This year, I have started a larger vegetable garden in which among many greens and vegetables, I have planted curled green kale. Kale is known to have leaves that are a bit chewier and coarser than lettuce, making them less popular among kids and young folks. What I always do with it was to use it in my green smoothie! It gives the smoothie a beautiful bright green color and makes it nutrient rich without compromising the taste! You can find the recipe here.
However this time, I felt these home-organically grown kales are very delicate, honestly softer than lettuce leaves. We pick them and out them in a basket and boom! Wash and eat!
Therefore, I decided to make a full yet light dinner out of them. The result was perfect and so so so delicious that I decided to write a blog about it. Here Is my recipe for this semisweet kale salad. You can definitely make this salad even if you don’t have your own kale; simply grab a bunch at the grocery store with smaller and younger leaves. I am sure you get very similar results! Enjoy!
Rhubapricot Leather Rolls are the healthiest and most fun summer snack that can be fit into any pocket without any mess! Although this statement is very subjective, one can argue over so many good qualities of this snack. It is not only great to be licked on fresh next day, its main goodness reveals in winter when fresh fruits and summer vegetables are scarce! Well, in my home, Farnaz and Kiamehr almost finished this batch already, so I need to work on my next batch already and this time I have to hide this winter treasure! Hope you like this recipe! Go ahead and make this super tart snack and cause some mouths to water and squeeze!
Arrange the oven to the lowest temperature it allows.
Place parchment paper at the bottom of two oven-safe sheet pans; cut the papers slightly bigger to pass the rim. Set aside.
Chop the apricots and rhubarb into large pieces. Place them in a copper pot (preferable) and add the sugar and water. Bring into a simmer and cook without a lid until fruits are just soft and colour has not changed. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Let stand to cool down.
Transfer the fruit mix to a blender and make it into a purée. Do not over mix or you get air bubbles.
Using a flat spatula, spread the puree as thin as 1/6 inch. If you like the fruit leather very thin, you may need two sheet pan.
Place the sheet pan in the warm oven and let dry.
In the end, cut the sheets into 1.5-inch stripes and roll, roll, and ROLL! Tight with kitchen twine and keep in a container at room temperature.
Tomo is a dear girl from Japan who lives in Vancouver. She is a friend of my daughter, Farnaz, and comes to our house to visit regularly. Last weekend, she was our guest and on Saturday morning Farnaz came to me with a request for breakfast.
Well, I told her that a good breakfast needs an excellent list of fresh ingredients! Without grocery shopping, it is not going to turn out a pretty and tasty breakfast! She hopped onto her car and came back with a bag of things I have listed as ingredients! And you can guess the happy ending! I served them this delicious breakfast that I am going to give you the recipe just down below!
8 fresh whole eggs
2 bunches baby spinach
250gfeta cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper
Toasted bread slices for serving
Grease the bottom of an oven-proof dish with butter. Warm up the oven to 350F.
Meanwhile, blanch the spinach in boiling water for max 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze the water out and chop up. Mix spinach with feta cheese and sumac. Arrange the mixture in the pan into four sections.
Crack the eggs in the pan and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven for max 10 minutes until the eggs are slightly set. Let cool for 5 minutes. And serve with toasted bread and a green salad if desired! My choice for greens are mixed greens we buy from grocery stores and simply toss them in a large bowl first with olive oil and then with some vinaigrette of your choice! Enjoy every bit! Cheers!
Saeed my husband is such a ready-for-any-trip person!! Once we arrived in Vancouver few weeks ago, he started looking into some sort of getaway place to spend few days away from home! It was like taking a vacation to rest from another vacation! So funny, but before I knew it, we were on the plane heading off to Varadero. Arrived around early evening when it was dark, when I say dark, I not only mean the sky was dark but the whole highway did not have any lamp and nowhere we could see. And when we got into the city, people just marginally lighted up their houses. It was a very strange feeling to see how different their lifestyle was from us, Canadians. At a certain place there was a gate that only tourists could pass and it was the entrance to where all the hotels were located.
If I am to describe Cuba in one word, that word would be authentic in nature and rustic in design. This country is full of natural landscapes where we found ourselves drown into each one for hours. We went to the Jeep Safari Tour which took us to the most beautiful scenery in the world.
While in Cuba, we went on a Safari trip and visited some of beautiful scenery, villages, and life of people. For lunch we went to a suburban farm operated by a Cuban family. They served black-bean rice,, vegetable soup, streamed pumpkin on the tables made out wood and the chair’s seats were made out of goat’s skin. It truly was an incredible place.
They served us coffee at an old Cuban house. Life at passing-by villages at its most simplest form. People are poor but houses are with a lot of character.
We also went to Havana another day. Here in this blog I just leave it to photos to describe what went on.
Just in short, people in Cuba drive cars of 50’s or so; very old and rustic. I pinched myself sometimes, because to me it was incredible how people managed those cars for so many years. Cars looked like the ones we can only see in stone-age movies!
This is the photo of a tree that had grown on the second floor of an old building, coming out right out of windows, searching for light.
I found this incredibly telling for how people of Cuba have searched pride in their lives in the past 60 years.
A man dressed like Che Guevara, acting like a fighter along with his fellow citizen.
Cubans just do anything to make a little bit of money. People are very educated but what government gives them, just makes enough to be alive. A lot of people by dressing up or playing a little trick and treat want to make as much as money they can from tourists.
We visited Che Guevara’s home in Cuba. This location and its stories were fascinating. A man with a good intention but bad results.
This girl I saw in Havana was a very special one to me. She was painted in silver holding a silver rose. Passing-by tourists would stop by, took a photograph and put a little money in her little silver bag. The moment I saw her, my heart just melted. In a poor country where people have barely can make a living, for a woman, this is a loving way of making good and clean money. She seemed to be like a statue from distance but actually, she had very affectionate and telling eyes. I loved her so much.
Now, it comes to what we ate the most in Cuba!. The black bean and rice was basically what was served everyday in the resort and what we ate at the village on Safari. “The black bean and rice dish comes with an interesting title. Literally translated, Moros y Cristianos means Moors and Christians. It is presumed the dish gets its name from the time when the Moors occupied the Iberian Peninsula. The black beans represent the Moors and the white rice represents the Christians. In Cuba, the name of this dish refers to the mix of African and Spanish cultures. Vegetarians can make an entree of this soul-satisfying side” (cubanfood.org).
Here is my recipe for this satisfying and tasty dish.
2 cups cooked black beans
2tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of white rice
1 small onion
1 small bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2tablespoons tomato paste
Cook black beans in water for about 2 hours until cooked and set aside. You can skip this step by using one can of black beans.
Put garlic, pepper, cilantro, and onion in the food processor and puree.
In a medium pot, add olive oil and saute garlic and mixed puree for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cumin, beans and tomato paste and mix.
Add 3 cups of white rice and 4 cups of vegetable broth. Mix and cook until the broth is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Then, cook on very low heat for another 20 minutes.
Serve this dish with kebabs or stew of your choice. It is easily paired with almost any other dishes.
I receive so much love that words can not describe my feelings for all of you, my friends in instagram and my blogs. I do nothing but sharing moments I love in my life. However, what you return is way more valuable. I am blessed to be surrounded by good people like you! Thank you so much for supporting me and bringing me hope. In this blog I have a little yummy dinner I make more often these days!
In a long winter night, what can I ask for, which is better than a quick and easy comfort food? This family favorite of sauteed ground meat topped with buttery mashed potato crust and sprinkled bread crumbs is just too good not to be shared. If you are a vegetarian, you can easily substitute meat with cooked chickpeas and lentil. When dinner is served at the table while everybody follow the mama and the dish with food, I call it Home Sweet Home!
500g ground lamb or beef ( lamb is preferred)
1cup vegetable broth
2tbsp tomato paste
2celery stems, finely chopped
2medium carrots, finely chopped
1tbsp parsley, chopped, some extra to garnish
1cup frozen or conserved green peas
1cup fresh or frozen corn
1kilo russet potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
Salt and pepper
100g cherry tomatoes, to place on the top of pie
2tbsp bread crumbs to sprinkle over the top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Set potatoes in water and salt and cook for 15 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, and then add carrots, celery, and meat. Cook for 10 minutes until golden. Add vegetable broth tomato paste, corn, flour, and parsley. Simmer for five minutes. Add the end, pour in green peas and remove from heat.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish, 3 inches deep and set aside.
Drain the water and mash potatoes with butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and place cherry tomatoes on the top to add colour and texture to the final look of the dish. Make few hole with fork for the steam to escape. Cook the pie for 45 minutes in the hot oven until golden.
If you like, sprinkle bread crumbs half way through the baking.
Serve hot with some fresh garden salad and fresh bread.
Sometimes it is just good to have a classic chicken with not much of add on flavors and spices. You could serve this chicken with bread, sauce, and any vegetables. If you like to make your own home made chicken sandwiches- of any sort- you can refrigerate the roasted chicken in the fridge for few days or even freeze it. My suggestion to you is that just buy good quality free range or organic chicken. Believe it or not, the quality of ingredients does have a big impact on what comes out of the oven.
a whole chicken, washed and pad dried
2 tbsp butter, softened or olive oil
salt and pepper
2 celery branches, cut coarsely
2 medium carrots cut coarsely
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of water or vegetable broth
1 tbsp flour
How to make it
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Make sure that the chicken is at room temperature. Leave it out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Fill it with 1/3 of carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Close the chicken cavity and tighten up the legs with cooking string. attach the wings with two toothpicks or wood skewers cut in half. Mix soft butter with a pinch of salt and rub it all over the chicken skin.
Pile the rest of the chopped vegetables on a baking dish. Add the water. This prevents the vegetables from drying out in the oven and creates a juicier chicken roast. Place the chicken to rest over the bed of vegetables. I just put two fresh rosemary branches I had at home. You do not have to add it or add other herbs if you have them handy.
Put the chicken in the preheated oven. Cook chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you choose an extra large chicken, more than 2 kilos, increase the time to 1 hour and half.
15 minutes before you take the chicken out of the oven, baste it with some melted butter and honey mix. This gives your chicken a shiny and crispy look that anyone would die for!
Take the chicken out of the oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes so it is ready for carving.
Meanwhile, make gravy if you desire. Empty the juice under the chicken into a saucepan. Sieve the vegetables, pressing down to get all the juice out and add it into the saucepan. Sauté a tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of butter in a small skillet for five minutes. Add it slowly into the juice, stirring constantly over medium heat to achieve desired thickness. The best ratio of juice to flour is one cup to one tablespoon. This ratio gives you perfect smooth and consistent gravy that accompanies your chicken.
I can call the Monday of last week a fish day! I bought some white fish fillet. The first thing came to me for cooking my fish was poaching it! I used thyme, oregano and spices to diffuse all the flavor into the fish and added as little as oil possible. Poaching is a great way of preparing fish and poultry because meat stays pretty moist with a little juice from vegetables that is so delicious and tasty.
This dish is not only delicious, but also makes zero mess in the kitchen during preparation and after serving. If you make this dish, you don’t have to wash plates! This makes this food a great pick if you are out of time or if you have friends coming over for a night gathering. What else you can ask for? You have a delicious meal ready in minutes, yet hours of fun and laughter!
300 gr fish fillet, cut into two pieces
1Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, washed
1small red onion, cut into wedges
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 tsp fresh or dry thyme
4 fresh garlic cloves, skinned
2Tbsp lime juice or red wine vinegar
2tsp spice mix: garlic powder, paprika, crushed black pepper, dill seed, and coriander powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 pieces of parchment paper, cut into 40 by 40 cm
Warm up the oven to 450 F.
Combine spice mix with olive oil in a small bowl and rub the fillets into the spice on both sides.
Fold the paper in half crosswise. Open the papers and place the fish fillets beside the fold-line. Arrange zucchini, cherry tomatoes, herbs,and garlic at the top of the fish. Drizzle lime juice over the mix. Fold each paper and crimp the edges to seal each pocket.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot with warm bread.
Note: if parchment paper is not available, you can use aluminum foils instead.