Monthly Archives: May 2010

Italian snitzel with creamy sauce

The sun keeps shining so I keep cooking Mediterranean style! I just cant help myself, when the sun shines I get in vacation mode. Even when I have to get up at 6 in the morning to go to my office, I still have the ‘whoot vacation” feeling in me. After 8 hours of hard work I search refugee in my garden, where I am surrounded by olive trees, lavender and delicious smelling herbs. Instant happiness! And yes, at night I try to keep the feeling. When I cant go to the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean has to come to me!
Yesterday the Mediterranean came to me disguised as a kip snitzel with creamy sauce and fresh basil pasta! A nice glass of fruity white wine and we felt on vacation in one instant!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE KIP SNITZEL

1 chicken filet
200 grams flour
2 eggs
300 grams of bread crumbs
150 grams of parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE

olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 can of peeled tomato cubes
1 tablespoon of rose wine (or any other wine you find in your kitchen and you feel like drinking!)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
fresh chopped basil according to taste
fresh chopped oregano according to taste
1 tablespoon of mascarpone
1,5 teaspoon pesto rosso (Recipe will follow later)
salt and pepper

FOR THE CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions and the garlic. Let them simmer till the caramelize a little bit.
Now add the tomato cubes, the balsamic vinegar, the wine and the sugar and let this simmer for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes add the freshly chopped herbs and season with pepper and salt. Now let it again simmer for about 10 minutes.

Take the sauce of the heat and stir in the mascarpone and the pesto rosso.

FOR THE CHICKEN SNITZEL

Place 3 bowls in one line next to each other. In the first bowl you place the flour. In the second bowl you place the eggs, loosely whisked. And in the last bowl you mix the bread crumbs with the cheese and the dried herbs.

Now take the chicken filet and slice it into thin slices. I used a filet knife for this. Out of one filet I got 6 snitzels. Place the slices under some foil and bang them with a meat hammer. (If you, like me, don’t own a meat hammer you can just bash it with a bottle of wine!)
Heat some olive oil in a pan and let it warm trough. Now dredge the chicken in the flour. Make sure the chicken is totally covered in flour. Shake of any excess flour. Then dip the chicken in the beaten eggs before covering the slices with the breading.
Place the snitzels in the searing hot oil and bake them until golden and crisp. This should not take long, since the chicken is very thin. Mine only took 2 minutes to cook.

Serve this with your favourite pasta. I choose to use basil pasta, which has a lovely taste!

Greek veal steak with patatas me skortho

I had some veal steaks waiting in the refrigerator to serve with a stroganoff sauce. But then the sun finally decided to show herself once again and like snow my appetite for stroganoff sauce disappeared. I wanted Mediterranean food on my plate. I wanted to indulge myself in the luscious flavours of southern Europe. I wanted sun and summer on my plate! Some left over tarama salad pointed me in the direction of Greece. So I marinated my meat in a mixture of spices I associated with the Greek islands and I ll try to recreate the marinate for you. I did not write anything down, but the result was delicious! It was a little bit to cold outside to grill them on the BBQ, so I had to use my grillpan. Its gives not that typical, delicious flavour of charcoal; but the meat gets a lovely crisp and those grill lines I just love!
In my Greek cooking book “Greek Mezze by Sarah Maxwell” I found a recipe for Patatas Me skortho or roasted potatoes with garlic and lemon. A ideal partner for my veal and so delicious I thought I would die from utter bliss. You just have to try these!
With all this I served some tarama, tzatziki and a nice fresh feta salad. A wonderful greek meal in so little time!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE VEAL

2 veal steaks
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
a little bit of lemon juice
2 bay leaves

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMON GARLIC POTATOES

5 large peeled potatoes
30 ml olive oil
50 ml of lemon juice
3 gloves of garlic finely minced
100 ml water
salt and pepper

VEAL STEAKS

Mix the olive oil with the herbs together in a small bowl. Now take a zip lock bag and poor in the marinate.
Now toss in the veal and shake it well, so that the marinate is all over the steaks.
Place this for about 3 hours in the fridge.
Heat the grill pan and sear the steaks. Turn them over regularly so you get that lovely grill pattern in your meat.

LEMON GARLIC POTATOES

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (the recipe states it has to be 230 degrees, but I know my oven and I know he is just a little bit hotter then the indicated temperature. So I reduced my temperature a little.)
Slice the potatoes in wedges and place them in a oven tray.
Drizzle them with the herbs, the water, the olive oil and the lemon juice.
Now bake the potatoes in the oven for about 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t forget to turn them every 15 minutes!

Single girl pasta

Once a month my husband needs to go to a congres or a training in some far corner of Belgium. Sometimes I let myself be tempted by junk food. I heat up a lasagne or I pop some chinese into the microwave, but most of the time it is my only chance to eat pasta.
The husband dislikes pasta and whines for hours when I dare to put it on the table. So in my lonely moment I tried myself to a plate of hot steaming pasta. Most of the time I make this meals from what I can scatter together in my cupboars. Like yesterday I found 6 scampi in my freezer. A splash of cream that was left from a previous diner and another can of delicious italian cherry tomatoes.
boil up some pasta and dinner is ready. It might not be very healthy and certenly not good for your weight. It is not culinary either and it will not be your most impressive cooking, but it is delicious, comforting food that you eat on the sofa wearing pyamas and watching a real girlmovie.

INGREDIENTS1 clove of garlic, diced
1/2 onion, diced
6 scampi
1 spring onion
1 can of cherry tomatoes
200 ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of cayennepepper
boiled pasta
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan en simmer the onion and the garlic in it for a couple of minutes.
Poor in the can of cherry tomaties and add the scampis. (It is not neceserry to bake them first. They will heat up in the sauce without turning into chewing gum.)
Let this bake for a couple of minutes. You want all the sauce of the tomatoes to evaporate so that you are left with only those wonderful, glooming red little tomatos.
Now add the cream, the sambal, the ketchup, the basil and the cayenne pepper. Stir this together and let it simmer for just a couple of minutes.

Now taste. Do you want it sweeter? Add some ketchup. Do you want it a little more spicy? Knock yourself out with the sambal! Just dont forget to finish it of with salt and pepper.

Now poor in your steaming pasta and diner is done!
A small amount of parmasan cheese on top of it makes this pasta for one ready to eat! So where is that chickflik?

Minestrone

Ah Italy, my heart still makes a little jump when I think about the time I spend in the kitchen of my Italian mama.
About 3 weeks ago I told a good friend about my exchange program that made me live in the wonderful town of Padua for a while. I told him all about the relaxed atmosphere that was so normal there. We only had to attend school for 3 hours a day. So the rest of my days I spend with my best friend in museums, in parks, eating to much kinderchocolat, tasting all the different flavours of ice cream at the parlours and testing every cafe in town for the best cappuccino. The nights I spend with my Italian mama in the kitchen learning all about the multiple uses of fennel. When I close my eyes I can still taste the wonderful sandwiches she made me with tuna, mozzarella and fennel. By nine o’clock my Italian dad would bring out his Harley and drive me once again to the ice-cream parlour where we indulged ourselves in Ferrero rocher Ice cream.
Is it the sun? Or the lovely warmth of the first spring days on my arms? Or just the fact I talked about it with a friend? But my heart aces for those wonderful days of my youth. I might not have realised how wonderful it was at the time. Carefree… our biggest worry was getting the name of that beautiful butcher boy that sold wonderful spicy sausages in the marketplace. I remember us visiting Verona and the balcony of Juliet. It is said that when you hold her breast and you make a wish it definitely will come true. It did for me. I wished that my husband would finally notice that I excised and ask me out. As you all know he did. 🙂 But I also remember me surrounded by my wonderful group of friends having pasta and wine on a little terrace in the sun. To calm my acing hart down I made this wonderful Minestrone soup. A little bit of Italy right at home!

INGREDIENTS:1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 piece of ginger, diced
2 stacks of celery, diced
3 carrots, sliced in rounds
100 grams peas
2 potatoes, diced
1 can of canolli beans, drained and washed
1 can of cherry tomatoes (If you cant find these wonderful canned tomatoes, you can use regular tomatoes)
1 litre of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
200 ml red wine
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of Italian herb mix
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 stack of rosemary
1 stack of thyme
2 fresh bay leaves (If you don’t have them in your garden like me, the dried version will do.)
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
30 grams of grated parmesan cheese
1 cup of pasta
olive oil
pepper and salt
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion, celery, ginger and garlic. Let it simmer until the onion becomes slightly translucent.
Now add the carrots and the potatoes and simmer these for a while.
Sprinkle in the fennel seeds, the Italian herb mix, the dried basil, the cumin powder, the rosemary, the thyme, the bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Poor over the red wine and bring this to the boil.
When the wine has evaporated a bit add the can of cherry tomatoes, the stock and the parmesan cheese.
Stir it all in and bring it back to the boil on a high heat.
Now add the beans, the peas and the tomato puree and let it all simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes you add the pasta and you let it boil for another 10 minutes.

I served the fragrant and delicious soup with a simple slice of ciabatta with some fresh garlic butter.

Purslane salad with a creamy dressing and crushed potatoes

In the supermarket I noticed this little package of purslane. Time and time again I held the package in my hands but placed it back in the rack. Because I kept wondering what I could do wit purslane. Obviously it was mend to eat… but how did you eat it. Did it need steaming, bowling, mixing or mincing? I had absolutely no idea. At my recent trip to the supermarket I noticed that the purslane was very cheap so I finally bought a package and told myself “I would figure out a way to serve it later”. The internet suggest 101 different types of recipes, going from purslanesoup over baked purslane to purslane gratin. I also learned that in the US purslane not considered a vegetable and that in Indian it’s a very popular ingredient.
In Belgium it’s a little bit of a forgotten vegetable. Very popular with my grandparents, but the next generations forgot about it totally. Its hard to come by in the stores even. I silently chuckled when I saw the girl at the counter twist and turn my package like seven times to figure out what I actually was buying.
Eventually I gave the purslane my own twist and neglected all the very well meant internet advices. I served it in a lovely creamy salad dressing. And ow boy, did we love it! The leaves are thick and very meaty for a vegetable. They have a lovely light sour flavour that makes me think of a mixture between spinach, chard and endive.
I wont doubt a minute on my next grocery hunt to bring another package!
I served the salad with “Crashed hot potatoes” which is a recipe I got from Ree, the Pioneer woman. She is a wonderful cook and I am always enchanted by the lovely recipes and the way she writes.
The lovely, hot potatoes have crusty skin and a soft, fluffy filling. My kitchen smelled wonderful with all the fresh herbs I used from my herb garden.

INGREDIENTS PURSLANE SALAD1 package of purslane
cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
fresh parsley
fresh chives
2 tablespoons of mayonaise
3 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of harissa (can easely be replaced by tabasco)
1 teaspoon paprikapowder
pepper and salt
Lets start with assembling the dressing for our purslanesalad.
Minced the garlic really fine with a good knife. Do the same with the fresh herbs.
To make life easier on myself I use the following method: take a large glass (type long drink) and place the herbs in the glass.
Now use a scissor the cut the herbs into really small pieces. Very easy and no flying pieces of herb in your kitchen!
Now add the mayonnaise and the sour cream to a small bowl and mix them together.
Then add the garlic, the fresh herbs, the harissa and the paprika powder.
Mix this all very well.
If the dressing is not runny enough you add a tablespoon of cream. (If you like runny salad dressings you can even add a little more.)
Now season this with salt an pepper.

INGREDIENTS POTATOES6 potatoes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
pepper and salt
2 stalks of rosemary
2 stalks of thyme

Purslanesalad 


Potatoes 

These potatoes are so simple and still so very delicious.
And there must be a million ways to combine them. I can imagine that they ll taste wonderful with some bacon or slice of cheddar cheese on top of them.
boil the potatoes (with their skins!) in some salted water. They don’t need to be cooked thoroughly. You just need to be able to prick them with your knife.
Drain them and let them rest for a couple of minutes.
In the mean time get an oven tray ready and drizzle it with some olive oil. (To make this even more delicious I used garlic infused olive oil.)
Now toss in the potatoes, just make sure they have plenty of space around them. Although it is cosy so close to each other, they need the room to go nice and crispy.
Now take your potato masher and press it very carefully down until each potato slightly mashes, now rotate the masher 90 degrees and mash it again.
You will see the potatoes burst open and from the little cracks in their skin the soft, fluffy interior will poor out.
Now brush the potatoes with some olive oil. Sprinkle some black pepper and sea salt on top of the potatoes en plunch in the fresh herbs.
Pop the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes on 175 degrees.

The recipe for the potatoes is from The Pioneer Woman.