Octopus Tacos with Sweet Peppers & Kalamata Olives Salsa

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It’s been a while since I posted a new recipe for Taco Tuesday and I’ve had this one in mind for over a month now. Octopus is so delicious, and I definitely don’t eat it often enough.  I boiled it first. Then I pan-fried it in some olive oil with some garlic, parsley and lemon juice. A Mediterranean style kinda tacos. We are finally moving to our new apartment this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

12 small tortillas

50grs of lamb’s lettuce of watercress

For the octopus:

1 medium octopus (about 1.1 kilo) cleaned

For boiling:

1 bay leave

1 lemon cut in half

1 teaspoon of salt

For the pan:

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoon of olive oil

Handful of chopped parsley

Juice of half a lemon

Salt

Pepper

For the salsa:

100grs of pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

2 sweet peppers, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

Boil some water with 1 teaspoon of salt, the lemon cut in half and the bay leave. Once the water is boiling, submerge only the tentacles in the water for a few seconds. The tentacles will start to curl up. Do this 3 times. Then completely submerge the whole octopus in the water and cover it with a lid. Let it cook until it is tender. This octopus took 40 minutes. To check when it’s done, just pierce it with a knife (if it goes easily, it’s done) or slice off a piece and try it.

Remove the octopus from the pot and let it cool down.

In the meanwhile, make the salsa. Just mix the Kalamata olives, sweet peppers, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix it well and set it aside.

Cut off the head and the beak from the octopus and pat it dry with some paper towels.

Chop it into bite size pieces.

Heat up the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. If your pan is small, fry the octopus in 2 batches. Fry it for 2 minutes and then add the garlic. Cook for 1 more minute will stirring to prevent the garlic from burning. Take it off the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Warm up the tortilla in a pan.

Serve the octopus right away with the lamb’s lettuce and salsa. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Falafel Salad

FullSizeRenderOn Sunday we visited the Japanese cherry blossom park at the Amsterdamse bos. It’s one of those things I look forward to every spring. The weather was just perfect that day! Sunny and warm. People brought their picnics and were chilling on the grass. It’s a beautiful place around this time of the year and very close to Amsterdam.

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I had been craving falafel and I made this one by adding mashed roasted sweet potato to the chickpea mixture. It adds a slight sweetness to it. I served them over a very simple salad with baby Swiss chard, Kalamata olives, cucumber and feta. It’s healthy, easy to make and filling.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the sweet potato falafel:

1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight

1 bunch of parsley

1 cup of mashed roasted sweet potato

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of salt

For the salad:

1 cucumber, core removed and thinly sliced

100grs of crumbled feta

100gr of Kalamata olives, sliced

100grs of baby Swiss chard or any leafy greens of your choice

Garden cress (optional)

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

¼ cup of white vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of mustard

Salt

Extra:

Olive oil for pan-frying the falafel

 

To make the sweet potato falafel, soak the dried chickpeas in enough water overnight. For the sweet potato, you can roast it the night before, mash it and keep it in the fridge. Roast 1 medium sweet potato at 180C/350F for 1 hour.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and place all of the ingredients for the falafel in the food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined and there are not big chunks, but not too fine that it becomes a puree. You want it to still have some texture.

Then grab some of the mixture and form it into a ball using the palm of your hands. I grabbed about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture. It makes about 25 small balls.

Once all the falafels are assembled, pour about 1/3 of a cup of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the falafel in batches until lightly browned. This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Just be careful not to press on them too much while turning them so that they don’t break apart.

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

In a large bowl, mix the sliced cucumber, crumbled feta, Kalamata olives, baby Swiss chard and garden cress. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Divide the salad among 3 plates and then add the falafel. Enjoy!

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Tagliatelle Alla Puttanesca

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It’s been such a long time since I’ve made this pasta. This is my mom’s favorite. She would make it often at home and order it when we would go out for Italian food. This is my version of it. It’s quick to make and it is full of flavor. And since this weather has me craving even more carbs, I made a caramelized balsamic onion focaccia to serve it with (and to munch on, till it was dinner time).

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

300gr of dried tagliatelle or the pasta of your choice

1 small tin of anchovies (30grs), chopped very finely. Reserve the oil.

2 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of onion powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

5 tomatoes, chopped

100gr of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

Pepper

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Grated Parmesan or Grana Padano for serving

 

In large pan over medium heat, add the anchovy oil and olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the anchovies, chilies and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.

Then add the tomatoes, Kalamata, oregano, basil, onion powder and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time until it becomes a sauce. I didn’t add any salt as the anchovies and Kalamata were salty enough for me.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Once the sauce is done, add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning. Then add the drained pasta and toss to coat it.

Serve with some grated Parmesan or Grana Padano. Enjoy.

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