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!

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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Colombian Arepas

A dear friend visited me over the holidays. She came bearing all kinds of lovely goodies, including a Colombian cookbook. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes.

After a day of sight-seeing, she kindly demonstrated how to make arepas, Columbian style. An arepa is a baked, grilled or fried corn patty, typically served with meat, cheese, eggs or vegetables. I absolutely LOVE arepas, they’re so nutritious and practical. I usually make them Venezuelan style. This type is thicker and eaten in a similar fashion to a hamburger — you slice the corn patty open and fill it with your ingredients of choice. My friend told me the Colombian version is much thinner and you typically put the ingredients on top of the arepa.

Tonight she prepared some arepas for me and my husband. I took a night off, observed her in action, set the table and prepared a little mixture of rucola, garlic, lemon and olive oil to go with the arepas. The below recipe makes 7 – 8 medium-sized arepas.

What you need.

  • 2 c. of pre-cooked corn flour (typically you can find this in an ethnic grocery store or grocery store aisle, some brands include P.A.N., Doña Arepa)
  • 2 c. warm water (a little more if the dough is too dry)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • canola or sunflower oil

How you make it.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200F/105 C. Place an ovenproof dish in the oven.
  2. Pour corn flour in a bowl.Add in 1 tsp of salt.
  3. Gradually add water 1/2 c water at a time, mixing with your hands each time to incorporate the dough. Once you add all the water, the mixture should form a ball. The dough shouldn’t be too dry nor too wet/sticky.
  4. Place just enough oil in a pan to coat the bottom and heat the pan on medium-high heat.
  5. Take a handful of the dough and flatten it with your hands to form a flat circle. Use your fingers to smooth out the edges.
  6. Place the patty in the oil and fry until golden brown, carefully flip it and do the same for theuncooked side. Place the arepa in the oven-proof dish and cover to keep warm.
  7. Continue until you finish cooking all arepas.

Cover the arepa with your ingredients of choice. I added cheddar cheese, tomatoes and rucola tossed with garlic, lemon and olive oil.

Enjoy!

Simple Roasted Curry-Flavored Okra

Who’s looking forward to the next couple of days off? Me! Last week was the kind of week, where I managed to get just enough sleep to stay sane, woke up, dashed in and out of the shower, grabbed some fruit and ran from train to work and class. I’d come home in the evening to a pile of clothes that eventually turned into a mountain and just pop some type of vegetable in the oven and hope for the best. I only have a cat, so chapeau and lots of respect to those with children, I don’t know how you juggle it all!

Any how, on my way home from teaching last week, I had a bit of time until my train arrived, so I popped into an African grocer near the train station. At the grocer’s I found okra, a staple vegetable from my childhood. I haven’t had it in years! Back then, I ate it battered and fried– no surprise there, what isn’t battered and fried in Alabama, hehehe! Anyway, this was one of my favorite childhood veggies.

In another attempt to just pop something in the oven and save time and stay healthy, I accidentally made the best okra I’ve ever had! It was tangy and flavorful, with a beautifully browned crunchy crust. Some people are turned off by okra because it can be a little slimy in texture. This recipe is really nice for those who avoid okra for this reason.

Roasted Curry-Flavored Okra

What you need.

  • Okra
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, curry to taste

How you make it.

  1. Wash your okra and pat it dry.
  2. Place okra in a bowl, add about 2 TBSP of olive oil (depends on how much you’re making), season with salt, pepper and curry.
  3. Roast on 425 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until browned and slightly crisp.

I served this with salad, fruits and cheese – as I was looking for a quick healthy lunch. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Medley

There’s one vegetable that I miss a lot from home and that’s sweet potatoes. Actually, you can find sweet potatoes in Switzerland, but the trick is finding good ones. A couple of years back on Thanksgiving, I desperately tried to recreate my Aunt Henrietta’s sweet potato pie recipe. Major fail! The potatoes at the grocery store were long, thin, frail remnants of sweet potatoes.

Today, while picking up some veggies at the grocery store I happened to come across lovely sweet potatoes– jack pot! I made one for lunch and the taste was absolutely wonderful!
I imagine this recipe would work well as a healthy alternative to fries and would complement a hearty salad or grilled meat. I just ate it as a meal and enjoyed every bite.

What you need.

  • Potato of choice,  I used Russet
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika

How you make it.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 (app 200 C)
  2. Cut  thin/medium (app 1/4 in, .60cm) potato slices
  3. Cut medium slices of carrots
  4. Oil the bottom of a baking dish, places veggies on the bottom of the pan and drizzle oil on top
  5. Season slices.
  6. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until roasted, golden brown and tender.

I used the grill setting on my oven, perhaps this would work nicely in a broiler as well.

Enjoy!