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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spuma di Ricotta al Cafee (Ricotta and Coffee Mousse) (Italian)

This is a pretty and elegant dessert, rich and delicate tasting at the same time. The recipe is based on one served at the Ristorante Datillo in Calabria, adapted via Saveur
Try it and you'll love it if you generally like coffee-themed desserts and the homey freshness of ricotta. When I made this, I was a few weeks before Mira's birth and we spent a lovely evening with my mom enjoying these desert cups and watching The Time Traveler's Wife. :)

Last year: Herb-mustard-beer pancakes with cottage cheese and bacon.
Two years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chili cheese nachos (Nachos con queso) (Mexican)

Spicy and cheesy oven-baked crispy nachos in a classic Mexican version. Ready very fast (like 10 minutes or so) and delicious throughout a movie-night. :)
This uses three kinds of cheese (all with a role in the final layered flavor depth) and spicy jalapenos.
Enjoy. :)

Last year: Fruit chaat (Indian fruit salad) (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chicken scallopini (Italian)

A simple classic Italian way to prepare meat with a lovely sauce of white wine, green olives, tomatoes and fresh basil. The combination of flavors screams of summer. 
Traditionally, this recipe can be done with more than one kind of meat, changing its name according to the type of meat it contains. I chose to make it this time with chicken, being lighter and more appropriate with the high temperatures outside (and more to my taste anyway, as I tend to consume poultry and fish more often than "heavier" meats).
Overall it was deliciously flavored because of the wine and the sauce had a bit of body and texture because of the flour in which the meat was dredged before cooking. The tomatoes, basil and olives only enhanced the lovely wine sauce up to the point in which it became irresistible. 
It cooks in about 15-20 minutes and it's devoured in 5 to 10. Enjoy :).
Recipe source: Gourmet.

Last year: Fruit chaat (Indian fruit salad) (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mini filled paprikas (raw vegan)

I was pretty enthusiastic about the sun-dried tomato, cashew and cauliflower raw dip I made previously and thought of a new way to serve it: inside mini orange sweet paprika peppers. With some green olives scattered around. The spread was delicious before on its own and it was even more so now. Enjoy :)
P.S: The dip (recipe here) is worth making if only to enjoy in these lovely-looking mini starters. :)

Last year: Beer lemonade (Radler) with strawberries (vegan).
Two years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sun-dried tomato and caulliflower dip (raw vegan)

This is a lovely way to incorporate more raw into your diet. It tastes wonderful (only after tasting this I realized how delicious raw cauliflower can be), it's easy to make and can be used not only as a dip but also as a spread on toast or as a sauce for grilled veggies and so on. :)
I also had it once as a filling for mini paprika peppers, like this.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Green lasagna with aubergine and zucchini.
Two years ago: baby making and no cooking. :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Căpșune cu smântână (Simple Strawberries and Cream) (Romanian)

This is something my mom and dad used to make very often for me when I live with them, ever since I was little. It's a general staple in Romanian houses in May and June when the strawberry season is in bloom.
Although the combination of strawberries and cream is pretty common and every cuisine uses it, I wanted to show you how it was served home and all the glorious little details. 
I miss this. Which is precisely why I make it every year in early summer even though I'm a "grown-up" now. Which of course doesn't exclude the possibility for my parents to still make it for me when I visit them :)

P.S: I can hardly wait for our little girl Mira to grow up so I can treat her with this. Just a couple more years now :).
P.P.S: Yesterday was a sad day for me. I really, really, need a reason to try to smile today. So I'm posting about a favorite sweet from my childhood and hoping it will do it for me.

Last year: Chicken, olive and preserved lemons tagine (Moroccan).
Two years ago: baby making and no cooking. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nigella's Exceptional Salmon

A relaxed dinner for two, following the recipe of the lovely Nigella Lawson. After making it, you'll understand why it's called "exceptional": it's unbelievably good for the little effort and time required for the preparation. 
Everything is done on the stove top (no oven required whatsoever), the salmon is deliciously moist and lightly spiced; and it's served alongside hard-boiled eggs and a fresh salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Chicken, olives and preserved lemons tagine (Moroccan).
Two years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Zucchini and turkey soup with pesto

This is a light and flavorful soup recipe for summer days. With lots of cubed veggies (especially zucchini), delicate turkey meat and a tablespoon of basil pesto added right in the serving plate. :)
Recipe adapted from here

Last year: Baked tomato-stuffed peppers with thyme (vegan).
Two years ago: baby making and no cooking :).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prosciutto e Melone (Italian prosciutto-melon wraps) (raw)

This isn't really a cooking recipe as it's more a combination / presentation of an Italian way to serve prosciutto and honey melon pieces together in a beautiful and elegant starter. The combination is so classic and wide-spread I'm sure most of you know it, but just in case you don't know it or forgot it, this is a quick reminder of it :).
The sweetness and juicy moisture of the melon counterparts the smoked saltiness of the prosciutto wonderfully. It really is a winner, which is why from a (probably) accidental discovery of a group of Italians it became a very popular and wide-spread entree. 
Also this is a lovely dish to suit the raw diet, as the meat is also raw and just salt and air cured. There are probably very few people out there which undergo the raw diet and are not raw vegans, but anyway, I thought I should label it as raw if that's what it is :).

Last year: Dark chocolate and red wine cake.
Two years ago: baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Creamy banana, walnut and mascarpone cake

I made this for our friend Mădălin as a birthday cake, after asking about his favorite ingredients (the answer was bananas, cream and nuts). This was the result: two layers of banana-bread cake with walnuts in it, with creamy mascarpone, nut and banana cream in between them and all above them, with whole banana slices inserted every now and there, as well as adorning the top. Creamy perfection. :)
The walnuts in the cake layers are crushed but not completely ground so they can provide an occasional crunch, while the ones in the cream and finely ground and pre-roasted for a very intense flavor.

As you can imagine, it made a very nice present for a very happy friend :). I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Last year: Dark chocolate and red wine cake.
Two years ago: baby making and no cooking. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grapefruit mint cooler (raw vegan)

July is here. In Romanian peasant tradition, sometimes this month is called "luna lui cuptor" (the "oven's month"), because the temperatures rise so high one feels as if they're inside an oven whenever they go outside. So what better time than this to post a recipe for a refreshing drink? :)
It's made with grapefruit juice, mineral water, ice and fresh mint leaves and that touch of mint gives it a lovely aftertaste you won't soon forget. It's a lovely way to cool yourself on hot summer days like this. Enjoy. :)

Last year: Vanilla extract.
Two years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Japanese Yakisoba with shiitake and sesame oil (vegan)

The  officially Japanese (although Chinese in origin) Yakisoba dish consists of fried noodles (Yaki=fried, soba=noodles) with some vegetable or meaty additions. Since we love the classic combination of shiitake and sesame oil (sometimes also nicknamed the "vegetarian bacon"), we decided it was a perfect match for the Yakisoba. The taste is so wonderful I'd recommend it wholeheartedly. 
Whenever you're home after a long day at work and want to fix something up in virtually no time, take this into consideration. Another advantage besides its little cooking time is that it's a great comfort food which is also low in calories. Enjoy :)

Last year: Insalata Caprese (Italian).
Two years ago: baby making, no cooking.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Butter and scotch shrimps with creamy lemon pasta

This is a dish for special occasions, like dinner for two :). This way of preparing shrimps (by drowning them in butter and scotch and frying them in a hot pan) makes them taste so good that I think this is a nice recipe to start with if you're just warming yourself up to seafood. In this recipe, you can't taste the sometimes unpleasant sea after-taste that shrimps and other sea fruits occasionally have. The side that goes with them is a creamy, herby and lemony pasta, the fancier the better. :)

Last year: Quiche Lorraine (French).
Two years ago: No cooking :).

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