Zucchini Goat Cheese Patties

zucchini patties 2

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

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Greek Salad

Greek Salad 5

So I’ve been gone for a while.

You see, I’ve changed apartments, and currently my entire life is in boxes. It’s been three weeks since I last saw my socks. I haven’t cooked since – oh, I can’t even remember when. My kitchen appliances are scattered to the four winds, and it seems like I have at least three worm holes in my new apartment.

A salad is all I’ve managed to throw together. It’s a good salad, mind you, and the weather here does seem to warrant salads and ice cream. But making ice cream is quite out of the question. So salad it is. I’ve made this countless times, and it’s always a hit. I call it Greek salad, although any Greeks out there will probably scoff at my ignorance. Oh, well, so be it.

Call it what you like, but I’m tellin’ ya, this tastes of summer.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Goat Cheese and Leek Pasta

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

Other salads: Strawberry Almond Brie Salad, Provolone Salad, Pistacio Mozzarella Salad, Date Bacon Parmesan Salad

Greek Salad 6

Greek Salad

Servings: varies

Prep time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • fresh mixed salad greens
  • cucumber, peeled and diced
  • black olives, pitted and sliced in half
  • feta cheese, cubed
  • pita bread, cut into quarters
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Greek Salad 1

This is quite straightforward. Heat up your grill and add a drizzle of olive oil. Lay out the pita quarters in a single layer on the grill, and sprinkle with oregano. Allow to brown until nice little lines appear, then flip them one at a time and sprinkle with oregano again. When the other side has browned as well, remove them from the grill and place on a paper-towel lined plate.

Greek Salad 8

Meanwhile, toss the greens, cucumber, olives and feta in a large bowl. Now, you can either arrange the pita quarters around the salad bowl, or you can dish up the salad and artistically place a few quarters on the side. Or just eat them like they’re chips. No, really, I betcha you can’t stop at one.

Greek Salad 2

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Voilà, summer holiday on a plate. And it’s very nearly healthy.

Enjoy 🙂

Clara

Greek Salad 7

Spanakopita

spanakopita 2

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

A cheese-laden birthday feast!

Happy birthday to us!

We’ve been cheesing it for a year now, and we have been celebrating.

With cheese.

Of course.

So today we bring to you not one, not two, not three, but four recipes to put together an entire scrumptious meal orbiting around cheese.

We begin with an appetiser, featuring Feta cheese and ground walnuts, which technically make these little taste-bomb healthy. Almost. Be that as it may, these were absolutely, totally, like, awesome.

Our first course starred creamy pasta with Ricotta, paired with the freshness of lemon. The sheer simplicity of this dish belies the wonderful taste, which manages to transport you straight back into summer.

We chose chicken for our main course, and of course Parmesan, which simply had to make the cut. Dried tomatoes and basil rounded up this lovely, comforting one-skillet dish. We do, however, apologise for the pictures, but this was so good we literally forgot to take any more… You’ll just have to trust us on this one. Have we ever led you astray? 🙂

And last, but indeed not least, you cannot have a birthday without a cake. A cheesecake, of course. Scroll down and find out more about this little crowning jewel of today’s feast…

How can you say no?

Walnut Feta Cookies

Walnut Feta Cookies 6

Servings: about 40 cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 40 g ground or chopped walnuts
  • 120 g, or 1/2 cup flour
  • 120 g butter
  • 120 g feta cheese
  • salt and pepper

Walnut Feta Cookies 7

Let’s start out with the walnut. If you couldn’t find them ground, you can use a pestle and mortar to do the job. (We did 🙂 )

Walnut Feta Cookies 1

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until you obtain a homogeneous dough, then roll it out to a thickness of roughly 1,5 cm.

Walnut Feta Cookies 2

Cut them out in any desired shape. We used a round cutter, but any shape will do, really.

Walnut Feta Cookies 3

Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Leave a little space between them, but not much is needed, since they really don’t grow at all. You can brush them them with a slightly beaten egg, or even milk, at this point, but this really isn’t necessary.

Walnut Feta Cookies 4

Place in a low oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until light golden.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 5

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 5

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes (seriously)

You will need:

  • 350gr short pasta
  • 200gr fresh Ricotta cheese
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried, or 10 leaves fresh basil
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 3

Cook the pasta as per package instructions.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Reserve two cups of pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, beat together the cheese, lemon zest and basil until thoroughly combined.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 2

Thin out with pasta water until fairly liquid, but still creamy. Return the drained pasta to the pot and mix in the Ricotta mixture.

Serve garnished with Parmesan and a few basil leaves.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 6

Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken

Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken 2

Servings: 4

Prep time: 30 mintues

You will need:

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 bread crumbs
  • olive oil to cook the chicken
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup minced dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a large skillet on low heat with the olive oil. Salt and pepper both side of the chicken breasts. Dip in the milk, then coat with bread crumbs and place in the pan. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (times may vary here depending on the thickness of the breast).

Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken 1

Remove from the pan, and add the broth to the same pan. When it boils, stir in cream and tomatoes and give it a good stir. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a few minutes to cook through.

Return the chicken to the pan.

Eat up. 🙂

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 10

Servings: 8

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 50 minutes baking time, plus 2 hours chilling

You will need:

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 cup shortbread cookies, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate, cut into squares and melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar (optional; I didn’t think it was necessary)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs

For the raspberry sauce:

  • 1 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 8

Combine the crushed cookies with the ground almonds.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 11-side

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 13

Mix in the melted butter until it forms a crumbly paste. Press into the bottom of a greased pan.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 16

Combine the cream cheese with the melted chocolate.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 15

Add the sour cream, sugar and eggs. Pour on top of the cookie crust.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 14-side

Bake on medium high for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and centre is still slightly wobbly, but set. It will firm up as it cools.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 1

Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 4-side

Meanwhile, place the raspberry jam in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it melts down. Add the raspberries and bring to a simmer. Cover and chill until serving time.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 7

Spoon the raspberry sauce over the cheesecake slices as you serve.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 9

Enjoy! 🙂

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

Feta Bites

feta bites

Diuen que la memòria és selectiva, que tendim a recordar més unes coses que unes altres, ja siguin positives o negatives. I sempre s’ha dit que hi ha gent amb més memòria visual i gent amb més memòria verbal. Tot això està molt bé, però avui vull reivindicar un altre tipus de memòria, que ningú en parla i es veu que és una de les menys desenvolupades pels éssers humans: la memòria gustativa. He llegit que habitualment representa menys d’un 5% de la memòria d’una persona. Fantàstic, això vol dir que esteu llegint un post escrit per un ésser d’una altra espècie.

En general tinc bona memòria visual i verbal i aquestes coses, però si una cosa se’m queda gravada sempre sempre sempre allà on vaig són els gustos i les olors de les coses. A casa se’n riuen, perquè quan mirem fotos antigues o recordem viatges sempre parlo del menjar d’aquell moment o d’aquell lloc. Vem anar a Londres quan tenia deu anys i gairebé no recordo el que hi vaig veure, però recordo perfectament el fish and chips que em vaig menjar al carrer i un restaurant italià que hi havia a prop de l’hotel i hi feien una salsa de tomàquet boníssima i el roast beef d’un pub petit. D’un viatge a un poblet prop de Nàpols recordo unes flors de carbassó arrebossades i la millor amanida de tomàquet, mozzarella i alfàbrega que he menjat mai, i d’un estiu en una caseta prop dels Alps francesos recordo una crêpe integral de bacon torradet, rodanxes de patata, ceba caramel·litzada, xampinyons laminats i formatge savoià desfet. Deliciosa.

D’això en podem treure dues conclusions: que m’agrada viatjar, molt, i que si mai us voleu casar amb mi deixeu-vos de llocs romàntics i d’escenes de pel·lícula, porteu-me a un bon restaurant i no me n’oblidaré mai.

Doncs bé, la recepta que avui us proposo ve de quan vaig tornar del viatge de final de batxillerat a Grècia. Com era d’esperar, un viatge d’una setmana de 80 estudiants de 17 anys amb ganes de festa i quatre professors a càrrec d’un grup de menors descontrolats a l’altra punta d’Europa va acabar força malament, però gastronòmicament va ser un viatge excel·lent. Tant, que el primer que vaig fer quan vaig arribar a casa va ser comprar-me un llibre de cuina grega, i ara veureu que va ser una molt bona decisió.

Feta Bites

Servings: about 32 units

Prep time: 45 min

You will need:

  • 200 g feta cheese
  • 120 g cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • pepper to taste
  • 8 sheets filo dough
  • about 100 ml olive oil

Crumble up the feta cheese and place it into a bowl. Beat in the cottage cheese, parsley, pepper and egg until evenly mixed.

Role out the filo dough on a surface and cut it into about 7cm strips. Brush one strip with olive oil and place a teaspoon full of the cheese mixture on one end. Fold over to form a little triangle, then keep folding until the strip is completely folded. Yes, I know, lots of folding. It should be something like that:

feta bites prep 1

Repeat the process with the remaining filo strips.

Place all the triangles on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake (again, lots of baking. Today it’s baking and folding day, I guess) at 190ºC for about 15 min or until golden brown. Optionally, for an extra crispiness brush each triangle with a little more olive oil (before baking them, of course).

feta bites 2

Enjoy!