Clam Chowder Spaghetti

I love clams and I should definitely eat them more often. They are so easy and quick to cook. To keep the cooking time short for this recipe, I used fresh pasta and dried spices. So no cutting onions and garlic. You can skip on the bacon if you are vegetarian and use a bit of smoked paprika for extra flavor. Perfect comfort food for a lazy day.

Ingredients:

500grs of scrubbed cockles, clams or vongole

250grs of fresh spaghetti or the pasta of your choice

150gr of chopped bacon

200grs of crème fraiche

200ml of cream

3/4 teaspoon of onion powder

3/4 teaspoon of garlic

3/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of cayenne

Kernels of 2 corns on the cob

100grs of baby spinach

5 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Rinse the clams under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Place the chopped bacon in a large pan over medium heat. Stir from time to time until it is fully cooked. Then add the crème fraiche, cream and spices

Mix well until the crème fraiche has dissolved into a sauce.

In the meanwhile, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Add the corn and clams to the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid until the clams open. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Discard of any that didn’t open. Then add the spinach, cover it with a lid for 1 extra minute so that it wilts faster. Mix well and then add the cooked pasta.

Mix well so that the pasta is covered in the sauce. Taste for salt. Serve straight away and enjoy!

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Waffled Pea & Bacon Risotto

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I love to waffle pretty much anything. It makes food crispy and can give leftovers a new life. I made this pea and bacon risotto a while ago, and I waffled the leftovers for breakfast. I just mixed the cold risotto with some breadcrumbs, and waffled it in a well-greased waffle iron. Try to make small waffles so that they are easier to remove from the waffle iron and they are less likely to break.

Ingredients:

For the risotto:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

400gr of Arborio rice

1/2 cup of white wine

125ml of cream

Salt

Celery salt

40grs of grated Parmesan

1 cup of frozen peas

150grs of crispy bacon slices, chopped (reserve the bacon fat)

For the vegetable stock:

1 ½ litter of vegetable stock

1 ½ cups of frozen peas

For the waffles:

About ¼ of a cup of breadcrumbs per cup of cold risotto

Vegetable oil for greasing the waffle iron

 

Start cooking the bacon in a large pan until it becomes crispy. Chop the bacon and set it aside. Keep the bacon fat.

Heat up the stock and add 1 ½ cups of frozen peas. Let them sit for 1 minute and then blend until smooth using an immersion blender. Keep the stock warm on the lowest heat.

In the pan with the bacon fat, add the olive oil over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook them until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and rice, cook until the rice becomes translucent (about 1 minute). Then add the white wine and let it reduce.

Start adding the vegetable stock one ladle at a time and keep stirring. Once the liquid has reduced to half, keep adding more stock and stir. Keep doing this for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

Add the cream, Parmesan, the crispy bacon and the last cup of frozen peas.  Stir until everything is combined and let it cook for about 1 minute to allow the liquid to evaporate a bit and become creamy again. Add salt and celery salt to taste.

This recipe makes 3 plates of warm risotto. You can eat part of it and the rest waffle it. Or let it all cool down and waffle it.

To waffle it, mix about ¼ cup of breadcrumbs per cup of cold risotto. Grease your preheated waffle iron with some vegetable oil. I prefer to make the waffles small so that they don’t break when you take them out. I made each waffle with about ½ a cup of risotto. Serve while hot. Enjoy!

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Frisée, Gorgonzola & Bacon Salad with Cherry and Port Dressing

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This past weekend, I saw cherries for the first time at the market and of course I had to get some. Besides snacking on them, I saved some for this salad. For the dressing, I used frozen cherries just because they already come pitted but you can also use fresh ones. I love the combination of the slightly sweet dressing with the bitterness of the frisée, the salty bacon and creamy gorgonzola.

This recipe serves 2.

For the dressing:

1 cup of frozen cherries, pitted

1 shot of port

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of honey

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt to taste

For the salad:

5 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled

½ a head of frisée, torn into bite sized pieces

80grs of gorgonzola, crumbled into small pieces

1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and sliced

 

Start by making the dressing. Place the cherries in the microwave for about 1 ½ minutes to thaw. Then blend them and pass it through a fine mesh sieve. Pour the cherry juice into a medium saucepan. Add the port, balsamic, olive oil, honey and garlic powder. Cook for about 4 minutes over medium heat, until it thickens a bit and the alcohol evaporates. Add salt to taste. Then pour it into a bowl and allow it to cool down.

To assemble the salad, just divide the frisée among two bowls. Add the gorgonzola, cherries and bacon. Serve with the dressing on the side. Enjoy!

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Clam Chowder

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I love how filling and flavorful chowders can be. They also bring back good memories for me since they remind of the times when I lived in the States. I love the mix of flavors of the clams, smoked bacon, corn and potatoes. Some of my favorite things together in one bowl.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

600grs of clams, scrubbed

7 slices of smoked bacon

Kernels of 2 corns on the cob or about 1 cup of frozen corn

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ cup of white wine

1 leek, finely sliced (white part and light green part only)

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

500gr of potatoes (not the kind for mashing), peeled and chopped into small cubes

1 ½ litter of vegetable stock

250ml of heavy cream

Celery salt

Pinch of onion powder

Extras:

Fresh thyme leaves

Chopped chives

Crusty bread

 

Rinse the clams under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Bring the stock to a simmer. Once it is simmering, add the clams and cook them until they open. This will only take a few minutes.  Then remove the clams with a slotted spoon, discard of any that haven’t open and set them aside to cool down a bit.

In the meanwhile, transfer the stock to a large bowl. Be careful if there is a bit of sand left from the clams at the bottom, make sure if there is not to transfer it to the bowl.

Remove the clams from the shell and chop them. Keep them in the fridge until ready to use.

Cook the bacon slices in a large pan with no oil over medium heat. Cook until crispy and reserve the fat. Chop the bacon slices into small pieces and set it aside.

In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and bacon fat over medium heat. Add the leek and shallot. Cook for a few minutes while stirring until they become a bit transparent and soft. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the onion powder, celery salt and white wine. Stir until half of the wine has evaporated. Add the potatoes and the stock. Cook for about 25 minutes.

Add the cream and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Then add the corn kernels and cook for 2 minutes. Finally add the clams and let them warm up for an extra minute.

Adjust the salt to your liking.

Serve the chowder among 3 bowls. Sprinkle with the bacon pieces, chopped chives and a few fresh thyme leaves. Eat it with some crusty bread slices.

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Dutch Baby Pancake with Gouda, Crispy Bacon & a Fried Egg

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Dutch baby pancakes are usually sweet, served with powdered sugar and fruit. I wanted to make a savory version of it.  I sprinkled shredded Gouda to the batter before it went into the oven and then topped it with some bacon and a fried egg. You can play around with the toppings as you like. It is super easy to make. The edges of the pancake are crispy and in the center it is still soft. This savory version is not only nice for breakfast but it also works great for lunch.

This recipe is for 1 pancake.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

2 eggs

½ cup of milk

¾ cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of butter

Pinch of salt

Toppings:

5 tablespoons of shredded Gouda cheese

2 or 3 slices of crispy bacon, chopped

1 fried egg or more if you like

Chives, chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 230C/446F with a cast iron skillet inside.

Place the eggs, milk, flour and salt in the blender and blend until smooth. Leave the batter in the blender.

Take the hot skillet out of the oven and add the butter. Place it back in the oven until the butter melts, this will only take about 1 minute. Take the skillet out of the oven again. Swirl the butter so it coats all the edges of the skillet. Once the skillet is completely coated in butter, pour the remaining melted butter into the blender with the rest of the pancake batter. Blend until everything is combined.

Add the pancake batter into the hot skillet and sprinkle the shredded Gouda over it.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the pancake turns golden and the edges have puffed up.

Serve with a fried egg, crispy bacon and chives.

 

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.

 

 

Burger sliders stuffed with Bacon Jam

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A while ago I saw a recipe for bacon jam on Food52. It just looked too good not to try it out. And OMG is it good.  You can eat it with toast or about anything else (I also like to top a soft boiled egg with it). I decided to stuff some hamburger sliders with it. It’s a nice, salty and sweet surprise to find once you take a bite of what it looks like a normal mini burger.  And now that summer weather is coming our way and BBQ season is starting, this is a nice dish to have in mind for entertaining friends.

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This recipe makes 8 sliders.

Ingredients for the bacon jam:

300gr of smoked bacon slices, diced

2 medium white onions, diced

½ teaspoon of paprika powder

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

¾ cup of Guinness beer

Ingredients for the burger:

500gr of minced beef

1 white onion, grated

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1 egg yolk

Toppings for the burger:

150gr gorgonzola

2 avocados

Ketchup

 

For the bacon jam:

Cook the bacon pieces in a pan until they are crispy. This will take about 8 minutes. Reserve only 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to cook the onions.

Cook the onions over medium heat in the bacon fat until they become translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Then add the paprika powder, garlic and maple syrup.  Add the sugar and stir, until it dissolves.  Then add the vinegar and beer.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Add the bacon and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid has started to reduce and thicken.

Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down in the pan.  Once it has cooled down, place it in the blender and blend to your desired consistency. I like it with still a bite to it. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, even though I doubt it will last that long. It’s too good not to finish it in a few days.

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For the burgers:

Pour the olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Add the grated onions, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Cook until the liquid starts to reduce, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place the minced beef in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper and the egg yolk. Then add the onion mixture and mix it well. Form mini burger patties with your hands.  Grab some of the minced meat mixture, make a ball with your hands and then flatten it. Place about one teaspoon of the bacon jam in the middle and then form the meat mixture into a ball again.  Repeat until all your patties are formed. This will make about 8 mini patties.

Pour a bit of olive oil on a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sliders for about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, or more time if you prefer them well done.   Serve the patties with the buns and top with some gorgonzola, avocado and ketchup.

I also made the mini hamburger buns from scratch, just click here to check out the recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Roasted Buckwheat

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It seems that winter is finally catching up. It has been quite a soft winter so far. But with the temperatures starting to drop this weekend and maybe snow on the way, a nice warm soup was in order. I roasted the butternut squash, garlic and onions in the oven to bring out their sweetness. For the toppings, I roasted some buckwheat with maple syrup and cayenne pepper (I find it quite an addictive snack). I also made some bacon crumbs. And for some peppery taste, I added some micro arugula that I grow myself in my teeny tiny little greenhouse.

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced

6 pearl onions or 1 big onion, leave the skin on

3 garlic cloves, with the skin on

Splash of olive oil

1 ½ liter of vegetable or chicken stock

100ml of cream

Salt to taste

For the maple roasted buckwheat:

6 tablespoons of buckwheat

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of olive oil

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of salt

For the bacon crumbs:

12 bacon strips

Topping:

Micro arugula

 

Line an oven tray with aluminum foil; place the peeled and sliced butternut squash and unpeeled onions on the tray.  Cover one head of garlic in aluminum foil with a bit of olive oil inside and place it on the tray  (I roasted the whole head of garlic and only used 3 cloves for the soup, the rest you can use for another dish). Splash a bit of olive oil over the vegetables and roast at 180C/350F for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Mix the buckwheat, maple syrup, olive oil, cayenne and salt in a small bowl.

Line an oven tray with parchment paper and place the buckwheat in a single layer. Roast for about 10 minutes, check that it doesn’t burn.  Then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the bacon crumbs, just cook the bacon until crispy.  Allow to cool down and then put it in the food processor and pulse until you get crumbs.  Set aside.

Going back to the soup, peel the onions and 4 cloves of garlic. Place them on a pot and add the butternut squash. Add the stock and blend until it is creamy.  Warm up the soup over medium heat and then add the cream and salt to taste.

Serve warm and top it with the roasted buckwheat, bacon crumbs and micro arugula.

Pan-Fried Plantain Gnocchi with Crème Fraiche and Bacon Crumbs

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I wanted to try and make plantain gnocchi for a while now.  But the last time I got plantains; I ended up frying them and eating them with rice and fried eggs. One of those things I used to love eating growing up. It is simple and delicious.

I served these gnocchi with a very simple sauce made with crème fraiche, shallots and garlic, and topped it off with some bacon crumbs and a few thyme leaves.  This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the Gnocchi:

3 ripe plantains

40gr of Parmesan cheese

1 egg

½ teaspoon of salt

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

200gr crème fraiche

Salt

Pepper

For the bacon crumbs:

5 slices of crispy bacon

Butter and olive oil to pan-fry the gnocchi

A few fresh thyme leaves (optional), to decorate

 

To make the bacon crumbs, just fry the bacon in a pan until crispy. Then place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb most of the fat. Then put the bacon in a food processor and pulse until you get crumbs. Set aside.

Put the unpeeled plantains in an oven tray and bake for 30 minutes at 180C/350F.  Allow to cool down. Then peel them and cut each plantain into 4 pieces and remove the seeds using a knife.  Once all the seeds have been removed, chop them and put them in the food processor and pulse until you get a smooth puree.

Put the plantain puree in a large bowl; add the Parmesan, egg and salt. Mix well with a fork.  Then slowly add the flour.

Once all the flour is incorporated, Place 1/6 of the dough on a floured surface and start rolling it as if it were a long snake. Then cut it into small pieces of about 2cm/1inch. Roll them in the palm of your hands to give them more shape. They don’t have to be perfect.  Put the finished gnocchi aside and continue with the rest of the dough.

Once all of the gnocchi is done, drop them into a large pot of boiling salted water. When they start floating around in the top, give them an extra minute and then drain them using a colander.

To make the sauce, heat up the olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add the crème fraiche and cook for another minute stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Going back to the gnocchi, you’ll have to pan-fry them in batches.  In order to get a nice even golden color you can’t to overcrowd the pan.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick pan, over medium heat. Add about ½ of the boiled gnocchi and fry them until they have a light brown crust on both sides.  Then remove from the heat and repeat for the remaining gnocchi.

To plate the gnocchi, place a bit of the crème fraiche sauce on a plate. Then add the gnocchi and top with some of the bacon crumbs and a few thyme leaves.

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Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen side

A few weeks ago my hubby and a friend were celebrating their birthdays at a bar. And one of the snacks the barman brought out was this sort of pizza dish.  I’ve never had it before and I couldn’t stop eating it.  A few German friends did recognize it though.  Now that I have tried it, I see it everywhere on menus.   There are different variations of flammkuchen and I wanted to try and make the one I had that night.  I tried it out last week with a no rise dough and wasn’t very happy with the results. I tried it again today, letting the dough rise for an hour and I was very pleased of how it turned out.  Really thin dough that is crispy on the edges.  This recipe makes 4 flammkuchen.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

7grs of dry yeast

1 cup of warm water

Pinch of sugar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

For the topping:

200gr Crème fraiche

100gr of cream cheese, at room temperature (or Fromage Blanc)

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of salt

Pepper

1 red onion, finely sliced

8 strips of smoked bacon, finely sliced

 

Mix the warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Stir in the olive oil and salt using a fork. Slowly add the flour while mixing it.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes if you are using a mixer with a dough hook attachment, or for 10 minutes if you are using your hands.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour.

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Mix the crème fraiche with the cream cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Reserve the mixture, covered in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 230C/446F. Place the oven tray where you are going to bake the pizza in the oven to get hot.

Remove the dough from the bowl and separate it into 4 pieces.

Roll one of the pieces on a floured surface.  Then place the dough on a parchment paper.

With a tablespoon, spread a thin coat of the crème fraiche mixture all over the dough, except for the edges.

Top with the onions and bacon.

Remove the hot tray from the oven. Place the flammkuchen with the parchment paper on the tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Repeat for the remaining dough.  Serve immediately.

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