Hello! I am still here – I swear. I’m just not here very much lately. Everything I have been cooking lately just hasn’t been calling out to be photographed. Pair that with the fact that my camera has been out of commission, I jut haven’t had a lot of motivation to post. But, I was gently reminded that I was hosting Food ‘n Flix next month. Actually, I didn’t forget at all because I’m hosting Popeye and I’ve been looking forward to it. I have been watching all the movies since I last participated, just feeling very uninspired. But I took the gentle nudge and decided maybe I should try to play again.

This month’s movie was hosted by CulturEatz and we watched I Am Love. This movie is in Italian and has English subtitles. Sometimes I find myself having some difficulty watching foreign films, because I have to pay such close attention to understand what is going on. This movie started that way for me, but I really began to get into the movie partway through and had less trouble.

This movie involves much family drama and many meals.

While the ukha was the main dish in the storyline, I went another direction – mainly because it’s so hot here. Ukha, or fish soup with a clear broth, the food Emma’s son Edoardo loved as a child and tied in to the drama of the film, is not appropriate for temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. No soup is suitable for this type of weather. I needed something cooler . . . Something I could tolerate while sitting in front of my fan.


Emma meets Antonio (a chef, a friend to her son, and her lover) at a bar to discuss a dinner he’s going to cook for a business dinner. Emma orders a chinotto from the bar.

I jotted “chinotto” down, but was unsure what it was. Wikipedia tells me (and wikipedia knows everything) that chinotto is a soda produced from the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. Chinotto is a popular Italian drink and is exported by San Pellegrino.

Though I don’t have access to a myrtle-leaved orange tree, I googled around to find how I could make my own version of chinotto. Because I couldn’t find all the same ingredients (how come my grocery store didn’t have rosemary?) I made some changes. So while not anything near authentic chinotto, the orange drink was still perfect for a hot day in the desert! Hopefully Emma would have at least tried a sip of mine.

Come participate with us this month and then come back to my blog next month for Popeye!



1 bunch of fresh mint
3 cups sugar
1 grapefruit
1 cara cara orange
1 blood orange
1 tbsp black pepper corn
5 cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
seltzer water


  1. First make your ice cubes. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil. Add half of the mint and let sit for 30 seconds. Place in a ice bath.
  2. Once the mint water has cooled, pour into a blender and blend. Pour the blended liquid into ice trays. Place in the freezer until frozen.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350.
  4. Cut the oranges and grapefruit into chunks about the same size. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle all the herbs (including the remaining mint) on top of the fruit.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes.
  6. Place the fruit into a pitcher. Mix into 3 cups of sugar with 6 cups of water.
  7. Chill the mixture.
  8. When ready to serve, place ice cubes in a cup. Fill cup mostly full with seltzer water. Add a splash or two of the chinotto to the cup.


Orange Peel Beef


I probably should have served this beef recipe with rice, but in the moment I didn’t consider it. I paired it with an Asian Asparagus and Orange Salad, which was good but not something I would add to my recipe cards. The beef on the other hand was absolutely something I would make over and over again. It was a simple recipe with very tasty results.

Orange Peel Beef

3/4 lb thinly sliced beef, cut into pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, mined
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tbsp orange zest
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


1. In a large bowl combine the beef, 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil, and baking soda. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet.  Stir in the garlic, ginger, orange zest, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic begins to brown, about 20 seconds. Add the beef, cooking until the beef begins to crisp and is no longer pink.

3. Whisk together the remaining soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, rice vinegar, the rest of the sesame oil, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir into the beef and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds.

* serves 2
* 303 calories per serving
* Shared with Mealtime Monday & Mix it up Monday