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!

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Zucchini Waffle Dippers with Avocado Sour Cream

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I love finger food, especially on the weekends. These waffles are great for brunch or as an appetizer.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the zucchini waffles:

1 zucchini, shredded (not the seeds) and squeezed

1 egg

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of milk

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of baking powder

20grs of grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of garlic powder

For the avocado sour cream:

1 avocado

125gr of sour cream

Juice of ½ a lime

Salt to taste

 

Blend all of the ingredients for the batter until smooth. Then add the squeezed zucchini and mix it with a spoon or spatula.

Brush your waffle iron with some vegetable oil or use cooking spray. Pour in some of the waffle batter. I made small waffles so each corner would be bite size. The cooking time will depend on your waffle iron. Mine takes 4 minutes per waffle.

To make the avocado sour cream, just blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

Slice the waffles into small pieces, serve with the avocado sour cream as the dipping.

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Spinach & Zucchini Quesadillas with Pomegranate & Feta Salsa

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I love a laid back dinner at home, even better when it doesn’t involve cutlery. I stuffed these quesadillas with Gouda, spinach and zucchini. And because you can never have too much cheese, I made a feta salsa to go along with it.

This recipe makes 4 quesadillas.

Ingredients:

8 large tortillas

For the filling:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

200grs of fresh spinach

2 zucchinis, chopped into small pieces without the seeds

150grs of sour cream

180grs of shredded Gouda

A pinch of garlic powder

A pinch of onion powder

Salt

Pepper

Lemon pepper

For the pomegranate & Feta salsa:

100grs of crumbled feta

½ cups of pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons of lime juice

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the salsa; just mix the crumbled feta with the pomegranate, olive oil, lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper. Set it aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the zucchini, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Then add the spinach and cook it until it becomes wilted. Add a bit more salt and pepper. Transfer it to a bowl.

To assemble each quesadilla, place one tortilla on a large plate. Spread a thin layer of sour cream over it. Then spread ¼ of the zucchini/spinach mixture. Finally sprinkle some of the shredded Gouda and cover it with another tortilla.

Heat up a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, carefully slide the quesadilla from the plate to the pan. Let it cook until it gets crispy on the bottom. Then carefully place the plate over the pan and flip the pan so that the quesadilla is on the plate again, and then carefully slide it into the pan to cook the other side. Repeat for the rest.

Slide the quesadillas into equal pieces and serve with the pomegranate & feta salsa. Enjoy!

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Zoodle Pad Thai with Tamarind Roasted Chickpeas (Vegetarian)

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This is not your traditional pad Thai recipe. This version is a bit lighter because of the zucchini noodles. And instead of using animal protein; I roasted some chickpeas with a tamarind sauce. They turned out to be quiet addictive. Sweet and sour goodness.

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

4 zucchinis

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 cup of chopped peanuts, I used unsalted

2 bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped (more if you like it spicy)

3 sweet peppers, thinly sliced (I used yellow, orange and red. You can also use bell peppers)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, shredded

2 spring onions, chopped

1 cup of bean sprouts

A handful of fresh coriander leaves

Lime wedges for serving

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons of tamarind paste

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

For the tamarind roasted chickpeas:

130grs of canned chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon of tamarind paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of honey

Pinch of salt

Pinch of Pepper

 

Start by roasting the chickpeas. Preheat your oven to 160C/320F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the chickpeas with the tamarind paste, brown sugar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Spread them on the prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 15 minutes. Then stir and raise the temperature to 180C/350F. Roast them for an extra 15 minutes.

To make the zoodles, I 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.

To make the tamarind sauce for the zoodles, just mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped peanuts and chilies. Cook for about 2 minutes until the peanuts start to get toasted. Then add the garlic, sweet peppers, and onion. Cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.  Then add the sauce, zoodles, spring onions, carrot, bean sprouts and coriander. Cook for about 1 minute, just until everything is well combined.

Serve right away with some of the tamarind roasted chickpeas and lime wedges.

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Peruvian Zoodle Stir-Fry (Zucchini Saltado)

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This is a Peruvian-Asian fusion dish called Tallarin saltado, which means spaghetti stir-fry. This time I made it with zoodles, but you can just replace them for cooked spaghetti. Either way is delicious. This is comfort food, something my mom would make often at home. It is very easy to make and a quick meal for a weekday.

This recipe serves 1.

Ingredients:

1 ½ zucchinis

150gr of beef steak, diced

10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

½ red onion, julienned

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

A splash of Pisco, rum, or vodka

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the zoodles, I 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.

Place the beef and the olive oil in a small bowl. Season it with salt and pepper.

Heat up a pan until it is almost smoking. Once it is very hot. Pour the meat with the oil. Sear the meat. Then add the onions, tomatoes, garlic and chili. Stir fry for 30 seconds and then add the alcohol and flambé. Once the flames are out, add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and zoodles. Stir-fry for 30 seconds and then add the coriander. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve right away.

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Chocolate, Zucchini & Fig Cake

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I love one bowl cakes. Fast, easy and less cleanup at the end. Just keep adding the ingredients until everything is mixed well and it’s done.  I saw huge figs at the market the other day and got some to decorate this cake. They were so nice and sweet.  For the batter, I used dried figs and shredded zucchini which I squeezed until it was dry. This cake is very moist and I love the little crunch that the fig seeds give.

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This recipe is for a 21cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup of cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of shredded zucchini, squeezed dry

¼ cup of milk

6 dried figs, chopped

For decoration:

1 or 2 fresh figs, thinly sliced

Mint leaves

Honey for brushing over the fig slices

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of the cake mold with parchment paper.  Lightly grease and flour the edges of the mold.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, vanilla and egg. Then add the zucchini and oil. Mix well. Then add all the dry ingredients. Finish by adding the milk and figs. Mix until everything is combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once the cake is baked, allow it to cool down completely. Then remove it from the cake mold. Arrange the fig slices over the top of the cake. Brush some honey over each fig slice and finally decorate with some mint leaves.  Store it, covered in the fridge.

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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.

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.

 

 

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.

Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Feta Burgers with Chimichurri

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Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce that is very popular throughout South America. Whenever we had a barbeque growing up, we always had chimichurri on the table. We would always get the meat, sausages and chimichurri from an Argentinian butcher and it was to die for.

Nowadays, I always make it whenever we have a BBQ. It is always a hit. I like mine a bit more acidic than normal, so if you don’t, just add a bit more olive oil, or less lime juice.  I usually make chimichurri to accompany meat; it is very nice to dip some crusty bread in it while the meat is cooking as well. But this time I wanted it on a veggie burger.  I really like the combination of flavors with the sweet potato, feta and zucchini. The panko coating gives each burger a really nice crispy outside. This dish makes a very filling meatless Monday.

Ingredients:

For the Burgers:

1 kilo of sweet potatoes

2 zucchinis

200gr feta cheese, crumbled

2 eggs

½ cup of pre-cooked  cornmeal (I used PAN)

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

3 shallots, finely chopped

Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

Panko breadcrumbs, enough to coat each burger

For the chimichurri:

2 cups of flat leaf parsley, firmly packed and without hard stems

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

1 tablespoons of dried oregano

½ cup of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon of salt

Pepper

 

To make the chimichurri, just put all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it is very fine.  Pour it into a small bowl and cover with plastic film. You can keep it in the fridge until ready to use.

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To make the burgers, first roast the sweet potatoes whole in the oven at 180C/350F for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until very tender.  Then peel and mash them.

Grate the zucchinis, discard of the core with the seeds.  Then try to squeeze as much of the water out of it.  Add the grated and squeezed zucchini to the bowl of the mashed sweet potatoes.

Sautee the shallots in a bit of olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add it to the zucchini and mashed sweet potatoes.

Crumble the feta into the burger mixture; add the eggs, cornmeal and flour. Add some pepper and a bit of salt. Don’t add too much salt, because the feta is already quite salty.  Mix well.

Over medium heat, add some olive oil to a non-stick pan.

Put about 2 cups of panko on a flat plate, spoon some of burger mixture in the middle of the plate.  You can use a measuring cup, an ice cream scoop or a regular spoon.  Spoon some of the panko on top of the mixture and around the edges. Flatten it a bit to make it look like a burger.  Then with the help of a spatula, lift the burger. Make sure it’s evenly coated in panko and pan-fry it.  Let it turn golden before flipping it. You don’t want to touch it too much otherwise it will fall apart. Once both sides are golden, remove from the pan. Repeat for all of the mixture.

Serve with the chimichurri.

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