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Friday recipe: Herbed Potato Salad

Potato salads are a summer and picnic staple all over the world, funny how one salad can be so international?! My Mediterranean aunt does one in a slightly different way, which i love and find delicious.

Potato Salads from all over!!

Potato Salads from all over!!

Recipe:

1-2 lbs potatoes cooked and sliced

1/2 cup Greek black olives pitted

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 tbs chopped oregano, 1 tbs chopped mint, 3 tbs chopped parsley

1/2 cup fetta cheese, crumbled

2 tbs red wine vinegar, 1 tbs lemon juice, 3 tbs olive oil.

-In a blender combine the herbs, the garlic, lemon and vinegar until pureed. Add the oil and fetta and blend till well combined. Toss with the cooked potatoes, and sprinkle the black olives on top. Enjoy!

How do you like your potato salad?

*images via pinterest

 

 

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Friday recipe: Eggplant salad with chick peas

As you know i am away visiting my parents for a while, and while i love the Mediterranean, i almost forgot about the August heat! Walking out of the airport i felt a heat wave engulf me , and it wasn’t at all magical!!

Living in Montreal where summers are rather mild, with some showers, this heat is hard to swallow…But, the food makes up for it!!!

Today i’m sharing with you a rather interesting salad, made up from one of my favorite vegetables, eggplants.

Since i was too busy eating, i didn't take any pictures, sorry!

Since i was too busy eating, i didn’t take any pictures, sorry!

Eggplant Salad with chick peas:

1 large eggplant peeled and cut into cubes- 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped- 1 cup cooked chick peas or tinned- 2 large onions chopped- 3 cloves garlic chopped- 3 tbs olive oil- 1 tbs pomegranate sauce (available in Mid Eastern shops)- salt and pepper to taste.

-In a cooking pan heat the oil and saute the onions for 2mn, add garlic and saute 1 more minute. Add the eggplant pieces and stir well into the onions, add the tomatoes and other ingredients, season, cover and simmer for 15 minutes till done.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!!

 

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Friday recipe: Provencal summer potato gratin

Since i posted two days ago about the beauty of Provence , i’m sharing a delicious summer dish from that lovely area….

2ba8c7d00d2ab3c10b95ca4e9abcb5faProvence is the Mediterranean jewel of France in my opinion. The sights, smells and food are incomparable…The food in this part of France is so good, you will have visit more than once!

Provencal summer potato gratin:

2 cloves garlic-extra virgin olive oil-2 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes, peeled-2 pounds gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced about 1/4 inch thick-salt and freshly ground pepper-2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)-2 medium onions, sliced about 1/4 inch thick-1 bay leaf-1 1/2 cups boiling water- 12 imported black olives, pitted.

-Heat the oven to 375F. Cut 1 of the garlic cloves in half and rub a gratin or baking dish with the cut sides. Mince the remaining garlic and set aside. Oil the gratin dish with olive oil.

-Slice 2 of the tomatoes into thin rounds and peel and chop the rest. Arrange half of the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping, and season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the thyme. Top with half of the onions. Season the onions and lay the bay leaf on top. Toss the chopped tomatoes and minced garlic together with salt and pepper to taste, and spoon over the onions. Repeat the layers and top with the sliced tomatoes. Be sure to season each layer generously.

-Season the boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and pour over the vegetables. Dot the top with olives and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 mn, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the gratin is lightly browned around the edges.

(You can add 1/2 a cup of grated Gruyere over the gratin 1 hour after baking).

Enjoy!

*image via pinterest

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Friday recipe: Beet and yogurt salad

This is a Turkish dish i found a couple of month ago and had to try it. I love the taste of beets, and i usually just make a salad of boiled beets, parsley, garlic and olive oil.

This is a bit different, it takes more time since the beets have to be roasted and marinated, but you can still roast them 4 to 5 days ahead. It is worth it!

Beet vegetableBeet and yogurt salad:

4 medium beets, roasted-1 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar or wine vinegar-1 teaspoon sugar-2 tablespoons olive oil-salt and freshly ground pepper-2 cloves garlic pureed-1/2 cup drained yogurt until thick and creamy-2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill.

-Heat the oven to 425 F. Cut the greens of the beets, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stems attached. Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish. Add about 1/4 inch water, cover tightly with foil, and roast till the beets are tender, 35 to 40 mn.

-Peel the roasted beets, preferably while still warm. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into half moons. Stir together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the warm beets and marinate for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

-Mix together the garlic and yogurt. Stir in half the dill and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the beets and stir some of the marinade into the yogurt (to taste). Toss the yogurt with the beets. Sprinkle on the remaining dill and serve.

This dish is perfect for those hot summer nights! Enjoy!

*image via google

 

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Friday recipe: Ricotta frittata with zucchini

I find that making a frittata is one of the easiest dishes there is. Add a salad to the menu and you have a gorgeous meal! (and a bottle of vino too!).

During the summer season I always try to make easy recipes, the heat plus the slow pace of summer doesn’t allow you to stay in the kitchen for hours. (Though my mother still cooks for 12 people every Sunday, rain or shine -she placed an air conditioner in her kitchen!)

Today I am going to share a frittata recipe that hopefully you will try and love!

This frittata is not the same, but i wanted to give you an idea of how it looks like!

This frittata is not the same, but i wanted to give you an idea of how it looks like!

Ricotta frittata with zucchini:

(Try to find fresh good quality ricotta in an Italian market)

6 large eggs, salt and freshly ground pepper, 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram, parsley or mint, 1 medium zucchini finely chopped, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

-In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, salt, pepper, ricotta, garlic, and herbs.

-Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan, add the zucchini. cook, stirring often until tender, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

-Add the remaining spoon of olive oil to the pan, turn up the heat and add the egg mixture. Jiggle and tilt the pan to distribute the zucchini through the eggs, and lift the edges of the mixture so that the eggs can rum underneath.

-Reduce the heat and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until set.

-You can run the pan under the broiler until the top is browned if you want.

– Slide the frittata onto a platter, serve hot, cool or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

*image via pinterest

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Friday recipe: Gnocchi with blue cheese

I have never been known to resist a pasta dish or a gnocchi dish, so when a friend of ours invited us for supper a couple of days ago suggesting gnocchi on the menu, i was more than happy!

Gnocchi (NYO-Kee) are various thick dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, flour and eggs, potato and flour, breadcrumbs, or similar ingredients (that’s the Wikipedia definition, the ones i usually have are made from potatoes).

gnocchi-pasta-foodIn Italy they are usually eaten as a first course. They are generally home-made, but you can easily find them in speciality stores.

So to get back to our host, he is Italian by the way, and he told me that he loved easy recipes! Well my kind of guy!! The dish was extremely easy, delicious and perfect as a main course!

Gnocchi with blue cheese:

1 pack of gnocchi, 2 tomatoes cut in cubes, 1/2 cup of blue cheese (no salt because of the blue cheese), 1 spoon of butter.

-Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the blue cheese and mix till you have a creamy mixture.

-Cook the gnocchi; when the gnocchi float to the top of the boiling water, they’re done.

-Add the blue cheese sauce to the gnocchi, add the tomatoes and serve. You can add some basil leaves if you like.

Believe me when i tell you , DELICIOUS!! Thank you Alessandro for a perfect dish!

PS: remember, this is a heavy dish, don’t go making it everyday! If you find it too heavy as a main course, have it as an entree, in a small portion.

*image via google

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Friday recipe: Delicious grilled tomatoes

Summer is officially here, and with the heat we tend to eat lighter and change somehow our daily menu. vegetables and fruits are in abundance and they taste great!

Today i am going to share a yummy recipe i found and tried. It’s really very easy and you can use it as a side dish.

8Grilled tomatoes:

You will need: tomatoes, salt and pepper, parmesan, some thyme, extra virgin olive oil, and some crushed garlic.

-Slice tomatoes in halves and season with salt and pepper.

-Saute the crushed garlic with the olive oil and fresh thyme until golden. Add some parmesan cheese and remove from heat.

-Place tomato halves cut side down on an oiled grill until you get grill marks, then turn them over with tongs and spoon the garlic cheese mixture and cook until they look done.

You will love this light and tasty side dish! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday recipe: Pasta with uncooked tomatoes, basil, capers, olives and feta

As you know by now, i am half Italian, from my mother’s side. So of course we had plenty of pasta growing up! My kids love pasta, they can have it everyday and not get bored. It’s all in the sauce, as my mother would say!

For me pasta is the easiest dish; you can make a sauce out of anything you have in your fridge or pantry. It’s easy, quick, and everybody loves it. In Lebanon they use a mix of yogurt and garlic with roasted pine nuts as a sauce for spaguetti, so you see, really anything works!

Pasta can be fattening if you have a big quantity, with creamy sauce for example, or with foie gras ( i had this once in Paris, unbelievably delicious!) or other fattening ingredients. Today’s recipe is perfect for summer days, fresh, and non-fattening (remember, in moderation!).

white-pastaYou can have it as a “primo” (starter) or as a main dish.

I usually use all kinds of pastas for my recipes, fusilli, penne, spaguetti, farfalle…Some sauces are better with a certain kind, but at the end, they all taste the same to me, so go with what you like!

Recipe:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes pr cherry tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoon capers, rinsed, 1/2 cup chopped Italian or Greek olives, 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 cup minced basil, salt and freshly ground pepper, 3/4 pound penne or fusilli, 2 ounces feta, crumbled (about 1/2 cup).

-Combine the olive oil, tomatoes, capers, olives, parsley, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and let sit for 30 minutes or longer.

-Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a heaped tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente, drain, and toss at once with the tomato sauce and feta. Serve hot or at room temperature.

(If you like, you can add 1 clove garlic, finely minced, to the sauce.)

*image via google

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Friday recipe: Wild mushrooms with tomatoes and basil

You can always find mushrooms in my fridge; i add them to pasta, quinoa, salads, omelettes, sauces, pies, i even use them in recipes instead of bacon!

Wild mushrooms are my favorite. Whatever your favorite (crimini, enoki, oyster, portobello, shiitake or white button) all mushrooms are loaded with essential nutrients.

shiitake-mushrooms-Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D. Like humans, mushrooms produce vitamin D when in sunlight.

-Mushrooms may enhance the body’s immunity system against microbes.

-They are high in antioxidants , specially crimini and portobello mushrooms.

-They contain loads of vitamin B and selenium.

Wild mushroom with tomatoes and basil:

2 tablespoons extra virgin oil, 1 medium onion chopped, 3-4 garlic cloves minced, 1 pound fresh porcini or other wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thickly sliced, salt, 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 1 can tomatoes drained and chopped), pinch sugar, freshly ground pepper, 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil.

-Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add half the garlic, stir, then add the mushrooms. Turn up the heat and cook the mushrooms until they begin to brown. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to soften and exude their juices, about 5 min.

Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Cook until the liquid glazes the mushrooms, about 5-10 min. Add the tomatoes, remaining garlic, sugar, and a little more salt. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring often , until the tomatoes have cooked down, about 15 min.

Stir in some pepper and the basil and remove from fire. Serve warm. delicious!

*image via google

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Figs

Figs are one of the fruits we enjoy a lot around the Mediterranean. And of course we eat it in season. Figs have two seasons; a short season in early summer, and a second one that starts late in summer and runs through fall.

I love figs, and wait for them every year! I love them in salads, with nuts, cheese or even cured meat like pancetta, ham or bacon.

p-fig1_1482202cFigs, like other fruits , have a lot of benefits:

-Figs are rich in potassium and minerals that can help control hypertension.

-Figs are full of dietary fibers. A high fiber diet helps to slow down digestion and cuts your hunger.

-Research indicates that regular consumption of figs helps in reducing the chance of post-menopausal cancer by 34%.

-Figs have anti diabetic properties to help you lower your blood sugar level.

-Daily use of figs can lower triglyceride levels within the blood (triglycerides are the main type of fats that go around in the blood).

And here is a simple way of enjoying them differently: Fig crostini:

-Finely chop figs and toss with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.

Let the figs sit while you cut baguette slices and toast them.

Top the toasts with the fig mixture, add some fresh ground pepper. You can spread a bit of fresh goat cheese to the toasts first if you like.

These are great for a light lunch or a snack!

*image via google

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