Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Pickled Onion



Farro (also known as emmer) is an ancient grain with a chewy texture and a subtle nutty flavor. Farro is an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin B complex and microelements (such as magnesium, iron and zinc).

The cooking process is similar to pasta, so farro is practically boiled in salted water. The cooking time usually varries between 25 and 45 minutes, it is ready when it’s tender but still a little bit chewy. Today I served it in a divine salad, topped with sauteed mushrooms and pickled onion. This salad is simple yet elegant, light yet hearty, packed with nutrients and bold flavors. I started the salad with boiling the farro and while the farro was on the stove, I picked the onion slices in a brine made from water, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. To this brine I added a sliced beet which gave the onion ribbons a wonderful, almost hypnothic strawberry-red color. While my farro was simmering and my onion was pickling I sauteed some champignon mushrooms in chili-flavored olive oil. And this is how my all-time favorite salad was born!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 150g uncooked faroo
  • 250g champignon mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small red beet

Method:

  1. Fill a large saucepan with water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp of salt and the farro, reduce the heat to minimum and simmer for 25 – 45 minutes (cook according to the instructions from the package; farro is cooked when it’s tender but still a little bit chewy).
  2. Meanwhile peel the beet with a vegetable peeler, slice it and place it in a small saucepan. Peel the onion, halve it, slice it finely and add it to the saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water, 2 Tbsp of sugar and 2 Tbsp of vinegar. Place it on the stove over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and simmer it for 1 minute. Leave it aside to marinade.
  3. Clean the mushrooms with a clean sponge. Remove the stems and halve the caps. In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Season it with chili and add the mushrooms (caps + stems). Sautee until the mushrooms become golden brown and the liquid has evaporated. Add the minced garlic and chopped thyme and cook for further 60 seconds, stirring continuously. Deglaze the pan with 1 Tbsp lemon juice and leave aside to cool down.
  4. When the farro is cooked, drain the excess water, rinse under cold water and drain well using a colander.
  5. Remove the excess liquid from the pickled onions and discard the beet slices.
  6. To assemble the salad mix together the farro with the sauteed mushrooms. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and season with salt. Divide the salad between two plates and garnish with the pickled onion.
  7. Place the leftovers in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.




Source: www.cookieandkate.com

Vegan Lavender Shortbread Cookies

If I have to imagine an ideal snack, I’d definitely pick a large cup of tea and some homemade biscuits. Simple as that! I love cookies so much, I love them in every shape, size or flavor, so it was impossible for me not to fall in love with these amazing lavender shortbread rectangles. Shortbread is a Scottish biscuit traditionally made from one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. I followed these proportions but instead of butter, I used old-fashion margarine, to make them suitable for a plan-based diet. They turned out amazing, so crumbly that they simply melted in my mouth.

These lavender biscuits are so delicious and extremely easy to make. You shape the dough into a log, you refrigerate it and you cut it in thin rectangles, so you don’t need a cookie cutter to make this recipe. It’s simply fascinating how just a few basic ingredients can create something majestic.

 

Ingredients (for 20 biscuits):

  • 115g margarine / vegan butter / coconut oil refined or unrefined (unrefined coconut oil will give the cookies a subtle coconut flavor) at room temperature
  • 130g white flour
  • 30g powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp chopped dried culinary lavender flowers
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt



Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C / 350F (gas mark 4).
  2. Place the butter in a large bowl and use a mixer or a spatula to beat it until fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar, add it to the bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the salt, chopped lavender flowers and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. Sift in the flour and stir until the mixture resembles to wet sand. Mix with your finger until you form a ball of dough.
  5. Place the dough between two cling film rectangles and shape in into a log. Press gently on the top with a cookie sheet to flatten the log slightly, then turn the log on its side and press again. Begin smoothing the sides of the log with your fingers until all the sides are as flat an possible. Refrigerate the log for 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes use a sharp knife to cut the log into 20 pieces. Place the biscuits on a parchment paper-lined tray and refrigerate for further 10 minutes.
  7. Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 13 – 14 minutes, or until they become light golden brown at the bottom.
  8. Place the lavender shortbread cookies on a wire rack to cool down and store them in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.





Fast One-Hour Buns




I love everything that remotely resembles to bread, but if I’d have to choose between a slice of bread and a bun I’d choose the latter. And I have 2 main reasons:

  1. I’m the “crust” type of person, the crunchier, the better.
  2. I’m incapable of evenly slicing a bread. And I’ve tried. A lot. And don’t get me started on the cake-slicing topic.

These being said, I think I found the perfect buns. They are dense without being tough and they have a wonderful crunchy crust. Oh, I almost forgot the best part. These buns are made in 40 minutes.

Ingredients (for 10 Buns):

  • 250g strong white flour (+ extra 10g for kneading)
  • 25g beaten egg (1/2 egg)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 120ml lukewarm water (36-38°C)
  • 35ml Tbsp olive oil
  • 15g granulated sugar (I used packed brown sugar)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (7g)
  • Method:

    1. Preheat the oven at 400°F/204°C (gas mark 6).
    2. In a small bowl combine water, oil, sugar and yeast and let aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mixture should be really foamy (picture).
    3. In a large bowl combine white flour, oat flour and salt and make a well in the center.
    4. Add the yeast mixture and ½ an egg and mix with a wooden spatula until you form a ball.
    5. Bring the sticky dough on a floured working surface and knead it for 2 minutes.
    6. Place dough in the bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm place for 10 minutes.
    7. After 10 minutes, place the dough back on the working surface and knead vigorously to knock out the air bubbles.
    8. Divide dough into 10 pieces and shape them into 10 balls (I had 10 balls x 53g).
    9. Place them on a tray lined with parchment paper, give them a quick egg wash, sprinkle some cumin seeds and bake them for 12 minutes or until golden.


    Source: www.kitchemeetsgirl.com

Broccoli Spread



Undoubtedly, broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables. I love everything about broccoli, the taste, the texture, the fact that it’s so versatile. One of the most simple and yet delicious recipes with broccoli is broccoli spread. It’s extremely creamy and it’s wonderful spread on a slice of homemade bread (or tortilla, in my case). It’s so hearty and flavorful and the color is simply hypnothyc. This recipe is a great way to use the whole vegetable, stem included, so nothing goes to waste. And before I forget, all the ingredients are plant-based, so it’s suitable for a vegan diet.

Ingredients (for 6 servings):

  • 500g broccoli
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp chopped chives
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
  2. Peel the broccoli stalk using a vegetable peeler. Cut the broccoli into florets and cube the peeled stalk.
  3. When the water starts to boil, add the broccoli and simmer them for 8 minutes ( the cooking time depends on the size of the florets). Meanwhile prepare the ice bath by adding 1 cup of ice to a bowl filled with cold water. Carefully drain the broccoli and immediately place itin the ice bath. Drain the broccoli using a collander and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes place it in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the salt. Spoon it into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Homemade Flour Tortilla

 


I can’t remember last time I had a store-bought tortilla. I always make my own tender and delicious tortillas. These flatbreads are so easy to make, they taste incredible and they are also budget-friendly. I usually use olive oil in this recipe because I love its flavor but any other vegetable oil works just fine.
Continue reading Homemade Flour Tortilla

Chicken Lollipops with Tomato-Chili Sauce



Chicken lollipops are always a great idea, whether you have to prepare a party buffet or a simple lunch. Underneath their crispy crust lays a tender, juicy and flavorful meat. It is a wonderful dish, yet quite simple and budget-friendly.

I make lollipops very often and every time I use only the drumettes (the thick part of the wing, the part that has only one bone). I generally marinate the drumettes with a lemon, olive oil, garlic and sage mixture and I refrigerate them overnight. Yesterday I did the same thing and this morning I prepared some flavorful, tender and adorable lollipops. They were simply amazing but I decided to serve them with a spicy tomato and chili sauce which made them even better.

Ingredients (for 6 servings):

  • 12 drumettes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

for the marinade:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice and zest from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7 sage leaves
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Method:

  1. Prepare the marinade by mixing in a large bowl all the ingredients above.
  2. Prepare the drumettes. Grab the thin part and cut the skin and the ligaments surrounding the bone. Scrape the bone with a knife and pull the meat up, towards the thick end. Carefully pull the meat over the fat to create a sphere (picture).
  3. Place the drumettes in the marinade bowl and toss to cover. Place them in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove them from the refrigerator and take 3 bowls; place the flour in the first bowl, the bread crumbs in the second bowl and the egg, milk, salt and pepper in the third.
  5. Roll the drumettes in the flour, dip them in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs.
  6. Deep-fry them at 340°F/170°C for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Carefully remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel.


  • Tomato and chili sauce

    Ingredients (for 6 servings):

    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • ½ small carrot, grated
    • ½ celery stalk chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 chili, chopped
    • 30ml dry red wine
    • 1 chopped tomato tin (400g)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
    • ½ tsp sugar
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp pepper


    Method:

    1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add chopped onion, carrot, celery and chili to the pot. Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
    2. Add minced garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
    3. Add wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
    4. Add tomatoes and cook uncovered, on low heat for 30-40 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.
    5. Discard bay leaf, add sugar, salt and pepper and puree the sauce using a blender. Serve warm with chicken lollipops.






Grilled Quail Eggs With Sweet & Salty Sesame Dust

These soft boiled quail eggs are marinates in soy sauce, charred on the grill and served with a sweet and salty sesame dust. Given my almost annoying culinary curiosity and the fact that I never run short of eggs, I often discover new and exciting quail egg recipes. This recipe is definitely exciting, it is both visually pleasing and extremely delicious. Not to mention that the technique is really simple.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 24 quail eggs
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tasp dark Muscovado sugar
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder

 

Method:

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and add the eggs. Reduce heat to minimum and let eggs simmer for 2 minutes. Drain eggs, let them cool in cold water and peel them.
  2. Take a zip-lock bag and prepare the marinade by mixing together the soy sauce and the olive oil.
  3. Rinse the soft-boiled eggs, pat them dry and add them to the bag. Mix well and leave the eggs to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile toast the sesame seeds in a skillet until golden brown over medium temperature. Let them reach room temperature and spoon them in a mortar. Add the salt, sugar and chili and break the seeds down with a pestle.
  5. Heat grill pan over medium – high temperature. Drain the eggs and carefully place them on the grill. Grill them for 20 -30 seconds on each side, until browned.
  6. Serve them warm, on a skewer, dipping them in the sweet and salty sesame powder.

Source: www.ottolenghi.co.uk








Sea Buckthorn Infused Vinegar



Sea buckthorn berries, those precious orange gems are considered to be a super fruit. They are an excellent source of vitamins C, A, K and B complex and they are also packed with amino acids, essential fatty acids, minerals and oligoelemenets. Sea buckthorn berries have antibiotic, anti-inflamatory and immunostimulant properties.

When they are in season, my favorite ways to include them in my diet are smoothies and apple – sea buckthorn pies. But since I want to benefit from their properties all year round, I like to preserve them in vinegar (I usually use apple cider vinegar), which I use to season various dishes, from simple salads to hummus, pasta dishes or vegetable stews. This way I get to enjoy both its pleasant flavor and its healing properties.

Ingredients:

  • 5% aplle cider vinegar
  • 100 – 150g sea buckthorn berries

 

Method:

  1. Place the sea buckthorn berries in a large bowl and make sure to pick only the healthy berries. Carefully rinse them in cold water 3 – 4 times and leave them to drain in a colander.
  2. Place them on a paper-lined plate and let them dry for 2 – 3 for hours.
  3. Preheat the oven at 180C / 350 F (gas mark 4). When the berries look dry, sterilize the jar.
  4. If your jar has a rubber seal, remove it. Clean the jar in hot soapy water and rinse it. While the jar is still wet, place it on a tray and sterilize it in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes remove the tray from the oven and leave it aside to cool down.
  6. Sterilize the rubber seal as well by boiling it in a saucepan for 1 – 2 minutes. Carefully remove it from the boiling water and place it on a towel.
  7. When the jar is cool enough to handle, attach the rubber seal. Place the berries in the jar.
  8. Heat the vinegar just below the boiling point and let it cool down for a few minutes. Pour the vinegar in the jar and seal the jar.
  9. Leave the vinegar to infuse it in a dark cupboad (or on a shelf in your pantry) for 3 – 4 weeks.

Source: www.seabuckthorninsider.com

Baked Figs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto


What are you going to do if one day you receive the most beautiful figs you’ve ever seen? You admire them for about half an hour, you take some photos, you dress them up (meaning you stuff them with goat cheese and you wrap them in prosciutto) and you indulge.

I’ve always loved sweet and salty dishes, and this recipe is the quintessence of this combination. The sweetness of the figs goes wonderfully with the saltiness of the prosciutto and the tartness of the goat cheeses quiets down the richness of the fruit. The result is a mouthwatering sweet and salty appetizer, simple yet elegant, rich yet fresh.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 4 large figs
  • 40g goat cheese
  • 2 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar reduction


Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C / 350°F (gas mark 4).
  2. Wash the figs and pat them dry. Cut off their stem and cut an X in the top of each fig, 1/3 way through.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese and stuff each cavity with about 1 tsp of cheese.
  4. Halve the prosciutto lengthwise and wrap each fig with half a slice of prosciutto.
  5. Secure the prosciutto with a toothpick.
  6. Place the stuffed figs in a parchment paper-lined tray and bake them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Leave them to cool down for 10 minutes before serving. Remove the skewer. Drizzle them with about 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar reduction just before serving.

Zucchini Pasta alla Marinara (Raw Vegan)



 

I’ll give you four reasons why these marinara zoodles are amazing:

  1. since they aren’t cooked using heat, these noodles are an excellent method to include more raw nutrient-packed fruit and vegetables in your diet
  2. since it’s a raw dish, you don’t need a heat source, a detail which is most welcomed on these hot summer days
  3. this dish doesn’t take more than 15 minutes, form picking the tomatoes to garnishing the dish with the irreplaceable basil leaf
  4. since it’s august, the organic garden tomatoes are ripe and juicy, which brings a delicious flavor to the dish

The veggie spiralizer does an amazing job, but if have some spare time, it can be replaced with just a cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife. You just have to cut the zucchini in parallel ½ a centimeter – thick slices. Then you have to cut each slice into thin noodles. Obviously, it tends to be a rather laborious job, but it surely does the trick. Continue reading Zucchini Pasta alla Marinara (Raw Vegan)