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

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Cream of Zucchini Soup

Cream of Zucchini Soup 5

Allow me to tell you the tale of my kitchen.

When we first moved here with the boyfriend, it was more out of convenience than because of the apartment itself. That being said, the location is probably unbeatable. The apartment, on the other hand, is a shoe box. It is all of 40m2 (a little over 400ft2).

The kitchen is practically non-existent. We literally had to move the fridge and the pantry into the living room to even have any working surfaces to speak of.

So it all comes down to this: Working in my miniature down town, old town, rough part of town kitchen is usually a display of culinary virtuosity. Balancing, dodging, fitting things in the most unlikely places (think tetris), endlessly reorganizing the fridge, freezer and pantry, kitty cats trying to get in on the action… It’s exhausting. It also leaves the entire apartment looking as if a bomb had just gone off. Or as if a herd of rhinos had stampeded by. Or as if the biggest football hooligans ever had come here for their after party.

I guess you get the picture.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because Christmas is rolling around faster than anticipated (takes me by surprise every time 😉 ), and Christmas means overfilled kitchens, and overfilled kitchens is not a good thing when you hardly have a kitchen to start with.

So today’s recipe is simple, and the pictures are few and terrible. I apologize. I do. There simply is no more space to take nice pictures with interesting perspectives (all those close-ups are to avoid intruding produce and dishware from making an appearance). You’ll have to bear with me until the holiday season is over (which won’t be until January 6th in Barcelona) and things have gone back to normal.

I can promise you, though, that this little unassuming soup is a thing of beauty. It’s one of the first recipes I ever came up with, and it has been tried and tested to no end. It works, and it’s good. And it’s comforting and warming and – hold on to your pants – healthy!

So go ahead and give it a try.

P.S.: If you like creamy soups, don’t miss out on our Gorgonzola Soup!

Cream of Zucchini Soup 4

Cream of Zucchini Soup

Servings: 5 to 6

Prep time: 15 minutes prep time, 20 minutes cooking time

You will need:

  • 3 medium or 2 large zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced, optional
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 12 La Vache qui rit light cheese wedges (about 200gr)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cream of Zucchini Soup 1

If using onion, start by lightly browning it in a pan with some olive oil. When it becomes translucent, add the zucchini and give it a good toss. Again, this step is optional, and the soup will taste great whether you add onion or not.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken or vegetable stock to a boil, then throw in the zucchini (and onion). Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, but really depending on how big you made your zucchini pieces.

Cream of Zucchini Soup 2

When the zucchini is tender, stir in the cheese wedges until almost completely melted.

Purée.

Cream of Zucchini Soup 3

Stir in the herbs, then taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 3

I prefer to make this soup ahead, as some resting time really allows the flavors to blend. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor, but hey, it’s up to you.

Eat up as it is, or serve with crusty bread or croutons.

Enjoy! 🙂

Clara

Cream of Zucchini Soup 6

Caprese Bread

Caprese Bread 7

Summer is drawing to a close. She is taking a step back – gently, leisurely, in that distinctly summer mien that only endless months of scorching heat can evoke – to make way for fall, whom will end the year in a wreath of fire, nature’s last and jubilant shout, a swan song fit for kings.

Yes, I do love fall. It is my very favorite season. I have been yearning for fall ever since July.

It’s so close I can almost taste it.

But the summer heat lingers here on the humid shores of the Mediterranean, and I am resolved to make the best of it.

The very epitome of a summer spent by the Mediterranean is the tomato. Our crowning glory, second only to olive oil, the red jewel in the culinary treasure box of all ancient civilizations.

I also happen to despise it. Profoundly. I find them quite revolting, with they’re oozing liquid and dodgy little seeds and metallic smell. It’s quite a deep loathing I harbor.

But then again, I find it tolerable once it’s been cooked or processed in any way. So we’re going to have to work with that.

Back to summer classics. While debating tomatoes, one cannot help but be reminded of the classic summer salad, simple yet refreshingly delicious, or so I am told. I speak, of course, of the Caprese Salad, which includes tons and tons of fresh, raw tomatoes as its key ingredient.

Now we can’t be havin’ none of that. But the flavor combination appears to be tried and tested and mostly fool proof, even for a professed tomato hater such as myself. And it is so very nearly the end of summer.

So I gave it a spin. Please dig into our…

Caprese Bread 4

Caprese Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes baking time

Servings: one loaf

You will need:

  •  2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4oz, or 125gr fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, or sour cream

Caprese Bread 1

Preheat your oven on medium-high. Grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

Combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl.

Caprese Bread 3

Stir in the mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.

Caprese Bread 2

In a separate bowl, mix all your liquid ingredients, beating well to incorporate the eggs.

Mix into the dry mixture, then transfer into the prepared loaf pan.

I did at several points during this process try taking pictures, but the batter does, once again, distinctly resemble puke. I wonder why this keeps happening to me.

Back to the point. Bake this little puppy for approximately 30 minutes, but begin checking for done-ness at about 20 minutes, as ovens vary greatly.

Caprese Bread 6

Serve piping hot, straight from the oven, or reheated in the toaster. Drizzle with olive oil, or slather in herby Gorgonzola butter, or rosemary Parmesan butter, both of which will appear on this blog two weeks from now 🙂

Caprese Bread 8

Enjoy!

Clara

Pistachio Mozzarella Salad

Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 6

I will keep today’s post short and sweet. Summer is hurtling our way, temperatures are rising and no amount of open windows can coax a breeze into my apartment. To me, summer also signifies a natural aversion towards all things hot. Namely, hair dries, toasters, ovens, and stoves. Oh, and computers.

And since I figured that none of you harbors the wish to sit in front of a toasty PC when the sun is baking the pavement outside, I will cut my post short, and let you dive into this refreshing, no-heat-source-requiring salad which you come together in a flash. I guarantee even the most obstinate salad haters will fall to their knees before this little green gem. Honestly, who doesn’t like pesto? Who doesn’t like pistachios? Who doesn’t like mozzarella?

I know I do.

If you don’t, we have two more lovely salads that will make your summer a breeze:

Provolone Salad

Strawberry-Almond-Brie Salad

 

Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 7

Pistachio Mozzarella Salad

Serving: as many as you like/need/can eat on your own

Prep time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  • mixed baby greens
  • mozzarella balls, halved
  • pistachios, shelled
  • pesto

Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 1 Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 2 Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 3

Place your salad greens in a large bowl. Gently toss in the halved mozzarella balls and pistachios, making sure they don’t end up at the bottom of the bowl. You can mix in the pesto at this point, or serve it in a pretty bowl so everyone can add it to their own taste.

Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 8

And that’s it. No, seriously. That’s it.

Mozzarella Pistachio Salad 5