Chicken salad with pasta and pomegranate

Pomegranate is one thing I enjoy a lot and it’s so festive. It gives a holiday look to everything it’s on and I find it irresistible! So the other day I improvised a bit and put together a not so difficult chicken salad. I used leftover roast chicken, so that’s a plus. But you can use ham or turkey if you prefer. I also added some chorizo that gave it a nice kick.

To make the chicken salad

To make the vinaigrette

In a bowl put the mustard and 3-4 tbsps of the olive oil. Mix really well until the two ingredients are nicely combined. Thereafter, you add the rest of the olive oil and mix again. Finally, add the balsamic vinegar, sesame oil and orange juice and give it a last mix. Depending on the type of olive oil you are using the vinaigrette will be less or more bitter. If it’s too bitter, you can balance it out with more orange juice. Personally, I like it bitter because it gives a nice taste to the salad when poured. Keep in mind that it will dilute a lot when mixed in the salad, therefore the taste will be weaker.

Chicken salad with pasta and pomegranate

I made this chicken salad with green, leftover chicken, pomegranate and pasta the other day improvising a bit I admit. But it came out really good and I wanted to share it with you! It is perfect to complete your holiday table. You can also use ham or turkey instead of chicken. 

  • 150 g (5.3 oz) dry pasta ((uncooked))
  • 500 g (1.1 lbs) chicken meat, shredded ((can also use ham or turkey))
  • 200 g (7 oz) lettuce, roughly chopped ((about 1 small lettuce head))
  • 10 brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 80 g (abt 3 oz) chorizo, sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  1. Firstly boil the pasta according to packet instructions, dry in a colander and set aside.

  2. Secondly chop the lettuce into chunky pieces. Thinly slice the brussel sprouts, shred the chicken meat and slice up the chorizo.

  3. If you have whole pomegranates, slice of the two edges first. Then peel off the skin as if you were peeling clementines then the pomegranate will come apart in pieces. You can deseed it easily. Alternatively you can buy pomegranate seeds from the store.

To make the vinaigrette

  1. In a bowl put the mustard and 3-4 tbsps of the olive oil. Mix really well until the two ingredients are nicely combined. 

  2. Thereafter, you add the rest of the olive oil and mix again. Finally, add the balsamic vinegar, sesame oil and orange juice and give it a last mix. 

Depending on the type of olive oil you are using the vinaigrette will be less or more bitter. If it’s too bitter, you can balance it out with more orange juice. Keep in mind that it will dilute a lot when mixed in the salad, therefore the taste will be weaker.

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Eggs with Tomato Sauce

Eggs with Tomato sauce is practically a staple in Crete. And for a good reason too… it’s delicious! Greeks would have this dish for lunch though, rather than breakfast. But you can make it and enjoy any time of the day. Sometimes I have this for dinner 🙂 The key here is to have really really good quality tomatoes, fresh or canned will do. Just pick your favorite.

There are many things about this dish that make it one of my favorites. The tomato sauce tastes so good and fresh. The unexpected perfect combo of eggs and the tomato sourness. Maybe it’s all of this together. It really is a beautiful thing to eat. It’s also one of the simplest dishes to put together.

How to make it

If you are using fresh tomatoes, I’d suggest you grate them. Then pour some olive oil in a pan and bring to medium heat. Add in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7-8 mins. I like my tomato sauce tasting fresh and not overcooked.

The next step is to add the eggs on top and reduce the heat to low-medium. Cook another 5 mins until the eggs reach your desired state. Immediately serve on a plate and devour!

 

 

Eggs with tomato sauce

Eggs with tomato sauce is a staple in Cretan diet. Greeks mostly eat this as lunch and not breakfast. But feel free to have it anytime of the day, its delicious! The unexpected combo of eggs and the tomato sourness gives a perfect result. 

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. If you are using fresh tomatoes, grate them. Then pour some olive oil in a pan and bring to medium heat. Add in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7-8 mins.

  2. Next add the eggs on top and reduce the heat to low-medium. Cook another 5 mins until the eggs reach your desired state. Immediately serve on a plate and devour!

Baked Seabass with peppers and tomatoes

I wanted to make a nice fish dinner for one the other day, so I came up with this baked seabass recipe. Rob was traveling abroad so it was me and the little peanut!  I wanted something homey and quick and healthy. Right I know, difficult combo. However, I found this nice seabass in the market and I improvised with the veggies in my fridge. I used tomatoes, peppers, onions and Kalamata olives. That’s the great thing about Dubai, the tomato season is just starting 😉 And I just planted the first batch in my garden.

 

Baked Seabass in the making

When buying the fish, please ask your fishmonger to scale it and clean the belly for you. Pan ready! Wash it and put aside. Cut the peppers and tomatoes in big chunks. Repeat the same with the onion, big wedges. Destone the olives. Just cut them all around with a paring knife, and take apart the two halves. Easy peasy – that’s it!

Then take a skillet and place the fish in the middle. Rub it’s belly inside with olive oil and some oregano. Stuff it with peppers, tomatoes and onions. Arrange the rest of the vegetables all around the fish and season everything with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the olive halves on top. Drizzle with lots of beautiful olive oil. Add more oregano on top – I can’t have enough of it! Stick it in the oven at 210 C / 410 F for 35-40 mins or until lightly browned on top.

Remember that the fish cooks quite quickly. If you are not sure if it’s done, take a fork, put in the hallow part of the belly and try to flip it open. If it does and you can see the flesh peeling off the bone easily, it’s done. Bon appetit!

 

Baked Seabass with peppers and tomatoes

This is a refreshing and light dish. Perfect for one if you are alone at home, or if you don’t want to share! I love the juicy peppers and sweet tomatoes that I used here, but you can use whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge. 

  • 1 whole seabass medium sized, descaled and belly cleaned
  • 3 large peppers, cut in big chunks
  • 2 big tomatoes, cut in big chunks
  • 1/2 big onion, roughly sliced
  • oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Your fish should be scaled and belly cleaned, your fishmonger can do this for you. Wash the cleaned fish and put it aside. 

  2. Cut the peppers and tomatoes in big chunks. Repeat the same with the onion, big wedges. Destone the olives. Just cut them all around with a paring knife, and take apart the two halves.

  3. Take a skillet and place the fish in the middle. Rub it’s belly inside with olive oil and some oregano. Stuff it with peppers, tomatoes and onions. Arrange the rest of the vegetables all around the fish and season everything with salt n pepper. Sprinkle the olive halves on top. Drizzle with lots of olive oil.

  4. Stick it in the oven at 210 C / 410 F for 35-40 mins or until lightly browned on top.

Remember that the fish cooks quite quickly. If you are not sure if it’s done, take a fork, put in the hallow part of the belly and try to flip it open. If it does and you can see the flesh peeling off the bone easily, it’s done. Bon appetit!

 

Savory Greek Salad Cheesecake

I am a food lover, but you already know that. 🙂  What I mean is, I love good food no matter what the cuisine. I always love learning about new ingredients and techniques from around the world. However, I’m totally in love with the foods of my homeland. Greek food is delicious, welcoming, nutritious and in short, amazing. So I wanted to take a few simple ingredients and bring something different to the plate. To elevate presentation in a way that matches the wonderful taste.

One big favorite of mine is classic Greek salad. It is a dish in which one can actually taste Greece – in the ripe and sweet tomatoes, and the sourness of the extra virgin olive oil. So I named my dish Savory Greek Salad Cheesecake.

I had this idea in my head to make something tall and elegant. My notion here is not to change the taste of the dish, but to merely give it a different perspective. Greek cuisine is among the best and the healthiest. It is full of traditions and recipes that date a looooong way back. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be for the modern era that likes cleaner lines and different ideas.

So there it is my friends, my Greek Salad Cheesecake! I loved making it. Find the steps here.

 

Prepping

Start by slicing the tomatoes. Remove most of the seeds and fluid. Crumble the feta cheese with your hands and put aside. Take the potato peeler and peel off thin slices of cucumbers. Get the spring onions and cut them in taller and shorter pieces lengthwise.

 

Making the Greek Salad Cheesecake

You will need a cake ring. Preferably the adjustable size one. This way you can make it as big or small as you like. I opted for 15.5 cm / 6.1 inc diameter.

So place the ring on the actual serving plate and make the first layer with the tomatoes. Tuck them in nicely, 2-3 layers of tomatoes should be enough. Thereafter, you will add the crumbled feta. Spread it all around squeeze it just enough to come into shape. The next thing to to do is to arrange the cucumber slices on top. It’s a free style design so go crazy. 🙂 🙂 Lastly, get the onion pieces and stick them in the feta on whichever side you like, making a nice design.

Refrigerate in the cake ring until serving. Whereupon you just remove the ring slowly and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe some oregano on top. Enjoy!

Greek Salad savory Cheesecake

This is my take on a Greek classic. Greek salad transformed into a savory Cheesecake. It is a beautiful little thing that will decorate your dinner or party table in an elegant way. Go ahead and try something different!

  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 650 g (1.4 lbs) feta, crumbled
  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onion, cut lengthwise
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. You will need a cake ring. Place the ring on the serving plate and layer the tomato slices. Tuck them in nicely, 2-3 layers of tomatoes are enough. 

  2. Thereafter add the crumbled feta. Spread it all around squeeze it just enough to come into shape. 

  3. Arrange the cucumber slices on top. It’s a free style design so go crazy. 🙂 🙂 Lastly, get the onion pieces and stick them in the feta on whichever side you like, making a nice design.

  4. Refrigerate in the cake ring until serving. Whereupon you just remove the ring slowly and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe some oregano on top. Enjoy!

Zesty Spinach Salad with Chorizo

So we are back to Dubai. Happily. While it’s still tooo hot to be here, we are so happy to be home. However, it is only a tad cooler than June and July. Slowly the temp is going down and good weather is on the horizon! Woohoo!

I realized this week that I need to shed a few pounds. Which is due to the fact that I ate everything in Greece. Like EVERYTHING. I didn’t know where to begin and definitely not where to end. But I loved it! The fruit, especially peaches were so aromatic, my dad’s garden tomatoes and eggplants, the souvlakis that I put on my Insta. Nom nom! Guilt (ish) free! Haha. So today there’s salad on the menu. Spinach salad with chorizo (to keep things spicy!) and a zesty vinaigrette.

This salad is light and packed with flavor. I love chorizo in everything – salads, breakfast, even stews. Moreover, the vinaigrette is somewhat spicy due to the mustard. But, the orange juice balances it out with it’s sweetness. It’s got a nice bite to it. The dish takes less than 15 minutes to make! Yayyy! Light salad dinner (or lunch) here I come 🙂

 

To make the vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, mustard, white vinegar and honey until combined. You can make ahead and keep it in the fridge.

Making the vinaigrette

Assembling the spinach salad

Thoroughly wash the green leaves and dry the greens with a salad spinner or paper towels and put them in a bowl. Slice your chorizo and scatter it on top. Season with salt and pepper and grate some parmesan cheese. That’s it! Easy peasy. Dress your salad with the vinaigrette and it’s ready.

Tip: Though the salad is quite quick to make, you can also make ahead If you want. Make sure you dry the leaves very well and keep the salad ready in the fridge. Dress it at the last moment, so it doesn’t soak.

 

 

Zesty Spinach Salad with Chorizo

Zesty salad and so simple to make. Lots of Spinach, chorizo and parmesan cheese. Simply deliciousnees on your plate!

  • 1 pack spinach leaves (ard 80 g or 3 oz)
  • 1/2 pack rocket or arugula (ard 40 g or 1.5 oz)
  • salt and pepper
  • 120 g / ard 4 pz chorizo, sliced
  • grated parmesan

For the Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsps regular mustard
  • the juice of half an orange
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

For the vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, mustard, white vinegar and honey until combined. You can make ahead and keep it in the fridge.

To assemble the salad

  1. Wash the green leaves and dry them with a salad spinner or paper towels and put them in a bowl. 

  2. Slice your chorizo and scatter it on top. Season with salt and pepper and grate some parmesan cheese.

  3. Tip: Though the salad is quite quick to make, you can also make ahead If you want. Make sure you dry the leaves very well and keep the salad ready in the fridge. Dress it at the last moment, so it doesn’t soak.

 

Escargot with Rosemary – Cretan Kohli Boubouristi

My ramblings today are all about Escargot aka Snails.

I know, I know.

People don’t like escargot, in fact most people make a face of disgust when I tell them how much I enjoy cooked snails. I love them. I can clear off one whole plate in a matter of a few minutes.

 

Where I grew up in Crete, escargot are a local delicacy and in fact a widely beloved and often cooked dish. You can buy them at any open air food market. And many people – including my parents – pick them wild from the fields.

Life Cycle of Snails

 

 

 

In Crete, the rainy season starts around September/October. This is when the kohli wake up from summer estivation. They crawl all over the fields eating grass and leaves and they reproduce. This pretty much continues for 5-6 months which lasts all through the winter season. During this period they cannot be eaten, as they are too thin and have a bitter taste.

 

Later on around March the picking season starts. Snails dwell in fields up in the hills or in vineyards.  They are usually found under the stone or soil, or close to the vine trunks. Once picked, they are stored in crates and fed mostly flour and uncooked pasta. This feeding and tending period lasts about one month. It’s enough time for the kohli to fatten up and clean up.

At the end of this time they are ready for consumption and their taste is earthy and juicy, not bitter at all. As Snails don’t do well in heat, they stay dormant in their shell during the hot months. Starting in May, they seal their shell with a dry layer of mucus.  Source: Wikipedia.

Making the escargot

First, put the snails in a bowl full of water and let them sit for 4-5 mins to soak.

Soaking the snails

With a preferably toothy knife, remove the layer over the shell opening. Scrub the shell all around to clean it thoroughly. One by one.

 

 

Thereafter, sprinkle some salt straight on the bottom of a wide frying pan.

Put it over medium-high heat. Place the snails on the bottom face down. In Cretan dialect, boubouristi means with the face down. Hence kohli boubouristi, which basically means snails (cooked) face down. There. Moving along swiftly.

Tuck them in the pan nice and tight so they all fit and cook them for 3 mins.

Add a cup of water and cook them for 15-20 mins. You’ll see a greenish-yellow foam forming on the top

Remove the foam with a spoon as much as you can. After about 15-20 mins add the olive oil and sprigs of rosemary.

Taste the food and add some more salt if needed.

At this point, you probably want to add some extra water to make them extra juicy, about 1/3 cup.

Cook for 5-6 more mins. Towards the end, you add in the vinegar. Then cook them for 2 mins more and they are done. The snails are done when they are chewy and juicy (but not too chewy).

 

Don’t overcook them, because it will be harder to take them out of the shell. You can check their doneness by taking a fork with long tines and first tap them at the back of the shell and break it just a bit. Then turn the shell around looking at its opening. Pierce the fleshy part straight through and down a little. And then pull the flesh out towards you, turning your hand clockwise. Good luck!

Serve them in a plate with their juices.

 

Escargot with Rosemary

Escargot cooked with rosemary are a local delicacy in Crete. Consumed since antiquity on the island, they are a staple summer dish. Nevertheless, extremely rewarding for the wild ones that like to try new things.

  • 1.5 pounds (700 g) edible land snails or escargot
  • salt
  • 1 + 1/3 cup water
  • 1.5 cup olive oil
  • 6-7 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 100 ml (7 tbsps) red wine vinegar
  1. Soak the snails for 4-5 mins. With a toothy knife, remove the layer over the shell opening and scrub the dirt off the shell all around.

  2. Thereafter, sprinkle some salt straight on the bottom of a wide frying pan. The fire should be medium-high.  Tuck the snails all in tightly and face down. Cook them for 3 mins. 

  3. Add a cup of water and cook them for 15-20 mins. You’ll see a greenish-yellow foam forming on the top. Remove as much as you can with spoon. 

  4. Add the olive oil. Taste the salt and adjust.

  5. At this point, you probably want to add some extra water to make them extra juicy, about 1/3 cup.

  6. Cook for 5-6 more mins. Towards the end, add in the vinegar. Cook them for 2 mins. The snails are done when they are chewy and juicy (but not too chewy).

Don’t overcook them, because it will be harder to take them out of the shell. You can check their doneness by taking a fork with long tines and first tap them at the back of the shell and break it just a bit. Then turn the shell around looking at its opening. Pierce the fleshy part straight through and down a little. And then pull the flesh out towards you, turning your hand clockwise. 

Zucchini fritters – Greek Kolokithokeftedes

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year  – my number one is Christmas, but let’s not talk about Christmas right now lol. Summer to me is beautiful weather and clear blue waters. But most of all, I love the carefreeness that comes with it. Reminds me of my childhood. However, on the more practical side, the lack of time is a typical summer “problem”. Whether you are a parent vacationing with your kids. Or you are trying to navigate thru work and summery nights out with friends. There’s just not enough time. Free time for yourself can seem like a midsummer night’s dream! So for all of you that struggle with time management, but still want to have quality food my answer is: Zucchini fritters, a quick and easy recipe that everyone loves.

Zucchini are at their prime during summer, sweet and flavorful. It would be a shame not to put them to use. This recipe is inexpensive and pretty easy to put together. So let’s just jump right in and make our fritters.  Like I said, time is quite precious these days!

Making the zucchini fritters mixture

First things first, grate your zucchinis with the big hole side of the grater. Sprinkle some salt on the grated zucchini and (ideally) wrap it in cheesecloth. Strain to release most of the juice. You don’t have cheesecloth? (And why would you have cheesecloth packed in your luggage while on vacation?? haha) Use your bare and thoroughly washed hands. It’s that simple. Then put the zuchhini aside.

In a bowl add the grated onions, beaten eggs, garlic, fresh thyme and mint. Mix lightly. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper. Throw in the feta in big crumbles and mix as lightly as possible. Now add the flour tbsp by tbsp. You might need to use less or more, it really depends upon the moisture of your ingredients. The consistency you are looking for is barely thick, but able to be formed into a loose ball.

Put some olive oil in a frying pan and bring it to med – high heat. Not too high because the fritters will burn. Take some of the mixture and make a little ball with your hands. Directly place it in the pan. 1-2 mins per side are enough.  You don’t have to press it down to flatten it, it will “fall” naturally down as it fires. You might want to adjust the heat to medium at this point. Lift a little of the the fritter and check the color. It should be golden brown. Then turn them on the other side.

Tip: Zucchini fritters cook quickly so I don’t fry more than 4 or 5 at a time. Good luck!

Zucchini fritters – Greek kolokithokeftedes

Zucchini fritters – Greek kolokithokeftedes. You want enjoy your full-of-fun-but-no-time-summer-with-kids? Thea answer is zucchini fritters.

  • 700 g (1.5 lbs) grated zucchini
  • 2 onions, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch (2 cups leaves picked) fresh mint, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (120 g) flour
  • 200 g (7 oz) feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Grate your zucchinis with the big hole side of the grater. Sprinkle the grated zucchini with some salt and ideally wrap in cheesecloth. Strain to release most of the juice.  If you don’t have a cheesecloth, squeeze tight with your hands.  Put the zuchhini aside.

  2. In a bowl add the grated onions, beaten eggs, garlic, fresh thyme and mint. Mix lightly. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper. Throw in the feta in big crumbles and mix as lightly as possible.

  3.  Now add the flour tbsp by tbsp. You might need to use less or more. The consistency needs to be barely thick, but able to be formed into a loose ball.

  4. Put some olive oil in a frying pan and bring it to med – high heat. Not too high because the fritters will burn. Take some of the mixture and make a little ball with your hands. Directly place it in the pan and fry for 1-2 mins per side. You don’t have to press it down to flatten it, it will “fall” naturally down as it fires. 

  5. Adjust the heat to medium at this point if you have to. Lift a little of the the fritter and check the color. It should be golden brown. Then turn them on the other side.

    Tip: Zucchini fritters cook quickly so I don’t fry more than 4 or 5 at a time. Good luck!

 

Summery Watermelon Salad with Feta

Watermelon, tomatoes and feta cheese go together really well. Yes, they actually do! It makes a beautiful combination and is perfect for a light meal. It’s fresh, earthy and acidic at the same time. It’s a salad, but it’s got fruit in it. And that gives it a more refreshing tone. Oh and the barley rusk bites are such an earthy surprise, that remind your palate that “Yes, hold on, this is definitely lunch!”

 

Such a simple salad, but full of contradictions that will surprise your taste buds. Did I mention that it takes like uhmmm… less than 10 mins to make? Yeah, sooo quick. Just thinking of the sweet watermelon hitting that acidic and milky feta cheese makes my mouth water! I love cheese with fruits, like for example melon with parmesan or some kind of spicy gruyere cheese. I just can’t help myself! I can talk for ages about cheese and fruit, so let’s just stick to the watermelon salad for now. 🙂

Watermelon Salad with feta

Making the salad

It really is so easy to put together this little masterpiece…

Get your hands on a really sweet and red watermelon. Cut up a few slices. Resist the urge to shove the delicious fruit straight in your mouth and carry on with cutting it up into medium sized bites.

Chop up the tomatoes. Again friendly reminder, get really good quality tomatoes. With such humble and few ingredients, there is nowhere to hide. You need quality ingredients.  Then put tomatoes and watermelon together in a bowl.

Crumble the feta cheese on top. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and rosewater and drizzle onto your salad. Scatter a few barley rusk bites on top and that’s it!

I get my rusks from a Greek deli. If you can’t find mini bites, you can use one big rusk broken in pieces. Alternatively, you can use barley bread. Slice it up, bake in the oven until dry and break it up in pieces.

Summery watermelon salad with feta

Summery watermelon salad with feta. It’s fresh, earthy and acidic at the same time. A mouthful of tasty explosion that will refresh your senses!

  • 5 red tomatoes, medium sized, sliced
  • 450 g (1 lb) watermelon flesh, chopped in big bites (cleaned watermelon)
  • handful barley rusk bites
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) feta cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette

  • 45 ml (3 tbsps) olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsps) orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) rosewater
  1. Get some really sweet and red watermelon. Cut it up into medium sized bites.

  2. Chop up the tomatoes and then put tomatoes and watermelon together in a bowl.

  3. Crumble the feta cheese on top.

  4. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and rosewater and drizzle onto your salad. Scatter a few barley rusk bites on top and that’s it!

Tomato fritters – Ntomatokeftedes

It can’t be a summer without sweet, fleshy, delicious tomatoes. And in this dish, they are the centerpiece. Because tomatoes are so crucial, please please use extra good quality ones. My grandmother typically made this ntomatokeftedes (tomato fritters) in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. Big and red and irregularly shaped, they should be soft to the touch, but extremely beafy inside. So much so that when you grab one in your hand and poke it with your thumb, you feel the flesh merely squeezing in and only underneath your thumb, the rest of the tomato is intact.

In my father’s vegetable garden in Greece, when I want to make a salad I just cut the tomatoes straight from the plant. Then slice them up on a plate with olive oil, feta cheese and oregano and I have the perfect lunch. Right there on the patio, next to the mesmerizing vegetable plants. It doesn’t get much fresher and simpler than that! I think it’s that simplicity that actually allows you to connect and savor the food all the more.

How to make the mixture

If you love tomatoes as much as I do, you will love ntomatokeftedes. Basically they are tomato fritters. That’s it, simple. So you take your tomatoes and chop up half of them. The other half you grate by hand. I find that this half/half way of prep makes the fritters juicier.

So put the tomatoes in a bowl. Throw in your beaten egg, grated onion, strong oregano and dried thyme. Now chop up your mint and add it together with the crumbled feta. Put in salt and pepper. Next, you add the flour tbsp by tbsp mixing lightly each time. The consistency should be just thick enough to be spooned out and into the frying pan. The batter should stick together, but not too thick.  If it is too thick, the taste will be “floury”.

To fry the ntomatokeftedes

Heat up some olive oil over medium low fire. Use a tablespoon to spoon the mixture into the frying pan. Fry each side for 2-3 mins. I repeat medium to low fire here because it’s important to not overcook them. They should be golden brown and crispy outside but slightly raw inside.

 

When my palate fills up with those semi raw tomatoes, I can feel that beachy, summery carefreeness. I am almost on that beach getting my feet wet! After all, isn’t that what makes food magic? It’s ability to bestow an experience upon us that can transport us from one feeling to the other. I think that’s pretty amazing!

Bon appetit!

Ntomatokeftedes – Tomato fritters

Ntomatokeftedes – Tomato fritters, is a quite popular dish in Greece. Hearty and juicy and full of summer and beaches and carefreeness.

  • 500 g good quality tomatoes (half chopped / half grated) (( abt 17.5 oz))
  • 12 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp strong oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 7 tbsp fresh mint, chppped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 130 g feta, crumbled (4.5 oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop up half of your tomatoes and grate the other half. Put them in a bowl.

  2. Throw in your beaten egg, the grated onion, the oregano, the dried thyme, the mint and basil. Add in the feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Next, you add the flour tbsp by tbsp mixing lightly each time. The consistency should be just thick enough to be spooned out and into the frying pan. The batter should stick together but not too thick.

  4. Heat up some olive oil over medium low fire. Use a tablespoon to spoon out the mixture into the frying pan. Fry each side 2-3 mins or until golden brown. Don’t overfry them, you want them slightly raw on the inside. 

Chicken Salad with Kale and winter veggies

This salad came to be as my plan B 🙂

salad-1

I went to buy blood oranges for a blood orange yogurt breakfast recipe. And surprise surprise, they were out. Hence Plan B. Chicken Salad with Kale and winter veggies. Some of the best things in life happen by accident. Though I have to confess here that it wasn’t a complete accident. I was working on chicken salad with winter veggies in my mind. And I found this gorgeous tender Kale. Brighter green in color, kind of purplish around the stem. Perfect for salad! Had some really nice heirloom carrots in the fridge. So voila, my tasty plan B in action.

The first thing to do is cook the chicken. Simple process. Wash the chicken breasts and grind some salt and pepper on each side. In a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) heat up some olive oil. Saute the breasts both sides until they are nicely browned, around 10 mins on medium high. Stick the skillet in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until they are thoroughly cooked inside out. Set aside to cool down. Slice it later on for the salad.

salad-1-10

While chicken is cooking, prepare the Quinoa. Bring water to boil and add the quinoa. Let it cook for around 20 mins over medium fire. It should be relatively crunchy at the end.

Prepare your vegetables also. Wash them all very well. Cut the kale in big pieces. Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Cut the red cabbage in fine slices carefully with your knife.

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Make the dressing. In a bowl mix extra virgin olive, mustard, almond oil, white vinegar and orange juice for some natural sweetness (if you have blood oranges, even better!). It should be a fairly thin mixture when done. If its too thick, you can always add some more orange juice.

Get a nice and big bowl. Add the quinoa, kale and carrots. Sprinkle on top with the red cabbage slices. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Scatter the chicken all around and drizzle over the dressing. I guarantee you, you will love this dish!

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Serves 2-3

Time: 40 mins in total

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + 1.5 cups water

2 medium chicken breasts, about 300 g / 10.5 oz

60 g / 2 oz fresh kale

2 medium carrots, about 160 g / 5.5 oz, finely grated

1/2 cup red cabbage, finely chopped

seasalt, pepper

 

For the Vinaigrette

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

3 tsps plain mustard

3 tsps almond oil

3 tsps white vinegar

2 tbsps orange juice

 

DIRECTIONS 

Wash the chicken breasts and grind some salt and pepper on each side. In a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) heat up some olive oil. Saute the breasts both sides until they are nicely browned, around 10 mins on medium high. Stick the skillet in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until they are thoroughly cooked inside out. Set aside to cool down. Slice it later on for the salad.

While chicken is cooking, prepare the Quinoa. Bring water to boil and add the quinoa. Let it cook for around 20 mins over medium fire.

Wash your vegetables very well. Cut the kale in big pieces. Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Cut the red cabbage in fine slices carefully with your knife.

Make the dressing. In a bowl mix extra virgin olive, mustard, almond oil, white vinegar and orange juice. It should be a fairly thin mixture when done. If its too thick add some more orange juice.

In a big bowl add the quinoa, kale and carrots. Sprinkle on top with the red cabbage slices. Add a little salt and pepper. Scatter the chicken all around and drizzle over the dressing.