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!

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Beef Empanadas & Cassava Balls Stuffed with Mozzarella

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The holidays are nostalgic and this year even more so for me, as we won’t be able to be in Peru for the holidays. But at least I can make some Peruvian food. Empanadas are usually dusted with powdered sugar, some people might find it weird but it actually works pretty well with the filling. The filling is slightly sweet because of the raisins and salty because of the Kalamata olives. We usually eat them with a squeeze of lime juice but I also like it with some salsa criolla.  For the empanada dough, I used a recipe from Epicurious. The cassava balls are usually eaten with a sauce made with Peruvian chilies. Since they are not always easy to find here, I thought of making it more accessible and just serve it with a sriracha-lime mayo. But you can serve it with any sauce that you like. I used mozzarella as the filling but you can also use any other kind of cheese that you may like.

This recipe makes about 17 small empanadas and about 25 cassava balls.

Ingredients for the empanadas:

For the dough:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon salt

113grs cold butter, chopped

1 egg

1/3 cup of ice water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the empanada filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

260gr of beef steak, chopped into very small cubes (you can also use minced beef)

½ cup of tomato pure

6 quail eggs, boiled for 3 minutes and then chopped

50 grs of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

A handful of raisins, chopped

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of oregano

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

For the salsa criolla:

1 red onion, chopped

A handful of chopped parsley or coriander

Juice of half a lime

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Chili to taste, chopped

Extras for the empanadas:

Egg wash

Powdered sugar for dusting

Lime wedges

 

To make the empanada dough:

Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until the butter is mixed in and it resembles sand. Then add the egg, water and vinegar. Mix until you have an even dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.

To make the empanada filling:

In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the beef and garlic. Cook until the beef is seared and then add the tomato puree, Kalamata, raisins, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the water from the tomato puree has evaporated and has become more of a paste. Turn off the heat and add the chopped quail eggs and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Allow it to cool down until ready to use.

Once the dough has chilled in the fridge for one hour, take it out and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 1 piece out in your floured working area, don’t roll it out too thin though as the empanadas might break while baking. Using a 9cm round mold, cut as many circles as you can.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each circle and then close it into half a moon. Pinch the edges with your fingers to seal them. Then using a fork, finch the edges again. Repeat for all.

Brush each empanada with some egg wash. Bake them till golden, about 20 minutes.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Dust the empanadas with some powdered sugar. Serve them with the salsa criolla and lime wedges.

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Ingredients for the cassava balls stuffed with mozzarella:

1 kilo of cassava

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of melted butter

30grs of grated Parmesan

Salt to taste

A good pinch of garlic powder

A good pinch of onion powder

4 tablespoons of flour

200grs of mozzarella, cut into small cubes or any other cheese that you may like

For the coating:

2 beaten eggs

1 ½ cups of panko, mixed with salt

1 ½ cups of flour, mixed with salt

For the sriracha-lime mayo:

1/3 of a cup of Sriracha

1/3 of a cup of Mayonnaise

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon of honey

Extras:

1 liter of vegetable oil for frying

 

To make the cassava balls:

To make the sriracha-lime mayo, just mix all of the ingredients in bowl. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Peel the cassava and chop it into large pieces. Place it in a large saucepan and add boiling water. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Once the cassava is cooked, remove the tough stem that it has in the middle. Mash it until smooth while it is still warm. Add the butter, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Mix well and taste to see if it has enough salt. Then add the egg yolks and flour, and mix it with your hands until you have a kind of dough.

Grab about 1 tablespoon of the cassava dough, make it into a ball and then flatten it with your hands. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and then make it into a ball again. Repeat for all.

Have the beaten eggs, flour and panko ready in separate bowls.

Coat each cassava ball in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, start frying the casaba balls in batches until they are golden. Just make sure the oil is not too hot, otherwise they will turn golden too quick without the cheese melting in the inside. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels. You can place them in the oven at 120C/250F to keep them warm until all of them are fried.

Serve them with the sriracha-lime mayo or the sauce of your choice.

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

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni with Butternut Squash Béchamel

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It’s been too long since I’ve made cannelloni. I was at an Italian store the other day getting squid ink pasta for another recipe and when I saw boxes of cannelloni, I just had to get one. I stuffed them with ricotta and spinach, and made a butternut squash béchamel sauce to cover them. I could eat pasta everyday!

This recipe serves 4.

For the filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

300gr of fresh spinach

Pinch of onion powder

Salt

Pepper

500grs of ricotta

Pinch of lemon pepper

Pinch of cayenne

For the béchamel:

3 tablespoons of butter

Pinch of garlic powder

3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

5 cups of milk

1 medium butternut squash

40grs of grated Parmesan

Extras:

16 cannelloni

40grs of grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top

Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Vegetable oil to fry the sage leaves(optional)

 

For the butternut squash, slice the butternut squash into chunks. Take out the seeds and place the chunks on a plate. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and microwave for 9 minutes. Once the squash is cooked, be careful when you remove the plastic wrap so that the steam coming out doesn’t burn you. Spoon out the flesh of the squash and place it on a medium bowl. Set it aside.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach has wilted. Then place the spinach on a sieve with a bowl underneath and press to get rid of most of the liquid. Set it aside.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add a pinch of garlic powder and the flour. Stir for 2 minutes. Then add the milk and stir until it thickens, about 6 minutes. Add the cooked butternut squash and Parmesan. Blend it until smooth using an immersion blender. Taste for salt.

To finish making the filling, mix the wilted spinach with the ricotta in a bowl. Add the lemon pepper, cayenne, pepper and salt. Mix well.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Place the ricotta filling in a piping bag and fill each cannelloni with it.

Grease with some olive oil a medium oven dish and add about 3 ladles of the béchamel. Spread the cannelloni over the sauce. Cover them with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle some extra grated Parmesan all over. Bake it for 40 minutes until golden.

If you want, you can fry some sage leaves in a small pan with vegetable oil, then place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Then use them to decorate the dish.

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

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.

 

 

Camembert Mac & Cheese with Zoodles

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Comfort food season has started, so a Mac & Cheese recipe was in order. I’ve been eating a lot of camembert lately and this time I added it to this pasta dish. I love the creaminess it gives. I also added zoodles to have some extra texture and add a bit of veggies.

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This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 zucchini, julienned without using the core

2 medium white onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of flour

800ml of milk

250grs of camembert, without the rinds

100gr of Gouda, shredded

300gr of the short pasta of your choice

10 sprigs of thyme

Salt

Pepper

For the crumb mixture:

½ cup of Parmesan

½ cup of breadcrumbs

5 sprigs of thyme

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the zoodles, I just used a mandoline with the julienne attachment. I stopped when I got to the core. You can also make them with a spiralizer or a potato peeler. If you use a potato peeler, just slice it into ribbons and then using a knife, cut it into julienne. Set aside.

In a large pot, add the olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and keep stiring for about 3 minutes. Then add the milk and stir for about 15 minutes until it thickens.

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

Mix all of the ingredients for the crumb mixture in a bowl. Set aside.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the cheeses and whisk to incorporate them into the sauce. Once the cheeses have melted, add the thyme, salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta and zoodles to the sauce. Mix until they are evenly coated.

Grease an oven dish. Pour the pasta with the sauce in the oven dish. Evenly spread the crumb mixture over the top. Broil until it gets golden on top.

Serve right away.

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

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.

 

Korean Style Nachos

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Last month I tried Korean fried chicken for the first time and I was amazed by the sauce it is covered in. I was talking about it with my friend Kaile who has more knowledge about it and she was telling me how this sauce goes well on pretty much anything. I was so excited when she brought me a pot of it when she came over for cake the other day. I couldn’t wait to try it. Nachos have been on my cravings list for a few weeks now and I finally made them for dinner yesterday. It was also the perfect day to make them as I actually didn’t feel like cooking at all. But since it is such a simple and quick recipe, I just went for it.

By the way, Kaile has her own blog about beauty and fashion. I really love her style and her photography is really a treat for the eyes. It is called Kaile Chung. You can check it out by clicking here.

This recipe serves 2 (for dinner).

Ingredients:

For the beef:

400gr of minced beef

2 tablespoons of chopped ginger

¼ teaspoon of onion powder

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 ½ tablespoons of sesame oil

4 tablespoons of Korean chili paste (Gochujang)

2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of honey

Vegetable oil for cooking the meat, about 2 tablespoons

For the rest:

1 large bag of tortilla chips, about 200gr

200ml Sour cream

200gr shredded cheese, I used Gouda

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced

2 red chili peppers, thinly sliced

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

 

First cook the meat, add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the minced meat, ginger, onion and garlic powder. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the sesame oil, Korean chili paste and honey. Keep stirring until the meat is cooked through. This will only take a few extra minutes. Then turn off the heat and add the sesame seeds and stir until they are mixed through. Here you should taste for salt; I didn’t think it needed any so I skipped it.

Set your oven to broil.

Arrange the tortilla chips in an oven dish or cast iron skillet. Spread the cheese over the tortillas, and then add the minced meat. I added a bit more cheese on top of the meat. Then place it in the oven until the cheese melts. This will only take a couple of minutes, check it so it doesn’t burn.

Once the cheese has melted, remove the nachos from the oven. Top with some sour cream and finally add some slices of jalapeno, red chili pepper and spring onions.  Eat right away.

Onion Soup French Toast

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One of the perks of being an adult is being able to eat whatever you want. I sometimes find myself craving breakfast dishes for dinner and this is an example of that. I love French toast and I had wanted to do a savory version of it for a while. French onion soup is something both Pieter and I always enjoy. So I thought why not combine them both in one dish? The result was delicious! Melted cheese, caramelized onions with a bit of booze, soft and buttery brioche, I mean what is not to love? We ended up eating the whole loaf of brioche by ourselves. Yup, it was good! I made each toast quite thick just so I could be able to stuff it with a lot of cheese. And you can also waffle it. I soaked the last remaining piece of stuffed bread in the egg batter, greased the waffle iron, and waffled this savory French toast.

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This recipe makes about 4 stuffed French toasts

Ingredients:

1 loaf of brioche, about 400grs

250gr Emmental or gruyere cheese, thinly sliced or shredded

For the onions:

7 medium white onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of butter, plus extra for frying the french toast

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

Salt

Pepper

1 shot of port

1 shot of white wine

For the egg batter:

250ml of cream

3 cups of milk

3 eggs

Salt

 

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. After the 10 minutes have passed and the onions are caramelized, add the port and white wine to deglaze the pan. Stir, so nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat off and transfer the onions to a plate.

Slice the brioche loaf into thick slices of about 5 or 6cm. The slices need to be big in order to be able to hold the filling. Using a paring knife, cut through the top part of the crust of each slice to create a pocket.

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Stuff each slice with some of the caramelized onions and cheese. Then using your fingers, press together the opening of each toast to seal it and keep the stuffing from coming out while cooking.

In a large bowl, mix the egg batter with a whisk.

In a large pan, add about 2 tablespoons of butter and melt it over low heat.

Soak 2 of the stuffed pieces of bread in the egg batter. Then place them on the pan and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side on low heat. Then repeat for the remaining pieces.

Serve right away.

And if you want, you can also waffle it! I hope you guys have a lovely start of the week!

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Rhubarb, Goat Cheese & Thyme Tart

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Rhubarb season has started and I couldn’t be more excited. I had something savory in mind and couldn’t wait to get my hands on some stalks. I was looking for it in my market a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t find any. I finally found it a week ago in one stand at the Albert Cuyp market and just had to get it

I wanted to top a tart with it and get that nice pink color all over it. But I wanted it thinly sliced, which means I lose the color as it is only on the outer part. Therefore I decided to dye the rhubarb slices. I’ve seen that you can color it with grenadine syrup. I actually wanted to try and color it with beet juice but I forgot to get some, so I ended up just using red food coloring which I had in the house. I added some Greek yogurt to the filling instead of adding cream just to lighten it up a bit. The pastry dough is very simple to make from scratch.  My hubby and I finished the whole tart for dinner with a side of green salad.

This recipe makes a tart for a 9 inch – 23cm pie mold.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour

100gr of butter, cold

¼ cup cold water

Pinch of salt

For the filling:

1 cup of Greek yogurt

200gr soft goat cheese, crumbled

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

For the Rhubarb:

2 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced with a potato peeler or cheese slicer

For the coloring bath:

2 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

30 drops of red food coloring (just to color the rhubarb, then you’ll throw it away)

 

Start by making the pastry; place the butter, flour and salt in the food processor. Pulse until the dough resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water and pulse until you get an even dough. Form a ball with the dough, wrap it in plastic and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting in the fridge, start to prepare the rhubarb. Cut each stalk into 3 even pieces, and then thinly slice each piece using a potato peeler, cheese slicer or mandolin.

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To prepare the simple syrup, just mix the water with the sugar in a pot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, so it is not super-hot. Then add the food coloring and mix it well. Add the rhubarb slices and let them soak in the coloring bath, once it is cool enough; just put it in the fridge until ready to use.

Once the dough has rested in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease and flour a 9 inch – 23cm pie mold. It is better if it has a detachable bottom, just makes it easier to slice the tart later.

Lightly flour your working area and roll out the dough in a circular shape, enough to cover the pie mold. Line the pie mold with the dough, pressing firmly on the edges. Put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Take the pie out of the fridge, line it with parchment paper and fill it with uncooked rice or pastry weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Then remove the rice and parchment paper, and bake for 5 more minutes.

For the filling, just blend all of the ingredients until evenly combined. Pour it over the pastry.

Drain the dyed rhubarb and then carefully arrange it in a circular motion on top of the filling. Bake the tart for 30 minutes.

Allow the tart to cool for 15 minutes before slicing it.

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

 

Brussels Sprouts, Apple and Gorgonzola Quesadillas

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I can’t remember ever eating Brussels sprouts growing up and I actually don’t know why. My two guesses are that either they were not very popular in Peru, or my mom (who is by the way a very good cook) doesn’t like them therefore she never made them. I am leaning towards the last one.  It is only since I moved to the Netherlands that I realized that I actually love them. They are tasty, cook quite fast and are super healthy. Now that they are in season I am making up for the lost time. This recipe makes 4 quesadillas.

Ingredients:

350gr Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 red onions, thinly sliced

2 apples, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

8 flour tortillas

200gr of gorgonzola, crumbled

2 pomegranates

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Sour cream, to serve

 

Over medium-high heat, add the olive oil to a large pan.  Add the Brussels sprouts and the onions. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Then add the apples and balsamic vinegar.  Stir for another minute and then add salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a bowl.

Place a tortilla in a large non-stick pan and add some of the sprouts mixture. Then sprinkle some of the pomegranate seeds and crumble some gorgonzola on top.  Cover with another tortilla. Cook over medium heat until it is crispy on the bottom. You will need to put a plate about the size of the tortilla over it to be able to flip it and avoid a mess. Once you have flipped it, cook until crispy and then transfer to a cutting board.

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Slice the quesadilla into four pieces. Repeat for the rest of the tortillas and filling. Serve with some sour cream.

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