Kale, Gorgonzola, Butternut squash, Apple & Strawberry Salad with Date Vinaigrette

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A simple warm salad for these colder months. I love the sweetness that the dates give to the dressing, to add some more flavor I added a shot of port. It’s important to really massage the kale with the vinaigrette to make it softer and for the dressing to really get through.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the salad:        

200grs of shredded kale

1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced

1 small butternut squash, chopped into small cubes

200grs of gorgonzola, crumbled

6 large strawberries, cut into small cubes

3 tablespoons of olive oil, to cook the butternut squash

Salt

Pepper

For the date vinaigrette:

1 small white onion, chopped very fine

5 tablespoons of olive oil

8 small dates, chopped very fine

1 shot of port

1/3 cup of red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the vinaigrette, place the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, dates, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to low and cook for about 6 minutes, while stirring. Then add the shot of port and cook for about 2 minutes, to let the alcohol evaporate. Turn off the heat and transfer it to a jar with a lid. Add the vinegar and honey. Close the jar and shake it to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste for salt and pepper.

Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the chopped butternut squash, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, stirring from time to time until it is cooked through. Set it aside.

Place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and massage the kale with your hands. This will allow the dressing to really get in.

Divide the kale among 3 plates. Then add the butternut squash, strawberries, gorgonzola and apple. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Beet & Barley Salad with Black Radish, Brussels Sprouts, Arugula, Kumquat & Grana Padano

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This past Saturday at the Farmer’s market, I got some beautiful black radishes. I had never seen them before so I was very excited to give them a try. They are stronger in flavor than the average radish. They are a bit spicy. I wanted to keep things simple so I just thinly sliced one radish (they are quite big) and added it to a simple beet & barley salad. This one is a bit different since I cooked the barley in a mixture of vegetable stock and beet juice. A delicious and filling salad for these colder months.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the barley:

2 cups of barley

1 ½ cups of beet juice

4 ½ cups of vegetable stock

For the salad:

75 grs of arugula

1 black radish, thinly sliced

9 kumquats, thinly sliced

30 grs of thinly sliced Grana Padano cheese

12 Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, halved and leaves separated

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the balsamic dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the barley with the stock and beet juice over medium heat for about 40 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender. Once it is cooked, let it stand for 5 minutes with the heat off. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down for a bit.

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar and close it with a lid. Shake it until it emulsifies. Set it aside.

To cook the Brussels sprouts, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts leaves, salt and pepper. Cook them for about 20 seconds. Set them aside.

To plate the salad, mix the arugula with the barley. Divide it over 3 plates. Top with the radish, kumquats, Grana Padano and Brussels sprouts. Serve he salad with the dressing on the side.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

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Panzanella with Tomato & Kalamata Ciabatta

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Panzanella has been on my to-make list for a long time. I finally made it yesterday along with the bread that goes in it.  I used a tomato & kalamata ciabatta recipe that I found on Food&Wine. I slightly adapted it to fit what I had in my kitchen. The best part of making bread is the smell that fills out the house. Luckily, I made the full recipe for the ciabatta which makes 2 loaves and I only needed half a loaf for the salad. Why? Because half a loaf disappeared into my belly as soon as it came out of the oven and another big chunk of it disappeared into my husband’s belly as soon as he came back from work. I toasted the bread in a pan with olive oil so it would still remain a bit crunchy as I ate it. I added some edible flowers for an extra pop of color.

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The recipe for the ciabatta makes 2 loaves and the recipe for the salad serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the ciabatta:

5 tablespoons of olive oil

2 red onions, chopped

4 tablespoons of tomato puree

7 cherry tomatoes, seeds removed and quartered

80gr of pitted Kalamata olives, quartered

Salt

Pepper

3 packets of dry yeast (7grs each)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 ¾ cups of warm water

2 ½ cups pf all-purpose flower

¾ cup semolina

For the salad:

½ a loaf of the tomato and kalamata ciabatta

7 tablespoons of olive oil

100gr of feta, chopped or crumbled

½ cucumber, thinly sliced

150grs of heirloom tomatoes, quartered or chopped depending on their sizes

1 bunch of asparagus

½ red onion, thinly sliced

Edible flowers (optional)

Salt

Pepper

For the dressing:

¼ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the ciabatta:

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until they caramelized a bit. This will take about 8 minutes. Then add the tomato puree and cook for 4 minutes. Add the olives and tomatoes. Mix well. Finally add some salt and pepper. Let it cool down.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the yeast, sugar and water. Let it stand for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, flour and semolina.

Mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for about 6 minutes until the dough starts to pull from the edges.  Then add the cooled kalamata and tomato mixture. Mix first with a spatula and then for 1 extra minute on low speed just until it’s mixed in. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for 1 ½ hours until it doubles in volume.

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. It will be very soft and sticky. Divide the dough into 2 even pieces and shape each piece into a loaf of about 20cm long. Place the loaves on a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until they are lightly browned. Transfer them to a rack and allow them to cool down. You should have a piece while it is still warm, I had half a loaf.

To make the dressing:

Just place all of the ingredients in a jar, cover it with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Set aside.

To make the salad:

Chop half of a ciabatta loaf into cubes. Pour 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the ciabatta and cook until it becomes crispy. Stir from time to time. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer it to a plate and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Sauté the asparagus until crisp-tender. The time will depend on their thickness. Since I got very young ones, I didn’t have to trim them. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and asparagus. Add the ciabatta and dressing. Mix well. Serve immediately. You can decorate it with some edible flowers.

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Carrot Salad with Tahini-Sumac Dressing & Halloumi

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This is a stay at home weekend. The weather hasn’t been the nicest, so I’m taking advantage of that by catching up on posting recipes as well as testing new ones. I’ve been baking this morning so if everything goes well, there will be a sweet recipe here tomorrow.

For now a healthy salad recipe, this carrot salad has a bit of an unusual dressing but it accompanies it very well. The tahini makes the dressing really creamy and the sumac adds a nice tanginess to it.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

4 big carrots, shredded

½ bunch of coriander, chopped

1/3 cup of pistachios, chopped

1 pomegranate

225gr of halloumi

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pepper

Salt

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons of tahini

1 teaspoon of sumac

Juice of 3 limes

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of ginger syrup

1 teaspoon of salt

Pepper

 

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar and cover with a lid. Shake until everything is combined. Set aside.

Slice the halloumi into 1cm thick slices, season with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Fry the halloumi until golden on both sides. This will only take a few minutes. Set aside.

Place the shredded carrot, coriander, pistachios and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.  Serve with the pan-fried halloumi.

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Melon Salad with Roasted Shallot & Chili Vinaigrette

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Yesterday was such a beautiful sunny day that we went for a bike ride to the forest. I wanted to see the Scottish Highlands cows again. They are kept at the forest to naturally mow the grass and they are quite the attraction. They are such stunning animals and it’s a nice break from the city.

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My friend Karla introduced me to Tajin, a chili-lime seasoning, a few years ago. She would pretty much sprinkle it on everything from vegetables to fruits. I instantly loved it. I really wanted to eat a healthy salad yesterday and with the heat, the lighter the better. I made it with a mix of watermelon, melon, 2 different kinds of apples, a bit of blueberries and some arugula. For the dressing, I roasted some shallots in the oven and then blended them with the rest of the ingredients. This gives the dressing a nice creaminess. And because the Tajin seasoning goes so well with melon and apples, I added it to the dressing. It’s not a very spicy dressing, it’s subtle. The Tajin and cayenne just give it an extra kick.

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 cups of diced watermelon

2 cups of diced galia melon

100gr of feta, crumbled

½ red apple, thinly sliced

½ green apple, thinly sliced

½ cup of blueberries

2 handfuls of arugula

For the roasted shallot vinaigrette & chili vinaigrette:

4 small shallots

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

¼ of a cup of apple cider vinegar

1/3 of a cup of olive oil

½ teaspoon of Tajin chili-lime powder

1 tablespoon of honey

Pinch of cayenne

Salt to taste

For decoration:

1 handful of daikon cress

 

First roast the shallots; place them in an oven tray with the skin on. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast them at 180C/350F for 45 minutes. Once they are roasted, allow them to cool down enough to touch them. Then take the skins off.

Blend the roasted shallots with the rest of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Add salt last, after you’ve tasted it because the Tajin is already salty.

Divide the arugula between two plates. Then add the watermelon, melon and apples. Add the crumbled feta and the blueberries. Finish by adding the daikon cress. Serve with the vinaigrette on the side.

 

 

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Green Salad with Tonkatsu and Sesame Vinaigrette

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Yesterday night, I went with my hubby to Pocha Factory to eat Korean fried chicken wings in the pop-up they hosted in Amsterdam. We knew the fried chicken wings were really good from last time we went there. This time around, Korean BBQ beef sliders were added to the menu and they were served with a secret sauce. They were so good! If you are in Amsterdam, check their social media to know when they will host a pop-up again. The place was full so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s soon.

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OK, so back to the recipe. This is a super easy Asian style salad. I love the crunchy pork cutlets which are still juicy in the center, the crunchiness of the sugar snaps and radishes. And of course the sesame vinaigrette which just brings everything together. And you can also serve it as rice paper rolls. Ad if you don’t like pork, you can make it with chicken, or make it vegetarian by using tofu instead.

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This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

4 pork cutlets

300gr of sugar snaps

8 radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup of edamame

400gr of arugula, I used wasabi arugula which has a bit of a stronger flavor

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups of panko

8 tablespoons of flour

Salt

Pepper

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the vinaigrette:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

Juice of 1 lime

 

For the edamame, just follow the instructions on the package. I usually buy it frozen but this time I got it ready to go.

For the sugar snaps, I just sautéed them in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil until tender-crisp. You can also just blanch them.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To make the Tonkatsu, place each cutlet in between parchment paper and flatten them using a rolling pin.

Place the flour, beaten eggs and panko in separate plates. Add salt and pepper to each plate and mix it in.

Season each cutlet with salt and pepper. Then coat each one in the flour first, then the egg and finally the panko. Press with your fingers so each piece is completely coated in panko.

Add some vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the breaded pork. I cooked 2 at a time. They will need about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Make sure that the oil is not extremely hot though, otherwise it will brown too fast and the pork won’t be thoroughly cooked. Place them on paper towels to absorb some of the oil. Then transfer them to a cutting board and thinly slice them.

To plate up, divide the arugula between 4 plates. Then add the sugar snaps, radishes and edamame. Place each sliced cutlet on top of the salad and serve the dressing on the side.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Caprese Quinoa Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata and Greek Yogurt Pesto

FullSizeRender (1)I did a late market run the other day and got these gorgeous tomatoes and flowers.

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Since I had been craving burrata for a while, one dish came to mind: Caprese salad. With such great produce, you don’t need to do much with them. To make it a more filling meal, I added quinoa. I flavored the quinoa with some basil-Greek yogurt pesto.  It’s a quick dinner and also makes for a great lunch the next day.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa

700gr of Heirloom tomato mix

1 burrata (250gr)

For the pesto:

1 cup of fresh basil leaves

30gr of Parmesan, grated

40gr of toasted pine nuts

Zest of ½ a lime

4 tablespoons of Geek yogurt

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pepper

Salt

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the pesto, just blend all of the ingredients together. Add the salt last, after you tasted it, since the Parmesan already makes it salty.

Slice the tomatoes.

Place the pesto in a large bowl, add the quinoa and mix it well.

To serve the salad, first place some quinoa on the plates. Then add the tomato slices and sprinkle them with some salt. Break the burrata with your fingers and spread it over the salad. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each plate. If you want, decorate the salad with a few basil leaves. Enjoy!

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Lyonnaise Salad Crostini

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This is another take on the classic French salad. If you’ve never had a Lyonnaise salad, it is just a poached egg, bacon and frisee lettuce. The simple things are often the best. Instead of using poached eggs; I fried them, and I used quail eggs instead so they would fit into small toasts. I turned the bacon into crumbs, and made an onion-white wine vinaigrette. It works great for a dinner party and as a light lunch. I love frisee; I really enjoy the bite that it gives. I have a beet tartare recipe which also has it, and you can check it out by clicking here.

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Summer seems to come and go here, some days it feels like summer and others like early autumn. Today is the latter one, rainy and a bit chilly.  Yesterday wasn’t very nice either, but we had a great lunch at the Pure Markt in the Amstel Park. We arrived starving and wanted to eat everything in sight! We went for some steamed buns, duck banh mi, a donut and a delicious pulled pork cheeseburger topped with fried onions. We left the market with very happy bellies.

pulled pork cheeseburger

Ingredients:

1 baguette, sliced and toasted

3 cups of frisee, washed and torn into pieces

12 quail eggs, or more depending on the amount of bread slices that you have

140gr smoked bacon slices

For the vinaigrette:

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 shot of white wine

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

1/3 of a cup of olive oil

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy. Then place it in the food processor and pulse until you get crumbs. To get it a bit crunchier again, I spread it over a baking tray lined with parchment paper and baked it for about 10 minutes at 180C/350F. But you can skip this step.

Cook the onion with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the white wine. Stir for a few seconds until the liquid evaporates a bit. Place the onions with the liquid in a jar, add the remaining ingredients for the vinaigrette. Cover with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Set aside.

Fry the quail eggs.

To plate up, place a bit of frisee on top of each toast. Then add the fried egg, spoon some of the vinaigrette and finish it by sprinkling some of the bacon crumbs.

 

 

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Salade Nicoise with a Parsley-Anchovy Vinaigrette

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This is my take on the traditional salad nicoise. I make it with seared tuna, quinoa instead of potatoes and I take the anchovies out of the salad and incorporate them into the dressing by making a parsley-anchovy vinaigrette. This is one of my go-to salads when I feel like something healthy but also filling. And now that summer is in full swing, a nice salad is very welcome. Especially one that won’t have me going through to the candy drawer (Yes, I have a deliciously filled candy and savory snacks drawer in my living room) 30 minutes later because I’m still hungry.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

½ cup of quinoa

100gr of Kalamata olives

A big handful of green beans

8 tomatoes, sliced (I used a mix)

3 soft boiled eggs

300gr of fresh tuna

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Lemon pepper (optional)

Cayenne (optional)

For the anchovy-parsley vinaigrette:

5 tablespoons of chopped parsley

8 anchovies, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup white vinegar

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the quinoa first. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Then start making the vinaigrette. You can place all of the ingredients in the food processor and just pulse until you get your desired consistency. Or you can just chop the parsley and anchovies together. Then place them in a jar with the rest of the ingredients, cover with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies.  Set aside until ready to use.

Sautee the green beans in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and black pepper. Do this until they become tender- crisp.

Place the eggs in a pot with boiling water and boil them for 7 minutes.

To sear the tuna, just season it with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne. Pour a bit of olive oil in a pan, over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot; just place the tuna and sear it for a few seconds on each side. This is where you want to be quick turning it, because it cooks pretty fast (Unless you want it well done).

Once the tuna is seared, transfer it to a cutting board and thinly slice it.

To plate up, divide the quinoa into 3 plates. Add the green beans, black olives and tomatoes. Then add the soft boiled eggs sliced in half, the tuna and finish by drizzling some of the vinaigrette.

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Adult Fruit Salad (Cherry, Orange & Strawberry Salad with Balsamic-Elderflower Dressing)

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As soon as warmer weather approaches, I start looking forward to summer fruits, especially berries and cherries. I love going to the market, and seeing all the stands filled with gorgeous and colorful produce. That’s my kind of guiltless candy shop. I wanted to make a fruit salad that was a bit different, with a bit more adult flavors so to say. And by adult, I don’t mean alcoholic.

Balsamic reduction is a staple in my pantry. I actually still remember the first time I tried it. I was having dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant about 15 years ago, and we ordered an octopus salad that came with a balsamic reduction.  We all loved it and my mom asked how to make it. Since then, she’s always had it in her pantry and when I moved out, I started to do the same.

To make the dressing, I reduced some elderflower cordial into the balsamic reduction. It adds a floral depth to the dish. The combination of the dressing and the juices from the fruits are a nice explosion of flavors in the mouth. Add the creaminess of the whipped goat cheese and crunchy pistachios, and you’ve got a great mix of textures as well.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

2 cups of strawberries, thinly sliced

3 oranges, segmented

¼ cup of unsalted pistachios, chopped

For the whipped goat cheese:

100gr of goat cheese

4 tablespoons of cream

For the dressing:

¼ cup of balsamic reduction

5 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction before, it is super easy to make. You don’t need a fancy bottle of balsamic vinegar; just get a cheap one, since it’s going to reduce a lot. Pour 250ml of balsamic vinegar into a pan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.  Don’t let it get too thick though, as it will thicken as it cools down. If it gets too thick, you can always warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up. You can make this in advance and keep it in your pantry. I use it often so I normally make a bigger batch. It is very nice to drizzle over sautéed asparagus.

Prepare all of your fruit.

To make the whipped goat cheese, just place the goat cheese and cream in the food processor and pulse until smooth.

To make the dressing, place the balsamic reduction and elderflower cordial in a pan. Let it simmer over med-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, until it is all mixed. Don’t let it reduce too much, otherwise it will become a caramel and you won’t be able to pour it.

To plate up, pour some of the dressing on the plate. Then add the fruit. I formed quenelles with the whipped goat cheese. Finally, sprinkle some pistachios.

 

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