I associate the Christmas season with good food, heartwarming music and the company of friends and family. I can help you out with the food part but I leave the rest for you. Please check out holiday dishes from my earlier blogs, hope you can find one for your holiday dinner: festive salad, mouth-watering meat, fabulous vegetarian and tasty vegan dishes. Enjoy!
This delicious dish uses this forgotten vegetable, celeriac. The sweet and bitter celeriac is the perfect vegetable to eat as we enter the colder months. It can also nicely offset the heavier dishes that we eat during the holidays. The celeriac along with the potatoes are cooked in a stock and are infused with thyme and bay leaves. Serve with cream and some croutons or hazelnuts on the top. Enjoy!
1 medium onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 lbs celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 ” chunks
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 slice of bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)
4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock or more
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup hazelnuts or croutons
crushed red hot pepper to taste
Cook bacon on medium high heat, in a little for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Sautee onion in a little oil for about 5-10 minutes, stir often. Gently fry the garlic for a short time, do not burn. Add the thyme, bay leaf, celery, the potato chunks, bacon pieces and the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low heat. Cook for about 40 minutes or until all the vegetables are nice and tender.
Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool off to room temperature. Pour in the cream. Puree the soup. You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender.
Return the soup to the pot and start warming it up. Add salt, pepper and red hot pepper.
Serve with croutons or hazelnuts and parsley.
If using hazelnuts, heat up a pan and lightly roast the hazelnuts for 6-8 minutes. Make sure they are toasted on all sides. Chop the cool hazelnuts.
This is a tasty vegetarian dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is made with simple ingredients that you most likely have in your kitchen. The eggs are poached in a delicious sauce made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and the warming spices of North Africa. I served this dish with home-made pita bread, Hummus and Eggplant parmesan.
Shakshuka is made thoughout Middle Eastern countries today and there are numerous recipes around; however, it originated in Northern Africa. This recipe uses the lovely spices of Northern Africa, the special trio of cumin, coriander and paprika. Enjoy!
1 large onion, diced
3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 green pepper
2 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp ground paprika
2 large tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce
hot pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint leaves
On medium high heat, sauté the onion in olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add the green peppers and continue sautéing while stirring frequently for another 5 minutes. Add the spices (cumin, coriander, paprika), stir for 1 minte and add the garlic.
Quicly add the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce, stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
Turn down the heat and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes covered.
Uncover and let the dish cook for another 5 minutes or so until the sauce thickens.
Using a wooden spoon, clear some space in the sauce or make a ‘well’ and drop 1 egg in. Do this three more times with the other eggs. Cover and let the eggs poach in this lovely, well seasoned sauce until the whites are set and are not runny.
Uncover. Add salt, pepper, parsley, mint leaves and hot pepper flakes.
This new spring energy is as vibrant as it can be. Yes, spring is here but the usual spring energy is coupled with the new awakening energy of the Earth. It is so powerful! Simple vegetarian dishes would be very nice to eat during the next weeks for sure … I would like to share my recipe that I have been cherishing for years and making in the spring. This is a vegetarian take on the classic beef stroganoff dish. I used the nutty tempeh to replace the meat and added mushrooms to create this delicious dish. Enjoy!
Serves 6 people
1 pkg tempeh (500gr)
1/4 cup of shallots, finally chopped
1 Tbsp flour
4 oz mushrooms (crimini, portabello, white button)
8 oz green vegetable (I used spinach, broccoli)
1 tsp sweet paprika (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup wine
1/3 cup stock (mushroom or meat)
red hot pepper flakes, optional
few springs of thyme
10 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of cream
Sautee the tempeh in a little oil for 10 minutes or until the sides are nice and brown.
Make the pasta according to its directions.
In a large pan, heat some oil. Sautee the shallots for 5 minutes on medium low heat.
Add the mushrooms and continue sauteeing for another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir. When wilted, sprinkle in 1 Tbsp flour, stir. Add the paprika and stir for 1 minute and add the garlic, stir.
Add the vine and the stock making sure there are no knots left from the flour. Add the thyme, tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes covered.
Take out larger thyme pieces.
Take off heat and add salt, pepper, parsley, red hot pepper flakes and cream to taste.
Add the tempeh cubes so it can soak up some of the liquid.
This is an amazing Thai inspired dish that uses coconut milk and Thai red curry paste as a base. I usually don’t add ready-made seasongs but this is a tasty and easy short cut, you won’t even notice. I chose bok choy and mushrooms for the vegetables, this combination is often used in traditional thai cooking and I really like how they taste together. I also threw in some bamboo shoots to balance out the dish. If you want you can add some broccoli in place of the bok choy but this is really a personal preference. Oh and it is done in 30 minutes! Enjoy!
Serves 6 people
1 block of tofu (1 lb) (500gr)
1 Tbsp ginger, finally chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
(26 floz) 2 cans coconut milk (1 liter)
4 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
handfull (4-8oz) shitake mushrooms, cut up
1 lb baby bock choy (I like half bok choy and half broccoli)
1 bunch scalions, sliced
little fish sauce to taste (I shake the bottle a few times) (1 tsp)
1 can of bamboo shoots (140g), drained
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp red flakes or to taste
1 pkg noodles (Thai, ramen)
Boil water and prepare the noodles according to its directions.
Drain water off the tofu and pat dry. Cut the the tofu in 1 inch cubes and fry in a little oil. When done, sprinkle a little soy sauce on the cubes.
Heat a pan with oil.
Add the broccoli if used and stir fry for about 10 minutes on medium heat until tender.
Add the ginger and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir.
Add the 2 cans of coconut milk and the Thai red curry paste, stir. Continue adding bamboo shoots, red chilli flakes (optional) and fish sauce, bok choy and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes. I would like also mention that if you add the bok choy and the mushrooms more at the last 5 minutes, they will keep their shape better and will not get soggy.
Serve with the noodles and the tofu preapared earlier. Add cilantro, scallions and lime juice.
I like challenges … well ok sometimes it is a bit uncomfortable … but then I end up with something delicious like the dish I’m presenting here today.
The savory stuffing made with cabbage, mushrooms and lentils is wrapped in a flakey strudel dough and is seasoned with the warming spices of the season. To make it even more festive, serve it with port sauce and brussel sprouts with chestnuts.
I was looking for a vegetarian Christmas dish… seriously, traditionally would there be such a thing? … I have seen mushroom strudel served in the winter before but did not find it filling enough as a main dish. Then came the idea … maybe because I was craving cabbage strudel the whole fall … to make the strudel with half mushrooms and half cabbage … then added the lentils and the cheese in place of the meat and a few spices and … this festive dish was born. Cabbage is a staple vegetable for the winter and has been traditionally paired with mushrooms. My non-vegetarian guests really enjoyed a slice with their meat dish. Of course, the vegetarians were asking for seconds.
5-7 sheets of filo dough
1/4 cup chopped shallots
4-8 oz mushrooms (crimini) (chopped into small pieces)
2-4 oz of savoy cabbage (I prefer savoy but green cabbage is fine)
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup uncooked lentils (1/2 cup of cooked lentils)
Take filo dough out of the freezer. Let it thaw slowly.
Clean and soak the lentils for a few hours. Cook lentils.
Chop up the shallots and the celery and sauté them in some oil for 5- 10 minutes. Set aside.
Chop up and sauté the mushrooms in some oil for 10 more minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Add to previous mixture.
Start slicing the cabbage up and cut them up into small pieces. Discard the lager veins of the cabbage so you are left with the tender leaves only. Sautee the cabbage leaves for about 10 minutes. Add paprika and the garlic to activate for 1 minute, stir and add the cold stock. Add chopped thyme leaves, nutmeg and chopped rosemary leaves. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes on low heat. Add to the onion mixture from earlier.
Chop up the nuts. I leave the hazelnuts chunkier. The walnuts are coarsely chopped. A small food processor can be used. Add to previous onion mixture.
In a medium sized bowl, add 1 lightly beaten egg, mustard, the nuts, the cooked lentils, mushroom/ cabbage mixture from above, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Let the stuffing cool, refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Take 7 sheets of filo dough and set it on a wooden board. I like to put a piece of parchment paper below the filo dough, it is helpful for rolling. Drizzle some oil and grade some nutmeg. Spread the filling evenly on the sheet leaving 1 inch on each side empty. Roll it up. Placed it in an oiled baking dish.
Lightly beat 1 egg, add some freshly graded nutmeg and salt. Spread it on top of the rolled strudel. Wait for 5-10 minutes until egg wash is absorbed. Apply the egg-wash again. The 1 egg should cover the strudel both times. You can sprinkle additional salt and nutmeg on the top. This will make the crust really tasty.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until top is nice and brown.
Put left-over filo dough if there is any left in the fridge gently wrapped up in plastic bags so the leaves don’t dry out.
Serve hot with the port sauce (see below) and brussel sprouts with chestnuts. I also like to add cranberry sauce (recipe).
Directions for the port sauce
In a small pot, sautee the shallots in some oil or butter. Add the flour for 1 min, stir. Add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds.
Add the wine and stock. Stir.
Add the thyme and rosemary springs. Cover the pot.
Cook for about 20 minutes.
Take out the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary springs.
Take off the heat, add the cream, salt and pepper.
Serve right away. Can be stored in the fridge for many days.
This morning I was craving something delicious made with apples … most likely because yesterday we went out to an orchard to pick some apples and of course we have a lot of apples now. Then I remembered I could easily make Dutch baby and put apples in it. Dutch baby is made with three basic ingredients: milk, eggs and flour and seasoned with vanilla and apple spice. I also added apples to satisfy our autumn cravings. Watch it poof up in the oven and wow your friends and family with this tasty filling breakfast. I served it with caramel sauce that further please those ‘autumnish’ cravings … Oh and I still have raspberries growing in my back yard so I had to use some.
Serves 4 people
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk milk
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp apple cinnamon spice
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp sugar
1-2 apples peeled, cored and sliced (sour, baking apples are the best)
nuts for serving
You will need a 10″ (2 inch deep) oven proof skillet or soemthing similar in size to bake this dish.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Mix flour, milk, eggs, salt, vanilla, 2 Tbsp melted butter, sugar, apple spice until no lumps remain. You can use an electric beater on high speed for 1 minute but it can easily done by hand too. Let it rest for 1 hour if possible. It can be made the day before and stored in the fridge, just let it warm up to room temperature.
Meanwhile gently warm up a little butter in a pan. Caramelize the apple slices on both sides. Set aside.
When dough is ready, heat up skillet and put in the butter, caramelized apple slices and pour the batter in.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown. The pancake will be puffy but will settle after 5-10 minutes.
Serve with powdered sugar, ground walnuts, caramel sauce and fruits – of course all optional.
Kohlrabi has such an interesting flavor but I have never thought of making a salad with it … until I found this recipe. The kohlrabi is drizzled with some olive oil and lemon juice and is paired with the savory cheese and thyme and voila! … a delicious salad is made!
If you like kohlrabi, you might be intetested in my kohlrabi soup recipe. Please click here.
Serves 2 people
1 kohlrabi (green, purple or white)
handfull of hard goats’ cheese or sheeps’ cheese or any stronger flavored hard cheese
juice of 1/2-1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a few springs of fresh thyme, chopped
Peel the kohlrabi. Shave it on a grader.
Shave the cheese on the grader as well. I like to crumple some of the cheese to cover the kohlrabi and put some shaved pieces on the top. The amount is something like a handfull.
Pour on the lemon juice and drizzle on some olive oil.
I love summer. It looks like there are so many vegetables finally ready to eat. I enjoy rhubarb too but there was not much else here in the Midwest for quite a while and now all of the sudden we have so many more to choose from. So ended up picking yellow beans for this week.
I’m presenting a simple Hungarian yellow bean soup recipe that many Hungarians know how to make but I added my litte twist to it. I like reading about foods and experiementing with them. So I was reading that Hungarian cuisine was a little bit different when Hungarians lived in their oiginal place in Asia. Over the years they lost some of the ingredients and picked up new ones. So I had the idea why not add chickpeas and curry to this bean soup. Who knows maybe our ancestors made the soup like this back wherever they came from ?!?
The sweet yellow bean is nutritious and is high in fiber but really is not the most exciting vegetable. The real flavor IMO comes from the seasoning especially from the dill. Dill is a unique sweet plant that gives the zesty, tangy flavor with slightly bitter undertones. It helps digestion and calms the mind. Also, adding the sour cream or yoghurt is a must at the end … and then you get a pleasant sweet and sour soup.
As I have mentioned I added chickpeas to the dish. If you look at a chickpea, you can see it resembles the heart and is considered to be beneficial for the heart. It is a good source of iron and unsaturated fats.
I often make this soup into more of an entree by adding an egg or other protein, it is very filling this way for sure. I just put the soup in a jar and take it with me in the summer. It is an instant lunch on the go for me. Oh yes and I get the stares from Hungarians … what is that dish?!? … lol.
Serves 4 people
1 lb of yellow beans
1 cup of dried chickpeas or canned (18oz)
oil (vegetable, lard)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp curry powder
1 chopped large tomato
vegetable or meat stock (I used pea shells)
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, optional
1-3 bay leaves
1 yellow pepper or its left-over’seed house’, optional
handfull of dill, chopped
2 Tbsp of white vinigar
1 cup of dried or 1 can of chickpeas
salt and black pepper
red pepper to taste
sour cream or yoghurt to garnish
Clean and soak the chickpeas overnight or for at least 8 hours. Remove the soaking liquid and cook in fresh cold water for 3 hours. A pressure cooker would greatly reduce the cooking time. (Omit if using canned chickpeas).
Making the soup base: Saute the onion in some oil until translucent. Add garlic, paprika and curry powder, mix and after 1 minute add the chopped tomato. Mix and cook for about 5-10 mintes or until tomato has cooked into a sauce.
Wash the yellow beans. Cut the ends off on both sides and discard. Cut them up into 1 inch pieces. Clean and cut the carrots. Oh and I almost forgot I like to put in zucchini too. So wash and cut zucchini into about 1 inch pieces.
Add the cut up yellow beans, carrot slices, bay leaves, zucchini and the stock. I like to add a yellow pepper for flavoring or at least its ‘left-over’seed house. Cook for about 30-45 minutes or until the beans are soft. Remove the pepper/pepper sedds and bay leaves.
Add the cooked or canned chickpeas with its liquid and the white vinigar.
Salt and pepper to taste. Add the red chili pepper if desired.
Serve hot with chopped dill and sour cream/yoghurt.