Category Archives: vegetables

We won´t go down without a fight

It seems that most of us are constantly struggling against our bodies… for some reason, hips and tighs refuse to support our cooking endeavours properly, those rebelious bastards! But, not to panick, Lisa and Kelly devised a foodie event to help us all called Salad Stravaganza.

Basically, any sort of salad would do, so the possibilities were pretty much endless. But I didn´t have to think for too long: good old caponata salad was perfect for this. It has tuna, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, peppers and a special type of cracker called “galleta marinera” here, that looks something like this:

galletas marineras

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I´m sure you can use other types of crackers, just make sure it´s quite tough, kind of like very crisp breadstick.

You add the crackers a couple of hours before serving to let them soak in the salad juices so it lends a crunch, but not too much of a crunch that it gets in the way of the other flavors and textures. (The original recipe put the crackers at the beginning, but I found the crackers get too soggy for my liking that way.)

caponata

It´s really easy to assemble and has to be made at least 12 hours ahead of time to let the flavors meld together, so it´s perfect for a dinner party (with some meat if your guests are into meat, I just made this along with a Caesar´s salad and my guests were perfectly happy.)

Caesar´s

Being an Italian salad, there´s no fancy dressing, just a clever combination of ingredients to bring out the best flavor. Oh, and sorry for the bad bad pictures, the light wasn´t cooperating and I was in the midst of a cooking frenzy, so pictures weren´t high up on my list of priorities.

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Well, that´s it, that´s all I can do to fight the expanding nature of hips and tighs, hope it helps, though I have the feeling they will win in the end.

 Caponata (adapted and translated from Cocina Básica, by Blanca Cotta)

Eggs, 3

Anchovies, 6

Green pepper, half

Red pepper, half

Green olives, 100 grams

Black olives, 100 grams (Here I just used a big bunch of green olives because I´m not much of a fan of black olives.)

Tuna, canned with water (The original recipe called for tuna in oil, but I hate it with a passion, I´d rather add some good olive oil later on.)

Crackers, called “galletas marineras”, or similar, 4 big ones or 8 small ones

Garlic, 3 big cloves

Tomatoes, 4

Scallions, 2 tablespoons (optional)

Olive oil

Vinager

Capers, 2 tablespoons (the original recipe called for picked cucumbers, so you can use that instead if you´d like)

Salt and pepper

1. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes (after the water has started boiling, that is). Peel them once they are cold.

2. Cut the tomatoes and the scallions and put them in the bottom of the bowl you want to serve the salad in. Add a bit of salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar at this point.

3. Then add the tuna, the capers (or pickled cucumbers), the boiled eggs (chopped), the olives (chopped), the anchovies (yes, also chopped, in this case, very finely so that the flavor spreads out), and the peppers, chopped into thin strips. At this point, you should season the salad again (keep in mind that the anchovies and the olives are quite salty, though).

4. Cover with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for at least 12 hours (I like it better around 24 hours after it´s made).

5. About 2 hours before you plan to serve it, peel the garlic cloves. Using a fork, scrape the garlic cloves against the crackers to get them all nice and garlicky. Once you are done, break the crackers into medium-sized pieces and mix them into the salad.

6. Take the salad out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve it to allow the flavors to come out more clearly. Enjoy!

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Filed under events, savory, vegetables

Could you ever forgive me, oh you mighty sprout?

In food matters, as in life, it´s easy to let go of our bias, even if they are based on previous experiences. If we don´t like something, or think we won´t like it, chances are we won´t go anywhere near it.

Thus, brussels sprouts and me were worlds apart until only very recently. You see, I remember the not-so-friendly odor emanating from brussel sprouts cooking in the microwave. It was baaaaaaad, I really don´t want to recreate the smell here because I don´t want to ruin your appetite. Needless to say, I tried it once and hated it, and the smell that kept emanating from brussel sprouts every time my mom cooked them only reinforced my ideas.

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But, fortunately, thanks to food bloggers (I´m looking at Deb and Molly here) presenting delectable recipes using my nemesis, I began to reconsider. Besides, it was my duty as a food blogger to widen my food universe.

Well, I was wrong, oh so wrong, oh mighty brussel sprouts, how I offended thee!

You see, there´s no need to steam or boil them, you can just cut them and sauté them in a pan (or bake them in the oven if you are making a big batch). I use lemon juice so any sort of bitterness that might exist disappears, garlic, a bit of panceta and a touch of parmesan (yes, I do always use parmesan, it´s not my fault if it makes everything taste better!)

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Now, for all you naysayers, give them a try, I swear they don´t taste like what you think brussel sprouts taste like! They caramelize slightly and marry the other flavors beautifully. Plus, it takes me 20 minutes since I come from the farmers market to have this at the table.

I do realize fresh brussel sprouts might be hard to come by at this time of the year for those of you in the Northern hemisphere. But, you can keep this in mind come next fall, AND I have to endure seeing wonderful cherries and beautiful rhubarb all around, so this time, the joke´s on you! hahaha I know that no one envies my fresh brussel sprouts, but I´m working with what I´ve got, people.

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And for other first-time-trying-ingredients news, I made this cute brie sampler with grilled pears and arugula pesto to see if I liked brie, and I have to say I do! Not overly ripe though because I don´t get along with blue cheese.

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(“recipe” after the jump)

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Filed under savory, vegetables

a food blogger´s nightmare

If you ever wondered what´s the worst thing that could happen to a food blogger (I know you have wondered, come on, admit it), I have the answer for you: food poisoning!

That´s exactly what happened to me this week… though I´m still not sure which food was to blame or if it was a stomach virus or something… either way, I felt like crap for 2 days, and then had to stick to a strict diet for the rest of the week, which doesn´t really constitute a fun topic of discussion, especially if I had decided to give you all the details of my ordeal… it´s one of those situations in which there´s a clear line of TMI one shouldn´t cross.

So that´s why I haven´t blogged this week, that and me being a bit lazy, but I probably should ignore that bit of information, see? I guess I did share too much information after all. Well, anyway, I did have some nice encounters with food the previous week.

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This one was a nice and quick meal I enjoyed by cutting down some raw cauliflower, roasting it in a pan with some spices for a few minutes (paprika, cumin, curry, and ginger), then adding a touch of water and letting it cook for around 10 minutes, and adding some grated parmessan and chopped scallions at the last minute and serving it. Cauliflower never tasted better, quite spicy, with very complex flavours… which is another way to say it was so damn good. I served the cauliflower with a delicious Jewish onion bread I made and froze a few weeks ago.

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So I´m gonna leave you with just the photos of that particular meal and promise to translate the recipe of the bread for you tomorrow.

I wish you all a good start of your week, with no food poisoning on the horizon.

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UPDATE: Fulfilling my promise, after the jump is the recipe for the Jewish onion bread (called pletzalej). Enjoy!

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Filed under bread, savory, vegetables