Creamy and flavorful, this zucchini soup saves me each time I have less than 30 minutes to make something rich and filling. And I say it from the bottom of my heart, a bowl of zucchini soup is the only thing you’ll need after a long working day. It’s tasty, it’s smooth and creamy, it’s delicate and hearty at the same time.
For making this soup, my oraganisational skills come in handy. Therefor, I chope the onions and I sautee them in a saucepan. Meanwhile, I heat the soup in a small saucepan and I chop my zucchini. I season the onion with garlic and thyme, I add the zuchhini and the boiling soup, I cover with a lid and I cook the zuchhini until tender, for about 15 minutes. I blend the soup, I add the cream and I serve it. Quick, budget-friendly and heart-warming good!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
⦁ 3 medium zucchini (1 – 1.2 kg)
⦁ 2 medium onions (150g)
⦁ 3 garlic cloves
⦁ 2 springs of thyme
⦁ 2 Tbsp olive oil
⦁ 3 cups vegetable soup
⦁ 50ml whipping cream
⦁ grated parmesan cheese
⦁ crutons (I used Backerbsen)
1. Onion. Peel the onion, half it and and chop it. Take a large saucepan and heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sautee it over low heat until translucent (for about 5 minutes).
2. Soup. Place the soup in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
3. Zucchini. Wash the zucchini and pat it dry. Trim their ends, cut them lenghtwise and chop them.
4. Sautee the veggies. Add the minced garlic and the thyme leaves to the pot and sautee until the garlic is fragrant (for about 1 minute). Add the zucchini, the boiling soup and cover with a lid. When the soup starts simmering, boil it over low – medium heat until the zucchini are tender (it takes no more than 15 – 20 minutes).
5. Blending. Take about 1 cup of boiling liquid and set aside. Carefully place the vegetables and the remaining liquid in the bowl of a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. If the soup is too dense, thin it with the remaining soup.
6. Season. Place the soup in the same saucepan. Add the cream and season with salt if necessary.
7. Serve. Serve it in bowls with parmesan cheese and croutons.
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).
Farro is usually cooked like pasta, so it is practically boiled in salted water. The cooking time usually varies 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 by boiling the farro and while the farro was on the stove, I pickled the onion slices in a brine made with water, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. To this brine I added a sliced beet which gave the onion ribbons a wonderful, almost hypnotic strawberry-red color. While my farro was simmering and my onion was pickling I sauteed some champignon mushrooms in some chili-flavored olive oil. And this is how my all-time favorite salad was born!
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
- 150g uncooked farro
- 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
- Fill a large saucepan with water, add 1 Tbsp of salt, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Add the farro, reduce the heat to minimum and simmer for 25 – 45 minutes (cook according to the instructions on the package; farro is cooked when it’s tender but still a little bit chewy).
- 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.
- 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.
- When the farro is cooked, drain the excess water, rinse under cold water and drain well using a colander.
- Remove the excess liquid from the pickled onions and discard the beet slices.
- 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 pickled onion ribbons.
- Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Duck egg frittata with zucchini is the answer to the question “what can I make for dinner from basically nothing and in less than 20 minutes?”. Frittata is such a simple dish, it requires about 4 or 5 ingredients and a non-stick pan (my cast iron skillet works great). This fancy omelet is so satisfying, creamy and flavorful and it practically prepares itself. I like to pair it with a crusty slice of bread and with a large bowl of salad, and that’s how I get a tasty vegetarian dinner in no time.
Duck eggs are quite fatty, which makes them absolutely tasty, although they are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, they also provide a large quantity of cholesterol which doesn’t make them suitable for daily consumption. On the other hand, duck eggs are also a great source of vitamin B complex, vitamin A, selenium and phosphorus. So, eaten in moderate amounts, duck eggs are not delicious, but also nutritious. Continue reading Duck Egg Frittata with Zucchini and Parmesan
I’m a big potato fan, I love them in every shape, color, size or combination. From white and purple to sweet potatoes, from mashed, baked and wedges, to fries, rösti and potato salad. But for that particular moment when I cannot figure out whether I’m craving fries or mashed potatoes, there is a wonderful recipe called Hasselback Potatoes. This recipe combines both the earthy crunchiness of fries and the buttery creaminess of mashed potatoes. This adorable fan-shaped spuds are not only good-looking, but also delicious and healthy.
The technique is quite simple; the potatoes are sliced into thin parallel slices but they aren’t cut all the way through; after that they are generously greased with butter, they are roasted in the oven until they become golden brown. To make my work easier, I simply place the potato in a large spoon and I rest the handler on a paper towel roll (picture). The edges of the spoon will stop you from slicing the potato all the way through. I wanted to make this recipe vegan, so I substituted butter for some quality olive oil. I tried to mimic that rich flavor that butter gives to the dish and I placed some garlic and thyme between the potato slices. The result was (muuuuuch) more than satisfactory. Continue reading Hasselback Potatoes (Vegan)
This flavorful pull-apart bread is by far my favorite kind of bread. It is so soft and airy and I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it tastes. Although it may look fancy, it is in fact very easy to make. If you have a bit of extra time on your hands, you can make this beauty from scratch, using just a few budget-friendly ingredients. Not to mention the fact that you don’t need a knife to slice it, you just tear it apart.
This loaf is the piece de resistence that you proudly place in the middle of the table during a dinner among friends. You just have to sit and enjoy how everyone tears it apart, piece by piece. This loaf obviously has the wow factor, but it is also extremely delicious. It’s something inexplicably satisfactory about tearing it into pieces, pieces that simply melt in your mouth and delight you with a buttery roasted garlic aroma. This bread is simply madness!
Continue reading Pull-Apart Garlic & Herb Bread
Quail soup with homemade duck noodles is undoubtedly my favorite soup. Personally, I find this soup the very quintessence of a Sunday, it’s the reason we gather around that familiar, round, wooden table, it’s what makes a sunday, Sunday. It’s happiness in its purest form, it’s the very reason I felt deeply in love with gastronomy.
I’ve had quail several times before, and I grew fond of it more and more on each occasion. It’s definitely more chewy than chicken and it resembles from this point of view with duck breast. I’d rather place it in the dark meat category, it has an earthy, rich taste and a subtle gamey flavor. This quail soup manages to preserve that lovely aroma, it is tasty, rich and nutritious; also, homemade duck noodles are a wonderful addition to this flavorful soup. Since it’s may, I thought it would have been terrible if I didn’t use spring vegetables, freshly picked from my own veggie garden. I seldom use a bouquet garni for soups, but I found that the freshness of the thyme and the earthiness of the sage complements wonderfully the gaminess of the quail. Continue reading Quail Soup with Homemade Noodles
Cream of pumpkin soup is one of my favorite soups. I know I say the same thing about almost every soup I try and I’m also aware of the fact that I might have a problem. I wouldn’t call it a problem, though. I would rather call it an affinity for everything that’s nutritious, delicious and hydrating.
Pumpkin-wise, this year has been extremely productive and rewarding. I harvested some huge pumpkins from my own veggie garden. And when I say huge, I mean huge-huge, that’s-the-biggest-vegetable-I’ve-ever-seen kind of huge. If last year I had two semi-decent looking pumpkins (who am I kidding, they were a cross between a melon and a tennis ball, to be more accurate), this year I had about a dozen giant ones. And they were so incredibly tasty! Sometimes I looked at them and I felt it would be a shame to cook them, and then I remembered their perfect flavor and their addictive sweetness. And that was the nudge I needed to get things going! Continue reading Cream of Pumpkin Soup
I have an almost irritating gastronomical curiosity, a curiosity that often leads to surprising (if not weird) culinary combinations. I love complex, technical and challenging things, but often I find myself yearning for simplicity. Throughout time I’ve learnt that those simple things tend to fascinate, they tend to mesmerize. You simply get them and they simply get you.
One of those mesmerizing simple things are undoubtedly tomatoes à la Provençale, ripe tomatoes stuffed with flavorful bread crumbs. There are 2 tricky things about this recipe: the bread crumbs must be fresh, made from day old bread and the herbs should be fresh as well, not dried; dried bread crumbs and dried herbs aren’t quite a match made in heaven, at least not for this recipe. These being said, it’s impossible for me to describe how mouth-watering these stuffed tomatoes are. The contrast between the sweet and juicy tomato and the crispy bread crumbs is so delightful and you cannot limit yourself at just one serving! Continue reading Tomatoes à la Provençale
I remember watching Ratatouille (the movie, not the dish) when I was a senior in high school and I instantly knew that this veggie stew would become my favorite dish. I was wrong, but only by a few years. The very next day I did the groceries and I made my first Ratatouille, a blend, boring, half-decent stew. So I forgot about Ratatouille and its humble existence. But last year I decided it was about time to rewatch that delightful movie and the dish simply enchanted me. Again. So I did some research, I made the dish and I simply felt in love. Ratatouille is a rustic, almost an austere dish, that kind of dish that makes you fall in love with it over and over again.
There are so many recipes for Ratatouille, you can saute it, you can bake it, you can serve the veggies firm, almost raw or you can simmer them slowly, until tender and incredibly flavorful. My favorite version is so simple but it’s quite time-consuming. After you chop the veggies, you saute them in olive oil, one veggie at a time, until you caramelize them nicely and this creates an amazing depth of flavor. Of course you can saute them all together in a large pot, but the result would be a nice stew, and not a decadent Ratatouille! Continue reading Ratatouille
Whenever I engage myself in over-ambitious bakery projects, I end up by throwing away the egg whites. Of course I plan on using them the following days, but I almost never do. And I strongly dislike wasting and throwing things away. Lately, to avoid any waste (and all the bad energy that comes with it), I take 2 egg whites at a time, I wrap them in cling film square, I season them with sea salt, olive oil and fresh herbs and I poach them in hot water. This way, you get some flavorful egg white balls, perfect for a weekend brunch.
When you prepare a classic egg white omelette, the dish tends to be a bit blend, but using this technique, the egg whites are full of flavor. Another great advantage is the fact that you can prepare 3 or 4 packages at a time so in 15 minutes, you can prepare a very satisfying breakfast for the whole family. I usually serve my poached egg whites on a slice of homemade bread covered with a generous amount of avocado spread. Simple and so delicious! Continue reading Poached Egg Whites