Do you need an idea for an appetizer that is easily thrown together, but still delicious and attractive? I think I can help. You really must try these fantastic grilled zucchini rolls with feta and mint. They look kind of fancy, but they are really not hard to make. Plus they are healthy! Zucchini provides some great health benefits due to being an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
If you intend to make them for a party, make sure you make plenty. There is a good chance of them being a hit and running out quickly.
The filling is a mixture of feta, nuts, seeds, and fresh mint. I used pine nuts and sunflower seeds. Pine nuts are a little on the expensive side, and if you don’t want to spend too much money, you can use just sunflower seeds and skip the pine nuts completely. Fresh mint gives this filling its very unique fresh and delightful flavor. If you don’t like the taste of mint, you can replace it with fresh basil. If you can’t find fresh herbs right now or you just want to make the process even easier, here is an alternative way to make a filling. Simply place feta cheese in the food processor with store-bought pesto and process until fully combined. If you would like a vegan version, you can substitute the feta with more sunflower seeds and pine nuts.
Slice the zucchini lengthwise using a mandolin. Drizzle each zucchini strip with olive oil on both sides.
Place on a preheated grill for about 2-4 minutes each side or until tender. You can use a grill pan, if you don't have an access to a grill. Remove the zucchini from the grill and let them cool completely.
Meanwhile, place pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese in the food processor and process until fully incorporated and smooth.
Spread about one teaspoon of the mixture across each strip of zucchini and roll it up.
Dolma is a common dish in the Middle East and some other regions including the Balkans, Central Asia and Russia. It is made of grape or cabbage leaves that are rolled around a filling. The filling is usually made of rice and vegetables, or minced meat. Dolmas can be served both warm and cold.
A few times a year, I make dolmas with grape leaves. They are really something special and amazing, but a little more time consuming to make (although not very complicated).
Of course, you will need some grape leaves to make this dish. You can buy them in a jar or use them fresh, but don’t be too worried about preparing fresh leaves for dolmas. It’s quite easy; the only thing you have to do is to blanch them, which will take you just a few minutes.
Wash them and trim the stems. Then bring water to boil, place leaves in the pot and cook them for a few minutes. Drain them and then leave them to cool. If you decide to make dolmas with fresh leaves, make sure that you pick them from an unsprayed vineyard. In addition, you must only pick young leaves otherwise they will be a bit chewy.
Traditionally, dolmas are made with rice, but I wanted to add a little twist so I used quinoa instead.
My version is vegetarian – actually vegan – but fill free to add meat if you wish. You can play with almost any vegetable, rice or meat you like to make a filling – it’s almost impossible to make it wrong. The only thing you have to be careful with is ensuring that you don’t overstuff the leaves with too much filling. To help facilitate the process, here is a little photo collage on how to roll them together.
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions. When translucent add shredded cabbage. Cook until tender than add mint, allspice, cinnamon, salt and quinoa. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Cool down
Take one grape leaf and place it on the clean and flat surface. Place a teaspoon of filling in the bottom of the leaf. Fold the sides inwards and then roll the leaf.
Repeat until you run out of the mixture and leafs.
Spread dolmas tightly side by side in pot. Place a plate on top to prevent them from moving while cooking.
Cover with water and juice of one lemon and bring to boil.
Cook on the light heat for about 45 to 60 minutes until water is absorbed. Be careful not to burn them.
Place on the serving dish and eat hot or cooled.
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Only a little while ago, I had my first fresh artichoke. I had eaten artichoke hearts before but I had never made the whole fresh thing. With all the spikes, it looked a bit intimidating and incredibly stiff to me. Raw artichoke looked so inedible that I didn’t quite believe how immensely delicious it can be when prepared right.
And because I had no idea how to prepare them, I just never bought them. Then, I found recipe for Roasted Artichokes with Lemon & Garlic that looked amazing and I started to get curious. I made it a couple of times, and as a huge veggie lover, I was in heaven. I experimented with a few different recipes and the most delicious artichoke for me is simply baked in the oven. Although it looks hard to prepare them, it is incredibly easy. All you have to do is to wash the artichokes, cut off the bottom stems and about one third of the pointed top of the artichoke, season them and bake them in the oven. The preparation time will only take you a few minutes. It’s a bit time consuming to eat, but if you are a veggie lover you will absolutely love it.
If you are a newbie artichoke eater, here is a little instruction on how it’s done. Pull off petals one by one. Dip base of petal into sauce. Pull petal with sauce through teeth to remove soft part.
When you remove all the petals and come to the center, you will find the fuzzy flower. Remove it carefully. Beneath the flower there is an artichoke heart, the most delicious part of the artichoke. When I ate my first artichoke, I didn’t know how it was supposed to be done, so I ate just the leaves and discarded the heart.
Another surprising thing is that after eating an artichoke, water seems to have a sweet taste – not sweet like sugar, but more like the taste of artificial sweetener. I didn’t know that and it scared me a bit because I thought that there was some sort of chemical in my water. Then I tried tea and the same aftertaste was there. Only then did I figure out that the artichoke I had eaten might have been the culprit and Mr. Google even says that it’s a common occurrence. So don’t freak out because nothing is wrong with your drink or taste buds – it’s just an artichoke playing tricks on your sense of taste.
Here’s a lovely idea as to what you can throw on your grill. Orange marinated salmon and vegetable skewers are healthy, light, tasty and super awesome. This recipe is fool proof for no-skilled cooks; even if you are the most inexperienced cook, you can still successfully make this awesome grilled dinner. All you have to do is to thread pieces of marinated salmon and vegetables onto skewers and grill them.
You can experiment with whatever veggies you like or currently have in your fridge. I use the most colorful veggies that I can think of because I love it when my food is nice to look at, and the rainbow colors of veggies are definitely gorgeous.
I added a few pieces of fresh pineapple to add some extra sour flavor. If you so desire, you can also replace the salmon with your preferred meat. I marinate salmon in red orange marinade, but regular orange is fine too. I use red orange mainly because I think that the wild red marinade will make the salmon’s beautiful colors stand out even more. If you don’t have a grill, you can bake skewers in the oven.
To make the marinade, cut an orange in half and squeeze its juice into a bowl. You can use a citrus reamer. Add salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and crushed garlic.
Remove salmon’s skin and bones. With a sharp knife, make a cut between the flesh and skin and cut along the length of the fillet. Remove the skin. The easiest way to remove bones is pulling them one by one with tweezers.
Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces and transfer them into a bowl with a marinade. Place it into a fridge for at least 15 minutes. If you have the time, leave the salmon marinade for a few hours.
Meanwhile cut the veggies and pineapple in to the bite size pieces. Don’t cut the cherry tomatoes.
If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. This will prevent them from burning on the grill.
Thread the salmon, veggies and pineapple onto the skewers. Make any pattern you like.
Preheat grill on medium to high heat and grease it with olive oil. Grill salmon skewers for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown.
The local asparagus season is almost over and I haven’t published a recipe that contains that gorgeous spring vegetable. The other day there was asparagus in my fridge and I decided I had to make a recipe for my blog.
I found this beautiful asparagus soup recipe and I decided I would make it with some adaptations. I wanted something in a hurry so I didn’t roast the asparagus. I also wanted a little lighter soup, so I didn’t use any butter or sour cream. Even without heavy cream soup it still tastes incredibly delicious. And what is best, it’s easy to throw together and healthy.
It won’t take you more than 20 minutes to make. For a little creamier and thicker texture, I blended in some rolled oats. I like small vegetable chunks in creamy soup, that’s why I didn’t blend the whole soup, but I left pieces of unprocessed asparagus and leeks. That way you get creamy and chunky soup all at once.
I often use organic bouillon cubes for soups. In my opinion, they taste good and are more convenient than soup broth. I always use organic soup cubes because nonorganic usually contains monosodium-glutamate, which is not the best choice for a healthy diet. I garnished creamy asparagus and leek soup with black salt and wild garlic blossoms. Black salt is just regular sea salt with added activated charcoal. It tastes just like common sea salt, but it works beautifully as decoration.