Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Persian pancakes with yogurt

When I want to try a sophisticated yet affordable kosher recipe, Elizabeth Wolf Cohen's book helps me. 
The tasty yogurt
I wanted to try this Persian recipe for a long time, but probably only this post-Hanuka blues was the necessary impulse to simply do it. As I trained my cooking hands in latkes for 8 days, coming each day with a new fancy idea, the pancakes were like the natural move towards another success in the kitchen. I modified at a certain extent the ingredients, eliminating the muscat, using 5 eggs instead of 6, normal meal instead of matzo meal and cayenne pepper instead of black pepper.

The ingredients needed for this wonderful recipe are:

- 400 gr. spinach; as it was almost impossible to find a fresh bunch of it, I used the frosten variant, equally tasty
- 2 scallions, finelly chopped
- 5 eggs, beaten
- salt, on taste
- 125 normal while meal
- coriander
- cayenne pepper

100 gr. oil for frying

For the yogurt:
I only added some pinches of cayenne and beat it together for a couple of seconds, and kept in the fridge at least 2 hours before use.
The famous pancakes

Add in a mixer the spinach, coriander and scallions, till you have a puree. Add the eggs, salt and pepper and the meal.

Pour the oil in the pan and wait for 3-5 minutes. Add small portions of the mixture and back on both sides. Let to rest on a backing paper for a couple of minutes.

Your gorgeous pancakes will be ready in less than 30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Zucchini and tofu salad

I needed - almost desperately - a recipe to match any kind of meal prepared for this Shabbos, while using a lot of products that were longing in my fridge for a couple of time, waiting to be rather cooked than throw in the bin. My creativity, based on the lecture of several recipes a day before, brought me to the conclusion that I need to prepare the following recipe:

I stage
Add in a pan and cook for around 20 minutes at moderate heat
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 5 scallions, finelly cut
- garlic on taste - my choice was of 5
- 2 pinches of sesam

II stage
- add 250 tofu - I think that only the simple type works, as the smoked could be quite heavy in combination with all the ingredients - sliced 

Put all the ingredients in the oven and fry together for another 15 minutes.

To be served and tasted regardless of the time of the day and the meals - excepts sweets, of course. For the fans of hard sensations, a pinch of Cayenne could add the expected excitement.

Bon appetit!

Fast salad with pine seeds

I tried this salad recipe for the first time Friday morning, trying to combine in the most tasty way a lot of ingredients gathered on my cooking table.

What I did was to mix:

150 gr. pineseeds
cut finelly 6 scallions
cut in 4 each of the 16 cherry tomatoes
cut finelly a bunch of fresh rucola - or rocket, for the Englishmen around here
2 spoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

The salad is ready!

Falafel setting

I am not a regular falafel eater, but especially when I am out of time for cooking a non-sophisticated Shabbos meal, I definitely prefer to cover an important part of the menu in less than 20 minutes. But because in the last 2 months I've had at least 3-falafel moments, it is important to be creative and impress your guests with a little bit of changes.

Yesterday, I added on the falafel plate:
- 3 scallions finelly chopped
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- a couple of rucola - or rocket, as the Englishmen will call it 

All you need for a healthy spring feeling!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pasta ideas

I am a big fan of pasta, and not only because I can have a very delicious and affordable meal in less than 30 minutes, but also because I can create new recipes each time.

First, there is a great variety of pasta types that you can find nowadays on the market, with various ingredients and shapes. This last aspect is very important for children that may be extremely bothered to see that for the last 3 days they were served only pasta. You can tell them that yesterday it was the shell, today you have the dinos and tomorrow maybe some spirals.

When it comes to the ingredients for the pasta, there are several possibilities.

The simplest one is to add some tomato sauce. As for me, I prefer fresh ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes with basilicum and some olive oil. The pine seeds will change completely the taste of the meal.

You can also think about various sauces:
- spinach, with 2 table spoons of melted butter, garlic, salt, 1/2 spoon of black/or Cayenne pepper;
- pesto, 1 pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, basilicum;
- 250 gr. finely chopped mushrooms, 1 zucchini, 10-15 black or green olives, garlic;
- ricotta cheese, with basilicum, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 10-15 finelly chopped black olives;
- 50 g almonds, 1/4 tablespoon black pepper, 100 g mushrooms finelly chopped, 2 spoons balsamico;
- 250 g tunna fish, finelly chopped with 1/4 tablespoon black pepper, garlic finelly chopped, 1 tablespoon olive oil.

The list could continue and once you are into the business of preparing pasta you can hardly go out by your own will. Unless you have some serious diet concerns.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What's in a breakfast?

A couple of days ago I was invited to an early morning business discussion that involved the choice of various sorts of 'national' and 'regional''breakfasts. I preferred to have my coffee, but after I had a look around I realized that I have not too many clear ideas about what can I expect to find in different types of breakfast. This post is aimed to bring more light into the lecture of a breakfast menu.

- English breakfast is always very consistent and usually includes: scrambled eggs, sausages, different sorts of bacon, baked beans, oatcakes (especially in Scotland), pancakes, tomatoes, potatoes (as chips or cake), mushrooms (fried), kidneys. The bread is either toasted or fried. It is accompanied by tea or coffee. The American variant has more sausages. This breakfast is also very popular in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

- Those who are looking for a more balanced died may order instead the French breakfast. You will be invited to taste fresh white bread with jam and butter or a freshly baked croissant (if you want to eat as French people do, do not eat the croissant with butter). It is accompanied by coffee or a glass of freshly pressed fruit juice. Sometimes, you can also have a light yogurt. 

- The traditional Italian breakfast may took by surprise those who love to have a good meal early in the morning, especially when on travel (as I do). One may expect to be served as colazione with coffee, bread and rolls, eventually fette biscottate (hard bread with jam and butter) and some biscotti.  A deep disappointment for someone that keep at high respect the Italian cuisine. Keep yourself hungry until you reach the lunch time!

- The Spanish el desayuna does not go too far from the Italian version of breakfast: café con leche - or hot chocolate for children - and sweet rolls or magdalenas. As everywhere in Europe, the cereals were introduced lately on the menus in the last decades, especially for children and thus your little ones can chose between various colourful boxes.

- I never found in the international breakfast the option of Portuguese breakfast, but you should believe my words that when you want to start your day in Lisbon, you will be delighted by the choices of fresh pastry and cakes. The simple thought of the bakeries, chocolate eclairs, and pasteis de nata that you can taste in the morning make is so mouth watering that I am about to change completely my holiday plans. 

- Last week I saw for the first time the content of a breakfast 'Bavarian style'. I don't want to describe the look in my eyes when I realized that the fans of such a lifestyle will eat early in the morning the traditional 'white wuerst', plus a bretzel, Weizenbier, bread or liver soup. I rather starve!

- During my 12 month-stay in Japan, I ate the same breakfast: steamed rice, miso soup and rolled omelet (tamagoyaki). In more expensier hotels you can also find nori (dried seaweed), broiled fish and natto (fermented soy beans). My very natural eating style in Japan helped me to keep me very fit and healthy. 

- The Russian breakfast is consistent and relatively simple: a sandwich with butter or ham, or some jam, an egg (boiled or fried), and tvorog (traditional cottage chese). Don't forget about coffee and tea, accompanied by some fresh pressed juice.

If you wander what's my favorite breakfast, the answer is: the Israeli breakfast. As someone who likes to eat a lot in the morning and drink more than one cup of coffee, this breakfast offers me the perfect combination of energy and different tastes that I am craving for at the beginning of the day. Any restauran in Israel will serve you: a fresh juice, freshly baked bread, olives, jam, hummus, labane, salad (cucumber and tomatoes), waffles, different types of cheese, eggs, sometimes even fish or blintzes and cereals. After one or two hours or eating, I can work till late in the evening without asking anything. This is what I call good life!

Have a good morning and a tasty breakfast!