I’ve never tried in my whole life a side dish that tastes better than this simple zucchini salad. But this simple salad isn’t a bland, ordinary salad. Not at all! Those thin zucchini slices are charred on the grill just enough to enhance their flavour, then dressed with a herbal-lemony sauce and garnished with fresh and tangy feta crumbles. This amazing side dish doesn’t take more than 20 minutes and the result is so charmingly rustic but exquisite. A fresh summer salad that tastes simply awesome!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 4 small zucchini
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 spring onions
- 10 mint leaves
- 10 basil leaves
- 80g feta cheese
- salt to taste
- Cut the zucchini. Wash the zucchini and pat them dry. If you use organic zucchini, leave their skin on. If your zucchini aren’t organic, peel them. Place them on a wood board and slice them in 1/2 cm thick slices.
- Grill the zucchini. Heat the grill over high heat. Arrange the zucchini slices in one layer and grill them until charred (for about 2 minutes). Carefully turn them on the other side and continue grilling for about 1 minute.
- Prepare the veggies and herbs. Wash the spring onions and slice them finely. Grate the lemon zest. Chop the basil and mint.
- The dressing. In a large bowl mix the olive oil with the lemon juice. Add the spring onions, lemon zest, basil and mint. Add the grilled zucchini slices and mix well. Crumble feta cheese on top and season with salt.
- Leftovers. Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
One of the main problems I face on a daily basis is the waste of food. I usually buy more than I need, I cook more than I consume and I often throw away perfectly good food just because I’m simply not in the mood for having the same dish two days in a row. And in this case I’m not throwing away only some leftovers, I’m also throwing away money, time and energy. This is when recycling kicks in, the art of transforming something undesirable into something attractive.
Maybe the best example of undesirable leftover are mashed potatoes. When still fresh, mashed potatoes are a delicious and creamy side dish. But when they are cold, they become dry and tasteless and not once did I have to throw them away. To prevent food waste, I discovered a wonderful way to recycle them: potato cups with cheddar cheese and chives. These cups are so easy to make, they are budget-friendly and they taste divine. They have a crunchy crust and a creamy and flavorful filling. These adorable cups are as fluffy as a cloud and they are ready in about 30 minutes. You won’t believe how some flavorless leftovers can turn into something so delicious!
Ingredients (for 12 cups):
- 500g leftover mashed potatoes*
- 100g grated cheddar cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 5g chives **
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 – 3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
* This recipe can be made for dinner with mashed potatoes from lunch. You can also use day old mashed potatoes.
** Instead of chives you can use finely chopped scallions, parsley or dill.
- Preheat the oven at 220°C / 425°F (gas mark 7).
- Take a muffin tray and coat each cup with a thin layer of butter and then sprinkle some bread crumbs. Shake off the excess (picture).
- Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl. Add the eggs, chopped chives, a pinch of nutmeg and about 75g of grated cheese.
- Stir with a spatula until well combined.
- Sprinkle each cup with the remaining 25g of grated cheese (picture).
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
- After they are baked, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a vegetable knife to gently release them from the pan.
- They are delicious hot, while the melted cheese is stringy. They are also tasty cold, for breakfast.The source: www.thekitchn.com
I can’t say I often come across such an interesting salad. This salad is quite special, it has a lovely flavor profile, great colors and wonderful textures. At first sight it is a simple, summery salad, with seasonal, budget-friendly ingredients. But when you taste it, it’s impossible not to fall in love. The earthy sweetness of the grilled corn goes wonderfully with the fragrant juiciness of the watermelon and the smooth, almost creamy texture of the lentils. These three tasty ingredients are deliciously bonded together by chopped chives and lemon juice.
Lentils pack this salad with protein which makes it surprisingly satisfying. It is perfect for lunch, dinner and picnic and it is a genius way to use that big slice of watermelon that has been patiently waiting in your fridge for days. Continue reading Lentils and Watermelon Salad with Grilled Corn (Vegan)
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)
These crispy polenta rectangles are a delicious side dish, a satisfying and healthy alternative to good old potato sides. These beauties have a crispy and fragrant crust and a creamy center. They are very easy to prepare and quite quick. The less simple parts (because I cannot define them as challenging) are the preparation of the polenta and the baking part. Between those two parts there is a waiting period, a part where the polenta is refrigerated to firm up. In order to save some time I prepare my creamy polenta, I pour it in a tray and I leave it aside to cool down. While my polenta is firming up, I always prepare my protein. After the polenta is nice and firm, I slice it, I place the rectangles on a parchment paper-lined tray and I broil them to get them nice and crispy. To get the crispy crust you can also fry them in a nonstick frying pan but I prefer the broiled version.
I like to pair my crispy polenta with a rich, nutty and tangy beurre noisette and sage sauce. For this sauce I melt some butter in a skillet. When the butter has melted, I get rid of the foam from the surface and I continue cooking the butter until it turns golden brown. I add some fresh sage leaves, lemon juice and walnuts. Super simple and de-li-cious! Continue reading Baked Polenta with Butter, Sage and Walnut Sauce
I’ve always had mixed feelings about eggplants, I haven’t been able to figure out whether I like them or not. They are so big, and shiny and… weird. I try almost daily to find a way to include them in my diet, especially because I personally grew them in my own veggie garden. I find their taste at least interesting but I cannot stand their spongy texture. Yet, there is a delicious Italian dish, melanzane alla parmigiana or parmezan eggplants which is a cross between a lasangna and a moussaka. I don’t know what makes this dish exquisite, maybe the way the tomato sauce’s acidity amplifies the taste of the eggplants or the way the parmesan’s taste dances together with the earthiness of the eggplant. Maybe all the reasons combined, but the taste is simply amazing! Continue reading Melanzane alla Parmigiana – Parmesan Eggplants
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