Showing posts with label spinach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spinach. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Spinach and cheese “meatballs”

Bolinhos de espinafre e queijo

Who follows me on Instagram has seen some of my lunch dishes: it is usually simple food, quick to put together, so I can make it and eat in on my lunch break. Rice and beans I keep ready at the fridge, so it is just a matter of roasting some vegetables, making a salad or an omelet, or getting meatballs from the fridge straight to the oven. All very quick.

But when I have a little more time, or when I get organized enough on the previous night, I like to make new recipes, food that takes a little bit longer in the kitchen, like these delicious spinach “meatballs”: I had some spinach in the fridge and wanted to use it in something different – on a busy day I would simple stir-fry it with olive oil, garlic and a pinch of nutmeg for a tasty side dish, but since I had a bit of extra time I went to my good old sources for recipes online (Donna Hay, Jamie Oliver, Gourmet Traveller, both Australian and UK Delicious magazines) and it was on the Guardian that I found something interesting. I adapted the recipe slightly and got truly delicious spinach cakes – I am calling them meatballs because I decided to roll them into balls.

I am sure these meatballs would be delicious baked, but since my oven was already full with something else I just grilled them quickly in a nonstick frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. If you decide to bake them, line the baking sheet with foil and brush it with olive oil, because the amount of cheese in these cakes will make them stick on the sheet.

Too bad the recipe does not yield much – the meatballs were gone in no time at all. :D

Spinach and cheese “meatballs”
adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's savory spinach cakes recipe

4 cups (260g) fresh spinach, tough stalks removed, leaves washed, packed
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup coarsely grated yellow mozzarella – cheddar should make a fine substitute, or even Monterey Jack
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon cream cheese
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten – the egg I used was a small one, 50g; I buy organic eggs and sizes vary
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For frying the balls:
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, cook the spinach in two batches, stirring until wilted. Transfer to a colander. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze very well with your hands, then chop. Set aside to cool completely.
Using the same frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute – don’t overcook or the garlic will turn bitter. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

Transfer spinach, onion and garlic mixture, cheeses, cream cheese, breadcrumbs and nutmeg to a medium bowl. Stir in the egg and season with salt and pepper. With damp hands, roll 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture into balls, pressing slightly to compact the mixture. Transfer to a place and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Before frying the meatballs, roll them into the breadcrumbs. Heat the olive oil in the same frying pan used before over medium-high heat and fry the balls, turning two or three times to evenly brown them – be careful because they are very soft. Serve immediately.

Makes 10-11 cakes

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Quarantine vegetable soup

Sopa de legumes da quarentena

Hello everyone, long time no see. Ages ago I decided to be honest with myself and accept the fact that I no longer had time to write on this blog, unfortunately – I can barely update the one in Portuguese. But with these crazy, uncertain times we are living I thought I should ask you how it has been for you.

This is my third week isolated, went out only once to buy groceries. How is it going for you? I miss my nephew, miss going to work and to the gym, miss buying things like fresh veg whenever I want to, miss going to the movies. But I know I am privileged and one of the lucky people who can work from home and I have food on my table.

I have been cooking a lot, trying to make everything stretch as much as possible to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. I also try to make each batch of food last for at least 2 meals. I have baked bread, but no sweets: my husband does not like them, and I don’t want to eat everything myself.

I made this soup earlier this week and it was enough for 2 dinners – my husband loves soup and if he wasn’t so eager to eat it the soup would have probably lasted for 3 meals. :D It is a riff on another soup I make regularly. I hope you like this recipe and I also hope to hear from you. xx

Quarantine vegetable soup
own recipe, a riff on this one

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, light part only, finely sliced
1/3 cup finely diced celery - I used frozen, unthawed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato, deseeded and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large courgette, diced
boiling water, enough to cover the vegetables (about 1,5 liters, but it will depend on the size of your saucepan)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
150g frozen spinach, unthawed - here in Brazil that would be 5 portions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until transparent, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the leek and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes – if you use frozen, like me, cook for 4 minutes, because it will cool the bottom of the saucepan slightly. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant – do not let it burn or it will taste bitter.

Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and cook until it is mushy. Add the carrots, potatoes and courgette and stir to combine. Cover with boiling water, season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and cook until vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes – this will depend on the size you cut them; I test the carrots and if they are tender the soup is ready.
Turn off the heat and with an immersion blender, blitz the soup for a couple of seconds – you want the mixture to be half chunky, half smooth. Add the spinach and stir slowly, until it defrosts and gets mixed into the soup – this will cool the soup a little bit and make it ready to serve.

Serves 5-6

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Loaded potatoes with spinach, cheese and bacon

Loaded potatoes with spinach, bacon and cheese / Barquinhas de batata com espinafre, bacon e queijo

I work for a Swiss company and this week several of my peers from Switzerland have been asking me about/wishing me a good Carnival – it is funny because I am not a Carnival person (they do not know that), but I do enjoy the days off (Netflix, here I come!). :)

To me these loaded potatoes are perfect for lazy days: just a handful of ingredients, easy prepping, and delicious results. My versions lately have been dairy free: I skip the cheese and add a couple of teaspoons of nutritional yeast to the filling to get the cheesy flavor. Sometimes I sprinkle a bit of Pecorino on top as well for a salty touch, since that cheese does not cause me digestion problems.

Loaded potatoes with spinach, cheese and bacon
own recipe

4 large potatoes
6 bacon rashers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¾ cups (120g) spinach leaves, packed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup (75g) coarsely grated Canastra cheese*

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a medium baking sheet with foil.
Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Place them on the foil and bake for about 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender (remove them from the oven, but keep it on). When potatoes are warm enough to handle, cut them in half horizontally, remove some of the pulp and transfer to a bowl – do not carve the potatoes too much or the shells will be too thin and delicate to hold the filling. Place the potato shells back on top of the foil.

In a large nonstick frying pan, cook the bacon over high heat stirring occasionally until crisp. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the potato pulp and mix. Stir in ½ cup of the cheese. Spoon filling back into each potato half and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until top is golden.

* for this recipe I used a kind of cheese typical from Brazil called Canastra cheese. Feel free to replace it with cheddar or the cheese of your liking

Serves 4 with a green salad on the side

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Spinach, cheese and chorizo calzones

Spinach, cheese and chorizo calzones / Calzones de espinafre, queijo e chorizo

When I have difficult and/or very busy days I usually take a breather and go to People magazine’s website: I get to read about celebrities and for that I don’t need to use any of my brain cells. :D

Today I read about how Kim Cattrall “killed” the plans of a third SATC movie, and for that we all have to send Kim a big thank you card – the first movie was nice, but the second was absolutely ridiculous and just the thought of certain scenes makes me agonize all over again. Some of the comments suggest that the writers kill Samantha Jones and do the movie with the other three women instead, however I don’t find it a smart decision for the fun of the TV show was the four of them together, and Samantha was always my favorite character (followed very closely by Miranda).

I will borrow inspiration from SATC and present you these delicious calzones: the filling is a combination of spinach, cheese and chorizo and I beg of you not to remove any of the ingredients from it: the calzones would not be the same. The spinach and the cheese benefit intensely from the saltiness of the chorizo, however if you can’t find it bacon goes well here too.

Spinach, cheese and chorizo calzones
own recipe

2 teaspoons dried yeast
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (300ml) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 ¼ cups (455g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup (105g) finely diced chorizo
2 large garlic cloves
2 cups (120g) fresh spinach leaves, packed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (200g) coarsely ground yellow mozzarella*
extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the calzones

Start with the dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the yeast, sugar and water with a fork. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, flour and salt and mix for 6-8 minutes or until a soft and elastic dough forms. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

In the meantime, make the filling: heat a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the chorizo and cook stirring occasionally until the pieces are golden and crispy. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant – do not let it burn or it will get bitter. Stir in the spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper – go easy on the salt for the chorizo is usually salty. Cool, then stir in the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush it lightly with olive oil.
Divide the dough into 8 equal parts – each will be around 100g (3 ½ oz.). Roll out each portion of dough on a lightly floured surface until you get a rough 25cm (10in) circle. Place some of the filling on one side of the dough and fold the other half over, pinching the seams well to keep the filling inside. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling. Place the calzones onto the prepared sheet and brush them lightly with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.

* the yellow mozzarella I used is not like fresh mozzarella balls, therefore it does not release too much liquid. Replace by cheddar or something similar texture wise.

Makes 8

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sweet pea salmon pie - turning a piece of fish into something delicious

Sweet pea salmon pie / Torta de salmão e ervilha

Talking to my husband the other day about food, we once again came to the conclusion that we don’t eat fish as often as we should, which is such a shame.

I did not make any promises, for breaking them makes me frustrated and that is something I really don’t need right now – instead, I decided to make roasted salmon for lunch: seasoned with lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, baked over a layer of sliced leeks – very simple yet very delicious.

I did have left about 200g of salmon, and I did not want to eat it cooked in the same way, so I used it to make Jamie Oliver’s fish pie – he uses a combination of white fish, shrimp and salmon, but I made it with salmon only for it was what I had around. I also reduced the recipe considerably for the original serves 8 people.

It was my first fish pie ever and as I placed it in the oven it looked and smelled really good. My husband was at work, so I texted my sister and asked what she felt about having fish pie for lunch – I know she’d never had fish pie before, so I described the dish for her, and her reply was: “I have never have that, but I love everything in it – I’m coming over!”. :D

The pie tasted delicious and despite the mashed potatoes on top it is such a light dish – we devoured it but it never felt like we’d eaten a lot.

Sweet pea salmon pie
slightly adapted from the delicious Save with Jamie: Shop Smart, Cook Clever, Waste Less

250g potatoes
½ lemon
10g unsalted butter
100g frozen peas
1 small carrot
½ onions
olive oil
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
200g salmon
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
25g frozen spinach
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Peel the potatoes and cut into small chunks, then put them into a small saucepan of boiling salted water for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and mash with a pinch of salt and pepper, the zest from the lemon and the butter.
Place the frozen peas in a colander, pour over some boiling water to defrost them, then drain well and pulse a few times in a food processor. Fold them through the mashed potato to create a rippled effect, then leave to one side.

Peel and chop the carrot and onion and cook them in a wide 2 ½ cup-capacity ovenproof dish with a drizzle of oil for 15 minutes, or until softened but not colored, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Once simmering, add the salmon and cook for around 10 minutes, or until cooked through, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a plate, taking the pan off the heat. Remove the skin from the salmon.

Stir the flour into the carrots and onions, then gradually add half the milk, a tablespoon at a time, stirring continuously (discard the remaining milk). Stir in the spinach until broken down, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Flake in the salmon and the juice from ¼ of the lemon and stir gently to combine.

Top with the pea-spiked mash and smooth out, scuffing it up slightly with a fork or a spoon to give it great texture. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until golden and the filling is bubbling.

Serves 2

Monday, June 30, 2014

Orecchiette with squash sauce and spinach balls - quick, nutritious and delicious

Orecchiette with squash sauce and spinach balls / Orecchiette com molho de abóbora e bolinhas de espinafre

Despite my desire to try new things in the kitchen, I feel very lucky for not having serious food allergies and also for not having to give up gluten or dairy – I was a vegetarian for many years and that wasn’t hard, but I don’t think I would last one week without bread or cheese.

Pasta is another staple I’m not willing to eliminate from my diet, not only because it is delicious but also because it is a very versatile ingredient: it can be made in so many different ways, the sky is the limit. When I’m in a hurry to make dinner or the refrigerator is empty pasta always saves the night. That is why I was so eager to buy Antonio Carluccio’s book on the subject and he didn’t disappoint: it is oh, so beautiful, and the recipes look mouthwatering – I want to cook everything from that book.

Still strong with the plan of adding more vegetables to our meals and reducing the amount of meat I thought that a pasta dish with a vegetable sauce would make a light, nutritious lunch, and since my husband had said something about how great the dish on the cover of the book looked it was easy to choose a recipe. Carluccio’s recipe calls for zucchini, but I decided to use the beautiful squash I had in my fridge: not only the food was delish and super fresh, it was really quick to put together – that way I did not miss any of the action on the Holland vs Mexico match (I screamed so hard when Sneijder scored that my throat was sore for the rest of the day). :)

Orecchiette with squash sauce and spinach balls
slightly adapted from the beautiful and delicious Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery

Spinach balls:
150g spinach leaves
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
20g fresh breadcrumbs
15g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil, for shallow frying

Pasta and sauce:
150g orecchiette or penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
½ fresh red chilli, not too hot, finely chopped
300g coarsely grated squash*
salt and freshly ground blackpepper, to taste
finely ground parmesan, to serve

Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F.
Prepare the spinach balls first by cooking the spinach leaves in salted water for a few minutes. Scoop out and leave to cool. When cool, squeeze out most of the moisture and chop the leaves with a knife, but not too small. Then mix in a bowl with the garlic, nutmeg, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Add the egg gradually, mixing until the mixture comes together (you might not need the whole egg). Season with salt and pepper. Roll mixture into balls (you’ll get about 10) and shallow-fry in a tiny bit of canola oil until they brown on all sides. Keep them warm in the oven while you make the rest of the recipe.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the garlic, chilli and squash to the pan. Cook quickly in the oil, about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce over high heat, to cover and warm everything up, then divide between warmed plates. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan and place four or five spinach balls on top. Serve at once.

* I used a type of squash called “abóbora paulista”, which by photo I found similar to cushaw squash (but a lot smaller in size); feel free to replace it with other types of squash or use zucchini instead (as called for in the original recipe)

Serves 2

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ricotta and spinach manicotti and cooking = power

Ricota and spinach manicotti / Manicotti de ricota e espinafre

Not until recently I started thinking of cooking as something both empowering and liberating and that comes to my mind when I think of certain passages of my childhood.

In the period between my mom’s death and my father marrying again my paternal grandmother lived with us and she did all the cooking at home. She was an amazing cook – still is at 88 – but she rarely made the dishes I liked – I know it might sound bitter and very “oh, my granny liked my brother more than me”, but it’s true: she would cook anything my brother wanted without hesitation, but never paid much attention to what I liked to eat – the perks of being the older child, I suppose.

One of the dishes she made very often was savory crepes filled with beef mince and covered with tomato sauce. See, I didn’t like beef as a kid, but I still had to eat the damn crepes. My brother, however, didn’t like tomato sauce but he didn’t have to eat the beef filled crepes – instead, he asked for his crepes to be filled with French fries (!), and granny wouldn’t say a word about it. And that is just one of the situations from those days.

Now, as a grown up, I cook what I want when I want it. My savory crepes are filled with ricotta and spinach and I don’t have to beg anyone else for it.

Ricotta and spinach manicotti / Manicotti de ricota e espinafre

Ricotta and spinach manicotti
slightly adapted from the beautiful and delicious Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen

1 ½ cups (360ml) whole milk
1 large egg
½ teaspoon table salt
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
canola oil, as needed to lightly grease the pan

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
200g spinach, stems removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
450g (1 pound) ricotta cheese – I used homemade, recipe here, using 5 cups of milk
handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 ½ cups tomato sauce, recipe here
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make the crepes: place the milk, egg, salt and flour to the bowl of a blender. Blitz until smooth, then leave at room temperature for 1 hour (or at least 30 minutes).
Heat a nonstick 20cm (8in) skillet over medium-low heat. Brush pan lightly with oil, if needed. Pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet then swirl it around to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cook 30-45 seconds, flip and cook for 15 more seconds or until golden. Transfer to a flat dish then repeat with remaining batter.

Filling: heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, then the spinach, and cook until wilted. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cool slightly, then chop and transfer to a colander and squeeze to remove the excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining filling ingredients and mix to incorporate. Check the seasoning.

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 22x32cm (9x13in) casserole dish.
Lay each crepe on a flat surface and spoon an even amount of filling in a long strip down the edge of each one. Roll crepes closed, and place seam-side down into the casserole dish.
Evenly pour remaining sauce over filled crepes. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Makes about 10 crepes – I got 9; the first two crepes I made got torn in the middle, so I got to serve 7 in total

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ricotta and spinach stuffed shells - a nice idea for lunch on Mother's Day

Ricotta and spinach stuffed shells / Conchinhas recheadas com ricota e espinafre

Nigella promoted her cookbook in several different TV shows here in Brazil and in one of them she baked her chocolate banana muffins – she said that they would be a nice treat for breakfast on Mother’s Day. Her comment reminded me of this recipe I cooked a while ago, the first one I tried from Martha’s wonderful vegetarian cookbook: I find it perfect for a celebration day, since it can be put together in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator; all you need to do is let it come to room temperature, then bake it – easy-peasy.

Unfortunately I no longer have my mom around, but if I did I would probably make her both the muffins and the pasta bake – spoiling people with food is one of my favorite sports. ;)

Ricotta and spinach stuffed shells
adapted from the absolutely beautiful Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

Tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 400g (14oz) can peeled tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil leaves
handful of fresh oregano leaves

Pasta and filling:
16 pasta shells (6cm each)*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
100g frozen spinach, unthawed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of freshly nutmeg
1 ¼ cups fresh ricotta – I used homemade
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped

Make the sauce: in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and the sugar. Fill 1/3 of the can with water, swirl it around and add to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, break the tomatoes with a wooden spoon then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the basil and oregano, stir to combine, cover and remove from the heat.
Cook shells in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and let cool. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Filling: in a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook until it thaws, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, spinach and parsley. Season again with salt and pepper.
Coat a 25x15cm (6x10in) ovenproof baking dish with the sauce. Generously spoon filling into shells and arrange in pan, dipping them into the sauce. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes.

* some shells might break in the boiling water, so it’s a good idea to cook more shells than you actually need

Serves 2 generously

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chickpea curry with roasted cauliflower and tomatoes and a trip that changed things up around here

Chickpea curry with roasted cauliflower and tomatoes / Curry de grão-de-bico com couve-flor e tomates assados

Those of you around here for a while know that my husband is a classic case of picky eater – there are lots of things that he just won’t eat. That makes me sad because he is missing out on several delicious things, but what can I do? I can’t force him – I hated it when my stepmother forced us to eat her disgusting food and that was the reason why I started cooking. I consider it his loss – I eat all the good food myself and call it a day.

Last year he went to China on a business trip and that was one of the greatest gifts the Universe could have sent me: several days and many spring rolls afterwards he came home a changed man – at least in the food department. Yes, he’s still a bit picky and likes to stick to his usual favorites, but he’s been trying things he hated before and without me pushing. He ate this vegetarian curry – one of Martha’s great recipes – which blew me away because he doesn’t like chickpeas. Or cauliflower, for that matter. Because he was being such a good boy I replaced the cilantro with parsley – baby steps, people, baby steps. One or two more trips to China and I bet he’ll become a real foodie – maybe I should give his boss a call and send him a box of brownies. ;)

Chickpea curry with roasted cauliflower and tomatoes
slightly adapted from the wonderful Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

½ head cauliflower (about 450g/1lb), trimmed and cut into florets
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 ½ cups baby spinach*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves – I used parsley

Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F. Toss cauliflower with 1 teaspoon olive oil and arrange in a single layer on one side of a rimmed baking sheet. Toss tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil and arrange on other side of sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until florets are browned in spots and tomatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 8 minutes.
Add cauliflower and cook until warmed through and chickpeas are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.

* I added about 80g frozen spinach instead of the fresh stuff because that is what I had at home; the curry turned green, which to some people might be unappetizing (for the record, it tasted great); right before serving, I added a handful of fresh baby watercress to the curry.

Serves 4 – I halved the recipe above, we both ate generously and there was still curry left, enough to serve one more person

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spinach casserole with orecchiette and cheeses

Spinach casserole with orecchiette and cheeses / Orecchiette de forno com espinafre e queijos

Talking to a coworker who has lost several pounds, I found out that the on the diet she’s been on gluten and dairy are forbidden. I must say that as much as I would love to lose a couple of pounds, I would never be able to follow that kind of diet: I cannot survive without bread and cheese; I know there are ways of replacing wheat flour for other kinds of flour – the spelt muffins I made a while ago were pretty decent – but the thought alone of not eating cheese makes me moody already. :)

This cheeseaholic loved Amanda Hesser’s pasta dish not only because there are two types of cheese involved, but also because it’s delicious, hearty even without any kind of meat and perfect for the cold days we’ve been having here.

Spinach casserole with orecchiette and cheeses
slightly adapted from Amanda Hesser’s wonderful recipe bible

300g spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups finely chopped canned plum tomatoes
225g (½ pound) orecchiette
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Have ready a 6-cup capacity casserole or baking dish.
Rinse the spinach and remove the stems. Gather all the leaves and roll them together like a cigar then finely slice.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, sauté over medium heat until tender but not brown, then stir in the garlic. Add the tomatoes, then add the spinach. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the orecchiette until al dente. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the goat cheese and half the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce, then transfer to the casserole. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve at once.

Serves 2

Monday, January 23, 2012

Golden mixed greens pie

Golden mixed greens pie / Torta de verdura

It might look like I live on sweets, but no – I eat savory food, too, and try to eat my greens as frequently as possible. :)
This tart is delicious and not difficult to make – you just need to plan accordingly so the dough has time to rise and the good thing is: you can make it in advance and reheat it before serving.

Golden mixed greens pie
slightly adapted from the absolutely gorgeous Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm whole milk
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (60g) cake flour*
melted butter, for brushing

1 large bunch dandelion greens or other bitter greens – I used escarole
1 large bunch spinach
½ tablespoon olive oil + more if necessary
1 garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, white and most of green parts, chopped
salt, to taste (about ¾ teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 ½ tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled

Dough: dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk and stir in 1 ½ tablespoons of the all purpose flour.
Break the eggs into the large bowl of an electric mixer (attached with the dough hook) and lightly whisk them with a fork. Add the yeast mixture and the remaining all purpose flour and mix on low speed until very smooth. Add the sugar, salt and butter and mix well. Add the cake flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes or until smooth.
Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered large bowl, cover well with plastic and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling: chop the greens into 2.5cm (1in) pieces, discarding any thick stems.
In a very large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and scallions and cook for about 1 minute, until the scallions begin to soften. Raise the heat to high, add the chopped greens, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute or until greens are wilted (work in batches if necessary). Transfer the greens to a plate and let cool to room temperature. Taste for salt the stir through the nutmeg and pine nuts.
Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil then lightly brush the foil with oil.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 2 slightly unequal pieces: the larger one will be the bottom crust. Flatten the larger piece of dough onto an oval about 40x25cm (16x10in) and transfer onto the prepared sheet. Press the filling onto a colander, using your hands too, to extract the maximum water possible. Spread the filling over the dough leaving a generous 2.5cm (1in) rim all around uncovered. Roll the remaining piece of dough onto an oval about 37x20cm (15x8in). Place it over the filling and fold the edges of the bottom dough up over the edges of the top to seal the edges in the filling, then twist it, making a twisted rolled edge all round. Use a sharp knife to make slits in the top crust. Brush with the melted butter (I forgot to do that).
Bake the pie for 8 minutes, then lower the heat to 200°C/400°F and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until pie is deep, rich golden brown.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch

Serves 8-10

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spinach and three-cheese pie and conquering fears

Spinach and three-cheese pie / Torta de três queijos e espinafre

I once watched an interview with Carrie Ann Moss, back when she was promoting "Red Planet", in which she said that wearing a space helmet for the film had been a very difficult thing since she was claustrophobic. She joked and said something like “one fear down, many more to go”.

Carrie Ann, my friend, I know the feeling: now that I’ve made a filo pie without tearing the bejeesus out of the pastry I’m ready to conquer another fear. Heights, maybe? ;)

Spinach and three-cheese pie
adapted from Modern Classics 1

5 sheets ready prepared filo pastry
3 ½ tablespoons (50g) unsalted butter, melted
1 bunch spinach, trimmed and blanched*
½ cup (100g) ricotta, crumbled
¼ cup (50g) feta, crumbled
¼ cup (20g) finely grated parmesan
3 eggs
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20x10cm (8x4in) shallow ovenproof baking dish**.
Layer one sheet of the filo pastry on a clean, dry surface (keep the other sheets covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out), forming a 30x20cm (12x8in) rectangle, brush with melted butter and cover with another sheet. Repeat the process until you used all the sheets. Line the prepared baking dish with the filo sheets. In a bowl, mix together the spinach, ricotta, feta and parmesan. Top the pastry with the cheese mixture. In the same bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, chives, salt and pepper and pour over the spinach mixture. Brush edges of pastry with remaining butter. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is set and pastry is golden.

* place the spinach leaves in a pan of boiling water for 5 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and immediately soak in a bowl of ice water. Remove from the water and squeeze excess liquid.

** I used a 20x15cm (8x6in) baking dish

Serves 2

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lemon and broccolini soup

Lemon and broccolini soup / Sopa de brócolis e limão siciliano

Girls, thank you for all the haircut suggestions – I’m so glad you shared your thoughts with me! I’ll let you know when I make up my mind. :D

Because you are so sweet and dear to me, I’m offering you this soup: I could be offering you cookies or something with chocolate – I’d like that a lot more - but I want you to be healthy and strong. So soup it is. :D

Lemon and broccolini soup / Sopa de brócolis e limão siciliano

Lemon and broccolini soup
slightly adapted from Donna Hay magazine

2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed*
400g broccolini, coarsely chopped
4 cups (960ml) vegetable stock
100g spinach leaves
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sour cream or crème fraîche, to serve

Heat a deep, medium saucepan over high heat. Add the butter, olive oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the broccolini and cook for another minute. Add the stock, bring to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the broccolini is tender. Add the spinach and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender or use an immersion (hand-held) blender to blend the soup until smooth - be careful because you are dealing with hot liquid; keep the end of the blender immersed in the soup all the time to stop the liquid from spilling. Stir in the cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowl, top with about 1 tablespoon sour cream/crème fraîche, sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper over and serve.

* I used garlic infused olive oil and omitted the garlic cloves

Serves 4

Friday, July 24, 2009

Herb and spinach fritters

Herb and spinach fritters / Bolinhos de espinafre e ervas

Have you ever cooked something because you missed someone?

After watching a concert on TV, I could not stop thinking about my mom – she and my father met on one of that singer’s presentations, back in 1975. My way of dealing with it was preparing something I knew she’d love: it had to be something packed with veggies or fruit.

These fritters come from DH mag #29 and were perfect for the occasion.

Herb and spinach fritters / Bolinhos de espinafre e ervas

Herb and spinach fritters
from Donna Hay magazine

1 cup (140g) self-rising flour, sifted
2 eggs
1 ½ tablespoons (21g) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup (60ml) milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped chives
½ cup chopped basil leaves
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup spinach leaves, packed, torn or chopped
vegetable oil for shallow-frying

Place the flour, eggs, butter, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine – a batter will form. Fold through the chives, basil, parsley and spinach. Place two tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add tablespoons of the mixture to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes each side or until bubbles appear on the surface – avoid making tall or very large fritters because they might not cook completely on the inside. Set aside.
Add another two tablespoons of oil and repeat with the remaining mixture.

Serves 4 – I got 10 fritters

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spinach soup with creamy potato mustard mash

Spinach soup with creamy mustard potato mash / Sopa de espinafre com purê de batata e mostarda

After watching “The Wrestler” I could not bring myself to stop singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” - and now it is impossible for me to think about the song without thinking about the movie as well.
When I think of vegetables, I’m automatically reminded of Ana Elisa and her amazing salad and soup recipes, among other delicious treats.

I slightly adapted this soup from DH mag #38, but Ana was the inspiration for me to prepare it.

Spinach soup with creamy mustard potato mash / Sopa de espinafre com purê de batata e mostarda

Spinach soup with creamy potato mustard mash
from Donna Hay magazine

2kg sebago (floury) potatoes, peeled and chopped
50g butter
¾ cup (180ml) whole milk
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper

100g butter
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 x 500g bunches English spinach, trimmed, washed and chopped
¼ cup parsley leaves
5 cups (1.2l) vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Start with the mash: place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the saucepan. Add butter, milk, mustard, salt and pepper and mash until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

Now, the soup: heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until just golden, add spinach and parsley and cook for 5 minutes or until wilted. Add stock and cook for another 5 minutes. Place in a food processor/blender and process until smooth – be careful since the mixture will be very hot.
Stir through salt and pepper.
Place spoonfuls of the mash in the base of bowls, pour over the soup and serve.

Serves 4

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spaghetti with garlic and spinach and how I love You Tube

Spaghetti with garlic and spinach

Love it. Just love it.

There are loads of interesting things there - music videos (something our stupid MTV hardly ever plays), interviews (I saw a really old one with Duran Duran the other day, so much fun) and food TV shows. I can watch the ones I missed before upgrading my cable TV and also the ones that are not aired here in Brazil. Like bill’s food.

Even though my heart belongs to Gordon Ramsay, there is nothing like watching Bill in the kitchen. The way he cooks – the fact that he smiles all the time is a plus, of course – the music… Not to mention the beautiful kitchen itself, something I totally envy – actually, I envy his house as a whole. And then he goes and serves the food to his wife and daughters… So lovely!

This is the second time I make one of his recipes: the first was the delicious choc banana bread. There are many, many other recipes printed and on the top of my “to try” list. This pasta dish was taken from the delicious. magazine, November 2006 issue.


This is my entry for the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Anna, from the blog Anna’s Cool Finds.

Spaghetti with garlic and spinach

400g spaghetti
1/3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced bacon
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
sliced red chilli, to taste – I halved the recipe and used only 1, deseeded
1/3 cup (80ml) white wine
90g spinach – measure without the stems or use baby spinach
salt and freshly ground black pepper
small handful finely chopped parsley
finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until almost crispy. Add the garlic and chili and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the garlic is golden. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, for about 20 seconds.
Drain the pasta, add to the frying pan with the spinach. Toss to coat in the sauce until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley.
Serve with lots of parmesan.

Serves: 4

Monday, November 12, 2007

Spinach, cheese and walnut baked risotto

Spinach, cheese and walnut baked risotto

I have seen so many delicious recipes with spinach around lately that I felt like cooking with it, too.

This time, I got the recipe from Donna Hay Magazine #33 but I changed it quite a bit. It was my second baked risotto and what an easy dish to put together! Not to mention that while it’s in the oven you can sit on the couch and watch TV – like I did, watching my newest addiction.


This is my entry for this Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Vanessa, from What Geeks Eat.

Spinach, cheese and walnut baked risotto

Spinach, cheese and walnut baked risotto
adapted from Donna Hay magazine

1 ½ cups Arborio (or risotto) rice
4 ½ cups (36fl oz) vegetable stock
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
40g (1 ½ oz) unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
50g (1 ¾ oz) spinach leaves – remove the stems before measuring or use baby spinach leaves
100g (3 ½ oz) yellow mozzarella*, roughly grated
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, slightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/355ºF. Place the rice and stock in a 22x30cm (8 ½x12in) 10-cup (80fl oz)** capacity baking dish and stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 40 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
Add the parmesan, butter, salt, pepper, spinach, mozzarella and walnuts and stir until the butter is melted. Serve immediately.

* a type of salty mozzarella we have here in Brazil, made with cow's milk - very much used as pizza topping. You can replace with regular mozzarella or use fetta (as in the original recipe)

** I used a deep bowl – I thought it would be easier to mix the ingredients in it than in a rectangular baking dish

Serves 4

Monday, February 19, 2007

Spinach and radish salad with mozzarella rolled in breadcrumbs

Spinach and radish salad with mozzarella rolled in breadcrumbs

I’ve always loved vegetables – as a kid, I used to ask for a tomato or raw carrots as my afternoon snack and I would eat a huge bowl of watercress or arugula watching TV with my mom – I was a weird child, you might think. :)

Surprisingly, this is only the second salad I publish here.

I’d been keeping this recipe on my “to do” list – which is so big it’s actually a folder - for such a long time and the day I decided to make it I couldn’t find raddichio. Those are the times when I hate living in a small town.
Oh, and the anchovies I forgot at the supermarket. :S

This salad is divine and I intend to make it again with all the original ingredients, which I’ll post in case anyone wants to give it a try.

I got this recipe from my dear friend Valentina - go check her blog and see the wonderful things she's been cooking; I'm sure you'll tag a bunch of recipes. :)

Spinach and radish salad with mozzarella rolled in breadcrumbs

3 radishes
1 radicchio – use only the inside leaves
100g spinach – if the leaves are too big, tear them with your fingers
black olives

50g anchovies – drain them and set the oil aside
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
cracked black pepper

Mozzarella balls:
160g breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons basil leaves, torn in small pieces
1 teaspoon lime zest
4 large mozzarella balls, torn in pieces – I used small mozzarella balls I had at home
seasoned wheat flour – I used all purpose flour seasoned with a little salt
1 egg, lightly beaten*
cracked black pepper

For the dressing: place the anchovies, lime juice and garlic in a food processor and whiz until you have a uniform mixture. If you don’t own a food processor, chop the anchovies in small pieces and place the 3 ingredients in a bowl, mixing well with a whisk.
Start adding the oil from the anchovies can and the olive oil, drop by drop, then in a very fine steady stream – the mixture will get thick. Add 1 tablespoon hot water, little by little, to thin the dressing and season with cracked black pepper. Set aside.

To make the mozzarella balls: place the breadcrumbs in a plate, add the parsley, basil, lime zest, salt and cracked black pepper – mix well.
Place the seasoned flour in another place.
Coat every mozzarella piece with the seasoned flour, shake them to remove any excess. Dip them into the egg mixture then into crumb mixture and coat them well.
Place the mozzarella pieces onto a baking sheet and leave it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC if you’re baking the mozzarella balls – that’s what I did; if you decide to fry them, heat 1cm of vegetable oil in a small saucepan, over medium heat.

While the mozzarella is in the oven, prepare the salad: slice the radishes very finely and place them in a bowl with iced water. Set aside.
Place the radicchio in a salad bowl, top with the spinach leaves, the radishes (drained) and the olives.
When the mozzarella balls are ready - bake them for 15 minutes and turn them in half the time to get an even golden color - add them to the salad.
Drizzle it with the dressing or serve it in a sauce boat.

* you can use Dijon mustard instead of the eggs – that’s what I used.

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