Roasted Red Pepper Linguine with Pecan Crumbs

Processed with Snapseed.

Autumn has settled in and with it winter-like temperatures for me. So I turn to my trusted carbs to keep me cozy. The combination of roasted bell peppers and caramelized onions in the sauce, and the topping of toasted breadcrumbs with pecans and spices, make a wonderful combination of flavors. To save time, I bought the bell peppers already roasted.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the pecan crumbs:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ cup of pecans, finely chopped

1/3 cup of breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon of oregano

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of cayenne

Salt

Pepper

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 white onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon of celery salt

4 roasted bell peppers, peeled and deseeded

250ml of cream

40grs of grated Parmesan

Extras:

350grs of linguine or the pasta of your choice

Extra parmesan for serving

 

Start by making the pecan crumbs. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pecans, oregano, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. Stir for a few minutes until the breadcrumbs are toasted. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. Transfer it to a bowl and set it aside.

For the sauce, place 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and lower the heat to low. Cook for about 16 minutes, stirring from time to time until the onions are caramelized. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the celery salt and roasted peppers. Blend until smooth.

Start cooking your pasta according to the package instructions.

Then add the cream and parmesan to the bell pepper sauce over medium heat. Let it reduce for about 3 minutes. Taste for salt and turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss or stir to coat the pasta.

Divide it into 3 plates and serve with the pecan breadcrumbs and extra parmesan

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Crunchy Togarashi Zucchini Chips with Okonomiyaki Sauce

IMG_0304I made these Japanese style zucchini chips for lunch today. This crappy “summer” weather has me craving comfort food. It is so freaking cold. At least these crispy bites of goodness kept me warm. If you have never heard of Nanami togarashi, it is a Japanese chili and spice mix which is sold in most Asian stores. It contains chili pepper, orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed. It is a really balanced spice mixture. I normally use it when I make sushi.

This recipe is a small batch which serves 2 people.

Ingredients:

For the zucchini chips:

1 Zucchini, sliced into 1cm rounds

2 cups of panko breadcrumbs

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons of Nanami Togarashi

1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds

Pinch of onion powder

Salt

2 eggs, beaten

For the Okonomiyaki Sauce:

½ cup of ketchup

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

Pinch of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Extras:

1 cup of vegetable oil for frying the zucchini

Chopped chives for decoration (optional)

 

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the Okonomiyaki sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.

Have the coating ready. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl. Place the flour with a pinch of salt in another bowl. Finally have a bowl ready with the panko, togarashi, sesame seeds, a pinch of onion powder and a good pinch of salt (make sure to mix it with a fork).

Grab a zucchini piece and coat it in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko mixture. Repeat until all the zucchini pieces are evenly coated.

Pour the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully fry the zucchini in batches until they become golden. This will only take about 2-3 minutes per batch. Place them over paper towels while you fry the rest.

Serve with the zucchini fries with the Okonomiyaki Sauce and some chopped chives. I also sprinkled a bit of extra togarashi on the sauce. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

 

Steamed Buns with Crispy Calamari & Korean Sauce

IMG_8223

Fried calamari is one of my favorite summer meals. And it is very cheap and easy to make at home. I must admit that cleaning squid is not favorite cooking activity but it doesn’t take very long and the finish product is well worth it. If you don’t feel like doing it, you can always buy them cleaned. The cornmeal and panko coating make the calamari rings extra crispy, just how I love them! For the buns, I just got them frozen at my local Asian store. Just 5 minutes in the steamer since they are quite small and I was done. No need to thaw them.

For the sauce, this time I went for Korean. For some freshness, I added a cucumber and radish salad in a sesame dressing. It is such a great combination with the crispy calamari. My hubby and I finished everything in no time.

This recipe makes 10 small sandwiches.

Ingredients:

10 small steamed buns, I get the frozen ones.

500grs of squid, about 8 small ones (cleaned)

For the coating:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of panko

1 cup of cornmeal

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt

4 eggs, beaten

For the Korean sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of Korean chili paste

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

1/3 of a cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the cucumber and radish salad with sesame dressing:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

10 radishes, thinly sliced

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 (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds

Extra:

1 litter of vegetable oil

Coriander for garnish

 

Start by making the sauce. Place the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic and Korean chili paste. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and white vinegar. Stir until everything is well mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Once the sauce is ready, set it aside in a bowl.

To make the cucumber and radish salad, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing until evenly combined. Then add the sliced cucumber and radish and mix well. Set it aside.

Then start to prepare the squid. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you or you can do it yourself. If you have never cleaned a squid before, start by slicing the tentacles off. Just slice it below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles but discard of the beak.

Then holding the body, pull out the head and the inner parts. Also remove the flaps. What I like to do is pull the squid inside out so I can rinse it properly under cold water, don’t forget to also rinse the tentacles. Then pull it back to normal and peel the thin skin so that you are left with only white meat. Pat the squid dry with some paper towels and then slice it into small rings. Repeat for all.

Once all your squid are cleaned, start making the coating. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs and another one with the flour.

Dip each squid ring and tentacle in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Repeat for all. Once all the calamari is well coated, place it on a tray in a single layer and keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.

In the meanwhile, start prepping your steamed buns. I got them frozen and they went into my steamer for 5 minutes without thawing. The time will depend on the instructions in the package.

Then place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry he calamari in batches until they are golden. This will only take a few minutes per batch. Just make sure the oil is not too hot that it burns them quickly.

Serve each bun with some of the cucumber and radish salad, calamari and drizzle some of the Korean sauce. Serve straight away. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Tagliatelle Alla Puttanesca

IMG_7789

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.

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

Brownie with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust, Whisky Caramel Sauce and Sea Salt

FullSizeRender

I had been craving something very rich. I ate chocolate and cookies but they didn’t cut it. I wanted to make a slightly salty dessert and this happened to satisfy my winter munchies. It’s rich, fudgy on the inside, crunchy peanut butter bottom, some caramel on top and some sea salt. It ticked all the boxes. My hubby and I shared the last piece before having breakfast.

IMG_7615

IMG_7612

This recipe is for a 19cm round cake mold. I used one with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the peanut butter cookie crust:

½ cup of smooth peanut butter

56grs of softened butter

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of white sugar

¼ cup of packed brown sugar

1 small egg

1 teaspoon of milk

½ teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ cup + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt

For the brownie:

120grs of dark chocolate, chopped

57grs of butter

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

For the Whisky caramel sauce:

½ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

¼ cup of heavy cream

¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ tablespoon of Whiskey

½ a tablespoon of salted butter

Extra:

Sea salt

Blueberries

 

Start by making the peanut butter cookie crust. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with a detachable bottom, with parchment paper.

Whisk the softened butter with the peanut butter. Add the sugars and whisk until fluffy. Then add the egg, milk and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Finally whisk in the dry ingredients.

Place about 2/3 of the cookie dough in the prepared cake mold. You can freeze the rest of the cookie dough and make cookies later on. Press with a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible. Bake it for 8 minutes. Then set it aside and start making the brownie batter.

Melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until it is completely melted. Then allow it to cool down for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the eggs and egg yolk. Then slowly whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not very hot, otherwise it will curdle the eggs). Then add the vanilla, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. Pour the brownie butter over the cookie crust. Tap it a bit  to get rid of air bubbles. Bake it for 25 minutes. Then set it aside to cool down in the mold.

Once the brownie has cooled down, carefully pass a knife around the edges of the mold. Carefully take the brownie cake out of the mold and plate it.

To make the whisky caramel sauce, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook without stirring until the sugar has turned amber in color, swirling the pan from time to time. This will take about 8 minutes. Then slowly add the cream and vanilla. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. Then add the whisky and butter. Stir until well combined and then transfer it to a bowl.

Drizzle some of the caramel on top of the brownie and sprinkle it with some sea salt and add some fresh blueberries. Enjoy!

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

Gigli with Chorizo, Flower Sprouts & Sumac Roasted Chickpeas

IMG_6107

I saw these flower sprouts at my supermarket and I was very curious to try them so I just got them. If you have never seen or heard of them, they are a mix between Brussels sprouts and kale. They cook very quickly and are mild in taste. They add a nice texture to this slightly spicy pasta dish.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

200grs of gigli pasta or any other pasta that you prefer

60grs of chorizo, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, chopped

1 clove of garlic

½ cup of tomato puree

½ cup of vegetable or chicken stock

Salt

Pepper

Cayenne

Pinch of sugar

For the Flower sprouts:

2 handfuls of flower sprouts

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

For the sumac roasted chickpeas:

1/3 of a cup of canned chickpeas

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of sumac

Pinch of salt

Extra:

Grated Parmesan for serving

 

Preheat your oven to 180/350F.

Mix the chickpeas with the olive oil, salt and sumac. Spread them over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Roast them for 20 minutes.

Slice off the tough ends of the flower sprouts. Then slice them in half, trying to separate the leaves as much as you can. Pour the olive into a pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, saute the flower sprouts with some garlic powder, salt and pepper. This will only take 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and set them aside.

Cook the chorizo in a large pan until slightly brown on both sides. Do not use any oil, as the chorizo will render enough of its own fat anyways. Once the chorizo is brown, transfer it to a small bowl. Keep the fat in the pan. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and tomato puree. Cook for 1 minute and then add the stock, salt, pepper, cayenne and sugar. Let it reduce for about 6 minutes until it becomes a sauce. Taste for salt.

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

Once the sauce is ready, add the chorizo, flower sprouts, chickpeas and pasta. Mix well. Serve with some grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

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

Tagliatelle with Tuna and Caper-Preserved Lemon Sauce

IMG_2415

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!

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

 

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

IMG_5473

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.

Pecan Pasta Sauce

pecan pasta

I love this rich pecan sauce. It’s not something I eat very often but when I do, it is so satisfying. Especially during these cold months.  It is one of those dishes that I would ask my mom to make me as a kid. But with time I kind of forgot about it.  It is not until a couple of years ago that I started to make it. It is super easy to make.This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

3 medium white onions, sliced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 sprigs of thyme

1 garlic clove, minced

100gr of pecans, chopped

250ml cream

½ cup of milk

40gr of grated parmesan

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

¼ cup of the pasta cooking water

400gr of the pasta of your choice

 

Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a large pan. Add the sliced onions and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Then lower the heat and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, pecans, cream and milk. Stir and then put it all in a blender. Add the grated parmesan and blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.  Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce.

Add the reserved pasta water to the sauce and mix until combined.

Mix the cooked pasta with the sauce and serve it right away. If you want, you can add a bit of chopped pecans and some thyme leaves to decorate the plate.