Saturday, July 21, 2012

Roasted Okra with Spicy Tomato Sauce

I wish I had taken more photos of this dish. The result was really surprising.
I love okra. It is a common ingredient in Brazilian cuisine.
Okra is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, folates and vitamine C.
It is low in calories and high in flavor.
It is delicious in stews but this recipe has it roasted, which kept its shape and gave it a sharper flavor.


olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1/4 tea spoon piment d'espelette
1/4 tea spoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 large tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
1 pound of whole okra (trim the stem carefully not to expose the seeds)
1/4 tea spoon lemon zest
1/2 cup of Kalamata olives
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped mint
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 400˚F
coat the okra with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 20 minutes or so, turning them once.
They will be very slightly browned.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil, saute the onion until they are soft, add the parsley, cilantro, piment and smoked paprika, give it a good stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, water and sugar and simmer with a lid for about 15 minutes. Removed the lid. Add salt to taste. (easy on the salt because of the olives)
Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened a bit.
Add the olives, the lemon juice and the lemon zest.
Add the roasted okra, the chopped mint and carefully stir to coat them well.
Serve with couscous and finish with the toasted pine nuts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So Beet It, Just Beet It!

Last Sunday I needed to get groceries for the week and wasn't able to get to the farmers market so I ended up going to good old Whole Foods. One of the first things that caught my eye there was this gigantic beet.
I though, wow! Lucky that nobody got it before me!
At the register, I realized it wasn't luck, it was by the pound price. So I left with my almost 10 dollars beet.
Of course the fun I had with it was priceless. :) Here are some photos comparing it with other things.
Small watermelon, big beet:

cooked beet and an apple:
 Sliced beet and an egg:

First I cooked it in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. When it cooled down, I sliced it.
The bigger slices took almost the whole space of a dinner plate.
So I used one big slice for a salad with goat cheese and pine nuts.

Part of the beet was used to make a gazpacho that I then served with goat cheese and fig crostini.
The gazpacho was crazy good, perfect for summer and so easy to make.
Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 lb of cooked beets in cubes.
1 tomato, chopped.
1 slice of bread without the crust.
1/3 cup of pine nuts.
1tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
1/2 cup olive oil.
1/2 cup of water or more if you think it's too thick.
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse everything in the blender until you get a smooth texture, season with salt and pepper and chill.
Serve with crumbled goat cheese or serve with crostini and a salad.

Believe it or not I still have half of the beet chopped in the fridge!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chilean Sea Bass "En Papillote"

Chilean sea bass is one of my favorite white fish. Apart from being sustainable, it is mild with a moist, flaky texture. 
Cooking "en papillote" is a very easy and fun way to prepare it.  You seal the ingredients in little parcels of parchment paper or foil, pop it in the oven and voilà! Dinner is ready! 

2 pieces of Chilean Sea Bass
2 cups of cherry tomatoes cut in half
4 chopped asparagus (I used white but green is fine)
1 cup of fresh peas
1 tbsp of chopped onion
1 garlic clove in thin slices
2 tbsp of chopped kalamata olives
olive oil and white wine
salt, pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375˚F
On a rectangular piece of foil or parchment paper, start by layering the vegetables, sprinkled with a
little salt and pepper. I like to put the garlic and onions in the bottom reserving a couple garlic slices. 
Top the vegetables with the fish, and put a couple garlic slices on top. Season with salt and pepper,
add a splash of white wine and a good olive oil drizzle.
Seal everything inside the parcels by folding the edges. They will look like big empanadas.

Bake it for 20 minutes and serve immediately.

Savory Cake

This is a really simple savory cake recipe that works beautifully for brunch or a light dinner with a nice green salad on the side.
Here is what you need:
3 eggs
half a stick of butter, melted
9 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
3 tbsp of milk

1/2 cup of feta
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped olives
1/4 cup chopped slices of Spanish chorizo or salami ( I used scissors to cut them) 
1/2 cup of corn (you can use from a can. I used fresh from the cob, and slightly sauteed it)

Mix the eggs, melted butter, flour, baking powder, salt and milk. Allow the batter to rest for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 400F
Add the rest of the ingredients to the batter and pour in a greased cake or loaf pan.
Bake for 25 minutes or a little more if you chose a deep loaf pan.
Wait 10 minutes and serve.
The beauty of it, is that you can play with the ingredients. No chorizo? how about shredded chicken or crumbled bacon? raisins and a dash of curry on the batter? yes please! Gruyere, artichoke and ham.. ah endless possibilities :)