Popcorn with Pecans and Oven-Baked Rainbow Beet & Carrot Chips

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Yesterday I was craving a salty snack so I made this combination of popcorn, pecans and oven-baked veggie chips. I used rainbow carrots and beets to add some color.

Ingredients:

For the popcorn:

1/3 cup of popcorn kernels

1 ½ vegetable oil, or coconut oil

Salt

For the beet and carrot chips:

1 medium purple carrot

1 medium yellow carrot

2 medium candy cane beets

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Salt

Extras:

1 cup of pecans

 

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large pan with a lid, add the vegetable oil or coconut oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels. Cover with the lid, and keep shaking the pan until all the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl, add salt and set aside.

Peel the carrots and beets. Using a mandoline, thinly slice them. Place the slices in a bowl. Add the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Using your hands, rub the slices with the oil and vinegar so they are all well coated.

Place the slices on a single layer in the prepared baking tray and sprinkle them with some salt. Bake for 15 minutes and then flip each slice. Finally bake for an extra 5-10 minutes. This is where you need to check, so they don’t burn. They might need a little less time depending on your oven and the thickness of the slices.  Then transfer them to a cooling rack. Once the chips have cooled down, mix them with the popcorn and pecans. Serve right away and 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

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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.

Beet Crepes with Whipped Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction (Gluten-Free)

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Growing up I didn’t like beets. Then all of the sudden I started to crave them for some reason. This was a few years ago, nowadays I cook with them so often. Maybe I am making up for the time I didn’t eat them. I am even growing some on my balcony now.

I used buckwheat flour for these crepes so they are gluten free. This is just a basic savory crepe recipe, you can play around with the filling. Maybe top it with a green salad or use them as tacos.

To keep the pink vibe going, I made a raspberry slushy. This was my very bright lunch today. If you like beets, maybe you want to check out my beet tartare with roasted strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette by clicking here.

This recipe makes about 9 crepes.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

1 cup of buckwheat flour

1 1/3 cup of milk

1 egg

1 cooked beet, shredded or blended (I used a food processor)

1 pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

For frying:

Olive oil or coconut oil

For the whipped goat cheese:

300gr of goat cheese

6 teaspoons of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of agave or honey

Toppings:

Balsamic reduction

Fresh cherries

Fresh Strawberries

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction before, it is super easy to make. 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.

To make the whipped goat cheese, just place it in the food processor with the Greek yogurt and honey. Then pulse until smooth. Transfer it to a bowl, cover with plastic film and keep it in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the batter, just blend all of the ingredients together. Let the batter rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add a bit olive oil or coconut oil. Once the pan is hot, add about 1/9 of the crepe batter and swirl it around the pan. Once bubbles start to form on the top, loosen the edges with a spatula. Then gently flip it using the same spatula. Let it cook for about 30 seconds on the other side, then transfer it to a plate and repeat for the rest of the batter.

To plate up, fold each crepe in half, and then fold it in half again. Serve with some of the whipped goat cheese and fruit. Finish it by drizzling some of the balsamic reduction.

 

 

 

Beet Tartare with Whipped Goat Cheese and Roasted Strawberry & Balsamic Vinaigrette

Beet tartare

With strawberry season in full swing, I’ve been eating them pretty much every day.  I’ve been putting them in my breakfast bowl, salads, dressings and cupcakes.  There are more strawberry recipes to come to the blog for sure!

This is a great vegetarian dish to serve as an appetizer or just eat a big bowl of it as a main course. If you have the time, mix the beets with the strawberry vinaigrette and let it sit overnight in the fridge for the flavors to develop. It’s worth it! I found this out because we had some left over the next day and my hubby was scouring the fridge for something to munch on. He grabbed the bowl and went at it. He brought it to me and said: Wow, you have to try it! It is even better now than yesterday. The strawberry flavor is intensified with the sweetness of the beets.

I love frisee.  If you are not familiar with it, it is a member of the endive family. It has curly and bitter leaves and it is great in salads. Frisee can be hard to find. Supermarkets here usually include it in their salad bags but as a mix, not by itself. I got this one at a big stand at the Albert Cuyp market.

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On another note, I have been featured on the Kitchenbowl journal. I was honored when they approached me about sharing my tips for great food photography. Kitchenbowl is an app where you can share your recipes, an international community for people who love to cook. It has been featured in the app store as one of the best new apps. I’ve been part of the Kitchenbowl community since last year and it is still one of my most used apps.  You can read my tips about food photography by clicking here.

This recipe serves 6.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

6 roasted beets, diced (you can roast them in the oven for 1 hour at 180C/350F)

¼ of a head of frisee

1 apple, finely sliced

1 cup of pecans

6 strawberries, sliced

Micro basil

For the roasted strawberry & balsamic vinaigrette:

200gr of fresh strawberries, sliced

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons of agave syrup

¼ cup of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the whipped goat cheese:

200gr soft goat cheese

2 tablespoons of heavy cream

To make the vinaigrette:

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Place the sliced strawberries on the prepared tray, pour the balsamic vinegar on top and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the agave syrup.  Roast the strawberries for 15 minutes.

Place the roasted strawberries, including the juices in the food processor. Add 1 extra tablespoon of agave syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until you get a smooth dressing.  Set aside.

To make the whipped goat cheese:

Just place the goat cheese and cream in the food processor and pulse until smooth.

To make the salad:

Mix the diced roasted beets with the vinaigrette. If you have the time, do this the night before and let it sit in the fridge for the flavors to develop.

To plate up, place a bit of the frisee on the plate. Add the beets, then place a few strawberry and apple slices. Add a few pecans, the micro basil and finally the whipped goat cheese. I place the goat cheese in a piping bag and just piped a few small dollops onto the plate.

 

Beet and Chickpea Brownies (Gluten free)

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With summer around the corner and my sweet tooth nagging me, I wanted to make a dessert that was on the healthier side. They are packed with protein because of the chickpea flour and are lighter in calories because of the beets. A good compromise if you ask me! I cannot live without chocolate in my life!  They are cakey and decadent. I had them for dessert and also for breakfast the next day.

This recipe is for a 22cm square baking dish, makes about 16 brownies.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup beet puree (about 2 cooked beets)

1 cup of chickpea flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

6 tablespoons of agave syrup

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted

150gr of dark chocolate, melted

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

3 eggs

For the topping:

1/3 cup of pistachios, chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a small square baking dish (22cm) with parchment paper.

To save time, you can buy the beets already cooked. If you want to cook them yourself, just place them in the oven and roast them for about 1 hour or until tender at 180C/350F. Or just boil them until tender. Once they are cooked, peel them and chop them. Place them in the food processor and pulse until you get a puree.

Chop the dark chocolate. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl and melt it in the microwave. I do it for 30 seconds intervals at a time, stirring every time until it has all melted.

Place the beet puree in a bowl. Add the eggs, sugar and whisk until combined. Add the chickpea flour, agave, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and mix. Finally add the melted chocolate. Mix until combined.

Pour the brownie batter in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Socca with Roasted Beet Hummus & Spring Salad

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Socca is a sort of pancake made with chickpea flour. I have become a big fan of chickpea flour. I started using it a few months ago as a way to increase my protein intake. I’ve come out of my winter hibernation and started to work out more regularly in order to get ready for summer.  So for me, eating more protein (not necessarily from meat) is important.  I also made some healthy mandarin protein cookies using chickpea flour, but those will be on the blog later.

Socca is usually eaten as a snack by itself but it can also be used to make pizza, replacing the pizza dough and making it gluten free. I decided to add some hummus and salad to make it a complete meal. It is quite filling and super healthy. Plus the colors just scream warm weather! This recipe serves 3 to 4 people.

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Ingredients:

For the socca:

2 cups of chickpea flour

2 cups + 2 tablespoons of water

4 tablespoons of olive oil (plus more for the pan/oven tray)

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

For the Beet Hummus:

3 roasted beets; peeled and chopped (I roasted them in the oven for 1 hour or until tender)

1/3 cup of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of tahini

¼ teaspoon of cayenne

¼ teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of canned chickpeas

For the salad:

A handful of sprouts (I used radish sprouts)

2 yellow carrots, shredded

A bunch of lamb’s lettuce or any lettuce you may like

100gr goat’s cheese, crumbled

For the salad dressing:

Juice of 2 limes

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the socca, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic film and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Set the oven to broil.

You can use a cast iron pan or an oven tray. If you use an oven tray, line it with parchment paper.  Place the pan/tray in the oven while it is heating up.

To make the beet hummus, just place all of the ingredients in the food processor or blender and pulse until it is smooth.  Set aside.

Once the batter has rested and the oven is hot, take the pan/tray out of the oven (don’t forget to use oven mitts).  Whisk the batter again. Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan/tray and tilt it around so the whole surface is coated in oil. Pour some of the batter and swirl it around so it covers the whole surface, like when you are making a crepe. Don’t pour too much though; you don’t want it too thick.

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The time that it is in your oven will vary. Mine takes about 18 minutes on broil to get ready, which I think it is quite long. Normally it should be anywhere around 5 to 10 minutes. So check from time to time. You want it to be golden and the edges to start to pull.

Once the socca is done, remove it from the pan/tray and repeat for the remaining batter.

To make the salad dressing, just mix all of the ingredients.

To plate up, spread some of the beet hummus on top of the socca. Add some of the lamb’s lettuce, shredded carrot, sprouts, goat’s cheese and top with the salad dressing.

Beet, Carrot and Wheat Berry Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wheat berry salad

As a child, my mom would make wheat berry as a stew with tomato sauce.  That’s pretty much the only way I remember eating it as a kid. Then I kind of forgot about it, and only started eating wheat berries again about 1 year and a half ago. I still make it the way my mom does, but this time I wanted to make it into a salad with these beautiful vegetables from my local market.

Just make sure you keep the purple beets separate from the rest so it doesn’t turn the rest of the salad purple.  The vinaigrette is quite thick because of the figs and the balsamic reduction.  If you have never made a balsamic reduction before, it is very easy to make. It is just reducing it until it has become a syrup. I tend to always have it in my pantry, since I like to drizzle it over salads. It is a very wintry kind of salad and it is great for the holidays as the colors really pop and you can make it in advance.

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Ingredients:

For the salad:

400gr wheat berry

4 golden beets (3 roasted, 1 raw)

2 purple beets (1 roasted, 1 raw)

1 yellow carrot, sliced

1 purple carrot, sliced

150gr of gorgonzola, crumbled

1 pomegranate

6 sprigs of thyme

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette:

2 shallots, chopped

4 dried figs, chopped

1/3 cup of balsamic reduction

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of honey

¼ cup of water

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

To make the salad:

Reserve 1 golden and 1 purple beet for later. Wrap the rest of the beets in aluminum foil and roast in the oven at 180C/350F for 2 hours, until they are tender.  Allow to cool, then peel and slice them. You can roast the beets in advance.

Rinse the wheat berries under cold water and then boil for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.  You can also cook the wheat berries a few days before.

In a medium pan, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the carrots, thyme and sauté for a few minutes, until tender.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Peel the raw golden and purple beet that you reserved earlier. Slice them as thin as you can, then chop them into thin strips and then into really small cubes.  Do them separately, so the colors don’t get stained. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette:

First make the balsamic reduction, 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.  You can make this in advance.

In a small pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the shallots and figs. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add 1/3 of a cup of the balsamic reduction and cook for 30 seconds. Then pour it into a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend.  Taste if it needs more salt or pepper.

To assemble the salad, mix the vinaigrette with the wheat berry in a bowl.  In another bowl, mix the roasted beets with a bit of olive oil and salt.

Serve the seasoned wheat berries on each plate. Then top with some of the crumbled gorgonzola, roasted beets and carrots. Finally add some of the pomegranate seeds and the raw chopped beets.

I do all of this separate only to show the different colors of the vegetables. Feel free to mix it all if you don’t have the time, but the purple beets will stain the whole salad.

 

Beet and Quinoa Salad with Warm Goat Cheese and a Passion Fruit Vinaigrette

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I love the natural sweetens of beets and its vibrant color. All the ingredients of this salad make it a very filling meal.  The crispy and warm goat cheese complements the beets and blackberries perfectly. I only plated a bit for the picture but ended up eating a big bowl of it.  This recipe serves 4 as a main course.

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa

½ red onion, thinly sliced

2 beets, roasted

150gr blackberries

2 avocados, diced

70gr pecans, chopped

200gr goat cheese

1 egg, beaten

100gr flour

½ cup of panko

Vegetable oil

Passion fruit Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons of passion fruit jam

1/4 cup of olive oil

4 tablespoons of white vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of honey

Salt to taste

Pepper

beet dressing

First, roast the beets in an 180C/350F oven for about 40-45 minutes.  You can also boil them until tender. Then allow them to cool down before peeling and slicing them.  You can slice them any way you like. I decided to make it like a carpaccio using a small ring mold that I placed in the center of the beet to cut it through. Once I got a small cylinder form, I thinly sliced it to get that carpaccio look.  The remaining pieces of beet, you can just chop and mix with the cooked quinoa later.

To cook the quinoa, rinse it under cold water and then boil for 13 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, just put all the ingredients in jar and give it a good shake until it emulsifies. You can adjust the proportions to your taste if you like it more acidic or sweeter.

To prepare the cheese, cut it into small medallions, coat each piece with flour, then the beaten egg and finally the panko.  Pour some vegetable oil in a nonstick pan.  Over medium heat, pan-fry the goat cheese.

To plate up, you can arrange all the ingredients nicely on a plate or if you want to just be quick, mix it all in a big bowl with the vinaigrette and then serve it.