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.
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.
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.