Tuesday, July 12, 2016

“Sweet Sriracha Chicken Wings” & A “Warm Beet & Spinach Salad” Plus An Italian “Lemon Sgroppino” Cocktail For "National Culinary Arts Month"

Welcome, did you know that July is “National Culinary Arts Month?” Each July, National Culinary Arts Month is held, which promotes awareness of professional cooks, chefs, and their contributions to the culinary world of excellence. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. The world of Culinary Arts not only consists of creating delicious dishes, but also the use of kitchen utensils, tools, and equipment that must be associated with preparation of the recipes.  
I did not have any professional training to be a cook or baker, but I remember when a young girl, I would always watch my mom prepare and cook dinner. My job was always to set the table, quite boring. As I got older I would help my mom prepare the food by peeling the potatoes or fixing the salad, but that would not due either. I desperately wanted to be taught how to create mouth watering dishes. So, then I became more curious about cooking and wanted to seriously learn. That is when my mom started to teach me about how to cook certain recipes. My mother and grandmother’s taught me the basic instructions of cooking and baking. They said that baking was a science which you had to follow the recipe correctly and that cooking you can be more creative with, by adding a little of this or that. They told me that the tools and equipment you need are extremely important to create wonderful and tasty recipes. 

I received my first cookbook from my mom in 1974. It was the same cookbook that we used at home when I was a young girl. She wrote in the front cover, “Enjoy! Be happy in your kitchen as I am in mine, Love Mom.” For those of you wondering what cookbook it was, “Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook,” revised edition 1971. Her copy was from 1948 which was the first printing of the cookbook. As the years went by and I became a wife and mother I learned how to improve my skills by still watching my mom, plus cooking shows, and reading recipes in cookbooks. This month is the perfect time to try your hand at cooking or baking! Here are some helpful tips and the tools that you will need to be a Master Chef and Master Baker in your own kitchen.


Buy basic equipment; invest in a good set of sharp knives, sturdy pots, pans, and a set of glass baking dishes. You will also need measuring cups (dry & liquid) plus a set of measuring spoons. A food processor and an electric mixer will come in handy as you learn the ins and outs of food preparation. You will also need some wooden spoons, a wire whisk, a few spatulas, a vegetable peeler, a pastry brush, a rolling pin, a grater, a cutting board, and a strainer just to name a few. The inventory of tools and equipment are countless, but as you learn to advance in your cooking techniques you can always add to your collection.

Familiarize yourself with cooking terms such as poaching, braising, roasting, grilling, and par boiling, and folding in. Again these are just some examples that you will need to learn. You can use cookbooks for research and also an online cooking dictionary will help you learn the correct terms to use for your preparation of special dishes. Here are two more links that are full of fantastic information.  http://www.foodsubs.com/ & http://whatscookingamerica.net/Glossary/A.htm
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of cooking classes being given in your neighborhood such as in schools or libraries. Look at cookbooks; sometimes they supply you with tutorials which are extremely helpful. Or don’t forget "YouTube".. they have such wonderful tutorials of cooking as well. 

I also can recommend “Cooking with Nonna" which is the best site to see videos, learn recipes, and share with others the love of Italian cooking and it's traditions. Rossella Rago is the host and of course you can't have this show or site without Nonna Romana. She is fabulous not only as a cook or baker but she steals the show with her Italian ways. You can learn some wonderful ways to cook by watching “Cooking With Nonna TV” and the tutorials. 

"Cooking With Nonna Knives"

“Cooking With Nonna” has a fabulous set of knives that I have personally have purchased and use all the time. They are extremely sharp and are a good price. If you are interested click on this link, “Cooking With Nonna Knives” and you will not be disappointed. This site celebrates the family or "famiglia" and it’s traditions which is what life is all about. 

But most of all make your cooking and baking experience fun! If you make a mistake, just try again. Every inspiring cook or baker needs assistance, so ask for help from your family, friends, and even your children. Chopping, cutting, and dicing are how they learn. So put on your apron and get out your knife and start chopping to create your next flavorful meal as the master chef of your own kitchen.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and I’m sure that your taste buds will thanking you! “Sweet Sriracha Chicken Wings” is a sweet way to grill your wings. They are succulent and finger licking good!

Sweet Sriracha Chicken Wings

Yield: 12 servings

12 chicken wings (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sesame seeds

Place chicken wings in a large bowl. Mix oil, coriander, garlic salt and pepper; add to wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or overnight. For sauce, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in orange juice, chili sauce, honey and lime juice until blended. Grill wings, covered, over medium heat 15-18 minutes or until juices run clear, turning occasionally; brush with some of the sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Transfer chicken to a large bowl; add remaining sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Cilantro and sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds.                 

Warm Beet & Spinach Salad

Makes: 4 servings, about 2 cups each
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

8 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp sliced Kalamata olives
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups steamed beet wedges, or slices
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Place spinach in a large bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Add beets, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the beets are heated through, about 1 minute more. Add the beet mixture to the spinach and toss to combine. Serve warm.


This Italian cocktail is sweet, frosty and a thirst-quenching drink! You can use the Vodka or have the drink without it. Either way this drink is delicious! Chin, Chin! or Cheers!

Lemon Sgroppino

Ready in: 5 mins
Serves: 8

1 bottle Prosecco
1 lime or lemon
1/ 2 cup of Vodka (optional)
2 (14 oz) containers lemon sorbet

Chill 8 champagne glasses and 1 bottle of Prosecco 3 hours before serving. Cut 1 lime or lemon in 8 thin slices. Place 2 (14 oz) containers softened lemon sorbet in a large bowl and gradually whisk in 3 cups of Prosecco and the vodka (optional) Pour the mixture in the chilled glasses and garnish with lime or lemon slices. Serve immediately.

                                "Please Drink Responsibly!"

Till next time……..

Copyright © 2016 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Who doesn't love spicy wings? And that drink looks terrific -- so refreshing. Great tips, too. You've packed so much into this post! Really good stuff -- thanks.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment! Yes, I agree who doesn't love spicy wings? Yes, the drink is so good, it reminds me of lemon ices, if you don't put in the vodka. Can never learn too many tips, and the beets salad is really good. I looked at your blog post and I see that we have the same thoughts with the beets. Which by the way I love beets. I have to go back to your blog now and re-read it. Thanks again for your visiting. Have a good week..
      Dottie :)

  2. Great post, Dottie! It brings back memories of learning to cook with mom and Grandma. And that sounds like one great book to own when starting to cook. The wings, beet salad and the drink all look fabulous. A little vodka in the drink would definitely go down easy with the Sriracha Wings! Thanks for the great tips and the recipes, very nice! Take care, Hugs

    1. Dear Pam,
      Thanks for your comment! Hope that Bill had a great Birthday...I am so glad that this post brought back memories of your family. Yes, that cookbook is very special and I have used so many recipes in it. I agree that all of these recipes seem to just go together so nicely. Yummy drink, almost like lemon ices if you don't put in the vodka. So glad that you enjoyed the tips too..Thanks for visiting and have a good week...
      Hugs Dottie :)

  3. Ciao Dottie!
    I can imagine you as a little girl so eager to learn by your mom and grandmother. That's why you are such a good cook now. Moms and grandmas cook real food to eat every single day and we love that don't we?
    So nice that you are still cherishing your first cookery book since 1974! I do have one too but it is only a book for baking, this is because I started baking cakes at 15 and only later I moved on to savory foods.
    You chicken wings make my mouth water and the beetroot salad is great for summer. I am cooking beetroot often too; I put it in the pressure cooker (the old fashion one!) and it cooks in 30 minutes! Easy peasy.
    I fancy your sgroppino especially with prosecco!
    Soon I will be going to Italy for the summer I cannot wait to see the sunshine. Over here we are having lots of rain this year! Are you going on holiday this year?
    Ciao e buona giornata. Bacioni!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you for your comment and for visiting...Yes, I was eager to learn so many things but I realized that my mom knew best and taught me slowly which was very good. Yes, they cooked real food and fresh food. they didn't have all of these boxed things, only fresh grown and quality foods.
      Yes, that cookbook is very important, besides my mom gave it to me with her message inside that she wrote, but it really has great recipes and some measurement tables in the back with tips, etc. So it is a good one to have for reference. So you were young to start out as well. As much as I love to cook savory foods my passion is baking. Your cakes must have been very good.
      Yes, I agree beets are so good and sweet. I love them. I sometimes use the cans, I know that isn't the best, but sometimes you are pressed for time. I wear cooking gloves for using fresh beets.They are better tasting, I love that Sgroppino drink, it is like having lemon ices.
      How nice that you will be going back to Italy for the rest of the summer. I know how much you love it there, besides your family is there. Well, I have heard that London has a lot of rain, it will be wonderful to see the sunshine. Hope to see more posts from Italy. I always find your stories so interesting. When I read them I feel like I am right there with you.
      No Holiday time this year as I have to stay home close to my parents..but I may go to see my son and his girlfriend who lives in Pennsylvania for a week in August. That is if I can leave my parents. So we will see. Ciao, avere un buon fine settimana abbracci caro amico.
      Dottie :)