BROCCOLI and CRANBERRY SALAD
This is by far my very ‘picky’ older son’s favorite salad. It’s packed with nutrients, it’s vegetarian, vegan, also dairy free and gluten free.
What more can you ask?
- 1 large head of broccoli cut in small pieces (florets and stems)
- 1/2 cup to 1 of shredded carrot
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1tbsp red onion chopped small
- 2 to 3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- salt and pepper
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- 3 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp apple vinegar
- 1 Tbsp mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp liquid honey
Courtesy Recipe by WITS
It has been hard for everyone to be stuck at home for so many days. We don’t know how many more days we will have to live like this but in the meantime, we all have to try to keep our spirits up and our minds and bodies stress-free, by doing things that we like, together, even if that means virtually. Thankfully we have access to plenty of technology, which is making this difficult time a little easier to deal with.
There have been lots of people offering all kinds of virtual classes recently. The other day my husband suggested I do a cooking demonstration of a dish that can be easily made for dinner by everyone, with a few simple ingredients that most likely will be in everybody’s pantry!
I thought it was a fun thing to do since I have to cook anyway (as most of us) for lunch and dinner, every single day. It’s hard after a while to come up with new dishes to keep the ‘menu interesting and varied’, right?
So here is an idea for an easy and delicious dinner for Monday.
Pasta with Tuna and Crushed Tomatoes and lemon zest
Ingredients you will need:
1 pound of any shaped short pasta (such as penne, rigatoni or farfalle)
1 small can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of tuna (can be substituted with canned mackerel as well)
1 small onion or 2 cloves of garlic
1 lemon ( juice + zest )
2 tbsp of capers (optional)
Fresh parsley or basil
Pinch of turmeric powder
You will also need:
Large pot for boiling pasta
1 pot or pan for the sauce
Grater for lemon zest
Recipe n. 44
Here is a delicious salad I often make when I want to eat a nutritious meal,
which will also satisfy my appetite.
It’s a celebration of colors and food at the same time.
You can follow my recipes as it is, or getting creative and add more (or less) of your favorite vegetables.
I like a good mix of roasted and raw veggies.
Even young kids will not resist this dish as the sweetness coming from the apple and the butternut squash will conquer their palates…don’t’ be surprised if they will ask for more!
A mix of greens as a base for the salad (I like a nice mix of arugula and lettuce and tiny sliced kale)
1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
Roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes
Roasted white cauliflower florets
Sauteed Shitake mushrooms
1 apple peeled, seeded and cut in small cubes
1 small shaved watermelon radish
2 Tbsp of toasted white and black sesame seeds
1tbs of liquid honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt and black pepper
You can roast the vegetables ahead of time and then let them cool down before assembling the salad with all the other ingredients. I like to start with the raw greens as a base, then the quinoa, then the roasted vegetables and then the apple. Prepare the dressing, shake it well. Pour it on top of the salad and mix well. Garnish with shaved watermelon radish and toasted sesame seeds.
Recipe n. 43
Now that we are in the holiday season I can smell the cinnamon in the air, all kind of spices, citrus zest, apple cider, apple pies and more. The other day, while I was food shopping I came across the most amazing citrus I have ever seen. Literally a master piece of nature. Its botanical name is Citrus medica- sarcodactylis, commonly known as Buddha’s hand. I could not resist buying it, even if I had no idea what to do with it. It has practically no juice inside, but the smell released is incredibly intense and pleasant. I put it on my dining table and just admired it all day long. The day after I moved it to the kitchen counter top and despite my will, before it was going to lose its freshness and bright yellow color, I decided to chop it in different shapes to make holiday citrus candies.
1 large Buddha’s hand (= 2 cups ) sliced or diced, or any other citrus fruit (like lemon or orange)
2 cups of water
2 cups og sugar ( I like to use dark brown sugar)
Extra sugar for coationg (for this final step it’s better to use regualr white granulated sugar or granulated cane sugar)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add diced Buddha’s hand, return to a simmer and cook until citrus softens, about 30 minutes. Drain.
Recipe n. 42
It’s a classic. Mostly a Summer dish, served as an appetizer or as a salad to accompany another dish. Even if the ingredients are not in season yet, I decided to publish it now because I was asked by one of my sons’s teachers to visit their classroom to do a ‘cooking’ demonstration about a traditional Italian food.
I picked this dish because it is easy to assemble and it doesn’t require any cooking. It’s also delicious and resembles the colors of the italian flag!
There are many legends around the origins of the Caprese salad. One of the most accreditated stories goes back to after world war II, when a laborer, who was very patriotic liked to include the colors of the italian flag in his ‘panino’ for his lunch break. Legend also has it that this dish appeared during dinner around 1920 in a hotel in Capri (the famous island off the coast of Naples) to please Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the poet and founder of the futuristic cultural movement.
One more story includes the Egyptian Sovereign Farouk. In 1951, he went to visit the island of Capri with his family. It was a very sunny afternoon and he requested to have a quick meal prepared to satisfy his hunger. On that occasion he had the chance to taste a crunchy sandwich with pomodoro, mozzarella e basilico. He fell in love when tasting these three fresh local ingredients together!
The dish was improved when the traditional mozzarella from cows started to be replaced with bufala (buffalo) mozzarella, a dairy product typical to Campania.No matter where and when it was exactly created, this dish has become a signature Italian dish around the world.
Minestra con il Romanesco e spaghetti spezzettati
Recipe n. 41
I made this delicious soup the other day.
I was looking in my fridge for some inspiration for a simple, light and nourishing dinner and voilà, there it was: this amazing pointy green broccolo, which looks like a sculpture from nature.
In Sicily during winter the green broccolo is probably the most popular vegetable that you see at the market. It’s a pretty picture to look at: lots and lots of bright green broccoli. The romanesco is not as common as the plain green one, but they are very similar in taste.
I followed my mom’s old fashioned technique to prepare the spaghetti for this soup. Nowadays you can purchase a bag of broken spaghetti everywhere, but there is something ‘therapeutic and mindful’ in breaking your own spaghetti, especially if done in the way my mom taught me when I was a child.
You don’t need much, just half bag of long regular spaghetti (I like to use wholewheat pasta) and a kitchen towel, where you first would place the spaghetti broken into large pieces and then after wrapping them inside the towel, you start crushing them on the counter with the strenght of one of your arms, using the palm of your hand in a motion movement until they become about 1 inch long or less.
In my moms version of this soup there is no garlic or tomato paste, but I thought adding these simple ingredients would give a little kick to the soup and oh boy they did the job, especially when you add some hot chili pepper flakes.
I could have eaten the enire pot, no kidding!
250 grams of whole wheat spaghetti (broken)
1 clove of garlic
1 to 2 tbsp of tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
Wash the romanesco and cut in small pieces. In a large pan sautee the garlic, hot chili pepper flakes in olive oil. Add the tomato paste and the romanesco. Let it mix well for a few minutes with all the ingredients and slowly add enough water. Add some salt and pepper and bring it to a boil.
As soon as the romanesco is well cooked, you can add the broken spaghetti. If the water evaporated too much you can add some more.
Once the pasta is cooked serve immediately and enjoy.
Go for seconds with zero guilt: it’s all good!