Low Fat Mozzarella Sticks

mozzarella sticks 2

Avui un clàssic dels clàssics, l’aperitiu preferit dels amants de formatge: els imprescindibles, atemporals, magnífics palets de mozzarella.

I, tal com vem fer fa unes setmanes amb el pollastre arrebossat al forn, en presentem la versió operació-bikini-friendly: més sana, més fàcil i més còmoda. Perquè pugueu vetllar el retorn dels Stark (que tornaran, creieu-me, no ens poden deixar tan orfes i eliminar les principals trames de la sèrie en un pim pam; seran més o menys zombies però tornaran) i planificar la venjança contra les males pècores de Dorne (que això que han fet és molt lleig, gratuït, injust i absolutament a traïció, per Lannister que fos) sense haver de patir tant pel recompte de calories.

Valar Morghulis.

Low Fat Mozzarella Sticks

Prep time: about 30 min

Servings: I made 25 sticks (and could eat 3 times the amount I cooked all by myself)

You’ll need:

  • Mozzarella, cut into little sticks (I made 25 sticks of about 1 x 1 x 4 cm)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • breadcrumbs (quantity difficult to say, just go and buy a couple of packages, it’s cheap and always useful to have around)
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any sauce you like (ketchup, BBQ, home-made Italian-style tomato sauce…)

mozzarella sticks prep 1

A healthier, cleaner and easier version of the typical fried mozzarella sticks, the same idea as in the Crunchy No-fry Fried Chicken.

There are basically three steps: first, place a bowl full of breadcrumbs mixed with salt, pepper and oregano and another bowl with the beaten eggs next to each other (the closer the bowls are, the smaller the mess will be in the next step).

Now take a cheese stick, dip it into the egg until well coated, then dip it into the bread and roll it until well covered. If the breadcrumb layer is too thin and weak, dip it in the beaten egg and in the breadcrumbs a second time (I did it). Repeat with all your sticks.

mozzarella sticks prep 2

Now look at your fingers, absolutely covered with egg and breadcrumbs, stick one finger into your mouth, clean it by eating the bread-egg crust, and enjoy the incoming childhood memories of summer evenings helping your mother cook breaded chicken. Nice.

Then, line a baking dish with baking paper and place all your beautiful cheese sticks on it.

Finally, bake for 5 minutes, until the melted mozzarella just starts to break the golden crispy crust to expand its cheesy warm royalty all over the place.

mozzarella sticks

Enjoy! 🙂

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Zucchini Goat Cheese Patties

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Avui faig país. Fa ja més d’un any que tinc un blog de cuina amb formatge en un país gastronòmicament molt ric (i en molts altres aspectes també, què coi!) i em dedico a fer receptes amb Emmentals, Bries, Cheddars i Parmesans. I no és que no estiguin bé, de fet són deliciosos, però i un bon tall d’Urgèlia? I un mató de Montserrat? I un Recuit de Fonteta? I un Tupí d’Ossera?

Avui reivindico el formatge de km 0, perquè ens les donem de patriotes i ens posem l’estelada fins i tot a les calces però després anem al Caprabo i comprem formatges de tot arreu menys de casa nostra. I mentrestant el nostre patrimoni formatger queda reduït a vendre’s en firetes d’artesans de pobles perduts.

Doncs no, menys postureig nacionalista, menys creure’ns més catalans perquè tenim mil i un gadgets amb estelades i rucs que hem comprat al tot a cent xinès de la cantonada, que fa estelades com podria fer banderes d’illes de la polinèsia, i més recolzar els nostres productes i els nostres productors. Si volem aixecar un país, posem-nos-hi de veritat, collons!

(Com que explicar tot això a la recepta en anglès per al públic internacional és una mica complicat, us dic que el que allà és goat cheese és en realitat un formatge tendre de cabra de Montbrú, uns formatgers del Moianès. Suau però amb molta personalitat, així amb un punt àcid, boníssim).

zucchini patties prep 2

One year ago, on May the Cheese Be With You: Chips del Diamant

Zucchini Goat Cheese Patties

Servings: 12-14 patties (depending on the size)

Prep time: about 40 min

You will need:

  • 2 medium zucchini, shreaded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 1/2 crumbled goat cheese (or feta, if you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (or corn starch)
  • 1/2 teasppon baking power
  • about 1 cup bread crumbs (enough quantity to thicken the paste)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

This will be a lot like making your own hamburguers, but with zucchini instead of meat. You’ll see.

First of all, put the shreaded zucchini into a strainer, toss with the salt and let it stand for about 10 minutes. After this time, the zucchinis will have let go the major part of their water. (If right after reading this sentence a little anoying voice inside your head is singing Frozen’s “Let it go”, don’t worry, I have exactly the same problem as you). So, squeeze the zucchini until as dry as possible and set aside.

zucchini patties prep 1

Beat the eggs in a large bowl (large enough to contain all the other ingredients). Mix in the dried zucchini, onion, cheese, garlic and black pepper, then add the flour and baking powder and stir until well incorporated.

zucchini patties prep 4

Now you’ll probably have some too-liquid-to-be-patty-shaped mixture, so add bread crumbs and stir until thick enough to form little patties (but don’t add too much bread crumbs or you’ll obtain some nice zucchini and goat cheese rocks when cooked).

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Form patties of about 1,5 tablespoons of mixture each and fry them unil golden brown on both sides (I’m not saying you have to fry them one at a time, but don’t overfill the pan or you’ll end by having one huge zucchini patty to share with the entire family). Let them dry a little on a paper towel-lined plate and that’s it.

zucchini patties prep 3

You can used them either as a starter or as a side dish for salmon, for example, as I did, or you can even turn them into some nice vegetarian hamburgers.

zucchini patties 1

Enjoy! 🙂

Annie

Spanakopita

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Avui això va de Grècia una altra vegada. I, per tant, va de formatge feta i de pasta filo i, per tenir les consciències tranquil·les, d’espinacs. L’spanakopita és un altre plat que vaig descobrir en el meu viatge turbulent a Grècia de segon de batxillerat, d’on també van sortir els farcellets de feta, i que vindria a ser com la versió grega de la quiche. És fàcil, bona, verduril i formatjosa, i trobo que té un punt exòtic que et pot fer quedar bé en cas de necessitat. Que ho té tot, vaja. I ara la teniu vosaltres.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Cheddar Cookies

Other feta recipes: Walnut Feta Cookies, Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes, Feta Bites

Spanakopita

Prep time: about 1h

Servings: 6

You will need:

  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 kg fresh spinach or 500 g frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 250 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • about 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package filo dough
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating your oven to 200ºC. In a large pan, cook the onion with a drizzle of olive oil for 10 minutes, until transparent and soft. Add the spinach, salt to taste, and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain any remaining water from the spinach (specially if you’re using frozen spinach) and let it cool for a while.

spanakopita prep 1

In the meantime, mix the eggs with the feta cheese, salt, pepper and parlsey, until having a baby-cat puke-resembling mixture.

spanakopita prep 2

When the spinach is at room temperature (or, at least, cooler than before), add it to the egg and feta bowl.

Now to the tricky part. It’s not that complicated, but you’ll need to be fully concentrated. Take a small bowl or glass you have and pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil in it. With a brush (a cooking brush, please, otherwise your spanakopita will turn blue or red or any other colour used before) coat a 9x13x2 inches baking dish (or something with a similar size). Carefully place a sheet of the filo dough (be careful, they are extremely fragile) on the baking dish, making sure it covers all the edges. Don’t worry if there’s some dough outside the baking dish, leave it there and don’t cut it, we’ll need it at the end to close the spanakopita. When the first sheet of dough is in place, paint it with some olive oil and put another sheet on top. Repeat the whole process with half of the dough sheets.

spanakopita prep 3

Now, pour the filling on top and spread it well with a spatula.

spanakopita prep 4

Cover it with the remaining filo sheets, one at a time and brushing with olive oil, as before. Take the edges of filo dough and fold them to close the spanakopita. With a sharp knife, slightly cut the upper part of the pie into six pieces. Bake it for 35 minutes or until well set in the inside and toasted and crunchy in the outside.

spanakopita 1

Enjoy!

Annie

Crunchy No-fry Fried Chicken

crunchy no fry fried chicken 2

Les meves memòries d’infància es podrien resumir en tres moments feliços: els sopars d’estiu d’ou ferrat i patates fregides, quan l’àvia feia fideus a la cassola i quan hi havia pollastre arrebossat (sí, també tinc bons records que no comporten menjar, però són menys interessants).

I ara, 20 anys després, l’àvia segueix fent fideus a la cassola, els sopars d’ou ferrat i patates fregides, tot i no tenir ni ou ferrat ni patates fregides, són amb qui eren, que és el que els feia realment especials, però s’ha acabat el pollastre arrebossat. Ja se sap, et fas gran i descobreixes que els fregits són Voldemort, i alguna cosa dins teu et diu que tot ha canviat a partir d’ara, que res tornarà a ser el que era.

Per sort un dia, en un atac de nostàlgia, buscant buscant vaig trobar aquest recepta, que és com el pollastre arrebossat de la meva infantesa però menys greixós, més fàcil i amb formatge. Perfecte.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Salmon with Gorgonzola

Crunchy No-fry Fried Chicken

Servings: 6

Prep time: 15 min + 30 min baking time

You’ll need:

  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 200 g grated Maasdam (or Gouda, Emmental, Cheddar… almost any cheese will do)
  • 400 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil

crunchy no fry fried chicken prep 1

Start by preheating your oven to 180-200ºC. In a large bowl mix the grated cheese, breadcrumbs, oregano and salt, and cut the chicken breasts into about 1 cm thick slices. Now coat each chicken slice with some olive oil and press it into the breadcrumb mixture, until well breaded. Place the chicken slices on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and top with any remaining breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

crunchy no fry fried chicken prep 2

Bake for about 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and heavenly-golden-brown-y-crunchy.

crunchy no fry fried chicken 1

Enjoy!

Annie

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

broccoli cheddar soup 1

L’estiu de segon de carrera vaig decidir que volia aprendre anglès, però del de veritat, del d’anar pel carrer i entendre la gent, no del de “fill in the gap” i de “will or going to”. Per sort, tinc familiars a Estats Units, i vaig pensar que passar l’estiu allà, en plan immersió lingüística de dos mesos, seria una bona experiència. Així qu,e tot just acabats els exàmens de juny, vaig fer la maleta (pot semblar trivial, però empaquetar-te tot l’estiu en una maleta de 23 kg no és una feina fàcil), em vaig renovar el passaport i apa, vol en destinació Atlanta.

I sí, va ser un molt bon estiu. Vaig aprendre que els Estats Units supermolons de les pel·lícules no tenien res a veure amb la realitat, que al mig del camp l’Amèrica profunda és molt profunda, que conduir un tractor tallagespa pot ser molt divertit i que enlloc esmorzaràs com a la International House of Pancakes. Vaig aconseguir un anglès relativament fluid (almenys més del que tenia abans), vaig convertir-me en la reina de Say yes to the dress, de Bridezilla, de Super Sweet Sixteen i de tots els realities que vaig trobar (tot sigui per millorar la comprensió auditiva) i vaig descobrir la meva nova sopa preferida, la sopa de cheddar i bròquil.

broccoli cheddar soup prep 4

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Spinach-Bacon-Goat Cheese Quiche

broccoli cheddar soup 3

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Adapted from my new favourite blog Six Sisters’ Stuff

Servings: 2

Prep time: 45 min

You will need:

  • 1 small broccoli (about 400 g) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

broccoli cheddar soup prep 1

In a small pot (large enough to contain the entire soup later) sautée onion and garlic for a coupe of minutes, until soft and slightly translucid. Add butter and flour, and stir until light brown and bubbly.

broccoli cheddar soup prep 2

At this point, resist your temptation, do not eat the onion roux, and add chicken broth. Stir for a couple of minutes, until the roux is fully dissolved in the broth, and add broccoli, salt and pepper (Note: be careful with the amount of salt, specially if you’re using dehydrated chicken broth, as they tend to be quite salty).

broccoli cheddar soup prep 3

Cook at medium heat for about 25-30 min, then add cheeses and milk, and keep stirring until the cheddar is totally melted. And that’s it, warm comfort almost healthy cheesy soup.

broccoli cheddar soup 2

Enjoy!

Annie

Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 5

Short and sweet is the motto for today. Thanksgiving is around the corner, fall is slowly sputtering out, and the Christmas lights of downtown Barcelona are already shining merrily through my bedroom window. The frantic pre-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas activity is wearing me down and driving me up the walls at the same time, but holiday season is on, and I love it.

So, short and sweet it is. Today’s recipe would be amazing as a lighter Thanksgiving side dish, or as a fall-themed dish for any day of the week, really. And trust me when I say, it’s good. It’s very, very good, and even half way healthy.

And I may or may not have eaten the whole tray all by myself.

Do yourself a favor, and make this. It comes together amazingly fast, and the oven does half the work anyway. Did I mention it´s good?

Let’s get the show on the road.

For another feta cheese recipe, check out these Feta Bites. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 6

Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes

(Adapted from the incoparable William Sonoma)

Servings: 2 large or 3 small

Prep time: 45 minutes, 30 minutes of which are baking time

You will need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • olive oil to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100 gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • about 1/3 to 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons dried herbs, preferably thyme or herbes de provence, but really any Mediterranean herb you have at hand
  • juice of 1 lemon

First off, wash and peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/2 inch thick pieces. You can cut them thinner if you like, but you’ll have to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Arrange the sweet potato slice in a singly layer on a baking-paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle (or drown, if your from the Mediterranean) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the baking sheet with aluminium foil and bake on high for 20 minutes.

Remove and discard the aluminium foil.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 3

Up to this point, we’ve prepared your average ol’ baked sweet potato. Now let’s take this puppy over the top.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 2

Sprinkle the dish with your herbs of choice (thyme really does make the best addition, but I’ve used plenty of other herbs and they all yield delicious results) and the crumbled feta cheese, making sure all your slice get some of the fun. Now, you can sprinkle the pine nuts on top whole, or can crumble them up a bit with a pestle and mortar, as I like to, since it allows for better distributing, and helps blend the flavors a bit more.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 1

Once you’ve finished all your sprinkling, place the baking sheet back in the oven for another 8 or 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown nicely, or until you can’t resist the smell wafting through your kitchen any longer.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 4

Drizzle the lemon juice over everything, and serve. And eat.

Enjoy!

Clara

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 7

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 8

I know what you’re thinking. Not Parmesan again. And salad, again? I know, I know. But you must understand, it’s Parmesan. The king of all cheeses. And this ain’t just any salad. It’s the best kind of salad. You know, the kind of salad loaded with cheese and bacon.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 2

Also, Parmesan features in Boccaccio’s Decameron tale about an imaginary gourmet paradise. I’m talking XV century Italian literature here, guys. The passion for Parmesan has been around for longer than most modern countries. I mean, the man writes about mountains of Parmesan cheese. Like, mountains.

I’ve been looking for that place for a couple of years now. I’ll let you know if I get lucky. I won’t tell you were it is, though. I’ll just sent a postcard.

Anyway, this rich history is of course the main reason why I made this salad. Duh.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 9

That, and I was so sleepy this morning it took about ten minutes for me to realize I was trying to fit both my legs into one leg of my pants. So this is all I could manage in the state I’m in.

But try it. You won’t regret it. The play of textures and the blend of sweet, salty and crispy ingredients is, in a word, heavenly. Did you hear angels sing? Because they did. And if you listen very closely, you’ll hear their silver voices chanting one word in a trance-like rhythm:

Parmesan…

And then of course there’s the celestial heavy metal band bellowing Bacooon!! at the top of their lungs in the background. They never miss a beat, those little rascals.

Let’s get the show on the road:

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 7

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad

Sevings: it’s completely up to you and how much cheese and bacon you can eat

Prep time: 30 minutes tops

You will need:

  • Baby greens
  • Arugula
  • Parmegiano Reggiano
  • Bacon, cut into cubes or strips
  • Pitted dates, cut into quarters
  • Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, to dress the salad

Note: This salad is super easy and super tasty, perfect for those sultry summer days, and good enough to impress your guests. If you need more salad recipes, check out our Strawberry Almond Brie Salad, Provolone Salad, and Pistachio Mozzarella Salad.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 1

First off, wash your salad greens and arugula and place them in a large bowl. The amount of each depends on how much you like baby greens and arugula. In fact, you could just as well make this salad using only arugula, if you really like it. Plus, you will look like a goat whilst eating, which is always a perk.

Now cook your bacon in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until nice and crispy, then place on a paper-towel-lined plate to catch any extra grease. Again, the amount is up to you, but don’t skimp. The bacon and date pairing is one of the best flavor combos ever.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 5

Allow to cool.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 3

Cut your Parmesan cheese into small, fine slices, until you feel you have enough to transport yourself or your guests to Parmesan Paradise, and add to the greens.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 4

Now, you are absolutely entitled to eat this like this, and no one will judge you. At least I know I won’t, because, you know, been there, done that.

But bear with me if you can, the final result will definitely be worth your while.

Date Bacon Parmesan Salad 6

Cut up your dates and add to the salad. Don’t be to heavy handed with these; a little goes a long way, and they’ll overpower the bacon and cheese, which we most certainly do not want happening. Ever.

Last, but not least, top the salad with the cooled bacon. Add a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That’s seriously all the dressing you’ll need.

Now, eat, drink and be merry. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Clara

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