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Quinoa Salad Recipe

Quinoa salad
Quinoa salad

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa,
2 1/4 cups of water,
2 tbsp. EV olive oil,
2 garlic cloves, chopped,
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped,
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper,
1/4 cup chopped celery,
1 cup chopped broccoli,
2 cups diced tomato,
1/4 cup chopped red onion,
1/2 lemon, juiced,
4 tablespoons sunflower oil,
salt and pepper to taste,
200 grams feta cheese.

Recipe:

1. Pour the EV olive oil in a heavy saucepan and saute the garlic, yellow onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes.

2. Add the quinoa, stir it in and immediately add the water. Cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. It is even better if you cover the saucepan with aluminum foil first and then put the lid. Cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes or until ready. You can open the lid and check, but don’t do it often.

3. When the quinoa is ready spread it on a baking tray and let it cool down. When all the steam is gone stir it gently and put the tray in the fridge until the quinoa cools down completely.

4. In the meantime, cut the rest of the vegetables if you haven’t already done so.

5. Mix all the quinoa salad ingredients in a bowl and serve in 6 bowls. Crumble the feta cheese on top of the quinoa salads.

I cook my quinoa the same way I cook rice pilaf. If you would like to use the quinoa as a side dish you can replace the water in the recipe with chicken stock or vegetable stock. Even a spoon of butter wouldn’t be a bad idea if the quinoa is to be used as a side dish.

Vol-au-vent Au Poulet

Vol-au-vent with chicken
Vol-au-vent au Poulet – Chicken vol-au-vent

Vol-au-vent is a great French dish made with a puff pastry shell and a creamy filling. It can be served as a main course, as well as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

Frozen puff pastry sheets, as needed, 1 cup diced cooked chicken breast, 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour, 1 garlic clove, chopped, 1 shallot, chopped, 1/2 cup 18% cream, 1 cup chicken stock, 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme.

Recipe:

1. You can use square or round puff pastry sheets. Cut half-way through the puff pastry at 1 centimeter from the edge and bake according to package instructions. After the vol-au-vent shells are baked, let them sit for 5-10 minutes, and then remove with a fork the cut-up middle part, which will serve as the lid.

2. Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan and saute the garlic and shallots. Add the flour and make a roux. Add the cream while stirring and then add the cricken stock. Make sure that the sauce has no lumps of flour in it by stirring vigorously.

3. Add the cooked chicken, fresh chopped thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Now you have to have in the pan something very similar to chicken pot pie stuffing. Optional: You can thicken the sauce some more with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

4. Spoon the stuffing in the warm vol-au-vent shells and serve.

Gnocchi with Pancetta and Snap Peas in Blush Sauce

Gnocchi pasta with blush sauce
Gnocchi with Pancetta and Snap Peas in Blush Sauce

Ingredients for 4:

2 pounds of potato gnocchi,
4 oz sliced and chopped pancetta,
2 garlic cloves, chopped,
1 shallot, chopped,
1 cup snap peas,
2 tablespoons olive oil,
1 cup pasta sauce,
1/2 cup 18% cream,
1 heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese,
salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe:

1. Saute the garlic and shallot with the olive oil in a large heavy pan for 2 minutes.

2. Add the pancetta and snap peas and saute for 5 minutes more.

3. Add the pasta sauce and the cream and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until the desired consistency is achieved.

4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

5. In the meantime, boil the gnocchi according the package instructions in a large saucepan with at least 4 liters of water. I usually boil them for about 3-4 minutes, or 1 minute after they all swim up to the surface of the water.

6. Strain the gnocchi with a colander and immediately toss them in the sauce. Serve and enjoy.

Cooking tip: I like my snap peas to have a little crunch, but if you like them softer you can blanch them before adding them to the frying pan.

Potato Croquette Recipe

Potato croquettes

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato,
2 large baking potatoes,
1/2 tsp. garlic powder,
1 tsp. salt,
1/2 tsp. black pepper,
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill,
1 cup panko breadcrumbs,
1 cup regular breadcrumbs,
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese,
2 eggs,
1 oz. heavy cream,
1 cup all-purpose flour,
vegetable oil for frying.

Recipe: Peel and cut the potatoes to large chunks. Boil the potatoes, strain and mash them. Add the garlic powder, fresh dill, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Mix the panko and regular breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese and put the mixture in a shallow bowl. Beat lightly the eggs with the cream and pour the mixture in a bowl. Put the flour in a third bowl. Form oval shaped croquettes from the potato mixture and dredge them in the flour, then dip them in the eggs and roll them in the breadcrumbs to coat them completely. Deep-fry the croquettes for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Put the croquettes on tissue paper for 1 minute after frying to remove any excess oil. Serve the potato croquettes with cucumber-dill sauce for dipping, or another sauce you desire.

Italian Escargot Recipe

Escargot in mushroom caps
Italian Escargot

Ingredients for 4 appetizers:

20 large escargots from a can,
20 small mushrooms, stems removed,
3 tablespoons butter,
3 garlic cloves, chopped,
1 oz. white wine,
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley,
1/4 cup grated mozzarella,
chopped chives or lemongrass (optional),
salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe:

This escargot recipe is similar to the Escargots à la Bourguignonne recipe with the major difference of using mushroom cups for serving it instead of the snail shells.

1. Melt the butter in a large heavy pan and saute the garlic for 1 or 2 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and the escargot and cook until the mushrooms are soft.

3. Deglaze with the white wine and add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve the escargots in the mushroom cups, top each one with a little grated mozzarella cheese and drizzle the butter-garlic sauce from the pan over the escargots.

5. Broil each bowl under the broiler briefly until the cheese is fully melted and serve with garlic bread.

Did you know that some people consider the escargot as seafood, therefore suitable for vegetarians?

Homemade Veggie Burger Recipe

Homemade veggie burger
Veggie burger with Black Beans

This is a recipe for a veggie burger made with black beans, and is suitable for vegetarians who consume eggs.

Ingredients:

Two 8 oz. cans of black beans or the same amount of boiled beans,
2 eggs,
1/2 cup bread crumbs,
1 teaspoon smoked paprika,
1 teaspoon natural smoke essence,
1 oz. instant oatmeal,
salt and pepper to taste,
1 tablespoon chopped green onion,
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Recipe:

  1. Boil the black beans and strain them. If using canned beans, drain the liquid and place the beans in a food processor. Process them until they are pasty. Alternatively, you can mash the beans with a potato masher.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Form burger patties. You should have enough mixture to form 6 veggie burgers.
  4. If using a convection oven you can place the veggie burger patties on parchment paper, or use aluminum foil for a conventional oven. Bake for about 8 minutes on each side at 375 F, or until cooked through.
  5. At this point you can either use the veggie burger patties, or you can grill them briefly in order to give them some nice grill marks. That’s your choice. The veggie burgers will taste like grilled because of the smike essence, so grilling them is not required.

I served my veggie burger from the photo above with tomato, pickle, lettuce, mayo and pickled candied red onions in a sesame bun. Enjoy.

Thai Chicken Salad Recipe

Thai chicken salad

Ingredients:

Steamed, shelled edamame beans,
diced tomatoes,
chopped romaine lettuce,
diced red bell peppers,
baked chicken breast,
salad noodles

For the dressing:
fresh chopped cilantro,
fresh chopped scallions,
ketchup,
ginger powder,
sugar,
salt,
chili flakes,
white vinegar,
freshly toasted sesame seeds

Recipe: For this Thai Chicken Salad recipe, I am intentionally not giving any measurements, just the ingredients, because everything can be used to taste. Just season the chicken breasts lightly and bake them in the oven until the enternal temperature reaches 170 F. In the meantime, steam the edamame beans, and then cool them down under cold running water.

1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together to taste. Dip a peace of lettuce and taste the dressing before leaving it to the side for at least 10 minutes in order to properly blend flavors.

2. Let the chicken breasts cool down and then dice them.

3. Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and add the dressing.

4. Mix well and serve with the salad noodles on top.

Enjoy.

French Crepes Recipe

French crepes
French Crepes with Vanilla Ice-Cream

Ingredients:

250 ml. whole milk,
150 gr. flour,
2 large eggs,
1 pinch salt,
1 tablespoon sugar,
1 tablespoon vanilla extract,
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil or butter.

Recipe: Prepare the batter for the French crepes according to the recipe for Crespelle with the addition of 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. vanilla extract. Cook according to the same recipe. Cool down the crepes completely. Put 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of every crepe and fold into a square while pressing gently. Put the filled crepes in the freezer for about 20 minutes until they are firm but not entirely frozen. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a small frying pan and add 2 tbsp. sugar, 2 shots Irish cream, 1 espresso coffee and 2 tbsp. chocolate sauce. Cut each crepe to 2 triangles and drizzle the sauce over it. I served the crepe for this photo with cactus pear, star fruit and banana scoops.

Mussels Marinara Recipe

Mussels marinara
Mussels Marinara

Ingredients:

1 kg fresh mussels,
3 tbsp. EV olive oil,
1 small yellow onion, chopped,
3 garlic cloves, chopped,
1 1/2 cup tomato passata,
1 cup diced canned tomato,
salt and pepper to taste,
1 teaspoon sugar,
1 tbsp. butter

Recipe:

Start by buying a kilo of fresh mussels. Make sure you check both, the harvest date and the best before date of your mussels. What I do after I get home is fill a saucepan with clean cold water, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt to it and let the mussels stay in the water for about 10 minutes. This re-invigorates the mussels and lets them get rid of any impurities within their shells, such as sand, mud, etc. If any mussel is open, tap on it and if it doesn’t close, discard it. If your mussels are fresh all of them should be alive, and closing fast when tapped.

1. Pour the rinced mussels in a colander and let them drain properly while yo are sauteeing the onion and garlic in the olive oil.

2. Add the mussels in the hot frying pan and saute for 4 minutes or until all of the mussels are open. Stir frequently.

3. Add the tomato passata, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook at high temperature for 5 minutes. Add the butter and sugar and cook for a couple of minutes more.

This mussles marinara recipe is very easy and extremely delicious. I find that by not using any herbs and not even white wine for cooking the mussels really reveals the subtle flavours of this amazing seafood.

Cooking tip: Make sure that you start sauteeing the mussels in a very hot heavy frying pan. That’s the only way to seal all the juices and enjoy the flavor that I’m describing. And, as I said above, don’t use any herbs and white wine that may disguise the flavor of the mussels. Enjoy.

Cannelloni Recipe

Cannelloni

Ingredients:

12 cannelloni shells,
1 lb. lean ground beef,
3 tablespoons olive oil,
1 yellow onion, chopped,
2 garlic cloves, chopped,
1 carrot, grated,
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese,
1 tablespoon chopped parsley,
1 pinch chili flakes,
1 tablespoon fresh basil,
1 whole egg,
salt and pepper to taste
2 cup tomato sauce

Recipe: In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the chopped onion, garlic and grated carrot for 5 minutes. Add the lean ground beef and broun it. Add the parsley and chili flakes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the egg, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Boil the cannelloni shells according to the package instructions. Season the filling and stuff the cannelloni shells. Pour some tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish and arrange the cannelloni in it. Pour some more tomato sauce over them. Bake the cannelloni until the filling gets cooked, about 20 minutes. The canneloni can be served as an appetizer or a main course. Cheers.