Salads & Vegetables

Peach Sweet Corn and Halloumi Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

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This salad sums up summer in one plate. It is the kind of salad you eat and feel so happy and satisfied, sunshine on a plate. Fresh sweet corn and juicy peach season is here in Austin and I can have this salad almost every day until the last peach. If you are like me and bought two little baskets of peaches at the market, because one did not seem enough for your peachy desires, well we are in the same boat. The good thing is that extra peaches are not a problem once you get the hang of this salad.And if you still have some peaches left over, bake a pie, make this fantastic mini peaches and cream empanadas you have a good alibi for as long those peach baskets last you….

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Let me describe you this salad. Imagine the flavor of fresh sweet corn crispy yellow kernels, in combination with juicy bright sweet tangy floral peach slices, a few pieces of pan seared golden Halloumi cheese salty, crusty outside, and creamy gooey inside, over fresh arugula and greens. All come together with a delicious sweet and tangy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette. It is ridiculously good. It is. Because yes. All the sweet, juicy tangy, salty briny, herb flavors together, one bite of these salad you are hooked!

Peach-Sweet-Corn-and-Halloumi-Salad-with-Lemon-Basil-Vinaigrette_Texas-sweet-corn_Yes,-more-please!

If you never had Halloumi, it is a firm brined cheese that when pan-fried or grilled holds it’s shape and gets crusty golden. It is a bit salty, and texture-wise along its warm its gooey on the inside, then becomes a bit chewie, a pleasent chewie. I bought it in this fantastic shop called Phoenicia Bakery and Deli here in Austin, Tx. It is a fabulous store. They carry foods from around the world but their emphasis is Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialties. Cheeses, olives, pantry items, spices, preserves, teas, coffee, dry fruit, to mention a few. They also make the best freshly baked pitas in town. Not to mention they have a small menu for lunch, with great falafel, Gyros, Kafta and Shawarma. Dessert?… no problem from Pistachio Baklava to delicate pastries filled with pine nuts and rose water. And for me their fresh Feta cheese is the best in town, they have 3 different kinds, Bulgarian, French and sheep’s milk simply delicious. You have to go, it is a must…

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If you are not in Austin you must try to find a specialty food shop were you can buy this delicious cheese… Explore and try something new! Get your inner peach and make this glorious Peach Sweet Corn and Halloumi Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette fresh salad. Lunch, dinner or both, it travels great for a picnic on the park or to daydream about summery days at the office. All you have to do is to close your eyes and almost feel your feet on the green grass, the sun warming up your eye lids and a warm breeze asking you is it summer time yet?….Run and get peachy now! Enjoy.

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Creamy Basil-Zucchini Noodle Soup

Creamy-Basil-Zucchini-Noodle-Soup_Yes,-more-please!

Welcome Spring! and its amazing crazy weather, hehehe… here in Austin, Tx it’s rainy, cloudy and around 60 degrees that feels like 50 degrees. So I think a vegetable noodle soup, with a bright green hue, light, creamy and bright will lift up any cloudy weather… If you live in a part of the world where the weather feels accordingly with the Spring season, hey! this Creamy Basil-Zucchini Noodle Soup it’s also for you since it can be served warm or cold.

Describing this soup is a dreamy pleasure, it is creamy, fragrant, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, green, calorie friendly and easy to make. The basil, ginger,  and coconut give this soup an aromatic spring flare. The raw zucchini noodles add bite and texture to the soup. For me, it always has been interesting to enhance one flavor by combining different cooking variations of it. Raw, steamed, roasted, sautéed, two or three variations in one dish with the same ingredient. I believe that by maximizing one subtle ingredient like zucchini you can achieve maximum dept of flavor, textures, temperatures and add lots of character to the dish by focusing on “the” one ingredient.

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Six ingredients joining one pot, and the fun task of making zucchini noodles. By the way, have you made Zucchini noodles before? It is awesome. This little apparatus called the vegetable spiralizer it is the bomb!. As you know, I’m not very fond of unitaskers in the kitchen, the only uni-tasker gadget I owned and loved was the Julienne peeler, until now. (which by the way you can use if you do not own a spiralizer) This vegetable spiralizer belongs into the FUN category, it transforms any meaty root vegetable or fruit into the most beautiful curly noodles. I’ve used, zucchini, carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cucumbers, rutabagas, green papaya, apples, pears, uff! you name it. It’s really easy to use and clean up. If you have heard of it, yes it is awesome! (No, I’m not getting paid to say this, what you are reading it is my honest opinion, in fact, I did not even buy this beautiful red spiralizer ha! It was a Christmas present from my friend Andrea…Thank you, Drea! I love it! Hehehe.)

So, dear friends, whether you are experiencing a warm or cold Spring; Begin by making this delicious soup and enjoy the Spring ride!

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Creamy Basil-Zucchini Noodle Soup

Serves 4

2 lbs. zucchini.  I combined half dark green zucchini, half Mexican calabazita aka zucchini. Use what is best available.
1 -16 oz. can organic coconut cream unsweetened
1/2 small onion
2 garlic clove
6 large, fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
1  teaspoon kosher salt
4-6 Cranks of fresh ground Black Pepper

Preparation:

1. Reserve ½ of a large green zucchini for the raw zucchini noodles. Cut the rest of the zucchini into cubes.
2. Make the zucchini curls following the directions of your spiralizer, or use a Julienne peeler. Set the curls aside.
3. In a medium-size pot, add the zucchini cubes and the rest of the ingredients. Cover and bring to a slow simmer, cook for 20 minutes until the zucchini is fork tender but not mushy.
4. With an immersion blender, a blender or food processor, puree until smooth. At this point add a bit of water, or vegetable stock to adjust the soup to your desired thickness. Keep soup warm, and serve a couple of ladles into each bowl, add a handful of the raw zucchini noodles on top. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and fresh black pepper. Enjoy!

Note: You can add little tofu squares, corn kernels, queso panela or mozzarella little squares if you want to make it into a complete lunch or dinner… This soup makes for a fabulous beginning of a meal, for lunch or if you dare for brunch…put an egg on it!

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Enjoy!

Music pairing:https://youtu.be/C-1mYXVP1Ok

Creamy Basil-Zucchini Noodle Soup

Serves 4
Course Soup
Cuisine FUSION
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. zucchini. I combined half dark green zucchini half Mexican calabazita. Use what is best seasonal available.
  • 1 -16 oz. Can Organic unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 4-6 Cranks of fresh ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preparation:
  2. Reserve ½ of a large green zucchini for the raw zucchini noodles. Cut the rest of the zucchini into cubes.
  3. Make the zucchini curls following the directions of your spiralizer, or use a Julienne peeler. Set the curls a side.
  4. In a medium-size pot, add the zucchini cubes and the rest of the ingredients. Cover and bring to a slow simmer, cook for 20 minutes until the zucchini is fork tender but not mushy.
  5. With an immersion blender, a blender or food processor, pure until smooth. At this point you can add a bit of water, or vegetable stock to adjust the soup to your desired thickness. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to your taste if necessary. 

    Keep soup warm, serve a couple of ladles into each bowl, add a handful of the raw zucchini noodles on top. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note: You can add little tofu squares, corn kernels, queso panela or mozzarella little squares if you want to make it into a complete lunch or dinner… This soup makes for a fabulous beginning of a meal, for lunch or if you dare for brunch…put an egg on it!

 

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Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette

 

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Semantically Ambrosia is a powerful word, the food or drink of the immortals, Greek goodess, sweet luscious juicy fruits, sweet honey smells, something that will bring  youth, pleasure, and health. In my crazy fantasy food world I imagine Homer, Penelope, Aphrodite, and Sappho and their ambrosia offerings of sweet and incredible nectars.  But the enchanted elixir got shattered when I Googled “ambrosia salad” and the record sounded broken. To my surprise his ambrosia salad it is an abominable concoction from the 50’s. Where all the Greek Gods must of been under the marshmallow influence, along with cans of syrupy fruits like cherries red no.5, pineapple chunks of yellow no.5 undistinguished cubes of fruit matter, bright green grapes and that fluffy component all tied up into a sweet coma. That’s what I call fulminating love…(Pepé Le Pew style hehhee)

Being lost in translation and trying to rescue the origins of the word,  this salad came to my mind. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “no wimpy salads” and a lot of encouragement to try and thrive while you feed not only your body, but the enticing act of eating consciously present and awake.

Althoug, I can not promise all of this matters in just one salad, I will assure you that this is not a wimpy one. In fact it does have the Ambrosia elements, fruits, smells textures, sweet, salty, acidic, juicy, creamy, crunchy all the components that make a salad a memorable meal, and the kind of salad you will crave the next day and perhaps the next weekend too. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, grapefruit segments, cucumbers, salty, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy nutty and meaty walnuts, all carefully combined and drizzled with a simple three ingredient Dijon-honey -grapefruit juice vinaigrette.  Needless to say the salad is healthy, energetic, nutritious, beautiful  and delicious.

This Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette  is what you need to welcome Spring and feel like a greek goddess, Enjoy!

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_Yes,-more-please!_greek-goddess-salad

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Green Green Coleslaw

Green_Green-Cole-Slaw_ready-to-eat!_Yes,-more-please!

Texas summer heat is like Kryptonite. Do you remember how Superman used to get exposed to this green glowing Kryptonite and you could hear a sound like this: ~ waaayioh, waaayioh, waaayiho )) ) ) ) ) you could almost see the waves that debilitated the strongest blue and red caped man in the comic world… Well, I’m not muscled or caped like Superman, but the Summer sun is my Kryptonite.

I often can see and hear the heat waves whispering:

~ waaayioh, waaayioh, waaayiho )) ) ) )

~ Am I delirious?…

No, the truth is that I’m in much need of a little break from the high temperatures. I needed a boost of fresh glowing green in my life and I could not resist some leafy crunchy vegetable medley action. We all know what this leafy greens are brimming with fiber along with vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances. Imagine what they can do for you.

August is a hard month to get great produce; too much heat here in Texas. I know the green leafy season is not here yet, but thanks to California’s amazing weather and hard-working farmers, I armed myself with some of my favorite green vegetables: kale, mustard greens, green cabbage, green apples, celery, onions and a little fresh corn. After a little chopp-ah-rooh, and combining all this shredded goodness with some light vinaigrette, this Green Green Coleslaw was born.

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The combination of the different greens add great flavor and texture. A tangy oil honey and apple vinegar dressing, with a good punch of dry oregano, and seasons, make this green-green coleslaw light and crunchy. It is lightly dressed. No soggy cole slaw for me, thank you. If you are the creamy cole slaw type, this will convert you into the vinaigrette version.

This Green Green Coleslaw, makes a great side dish for, salmon, any white grilled fish, chicken, pork, beef , shrimp, tofu, tempeh, rice, lentils, white beans…you name it. You can add some roasted almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds and it will be a great left over for next day lunch.

Nice and easy, this recipe is all about fresh and nutritious green power all in one bowl. A salad
with great personality and flavors, this green-green cole slaw will restore your energy and refresh you on this fiery Summer. Like a good Kryptonite, you know? hehehe Enjoy.

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Green Green Coleslaw

Serves 4-6 or 1 super man.

The vegetable action:

½ half of a small green cabbage head
4-5 San Jacinto Kale leaves
1 large mustard green leaf.
2 celery stalks
1 ear of sweet yellow corn
1 medium-large green apple
½ medium onion

For the dressing:

¼ cup grape seed oil
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 heaping teaspoon dry oregano. (Not crazy about oregano?, tarragon, dry basil will go great too…)
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
The zest and the juice of one lemon.

Feel free to add some nuts, for crunch and protein, toasted almonds or walnuts will taste fantastic.
Or some golden raisins will add an extra sweet note. If you are a Mayonnaise lover, substitute the oil for 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of plain greek yogurt.

Preparation:

1. Finely chop the cabbage, the kale (remember to remove the hard steam on the kale and the mustard greens), Finely chop the onions, celery and de-kernel the sweet corn. Chop the apple like  matchsticks.

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2. In a large bowl, whisk all your dressing ingredients, add all the chopped vegetables and toss well.

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3. Set a side and let it rest for 10 to 15minutes before serving.
4. Taste, adjust for salt and pepper if necessary. Serve and Enjoy!

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Watermelon Wedge Salad

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Its hot in here! Austin is reaching 100F temperatures. All I can think of is something refreshing. I’m craving lots of juicy ingredients. So what to make?… Watermelon and iceberg lettuce together its the ultimate ode to crisp and fresh.
Inspired by the classic wedge salad, I played with summer flavors and made a Watermelon Wedge Salad. It consists of one head of iceberg lettuce cut into quarters plus a good sweet crisp watermelon dressed with a light and clean, olive oil + salt + black pepper dressing. 
One bite has it all; crisp crunch of the iceberg lettuce, tangy lemony light dressing, sweet juicy watermelon, creamy and salty pancetta, fragrant basil adds a great herb note.

What is not to like ?

This recipe is a pairing of summery ingredients that work divine together. Much like a summer gathering of good old friends having a good time.
Easy, fast and fun to make, in a blink of an eye this salad is ready to cool you down.

Music pairing: Our favorite music band : SPOON just released its new album: “They want my soul “
that is what is playing on the background.

Keep it fresh. Enjoy!

Watermelon-wedge-salad_ingredients

Watermelon Wedge Salad

Serves 4 warm souls

1 head of iceberg lettuce
4 cups seedless watermelon chilled.
½ cup goat cheese crumbs.
2 half inch thick slices of pancetta.
Small bunch 6-8 large leaves fresh basil.
2-3 tablespoons fresh finishing extra virgin olive oil
2 juicy lemons
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

1. Cut the pancetta in small cubes, sauté until crisp and render the fat. Place them over a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

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2. Remove the hard steam of the lettuce. Cut the head lettuce in four wedges.
3. With a melon baller scoop 4-5 cups of watermelon balls.

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Watermelon-wedge-salad_ready-set-go!
4. Place the lettuce wedges on a plater, and drizzle olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, generous amounts of kosher salt and black pepper.

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5. Add the watermelon balls, crumbled goat cheese, crispy pancetta.

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6. Tier the basil leaves and sprinkle on top, add the rest of the lemon juice a little extra drizzle of olive oil, serve.

Note: Make sure your watermelon is cold, place it into the refrigerator hours before to ensure maximum chill! This salad taste better when the crisp clean iceberg lettuce and the juicy watermelon are cold.

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Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the freshest of them all?

Music Pairing: Spoon – They want My Soul

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Zucchini Ginger Brown Rice Bowls

Zucchini-Ginger-Brown-Rice-bowls_ready-to-serve-Yes,-more-please!

Light and refreshing is what best describes this recipe. A one bowl meal! It’s no fuss, maximum flavor, raw zucchini with a gingery-soy sauce over a nutty sesame seasoned brown rice. This Zucchini Asian flare recipe, is so light, refreshing and savory, you are going to want to eat it more than once a day.
I know what Brown rice does not have a great reputation among the grains because it tends to be mushy and it can taste like cardboard… Well my friend, I have you covered on this one, you will love the quick easy method that I use. Cook the brown rice as you would cook pasta. Use  a large pot with plenty of water and pinch or two of sea salt. The brown rice boils loosely for about 25-30 minutes; stir often and check for an al-dente consistency. When is up to my desired doneness I strain it and the heat of the steam dries the excess water in the brown rice,  leaving you with perfectly cooked,  fluffy individual grains, with great texture cooked trough and slightly  al-dente.

Using this method, I cook larger batches of brown rice and use them later for a quick sautéed, salads, soups or in this case; this humble and refreshing Zucchini Ginger Brown Rice bowl.

As you can see there is hope for this misunderstood grain. I assure you once you try this method you will love brown rice again.

Enjoy the bountiful zucchini season and stay fresh!

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Zucchini Ginger Brown Rice Bowls

Makes 2 meal bowls

3 medium size zucchini any color is up to your preference.
1/2 cup toasted and finely chopped cashews or walnuts
2 green scallions finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (any color)
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger.
1 small garlic clove grated

For the dressing:

1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame seed oil
2 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar

For the rice:

1 cup short grain brown rice
8 cups of water
2 pinches of salt.

Season the rice with:

1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar.

Preparation Method:

1. Bring to a boil a large pot filled with 8 cups of water and 2 good pinches of sea salt. Once is boiling add the brown rice, bring back to a boil, and then lower the temperature for a slow simmer. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
2. While your rice is cooking, shred your zucchini, ~omit the seed core on the zucchinis~ I used one of my favorite uni-taskers, I absolutely adore this julienne peeler! you can get it any cooking supply store or get it on-line. Toast your walnuts, chop the scallions, grate your ginger and garlic.

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3. In a large bowl combine the shredded zucchini and one good pinch of salt, toss well and let it stand for a few minutes. This will draw out some of the excess water out of the zucchini.Toss water from bowl and place zucchini on a clean kitchen towel and gently squeeze with your hands as much water as possible. remove from towel and with your hands fluff up the shredded zoodles. This step is very important, because avoids watering down your vinaigrette.
4. In a large bowl Combine the drain shredded zucchini, finely chopped toasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds, green scallions, grated ginger, grated garlic.
5. Combine the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar. Set a side you will dress your zucchini right before serving. Please check on your rice.

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6. Check for rice doneness. I usually look for a soft but firm grain, that tastes cooked and has a god bite. Usually is around 25-30 minutes, the doneness I prefer. See the picture below.If you want to go a little further on cooking is up to your preference, give the rice another 5 minutes, re-check and taste; always taste!
7. Once your rice is cooked, with the help of a colander or a sieve, strain the rice. Allow the hot steam to dry the extra water, give it around 5-7 minutes. Once all the excess water is drained and still warm, transfer the rice into a bowl and season with the sesame oil, sesame seeds and rice vinegar toss until well combined.

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8. Once your rice is seasoned, Add the Soy sauce sesame seed oil, and rice vinegar dressing to the zucchini mixture. Toss well.

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9. Using two deep bowls, divide the rice and top it with the zucchini mixture. Sprinkle some extra sesame seeds and for spice maybe some Thai pepper, red pepper flakes, or some Sriracha-hot sauce! Enjoy!

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Fresh, light, easy lunch or dinner…

Music Pairing: Nanobots – They Might be Giants

 

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Summer Eggplant Parmigiana

 

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The first days of summer are arriving in Texas, and with them an incredible vegetable abundance.
This weekend eggplants at the Farmer’s Market grabbed my attention in such a way that I bought too many!… That’s the the way my crave of cooking works, with my eyes. I’m a very visual person and I believe good, healthy, fresh vegetables have to look good and smell good. Being visually inspired at the farmers market helps me create and translate my cravings into recipes. When I saw these eggplants I immediately thought of eggplant parmigiana. I love eggplant parmigiana, although to be honest sometimes the delicate eggplant flavor gets lost in the breading, frying , melted cheese, and marinara sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these components, but maybe in Autumn or winter…

With this memory of flavors in mind, I started to think of how could I transform a classic into a more simple and Summery version. I came up with this Summery eggplant parmigiana recipe. A lighter version in which instead of breading and frying the eggplant I cut them lengthwise and roast them in the oven. Eggplants when roasted this way, develop a buttery flavor almost like a vegetable custard contained in it’s own skin. That’s why Im skipping the melted cheese on these recipe. Believe me you have to try them, you will be enjoying the delicate eggplant flavor. To add texture and contrast to this custard I added a combination of panko bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. If you have a gluten allergy these can easily be replaced with ground pecans,or almonds instead of panko breadcrumbs which it will be equally or even more delicious.

Instead of the warm marinara sauce, I made a warm tomato salad with a garlic oil dressing combining the first sweetest cherry and sun gold tomatoes of the tomato season. These little tomato marbles are incredibly flavorful, I never feel like cook them I almost eat them like grapes, as a snack in the afternoon. That’s one of the reasons this simple warm salad enhance their great qualities.

This summer eggplant parmigiana version will warm your heart. It is easy to make, light, and comforting.

Welcome to the summer, and enjoy!

Eggplant-Parmiggiana_beauty-ingredients

Summer Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 4

2 large eggplants
1-2 glugs of grape seed oil
sea salt and Black pepper

For the topping:

1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated.
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
A pinch of red flake peppers (optional)

For the warm tomato salad:

2 cups of a combination of cherry and sun gold tomatoes.
2-3 sprigs of fresh Basil
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
(Rice Vinegar goes so well with the sweetness of the tomatoes. Since this little tomatoes are so sweet, you need to balance the acidity , and the seasoned rice vinegar pairs fantastic , bringing all the notes together, sweet, salty and tangy.)
salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

Preparation method:

1. Preheat the oven 450F/ 230C
2. Cut the eggplants length wise and score them with a pairing knife.Rub the eggplants with some olive oil or grape seed oil, season them with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
3. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast them for about 15-18 minutes.

Eggplant-Parnigiana_-how-to-bake-it
4. Mean time, in a bowl combine the Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined and the mixture resembles moist sand. Set a side.
5. Start making the warm tomato salad, by cutting the cherry and sun gold tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size. Chifonade the basil. Combine them in a bowl, toss them with the rice vinegar, salt and pepper.
6. In a small pot add the extra virgin olive oil along with the thinly sliced garlic and using the lowest possible heat on the stove, start warming up the oil. This will infuse the oil with the garlic and the thin slices of garlics will start turning golden brown.

Eggplant_Parmigiana_tomatoe_salad_ingredients

7. Check your Eggplant, take out of the oven top each half with a generous amount of the panko mixture. Place them into the oven for another 5 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Eggplant-parmigiana-baked_panko-crust
8. Mean time check your garlic and olive oil. Once the eggplants come out of the oven, remove the warm oil from the stove and add this to the cherry and sun gold tomato salad toss well.
The warm oil will gently warm up the tomatoes,the garlic chips will add flavor and aroma to the tomato salad it is a fantastic!

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9. Once your eggplants are ready out of the oven transfer them onto a platter, and top with the warm tomato salad, grate a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil. Enjoy!

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Summer-Eggplant-Parnigiana_Yes,-more-please!eat-me!

Welcome the Summer!

Music Pairing: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Summertime

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Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic + Cumin Rub

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Chef Dan Barber was the creator of the famous Cauliflower steak. His original recipe uses the whole cauliflower head. He slices two thick cauliflower wedges and sears them in a cast iron pan until the cauliflower is caramelized but al dente. He cooks the rest of the cauliflower florets in milk to make a smooth and light mash. He serves the cauliflower steak over the light cauliflower mash. The contrast in textures and different cooking methods is what makes this dish outstanding.
Cauliflower to the square; a brilliant idea.

Chef Dan’s cauliflower approach inspired me to create this recipe. Instead of contrast in textures, I wanted a contrast in flavors but chose a spice that enhanced the grilled cauliflower. With Dan’s premise of simplicity in mind, I made a four ingredient paste as a rub with garlic, cumin seeds, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I wish you could off been here with me when I was pressing the garlic and cumin seeds in the mortar, the smell was insanely good.  I must confess that prior this recipe I was not fond of cumin seed flavor and using cumin was totally out of my comfort zone.This recipe gave me a different outlook about it.

  I rubbed two cauliflower steaks and the rest of the loose florets with this pasty rub and grilled them. When the cauliflower was grilling the aromas were insanely good: smokey, lemony cumin and garlic.   It’s a savory aroma that squeezes your tongue from behind. I just can say that  I am converted now. These  two flavors work together so well that I see lots of cauliflower in my near feature…
Enjoy!

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Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic + Cumin Rub

Serves 2 as main dish, 4 if served as a side dish.

1 Medium fresh Cauliflower head.

For the rub:

2  teaspoons cumin seeds slightly toasted.
3 medium garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sea salt. (I used grey sea salt)
1/3 – ½ cup extra virgin Olive oil.

Serve with:

Tangy Bulgarian yogurt
Grilled pita bread
Sprigs of cilantro
Fresh cracked black pepper.

Grill and natural Charcoal.

Preparation method:

1. In a small skillet over low heat, toast the cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes.
2. Using a small mortar, place the toasted cumin seeds, garlic cloves and sea salt. Start smashing these ingredients with the pestle, until it looks like a paste.
3. At this point start adding the extra virgin olive oil little a the time, and keep mixing and smashing until each oil addition is incorporated.
4. With a silicone brush rub both sides of the cauliflower slices and the florets.
5. Fire up your grill.
6. Grill the Cauliflower steaks for about 4-5 minutes per side. They should look charred and with a fork check the center core for doneness.
7. Remove from grill and serve warm with some grilled pita bread, Bulgarian yogurt, fresh cilantro, a bit of fresh black pepper and a squeeze of lemon if desired. Enjoy!

Grilled-Cauliflower-with-Garlic-+-Cumin-Rub_applying-the-rub

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 Enjoy!

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