I know, I’ve been away for far too long. What can I say – life happens. But here’s this fantastic summer dish that I just have to share. Not as many pictures as in other food posts, but I guess this will do anyways. 🙂 Also, testing the camera in my new smartphone, thus I can somehow not get the pictures any bigger. 😦
500 g Date Tomatos (alternatively Cherry Tomatos or Perla Tomatos)
- a generous bunch of fresh basil
- pine nuts or almonds or walnuts
- parmesan cheese
- a couple of sprigs rosemary
- sour cream
- spring onions
- paninis to finish baking yourself
- olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, aceto balsamico
Start by finely chopping a clove of garlic and some rosemary. Mix with some coarse salt and olive oil and set aside. (you will need this to brush the bread rolls, so one to two tsp of olive oil will do)
Next, prepare the tomatoes. To make a regular tomato a princess tomato, you want to peel them. This is actually quite easy. 🙂 Firstly, you want to nick all the tomatoes on top. Just a small cut through the skin. Next, bring some water to a boil. Prepare a separate bowl with ice water in it. As soon as the water is boiling, you want to blanch the tomatoes for about 20 seconds. Simply count from 20 to 40, that will do. 🙂 Then dump the tomatoes in the ice water. You will now be able to remove the skin quite easily. Put the skinned tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with approx. 1 tbsp sugar and some olive oil. Yes, sugar. Trust me, it’ll turn out real tasty! Then set aside.
Next, the pesto. A traditional pesto is prepared with pine nuts. However, the price of pine nuts around here is exorbitantly high and therefore I went for the budget version. About five almonds or a couple of kernels of walnuts will work just as well. Put a generous amount of fresh basil, one or two cloves of garlic, some parmesan, five almonds (or pine nuts or walnuts) and a generous amount of olive oil in a food processor. Mix until you have a a nice paste. You might need to add some more olive oil to give it a sauce-ier consistency. Lastly, add just a dash of Aceto Balsamico to the pesto.
While you could obviously make your own fresh bread rolls, I went again for the quicker version – store bought rolls to pop in the oven and bake for a couple of minutes. Seriously, after a long day at work I don’t have the energy to be a perfect housewife and do use shortcuts whenever possible. 😉 Prepare as directed on the packaging.
Lastly, the sour cream dip. Finely cut the green of a spring onion. Mix with the sour cream, add freshly ground pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.
Now, to add the last touches to the princess tomatos. They have by now marinated nicely in some olive oil and sugar. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with some sugar, quickly stir them in the hot pan and take them out again. You don’t want to cook them, you just want to caramelize them.
Next, bring everything together. Chop a couple of fresh basil leaves and mix them with the tomatos. Cut the buffalo mozzarella into pieces. Brush the rosemary/garlic/olive oil mix over the still warm rolls. Arrange everything on a plate and then enjoy a caprese salad like you’ve never had one before. 🙂
Granted, it takes a little bit of time to prepare these, but half an hour away from keyboard can’t hurt during a gaming marathon. 😉
Here’s what you’ll need for the stuffed mushrooms:
- Mushrooms – I used champignons
- 1 onion
- some bacon cubes
- cream cheese, plain or with herbs
- some grated parmesan
- freshly ground pepper, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, paprika
I’m really bad when it comes to leafy green salad. If it’s only a tiny bit wilted, I don’t want to eat it. It even goes as far that I give the salad leaf that is usually inbetween a sandwich to my cat. Yes, Spike really loves salad greens and will eat it with great gusto.
However, I can’t give Rucola to the kitties, too spicy for them. 🙂 Besides, I love the taste of Rucola but I can’t get myself to eat it when it’s not crispy fresh. The solution – Rucola Pesto! Continue reading →
Piadina (plural Piadine) is an Italian speciality that I love very much. We are lucky enough to have a Piadina Bar in town where you can buy freshly made Piadine. Unfortunately, they are quite pricey.
Imagine how thrilled I was when our local grocery store started to carry raw Piadina! Now, Piadina is a baked good, made from wheat flour, rolled out very thin and then baked with no fat on a hot plate or in a wide flat pan. In fact, if you’d like to try this and can’t get your hand on Piadine you can substitute them easily with flour tortillas. Tortillas are similar enough to work with.
The beauty of Piadine is that they can be prepared to individual taste and varied endlessly. (I like that!) Here’s how I usually prepare them.
Focaccia is awesome. Either to enjoy it fresh out of the oven with no fuzz or prepared like here as warm sandwiches. Believe me – it’s totally worth to go through the trouble of preparation because these warm sandwiches are divine!
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Focaccia, in case you do not know what it is:
“Focaccia (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkattʃa]) is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. It is similar in style and texture to pizza, but not considered to be the same.”
There are many variants out there. I found a simple one at the store that was topped with herbs. In case you can’t get your hands on Focaccia, this recipe works just as fine with simple toast. And you know me – I love recipes that may be varied. 🙂 Same here, take this as an idea as to how to prepare your next sandwich, but experiment with toppings you like or happen to have at home.
Remember when I was talking about our little jungle with the mysterious plants a while ago?
Well, they grew and grew and I was even able to identify some more!
The Nasturtium is one of the herbs I was able to identify easily since the pretty round leaves are very distinctive. I also knew that the flowers of the nasturtium and the borage can be eaten. So I googled a bit what I can do with it and went to the bedroom flower bed to harvest some herbs.
This is a great summer dish that we eat a lot these days. It’s light and tasty and could also be prepared on the barbeque. (I don’t have one, so I use the oven). It’s really easy and may be varied to fit almost every taste.
- Fresh or frozen and thawed fish filets (I’ve used pangasius)
- Red Onions
- fresh garlic
- Olive Oil
- salt, pepper, herbs to taste
- Tin foil Continue reading →
When it comes to cooking, I’m the queen of improvisation. Often the boyfriend looks at me with big, hungry, sad puppy eyes and says that there’s nothing left in the fridge. That’s when I work some magic and prepare a yummy dish with whatever is at hand.
You know how it is – often you end up with a last bit of bread during the week that is not yet bad, but a bit stale. I hate to throw away good bread.
Here’s an idea what I do with that last bit of hard bread – Italian Style Bread Salad! It’s a great dish to use up all sorts of leftovers and it can be varied endlessly.
- Some leftover bread, cut in bite-sized cubes
- Fresh tomatoes of any kind
- Olive Oil
- Salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs
Additional optional ingredients:
- Bacon cubes
- Spring onions
- sundried tomatoes
- feta cheese or mozzarella
- Crema di Balsamico
I’ve seen a couple of Jamie Oliver shows lately and I love his ideas. I was especially impressed by his 30-Minute-Meals. So I gave in and ordered the book Jamies 30 Minute Meals. While I knew from the beginning that I won´t be able to cook the meals just as he describes them, the recipes sure give me inspiration and I adapt them to the possibilities of my kitchen and my skills.
So here comes a freely adapted recipe for Spinach-Feta-Pie:
- 100 g Pine Nuts
- 5 eggs
- 300 g Feta Cheese
- 50 g Cheddar (or a similar cheese)
- dried Oregano
- 1 lemon
- 400-500 g fresh leaf spinach
- 1-2 onions, diced
- some butter
- 1 rolled out puff pastry
- cayenne pepper, nutmeg
Roast the Pine Nuts with no fat in a pan until they are golden brown. Beware – they burn quite fast all of a sudden if you don’t pay attention.
Beat the eggs in a bowl, crumble the feta in and grate the Cheddar in. (we hardly get Cheddar around here, so I used Gruyère – but basically any cheese will do). Add a dash of cayenne pepper, dried oregano (not too sparsely) and grated lemon zest. Add the pine nuts and stir everything together.
Wash the spinach and dry it. Add butter to the pan, wait until melted, then add the diced onions and fry until transparent. (Note: I love cooking with onions, but you can choose to leave them out of the dish if you want to. It´ll work without, too.) Add some of the spinach until it collapses, then add the next part etc. until all the spinach is in the pan. Stir regularily until it’s done. It never ceases to amaze me that this huge bag of leaf spinach ends up to be just a handful after being cooked. Drain any excess liquid, then add the spinach to the egg-feta mixture. Grate about half a nutmeg into the mix, add some pepper and mix well.
As you can see in the picture above, I used a round baking tray. And a squarely rolled out dough. 🙂 It doesn´t really matter, use whatever baking tray you have at hand and put the rolled out puff pastry in there. Sprinkle with a bit of cayenne pepper. Add the mix and spread evenly onto the dough. I folded any excess dough there was over the mixture.
See, I usually don´t go for pretty, but tasty. 😀
Bake in pre-heated oven at 200° C for approx. 20-30 minutes. You’ll have to check, depending on your oven, it may take a bit longer. You want the filling to be firm and the dough to be golden brown.
I made some cucumber-cherry-tomato salad to go with it. For the sauce, I mixed some fresh garlic, lemon juice, approx. 1/2 fresh chili, olive oil, mixed salad herbs and a bit of salt together. When it comes to salad sauces, I usually throw together what I have at hand, taste and adjust. Oh, and there was some left-over mozzarella cut in the salad, too.
In any case – the Pie was really good and I will most definitely make it again. Even my boyfriend who was not fond of Feta up until then really loved it.