Do you love vegetables or do you merely tolerate them? When Brad and I met I quickly learned that one of his favourite quotes was borrowed from Homer Simpson, the infamous “you don’t make friends with salad”. I am happy to report that a few ‘properly’ cooked vegetable dishes changed his opinion, and now he happily gobbles up a plethora of salads that I make. I can eat vegetables in any form or shape, I will even eat the majority of them simply boiled with a pinch of salt and pepper or raw but if I am completely honest with you I could not be inspired to write about them. Salads are too often associated with dieting, and therefore pain, and it’s completely unfair! Vegetables could be so vibrant and lively if put together with a little bit of thought and care. This Warm Zucchini Salad shows up in our house regularly and with many variations. It could be served as a side dish to your meat for dinner or on it’s own for lunch. It could also be served warm or cold. You can also add a few chunks of fresh mozzarella for a balanced veg + protein meal. The flavours that all the ingredients produce together is like a beautiful melody. It’s so tasty and comforting especially on a cold winter day, the type of meal that will transport you from winter in London to the seaside by the Mediterranean. I tell you this salad is pure magic!
- Zucchini-4 small
- Grilled Red Peppers (prepared from a jar or your own. Recipe here) 1 or 2 large
- Tomatoes (red and yellow cherry tomatoes or regular)-1 large or 5-6 cherry tomatoes
- Marinated mushrooms(Italian anipasti or saute your own)-1/2 jar
- Garlic (minced)- 1 clove
- Basil (fresh or dried)-a small bunch
- Balsamic Vinegar- 1 tbsp.
- Olive Oil- 1 tblsp. for cooking zucchini
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Slice your zucchini 1/4″ thick , sprinkle them with salt and pan fry them in a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat-2-3 minutes on each side until golden.
Remove your zucchini from the pan and put them in the salad bowl, squeeze 1 garlic clove directly on them and tear a few basil leaves into the salad bowl to allow warm zucchini absorb the flavours.
Slice grilled peppers and tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
Now throw in your mushrooms, drizzle a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, mix everything carefully taking care not to mash up your delicate vegetables. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Done! This wonderful dish is as quick and simple as it sounds but there is nothing “simple” about the taste! It’s complex and involved. The sweetness of basil and zucchini balance the tanginess of tomatoes and balsamic vinegar while a slight taste of garlic adds a refreshing zing to the whole ensemble!
Are you set on your Christmas dinner menu already? If you are anything like me you’d be changing things the last minute, adding to already existing ones and re-arranging everything from top to bottom. It’s impossible for me to stick with just one recipe for something, I get so distracted by the variety available to me and I want to try them all!
This post is about a stuffing recipe that I invented on a spur of the moment and surprisingly enough it turned out to be delicious. In fact, my husband said he could eat it alone as a meal! It wasn’t something I thought about or planned. I was simply cooking a pork roast one Saturday and I kept adding more and more sides to it. This recipe was born!
You know I actually already have a perfect stuffing recipe that I’ve been making for holidays for a while. It’s hard to beat perfection and why would I mess with it! More importantly why would I mess with stuffing when everyone knows it has a potential to taste like a bland clump of bread! The answer is I get bored when things are the same and I need to spice them up every once in a while. Also when you work with ingredients like these how can it possible not be fabulous?!
Another reason for this experimentation is I love cooking with Spanish sausage- chorizo (and I had quite a bit of it kicking around in the fridge that needed to be used), it gives the dishes such lovely flavour and zing! It also turns everything it comes into contact with yellow or orange which is like a bit of sunshine that the Spaniards share with all of us Northerners! I was curious to see if it would work with this very non-Spanish meal.
Like I said this was not a pre-meditated affair so I had to use ingredients I had on hand. Next time I make it I think I am going to add chestnuts for more texture!
In my humble opinion, there are a few ‘must have’ components of a tasty stuffing besides bread or rice- a sausage of sorts, a variety of herbs, fresh or dried fruit and nuts. All things combined will give us flavour, texture, a bit of spice and comfort!
- Bread -stale French baguette- 2/3 or 200gr
- Butter- 1tbsp
- Onion-1 medium
- Garlic-2 cloves
- Apple-1/2 (grated)
- Chorizo- 150gr
- Dried Figs-10 (chopped)
- Sage-2-3 sprigs (leaves only)
- Rosemary-2-3 sprigs(leaves only)
- Pine nuts-1/4 c.
- Stock (beef, pork or vegetable)-1c.
- Egg-1 large (slightly beaten)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and butter an oven proof dish.
Cube your bread and put it in a large bowl. Chop up your onion and herbs and saute them in the frying pan with butter on a medium heat until translucent but not coloured for about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook for a minute longer. Transfer to the bowl with bread.
Dice chorizo and figs and add them to the bowl with stuffing. Add all the remaining ingredients except the egg. Mix well together adding salt and pepper to taste. Finish off with the beaten egg, mix the stuffing again and transfer to the buttered baking dish.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until puffed up and golden.
This stuffing has a slightly sweet and spicy taste. It’s crazy flavourful and although it doesn’t have that traditional and familiar Christmassy taste it’s lovely nonetheless and goes especially well with this pork roast.
I hope you are adventurous enough to add this newbie to your Christmas table. I promise you won’t regret it and your guests will be so impressed with the bold and innovative combination of flavours!