Shakshuka with pitta bread

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!

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves

Methods

  • 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.
  • Serve it warm with pita bread (recipe).
  • I also served it with Hummus (recipe) and Eggplant parmesan (recipe).

Source

  • Photos: twincitiesherbs.com

Mushroom tempeh stroganoff

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!

RECIPE

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg tempeh (500gr)
  • olive oil
  • 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)
  • salt
  • red hot pepper flakes, optional
  • few springs of thyme
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • black pepper
  • parsley
  • pasta
  • cheese (Parmegane)

Method

  • 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.
  • Serve over pasta with graded cheese.

enjoy!

Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Tofu with thai red curry sauce (vegan)

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!

RECIPE

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 block of tofu (1 lb) (500gr)
  • sesame oil
  • 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
  • soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 lime
  • cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp red flakes or to taste
  • 1 pkg noodles (Thai, ramen)

INSTRUCTIONS

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.

enjoy!

Festive strudel with cabbage, mushrooms and lentils (Vegetarian)

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.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 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)
  • handful of chopped walnuts
  • handful of lightly chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 egg + 1 egg for egg wash
  • 8 oz (220gr) of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of meat or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • few thyme springs
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • freshly graded nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt + more for the top
  • pepper

Port sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup of port or white wine
  • 1/2 cup stock (meat or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallotts
  • 1 Tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 springs of thyme
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup heavy creme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove

Directions for the strudel

Preheat oven to 380F.

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.

enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Recipe, photos and text by twincitiesherbs.com

Dutch baby with apples

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.

RECIPE

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

  • 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)
  • caramel sauce
  • nuts for serving

Directions

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.

enjoy!

Kohlrabi salad with cheese and thyme

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.

RECIPE

Serves 2 people

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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.
  • Add salt and freshly graded black pepper corn.
  • Add the chopped thyme.
  • Mix and serve.

enjoy!

SOURCE

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/25505546/posts/18306

Text and photo by twincitiesherbs.com.

Hungarian summer bean soup with dill

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.

RECIPE

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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.

enjoy!

Recipe, text and photos by twincitiesherbs.com

Zucchini frittata with basil (frittata di zucchine)

We just celebrated the Summer Solstice so summer is definitely here. Zucchini is one of the first summer vegetables that appears at the farmers’ market. Fritatta is a popular Italian dish and also is my favorite way to prepare zucchini. Italians often make it for ‘lunch on the go’ because it tastes good as it is … it does not have to be reheated and is an interesting and unique dish. If you have eggs, cheese, onions, zucchini and olive oil you can make zucchini frittata. The secret is in the preparation.

So let’s look at those secrets … no worries it is not a difficult dish to make. The main secret is to cook it slowly. It is kind of a ‘slow food’ meaning that it is cooked slowly on low heat starting in cold olive oil. This was rather a hard concept for me at first because I always heat the oil before I put onions in a pot … but once you taste the dish, you will understand. Also, it prevents the olive oil from burning- I’m guessing. Another secret is to not dry it out so basically don’t over-cook the eggs. And that is about it other than the usual, use good ingredients.

The recipe is from Marcella Hazan’s cookbook Essentials of Clasic Italian Cooking.

So let’s look at why we should incorpoate zucchini in our summer diet. The watery zucchini is cooling and refreshing and is great to overcome the summer heat. It has a tender texture with a slightly sweet flavor and pairs nice with something a little more robust like eggs and cheese. It is also packed with nutients and is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B and C.

Oh and I can’t forget about the basil, the other main ingredient. It is in the mint family along with the other remarkable Mediterreanian herbs like oregano, mint, rosemary. It is not an accident that Mediterreanian chefs use basil on a regular basis. The aromatic basil is used in cooking for making food taste better and has numerous health benefits. For more information on basil, please check out this article.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of cold pressed olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion (1 cup), finally chopped
  • bacon (optional)
  • 2-3 medium sized zucchini
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • a handfull of fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup of freshly graded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of butter

Directions

Put half of the cold oil, and the onion in a large pan. Turn heat onto low heat, (not simmer) and cover. Cook until the onion wilts and becomes greatly diminished in bulk for about 20-30 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking until the onion gets a nice golden brown color. I turn the heat a notch up here. This is going to be a lengthy process but it is an importamt part of the dish.

Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini. Soak them in cold water for 20 minutes to loosen the dirt. Scrub and wash off any dirt. Cut off both ends. Slice them thin.

When the onion is nice and golden brown, add salt and the sliced zucchini. You can put the sliced bacon in here if you plan on using it. Turn heat up to medium high and cook them until they are softened and have a light nut brown color. Stir frequently.

Making the fritatta. Melt the butter gently, add the whisked eggs with the torn-up basil, freshly ground black pepper and the cheese. Cook carefully until the eggs have set and thickened and the bottom has a light brown color (not burnt) and only the top is runny. Turn the broiler on. I use the low broiler for 3 minutes.

I served it with pesto and tomato salad.

Serve warm.

enjoy!

Source

Photo, text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Hot and sour tofu with rhubarb

In the United States and Europe, rhubarb is known as the pie plant and in fact we tend to use it in sweet dishes. However, in Asia, it is more used in savory main dishes. Today, I’m presenting a savory dish that was inspired by the following blogs: ( blog 1 and blog 2). The rhubarb gives the sour taste that is balanced out nicely with the sweet and hot Chinese sauce and the bitter bamboo shoots. I chose broccoli as the main vegetable for the dish. Traditionally, pork is used but is replaced here with the tofu. In the original recipe, the raw rhubarb is blended in the sauce but I made it more traditionally sautéed like the rest of the vegetables.

For the meat version of this dish, please, see this recipe.

Recipe


Serves: 4 people  

Ingredients

  • 500g tofu
  • 2 tsp + 3 Tbsp honey (or replace with agaste sauce for a vegan option)
  • 1/4 tsp five spice
  • chili flakes to taste
  • Sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp sake
  • 3 Tbsp rice wine
  • 3 Tbsp graded ginger
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 large cloves garlic
  • 200g of rhubarb stalks (about 3 smaller or 2 bigger stalks)
  • 2 large heads of broccoli
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (8oz/225g) of bamboo shoots, drained
  • handful of penuts, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • rice or rice noodles

Ingredients listed as used in groups

Rice or rice noodles

Marinade/tofu: 2 tsp honey, 1/4 tsp five spice powder, 1/4 tsp red chilli pepper flakes (optional), 1 Tbsp seasame oil, 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp sake, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 500 g tofu.

The sauce: 5 cloves garlic, 3 Tbsp honey, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp ginger, 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (or to taste).

Vegetables: 200g (3 medium sized) rhubarb stalks, 1 large onion, 2 heads of broccoli, 1 can of bamboo shoots.

Toppings: handful of chopped peanuts, 4 scallions, small handfull coriander, soy sauce and limes.


Directions

  • The rice.  Make the rice of your choice. I used sushi rice.
  • Cut up the tofu so it is about 1 cm / 1/2 inch thick. I made triangular shapes but rectangular or square shapes are fine too.
  • Mix the ingredients of the marinade in a small bowl and pour it all over the tofu. Cover and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Make the sauce. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix to get a nice sauce. Set aside.
  • Take tofu/marinade out of the fridge and strain off marinade. Pat dry tofu with a towel. Sautee tofu slices in small amount of oil for about 5 minutes on each side. Cover and set aside.
  • Cut up the vegetables. Thinly slice the onions, cut up the broccoli flowers. Cut rhubarb diagonally in 2-3 inches length. If stalks are bigger, cut them in half first.
  • In a larger pan or wok, heat seasame oil, add rhubarb batons in a single layer and cook for abot 1-2 minutes while stiring to make sure all sides cook well. Make sure you don’t over cook rhubarb, they should be firm and not mushy. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and cook for 1 minute. Take off heat and set aside.
  • On medium high heat, sauté the sliced onion for about 10 minutes until translucent. Add the brocololi and continue sautéing on medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until it is soft but still crunchy. Add the sauce made earlier. (Quickly whisk, then pour it into the pan). Add the rhubarb (that was set aside from earlier step) and the bamboo shoots and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for three or four minutes. Add the tofu and toss and coat well and cook until the fofu is warm.
  • Serve on rice with chopped cashew nuts, chopped scallions, cilantro, lime wedges and soy sauce.

enjoy!

Sources

http://www.mostlyeating.com/ tofu with hot and sour sauce

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/35104325/posts/55143

Photo, recipe and text by twincitiesherbs.com.