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Appetizers

St Patrick’s Day vegetarian tart: There’s spring in every slice!

This tart is a great vegetarian alternative to the corned beef dishes that are typically served on St Patrick’s Day. It is light and chock-full of veggies, and it leaves you satisfied and feeling great in your own skin, as any spring dish would. DH loved it so much that he had it for lunch at work several days in a row – believe me, that’s some serious compliment coming from a carnivore, lol The freshness of the dill coupled with the mildness of the potatoes and cabbage and the assertive notes of the authentic Irish cheddar make this tart a flavorful treat fit to enjoy all year long πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

Call it zacusca, ajvar, relish, dip, or any other way you like: Its real name is delicious!

Looking for a recipe to make on Game Day? Look no further, I have what you need! This is an appetizer I ate a lot as a child, and I love eating it today with my family. We call it zacusca, but you will find it in other Eastern European cuisines under the name of ajvar. This light, low calorie dish is a bit time-consuming, yet also unbelievably easy to make: it’s a a delicious concoction of open-fire roasted eggplant and bell peppers and oven-roasted tomatoes, with extra helpings of crushed tomatoes. It’s aromatic, wholesome, and truly addictive in its simplicity. My daughter loves to eat zacusca on fresh bread, and her hands and smiling face smeared with this colorful spread are truly a vision of happiness πŸ™‚ Make this at home instead of buying it from the grocery store, and you will not be disappointed! Keep Reading

Chicken, tomato & arugula salad: the perfect side dish for burgers and hot dogs on 4th of July

I don’t know about you, but we love to eat salads on July 4th. Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of burgers and sausages on our grill to keep up with tradition (check out my posts here, here and here for 4th of July meat-based menu ideas). However, we also have 4-5 kinds of salads on hand, to brighten up the atmosphere and to ensure we eat a balanced meal. Yep, for us, 4th of July is a balancing act πŸ™‚

The salad recipe below concludes my Pure Flavor veggie cooking bonanza, and it’s a salad I will definitely make again on July 4th. Simple yet very effective, this salad succeeds thanks to the crunchy baby arugula and the thirst-quenching cherry tomatoes, whose assertiveness cuts through the richness of the roast chicken and provides it with summer flavors and freshness galore. Keep Reading

Memorial Day sausage sandwich extravaganza: a different kind of pigs in a blanket!

There’s no time like the time you spend with your loved ones πŸ™‚ This weekend my husband is off work, which means we will truly be celebrating Memorial Day together as a family. We went out to eat today, while tomorrow we’ll stay home and dear husband will do some grilling – and when we grill, we don’t hold back! We will for sure make the decadent sandwich below using fresh sausages we got on sale from the local grocery store. I will use a batch of Italian sausages for this purpose, but you can use brats as well (as we did in the past) with similarly spectacular results.

In creating this dish I was inspired by pigs in a blanket, the popular appetizer which involves hot dogs or small sausages wrapped in dough and baked until piping hot. Eating them straight out of the oven, sizzling with luscious juices and covered in buttery pastry, is definitely one of my greatest joys. This dish does resemble pigs in a blanket, but with a twist: the dough is replaced by lots and lots of bacon and pepper jack cheese. The more proteins, the merrier!

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Gochujang tuna salad: the story of our love for Korean chili paste!

There’s something brewing in this house: a gochujang obsession! I’ve been a fan of this staple of Korean cuisine ever since I attended The Good Taste Series culinary competition last year, where I tasted gochujang BBQ bison tenderloin – and I’ve been nice enough to pass my obsession over to the other members of my household!

I’m not a big fan of spicy foods. However, when it comes to gochujang, it was simply love at first bite. I find its spiciness so sophisticated and rich, and its color so vibrant. Like a cave of hidden treasures, once you try gochujang-steeped dishes, flavors come to you in quick succession. The first impression is mild, but then you’re taken by surprise by an avalanche of perpetual spiciness, and your mouth tastes old foods reinvented pretty much single-handedly by this miraculous ingredient. I found so much inspiration in gochujang – and I think I have so much to learn. πŸ™‚

The recipe below is the end result of a series of “gochujang experiments” I have conducted lately. I was looking for a way to “rejuvenate” our seafood dishes, and marinating the fish in gochujang was a big hit with my family. Keep Reading

Gourmia spiralizer review: Ring in the New Year with kid-friendly and stylish appetizers!

Can eating veggies be a challenge? Well, sometimes it can be, especially when you have children who need extra convincing to get their “5 a day.” We’ve had our fair share of struggles with our daughter. She seems to go through phases: Some days she can’t get enough of carrots and potatoes, while other days she doesn’t want to eat veggies in any shape or form.

If you’re looking for solutions to make veggies more fun for kids and your food more stylish overall, then a spiralizer is the way to go. Spiralizers are among the hottest kitchen gadgets of the moment, and I was lucky enough to try out several models at the latest edition of the International Housewares Show, back in the spring. Knowing how fashionable they were and how competitive the market had been lately, I was very excited when Gourmia contacted me and asked me to test and review their electric spiralizer. Enter the Gourmia Curly Q spiralizer! πŸ™‚

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Our Memorial Day appetizer: small pockets of goodness… and summer!

I think of my father every Memorial Day. Although he was never sent into combat, he did work in the military and had a dream to advance in the military ranks. This dream crashed when he was asked to join the Communist Party and he refused. He was expelled for this reason and spent his life longing for a return to the army (which never happened) and hoping his daughter would live a better life in freedom.

Back then, whenever there was a special occasion to celebrate, my mom and aunt would make the same appetizers: deviled eggs, chicken liver patΓ©, eggplant salad, and cheese filled tomatoes. I posted about the first three already, so now it’s time to write about the fourth – a cheerful, summery and vibrant dish. After all, what else says “summer” better than ripe, ruby red, sweet and thirst-quenching tomatoes? πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

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