Round Zucchinis Stuffed with Quinoa

17 Nov

The round zucchinis looked so inviting, sitting on the supermarket shelf, just begging for me to take them home and cook them with a comforting filling.

So, that’s just what I did.

The quinoa filling is a variation on a wonderful Iraqi red rice recipe, rice with grated carrots, tomato sauce and raisins. This rice recipe is one of my favorites, and apparently it works very well with quinoa as well.

I couldn’t stop eating the quinoa, with or without zucchini.

Ah, the stuffed zucchinis before they entered the oven. Don’t they look cute?

Lets cook.

Ingredients:

– 7-8 medium round zucchinis (I used five and had leftover quinoa filling, which was also delicious on its own.)

– 1 cup quinoa (once again I used my organic tricolor quinoa, yummy, I finished the bag and I’ll have to go buy new one for the next time.)

– 2 cups water

– 1 can of crushed tomatoes (or you may use 2-3 chopped fresh tomatoes and tomato paste for thickening.)

– 1 onion, minced

– 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed

– A handful of golden raisins

– Olive oil

– Salt and pepper

– Condiments, you may add to the quinoa paprika, turmeric etc. to your liking.

Preparations:

– Wash the round zucchinis (here they’re posing for the photo:)


– Now off with their heads! cut the top part just a few cm deep, keep the tops.

– Empty their content, I find this is most easily done with an ice cream scoop. Leave about 1/2 cm from the edges, not too thick, but thick enough for them to keep their nice round shape.

– Sprinkle the empty zucchinis with salt and pepper from the inside and place them upside down on a paper towel to drain.

– As for the zucchini flesh, chop it up or grate it. I have a few suggestions as to what to do with it, you may add it to the quinoa filling (cook it together with the rest of the ingredients), or if you wish to use them for something else, see my suggestions below.

– As you prepare the quinoa, it is recommended to put the zucchini shells in the oven, on 180 deg Celsius, for about 20 min, or until the quinoa is ready. It will save you the cooking time later.

Now for the quinoa:

– Wash the quinoa.

– In a cooking pan, saute the onion and the garlic in olive oil, and add in the crushed tomatoes and the condiments. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

– Then add in the quinoa and cook for 15 min.

– While the quinoa is cooking, spray a small dash of olive oil into a frying pan and toss in the raisins. The raisins will become puffy and brown and a nice caramel scent will fill your kitchen. Toss them in the pan only for a short couple of minutes and take them off the heat before they burn (which will happen quickly.)

– When the quinoa is done, add in the raisins and mix well.

– Now for the stuffing.

– Your quinoa:

– Goes into these zucchini shells:

– And ta-da, ready for the oven. You can fill them all the way up, really stuff them good.

– Put the tops on:

– And cook in the oven on 180 deg Celsius for about 1 hour. Yeah, it does take them a long time to cook, but it’s worth the waiting.

The zucchinis are ready when they begin to soften a bit but are still firm.

– Take out of the oven and serve with yogurt and fresh mint leaves.

Eat and enjoy.

Zucchini recipes:

If you chose to keep the zucchinis content and do something else with it, here are a few interesting options for you:

1. I made a Zucchini Cake , the recipe is from David’s site, I heartily recommend it, simple and tasty.

2. My mom sautes chopped onions with grated zucchinis and we eat it on bread with feta cheese, it’s delicious.

3. You can make zucchini latkes, from Smitten Kitchen, which is great since Hanukkah is coming up.

4. I searched the blogs for other yummy-looking zucchini recipes for you, and here’s what I came up with:

Zucchini risotto recipe from Earth Outlet by Petalfuzz

Deconstructed Zucchini Lasagna, from Casserole Crazy

or Zucchini with tomatoes, from I Believe in Butter,

or Zucchini-yogurt salad, from Almost Turkish Recipes,

or Zucchini Soup, from Seed to Spoon,

or even a Zucchini Pudding, from Breadcrumbed.

The weekend is coming up, with all these recipes, I’ll might just have to buy more zucchinis…

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‘Escalivada’ (roasted red peppers and eggplant) Quiche

30 Oct

My husband and I have just returned from a vacation in Barcelona, where amongst other things, we enjoyed the great Catalan food.

My favorite Tapas restaurant in Barcelona must be Ciudad Condal, judging from its popularity I guess I’m not the only one who love this place.

We ate there twice and on both occasions ordered the Escalivada tapas dish, which they serve as roasted red peppers and eggplants with a nice slice of roasted goat cheese on top. Delicious.

So, we’ve decided we must recreate this experience once we return home. It’s such a simple and delicious dish that I had to make it this weekend.

I searched the net for the traditional Escalivada recipe, and found it here: http://www.spain-recipes.com/escalivada.html

Then I’ve decided to use it in a quiche, the recipe for the quiche dough was taken from David Lebovitz site, I just took the dough recipe from this french tomato tart (which also looks great): http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/05/french-tomato-tart-recipe/

On top of it all I added the goat cheese, like in Ciudad Condal. The result is brought here for your enjoyment:

Ingredients:

For the Escalivada:

– 1 medium onion

– 2 red peppers

– 1 medium tomato

– 1 medium eggplant

– Olive oil (about 1/3 of a cup), extra virgin, good quality

– Coarse sea salt and grounded pepper

For the dough:

– 1 and 1/2 cups flour

– 125 gr unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

– 1/2 ts salt

– 1 egg

– 2 tbs ice cold water

For the quiche:

– about 150 gr good goat cheese (such as sainte maure or Chevre)

Optional:

– 3 cloves of garlic

– Some fresh thyme

Preparations:

– Preheat oven to 260 deg Celsius on grill mode.

– Put the red peppers, tomato, eggplant and onion in a cooking pan padded with aluminum foil and baking sheet:

(I didn’t use the garlic eventually for the quiche but instead we ate it separately.)

– Brush the vegetables with olive oil from all sides and place the pan in the oven.

– Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes while turning them over every 10 minutes, until they’re soft inside and roasted outside. Some vegetables might take longer, I gave the onion a few more minutes to roast in the oven, the rest of the vegetables were prepared after 30 min.

– Take the roasted vegetables out of the oven and wrap them up in newspaper and then in a plastic bag, let them rest and sweat in the bag for about an hour, after which it will be easier to peel them.

– Take the vegetables out of the bag and peel them by hand, the peel will come off easily. Remove all the seeds from the peppers.

– Slice them into strips about 1 cm wide, and the onion into circles.

– Place all the sliced roasted vegetables in a bowl, add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well.

– You may eat the Escalivada as a dish on its own, or continue to make the quiche.

– For the quiche, you can prepare the dough while the vegetables are resting.

– Mix in a bowl the flour and salt.

– Using your hands mix in the butter to a crumbly mixture.

– In a small bowl beat the egg with 2 tbs of cold water.

– Add the beaten egg to the mix and knead with your hands to a nice smooth and coherent ball of dough (you may add water or flour if necessary).

– Roll out the dough on a floured surface, to fit the size of your baking dish. (I didn’t have a rolling pin so I just used the plastic roll, as you can see, works just as well):

– Lift the flattened dough with your rolling pin and place it in the baking dish, attach with your fingertips the dough to the side of the dish and cut out leftovers.

– Leave the dough in room temperature until the filling is ready.

– To complete the quiche, preheat oven to 220 deg Celsius.

– Pour the prepared vegetables into the quiche dough shell.

– Cut the goat cheese and place on top of the quiche.

– Bake the quiche for 30 minutes, until the cheese is browned and the dough is baked.

– Bon profit!

My Quinoa and Antipasti Salad – Revisited

15 Oct

Following my previous quinoa salad recipe, which was quickly devoured (ok, especially by me), I’ve decided to make it again but with a different twist.

Now with pumpkins, sweet potatoes, basil, greens and Parmesan, it tastes completely different (in a different, good way.)

We ate this salad with salmon, but I think it could also make a great vegetarian meal by itself

Ingredients:

– 1 cup quinoa

– 2 cups water

– 1 large sweet potato

– About 500 gr pumpkin

– A generous bunch of chopped fresh basil leaves

– A generous bunch of micro green leaves, or other baby leaves

– Grated Parmesan cheese

– Salt and pepper

– Olive oil

– Lemon squeeze

– Rosemary and sage

Preparations:

Peel the pumpkin and sweet potato and slice into thin slices (about 1 cm thick).

– Put the slices in a baking dish, pour some olive-oil on them and give them a nice rub to cover them in olive-oil from both sides.

– Add some rosemary and sage leaves and sprinkle with coarse sea-salt and grounded black pepper.

– Put in the oven for about 30 minutes, 200 deg. Celsius, on grill.

– After 15 min. of cooking, flip the sweet potato and pumpkin slices upside down and continue cooking. If you see they’re getting too dry, you may add some more olive-oil.

– Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in water and let it cool for a while.

– Chop a nice bunch of fresh basil leaves and add to the quinoa, add some micro greens, or other greens, such as arugula or baby leaves.

– Season the quinoa salad with lemon squeeze, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

– Add grated Parmesan cheese to the quinoa.

– When the antipasti are out of the oven, let them cool for a little while,

– Then arrange them nicely on a plate and top with the prepared quinoa salad.

-Nom nom nom.

Pandas like quinoa too.

Grilled Salmon in Balsamic Vinegar and Date “Honey”

15 Oct

This is so easy and yet so delicious, prepare the sauce, marinade, put in the oven, and ta-da.

The Silan, or date “honey”/date syrup (careful, don’t confuse it with silane, the chemical compound 🙂 ), and the balsamic vinegar add a sweet caramel coating to the salmon’s tender meat.

I often use date “honey” in my kitchen, it’s one of the best sweeteners, you can try substituting it with honey or with maple syrup.

The cooking gives the vinegar a different taste and smell (so those of you who are not so much into vinegar can still try this recipe), personally I think balsamic is the best, so I wouldn’t substitute it with other vinegars.

Ingredients:

– 500 gr salmon (depending on the amount of hungry people, this was enough for me and my husband with some leftovers.)

– 3 tbs of good quality balsamic vinegar

– 3 tbs of good quality olive oil

– 1 tbs Silan (date “honey”)

– Coarse sea salt and grounded pepper

– Lemon for serving

Preparation:

– Mix the sauce ingredients: the  balsamic vinegar, the olive oil and the Silan.

– Marinade the salmon in sauce for about an hour in the fridge.

– Take the salmon out of the fridge, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it reach room temp.

– Preheat the oven to 180 deg. Celsius on grill.

– Grill the salmon for about 20-30 min, until it’s done, depending on the size of your fillet.

– Serve with lemon and with the quinoa salad in my next post.

Have a lovely weekend,

Gal.

Green Mung Beans Soup Recipe

6 Oct

I chose the ‘perfect’ day for making soup, it was the hottest day in September.

This hot weekend came upon us after we just began having cooler evenings, when walking and breathing outside finally wasn’t an impossible mission, then came the Khamsin and reminded us all it’s the Middle East we’re living in, not Sweden. Anyway, our friends farther East believe that Mung beans have a cooling effect (something about the yin and the yang and all that), and now I do recall feeling a slight breeze while eating this soup. Or maybe it was just our air-condition. I’m not complaining about the heat, because I usually get hyp0thermic during the summer thanks to some people feeling the need to overcompensate for the heat outside by freezing the indoors. When entering my office I often feel a bit like living in the Nordic countries, it doesn’t hurt that one of the guys in my office speaks Finish, and that I stopped reading Ynet ((Israeli news site), my bosses are happy as I’m more productive, and I’m happy because it keeps me from choking on my soup.)

But enough of this, if there’s something we’re good at in the Middle East it’s food. So let’s get to it.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of green mung beans (in Israel they’re called Mash beans, look for them in organic supermarkets)

– 1 medium onion

– 2 leek stems

– 2 carrots

– 2 cloves of garlic

– A few fresh sage leaves.

– Salt and pepper

– Olive oil

– About 1.5 liter water (or chicken stock)

Preparation:

– Soak the mung beans over night in water, wash and sift them well. (This is not always required with mung beans, contrary to other beans, but can reduce the cooking time.)

– Peel  and chop the carrots, onions, garlic and leek.

It doesn’t hurt to have a spouse that chops all the onions for you 🙂 :

– Pour olive oil into a pot, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Add a few chunks of carrot into the oil.

– When you start seeing bubbles around the carrot pieces, add in the onion and leek into the pot and cook until they become a bit more transparent.

– Add the garlic and sage and cook.

– Add in the rest of the carrots.

– Pour the water into the pot, add salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

– When the water are boiling add in the mung beans. Lower the heat and cover the pot, let the soup cook for about 40 minutes. When the beans are soft and tender the soup is ready.

Dinner is served.

You can add cooked pasta or noodles to the soup.

Turn on the air-condition, eat and enjoy.

Tastes like autumn.

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