Serving Suggestion for Fresh Vegetables Plate


My daughter’s kindergarten has held a “Family Day” activity, and our assignment was to prepare a vegetables plate. I thought of the below serving idea, using a braided basket.

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Naturally, the most interesting feature of this plate is the idea to put a dip inside the cabbage. “Scraping” the cabbage into this shape could be done using a large spoon with sharp edges. I used this Ice Cream Scoop (the brand doesn’t really matter, the form does). The dip itself, naturally, could be whatever suits your taste.

Just an idea…

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Mango and Cucumbers Salsa


The season for mango is almost over. I saw my favorite cultivar, called Maya at the market, and took some fruits without even thinking what to do with them. I am not sure if everywhere in the world people actually distinguish between various Mango cultivars, but in our country we have, at least, 4-5 clearly distinguishable cultivars of Mango available during the season.  The fruits of this specific cultivar are relatively small (like a large pear), with a very thin skin and very fruity, sweet and juicy pulp. The uniqueness of this cultivar is that the pulp isn’t fibrous like in many others, therefore making it very suitable for salads and desserts.

We bought some steaks today and I was looking for a light side-dish. Mangoes came very handy….

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Ingredients:

1 mango
1 medium-sized cucumber
1 small chili pepper (6-7 centimeters-long)
Cilantro and Mint – 2 table spoons of chopped leaves of each
1 branch of Basil
1 tbsp. of vegetable oil, odorless
1/2 tsp. of balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon, or, even better, lime

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Broccoli Crumble


I saw the idea a long time ago in some magazine, and then the Broccoli season has “arrived” and I’ve remembered it and made it. The dish is so successful, that I ended up repeating it multiple times since.
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Ingredients:

1 flower head of broccoli
1/4 glass bread crumbs (I use the “golden” ones, usually used for schnitzels)
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp. of grated hard cheese, preferably Parmigiano or Grana Padano, but could also be Kashkaval or Pecorino
1 tsp. sesame seeds
Salt, Pepper
1 tbsp. of olive oil

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Sicilian Caponata


I have tasted my first Caponata in a nice traditional restaurant in Catania (Sicily). The dish was so good, I ended up literally licking the cup that was used to serve it and asking for some more. As for the restaurant, named I Crociferi (the Crusaders), it was something special. Lets set aside the fact that the food was very good, and the selection of fresh fish and sea food was absolutely out of this world (which is pretty normal for Sicily), the place itself was memorable. Imagine being sent back in time for, say, 40 years or so… Large hall (30-40 tables) with tall arches separating it to a number of areas. The tables, made of dark wood, were covered with flawlessly white cloth. A memorable experience…..

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Caponata is a widely prepared salad in Sicily, heavily based on eggplants. We’ve tried many versions of it and all other ingredients could vary (sometimes it would have some local flavors, depending on the are of Sicily you are in). Here’s what I managed to taste in the majority of them: tomatoes (of course), tomato paste, olives (green or black or both), capers, red pepper, chili pepper, vinegar (wine vinegar). Almost in every traditional Sicilian restaurant, you’d get a version of this salad with local bread.

When preparing mine, I was trying to emulate the most memorable one – the one from I Crociferi. It definitely isn’t identical, but quite similar and, regardless to authenticity, very tasty. Every time I am making this dish, I start remembering the vacation and the restaurant, so for me, its always a double pleasure 🙂

Ingredients:

(For half-a-liter of salad)
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium-sized eggplants
2 tomatoes
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp of small capers (salted)
7-8 green olives
2 tsp. tomato paste
50 ml. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

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Curry and Corn Pancakes


This recipe qualifies as gluten-free, its very easy to make and serve as a perfect snack.

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Ingredients:

For 8 pancakes:
400 grams corn seeds (fresh, defrosted or canned)
3 tbsp. rice flour (can be substituted by a “regular” flour)
1 tbsp. yellow curry paste
1 egg *
1 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp Fish Souce (Nam Pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 glass of finely-chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves
Corn Flour (optional)
Frying oil

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Challah Bread


As opposed to most of the bakery recipes I publish on this blog, these breads take quite some time to prepare. On the positive side, they are amazingly good, and every time I make them, they get eaten within a matter of hours. So, if you’d like to take up a challenge – lets bake a filled Challah.

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The original idea of making such a bread is not mine. It belongs to Erez Komarovsky, a chef/baker that started as an owner of a bakery, then developed it into a network of bakeries, then added restaurants, and then sold them all in order to move to a quiet and peaceful Galilee to continue cooking (and teaching others) there.

The idea of baking a Pâte à pain roll filled with vegetables (or meat, or cheese) is, of course, far from being original. The innovation here is taking the same approach with a Challah bread. For those not familiar with the concept, let me say a couple of words about Challah: it is a kind of bread loaf, prepared for festive days according to Jewish tradition. (Saturday, for instance, is a festive day). It is a kind of very soft (and, in many cases sweet) pastry, that is very aromatic. In fact, for many Jewish families, the aroma of freshly baked Challah is intrinsically connected with the aroma of “home”. The goal Erez has defined for himself was to keep these very important qualities of Challah, but to create a filled version, where the filling would combine naturally with the dough.

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Calamari Salad


I found a nice squid salad recipe at eryv’s journal, some time ago, and remembered it again relatively recently. Since I didn’t look at the original recipe and made the salad from memory, it turned out as a surprise that the result was very similar to the original. (A case of “Great minds think alike? :-)) The salad is very fresh, ideal for summer days. If you have fresh home-baked bread, the go just lovely together.

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Ingredients:

2 large red bell peppers
3 medium-sized tomatoes
1 medium-sized red (purple) onion
5-10 parsley branches
2 basil branches
1 tbsp. capers (salted)
Juice of half-a-lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 kg calamari (tentacles for this salad)

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Orange Soup with Goat Cheese


There is something about thick/creamy orange-colored soups that make them especially popular in my family. Maybe its the fact that a bright orange color is a great mood setter, or my husband’s love for sweet potatoes (and mine for pumpkins) or something else. The fact is, that, at least twice a month, I find myself preparing an orange-colored soup. They can be lighter in summer and heavier/thicker in winter. This time I wanted to make something original and “play” a bit with the ingredients.

Here’s the logic for the ingredients: goat cheese is a great companion for pumpkin and sweet potato, as its piquancy combines well with their natural sweetness. Additionally acidity and aroma of oranges provides a great complement/contradiction to a velvety sweet pumpkin taste. All that’s remaining is to add some low-fat cream to balance (and subdue) all the flavors and we’re getting a very original, rich winter-type soup with great aroma and substance. It is thick, but, thanks to orange notes, doesn’t feel heavy at all.

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Ingredients:

(For 2-2.5 liters of soup)
1 Cucurbita moschata pumpkin (or 1.5 kgs of ordinary pumpkin)
1 medium-size carrot
1 medium-size sweet potato
1 small onion
1 trunk of leek
30 gr. butter
3 branches of thyme
water
2 oranges
250 gr. low fat cream
100 gr. young white goat cheese

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Mini Eggplant and Bell Pepper Quiches


Following-up on the mini-quiches theme started by Mini Pumpkin and Three Cheese Quiches post. Below is the recipe for very quick eggplant quiches.

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Ingredients:

(For 7 quiches)

1 medium-sized eggplant
1 medium-sized red bell pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sour cream
120 gr. feta cheese
2 eggs
1 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 branch of basil and 1 branch of thyme
salt, pepper

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Mini Pumpkin Quiches with 3 types of Cheese


Here’s a very quick recipe for mini-quiches. They are very quick and can make an excellent breakfast or late-night dinner snack. When accompanied by some sort of a fresh salad as a side dish they can become a complete light meal. Also, they are a great idea for picnicking – the portions are already made and they can be great without pre-heating.

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Ingredients:

(For 12 quiches)

150 gr. pumpkin
150 gr. carrot
150 gr. sweet potato
150 gr. kashkaval cheese
160 gr. mozzarella cheese
60 gr. Roquefort cheese
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves
Leaves from 3 branches of basil
5 eggs

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