Roasted Tomato Soup with Zoodles & Mozzarella

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It’s cold and wet today. It’s been raining nonstop since yesterday, so a warm soup was in order. I roasted the tomatoes, onion and garlic in the oven to add more flavor. This is the first time I made zoodles and I am a fan. Plus by adding them raw to the soup, they still keep a nice crunch.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

8 tomatoes, sliced in half

1 red onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 ½ litters of vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

125ml of cream

1 zucchini

10 mini mozzarella balls

Pepper

Salt

 

Slice the tomatoes in half, place them in a baking tray skin side up. This will make peeling them later easier.

Add the onion (with the skin on) to the baking tray. Wrap the garlic cloves(with the skin on) in foil and drizzle some olive oil. Close the foil and place it on the same tray. Drizzle some olive oil on top of the tomatoes and onion. Roast them at 180C/350F for 1 hour.

Once the tomatoes are roasted, let them cool down enough to handle.

Then peel the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves. Place them in a pan. Add the vegetable stock and bay leaves. Let it cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.

Remove the bay leaves, and blend the soup. Pass it through a sieve and place it back in the pan. Add the cream and let it reduce for 15 minutes on medium heat.

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.

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Once the soup has reduced, taste it for salt. Divide the soup in between two bowls. Add a handful of the zoodles in the middle. I added them raw because they will end up cooking in the hot soup anyways. Add the mini mozzarella balls and sprinkle some pepper on top of the zoodles.

Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Corn & Miso Butter Galette

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I had an issue with my laptop early last week and I had to have it repaired. I finally got it back, so I can post a new recipe again. I made this galette a few days ago for dinner. Taking advantage of summer produce, I got more heirloom tomatoes. For some sweetness I added corn to the filling. But not just corn, I cooked it in miso butter. The miso butter goes very well with the corn. And while baking, it chars a bit which gives it another level of flavor.

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This recipe makes 2 medium galettes.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

½ cup of cornmeal

½ cup of buckwheat flour

150gr of cold butter

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup of cold water

For the filling:

7 heirloom tomatoes

2 ears of corn

2 tablespoons of butter

2 teaspoons of aka miso

Extras:

About 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan

Egg wash

 

You can make the crust using a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. I used the stand mixer. Add the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, buckwheat flour, salt, parmesan and cold butter. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the egg yolk and water, mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Make each piece into a ball and then flatten it with the palm of your hands. Wrap them in plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, slice the tomatoes. Don’t make them too thin otherwise they will break too easily while cooking them. Place the slices in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Let it cook for 1 minute per side and then place them on a rack with a plate underneath to catch all the liquid. Let them drip until the dough is ready. This is important, otherwise they will make the crust soggy while baking.

About 4 minutes before the dough is ready, slice the kernels off the cob. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the miso and stir to mix it. Then add the corn. Cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Transfer the miso corn into a plate and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.

Take out the dough from the fridge. Place a sheet of parchment paper on your working area. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment paper and start rolling out the dough in the shape of a circle of about 22cm. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle, just make sure it’s not too thick. Add a bit of the corn, leaving a 3cm border. Then add half of the tomato slices and finish with some more corn. Fold the edges over the filling, pressing to secure them. Repeat for the other galette. I didn’t add any salt to the filling, because for me the miso was salty enough.

Brush the edges of the crust with the egg wash and bake for 10 minutes.

Then lower the heat to 180C/350F. Remove the galette from the oven. Brush the edges again with some egg wash and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the edges. Finish baking for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges are golden.

Let it cool down for about 10 minutes before serving. You can serve it with a bit of chopped chives for some extra color.

 

 

Melon Salad with Roasted Shallot & Chili Vinaigrette

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Yesterday was such a beautiful sunny day that we went for a bike ride to the forest. I wanted to see the Scottish Highlands cows again. They are kept at the forest to naturally mow the grass and they are quite the attraction. They are such stunning animals and it’s a nice break from the city.

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My friend Karla introduced me to Tajin, a chili-lime seasoning, a few years ago. She would pretty much sprinkle it on everything from vegetables to fruits. I instantly loved it. I really wanted to eat a healthy salad yesterday and with the heat, the lighter the better. I made it with a mix of watermelon, melon, 2 different kinds of apples, a bit of blueberries and some arugula. For the dressing, I roasted some shallots in the oven and then blended them with the rest of the ingredients. This gives the dressing a nice creaminess. And because the Tajin seasoning goes so well with melon and apples, I added it to the dressing. It’s not a very spicy dressing, it’s subtle. The Tajin and cayenne just give it an extra kick.

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 cups of diced watermelon

2 cups of diced galia melon

100gr of feta, crumbled

½ red apple, thinly sliced

½ green apple, thinly sliced

½ cup of blueberries

2 handfuls of arugula

For the roasted shallot vinaigrette & chili vinaigrette:

4 small shallots

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

¼ of a cup of apple cider vinegar

1/3 of a cup of olive oil

½ teaspoon of Tajin chili-lime powder

1 tablespoon of honey

Pinch of cayenne

Salt to taste

For decoration:

1 handful of daikon cress

 

First roast the shallots; place them in an oven tray with the skin on. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast them at 180C/350F for 45 minutes. Once they are roasted, allow them to cool down enough to touch them. Then take the skins off.

Blend the roasted shallots with the rest of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Add salt last, after you’ve tasted it because the Tajin is already salty.

Divide the arugula between two plates. Then add the watermelon, melon and apples. Add the crumbled feta and the blueberries. Finish by adding the daikon cress. Serve with the vinaigrette on the side.

 

 

Summer Squash Pasta with Anchovy, Lime & Chili Pesto

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This is a super easy and zesty summer pasta dish. It’s great for those days where you don’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen. We went shopping this morning, then ran some errands and after that, we went the park to enjoy the sun. By the time we came home, we were hungry for some carbs. Especially since we live in Amsterdam, we do everything by bike. I had planned to make a light salad for dinner but that wasn’t going to cut it tonight. So this pasta was it.

I love the combination of the anchovy, lime and chili. I could just eat this pesto with a spoon. Because of the pine nuts and anchovy, it doesn’t have the prettiest color but it is so tasty.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the pesto:

Zest of 2 limes

75gr of pine nuts, toasted

6 anchovy fillets

½ red chili, chopped (or more if you like it spicy)

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons of olive oil

For the rest:

1 yellow squash, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 purple carrot, diced (optional)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Dried chili flakes

Juice of 1 lime

250gr of fresh pasta, i used spaghetti

 

Dice the yellow squash, zucchini and purple carrot about the same size. I didn’t use the core of the squash just for presentation purposes, but you can just use the whole vegetable.

To make the pesto, just place all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste, it doesn’t have to be completely smooth. Set aside.

Cook the pasta as instructed in the package.

Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the garlic and carrot. Cook for 1 minute. Then add the yellow squash and zucchini. Add salt, pepper and some chili flakes. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add the anchovy pesto and stir. Finally add the pasta and the juice of 1 lime. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve right away. I like to sprinkle extra chili flakes over each plate of pasta.

 

 

Lime & Blueberry Lattice Pie


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Growing up my favorite pie was lime merengue pie. My mom would make it often and we would just devour it. The lime filling in this this recipe is the same as my mom used to make, and one that is very popular as it is so simple. It’s just a mixture of condensed milk, lime juice and egg yolks. To upgrade it a bit; instead of making a crushed cookie crust, I made a buttery pastry dough with a lattice top. And because it is summer and blueberries are in full swing, I added them too. I saw them at the market and had to get some.

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I made this pie on Thursday for a dessert night I hosted for some friends the next day. I made it in between running errands, making a cake for a friend’s birthday and going to her party. She rented a boat and we cruised through the Amsterdam canals with some nice bites and drinks.

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I finally finished baking the pie at 11 pm and went to bed with the apartment smelling like pie.

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This recipe is for a 23cm pie mold.

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:

2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

226gr of butter, cold and cut into cubes

6 tablespoons of cold water

For the filling:

1 can of condensed milk, 400ml

1/3 of a cup of lime juice

3 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries

Extras:

Egg wash

Granulated sugar for sprinkling on the lattice top

 

You can make the pie crust in the food processor, by hand or in the stand mixer.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the cold butter pieces, mix it with a spatula. Then mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the cold water and mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

Divide the dough into 2 parts. Pat it down with your hands, forming a circle with each piece. Keep one piece on a floured working area. Wrap the remaining piece with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 1 hour.

Roll out the piece of dough that you left on your working area. Dust with enough flour so it doesn’t stick. Roll it big enough to cover the bottom of the pie mold. Place the dough on the bottom of the pie mold, press with your fingers so the sides stick and trim the edges. Refrigerate until the time for the one that you placed in the freezer is up.

Once the hour is up for the dough in the freezer, take the pie mold from the fridge and start making the filling. In a bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, lime juice and egg yolks. Pour the lime filling into the pie. Then arrange the blueberries on top of the lime filling.

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper. This will make cleaning easier, since the blueberries ooze a bit of liquid.

Take out the remaining dough from the freezer; roll it out into a big rectangle. Cut it into strips of about 2cm thick. You’ll need 12 strips for the lattice top and 2 strips for the edges of the pie. If you don’t know how to arrange the lattice top, you can click here to see instructions with pictures from The Kitchn on how to arrange it. Once the lattice top is set, add the 2 remaining strips to cover the edges of the pie.

Brush the dough with some of the egg wash and sprinkle some granulated sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the dough is golden.

Allow the pie to cool down completely before slicing it with a bread knife.

 

 

Salade Nicoise with a Parsley-Anchovy Vinaigrette

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This is my take on the traditional salad nicoise. I make it with seared tuna, quinoa instead of potatoes and I take the anchovies out of the salad and incorporate them into the dressing by making a parsley-anchovy vinaigrette. This is one of my go-to salads when I feel like something healthy but also filling. And now that summer is in full swing, a nice salad is very welcome. Especially one that won’t have me going through to the candy drawer (Yes, I have a deliciously filled candy and savory snacks drawer in my living room) 30 minutes later because I’m still hungry.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

½ cup of quinoa

100gr of Kalamata olives

A big handful of green beans

8 tomatoes, sliced (I used a mix)

3 soft boiled eggs

300gr of fresh tuna

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Lemon pepper (optional)

Cayenne (optional)

For the anchovy-parsley vinaigrette:

5 tablespoons of chopped parsley

8 anchovies, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup white vinegar

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the quinoa first. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Then start making the vinaigrette. You can place all of the ingredients in the food processor and just pulse until you get your desired consistency. Or you can just chop the parsley and anchovies together. Then place them in a jar with the rest of the ingredients, cover with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies.  Set aside until ready to use.

Sautee the green beans in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and black pepper. Do this until they become tender- crisp.

Place the eggs in a pot with boiling water and boil them for 7 minutes.

To sear the tuna, just season it with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne. Pour a bit of olive oil in a pan, over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot; just place the tuna and sear it for a few seconds on each side. This is where you want to be quick turning it, because it cooks pretty fast (Unless you want it well done).

Once the tuna is seared, transfer it to a cutting board and thinly slice it.

To plate up, divide the quinoa into 3 plates. Add the green beans, black olives and tomatoes. Then add the soft boiled eggs sliced in half, the tuna and finish by drizzling some of the vinaigrette.

Piña Colada Ice Pops

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Piña coladas are the epitome of a beach holiday. Since I won’t be at the beach for this heatwave, at least I can cool down by eating these frozen treats. Forecast for this Saturday is 36 degrees celsius and even though I am always wishing for warmer weather, that’s a bit too much. I’m keeping it very short today, so I can run some errands. Since I do them by bike, I need to start early before this heat gets so strong that biking becomes a full workout activity.

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This recipe makes 9 ice pops.

Ingredients:

250gr of frozen pineapple (or fresh)

165ml of coconut cream

2 shots of rum

½ cup of sparkling water

2 tablespoons of agave syrup

16 cherries, pitted and halved

 

Place all of the ingredients in the blender, except for the cherries. Blend until smooth.

Place a few of the halved cherries inside the ice pop molds, and then pour the piña colada evenly. Insert the sticks and freeze overnight.

If you don’t have ice pop molds, just use small espresso cups and insert a wooden stick in the middle.

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Adult Fruit Salad (Cherry, Orange & Strawberry Salad with Balsamic-Elderflower Dressing)

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As soon as warmer weather approaches, I start looking forward to summer fruits, especially berries and cherries. I love going to the market, and seeing all the stands filled with gorgeous and colorful produce. That’s my kind of guiltless candy shop. I wanted to make a fruit salad that was a bit different, with a bit more adult flavors so to say. And by adult, I don’t mean alcoholic.

Balsamic reduction is a staple in my pantry. I actually still remember the first time I tried it. I was having dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant about 15 years ago, and we ordered an octopus salad that came with a balsamic reduction.  We all loved it and my mom asked how to make it. Since then, she’s always had it in her pantry and when I moved out, I started to do the same.

To make the dressing, I reduced some elderflower cordial into the balsamic reduction. It adds a floral depth to the dish. The combination of the dressing and the juices from the fruits are a nice explosion of flavors in the mouth. Add the creaminess of the whipped goat cheese and crunchy pistachios, and you’ve got a great mix of textures as well.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

2 cups of strawberries, thinly sliced

3 oranges, segmented

¼ cup of unsalted pistachios, chopped

For the whipped goat cheese:

100gr of goat cheese

4 tablespoons of cream

For the dressing:

¼ cup of balsamic reduction

5 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction before, it is super easy to make. You don’t need a fancy bottle of balsamic vinegar; just get a cheap one, since it’s going to reduce a lot. Pour 250ml of balsamic vinegar into a pan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.  Don’t let it get too thick though, as it will thicken as it cools down. If it gets too thick, you can always warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up. You can make this in advance and keep it in your pantry. I use it often so I normally make a bigger batch. It is very nice to drizzle over sautéed asparagus.

Prepare all of your fruit.

To make the whipped goat cheese, just place the goat cheese and cream in the food processor and pulse until smooth.

To make the dressing, place the balsamic reduction and elderflower cordial in a pan. Let it simmer over med-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, until it is all mixed. Don’t let it reduce too much, otherwise it will become a caramel and you won’t be able to pour it.

To plate up, pour some of the dressing on the plate. Then add the fruit. I formed quenelles with the whipped goat cheese. Finally, sprinkle some pistachios.

 

Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie

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Summer means strawberry, and yesterday that meant pie. My mom left yesterday afternoon, she was here visiting for the first time. I had a blast showing her what has now become my city and its surroundings. She was such a trooper biking around the city like a pro. Biking is not hard, but you have to keep an eye with all the tourists not paying attention to the road and, the taxis and scooters driving like crazy. I think I was the most stressed always looking back to see if she was OK, I felt like a mom. Three weeks flew by and all of the sudden we were heading to the airport to drop her off. It doesn’t get easier to say goodbye year after year. withmom

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What did I do to keep my mind busy instead of sad? I baked this pie.

It takes some time because the dough needs to chill for a while and you can make the lattice as simple or intricate as you want. Because I made braids, it took a bit longer.

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This recipe has more than enough dough for you to play around with the lattice top design that you want. I used a 23cm pie mold and still had some dough left over. You can freeze the remaining dough. Just make sure to cover it properly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t get freezer burn.

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If you like fruit flavored water, don’t throw away the strawberry tops. Add it to water, I used sparkling water, and let it sit in the fridge for one hour before drinking it. It’s simple, delicious and zero waste from the strawberries. This is a tip I read on Food52.

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:

3 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon of salt

340gr of cold butter, chopped into pieces (I used salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter)

8 tablespoons of cold water

2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

For the strawberry-elderflower filling:

700gr of strawberries, hulled and quartered

½ cup of granulated sugar

¼ cup of packed brown sugar

4 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

¼ cup of cornstarch (Maizena)

Pinch of salt

To finish the pie:

Egg wash

Granulated sugar for sprinkling on the lattice top

 

Start by making the pie crust, place the water and elderflower cordial in a cup and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, until it is very cold. Place the chopped butter, covered with plastic wrap also in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

You can make the pie crust in the food processor, by hand or in the stand mixer.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the cold butter pieces, mix it with a spatula. Then mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the cold water mixed with the elderflower cordial. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

Divide the dough into 3 parts. Pat it down with your hands, forming a circle with each piece. Keep one piece on a floured working area. Wrap the 2 remaining pieces with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for 1 hour.

Roll out the piece of dough that you left on your working area. Dust with enough flour so it doesn’t stick. Roll it big enough to cover the bottom of the pie mold. Place the dough on the bottom of the pie mold, press with your fingers so the sides stick and trim the edges. Refrigerate until the time for the other pieces of the dough that you placed in the freezer is up.

In the meanwhile, start making the filling. Place the hulled and quartered strawberries in a bowl (if you like fruit flavored water; don’t forget to keep the strawberry tops, add it to water and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour before drinking). Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Set it aside, until ready to use.

Once the hour is up for the dough in the freezer, take the pie mold from the fridge. Spoon the strawberry filling into the pie crust.

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Remove 1 piece of the dough from the freezer. Roll it out into a big rectangle of about 50x26cm. Cut the dough into 2cm strips. For the rim of the pie, I made 2 big braids. For the lattice top, I cut each 2cm strip into 3 thin strips (they don’t have to be perfectly cut). With each 3 thin strips, I made one thin braid. In total I used 9 thin braids to cover the pie. I kept 2 small pieces of the thin braids to cover the parts of the rim that showed the separation between the 2 big braids. In total, you will need 2 big braids and 9 thin braids to cover the pie with this design. If you need more dough, just take the remaining piece out of the freezer.

Arrange the small braids first on the pie. You can click here to see instructions with pictures from The Kitchn on how to arrange the lattice top.

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Once the lattice top is arranged, place the big braids around the rim of the pie. Use 2 pieces of the thin braids to cover the parts where each big braid meets. Place the pie in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. This will make cleaning easier, since the strawberry filling oozes out and you don’t want sticky strawberry filling in the bottom of your oven.

Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the pie from the fridge. Brush the dough with some of the egg wash and sprinkle some granulated sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the dough is golden.

Allow for the pie to cool down completely before slicing it with a bread knife.

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

 

Crème de Papaya

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This is a super quick Brazilian dessert. I first had it about 10 years ago at a Brazilian churrascaria while on holiday in Miami.  It is papaya blended with vanilla ice cream and served with some crème de cassis. If you want it non-alcoholic, you can use cassis syrup instead. I have been seeing a lot of papaya at my local market and this dessert popped back into my head. It’s a great treat for summer. To make it just a bit lighter; I used frozen yogurt and vanilla bean instead of vanilla ice cream.

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

3 cups of fresh papaya

2 cups of frozen yogurt

¼ cup of milk

1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

2 shots of crème de cassis

 

Place the papaya, frozen yogurt, milk and vanilla in the blender and blend until smooth. Serve a shot of crème de cassis on each glass and then pour the crème de papaya over it.