Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Milkshake

Spring has been officially announced, the signs are everywhere, you just can’t miss it. The clear streets, the numbers of people with kids and dogs on the streets, music coming out cars, bars with terraces ..  you name it.

Just like everybody else, I celebrate the arrival of spring my own way: I have set my bicycle free from the confinement of the attic, I keep the door to my apartment open in the morning while I have breakfast, I go out for longer walks, I smile more often, and I make frozen yogurt milkshakes!

This spring’s inaugural milkshake is a strawberry one, very refreshing, not too thick, not too sweet, just the perfect mix of flavors.

strawberry-frozen-yogurt-milkshake

To make 3 glasses of milkshake, you need 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of vanilla frozen yogurt, 1 cup of strawberries (I used frozen), and 1 Tbsp of sugar. And a blender of course. It’s easy to remember: 1 of each ingredient.

 

Melanzane Parmigiana With Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Mozzarella Cheese

We usually look forward to the weekend so we can do the hobbies we enjoy or the activities that we we hadn’t had time for during the week. For me, the weekend in the winter could include a trip to a new cafe, a homemade meal (preferably something in the oven), and an hour on the couch reading my novel.

This weekend’s oven baked dish is the classical Melanzane Parmigiana, with a twist. It is a no-fuss recipe that requires no pre-cooking of the tomato sauce. In addition to the grilled eggplants, I roasted half a red bell pepper and finished with a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Follow the recipe step by step and you’ll end up with a finger-licking Melanzane Parmigiana!

melanzane02

 

Ingredients (for 2):

- 1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch circles
– 1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters
– Olive oil
– 1 can of crushed tomatoes
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– A handful of coarsely chopped basil leaves
– 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella and cheddar

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

1. On a baking sheet, brush the eggplant slices and the red pepper with olive oil on both sides and broil until brown. I peeled the red pepper after they grilled because I really dislike the skin when it comes off the pepper.
2. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients except the two kinds of cheese. Mix well with a spoon.
3. In the baking dish, place the grilled eggplants at the bottom, spread the tomato sauce mix on top of them, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over that, place the grilled red pepper, and finish with the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tomato sauce is boiling and the cheese has melted.

Sunshine Omelet

It isn’t quite shiny this omelet, but it is colorful and inviting, isn’t it?

vegetable omelet

When your handsome is away and when it isn’t yet time to go out to browse the bookstores and settle in a cafe, what do you do?

Cook up brunch!

Today’s brunch is this wonderfully colorful omelet that brings sunshine to your kitchen even when it is -20 outside and snow is blowing in all directions.

omelet-spring

Red Pepper, Zucchini, Onion, and Mushroom Omelet (For 2)

Ingredients:

- 1/4 of a red pepper
– 1 small zucchini
– 1/2 an onion
– a handful of sliced fresh white mushrooms
– Salt

- 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 3 eggs

- Cheese, I used Grana Padano, but feta would be perfect for this recipe too
– Herbs, I used fresh thyme, but some basil or parsley would also be good

vegies-omelet

Method:

1. Slice the onion and red pepper into thin strips (see photo), cut up the zucchini into capital Ds (see photo), and chop the mushrooms (see photo).
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add vegetables and fry until tender and aromatic.  Add some salt (1/4 of a tsp).
3. In a bowl, beat the eggs together. Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl, add the fresh thyme (or whatever herb you’re using) and give everything a quick stir.
4. Pour this mixture back into the hot pan. Lower heat and cover.
5. When the lower side of the omelet is golden and the upper side is dry but not fully cooked, flip the omelet. Use a spatula, or simply flip the omelet onto the lid of the pan and then slide it back into the pan with the golden cooked side up. Turn off the heat.
6. Slide the omelet onto your plate and grate some Padano cheese on it, or crumble some feta.

Eggs on a Bed of Tomato Sauce with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese

I promised myself one last post before the end of January. I have been over my head with life’s ups and downs, but here I am fulfilling my promise.

This recipe makes a great brunch or even dinner. The sauce comes out really thick and tangy and the eggs just go perfectly well with the rest of flavors. I used a cast iron skillet and frankly I could sense the difference in the way everything heated up together and stayed warm.

Eggs-tomato-sauce00

Ingredients (serves one):

- 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 garlic cloves, whole
– 1/2 zucchini, sliced
– 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
– 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
– 1/4 tsp of sugar
– A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
– 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs
– Salt and pepper

Method

1. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. I used a cast iron skillet. Add the garlic cloves, zucchini and mushrooms. Fry until soft. Discard the garlic cloves.

2. Add the tomato sauce and thyme and bring to boil. Add the sugar and salt. Let the sauce thicken.

3. When the sauce thickens and is ready, add the cheese and give it a good mix.

4. Crack the eggs on top and cover. When the eggs harden and are cooked, uncover and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Easy Asparagus Quiche

This is an old favorite revisited. My good friend Peggy taught me this asparagus quiche recipe when we used to be neighbors, and she used to love doing it, and we used to love devouring it! Unlike Peggy, I don’t have the immaculate skill of working with dough, so oftentimes I just skip the dough and just work with the filling. We’re after the cheese anyway, right?

Quiche d'asperge

Asparagus Quiche

Ingredients:

- 4 eggs
– 1 cup of 35% cooking cream
– 1 cup of mixed shredded cheese (I used an Italian mix of mozzarella, provolone and parmesan)
– 2 heaped Tbsp flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp white pepper
– A bunch of fresh asparagus, boiled until half tender

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Whisk the eggs in a  bowl. Add the cream. Mix well. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the cheese. Mix well.

Pour mixture in your baking dish. Line the asparagus fashionably on top.

Bake for 35 minutes.

EASY & IRRESISTIBLE!  (And totally fattening I know!)

How To Put Together A Lebanese Breakfast

I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t start my day with an unhappy stomach. And to avoid getting my stomach upset with me, I need to feed it cheese, olives, zaatar, and the like. (See photo above for an illustration of what pleases my appetite)

The above photo might seem a lot of work for just yourself or you and your partner, you’re right, so why not host a breakfast for your friends?! We often invite friends over for dinner, for cheese and wine, cake and tea, but rarely for breakfast. Breakfast doesn’t have to be only croissant and coffee or eggs and bacon. If you’re open for new ideas and flavors, try putting together a Lebanese breakfast which will take you less an hour to prepare, and you’ll have the above gallery of deliciousness to be proud of!

So where do you start? I provided below a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need (most of them can be found in any supermarket, not necessarily a Middle Eastern grocery store) and you can prepare everything on the morning of, an hour or so before.

Your shopping list: labneh (strained yogurt), halloumi cheese, kashkaval cheese, feta cheese, zaatar, green olives (preferably Lebanese), haleweh (I prefer the plain kind), ful(fava beans), pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint. For drinks, usually black tea is served with sugar, something like Tetley black tea.

What to do with what you bought:

- Labneh: spread it around in a plate and pour olive oil on top

- Halloumi cheese: grill it until golden or simply slice it and arrange it in a plate

- Kashkaval cheese: slice it and arrange it in a plate

- Feta cheese: crumble it in a plate, add diced tomatoes and then sprinkle around 3 Tbsp of olive oil on top

- Zaatar: put 3 Tbsp of the dried herb mix in a bowl, add 3 Tbsp of olive oil and mix well

- Green olives: drain them and serve them in a bowl

- Haleweh: crumble it in a bowl

- Ful: pour the canned fava beans and their water into a pot, bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. You can mash the beans with the spoon you’re using to stir, as much as a spoon can mash the beans. Before turning off the heat, add diced tomatoes (2 tomatoes), the juice of 1 lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and  1 tsp of cumin. Adjust salt after tasting. Serve warm with a generous drizzle of olive oil on top.

- Tomatoes, cucumbers and mint: slice them in a nice way and present them in a plate.

Tips: Eat with pita bread only, no need for forks and knives. The tea is ideally had with sugar, and make sure to prepare a big pot of tea because your friends will want refills. Be generous with olive oil on the labneh and feta cheese, and try to find a good quality olive oil. (I personally like Maison Orphée.)

Spinach and Avocado Salad with a Zesty Yogurt Cumin Dressing

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Today’s recipe is rather simple, but something that I desperately needed after a hot and humid weekend in Montreal. The main ingredient is the fresh spinach leaves which are abundantly found in supermarkets here, and then I added slices of organic red tomatoes and half a medium ripe avocado. The secret in this salad is the dressing, my very own concoction (that I am secretly very proud of!). For the dressing you need:

- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 2 Tbsp of plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp of red wine vinegar (optional)
- 3 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp of cumin
- 1/4 tsp of salt.

Whisk the ingredients well before drizzling on top of your fresh ingredients.