Fettuccine Diablo

December 19, 2011

Fettuccine Diablo

Tyler Florence has been one of my favourite chefs for many years. His energy and passion for cooking are contagious and inspiring. I love that he keeps things simple and shares great tips that can really make the difference between "good" and "fabulous". This recipe for fettuccine with spicy tomato sauce is the ultimate comfort food. Tyler takes a basic tomato sauce and gives it a delicious Mediterranean twist by adding olives and chilis. Olives infuse this garlic-basil sauce with their rich, deep, salty aroma and chilis add some heat to it (hence the name "diablo" = devil). I became so fond of Kalamata olives after making this recipe. These large, deep purple, fleshy olives impart their tangy, fruity flavour to this dish and the vibrant purple colour makes it all the more appetizing. Watch first-hand how Tyler Florence prepares this mouthwatering Italian recipe and pay attention to his tips.

Black Bean Quesadillas

December 13, 2011

Black Bean Quesadillas

Quesadillas are famous Mexican appetizers or snacks (the name comes from the Spanish queso, which means cheese). A flour or corn tortilla is stuffed with a cheese filling, folded in half and grilled or fried until the cheese has melted. To save time, I prefer to use two tortillas to make a large quesadilla and then cut it in six pieces.

Quesadillas are usually served with guacamole and sour cream (Elaina Love has a fabulous recipe for raw vegan sour cream). They are very easy to make and you can add anything you like, vegetables, beans, vegan sausages, tomato salsa, herbs, spices etc. It is also a great way to use up leftovers. As long as you add cheese, any combination you make will turn out delicious :)

Banana Walnut Muffins

December 11, 2011

Banana Walnut Muffin

Certain foods I like turn into temporary obsessions; I crave and eat them often until I just can't have any more, then I go for long periods of time without them. The same thing happened with these banana muffins. They are delightfully aromatic and fluffy when warm and I couldn't possibly have them without walnuts. The muffins are equally delicious eaten cold, they're even crunchier this way, and keep well for a couple of days in an airtight container.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

December 09, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie

When you search for popular desserts, you almost invariably come accross David Lebovitz's blog. I can't remember what I was looking for when I found it, but it happened when I was planning mine. His post about food blogging, the advice, comments, links and policies on his blog, as well as his articles on Food Blog Alliance provide invaluable information for any aspiring (and established) food blogger. His funny, witty stories are captivating and, even though he is not vegan, his recipes and cooking techniques are a great source of inspiration.

Chocolate Coconut Marble Cake

December 08, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Marble Cake

Cake is a generic term for many types of desserts. In Romania we have two distinct categories, prajitura and tort, but both are translated in English as cake. A tort is mostly made on special occasions, like birthdays, Easter, Christmas, New Year and is very beautifully decorated. A prajitura, on the other hand, can be made all year round and cut into different shapes, while a tort is only sliced. Prajitura is for tort what appetizer is for main course; on special occasions you can't have a tort without at least one type of prajitura.

Green Salad with Roasted Peppers and Avocado

December 07, 2011

Green Salad with Roasted Peppers and Avocado

Bring summer back with this delicious and highly nutritious green salad. It is extremely beneficial for the overall health, an energy booster and a nutrient powerhouse. This combination of flavours and textures is the ultimate delight for the palate: crunchy, creamy, sweet, peppery, smoky and juicy.

This salad is particularly rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, lycopene and lutein, and is low in sodium (see notes below for more details). It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, cleansing and detoxifying properties. Thanks to the calories in avocado, it helps reduce the appetite, thus preventing overeating and helping with weight control.

No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Cake

December 06, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Mousse Cake

Silken tofu is the wonder ingredient in most vegan chocolate mousse cakes, tarts and pies, cheesecakes, puddings, custards, triffles, even ice creams. Certain factors make it almost irreplaceable in these desserts:
  • it has a creamy, silky texture;
  • it makes a great egg and whipped cream replacer;
  • it sets very well in the fridge;
  • having a neutral flavour, it absorbs the flavour of anything it combines with, leaving no vegetable aftertaste;
  • it is ready made and requires only a quick blend.

Tofu makes the cake preparation so easy, it almost feels like you're cheating. In the interest of stimulating my creativity further, I've decided to try and replace it in future similar desserts. Now, you may well be aware of the endless soy debate, but this post isn't about promoting it, it is rather about sharing a truly amazing cake recipe.

Potato Frittata (Tortilla de Patatas)

December 05, 2011

Potato Frittata

Frittata is a traditional rustic Italian omelette, very easy to prepare and typically made by mixing eggs with leftovers from the day before and either frying or baking it in a skillet until firm (the name comes from fritto = fried). The Spanish tortilla is very similar, but it generally contains only potatoes and onions. Both omelettes are staple dishes in home cooking, although there are many restaurants that offer them.

Date Walnut Pancakes (no added sugar)

December 01, 2011

Date Walnut Pancakes

It took me years to understand the difference between pancakes and crêpes, partly because ages ago when I started to use the internet finding recipes or translators was hard. In Romania we typically make crêpes, but for some reason their name "clatita" (crêpe) is translated as pancake, hence the confusion. Even now we still don't have different words for them, so, to make the distinction, we call a pancake "American clatita". Come to think of it, we also don't have a word for muffins and cupcakes. We call them "madlene" (madeleines), even though they're quite different.
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