Grilled Zucchini and Spring Onions with Baby Spinach and Almonds

28th August 2016

Grilled Salad

I love the My New Roots cookbook! I received it for Sinterklaas from my sister-in-law and love making all of the delicious nutritious plant-based recipes.

Every week I receive a bag of fresh vegetables from local farms, and this week included zucchini and green onions – so what better than a grilled salad with this hot weather? And I do mean hot! It’s been around 90 degrees all week!

I made this salad for a fresh lunch for Koen and me – so delicioso!

Spring onions and zucchini

Grilled Zucchini and Spring Onions with Baby Spinach and Almonds, serves 2

  1. Heat a grill pan
  2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons. Lightly rub melted oil on the slices and season lightly with salt and pepper. Slice the green onions in the same manner.
  3. When the grill pan is hot, lay the zucchini and green onions on the pan and cook uncovered until you have some char marks on the underside, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook until tender and marked, another 2 minutes. Remove the vegetabels from the grill pan and place them on a plate.
  4. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chile, maple syrup, and grated zest of 1 lemon in a small bowl. Put the spinach in a serving bowl, and pour this dressing over it; toss to combine.
  5. Roughly chop the nuts. Arrange the grilled veggies on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with the nuts and the remaining lemon zest, and serve.

Sweet Potato Tacos

15th March 2016

Sweet Potato Tacos

I love sweet potatoes and am always trying to find new ways to eat them. This recipe is inspired by Sarah Britton’s My New Roots cookbook. In her book she has a recipe for sweet potato and mushroom tacos with a red cabbage slaw. For my tacos I substituted the mushrooms for avocados and baked my sweet potatoes rather than broiling them on the stovetop.

These tacos are perfect for either lunch and dinner!

Sweet Potato Tacos

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F.
  2. In a lasagne dish, combine the sweet potatoes, garlic, shallots, spices and olive oil. Mix well, ensuring everything is covered in olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes, so that the sweet potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.
  3. Build your tacos! I like to first toast my wraps, then add the sweet potatoes, avocado, and red cabbage slaw and enjoy!

Red Cabbage Slaw

  1. Mix all ingredients together and let set for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to marinate.

Roasted Parmesan Parsnips

19th January 2016

Parsnip FriesWhenever I’ve had spaghetti for dinner, I always have leftover marinara sauce. I love using it for dipping the following day. My husband is a great baker, so often he’ll make some garlic bread sticks or sour dough pretzels. But this time I was off from work, so I wanted to make our dipping snack!

I decided on Sprouted Kitchen’s Roasted Parmesan Parsnips – yum! The sweet taste of parsnips, umami taste of parmesan, and fresh rosemary! Baked in the oven, the only fat used in this recipe is the parmesan cheese – so enjoy these guilt-free fries!

Parsnips

Parsnips

Parsnips

Roasted Parmesan Parsnips, serves about 4 as a side

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F / 215 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Cut the parsnips into wedges or halves depending on the thickness. Since they taper so much, you can use the ends whole then cut the fat top into fourths. Try to get them as evenly sized as possible.

  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy with 2 tsp dried oregano.

  4. Working with about half of the parsnips at a time, toss in the egg white and then gently roll in the parmesan cheese. Place each parsnip on the baking sheet, with space in between. Sprinkle the fresh rosemary and generous amounts of fresh pepper and salt. You may even want to give one more sprinkling of parmesan, you want them pretty well doused.

  5. Bake the wedges about 20-25 minutes until crispy and cooked through. Rotate and test them after 15 minutes baking as the size of parsnips will vary. Serve with tomato sauce and enjoy!

Parsnip and Thyme Galette

10th January 2016

Parnsip GaletteIn Belgium parsnips are categorized as a forgotten vegetable. Why would anyone want to forget about parnsips! Parsnips are somewhere inbetween a carrot and potato – so delicious!

I first started eating parsnips as fries baked in the oven with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper and slowly been experimenting with other ways to eat them, like in soups and quiches.

Naturally Ella has such a delicious recipe on her site for a parsnip and thyme galette. This was my first galette aka a free form pie. Rather than using a pie dish, the dough is rolled out, the filling (savory or sweet) is poured into the center, and then the edges are folded up to keep everything inside.

This parsnip and thyme gallette is a great, light weeknight dinner or Sunday brunch!

ParsnipsParsnip and Thyme Galette, serves 2 for dinner or 4 for lunch

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C, or gas mark 5) and cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Roll out dough into a circle form (abotu 10in/25cm) and transfer to the baking tray.
  2. To make the filling: Toss the shaved parsnip with the melted butter and thyme and set aside. In a bowl, whip together the ricotta, honey, black pepper, and sea salt. Spread the ricotta over the crust, leaving an edge of roughly 1½ inches (3.8 cm). Layer on the parsnips, and fold the edges of the crust over the outer edges of the layered ricotta and vegetables, pleating the crust as you go in order to make an even circle.
  3. Whisk together the heavy cream and egg, then brush the crust with the egg wash. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is set and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Beet Pizza

18th November 2015

Beet PizzaFall is all about root vegetables for me. Right now in the super markets here there is a wide array of beets: red, golden, and candy cane. I bought an assortment to experiment with at home. My husband made beet chips with the golden ones, we tried out marshmallows with the candy cane, so that left only the red.

Food 52 has a recipe for a Rustic Beet Tart, which served as inspiration for my beet pizza. Rather than a pizza with a tomato sauce, this version has a layer of goat cheese custard that pairs perfectly with the oven baked beets. You need a little bit of time for this recipe, but all of the ingredients are inexpensive and it’s quite easy to make!

Beet Pizza

Beet Pizza

Beet Pizza

Beet Pizza, makes 1 pizza

  1. Peel the beets then place each beet on a small square of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in the foil. Bake at 400 F / 200 C degrees anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets. They’re done when they are knife tender and can be pierced with the tip of a paring knife with ease.
  2. Once the beets are knife tender, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. While the beets cool, roll out the pizza dough into a nice circle. Transfer the pizza dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Roll in the edges of the pastry about an inch along the edge so that you have a delicious pastry wall. You want to make sure that the custard doesn’t leak out when poured into the “shell”.
  5. Combine the egg and the goat cheese with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slowly add the milk or cream, stiring until you have a thick but pourable consistency. It should be no thinner than pancake batter.
  6. Slice the beets into rounds. You should get 5 or 6 rounds from each beet.
  7. Pour the custard into the pastry shell, then lay the beets on top, being careful not to overflow.
  8. Bake at 400 F / 200 C until the pizza is golden, the custard is set, and the top is just a little brown. Slice and enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Squares

13th November 2015

Sweet Potato SquaresI love sweet potatoes all year long, but especially once the weather turns colder. So sweet, warm, and comforting!

This recipe for Sweet Potato Squares from Yotam Ottolenghi is perfect as a starter, a side, or a main course if paired with a nice salad.

The sweet potatoes are baked in the oven with goat cheese and chili peppers, then topped with a garlicky mixture before serving.

I used organic pastry dough because I was short on time, but if you have time you can also use your favorite dough recipe.

Sweet Potato Squares

Sweet Potato Squares

Sweet Potato Squares

Sweet Potato Squares, makes 4

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F/205 C. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins for 35 to 45 minutes, until they soften up but are still slightly raw in the center (check by inserting a small knife). Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into slices 1/8 mm thick.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, roll out the pastry to about 1/16 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out four 2 3/4 by 5 1/2-inch rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, place the pastry rectangles on it, well spaced apart, and leave to rest in the fridge at least half an hour.
  3. Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of sour cream on the pastries, leaving a 1/4-inch border all round. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry, slightly overlapping, keeping the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with the chili pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Check underneath; it should be golden brown.
  4. While the galettes are cooking, stir together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. As soon as the pastries comes out of the oven, brush them with this mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Beghrir, aka The Pancake with a Thousand Holes

25th October 2015

BeghrirI was in the Netherlands in May – in Rotterdam to be exact – and I tried beghrir for the first time at a North African restaurant. On the menu beghrir was listed as a “thousand holes pancake” served with honey and butter. My interest was peaked and in the end I order a big breakfast with a little of everything. The Moroccan beghrir was my favorite part!

So now back in Belgium I wanted to try and make them. The pancakes are very easy to make, although I did make a mistake when making my first beghrir. Normally to help cook my pancakes thoroughly, I cover my pan. But if you cover the pan when making the beghrir, you’ll have no bubbles!

Holes form from adding yeast to the batter. The yeast causes the batter to bubble, and once the pancakes are on the stove, the heat causes the bubbles to burst. Beghrir is cooked only on one side, making a very beautiful breakfast!

Rather than topping the beghrir with syrup, on the stove you melt roughly 1 part honey with 1 part butter to pour over the pancakes right before serving. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and added a little bit of powdered sugar on top!

BeghrirMoroccan Beghrir, makes 16 pancakes

  1. Mix the flour, semolina, salt, sugar and baking powder in a mixing bowl. In a blender, measure lukewarm water to just over the 3-cup line. Add the yeast and process on low speed to blend. Gradually add the dry ingredients.
  2. Increase the processing speed and blend for a full minute, or until very smooth and creamy. The batter should be rather thin, about the same consistency as crepe batter or cooking cream.
  3. Pour the batter into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 10 minutes or a bit longer, until the top of the batter is light and a bit foamy.
  4. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir the batter, and use a ladle to pour batter into the hot skillet. Pour carefully and slowly into the center and the batter will spread evenly into a circle. (Do not swirl the pan; the batter should spread itself.) Make the beghrir as large as you like.
  5. Bubbles should appear on the surface of the beghrir as it cooks. Don’t flip the beghrir. It only gets cooked on one side.
  6. Cook for about two minutes, or until the beghrir doesn’t appear wet anywhere on the surface. It should feel spongy, but not sticky or gummy, when you touch it lightly with your finger.
  7. Transfer the beghrir to cool in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel. Once they are cool, they can be stacked without sticking.

Honey Butter Sauce

  1. In a small sauce pan heat the butter and honey together until mixed.
  2. Pour on top the beghrir and enjoy!

Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Pickled Carrots

30th September 2015

Moroccan Quinoa SaladAs I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband I really love pickling leftover vegetables. Rather than having to throw them away, pickling preserves the vegetables to be used for many more months. Plus the flavors they develop become more complex.

Most recently Koen pickled our leftover carrots with dried peppers and other spices using Bon Appetit’s Moroccan style recipe. They were finally ready to be eaten, so we wanted to choose a dish that would pair well with the carrots. I decided on Green Kitchen Stories Moroccan Quinoa Salad. This is one of my favorite salads and I knew the carrots would fit perfectly. So many delicious flavors – the garlicky marinated zucchini and eggplant with the crunch of green onions, the soft avocado, and the warm, spiced quinoa topped with fresh mint and cilantro. Mmm!

Carrots

Carrots

Pickled Carrots

  1. Pack carrots vertically into 1-quart jar, cutting spears to fit. If you have thick carrots, you can slice them lengthwise.
  2. Add lemon peel, garlic, and chiles, spilling some chile seeds into jar.
  3. Mix 1 1/2 cups water, vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, and cumin in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve, then boil 3 minutes.
  4. Pour hot brine over carrots, adding all spices to jar.
  5. Cool, then cover jar tightly and chill at least 1 week before opening.  Keep refrigerated.

Moroccan Quinoa Salad, serves 4

 

 

  1. Start by making the marinated vegetables. Spread out the zucchini and eggplant slices on a bbq, in a grill pan or in the oven, a couple of minutes on each side. Put them in a bowl, drizzle olive oil, garlic and salt over them and set aside.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to the package but add one tbsp cinnamon in the water. When it’s done cooking, rinse and set aside to cool off. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon and add five tbsp of olive oil into the quinoa. Chop half of the mint leaves and half of the cilantro, throw them in the quinoa and toss it around until everything is mixed.
  3. Serve in bowls together with the marinated vegetables, avocado, spring onions, the rest of the mint and cilantro and the pickled carrots.

Bánh Mì

20th September 2015

Banh MiI love a good bánh mì. When my husband and I were in New York City a couple of years ago, we went crazy trying all the different restaurants and determining our favorites. Unfortunately once we were back in Antwerp it was impossible to find. So what to do? Make your own! Now the Bánh Mì is becoming more popular in Antwerp and you can find it throughout the city, but we still enjoy making them at home.

So what is a bánh mì? Bánh mì is Vietnamese for bread. More specifically it refers to single serving size baguettes, introduced when the French colonized Vietnam. The bánh mì sandwich is a fusion of French and Vietnamese kitchens. You have the baguettes, mayonnaise, pâté, and jalapeños from France combined with the Vietnamese flavors of cilantro, cucumbers, and pickled carrots and daikon radishes. Yum!

This recipe comes from Food 52.

Bánh Mì

IMG_3317

Bánh MìCaramelized Pork Bánh

  1. Cut tenderloin across the grain of the meat into ½ inch pieces. Flatten each piece to an even ¼ inch between two pieces of saran wrap using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or large bottle.
  2. Mix ingredients from fish sauce to black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning – it should be sweet and savory so add more soy, salt, or sesame oil as you like. Add marinade to the meat and use your hands or large spoon to make sure all pieces of meat are coated in marinade. Marinate for 10-30 minutes.
  3. You can cook the pork on the grill outdoors (best) or indoors using a grill pan or cast iron pan, something that you can get very hot. Heat grill or grill pan to high and turn on that vent fan! Add vegetable oil to meat and stir to coat. Sear first side of meat until very dark brown on one side, then flip and sear on the second side. Be careful not to overcook it. The meat is thin so it cooks quickly, one or two minutes on each side.
  4.  To assemble sandwiches, slice baguette and spread mayonnaise on one side, pâté on the other. Add meat, pickled vegetables, cilantro and peppers. Enjoy!

Pickled Carrots and Radishes

  1. Slice carrots and radishes into thin slices. Mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning. Let stand as little as an hour or up to overnight. They keep for several days.

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Corn Cakes

25th August 2015

Corn CakesCorn is a summer staple in the Brörmann home. So crunchy, juicy and sweet! Maybe it’s the Southern Belle in me (grits, anyone?) but I can’t get enough.

I was thrilled when I found Naturally Ella’s recipe for corn cakes. It combined corn with another of my summer favorites – avocados. The combination is perfect – crunchy corn cakes with soft avocado and goat cheese, fresh cilantro, and zesty lime…mmm… Plus they are super easy to make!

Corn

Corn cakes

Corn Cakes

Corn Cakes with Avocado and Goat Cheese, serves 2

Corn Cakes

Toppings

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add in onions and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Remove corn from cob and stir in to onions, continuing to cook until corn becomes soft, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture in a bowl. Add ⅓ cup pastry flour, baking powder, egg, honey, lime juice, salt, and cilantro; stir until well combine. Add more flour until mixture pulls together and can form patties.
  2. Divide batter in to 5-6 patties. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Pat in to 1″ thick round disc. Fry on each side for 5-6 minutes. Each side should be browned.
  3. Remove the skin and pit from the avocado and cut into cubes. Toss with lime juice, red onion, cilantro, and salt/pepper. Top cooked corn cakes with avocado and finish with a sprinkle of goat cheese.