4th August 2015
It’s warm again in Antwerp – Thursday it’s supposed to hit 87 degrees! When the weather is hot, I crave salads. Green Kitchen Storie’s Maple Tossed Rhubarb and Lentil Salad is one of my favorites. The flavors and colors are so fresh and vibrant.
Rhubarb is a delicious addition. Before I had only used it for baking, but raw is also delicious! The chopped rhubarb adds a nice crunch and sour compliment to the sweetness of the strawberries and tomatoes.
Because I prepare most dinners after work, I like to cook my lentils either the day before or in the morning so it’s completely cool when I get home – then I only have to chop and add the fresh ingredients!
Maple Tossed Rhubarb and Lentil Salad, serves 4
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 fresh, thin rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 small box of strawberries, sliced
- 1 small box of tomatoes, quartered
- 10 stalks of aspargus, cut into 1″ pieces
- 15 fresh basil leaves
- Goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Cooking lentils: Rinse the lentils under running water and cook in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Let it boil 2-3 minutes before reducing the heat to medium. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. When done, add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool. We add the salt at the end, otherwise it will toughen them during cooking.
- Making the salad: Prepare all salad ingredients (except feta cheese) and place in a large bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing, add to the salad and toss with your hands. Top with feta cheese and a couple of basil leaves.
18th May 2015
When the weather gets warmer, I really crave tomatoes. It doesn’t matter if they’re raw, roasted, baked, stewed, etc. I just can’t get enough!
Summer tomato lentils from Sprouted Kitchen is a really great summer brunch or dinner dish. You have oven roasted tomatoes, lentils, goat cheese, and fresh herbs all mixed together and served in a pita bread. I did make a few changes to the recipe. I tried to make the crispy shallots but it just didn’t work for me. So I added the shallots to the tomato dish and roasted them in the oven. I also used 1 clove of garlic and sea salt instead of garlic salt with the tomatoes, but feel free to make your own improvisations!
Mmm! It’s easy, healthy, and delicious!
Summer Tomato Lentils, serves 2
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/3 cup goat cheese
- 2 large shallots, pealed and sliced thin
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup chives, chopped
- 1/3 cup basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 F or 165 C
- Cut tomatoes in half. On the baking pan, toss with sliced shallots, 1/2 tbsp. of the olive oil, minced garlic, and salt. Turn the tomatoes so they are cut side up, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Rinse and drain the lentils, pick out any scrappy pieces. In a medium pot bring 1½ cups water to a boil, add the lentils, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Test the beans for doneness; the liquid should be absorbed, add more if they are not soft to your taste. Put them in a large bowl and crumble in the goat cheese so it melts in the warmth. Add the lemon zest and juice, and gently fold to coat.
- Gently fold the dijon mustard, remaining olive oil and fresh black pepper into the goat cheesey lentils. Add the basil and chives, and roasted tomatoes and shallots. Add salt to your preference.
- Serve in a pita and enjoy!
5th April 2015
I love Sunday brunch. Sunday is the only day of the week that my husband and I are both off from work. So every Sunday we plan a special breakfast/lunch meal to enjoy after sleeping in.
My New Roots’ Veggie and Egg Tower of Power is one of my favorites. It combines so many delicious flavors – oven roasted tomatoes and sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, sauteed spinach, and poached eggs! Who wouldn’t want to start their day with this colorful dish?
Veggie and Egg Tower of Power, serves 2 very hungry people
- 750g of sweet potatoes
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 4 big handfuls of spinach
- 2 medium red onions
- Olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Salt, pepper, and chili flakes
- Start by caramelizing the onions. Peel and slice the onions into rounds. Heat some oil in a skillet, add onions and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally (not too often, or they will not brown) until dark, soft and sweet – approx. 30-45 minutes. Do not wash pan after use.
- Preheat oven to 400 °F/200 °C. Slice sweet potatoes across their width into ¼”/6 mm round discs. Coat with a little oil, place in a single layer on 2 baking sheets, leaving one sheet with a little space for the tomatoes. Wash and slice tomatoes in half. Place on one baking sheet with sweet potatoes, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until everything is soft. Keep in the oven until ready to serve.
- Once the onions, sweet potatoes and tomatoes have all finished cooking, put a shallow saucepan of water on to boil, stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
- Wash spinach, but do not spin dry, as the water will serve to steam the leaves while cooking. Add spinach to the onion pan on low heat and stir occasionally until wilted (3-4 minutes).
- While the spinach is wilting, poach the egg:
1. Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, add one tablespoon of vinegar, and reduce to a gentle simmer.
2. Crack one egg at a time into a teacup and carefully tip it into the water bath. With a spoon, gently encourage the white to encase the yolk, if desired.
3. Set the timer for 4 minutes.
4. When the time is up, remove egg with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to remove any excess water. If you are cooking more than one egg at a time, keep the cooked ones in a little bit of poaching water to keep warm.
While the eggs are poaching, assemble the plate: place 6-7 slices of roasted sweet potato on the bottom, followed by the wilted spinach and caramelized onions. Scatter the roasted tomatoes around the base with a drizzle of good olive oil. Place the poached egg on top of the stack, sprinkle with chili flakes if desired, and a generous grind of sea salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
1st February 2015
One of my favorite ways of preparing vegetables is by roasting them in the oven. Slicing up veggies and tossing them with a little bit of oil and salt before letting them bake in the oven for half an hour makes the perfect side! Combinations are limitless!
Zucchini pizza boats combine my love of roasted vegetables with pizza. They are easy and delicious! Plus you can be creative and add whatever toppings you’d like!
Zucchini Pizza Boats
- 1 zucchini per person
- Marinara sauce (my recipe follows below, or you can use your favorite jarred sauce)
- Toppings for the pictured boats:
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- Other possible toppings:
- Bell pepper
- Mushrooms, etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut off the ends of the zucchini and slice lengthwise. With a spoon, hollow out the middle.
- Arrange a baking tray with baking paper and the zucchini slices.
- Spoon in marinara sauce, then whatever toppings you’d like.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve with pasta topped with the leftover marinara sauce and enjoy!
Lisa’s Marinara Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Crushed dried peppers (to taste – I like my sauce super spicy!)
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 14oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Place a large sauce pan on a medium-high heat. Once the pan has heated up, and olive oil and crushed dried peppers.
- As soon as the oil becomes fragrant, add the shallots and garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- After the 15-20 minutes, remove the cover and, using a potato masher, crush the tomatoes until you have a nice, thick sauce.
25th January 2015
I have to admit I first made Spaghetti alla Puttanesca when I found out that it translates into “Whore/Slut/Prostitute’s Spaghetti”. The name is so funny and the sauce is so delicioso!
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca first came to be in the mid-20th century. While Italian housewives woke up early to go the market for fresh ingredients, the ladies of the night had to make do with jarred and canned ingredients. AKA this dish is inexpensive and easy to make.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is deliciously salty, tangy, spicy, and garlicky. I have experimented with different versions of Puttanesca suga (sauce) and my favorite is from My New Roots.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, serves 4
- 500g spaghetti
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 small red onions, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1 cup kalamata olives with pits
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- A couple of pinches of salt
- Caper berries for garnish
- Fresh parsely for garnish
- Cook spaghetti according to instructions on package.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on low heat. Add the crushed chili flakes and let steep as the oil warms up. When the oil is hot add the garlic and let fry gently for 1-2 minutes, then add the onion and cook until translucent, 5 minutes or so.
- While the onions are cooking, pit the olives by lining several up on a cutting board and smashing them with the flat side of a knife blade. The pits are now easily removed. Roughly chop once or twice.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the oil, stir well, and cover to simmer for as long as you have (minimum 10 minutes). If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water until the desired consistency is reached.
- Place desired servings of pasta in each bowl. Serve with the sauce on top, and garnish with a few caper berries. Drizzle with olive oil and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
23rd January 2015
When I first began taking an interest in cooking, I was so excited to successfully bake empanadas! I was so proud of myself for preparing the filling and making the dough from scratch. It was a milestone for me in the kitchen.
I know that empanadas are really popular in America, but for anyone who doesn’t know, I like to describe them as Mexican calzones. The great thing about empanadas is that you can fill them with anything. To make mine a bit lighter, I like to use ground chicken mixed with tomatoes and cilantro. Yum!
This recipe is my adaptation of Martha Stewart’s recipe for empanadas.
Empanadas filled with Ground Chicken and Tomatoes, serves 3-4
- 4 cups of flour (I like to use spelt)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 egg, beaten for the glaze
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 jalepeno peppers, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper (I used pili pili)
- 2 14.5 oz cans of tomatoes, diced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine all dough ingredients. Knead dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Knead each half 2 or 3 times to form smooth balls. Cut each ball into four equal pieces. Cover with plastic; let stand until slightly risen, 20 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a skillet over medium-high, cook meat until no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add onion and jalapenos; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder and tomatoes. Cook over medium until mixture has thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in cilantro. Let cool.
- Either roll out the dough into 8″ circles for pretty empanadas, or you can just form the circles with your hands like I did. If you free form the circles, the dough can break when closing the empanadas, but you can just use extra dough to patch it up. Divide filling evenly among rounds, spreading it over half of each and leaving a 1/2-inch border.
- Brush border of bottom halves with water; fold top halves over filling to enclose completely. Press edges to seal with your fingertips, then crimp firmly with a fork.
- Place empanadas on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash, avoiding crimped edges. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
16th January 2015
I have a lot of barley. I didn’t realize the word for barley (gerst) and millet (gierst) in Dutch were so simliar and wound up with a lot of barley by accident. This has allowed for a lot of experimentation in the kitchen and I’m happy to share with you this Caprese Barley Salad by The Sweetest Occasion.
A caprese salad is a delicious combination of flavors – the light, slightly sour taste of the tomatoes, with the mellow, saltiness of the mozzarella, topped with the freshness of basil…yum! Combined with barley, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, you have a delicious, healthy salad for lunch!
Caprese Barley Salad
- 2 cups uncooked barley
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 16 oz mozzarella
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 8-10 basil leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Combine barley and vegetable stock in a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed, remove pot from the heat and cover for 10 minutes.
- While the barley is cooking, slice the mozzarella into bite sized pieces and the cherry tomatoes in half. Wait until just before serving to chop up the basil.
- Once the barley has finished cooking, mix all of the ingredients together and enjoy!
4th January 2015
Another of my favorite food blogs is Naturally Ella. The recipes are healthy, delicious, and simple. Sometimes cooking at home can be a bit daunting, but the recipes on this site are easy to make and generally not too time consuming. Perfect meals for during the week!
The recipe I’m featuring today is my adaptation of Naturally Ella’s Grilled Halloumi Toast with Tomato Bruschetta. Recently I’ve become a big fan of halloumi, a Cypriot brined cheese that has a very high melting point. Because it doesn’t melt easily, it is perfect for frying. Halloumi is very salty, so the sweetness of the tomatoes creates a perfect balance.
Grilled Halloumi Toast with Tomato Bruschetta, serves 2
- 4 slices of halloumi
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 4 pieces of bread (I used ciabatta)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Olive oil for brushing
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Dice tomatoes and mix with sliced almonds, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary, but don’t add salt because the cheese is very salty.
- Preheat your oven on the grill setting. Rub one side of the toast with garlic, then brush with olive oil. Place bread in the oven, garlic side facing up, until toasted.
- Heat a pan on medium heat and add olive oil. Fry the halloumi until each side is golden brown, about 4 minutes.
- Assemble by placing the hot cheese on the toast followed by the tomato bruschetta and enjoy!
2nd January 2015
For my birthday I received The Green Kitchen. I’m a big fan of the Green Kitchen Stories blog and was really excited to receive one of their cookbooks from my sister-in-law! To quote their site, the founders create “healthy and simple vegetarian food with natural ingredients, whole grains, good fats, fruit and vegetables.”
The recipe I’m featuring today is my adapation of the Portabello & Peach Burger. All of the flavors are so delicious – grilled portobellos and sweet fruit served with guacamole and fresh herbs. I encountered one problem. Peaches in the winter! After a bit of thinking I decided the best substitute would be mango and it didn’t disappoint! I will warn you that this is a messy burger but it’s worth it!
Portobello & Mango Burgers, serves 2
- 2 portobello mushrooms
- 1 mango
- 2 ciabatta rolls
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- Fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 sprigs of finely chopped rosemary, 1 chopped and the other set aside
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 avocado
- 1 small tomato
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Clean the portobello mushrooms, removing any dirt. Peel and slice the mango.
- Combine all the guacamole ingredients and mash with a fork so it is mixed but still chunky and set aside.
- Make the marinade by combining all of the marinade ingredients. Use the rosemary sprig to brush the mushrooms and mango with the marinade.
- Preheat a pan and grill the mushrooms and mango slices for about 3-4 minutes on each side, marinating them as they cook.
- Slice the bread and toast lightly. Place a dollop of guacamole on the bottom bun, add the sliced spring onion and fresh thyme, one mushroom, and a slice of mango. Add the top of the bun and enjoy!