For 4 nights, we stayed at Hotel Emilia in Portonovo in Ancona, Italy which sits on the mountain where you have a spectacular view of the coast. It’s a serene spot that speaks beauty and relaxation. I loved to sit out here overlooking the mountains.
An outdoor bar was the perfect place to sit after a busy day.
The pool was beautiful sitting in front of the rooms of the hotel.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the most exciting part of the trip, but visiting Tod’s headquarters seemed to be the highlight for some of us women. Tod’s is the largest shoe manufacturer in Europe and the largest business in the Marche Region, which is publicly traded on the Italian stock exchange. We saw the entire shoe making process; how they check the leather and why these shoes are such great quality. This is the coolest work of art when you walk in the lobby of Tod’s.
Do you think these boots will be the hit of fall 2011?
After the tour, we went to the Tod’s and Prada outlets nearby. This is also a must stop if you’re in the Marche region :). I love these kid’s shoes.
Next, we were off to lunch in the town of San Benedetto del Tronto at Ristorante Mattia with Chef Marco Cameli. I loved his Miami-style restaurant. His specialty is fish since his restaurants sits right near the beach. This clever way to present an appetizer was a favorite. I call this an Italian version of ceviche.
Next was a pasta course with clams and shrimp. I have never tasted a dish so fresh. I loved that the Chefs don’t over-salt their food.
One of my favorite dishes on the entire trip was this fish dish. It’s monkfish cooked in garlic, olive oil, white wine, with fresh tomato sauce and rosemary. I am trying to recreate this one for sure. Delizioso!
And the dessert was phenomenal and nothing like I have ever had before. Bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) with Chantilly Cream and Limoncello topped with chocolate.
There’s more to come. So much to say…This region is too spectacular for words.
Happy New Year to everyone! We spent the past few days down at the beach, and yesterday we watched a lot of football and enjoyed this Seafood Gumbo recipe adapted from Cooking Light. With only 254 calories and 2 grams of fat, this hearty soup will fit into your New Years resolution plan to eat healthy and get lean. It’s so flavorful and comforting this time of year. Just serve with a salad and some crusty bread, and that is all you need. I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and I look forward to a fantastic 2011 on Ingredients, Inc.
Yield: 8 servings
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
11/2 cups sliced okra
1 cup chopped tomato
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 pound skinned scamp or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
11/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4 1/2 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
1. Place flour in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until browned, stirring constantly with a whisk. (If flour browns too fast, remove it from heat, and stir until it cools down.) Remove from heat; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add okra, tomato and oregano; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 11/2 cups chicken broth, Cajun Seasoning, clam juice, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Gradually add browned flour, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add scamp; cook 5 minutes. Add shrimp; cook 10 minutes or until seafood is done. Stir in hot sauce. Serve gumbo over rice.
Note: One (8-ounce) container select oysters, undrained, may be added.
One of my favorite things to make on New Years Eve is Crab Cakes. I have served them the past several years, and they are so easy, yet light and always a crowd pleaser. I love this recipe from Cooking Light magazine for Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade. The Crab Cakes have fresh chives, parsley and panko breadcrumbs. The Remoulade has the perfect mixture of shallots, Creole mustard, capers and lemon juice. At 292 calories each, these Crab Cakes can’t get any better. Happy New Year to you and your family! I appreciate Cooking Light for allowing me to share their photo and recipe for this post.
I love making lettuce wraps so I like to be creative with new variations. This is a quick, great, healthy way to change up the way you eat seafood by serving it in a lettuce wrap. Feel free to add any of your favorite toppings or substitute your favorite fish or even use shrimp or scallops. Use a grill pan or skillet if you don’t want, or have time, to fire up the grill. These make great appetizers or a light summer dinner.
I grew up eating salmon croquettes once a week, so I like to occasionally make them for my family for dinner. I developed this lower in fat, high protein version using wild Alaskan red salmon (I like Pillar Rock), panko breadcrumbs, egg whites, Dijon mustard, nonfat yogurt and basil. These are fabulous served with a salad and your favorite side dish and, to me, are true comfort food that are family-friendly.