Archive for the ‘side dishes’ Category

The zucchini flowers have to be picked before noon so they are still opened. They are fun to make but do take a little time. The best thing to do is prepare the stuffing the day before you plan to make them.

The stuffing I made here is with rice. But you can easily use ground beef or veal. I also use this stuffing to stuff peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.

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ingredients

1 cup rice

16 zucchini blossoms, stemmed & pistils removed

bunch of parsley, basil and other choice herbs, minced

garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated mozzarella

2 large eggs

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Zucchini flowers from Maria & Ferruccio’s garden!

Preheat oven to 350*

Cook rice whichever method you prefer

Combine cooked rice and all other ingredients (except the flowers) in a bowl and mix thoroughly

Fill zucchini flowers to top and gather petals together

Lay the zucchini blossoms on a lightly oiled oven-proof dish and  drizzle a little more oil over them and bake them for about 15 minutes
Turn blossoms over and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes

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Adelina’s salads are always extremely fresh, crisp and very flavorful.

She lives walking distance to the Jean Talon Market, so she shops regularly, almost on a daily basis.

She takes her food shopping very seriously and will only buy produce that is at its’ peek.

She makes her own salad dressing in a small mason jar for easy mixing. She mixes a 1/4  cup of olive oil, chops a few garlic bulbs, a few leaves of parsley and basil and a little pinch of salt (most times she skips the salt). She gives the jar a little shake and leaves it on the counter to give everything a chance to develop into a flavorful and simple dressing.

For the salad, she always uses a variety of lettuce, romaine , radicchio, arugula, celery, black olives,  etc…. Just before serving, she drizzles the salad with the liquid and mixes everything very well.

Such a simple salad, but so colorful, full of flavor and made with so much passion!

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basic polenta

This basic recipe for polenta will serve you well. Once you’ve mastered this easy step, the sky is the limit to the different ingredients you can add. Although water is the classical choice to cook polenta,  you can also cook the polenta in broth, milk or cream. It all depends on what the final application of your polenta will be.

The basic ratio for polenta is 4 parts liquid to 1 part polenta.

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ingredients

8 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups polenta (cornmeal)

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Pour the cornmeal and 2 cups of the cold water into a large bowl
Whisk it so there are no lumps
Pour the remaining 6 cups of water and the salt into a pot, and bring to a boil
Gradually stir in the polenta and cold water mixture
Let the polenta and water simmer gently
Stir frequently, so there’s no sticking
It will take about 30 minutes until it’s very thick
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chickpeas and onions

I remember when my mother would go grocery shopping, you would never find cans of food in her cart. She would always buy a bag of either dried beans, peas, chickpeas…etc. Cooking the beans from scratch was the thing to do. I do the same now, but I should confess that I used to buy cans thinking that there is no difference.

The taste is better but the real difference is that cooking dried legumes is so easy that after doing it once, you become a convert. The trick is to soak them overnight and cook them at a low simmer or in a crockpot at the low setting with lots of water. Soaking the beans cuts the cooking time considerably, so this  step is necessary. When I cook the beans I always cook more than I need and freeze the rest in individual portions  to be used at a later date.

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ingredients

2 onion (chopped)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1 tbsp olive oil

parsley / pepper flakes / oregano

salt / pepper  (to taste)

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In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions and garlic

Cook until onions are tender

Add the chickpeas, parsley,  pepper flakes / oregano / paprika

Cook until well coated, stirring occasionally

Serve as a side dish or add to pasta, rice, quinoa or bulgur

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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.

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ingredients

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

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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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