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Tamarind Iced Tea makes one of the healthiest and tastiest Iced Tea to cool down on a hot summer day! Served with extra lime, cilantro leaves and lots of ice cubes to make it extra fresh!Tamarind Iced Tea makes one of the healthiest and tastiest Iced Tea to cool down on a hot summer day! Served with extra lime, cilantro leaves and lots of ice cubes to make it extra fresh!

Tamarind ice tea

Tamarind iced tea is the drink to quench your thirst this summer. The hardest part of the recipe is to figure out a place where to buy those brown, beans look alike, fruits. Tamarindo has a particular sour taste, a bit like lemon or lime but earthier. Just like with lemons or lime, tamarind needs some sugar to balanced its acidity resulting into that famous sweet and sour flavor we all love. The tree grows around the world from Africa, Asia to South America and it’s fruit is fairly popular in those continent as well, but in Europe and North America, not so much yet. Tamarind is filled with vitamins, minerals and is a great helper for general stomach problems, and much more. It’s even taken by some pregnant women to prevent the morning sickness, also people with dry eyes, etc. If you want to learn all about it’s health benefits check this site here.

TamarindThe process to make iced tea with it… is slightly more complex than with a tea bag. But the time you’ll invest in making this “one of a kind” drink is worth it. First you’ll need to get rid of the shell and pick out the small branches that holds the shells. Then you add some hot water to the pulp pieces and let it rest a minimum of 15 minutes. This process will soften the tamarind, once done, you’ll have to use your hands to squeeze all the pits and release the pulp into a paste. Then, pass the paste through a sieve to make it extra smooth and Voila! Once you have the tamarind pulp simply mix it up with water and sugar and you’ve got yourself a fantastic thirst-quenching drink! With the pulp you can also cook many nice asian meals, but let’s focus on this ice tea. For this particular iced tea I’ve chose Stevia (all natural zero calorie alternative to sugar) as sweetener but it could be simple sugar or honey, a few limes or lemon slices for extra tangy flavor, lots of ice cubes and coriander leaves (cilantro). With this drink you’ll get through those hot summer days without problem. Perfect for a pool party, BBQ party or any summer events.


Tamarind iced tea

Makes about 1.9 litre (1 pitcher)

Ingredients
  • Tamarind2 cups (500g) of tamarind (or 500g of paste)
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 5 tbsp of sugar (3 tbsp of stevia) or to taste
  • a few lime/lemon slices
  • coriander fresh leaves (cilantro)
  • lots of ice cubes
TamarindDirections
  1. Take off the shells and branches off the tamarind
  2. Add boiling hot water to the tamarind and let it rest 15 minutes
  3. With your hand, squeeze the pulp until it becomes a paste and detach the pits
  4. Pass the mixture through a sieve
  5. Add the tamarind paste to a pitcher
  6. Fill with water, add the sugar and lemon
  7. Leave in the fridge to cool a few hours
  8. Add coriander leaves (cilantro) and lots of ice cubes before serving

Mix well before serving. Enjoy on a hot summer day!

Tamarind

pinacolada granitaThis Piña colada is so refreshing, plus it’s way healthier than the normal kind with no flavour loss. This recipe doesn’t use the fatty coconut milk, nor the cream, it’s all natural coco water, no added sugar. The benefits of coconut water are; it lowers blood pressure, also it’s apparently the best rehydrating liquid mother nature ever gave us (way more than those energy drinks), it’s filled with electrolytes, potassium (4 times more than a banana), low in sodium and calories, well it’s the perfect liquid and it taste good!

pinacolada granitaBack to the Piña colada granita, I am still in a big dilemma as if… it’s a starter to open the stomach or to close it… I mean, it’s also a good pool party or afternoon snack. I guess, you’ll have to decide. The only important thing to remember about this granita is; consume right away!

I’ve add the granita to little shooters of 30ml, but you can easily serve a way bigger amount. Depending what you intend it to be; starter, dessert, or snack… As a starter, I believe, a little bite only is a great start, just to wake up the taste buds.

Let’s get that delicious summer Piña Colada granita going!


Piña Colada Granita (healthy version)

Makes about 500 ml (2 big glass or many small shooters)

Ingredients
  • 1/4 of a fresh pineapple
  • 250 ml of coconut water
  • 50 ml of rum (extra points if it’s a brown one)
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Add the coconut water to ice cube tray and freeze for minimum 3 hours
  2. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend
  3. Serve into glass bowls

Serve on a hot summer day. Enjoy!

pinacolada granita

Baked hot chicken wings in a homemade habanero-strawberry sauce and a side of blue cheese dip with veggies.

Habanero Wings

Who’s starving for some hot chicken wings? Those chicken wings are medium-hot wings with a fruity touch, the strawberry and honey glazed helps to calm down all that habanero heat. Plus, on the side another tongue soothing element is the creamy blue cheese dip. Those chicken wings are baked making them healthier. Great on any occasion, whether it’s the “game” of the century or simply a gathering with friends. Don’t forget to bring along the extra habanero sauce for the folks that likes the heat!

Let’s talk habanerohabanerowingpin

Habanero WingsThe homemade habanero sauce is a indispensable new comer for the fridge, this version contains a few strawberries, to make it extra fruity and bring out the fruity side of the habanero also. I saw many recipes with mango or papaya, but since it the middle of winter, well I’ve used strawberries. My husband is growing some habanero peppers at home, I personally think, they are the best hot peppers out there! They are obviously really hot but also sweet, which I love. They are rated 100 000 out of 350 000 on the Scoville scale, not too bad, but don’t underestimate them… With this attribute, it is also used as a natural insecticide for organic gardens. You can keep the sauce in the fridge for up to 3 month and it’s useful in many dishes, for example, if you want a grounded meat with a bit of kick to it, a spicier tomatoes sauce, a wok dish, etc.

The blue cheese dip

The blue cheese dip is a creamy touch to sooth your tongue when the habanero is burning to much… that sauce is a great remedy to all that heat. Also handmade and terribly easy to make. I’ve used my favorite blue cheese; Roquefort and a touch of cream and that’s pretty much all there is to it. If you are brave enough for the habanero heat, well just use the blue cheese sauce to dip in some veggies.

Let’s make those hot wings!


Hot Habanero Chicken Wings

Makes 20 wings

Ingredients
  • 20 chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp of habanero and strawberry homemade sauce
  • blue cheese dip
  • few carrot, celery, cucumber
Habanero and strawberry hot sauce (make about 200ml)
  • 2 carrots in cubesHabanero Wings
  • 1 small onion in cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 4 strawberries
  • 250ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of habanero powder (3 whole ones, if they are fresh)
  • 1tsp Xanthan or some cornstarch (liquid thickener)
  • salt, pepper
Blue cheese dip
  • 200ml creme fraiche (30% fat cream)
  • 100g Roquefort
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 20 Chives finely cut
  • salt, pepper
Directions
Habanero and strawberry hot sauce
  1. Cook the carrots, onion, garlic with a little olive oil, medium high heat
  2. When lightly brown, let cool
  3. Add the mix to a blender and the rest of the ingredients, blend
  4. Add 1 tsp of Xanthan  (thickener) or maizena *optional
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Pass through a sieve, into a container
  7. Reserve
Blue cheese dip
  1. Simply incorporate with a fork the cheese to the cream
  2. Add the lemon or vinegar, salt, pepper, chives
  3. Reserve
Chicken wings
  1. Marinate the wings for 30 minutes into the habanero and honey mix, keep some sauce to glaze the chicken
  2. Drain and add to a baking sheet on a tray in the oven at 200°C (400F) for 45 minutes, or until crisp, turn and add the habanero-honey glaze every 15 minutes

Serve a side of carrots, celery, cucumber. Enjoy the game!

Strawberry and orange frozen yogurt

This is a “non recipe” recipe… Let’s just say a healthy snack… also, it doesn’t need much preparation. I’ve simply used my “almost too old” leftovers of oranges and strawberries, add yogurt and there you have a nice frozen summer bite. I didn’t even bother cutting the strawberry, just put the stick through it. Just have to use your own fruits leftovers, mix it up with natural yogurt and freeze… so simple! I didn’t even add any kind of sugar, the orange juice was full of it.

Strawberry and orange frozen yogurtAs a kid, I remember going to the seasonal ice cream shop and I would always take the frozen yogurt with frozen fruits in it… I remember the machine was shaking soooo hard every time, and being so loud! It was giving “it’s all”… and eventually, would end up broken for half the summer…every precious summer… which was only 3-4 month in Quebec. So, I guess, I have that psychological lack of it… now I always keep some in the freezer for a quick snack. Also, it helps to keep your leftovers of fruits alive. If you wish to, you can add some sugar to it, then it gets a “dessert” title.

So here is the “non recipe” snack recipe.


Fruity yogurt bites

(strawberry, freshly pressed orange juice version)

Makes 3 portions

Ingredients
  • 125g (small cup) of natural yogurt
  • 3 strawberries
  • 4 tbsp of orange juice
  • *optional  1 tbsp sugar
Directions
  1. Simply add the strawberries to a small molds
  2. Add the orange juice to the molds
  3. Add the yogurt to the molds
  4. Freeze it up and voilà!

Can change the fruits mix to your needs. Enjoy on a warm day!

Caprese pasta salad

Everyone love a good Caprese salad (tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella with olive oil), so why not change it a bit and make it a pasta salad, and since it’s spring why not add a few green asparagus to celebrate that! This is such a simple idea, and takes no time to make. It’s a “feeling lazy today” kind of meal… Just need to cook the pasta of your choice (healthier versions too like quinoa pastCaprese pasta salada or kamut) a bunch of cherry tomatoes and those precious and fresh mozzarella balls, or the big balls of mozzarella do too, cut into small cubes. Although simple it’s so good and fresh. You’ll see you might end up doing it every other week this summer.

This is a dish with delicate flavours, which means… we can taste that great extra-virgin olive oil we always keep for big occasions. By the way, olive oil doesn’t last indefinitely, in just one year it loses a lot of it’s flavour… so good thing we have those dishes to highlight that good extra-virgin olive oil before it’s too late. So here is that easy and tasty Caprese pasta salad recipe.


Caprese Pasta Salad

Makes 4 portions

IngredientsCaprese pasta salad
  • 500g of pasta of your choice
  • 150g fresh mozzarella
  • 250g green asparagus
  • 350g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 good hands of fresh basil leaves
  • as much as you’d like Extra-virgin olive oil (minimum 30ml)
  • salt, pepper
Directions
  1. Add a big pot of salty water to boil
  2. Cut your asparagus into 3 parts, once the bottom part gone
  3. Add the asparagus to the boiling water for 2 minutes, (keep them crunchy) then drain and rinse into cold water (keep the color vibrant and the texture firmer)
  4. Add the pasta to the boiling water, cook them as you like
  5. Cut the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella
  6. Drain the pasta, add to a big bowl with the rest of the ingredients and that good olive oil. Mix
  7. Salt it good and voilà!

Enjoy! In summer time… since it’s a cold meal. Also it makes great leftovers for the next day lunch.

Mediterranean pasta salad

This is an addictive meal, a “wake up in the middle of the night for a bite” meal… a “you have more than me” meal. This is a recipe from way back in the days, when I used to sleep over at my friend’s house and her mom knew I was coming. Then she would make me that pasta salad. I could simply not get enough, it looks mediterranean pasta saladsomehow like a boring and simple pasta salad but there is something in it, like a drug, that makes it addictive. With the years, I transformed it to my taste, I add the feta cheese, and fresh basil leaves and this version I used integral pasta.MedPastaSalPIN

The ingredients are the typical “mediterranean” ones, except for the broccoli. The sauce for this pasta salad is simply a good extra-virgin olive oil and that’s it. Also this salad become better the longer it stays in the fridge, all the flavours mix up good then, so it’s one of those few meals that gets better over time. Another plus of this recipe is that once done, you have it for a while, lunch for the kids for example. You’ll see, soon the little friends of your kid will ask you for it, just like I did! So let’s do this simple,healthy and addictive pasta salad.

Oh! and don’t be shy, if you like what you see here, share my recipes by clicking the Yummly “orange button” or any other sharing network buttons located at the bottom of the recipes posts, that would be highly appreciated.

So let’s make that pasta salad!


Mediterranean pasta salad

Makes 6-8 portions

Ingredientsmediterranean pasta salad(2)
  • 500g pasta of your choice
  • 2 chickens breast in small cubes
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 broccoli in small pieces
  • 1 brick of feta cheese in cubes
  • 2tbsp dried basil, thyme mix
  • 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • few fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cook your pasta, drain and rinse in cold water
  2. Add the olive oil and half the herb mix
  3. Sauté at high heat the cubes of chicken, the half of the herb mix in olive oil, until cooked
  4. Sauté the vegetables, al dente, they should be really crunchy
  5. Mix the chicken and vegetables into the pasta pot and let it cool
  6. Once the pasta salad colder, add the feta cubes and basil leaves, salt and pepper
  7. Leave in the fridge an hour before serving

You’ll see, you’ll make many happy with this simple pasta salad! Enjoy!

 

 

 

ajo blanco pina
ajo blanco pina

This is a summer recipe. It is actually based on the original gazpacho recipe, the “ajo blanco” which is an almond, garlic, bread and vinegar cold soup. The tradition one doesn’t contain pineapple but sometimes grapes are used.

ajo blanco pina

Gazpacho existed way before tomatoes were imported in Europe from the New World. Spaniards used to do “cold soup” gazpacho with simply almond and vinegar. Since the south of Spain is an almond paradise, when those trees bloom, it’s absolutely beautiful. The Arabs imported them and later cultivated them in Spain. They are obviously quite a few nice recipes with them in Spain. Often they use almond to make a “picada” at the end of cooking, it thickens the sauce and gives it an extra nutty flavour. For example, the “Rabbit with wine & chocolate sauce” contains some in the last stage of the recipe.

This soup is great because you make it in advance, obviously… since it needs to be cold… and when I say cold you can even put it in the freezer or ice 20 minutes before serving to make it extra cold.


Almond & pineapple gazpacho

Ingredients

4 portions

  • 200g pineapple
  • 100g of bread without the crust, soak it in water
  • 300g almond uncooked and without skin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 30ml apple or white balsamic vinegar
  • 800 ml of water
  • salt and white pepper
Directions
  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight
  2. Soak the bread a few minutes
  3. Add everything in a mixer and blend really well
  4. In a sieve, push out all the water from the mix, squeeze with hand to get all that juice out.
  5. Set in the fridge a few hours (needs to be really cold)
  6. Shake before serving
  7. Serve with a little extra-virgin olive oil on top.

 

Enjoy!

 

spicy chicken pineapple woktop3

This recipe is a bite into the tropics, brings you right to those caribbean islands, also is a great recipe for those people on eternal diet, like myself. You can spice it up to your liking and with whichever is your favorite hot pepper… mine are the habanero peppers. My husband happen to grow them and I obviously have too many, so I dehydrate them and make powder out of them. I’m not usually a big hot pepper lover but this one is special… the habanero has that fruity taste to it.

spicy chicken pineapple wokI encountered with this hot pepper in Martinique, a caribbean island. Since then… I add it to many of my spicier recipes, like the spicy “ratatouille” spaghetti sauce with a bit of habanero pepper, it’s fantastic or I do “spicy cod fritters” which is a “typical” meal from the Antilles. They eat those balls like candies over there, I think there are no restaurants, which doesn’t serve a good “habanero cod fritter” as an appetizer, let’s say… in the french Antilles at least.

The recipe is so simple and has always that winner taste of “sweet & sour” with a touch of heat! It’s a really healthy, easy and delicious one, so here it is:


Spicy chicken & pineapple wok

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
  • Long grain rice (jasmine rice is a good choice)
  • 1/3 of a pineapple cut in cubes. (400g. of canned ones… not as good though)
  • 2 chicken breast, cut in small cubes.
  • 1 red pepper finely slices
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2tbs. of white rice vinegar (can use white balsamic or apple vinegar)
  • 2tbs. of peanut oil (or simpler oil to “sauté” your chicken at first)
  • 2tbs. fish oil (salt or soy soy can do too)
  • 1ts. of dried habanero pepper or your favourite hot pepper.
  • coriander or thai basil *optional
  • Salt-pepper
Directions

*Cook rice for 4

  1. Bring your wok to high heat
  2. Add the peanut oil
  3. Add salt and pepper to your chicken
  4. Sauté the chicken in the wok, rapidly until white.
  5. Add the pineapple, red pepper, onion, vinegar and hot pepper on top of the chicken.
  6. Cook high heat for about 4 minutes, or until you like the texture of your vegetables (I like them crunchy)
  7. When cooking is done, add the fish oil or soya sauce.
  8. Serve on rice with a a few fresh coriander leaves or thai basil.

 

Your tastebuds will thank you for the nice tropical vacation you gave them. Enjoy!

 

Crunchysalmon3This is a recipe I make pretty much every week, because it’s a tasty and healthy meal. I love the crunch factor, especially with fish dishes. Salmon is the protagonist here, that fish is an omega-3 bomb so I try to eat lots of it. Furthermore, it doesn’t contain high mercury levels, unlike tuna or other big sea fish, so it’s a pretty good fish to crave every week.

I happen to live close to a nice market, where they offer the best of fish quality. I usually  buy the middle part of the salmon, which is a mix of meat and fat, whereas the tail is mostly meat but I like the height of the middle part. The cooking time will vary depending on which part of fish you use, but this middle part is about a 20-25 min at 180°C (350F). I roll up the thin side of the fish under itself to make it cook at the same pace then the thick part.

If you leave the skin on, you can first fry it in olive oil in a pan to make it crisp before putting in the oven to finish the cooking. However this way, the crunch factor is in the skin, which you would then need to salt, but not with my crunchy sage topping. But it depends how you like it.

sageSpeaking of the crunchy topping… You can choose whichever aromatic herb you like. I make mine with sage which I grow at home, I think it’s quite a flavorful and unique herb and sadly used too little. I often fry the leaves quick in a pan, a  process which gets all that flavour out and the texture becomes crunchy, which is better then it’s thick uncooked leaves. Try to fry a few and then sprinkle them on an omelette, it’s fantastic! It’s a strong aromatic herb so don’t use too much. On top of it all, studies say it’s a memory booster and is researched for an Alzheimer’s cure.

The red quinoa bean salad is so easy and healthy, no one should pass on it. I lived in Peru, where that grain comes from. I was there for a year, a few years back. My Spanish teacher was a super passionate about “red quinoa” and reminded me never to forget about the first part of those 2 words… “red”. She talked about it’s benefits over and over, and I love her for it, so I guess I had to try it… and it was a “revelation”.

OvIMG_8356er there in Peru it didn’t cost much back then, but my teacher used to say the price would soon explode, since other countries were gaining interested in that grain. I guess she was right…

Back to the recipe… I usually cook a little less than the pack suggest, because the germ comes out then… overcooked every time… That is rule number one about quinoa, you should never explode the grain. So I highly suggest you adjust your cooking by what you see. The texture of a closed yet cooked quinoa in the mouth when you bite on it and it explodes… is simply the best. So don’t “pop” open the quinoa, and remember that the cooking time for white and red quinoa isn’t the same. So you should refrain from buying those 2 colors quinoa + rice mixes.

So enough bla bla… let’s cook.


 

Crunchy Salmon on a red quinoa, bean salad

Ingredients
The crunchy topping +salmon
  • 2 portions of salmon
  • 1 cup of leftover bread, (baguette) if it isn’t old, toast it first
  • 8-10 big leaves of sage
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, pepper
The red quinoa  and bean salad
  • 400g canned white beans (in my case white alubias beans)
  • a few cherry tomatoes cut in squares
  • 150g of red quinoa
  • 2 hands of arugula or baby spinach leaves
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tbs yellow mustard
  • 1tbs honey or maple syrup
  • salt, pepper
Directions
step 1 | The salmon
  1. Cut and clean your salmon pieces
  2. Had a tiny olive oil, salt, pepper
  3. Cook in oven for 25 min (big thick piece) (20 min if thin) at 180°C (359F).                  *start step 2
  4. In a mixer blend the bread, garlic, sage, a tsp. of extra-virgin olive oil and salt to a “big grain of sand” size.
  5. Add the crunch topping 5 minutes before the end.
Step 2 | The salad
  1. Prepare the salad, by cooking the quinoa (about 9min)
  2. Rinse the beans, drain and add to big bowl.
  3. Add the vinegar, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, mustard and honey to the beans.
  4. When the quinoa is ready, add to the bowl and mix it up.
  5. Add a few of the arugula or baby spinach, salt and pepper.
  6. Plate the fish on top of the salad.

 

Enjoy!

Beets pesto

Beets-pistachio Pesto Kamut Fusilli can be surprising for some, but you should try it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. I’ve made this recipe with kamut fusilli, the ancestor of modern wheat, but also a filled with health benefits grain. Kamut is a whole grain, a great alternative for low-carb diet and diabetics. Although since brown pasta is not so appealing to the eye… we need to find a tasty way to make us forget about that color. That’s when the red beets pesto comes in the game! A healthy,tasty and colorful pesto that hides this less attractive brown pasta.beetpestopin

I’m a big beets lover, but sadly there are often put aside because of their earthy flavor, but when used in combination with salty goat cheese and pistachios it balance out great the heavy earthy taste from the beetroot. Plus, Beets have that great ruby red color which make a great base for a romantic dinner, for you lovers out there. Without saying it’s an extremely healthy meal on many levels, here is why;

Beets pesto topBeets are a “one of a kind” roots, not only do they have that special color, texture and flavor, they are crazy healthy. Those benefits are, for example, the folates which reduce the risk of birth defects, lowers blood pressure, boost your stamina, etc. Also, another main attribute is to detox your liver, when filled with toxins, the beetroot help to clean up that mess. Another health benefit from beets would be; it helps antioxidant enzymes build up in your body and increase your white blood cells, which are the bad cells warriors. So you want lots of those guys to keep the enemies out. Result; beetroot is a magic root!

Since it’s a quite healthy root vegetable, I had to put some extra cheese on it, just to bring it down a notch. Feta or goat cheese is a great combination with it, the salt and the creamy factor help out the beet earthiness. The arugula on top is to spice things up a bit and the pistachios to makes it salty, crunchy, plus it adds a great contrasting color to the ruby red pesto.

Let’s make this healthy, delicious meal going!


Beets pesto pasta

Ingredients
Pesto
  • 2-3 medium sized precooked beets
  • 30 ml of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 60g pistachios
  • 50g feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, pepper
The toppings
  • 500g pasta (your favorite whole grain pasta; kamut, quinoa, etc)
  • few arugula leaves
  • crumbled feta
  • crushed pistachios
Directions
  1. In a mixer, blend all the pesto ingredients.
  2. Cook your pasta.
  3. Drain the pasta, then add the pesto to the bottom of the still warm pot (in order to heat it up with the residual heat)
  4. Add the pasta on top and mix well,
  5. Add a splash of olive oil
  6. Serve with the toppings and extra crunched pistachios

You could substitute the arugula for some fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!