Archive for February, 2012


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quinoa and potato casserole

I made a quick vegetable stirfry and cut up a couple of russet potatoes to make this potatoe and quinoa casserole. The assembling of the ingredients is similar to making a lasagna. Uncover the pan so the potatoes get a chance to roast and get this beautiful red color.



For the stir fry

3 tbls olive oil

3 shallots chopped

few garlic bulbs chopped

slice or chop any vegetable  (carrots, red peppers, mushrooms)

a few cherry tomatoes cut in half and squeeze out seeds

parsley and basil

salt  /  pepper / red pepper flakes

For the assembling

parmesan cheese

1/2 cup of chicken broth


Heat pan with olive oil, add onions & garlic and cook until wilted

Add peppers, carrots and cook for a few minutes until tender

Add mushrooms, parsley basil, pepper flakes

Add salt and pepper to taste

Cut the russet potatoes into 1/4 inch slices and season them with salt, pepper cut four slices thinnerl

Use a roasting pan with a lid or cover with aluminum foil

To combine

Add the chicken broth to the pan

Place sliced potatoes side by side in the broth

Sprinkle some parmesan cheese

Add a layer of quinoa, sprinkle more parmesan

Add the thinner slices of potatoes for the next layer and sprinkle with parmesan

Add a layer of the vegetable stir fry and sprinkle with parmesan

End with a layer of sliced potatoes and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, parsley, and a generous amount of parmesan cheese

Bake in a hot 400* oven for 40 to 50 minutes covered

Uncover and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes  


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quinoa cakes

The recipe for these lovely quinoa cakes was taken from “cate’s world kitchen”.

However, I doubled the recipe and in addition to the quinoa cakes I also made “quinoa and potato casserole” and “quinoa stuffing” which I can use to stuff peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes…etc.



2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 white onion, finely chopped (yellow would be fine too)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (plus a few extra tablespoons if needed)
1-3 tbsp olive oil


Stir the quinoa, eggs, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the basil, cheese, garlic, and onion.

Stir in the bread crumbs and let stand so the crumbs can absorb some moisture. The mixture should be easily formed into balls without falling apart. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of breadcrumbs and let stand a few minutes more.

Heat the olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan – the exact amount will depend on the size of the pan you use) in a skillet or wide frying pan over medium.

Pat the mixture into patties and cook in batches, about 10 minutes on each side, flattening so they’re about 1/2″ thick. Flip carefully! They should be browned on one side after 10 minutes – if not, adjust the heat.
Repeat with remaining quinoa mixture.


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zuppa alla santè

This soup is one of the typical dishes of Agnone, a small town in the Molise region of Italy. My mother-in-law, Adelina, makes this soup quite often for every special occasion. When she makes it everything is done to the letter, she leaves nothing out. The picture you see above is the version I made. The only thing missing is the fresh caciocavallo (cheese) cut in small pieces.  The recipe here is in italian as it appears in the Isernia Tourismo website.

Ricetta tipica di Agnone
Dose per 10 persone

Per il brodo
Gallina ruspante da un chilo e 500 grammi; acqua; prezzemolo; sale.
Per i crostini
10 fette di pane casereccio; 6 uova intere.
Per le polpettine di carne
300 grammi di carne macinata di vitello; un uovo: 2 cucchiai di parmigiano; sale.
Per le polpettine di caciocavallo
150 grammi di caciocavallo stagionato grattugiato; un uovo intero; un cucchiaio di farina; 1 cucchiaio di parmigiano reggiano. 250 grammi di caciocavallo stagionato (da inserire nella zuppa).

Preparare il brodo facendo bollire la gallina lentamente per 3 o 4 ore, aggiungendo solo il prezzemolo e il sale. Bagnare le fette di pane nell’uovo sbattuto, abbrustolirle al forno o sulla brace e tagliarle a cubetti piccoli. Alla carne macinata unire un uovo, il sale e due cucchiai di formaggio; mischiare bene a formare tante palline piccole e uniformi, da cuocere a parte in un po’ di brodo che poi verrà eliminato: appena cotte scolarle. Lavorare il caciocavallo grattugiato con un uovo, un cucchiaio di formaggio parmigiano e uno di farina. Formare delle palline, friggerle in olio d’oliva e cucinarle in olio d’oliva e cucinarle in brodo bollente, come fatto per le polpettine di carne. Tagliare il caciocavallo molto stagionato a pezzettini e se si preferisce a scaglie sottili. Nelle ricette più antiche venivano utilizzate anche le interiora della gallina (fegato, cuore e budella) cotte a parte, fatte scolare, tagliuzzate e unite poi a tutti gli altri ingredienti. Dopo aver preparato tutto accuratamente, in una zuppiera sistemare a strati: il pane, le polpettine di carne e quella di formaggio, il caciocavallo a pezzetti ed eventualmente le interiora. Versare il brodo bollente e lasciare riposare per qualche minuto. Avere cura di servire tutti gli ingredienti attingendo con il mestolo, dal fondo della zuppiera, evitando di girare.


5 servings

chicken broth

1 cup short noodles (you can cut spaghetti noodles into desired length)

For the croutons

5 slices of  bread

parsley / basil (chopped)

pepper and salt

3 whole eggs

For the small meatballs

200 gr of ground veal

1 egg

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

parsley / garlic (chopped)

salt / pepper

parmesan cheese or small pieces of caciocavallo


For the croutons

Prepare a pizza pan with a sheet of parchment paper

Break the eggs in a bowl and mix all the ingrediets together except the bread

Dip the slices of bread in the raw egg mixture and slowly set them in the pizza pan

Place in a hot 350* oven and bake for 10 minutes

Turn slices over and bake another 10 minutes or until golen brown

When slices are cold, cut into small cubes

For the small meatballs

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients into the veal

Mix together well and form into small meatballs around 1 inch in diameter

Cook the meatballs in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, turning them slowly until they are browned

To assemble

A few minutes before serving

Add noodles and meatballs to broth and bring to a steady boil for 5 minutes, add the croutons and mix well. Remove from stove and serve.  Stop the cooking as soon as you add the croutons, otherwise they become too mushy

set the cheese or caciocavallo on the table


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vegetable and bean soup (3)

recipe coming soon

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orange-glazed chicken wings

recipe coming soon

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time for zeppole

March is here and so are zeppole!

Montreal bakeries everywhere are scammering to fill our orders of these delicious little fried balls.

I won’t go into the history of the zeppole. Just google “zeppole di san giuseppe” or just “zeppole” and you’ll get all the information, recipes and places to buy them. Click on images to view the many different kinds of zeppole that are  being made in every bakery in Montreal as we speak or write or chat.

What I will do is post a few links to places where you can find the best zeppoles. Also I will post the recipes as I find them online.  If you have a favorite place where you buy your zeppole, let me know and I will add it to the list.

You really can’t eat too many of these, they’re really not good for you, but they really are delicious.

So I don’t bother trying to make them, instead, once in a while we’ll drop by our favorite pastry shop and pick up a few.

The first place on my list is “Patisserie San Marco” .

I dropped by San Marco yesterday and bought 12 zeppoles,  6 filled with custard and 6 with ricotta cream. The dough is filled fresh for every order. They really do melt in your mouth. If you just can’t wait to eat them until you get home, you can sit and relax and have one with a cappuccino! Enjoy!!


List of pastry shops where to buy the best zeppole

Patisserie San Marco



Zeppole by Lidia

Zeppole di San Giuseppe da Giallozafferano

Zeppole by Giada De Laurentiis


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vegetable and bean soup (2)

Taken from “a sweet and savory life”, by Marge Perry

The snow started around noon and will continue into the night, in total we’ll probably get around 20 cm. So today is the perfect day to make the “vegetable and bean soup” that Micheline made and I posted last week.

I pretty much followed the same recipe from “a sweet and savory life”. I also added a handful of parsley and one red pepper. Also I didn’t have any red kidney beans, so I used black beans.



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

6 cups organic lower sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or 2 cups of fresh

1 pound kale or collard greens, torn in 3-inch pieces

2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut across in 1/2-inch slices

12 ounces baking potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch slices

1 8-ounce zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut across in 1/2-inch slices

2 cups of cubed buternut squash

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise and cut across in 1/2-inch slices


Heat oil in a soup pot over medium high

Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes, until softened

Add the broth, tomatoes, greens, carrots, potato and sweet potato and bring to a boil

Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are nearly cooked 

Stir in the zucchini, squash, pepper and beans and cook another 5-7 minutes, or until squash is tender

Season to taste with salt and pepper


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sauteed chickpeas

Fried, roasted, sauteed, baked or stir fried. Mix with rosemary, oregano, parsley, or dill,  the sky is the limit.

Any way you choose to make these will result in something delicious that can be used as a side dish, snack, added to a salad, appetizer and so much more.

Google “fried chickpeas” and you’ll find hundreds of recipes using every herb you can imagine.

I coated them with a mixture of parsley, garlic, and pepper flakes, and served them as a side dish with roasted chicken.



3 cups of chickpeas (canned or cooked)

1/4 cup of flour

roasted pepper flakes / parsley / garlic

salt / pepper

2 tbsp olive oil


Rinse, drain and dry chickpeas with paper towels

Combine flour and seasonings in a bowl

Add chickpeas and slowly toss to coat evenly

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, slowly add chickpeas and cook for 10 to 15 minutes gently tossing them around  until dry, crispy and golden

Place in a bowl and serve 



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The best time to make these delicious marvels is harvest time, when the markets and maybe your gardens are brimming with flavorful zucchinis in all colors and sizes. The same recipe can be used for egg plants, potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes, which I will post  later on.



3 zucchinis, cut in half and then in six pieces lengthwise

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

garlic / parsley / oregano (chopped if using fresh)

salt / pepper

2 eggs

Note: I mix 1/2 the seasonings with the bread crumbs and 1/2 with the eggs


Preheat oven to 400* F

Either spray baking sheet with olive oil or line with parchment paper

Combine bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper

Beat eggs in shallow bowl along with 1/2 the seasonings

Dip zucchini in egg then coat in bread mixture

Place in single layer on baking sheet

Bake 10 minutes until golden

Turn over with thongs and bake another 5 to 10 minutes on other side

Serve with favorite dip or enjoy alone


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