Gluten-free Spaghetti with Sage Pesto

My family members all have gardens, I have a garden and I’m a member of a farm share. Needless to say during summer and fall, my house is practically covered in vegetables. It’s sometimes challenging to find time to freeze and cook everything, but it’s also fun being creative and planning menus. I should probably learn how to can, jar or pickle some vegetables at some point. If anyone has any good online resources to recommend, I’m all ears.

Anyway, this recipe was a big hit. It’s very light, yet nutritious and indulgent and best of all it’s low-fat and packed with vitamins. It’s 100% gluten-free. I imagine this recipe could also work as a raw vegan alternative. If you’re vegan you could entirely omit the cheese from the dish as well. My husband got a little nervous when I told him I’d be making a pasta dish without the pasta, so he cooked a small side of pasta to go with his veggies.

Hope you enjoy!

Makes enough for 1-2 (2 if you plan on serving it with a side salad)

What you need.

  • One large zucchini (or two medium)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of sage leaves
  • 1/2 c flat leaf parsley
  • 1 – 2 TBSP goat cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • sea salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic

How you make it.

  1. Add sage, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice to your food processor and chop until it reaches a smooth consistency. Mix in about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of olive oil, parmesan and goat cheese. (Pour in 1/8 and if it’s a nice consistency, you can stop there or if it’s too dry and a little more olive oil).
  2. Slice mushrooms and sauté them in olive oil (abt. 2 TBSP) over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. With a julienne peeler shred your zucchini into strips. Once mushrooms are slightly softer, add your zucchini “spaghetti” and cherry tomatoes to the pan with the mushroom, add another tablespoon or two of olive oil, mix ingredients together. Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes over a medium heat.
  4. Turn heat to low and stir in your sage pesto. Season with sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Enjoy!

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Quick, simple, healthy breakfast ideas

I used to always purchase commercial brand cereals for breakfast. It was simple, quick and convenient. However, the more I cook, the more conscious I am about the ingredients in my food. Now, I never buy boxed cereal and try to diversify my morning plate with some delicious and healthy breakfast alternatives. It’s great to know the ingredients that go into my morning breakfast are generally all natural and good for me. The below breakfast alternatives are rich in protein and fiber, packed with vitamins and very fresh. These ideas take anywhere from 3 – 15 minutes.

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What are some of your favorite breakfast options?

Recipe Share: Hummus and Tahini

I’m not sure what my recent obsession with chickpeas is about this month. Last recipe share was a chickpea veggie burger recipe and this one is hummus. Must be this growing bump under my frilly apron. I always thought I’d take advantage of late night ice cream or brownie cravings during my pregnancy, but alas everything I eat seems to require chickpeas.

This month’s recipe came from the blog Frugal Feeding. A remarkable blog, where you can find just about everything delicious! I like that the blogger even tells you how much money cooking things at home cost you vs in the store. For most, in fact all recipes, just pennies in comparison to store brought.
http://frugalfeeding.com/2011/04/18/hummus/

What I changed:
-Halved the quantity of ingredients (I was low on chickpeas).
-Added fresh basil and parsley in lieu of cilantro.
-Added a tablespoon of tahini
-Made a smoother paste, since I like mine on the smoother side.

The tahini was homemade and I found the recipe on the blog Passion for Family.
Also a wonderful blog with simple and easy recipes. Again I halved the serving size. Since I didn’t have the proper equipment I used my coffee grinder. Got the job done.
http://passionforfamily.com/2012/11/27/homemade-tahini/

Heading on summer holiday to France. I have a lovely container of hummus veggies and bread backed for the trip. I’ll try to remember to snap photos of all the delicious food! Happy cooking!

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Recipe Share: Adapted Chickpea Burgers

This week’s recipe was taken from the blog, Take a Bite out of Life.

I stumbled across this blog while searching for a recipe with chickpeas. I’m happy I did, because the blogger not only has some delicious cake recipes, but also has great recipes for those with dietary restrictions. Definitely worth checking her out.

Her chickpea burger recipe has a wonderful spicy kick to it. It’s a delicious and healthy burger alternative that’s packed with protein. It’s also low in fat and cholesterol. Serve warm with lots of delicious herbed yogurt (plain yogurt mixed with your favorite herbs), your favorite salad or veggies mixture, pita bread and little squeeze of fresh lemon.

You can find the recipe here.

The only things I did differently:

  • Instead of oats – I used 1/4  c of corn flour (ground maize)
  • I omitted the oregano, flaxseed, curry powder and siracha sauce instead I used instead: salt, pepper, cumin and paprika
  • I added one egg and 2 TBSP of fresh lemon juice
  • I added freshly chopped chives (1 tsp), parsley (1TBSP) and basil (1tsp)
  • Instead of baking, I pan grilled each burger on each side for 6-8 minutes .  (The following day, I baked falafels with the leftover mixture and it was yummy, so both methods work well).

My Favorite Pasta Salad Ever!

Yesterday I had a small 4th of July dinner, per usual tradition. For dinner, I served rump steak cuts marinated in balsamic vinegar and molasses, summer squash sautéed with onions and pasta salad, followed by a dessert of red velvet cake, served with summer berries. Meat has slowly worked its way back into my life after a month without it.

Back to the menu, I must say, the pasta salad was really the true star of the show. The meat and zucchini– only backup dancers. This salad is so refreshing and light. It’s chock full of delicious flavor and has a light citrus taste. This morning I actually contemplated eating it for breakfast with a slice of red velvet, but then realized that would leave me without lunch.

This recipe is really simple to make, hope you enjoy it. And for those back home, hope you had a fun 4th!

 

What you need.

  • 200 grams / app. 1/2 pound of pasta (I used whole wheat fussili)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, minced
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 c of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp of chives, chopped
  • 1 TBSP of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c of shredded parmesan
  • paprika, sea salt and pepper, to taste

 

  1. Boil pasta according to directions, strain, and run under cold water until cool.
  2. Place pasta, avocado, peppers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, in a bowl. Pour lemon juice on top and gently mix.
  3. Mix garlic and mayonnaise in a separate bowl. Add to salad and gently mix, evenly distributing sauce.
  4. Mix in fresh herbs and cheese, then season to taste.
  5. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

 

Cook a Blogger’s Recipe Month?

While scrolling through my reader, I instantly started drooling over and liking  many recipes from food bloggers that I follow. There are so many wonderful recipes and food bloggers out there, it’s overwhelming at times! I often find myself simply saying “oh that looks so good, I have to try it”. However, as soon as a log-off, I go back to cooking my own dishes and simply liking others. I’m not sure if this is your experience too?

In attempt to make a more interactive exchange with other food bloggers, I thought during the month of July I’d try another blogger’s recipe and blog about it. I’ll be sure to give credit to that blogger and link readers to the original recipe. If anyone else would like to take part, simple try a recipe you’ve been eyeing and post about it.

Now on to the fun part, “screen” shopping for next week’s tasty recipe.

Hope you’ll join me! If you do take part please tag your post “Recipe Share”. Happy Cooking!

Rosemary Salmon with Quinoa and Mango Salsa

This recipe is simple, healthy and protein-packed. It combines mildly sweet, savory, nutty and tangy flavors. It’s a nice meal to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

What you need.

  • quinoa
  • salmon
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • mango, diced
  • avocado, diced
  • diced red pepper
  • red onion, minced
  • parsley (or cilantro)
  • fresh lemon juice

How you make it.

  1. Start off by cooking your quinoa, according to instructions. (For nice fluffy quinoa, cover the pot with a top and simmer on low).
  2. While your quinoa is cooking, prepare your salsa. Mix mango, avocado, red pepper, onion, herbs and lemon juice (1 TBSP for 2 servings)
  3. Season your salmon with thyme, salt and pepper. Place butter in a pan and melt, throw in rosemary sprigs, add salmon on top of rosemary and cook on medium-high until 1/2 way cooked and golden brown. Flip salmon and do the same for the opposite side.

Enjoy!

Rosemary Zucchini Goat Cheese Pancakes and Balsamic Reduction Sauce

My Mom is visiting me at the moment. It’s been great having rotating cooks in the kitchen. Among visiting some of our favorite local spots in Switzerland, recently we traveled to Morocco for one week. During our trip, I unfortunately caught a slight case of food poisoning, after eating chicken from a small restaurant. After this experience, the sight and smell of any type of meat makes me slightly nauseous and sick. I’ve never been a big meat-eater as is, but for the time being, I’m avoiding it until the desire to eat it returns, if it ever does.

Despite my little incident, the trip was fabulous. Morocco is one of my favorite countries to visit, the landscape is so diverse and the people are very warm and welcoming. We spent a lovely evening in an old fortified mountain town, Ben Ait Haddou.  Our riad hosts were so wonderful, we didn’t have to leave the hotel for entertainment. They served us a 4 course dinner consisting of: cucumber, tomato, onion, lemon and olive oil salad served with Moroccan country bread, followed by a chicken and vegetable tagine, full of yummy goodness, a lovely plate of the sweetest watermelon I’ve ever tasted and of course the customary mint tea – infused with thyme. After stuffing us to our capacity, the hotel owner serenaded us with traditional Berber music and then handed out drums to everyone and that’s when the party started. We danced, sang to songs we didn’t understand and laughed until the wee hours of the night. Unfortunately, I was too busy chomping away to snap pictures of the food.

Now that I’m back home, I’m just having fun testing out some new and interesting veggie recipes. I recently found a recipe that combines some of my favorite things, savory and sweet, breakfast type food at dinner time. This was a big hit at the dinner table. It’s light enough for a nice summer dinner, simple enough to prepare in under 30 – 40 minutes and fancy enough to impress your friends at your next dinner party.

What you need.

Salad + Dressing

  • your favorite salad ingredients. I used: oak leaf lettuce, apples, carrots, mixed nuts and raisins
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar

Pancakes

  • 100 g flour (app. 1 c)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 – 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 150 ml (app. 3/4 c milk)
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini sliced slightly thin
  • 50 g (1/2 c goat cheese)

How you make it.

balsamic reduction

  1. Make your salad.
  2. Heat the balsamic on medium, once it decreases to about half the original amount, add your brown sugar.
  3. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, drizzle over your salad (and pancakes too if you’d like).

Pancakes

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and rosemary in a bowl.
  2. Mix milk and egg in another bowl, make a well in dry ingredients, pour in, mix. Place the batter in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  3. Slice up zucchini, cook in olive oil and butter until slightly brown (about 3-4 minutes on each side).
  4. Add your goat cheese and zucchini to the batter, folding the ingredients in carefully.
  5. Using a ladle or big spoon, scoop mixture in an oiled pan on medium high heat. Cook about 3 minutes on one side or until bubbles start to appear, flip and finish cooking.

Serve these pancakes right away, warm and with dip them in your salad sauce for a savory and sweet treat. This recipe makes about 6 medium-sized pancakes, so enough for 2 people.

Fish Chowdah

On Monday, I  checked out my friends’ Facebook photos the Boston Marathon. I couldn’t help but feel a bit envious. I recall Marathon Monday being such a lively and fun day. People from all over lining the streets and strolling throughout the city, infected with contagious excitement and energy. My friends posted pictures Monday of blue skies and their sideline views of runners.

I went to bed early that night reminiscing on my city and feeling a little homesick. Words can’t express how surreal it was to wake up on Tuesday morning to learn there were explosions at the Boston Marathon. My heart really goes out to anyone and everyone, affected by the horrible events that took place at the marathon. In fact, my heart goes out to anyone out there in the world that is witness or a victim to such nauseating incidents. Seeing this kind of thing happen in a city as beautiful as my own, at a marathon, well it just all seems so pointless and sad.

Yesterday, after speaking with family and friends and confirming that they were all safe. I really wanted to eat something from home. I decided to make fish chowder. This recipe is very simple, rich and delicious. It took me back to memories of strolling outside in Quincy Market and grabbing a quick cup of chowdah with friends. It made me think about all the positive things about Boston. It’s a city with so much culture and distinctiveness. An incident like yesterday won’t and shouldn’t define it.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

What you need.

  • 2 c stock
  • 2 TBSP flour (optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 c minced onion
  • 2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
  • 1 c cream + 1 c milk (or you can opt to only use milk)
  • 2 cups diced white fish
  • 1 TBSP butter (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How you make it.

  1. In a pot or large sauce pan over a medium heat, sauté onions in about 2 TBSP olive oil . Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender, do not brown.
  2. Sprinkle flour on top and mix, add in thyme.
  3. Pour in stock and add potatoes, cook over a medium-high heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, pour in cream, milk and fish and cook on low heat until fish is done cooking, about 5 – 8 minutes. Add a TBSP of butter and mix once dissolved. Taste and adjust, if needed.

All that was missing were the oyster crackers. =)

Serves 4, Enjoy!

 

Sourdough Pizza

I think I’ve died and gone to pizza dough heaven. Recently, I tried my hand at making sourdough pizza. The rise time is longer than a recipe using commercial yeast, but I think the process is actually easier. The dough browned beautifully and had an incredible crunch and slightly acidic taste.

You can start this dough in the morning and by the time you return home in the evening, most of the work will already be done.

The below recipe makes enough for two thin crust pizzas

What you need.

  • 3 c flour
  • 4 TBSP starter
  • 3/4 c luke warm water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

How you make it.

  1. In a cup or bowl, mix water and starter, until the starter dissolves. Add honey and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl mix flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the starter mixture and oil. Mix well, use a wooden spoon (and your hands) to incorporate all the ingredients until you have what resembles a messy dough ball.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place it in a warm area of the house and let it rise 10 – 12 hours, it should double in size.
  4. After the dough has risen, knead it for about 5 – 10 minutes, cover with the plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to the highest setting.
  6. Split the dough in half you can freeze one, if you don’t plan on making both. Roll out the dough and top with your ingredients of choice. I used mozzarella, salmon, chives, and tomato sauce and mushrooms.
  7. Bake the pizza for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!