Quinoa and Spinach Stuffed Tomato (Vegan)

I’m beyond happy I’ve found these spinach and quinoa stuffed tomatoes because they are incredibly tasty. For this recipe I’ve picked some ripe tomatoes from my veggie garden, I removed their cores, I stuffed their cavities with a pesto, spinach and quinoa mixture and and I baked them just until wrinkled. The result was such an elegant yet rustic entree. I must confess the stuffing is so rich and flavorful that I’d gladly devour the whole bowl, but paired with the acidity of the tomatoes, it gets somehow better. Such a simple yet delicious vegan dish!

 

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

⦁ 8 medium ripe tomatoes
⦁ 60g uncooked quinoa
⦁ 250ml vegetable soup (divided)
⦁ 1 Tbsp olive oil
⦁ 1 medium red onion (75g)
⦁ 150g fresh spinach
⦁ 4Tbsp vegan pesto – recipe here

 

Method:

1. Quinoa. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse it with cold water for about 1 minute. Drain it very well. Place quinoa in a sauce pan, add 160ml vegetable soup and 1/4 tsp sea salt and bring to a boil over high heat. When the soup begins to boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to minimum. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, fluff it with a fork.
2. Spinach.
Peel the onion and chop it finely. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and sautee the onion over low heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Wash the spinach, pat it dry and chop it. Place it in the skillet, cover with a lid, and sautee it until wilted (for about 5 minutes).
3. Tomatoes.
Take one tomato and cut 3mm off the base to give it stability. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and set aside. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the tomatoes with a teaspoon, but be careful not to cut through to the base. Proceed the same with the rest of the tomatoes.
4. Stuff the tomatoes.
Place the quinoa and the pesto in the skillet and give it a stir. Season with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes in a ceramic tray and season well with salt and pepper. Stuff each tomato with 1 Tbsp of quinoa mixture, place it in the tray and cover it with its top.
5. Bake the tomatoes.
Place about 6 Tbsp of vegetable soup in the tray and place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake at 200C / 400F (gas mark 6). Bake for 20 minutes (or until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkly).
6. Serve & leftovers. 
I served my tomatoes warm with a slice of homemade bread and some pesto alla genovese. Place the leftovers (if any) on a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Note:
Source: www.stacyhomemaker.com

Pasta e Fagioli (Vegan)



This Italian-inspired dish is so delicious and extremely easy to make. Basically, we are speaking about some small pasta cooked in a basil-flavored tomato broth, together with buttery cannellini beans, carrots, celery and onion. With some organisatory work done ahead this no fussn dish takes no longer than 30 minutes. Those vegetables I’ve mentioned above combine together in a genuine taste symphony, creating an absolutely delicious dish which is also heart and packed with nutrients. If I’d have to place it in a category I’d say it stays somewhere between a soup and a stew. I love my pasta e fagioli on the thick side but if a soupier dish is your cup of tea, please feel free to add more liquid.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (200g, chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (200g, chopped)
  • 3 celery stalks (150g, chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 – 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cans cooked cannellini beans (500g)
  • 1 cup dried small pasta (120g)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Broth. I heated the vegetable broth over high heat. If you use room temperature broth, it would take longer for the soup to reach boiling point.
  2. Vegetables. Peel the onions, carrots and garlic cloves. Chop the onions, celery and carrot. Finely chop the garlic and basil.
  3. Sautee the vegetables. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee them until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the carrot and the celery and sautee for further 3 minutes.
  4. The liquid. Add the chopped basil and bay leaves. Add the crushed tomatoes and about 4 cups of hot soup. Cover the saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and cook the soup for 15 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and cook for further 10 minutes.
  5. Pasta. Finally add dry pasta and cook it until tender (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve in large bowl with olive oil drizzled on top.

Source: www.themostlyvegan.com

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)

Quail Egg Butter Curry

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Quail eggs boiled to perfection, served in a velvety and decadent butter and beetroot sauce, scented with ginger and Garam Masala. It does sound appealing, doesn’t it! The fact is I’m seldom dazzled by a combination of flavors, not because I’m a person hard to impress, but because I try really hard to content my emotions, at least culinary-wise. But this flavor profile mesmerizes me, it fascinates me to the point I drag myself to the kitchen at 1 am, in my pijamas, just to enjoy that taste again.

The starting point of this recipe is in fact Murgh Makhani, a delicious Indian butter chicken curry. About three years ago I substituted chicken with quail eggs and the recipe made so much sense, that I’ve made it only with quail eggs ever since. I often make this recipe with ghee, the Indian clarified butter, a very nutritious ingredient, but since I make my own ghee and I happened to run out ot it, I decided to use regular butter. And yes, that gorgeous chick in the picture is one of my quail-pets. On this note, how cool is the fact that my pets also provide breakfast? Continue reading Quail Egg Butter Curry

Braised Rooster Legs with Wine and Sage Sauce

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In a farm, the rooster has an extremely active life, from fertilizing the eggs, to mentaining the social order and chasing me like a crazy person whenever he’s in the mood for some action  defending the chicken family from any potential predator and this active lifestyle must be sustained by a powerful muscular system. After the rooster meat is cooked, this muscular system (which is essential for the fulfilling daily attributions) often turns into a chewy, rubbery, uncomfortable, almost painful mess. To tenderize the meat and to make it juicy I pulled off some two simple and efficient tricks:

  1. Aging the meat. I learnt this trick from my grandmother. She used to wrap the rooster in parchment paper and refrigerate it for 2 – 4 days. And let me say, this trick really works. It is very important to wrap the meat in parchment paper, and not cling film, because the paper allows the meat to breathe.
  2. Slow-cooking the meat. I take the aged meat from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking and I let it get to room temperature. I pad dry it and I sear it, I deglaze the pan with wine, I cover the meat halfway with chicken broth and I slowcook it, covered, for about 1 hour, making sure I drizzle some juices from the pan every 15 minutes.

These two basic tricks allow me to get a tender and juicy steak each time. The taste is incredible, earthy, somehow buttery, with subtle notes of wine and sage. To conclude, if I didn’t manage to bust the “rooster is too rubbery” myth, at least I hope I made you curious! Continue reading Braised Rooster Legs with Wine and Sage Sauce

Trofie with Roasted Beetroot and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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Since fall is basically here and I’ve been shivering for days, I tend to incorporate more autumnal flavors in my dishes. And what would possibly be this glorious season without its vegetables? I simply love fall and its delightful veggies, little pieces of hearty and flavorful jewels. Today I stumbled across some tiny yet flavorful blood-red beetroot so I decided to befriend them with some lovely pumpkin seeds and some grated Grana Padano. The result was a vibrant autumnal pesto. While my beets were gentle roasting in the oven, I boiled al dente some dry pasta. I usually prepare my own pasta from scratch, but now I offered a chance to a box of trofie which was sitting on a shelf for quite some time. The dish was so hearty, and colorful with an extremely interesting taste, a bold, rich, astringent, quite citrusy taste. It tasted like October.

Since Pesto alla Genovese, the original version of this pasta sauce goes so well with trofie, I was so curious to find out if these funny looking pasta resonates with my roasted beetroot as well. They do resonate and every bite is such a rewarding experience! Continue reading Trofie with Roasted Beetroot and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Ratatouille

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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

Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin with Sour Cherry Sauce

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Plating

Whenever I want to roast pork, I seem to choose tenderloin more and more often, and the reasons are multiple: it cooks fast, it’s tender, it’s delicious, it’s moist and it’s inexpensive. While pork shoulder is sometimes quite fat and the pork loin quite dry, the tenderloin has just the right amount of fat. It’s so easy to work with tenderloin because it remains moist and juicy long after it’s sliced, not to mention that regarding the side dish, tenderloin literally goes with everything.

Don’t get me wrong, even without being marinated, tenderloin is juicy and flavorful, but today I chose to run the extra mile and I brined it in pomegranate tea and sea salt. It became even more tender and the fruity flavor was spot-on. After the marinating process, I coated the tenderloin with creamy roasted garlic and I wrapped it in thin bacon slices.

It’s not a big culinary secret that pork goes heavenly with all sorts of fruit, so I dressed up this marvelous steak with a sweet and tangy sour cherry sauce. To keep it simple, this morning I’ve picked some lovely new potatoes, I’ve boiled them in broth and I sauteed them in sage-flavored butter. The whole business took less than an hour, including the time spent waiting for the garlic to roast / drinking a coffee / taking more than a dozen trips to my vegetable garden as I have the memory of a 90 year old and I always forget half of my ingredients. Continue reading Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin with Sour Cherry Sauce

Duck Breast with Wine-Cherry Sauce

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I’ve always loved duck roast for its unmistakable flavor, its reach and exquisite taste and its mouth-watering crispy skin. But I’ve always felt discouraged to try to cook it. It seemed too technical and challenging to get the perfect seared duck breast. Last year I finally gave it a try and was the best decision ever. Little by little I managed to understand the meat, its physics and its chemistry. And it’s not difficult at all. If you pay attention to a couple of things, your seared duck will always turn out perfect.

I like my seared duck medium to well done, with a divine crunchy skin and a juicy, pinkish, flavorful meat. In order to get this finish I brown the breast in a cast iron skillet in its own fat, and I finish it in the oven for 6 minutes. After duck has rested for 5 minutes, I slice it and I serve it with a sweet and sour wine and cherry sauce. It is a wonderful combination! Continue reading Duck Breast with Wine-Cherry Sauce

Vegan Cottage Pie

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This vegan cottage pie is simply amazing. The top layer is made from garlicky, fluffy mashed potatoes and the bottom layer is a delicious tofu and mushroom stew, flavored with chilli, fresh thyme and bay leaves. It is such an easy-going dish, but exquisite in its own simplicity.
I tell you, this is the kind of dish that you won’t believe it’s plant-based. It’s simply amazing!

Continue reading Vegan Cottage Pie