Ficelle with Brie, Figs and blackberries

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This is more an idea than an actual recipe but it is great when you don´t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It is perfect for a picnic or to serve at a dinner party. This is one of those things that I could eat at any time of the day. If you have never had ficelle before, it’s type of French bread. It is smaller than a baguette. If you can’t find it, just use one baguette instead.

Ingredients:

2 ficelles, sliced in half lengthwise (Similar to baguette, but smaller)

200gr of brie, sliced into pieces

4 figs, thinly sliced

1 cup of blackberries

¼ cup of pomegranate seeds

150grs of arugula

2 tablespoons of olive oil

About 3 tablespoons of balsamic reduction

Salt

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction, is it very easy to make. Get a small bottle of balsamic vinegar (about 250ml). Since you are going to reduce it, just get the cheap kind. Pour the balsamic in a saucepan over medium heat and let it reduce to about 1/3 of the original volume. Then pour it in a glass container and allow it to cool down. As it cools down, it will harden a bit. This is something I always have in the house since I love drizzling it over salads.

Mix the arugula with a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Spread it over the sliced ficelles. Top with the figs, blackberries, brie and pomegranate seeds. Finally drizzle some of the balsamic reduction and enjoy!

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Sesame & Peanut Ramen with Ketjap Marinated Chicken

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If you have never heard of Ketjap, it is a sweet Indonesian soy sauce. It is very popular here and you can find it at any supermarket. For this recipe you need to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes in the fridge but the rest is done very quickly. The chicken caramelizes very nicely in the pan and it is still juicy inside. I love the creamy sesame and peanut sauce, and it makes a filling dish.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

700gr of boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/3 cup of Ketjap manis

1 ½ tablespoons of ginger syrup

2 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ a teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of chili oil

A good pinch of salt

Pepper

For the sesame and peanut sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of chili oil

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

1 tablespoon of water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 spring onions, thinly chopped

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds

3 tablespoons of freshly chopped coriander

Extras:

300gr of ramen noodles, or the noodles of your choice

A handful of chopped toasted peanuts (optional)

 

Place the chicken along with the rest of the ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make the sesame and peanut sauce, just whisk all the ingredients together in large bowl. Set it aside.

Once the 30 minutes for the chicken are up, heat up a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken in batches, be careful because it will splatter. Let it cook for about 3 minutes per side until they are cooked through and caramelized.  Repeat for the rest of the chicken. Finally slice the chicken and taste for salt.

Cook the noodles as instructed in the package. Then drain them and toss them in the sesame and peanut sauce.

Divide the noodles among 3 bowls, add the sliced chicken and if you want top it with tasted peanuts. I only realized I forgot to add the peanuts after I had taken all the pictures so I added them later. 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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Tagliatelle with Tuna and Caper-Preserved Lemon Sauce

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This is a very easy and quick pasta dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

250grs of Tagliatelle

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons of chopped capers

1 preserved lemon, very finely chopped

2 cans of tuna

¼ cup of chopped parsley

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

To make the sauce, place about ¼ cup of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Then add the garlic, capers and preserved lemon. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Then add the tuna, broken into small chunks. Add the cooked pasta and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine.

Divide the pasta among two plates. Enjoy!

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Zucchini Ricotta Fritters with Avocado-Greek Yogurt Sauce and a quick Beet & Carrot Slaw

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Not the best day to go outside today. There is a summer storm going on and it got worse while we were doing groceries at the market. A tree fell over a road close to our street; luckily we didn’t see anyone hurt. My hubby and I actually ran home on the last 2 blocks because big branches were falling on cars next to us. This is the first time I was actually scared of a storm here.

Veggie fritters are something that we eat quite often at home. They make a super simple and quick dinner. The creamy avocado-Greek yogurt sauce goes very well with the fritters and the slaw adds a nice crunch to the dish. I love eating raw beets and their sweetness mixes very well with the apple cider vinegar from the dressing.

This recipe makes about 10 fritters.

Ingredients:

For the Fritters:

3 Zucchinis, shredded without the core (seeds)

250gr Ricotta

1 egg

Pinch of cayenne

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of lemon pepper (optional)

Pinch of pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 of a cup of panko breadcrumbs

¼ of a cup of breadcrumbs

Olive oil for frying

For the quick slaw:

2 beets (I used the candy cane variety), shredded

1 carrot (I used a purple one), Shredded

¼ of a cup of olive oil

¼ of a cup of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of honey

1 teaspoon of mustard

Salt

Pepper

For the avocado-Greek yogurt sauce:

2 avocado

4 tablespoons of Greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

¼ of a teaspoon of celery salt

Extra salt to taste

Decoration:

Chives

 

To make the quick slaw, first shred the beets and carrot. In a bowl, whisk the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the beets and carrot. Mix well. Let it sit in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the avocado sauce, just place all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until you get a creamy sauce. Transfer it to a bowl, cover with plastic film and let it sit in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the fritters, shred the zucchini. I don’t shred the core part with the seeds. Then squeeze out as much water as you can from them. Transfer the squeezed zucchini to a large bowl, add the reminaing ingredients for the fritters and mix well.

Add some olive oil to a large non-stick pan over medium heat.  To form each fritter, just scoop about 1/3 of a cup of the zucchini mixture and place it on the hot pan. Flatten it a bit with a spatula and fry it until golden on both sides. This will only take a few minutes per side.

To serve, spread some of the avocado sauce on each plate and serve the fritters stacked on top of the sauce. Finish it by adding some of the slaw and a bit of chives.

Magnum Affogato

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This is a super easy and quick dessert. Not too sweet and perfect for coffee lovers. Affogato is espresso served usually with vanilla ice cream. I was in the city center this Sunday looking for some props and I think that I saw an advertisement for the new Magnum Black & Pink every five minutes. There was even a tram covered in pink and black. And, of course, I started to crave some. Today I got some Magnum minis and decided to incorporate them into this dessert. Freshly made espresso, chocolate covered espresso ice cream melting into it, What’s not to love? I’ll be eating these all summer.

Ingredients:

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Magnum mini black espresso

Just place the magnum mini inside the cup with freshly made espresso and enjoy!

Spaghetti Alle Vongole

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This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and an Italian classic. I hardly ever order it at a restaurant just because it takes no effort to make at home. It is prepared in about 15 minutes. By the time the pasta is cooked, the vongole is ready and you just have to combine it all.

As cravings go with me, most of the times they don’t disappear like they do for my hubby. They keep hunting me until I satisfy them. A couple of years ago, we were in Italy on holiday. On our last dinner there, I saw this dish on the menu and all of the sudden I had to have it. Unluckily for me, they were sold out! As soon as we were back home, I went to get some vongole and made the dish at home.

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I’ve been craving vongole lately so I have made this dish 3 times in the past month. If you are not familiar with cooking vongole, make sure that the shells are not open when you buy it. You’ll discard of the ones that are open, so you want to get your money’s worth. I like to squeeze some lemon juice in the end, even though it is traditionally not added. I made it last on a Saturday in which after running errands all day, I didn’t feel like spending much time cooking. It was gone in less than 5 minutes. Yes, I eat very fast!

This recipe serves 2.

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Ingredients:

500gr of Vongole

2 cloves of garlic, minced

14 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

½ bunch of parsley, chopped

250ml white wine

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

260gr of spaghetti

Chili flakes to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon (optional)

 

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

Mince the garlic, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and chop the parsley.

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large pan with a lid. Over medium heat, add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the vongole and the white wine. Cover with the lid and let it cook till the vongole start to open, about 4 minutes. Stir. Discard of any that haven’t opened. Turn the heat off.

By this time the pasta should already be done. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the vongole. Add salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste. Then add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir until everything is combined. Serve right away.

 

Farfalle Aglio e Olio with Charred Cauliflower & Breadcrumbs

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I’ve been craving a lot of charred cauliflower lately. I’ve been adding it to pasta dishes, salads and also just eating it by itself as a snack with some lime juice on the side. I love simple pasta dishes like aglio e olio. Adding charred cauliflower and spicy breadcrumbs, are nice little extras that give some more bite to the dish.  They say toasted breadcrumbs are the poor man’s parmesan but I don’t think there is anything poor about it. Toasted in olive oil with some salt, already adds a nice taste and if you want more, you can add any kind of herbs. It’s crunchy, salty goodness. An easy vegetarian dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner!

This recipe serves 3.

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Ingredients:

For the cauliflower:

1 cauliflower, cut into florets, then thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the breadcrumbs:

3 slices of toasted bread

Dried chili flakes, to taste

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

For the pasta:

400gr of farfalle pasta

1/3 cup of olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt

Pepper

For the toppings:

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of ½ a lemon

 

Place the cauliflower slices in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Then place it on a pan, over medium-high heat. Cook until the cauliflower gets charred, stirring from time to time. This will take about 7 minutes. Set aside.

While the cauliflower is getting charred, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

To make the breadcrumbs, place the toasted bread in the food processor. Pulse until you get crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Place the breadcrumbs, add salt and dried chili flakes to taste. Cook until the breadcrumbs get a golden color. Set aside.

Add 1/3 of a cup of olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute or 2 until the garlic becomes fragrant. Then add the cooked pasta, charred cauliflower, salt, pepper and toss to combine. Finish it by adding the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix it well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta into 3 plates and top each plate with some of the breadcrumbs.

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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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