, and more gluten free spinach fettuccine, my new obsession. We spent the majority of our walk home talking about what she should make for dinner using the eggplant she just bought. She lives in the North End and has the luxury of fresh cheese and Italian spices right at her finger tips – yes we should all be jealous. So when she got home she picked up a few more ingredients and made a layered baked eggplant dish with tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella, our take on eggplant Parmesan without breadcrumbs, and then put it on top of fettuccine to make the meal complete.

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1 large tomato, sliced thinly
Mozzarella Cheese ( or whatever kind of cheese you prefer)
Fresh Spinach
Spices: Basil, Oregano, Garlic
Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce
Olive oil
Gluten Free Spinach fettuccine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix garlic, basil and oregano with the pasta sauce.
Spread pasta sauce on the bottom of a baking pan. Layer eggplant, more sauce, cheese, spinach, and tomato. Drizzle olive oil and spices over the top of each eggplant stack.

Cook for about 25 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and starts to brown.

Use the leftover pasta sauce in the pan to mix with the spaghetti, then place the eggplant layers on the pasta and enjoy!

 

Roasted Beet Salad {gluten free}

So as many of you know, one of my new favorite foods is beets. I never used to be a huge fan, but lately I’m loving them. Twice, in the past month, I ordered Beet Salads while dining out, once at Marco and once at Petit Robert Bistro, and both times I absolutely loved it!
Tonight I made a Roasted Beet Salad. Roasting beets intensifies their flavors, something I learned tonight after cooking beets for the first time. Beets are earthy and sweet at the same time. Something else I learned tonight is that beets come in a variety of colors – deep crimson, golden yellow and even candy-striped red and white roots – and all have a slightly different taste. I will have to try the golden yellow ones sometime.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ orange juice
I teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can of Sliced Beets, no salt added OR fresh beets if you have them available
4 cups baby spinach
½ cup goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, orange juice, zest and brown sugar.
3. Toss beets with half the dressing and save the other half to toss again after cooking.
4. Place the beets on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.
5. When the beets are done cooking you have two options: 1. toss the beets in the remaining dressing then add to salad OR 2. use the remaining dressing as salad dressing for the entire salad. (I chose option 2)
6. Top salad with beets and goat cheese, add remaining dress and enjoy :)

Gluten Free Rice and Lentils with Apples

Last night I got together with some girlfriends for dinner. One of my friends is a vegan so not only did I need to make something gluten free I also wanted her to be able to eat it as well. I love to play around with items I have at home. I also didn’t have time to go out to the store and by any ingredients for various recipes I was contemplating to make, so after rummaging through my fridge and the pantry, I came up with Jasmati rice, an onion, red lentils and the apple I didn’t eat at lunch today.

Well, what turned out as an experiment, ended up being a quite tasty dish. I liked how it turned out. It was a hit at my friends dinner party later that evening, and I received very nice compliments from everyone.

I overcooked the lentils just a bit, and I was nervous the dish would be too mushy, but it wasn’t it was great the way the ‘semi-mushy’ lentils and rice mixed together so well.

Ingredients
1 cup rice
1 ½ cups red lentils
¼ cup onion, diced
1 T olive oil
1 medium-large granny smith apple, diced
1 teaspoons cumin
1 garlic glove (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon parsley
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander seed
Directions
1.     Cook rice according to package directions. Half way through the cook time, I added 1 teaspoon curry powder so it would infuse into the rice.
2.     In a saucepan, add 2 cups of water and the lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. I add a few pieces of onion to the boiling water for a little flavor. Cook longer if you want ‘mushier’ lentils.
3.     Dice the onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the union and garlic until the onion begins to brown. Add the chopped apples and cook for 2 more minutes.
4.     Drain any excess water from the lentils.
5.     Combine the rice, lentils, chopped apple and onions into a bowl. Add in spices and mix.
6.     Serve warm and enjoy

Spinach-Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds

I think this is one of the best dishes I have ever made!!
The sweetness of the craisins mixed with the tartness of the lemon juice and yogurt combined with the pungent flavor of the garlic is just amazing, it’s like an explosion of flavors in my mouth!
Not only is it delicious, it looks beautiful too. If you want to impress guests at your next dinner party or are going to picnic or pot luck, this is without a doubt the best dish to make.
I can not take credit for coming up with this recipe. I found the original recipe in Vegetarian Times, but I did tweak it just a bit and my recipe is the one below.
Ingredients
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 cups spinach leaves
2 cups chopped dried cherries or craisins (or fresh cherries, pitted and halved, when in season)
½ cup chopped snow peas
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
 ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juce
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons garlic, depending on your love of garlic
15 ounces edamame or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional, I prefer edamame)
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast 7-8 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until golden brown. Cool.
2. Bring 3 cups water – or vegetable stock to add a little more flavor (not that you need it) – to a boil in a pot over medium high heat. Sir in quinoa. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
3. Remove from heat and cool.
4. Lay 5 or 6 spinach leaves flat on top of one another on a cutting board. Roll tightly into a cylinder and then slice into slivers. Repeat with the remaining spinach.
5. Whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lime juice and garlic in a small bowl.
6. In a separate bowl toss together the quinoa, almonds, spinach, pea pods, craisins, cucumber, red onion and chickpeas or edamame if using these.
7. Pour dressing over vegetable and quinoa salad, and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I never use salt when I cook but in this dish I did add a dash of salt and a few dashes of pepper.
8. Chill for 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to fully develop, then serve.
It can easily be tweaked to your own liking. I always like to make a little extra dressing and keep it on the side for leftovers. The dish does not get soggy in the fridge over night, but do not add extra dressing and let it sit over night, it will get soggy. This is why I make extra and add it as I eat it.

Apple Glazed Vegetables and Edamame

I came across this recipe in my search of how I could use up some of my apples and frozen edamame. This recipe sounded good and the pictures looked even better, fresh veggies, bright colors, I just had to make it. The original recipe is here.
It was tangy yet sweet and I loved the infused apple flavor.  This dish has just the right amount of sweetness and spice. No one flavor overpowered the others.  
My version did not come out looking anything like the original one but it was so delicious! I used fresh apples, which I pureed in a food processor with a little water and apple cider vinegar until it was applesauce consistency. I also omitted the optional sugar, it was plenty sweet from the apples and I’m glad I did this.
This was more than enough for my sister and I. I ended up enough left overs for almost 2 whole meals.
Ingredients:

4 cups diced vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, celery, onions are what I used.  Or try any veggie you have on hand)
1/2 cup applesauce (or puree an apple, with skin, in a food processor)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/2 garlic clove)
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (I used both)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup edamame beans

Directions:
1. Cook edamame in a saucepan according to package directions

2. Spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray and add the vegetables.  Cook, covered on high heat, for about 5-6 minutes. * If using potatoes I recommend putting those in first, before the other veggies for 2 or 3 minutes.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, combine all remaining ingredients (except edamame) in a bowl and stir. 
4. Add the mixture to the vegetables and stir to coat.  

5. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low heat and allow vegetables to simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until tender.  (I let mine cook for 10-12 minutes) The sauce will reduce and thicken. 
6. Add in edamame, stir, and serve warm plain or over rice.

I used whole apples and pureed them in a food processor. The dish came out a little ‘heavy’ on the applesauce, but that is because we ‘’accidentally’’ used more than ½ of the apple puree.
You could easily substitute the edamame for tofu, which I would add into the dish at the same time as you add the mixture, chicken or beef.

Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake

LOVED this recipe! I found this recipe on allrecipes.com a few weeks ago and finally decided to use up the rest of my lentils and make it. It is so quick, easy, flexible and cheap to make.
Gluten Free and vegetarian! High in Protein (9.7g per serving) and Fiber (8.1 grams).
I was so tempted to add cheese to the top of this, but resisted that urge to keep it healthier…well I did add a little cheese to the first few bites and it was delicious! I kept the rest cheese-less as I do not tolerate cheese very well (anyone else with a gluten issue have this problem? Give us a break!!)
I doubled the amount of oregano and cumin. I did not have basil in the house so I used parsley. I also did not have fresh garlic so I used garlic powder. And I added mushrooms! Next time I am adding even more vegetables!!
I would also suggest cooking the rice in vegetable broth to add even more flavor.
I’m sure you can mix and use whichever vegetables you have handy!

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place the rice and 1 cup water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Place lentils in a pot with the remaining 1 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and stir in the onion and garlic. Mix in tomato, celery, carrots, zucchini, and 1/2 the tomato sauce. Season with 1/2 the basil, 1/2 the oregano, 1/2 the cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  5. In a casserole dish, mix the rice, lentils, and vegetables. Top with remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle with remaining basil, oregano, and cumin.
  6. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly.