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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Obazda and Gouda pumpernickel party rounds

A platter of finger-food ideal to start a celebration or to have prepared in advance for guests. I made this for my husband's PhD graduation party (a tiny festivity, no need to assume pro-level catering skills now). :)
Pumpernickel bread rounds are slathered with a generous layer of Obazda, then topped with an equal round of Gouda cheese and decorated with another creamy Obazda bit and a dusting of paprika. The flavors compliment each other really well and all cheese fans will be hooked to it (as I can vouch for myself). 

Last year: Turkey steaks in pink champagne sauce.
Two years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Papanași (Romanian ricotta-based sweet fritters)

This is my mom's recipe of the classic Romanian papanași. Usually done with cow's milk cottage cheese / fresh cheese, she sometimes made them with something like home-made ricotta (which she obtained by curdling the milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice). This is why I believe you'll come closer to that taste if you use store-bought ricotta instead of the grainier traditional cheese. 
There are more complicated regional variations of these (served with jam and whipped cream), but at least in the Moldova of my childhood, everyone ate them with liquid cream and white sugar dusted on top of them (like you can notice, if you look carefully, in the picture above).
Easy as nothing. Enjoy :)

Last year: Pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions and raspberry sauce.
Two years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kohlrabi carpaccio with prosciutto crudo and Parmesan (raw)

A lovely starter you can incorporate in a raw diet (as both the meat and the cheese are raw). A carpaccio usually means very thin slices of something (usually meat, but sometimes vegetables; in this case kohlrabi) marinated with some liquids to make them edible (for instance, lemon juice chemically "cooks" some meats) or simply more appealing, then topped with more spices or additions like cheese etc. The important detail is that everything remains raw :).

Last year: Smoked trout spread on hot buttered toast.
Two years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kirmizi Mercimek Çorbasi (Turkish red lentil soup) (vegan)

One of the most well-known Turkish soups, light and hearty at the same time, very nourishing and absolutely delicious. Several versions of this soup exist out there, since it's a staple in Turkish households. That would also explain the large variety of slightly different recipes online, but you'll find that this one here is about as traditional as they get. 

If you don't need to keep it vegan, the soup is sometimes served with a little yogurt (and extra parsley):

However you choose to serve it, enjoy ! :)
Recipe sources (the closest, at least): here (Romanian) and here (English).

Last year: Mauve rice with bell peppers, carrots, olives and pine nuts (vegan).
Two years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sauteed cod with pea cream (Italian)

This is a lovely way to serve cod and peas, dug up from a lovely book from the famous Silver Spoon series (which offer the best of what Italian home cooking has to offer). Cod pieces are marinated and gently fried, served on a bed of pea cream with a few whole peas, mustard seeds and dill in a perfect and elegant combination of flavors. The contrast between the various textures of the fish, mustard seeds, creamed peas and crunchy peas and so on is also one of the major perks of this dish.
Recipe from A Silver Spoon Collection book (Fish: Recipes from the Sea), via Saveur.

Last year: Pepitoritas (Mexican cajeta and pumpkin seed crescents).
Two years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sangria (Spanish) (vegan)

The classic red wine and citrus juice drink the Spanish enjoy cold, sort of a cool counterpart of the Northern mulled wine. :). "Sangria" literally means blood and I think that's very passionate :). It's slightly milder and more diluted than wine, but a lot sweeter and more flavorful. A nice thing to have around for parties, guests or Spanish food. :)
Recipe source: here.

Happy birthday, Dad! :)

Last year: Cajeta (Goat milk caramel) (Mexican).
Two years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Raspberry and marshmallow cake

A lovely weekend cake filled with tangy raspberries and topped with some more raspberries and gooey marshmallows and baked some more under the broiler until the marshmallows melt and brown. 

A slice of this cake is really a slice of yummy summer melted fluffiness :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Conchiglioni giganti con ricotta e limone (Italian).
Two years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Orange pasta with eggplant and carrots (vegan)

A nice and fresh meal of pasta, quick to throw together and very light (no sauce). Also tastes warm and spicy (if you're a bit on the spicier side of life, like me, you'll enjoy it). 
This dish proves that with the proper seasoning and pairing, even the most calorie-poor and boring sounding dish can become very satisfying. :) The pasta is orange-colored and it contains 25% carrot and pumpkin, the eggplant and aubergine are gently fried with spices (the coriander is the key) and the whole thing gets a fresh touch from the parsley added at the end. Enjoy! :)

Last year: Cauliflower and soy croutons cream soup (vegan).
Two years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Moroccan potato salad (vegan)

A traditional Moroccan salad with lots of raw red onion, garlic, parsley and cold-pressed olive oil. Full of flavorful fresh notes, great to enjoy as a side or on its own. To us, it was delicious on its own and disappeared without any other trace than the pretty-smelling bowl that made us want more :)
Recipe source: Saveur

P.S: Happy birthday, mom! I remember this is something you liked.

Last year: Simple tomato gratin (Gratin Provencal).
Two years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Three-color pizza with basil, mozarella, tomatoes and avocado

This is basically a caprese (basil-mozarella-tomato together are called a caprese salad) pizza with an addition of fresh avocado. A beautiful fresh tasting pizza in the colors of Italy, perfect for the warm weather outside. Enjoy :).
Recipe idea adapted from BBC's Good Food.

Last year: Violet flame (cocktail).
Two years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Creamy coconut milk rice (vegan)

I love milk rices - partly because they're the easiest dessert one can make, partly because they remind us all of childhood (at least in Eastern Europe where I grew up). And because it's nice to find variations, here's a vegan version made with coconut. Sweet and tropical tasting, it's the lightest finish possible to your evening, especially when preparing to drift away to sleep. Good night, kids :)

Last year: Tagliatelle with tuna, lemon, rucola and pine seeds.
Two years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Prosciutto-wrapped turkey fillets with early summer salad

Turkey breast fillets rubbed with freshly ground pepper and wrapped in Italian prosciutto, then fried into a delicious smoky crust and soft juicy interior goodness. With a nice helping of early summer salad, crunchy-fresh and lightly flavored with pumpkin seed oil.
Don't know about your tastes, but to me that is the synonym for the perfect non-veggie dinner. With fresh Italian style flavors. Enjoy.

Last year: Ganse Schmaltz Back-Kartoffeln (German goose fat baked potatoes).
Two years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Elder-flower and vanilla syrup (vegan)

I made elder-flower syrup, out of fresh flowers, when I visited home last year. It's something which can only be made kind of about now (at the beginning of June).  
I also infused it with vanilla for a stronger and dreamier flavor. It's wonderful diluted with water for a refreshing drink, or in cocktails, or in various deserts (like the Elder flower rum cream tarts with raspberries).
In the picture above you may also admire my parents' tomcat, Perseus. :)

Recipe source: my dad :).

Last year: Raw walnut-cocoa truffles with honey and cinnamon (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

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