Zazulete Ynn Anuca Romanța Ion
When summer feels close, one of my favorite dishes for enjoying fresh herbs and other goodies is zucchini croquettes, an easy and quick recipe that you can enjoy both hot and cold, as a simple crunch or with your favorite dip (such as any refreshing yogurt or cheesy dip). I often cook them through summer and autumn and they are a tasty and nutritious alternative to meat. I prefer to cook them as deep fried in vegetable oil, for the extra crustiness, but if you prefer the healthier version, cook them in your oven, over parchment and sprinkled with some olive oil.
Moreover, you can use this recipe as veggie burger idea. Quite a versatile dish, when it comes to its uses, possible combinations of veggies or when it comes to the sauces and dips you can enjoy it with. And a great addition to any party, you know me, a part girl, always thinking of party food!
INGREDIENTS (serves 3-4)
1 small zucchini, grated
1 small potato, grated
a small leek or 2-3 green onions
2 spring garlic or 2 garlic cloves
100g melting cheese (Gouda, cascaval etc)
1 tbsp all purpose flour
about 2 tbsp of spring herbs mix (parsley, tarragon, dill, chervil, etc.)
What is lovely about the leek, if you chop it coarsely, is that it gives an extra crunchiness when those rings fry. You just have to be a little more careful to create a batter that is thick enough to not break in the pan.
- In a large bowl, chop and grate the ingredients. Chop the herbs, onion (or leek) and the spring garlic. Grate the zucchini and the potato.
The moisture of the zucchini will be great to absorb the flour, and thicken the batter, but if you feel it is too moist, you can squeeze the water from it before adding it into the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Beat the eggs well in a separate bowl, with salt and freshly ground pepper. At this point, you can add more spices if you like (such as nutmeg), but I suggest to try this recipe in its simplest form first, to taste the zucchini, which already has a delicate flavor.
- Use your hand to mix the veggies and the eggs together. Mix them well, until all ingredients are impregnated with the eggs mixture.
- Add the flour and continue to mix, until you get a batter that is similar to mashed potatoes. You can add more flour if you feel it is needed, but keep in mind the potatoes starch will act as a thickener once you begin the cooking process.
- Add and mix in the cheese.
- When the batter is ready, heat the oil pan (with vegetable oil) and add the croquettes one by one with a spoon. It is best to not use an oil bath for a proper deep fry, but just a pan with a little oil in it. You coarsely add them in the pan and flatten them a little with your spoon.
- Let them fry on each side for a few minutes, until brown, on medium heat.
- Remove them from the pan and place them on paper to leave the excess oil behind.
Enjoy their crunchiness and sweetness, full of late spring flavor, with dips, salads or as veggie burger.
Finally it gets hot! And that means I can show you all those fast and light dishes guaranteed to be perfect additions to your weight-loss diet. This one has to be my favorite because not only it is fast and easy to prepare, it’s also packed with nutrition and flavors using only 6 ingredients, and I already counted the olive oil. Another reason is because of the chayote.
For those of you who don’t know about this beloved vegetable of Vietnam, this is one of the magic 3 vegetables in Vietnamese cuisine, along with potato and carrot. They’re the magic 3 because they’re so versatile, can be found all year round and they don’t need lots of spices to be made into satisfactory meals. Chayote (also chayote squash or chayote fruit), in Vietnamese is called su su which is a French word (chouchou: beloved), is a plant in the gourd family. What we use in this recipe is the fruit of this plant. Vietnamese also eat the chayote young stems but that’s another story, let’s get back to our fruit. (At first you won’t find it look like a beloved fruit but wait till you taste it)
This fruit is rich in water, potassium, zinc, dietary fiber, vitamins B6 and C, all of those make it weight-loss diet friendly. When cooked, the taste of chayote is naturally sweet. Depends on how you cook it, chayote can be juicy and crunchy or buttery and sweet. I read that in some other countries, people eat the young chayote without removing the skin. In Vietnam we only eat big juicy chayote so if you know how young chayote tastes like, I’d love to hear about it. Big juicy chayotes (the ripe ones) mean you need to peel their skin in a certain way to avoid sticky-hands-disaster, but first let me share with you how to choose a good chayote.
How to choose good chayote – Choose ones that are firm, with shiny and even skin of light green color, avoid ones that have scratches or areas of different colors (bruises). I also recommend not to choose the ones with thorns near the chayote seam as that means they’re too ripe and are not appetizing (it’d feel like you’re chewing on something that you shouldn’t, like paper). Now that you choose the best chayote out there, take it home and do the next step or store it in the fridge.
How to peel chayote – You should always wear gloves for protection as peeled chayote releases a sticky glue that can stick up your skin for days. Use a peeler to remove all the skin. When it comes to the seam at the top of the chayote, cut diagonally to remove all the skin. Cut vertically the chayote in half and remove the seed or you can leave it on as the seed is edible. Wash off the sticky glue left from the chayote.
Now that we finished peeling chayote, let’s dive into our easy recipe!
Ingredients: (1 serving as main dish or 2 servings as side dish)
75 gr tender beef, no fat (thinly sliced)
1 medium chayote of about 250 gr (peeled and cut into stripes)
5 stems of Asian chive (cut into stripes of 5cm long)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp salf
1 tbsp olive oil
Ready in 20 minutes
1. Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on high heat. After 1 minute or until the oil is heated, add the sliced beef with 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, a pinch of salt and stir-fry quickly for 1 minute. The high heat prevent the beef to release water so all the flavors and juice will be preserved in each slice of beef. After 1 minute of stir-frying, you can put the beef in a bowl to add it at the last step.
2. In the same skillet and on high heat, there should be a bit of oil left or you can add more, add the chayote stripes and stir-fry constantly. The chayote at first is firm, but then will turn flexible and easy to manage. Add the rest of salt and keep stir-frying for 5 minutes if you want a crunchy texture or 8 minutes if you want a soft, buttery texture. Either ways the chayote still retains its natural sweetness.
3. Lastly add the stir-fried beef of the 1st step and Asian chive. Give a good mix then take off the heat.
Did I highlight how easy this recipe is? Serve it hot and dive right in.
Asian chive adds sweetness and different texture to the dish but if you don’t like it or if you can’t find it, you can substitute it with scallion/green onion. And while we’re talking about ingredients, you can also add grounded black pepper at the last step to enhance the flavor and use soy sauce to elevate the stir-fried beef.
Enjoy this Vietnamese recipe!
P/S: You may wonder where I disappeared to the last few weeks. Hey, it’s not a case of alien abduction, I got a trip to wonderland = Japan! Stay tuned for highlights of my trip there and tips for your next trip to Japan ;)
Zazulete Ynn Anuca Romanța Ion
Barbecue season is officially open! Now, you know you can grill anything and everything, but one of the stars of my barbecues is a vegan recipe, that you can try each season in its specific combination, a salad made of grilled veggies and seasonal greens.
The smell of veggies and legumes inaugurating the barbecue on a fine May day, with birds singing, passing clouds, roses saying "hello!" is one of those rituals telling you: "and now everything will be all right, baby!"
Before we begin, we need a bit of focus, so let's fill a glass with pelin spritz and harvest some Rosa Damascena petals for future food plating.
Then all you need is your market loot: the magical basket :D basking in jasmin perfume.
INGREDIENTS (for 10 servings)
4 medium sized courgettes
6 red kapia peppers
4 green and/or yellow bell peppers
500 g champignons
a bunch of green onions
2-3 green garlic stems
a bunch of fresh spinach
a bunch of fresh dill
a bunch of tarragon
5-6 lettuce leaves
extra virgin olive oil
fine balsamic vinegar
(optional) sliced tomatoes
- First: c'mon baby, light my fire.
- Slice the veggies in larger chunks, use a salad bowl to mix them with the whole mushrooms and massage them all with a little olive oil.
- Carefully arrange the sliced vegetables and the mushrooms on the grill and barbecue them on both sides, for about 10 minutes overall, until they get a little charred (don't overcook them, we do want them to keep their freshness inside). The fine result will be a good mixture of crunchiness that comes from the fresh with the crunchiness that comes from the fire.
- Collect them all in a goodie bowl. When hot, mix with lots of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.
- Coarsely chop the herbs, the lettuce, the spinach and the green onions and green garlic and add them to the mix.
- Season with a fine salt and enjoy, either as warm or cold salad.
Zazulete Ynn Anuca Romanța Ion
You-hoo! They are here! Red. Seedy. Juicy. So fragrant. Reminding us of happiness. The strawberries! Time to eat them in all possible ways, and one of my spring essentials is the quick and delicious strawberry mousse. It is ready in just a few minutes; you can eat it fresh or freeze it for a tasty, simple ice cream, bursting with May flavors. That's the spirit!
All you need is fresh, organic eggs, a bit of sugar, a touch of green mint to enhance it all, and the red beauties.
With a fork, purée 200-250g of fresh strawberries.
Beat the egg whites with caster sugar.
By the end of egg mixing, when it begins to stiff, add the strawberry purée gradually, and beat some more.
Don't expect to get a stiff meringue in the end, but a creamier, softer mousse.
Chill for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour the mousse in serving bowls.
Mince or slice 100-150g of strawberries and decorate the mousse with lots of them.
As a final touch of green, add the mint leaves.
Spirit of spring, turning to summer, spirit of May. May the Force of Strawberries be with you! :D
Cover photo: Thao Uyen
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!