You know all the jokes they make about mother in laws. Well they might be partially true, but all I can say of mine is that she is lovely and kind of goofy, and boy, can she cook! She always improvises, always changes something about perfect recipes, sometimes accidentally ruining the meal (and what a tragedy it is when said meal is the new year´s eve meal!), but she also has some signature dishes which just melt in your mouth – one of them, this pumpkin risotto. Now I´ve been cooking risottos for a long time, but this one is indeed something special. For once, the rice is only added towards the end and does not get “drowned” in wine, as per usual. This results in a super creamy and cheesy risotto, with a very poignant pumpkin taste. Secondly, it implies some herbs I am not used to add to risottos – like ginger or bay leaves! Thirdly, well, you´ll discover it yourself as you read through this #homemadeMonday´s #guestchefseries…
This #homemadeMonday brings you a rather unusual pasta dish for me, in the sense that I am not a big fan of two out of its main three ingredients, but if you mix them all together I love it. The two culprits are spinach and ricotta. I personally find ricotta an embarrassment to all other cheeses and the only green I hate more than spinach must be arugula. And yet… mixing them together, along with some cherry tomatoes, roasted pine nuts and truffle oil, and adding them to the right pasta sort, it just works! It´s perhaps one of the simplest recipes I´ve shared here, but has an outstanding outcome.
Took me long enough, but this month´s #guestchefseries comes from my one and only mom. I´ve been waiting to post my mom´s magic polenta recipe for over a month now. During my trip to Romania last month I asked her to make it several times and thereby fell in love all over again with this dish that so thoroughly influenced my childhood. If you didn´t know that already, polenta is an instrumental part of our culture as Romanian. It´s a humble, yet versatile dish , that despite its simplicity not many youngsters dare to make. And so I thought I´d share my mom´s recipe of what we in my family call “gâscã” or “goose” – polenta with sour cream and cheese. Easy as a #homemadeMonday morning. Note: my mom likes to make it extra creamy so it looks almost like a soup. I personally think that´s one of her secrets. Bonus: pictures of Didi, our basset hound eyeing the deliciousness.
This #homemadeMonday is somewhat special to me, as it marks 101 days without fast food. Not that I am a big fast food fan, but a girls´d gotta have a double cheeseburger every now and then, am I right? Well not for 101 days she hasn´t. 101 days ago I embarked on a journey of eating healthier, working out more and being more mindful about my body. They´ve gone by in a jiffy, I have to say. What hasn´t gone by though is my love for burgers. And so I thought the best way to celebrate this achievement was by giving the homemade burger a try. From scratch. Two reasons this burger is special: 1. I made the buns. Read that again – I MADE THE BUNS. I love cooking but man, do I suck at baking. And so I followed @anchacheregi´s burger buns recipe to the core and I am sooo happy with the result. I am adding it here, but the credit is all her´s. 2. I followed Chris Morocco´s tips for how to get the best umami flavour out of onion instead of bacon – and they´re sheer genius. So keep on reading to learn how to make the best homemade burger.
Last night I ate some of the best pasta of my life. You can find them at one of Sibiu´s best restaurants – Max. Just order the tagliatelle paglia e fieno in salsa di tartufo e misto di funghi. The name alone makes me drool. I actually wanted to attempt making them at home today, for this #homemadeMonday, but truffles are really difficult to find in my hometown and as much as I loved the dish, I am not sure my teenage brother would have. So I asked him what pasta to make and he immediately told me about my dad´s amazing spaghetti with sausage and mushrooms. We´ve been eating Italian in our home for as long as I can remember since my dad often went on business to Italy. I think I remember this particular dish from when I was little but I wasn´t quite sure. So I bought some things, took some tomato sauce from our cellar and watched my dad in action. We cooked as a family and what came out were some super easy to make spaghetti to comfort your rainy days.
I still remember the first time I made a couscous salad for André. As he took his first bites, I expectantly stared at him waiting for an “ooh” and an “aah”. When nothing came, I nervously asked: “So? Do you like it? Should I make it again?”. He thought about it for a second and replied “Uhm, sure, baby. It´s nice. You can make it again. And I can make the food we really love, like fajitas and lasagna”. Disappointing to say the least, considering how much I love experimenting in the kitchen. My couscous adventure didn´t stop there though. I kept experimenting until my couscous salad actually became André´s favourite meal. And so, the time has come for me to share it with you on this #homemadeMonday.
I´d like to start off by apologising to any Spanish readers that might be seeing this and yelling “blasphemy!”. The Spanish gazpacho will forever remain my favourite, but after recently travelling to Alentejo and seeing the reinvented version of this cool summer soup, “gaspacho Alentejano” I really wanted to give it a try. I made a big enough portion to share with everyone reading this and will be eating this for the next week. And so, I´ve adjusted the measurements a bit and decided to make it this #homemadeMonday.
A thing about me: I love stuffed veggies. Sure, they have little utility, but I just love the process of carving them. It reminds me of carving pumpkins for Halloween with my grandpa. And then there´s the aspect – they just look like adorable little boats, ready to set sail for our stomachs. And while the carving is a bit time consuming and when not done properly you can also lose quite a bit of the veggie (which goes against my #minimalistcooking philosophy), I do love doing these recipes every now and then. As such, this #homemadeMonday brings you my very own stuffed zucchini boat recipe.
This #homemadeMonday brings you the recipe that made me fall in love with asparagus. I have to credit it (or a healthier version of it) to my friend Danny who first cooked it for me on a summer day in Berlin. Danny is an excellent chef and so is his brother who cooks in some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. Back then, Danny steamed the asparagus, and while I usually do that too, this time I decided to sautée it in butter. The blend of tastes (the assertive, slightly bitter asparagus combined with the salty, pickled feta) goes excellently with both butter and olive oil. I actually used both this time. This simple recipe literally only has 4 ingredients + salt/pepper and the optional olive oil. And even though I started eating more asparagus since, this remains my favourite use of it!
This #homemadeMonday I will be giving you, dear readers, an exclusive peek at my first ever attempt of cooking with leek. Two weeks ago I ordered one of those fruit and veggie baskets in an attempt to avoid the supermarket and consume more greens. One of the things that came with it was a beautiful piece of leek, that I had absolutely no clue what to do with. So I pinterested my way around some leek recipes and found tons of potato and leek soups, that just seemed to be missing something. Or two things in particular. Read on to discover my two secret ingredients for the creamiest soup ever.