Turkish Salad with Dates and Goat Cheese

turkish 3

One of my favorite cookbooks these days is the book “Plenty”by Yotam Ottolenghi. It has incredible, creative and unusual vegetarian recipes with a middle Eastern touch. I tried most of them and every single one has worked and tasted great. In general, the recipes are not hard, but a bit time consuming, because he is working with lots of different spices and fresh herbs, which often takes more time to prepare. This is a book that will definitely spice up your day and with every recipe you want to try the next one!

I made this Turkish Salad the other day and it was delicious. It is a wonderful combination of flavors. Highly recommended.

The recipe calls for Turkish sheep’s cheese, but since it is a bit hard to find here :), I just substituted it through soft goat cheese, which worked just fine.

For 4 people:

1 1/2 tablespoons of whole almonds (skin on)
6 large Medjool dates
2 1/2 cups of arugula
4 to 5 oz of soft goat cheese
a few leaves of dill
3/4 cup of mixed purple ands green basil leaves and red chard leaves
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper

Dry roast the almonds at medium heat in a skillet until they are brown.

Halve the dates lengthwise and remove and discard the pit. Cut each in half into four to six long slices.

Spread the arugula over the bottom of each serving dish. On top, build up dates, cheese, dill, basil and red chard, making sure you can clearly see all four elements.

Mix together well the olive oil, pomegranate molasses and some salt and pepper, and drizzle over the salad. Roughly chop up the almonds and sprinkle on top and serve.

turskish salad 2

turkish salad 1

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Grilled Summer Zucchini Salad

zuccini processed2
Zucchini can appear to be a boring vegetable, but how untrue that is! It depends all on how it is being prepared. If just cut into chunks and left to its own devices to be steamed, yes, it is the dish that mostly does not get eaten… Soggy, tasteless and a bit bland it can be. But oh, give it the right attention, cut it the way it wants to be cut, forget the steaming for a moment, and the zucchini’s true magic reveals itself.

I made this zucchini salad just recently as a side dish together with a French potato salad and greens beans – and it was gone within seconds. No kidding! Even the children at the table who usually do not ask for zucchini wanted more. For this salad the zucchini is grilled, which is a refreshening variation and brings out its nutty flavor that mostly stays hidden.

There is just something about simplicity. It is not the amount of fancy ingredients that make good food. (And that doesn’t mean I do not sit transported to other worlds if I eat, for example, amazing green asparagus in almond wasabi crust – as I once did in a Japanese restaurant in New York. That was 8 years ago and I am still thinking of it….) But let’s be honest, most of us have ordinary lives, with children that want to be fed, (just not with vegetables…). We have busy lives and big hearts that long for nurturing, delicious food. Well, this is for you.

Ingredients:

For 4 people
Preparation time: 40 minutes

4 medium size zucchini
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 big clove of garlic, squeezed
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Carefully slice each zucchini lengthwise in thin slices. A different way to cut it can make all the difference!

Turn the grill on.

Add the squeezed garlic, the salt and the pepper to the olive oil. Brush the zucchini slices with the olive oil. And then, put them on the grill! It will only take a few minutes for each side. Make sure to not burn them, as they grill quite fast.

Take the slices off the grill, arrange on a platter and sprinkle with lemon juice. Sprinkle some more salt and pepper on it over the platter. Serve warm.

Asian Stuffed Mushrooms

mushrooms processed

Last week I made the food for an hors d’oeuvres dinner party. I had set an Asian theme for the evening and so I made these vegetarian stuffed mushrooms that have a bit of an Asian twist – mango, cilantro, green chilies… Simple and easily done and quite delicious.

Prep time including baking time is about 45 minutes.

This is what you need for 4 people:

12 mushrooms
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of minced red onions
3 gloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
1/2 green chile, halved, seeded and minced
4 tablespoons of fresh, finely chopped mango
1/2 teaspoon of soy-sauce
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 of a teaspoon of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the mushrooms off with a paper-towel and carefully take them stems out. Brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brush each mushroom with olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Chop the stems finely. Saute the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to high heat until translucent. Add the garlic and chili and saute for 2 minutes. Add the mushroom stems and keep sautéing until the juices got released. Add the soy-sauce, the cilantro and the mango and sauté for another 2 minutes. Finally add the almond butter, the salt and pepper.

Fill each mushroom with the mushroom-spice sauté.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Gluten-free Crustinis with Goat Cheese, Olives and Peppers

olives and crustinins

This is the most simple, healthy and delicious little Hors d’Hoeuvre you can literally put together in ten minutes. I just made these last week, and after everybody left, I ate the entire rest of them myself…

Ingredients:

Udi’s gluten-free bread
Olive oil
Goat cheese
Kalamata olives
Red peppers
Fresh basil leaves
Golden cherry tomatoes (cut some in half, leave some whole)
Fig & apricot jam

Wash the basil leaves and dry. Wash the red peppers, cut them in half, take the seeds out and cut in thin stripes. Drain the Kalamata olives. Wash the golden cherry tomatoes.

Toast the bread slices in the toaster. Brush with olive oil.

Cut them in quarters and spread the goat cheese on the crustinis. Then decorate them as you like with an olive, a dollop of the fig jam, a stripe of red pepper, or halve of a golden tomato.

crustini tray square

If you like, serve on a separate tray olives, tomatoes, basil leaves and fig jam. This way people can add to what they took and it looks nice.

olive tray