Passion Project: Almond and Herbs-Crusted Easter Lamb Chops

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recettebilingue Happy Easter everybody! 

This has got to be one of my favorite weekends of the year! Filled with sunshine, bunnies, friends, family, and good food (read: chocolate and lamb)! It doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me. Unless an egg hunt is involved! In which case the whole weekend gets even better. I mean, do you really enjoy the chocolates as much if you don’t have to look for them? Delayed gratification is definitely a thing, right?! Ok maybe not… Maybe that’s just what we were told as kids. But in any case, it sure doesn’t hurt to give a little bit of effort to reach the prize. Speaking of which… Continue reading “Passion Project: Almond and Herbs-Crusted Easter Lamb Chops”

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Warm Caprese Pasta with Pesto Rosso

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It’s good to be back! Though I had a wonderful Spring Break, it’s time to get back to work, and start cooking again. It’s been a while since I last posted a (pasta) recipe, and I feel like it’s necessary for me to do so, since I eat so much of it! It’s also always good to have an extra recipe to switch things up a bit. So get ready, because this isn’t your typical Caprese salad… For starters, I should admit that I don’t really like pasta salads. Pasta is just so much better when it’s warm, that I never even think of eating it cold. Additionally, the pasta is too often mushy, or completely drowned in sauce. So this week, I decided I’d give a classic, the Caprese Pasta Salad, a little twist and make my delicious *warm* version of it. The star of this recipe is obviously the pesto rosso, or red pesto, which is basically pesto with a mix of fresh and sundried tomatoes. It adds a wonderful touch to the dish and make the flavors and textures of the fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes stand out in contrast. It’s also incredibly easy to make, with ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge or pantry! This recipe makes about two servings of pesto so you can keep the rest in the fridge and add it to scrambled eggs, or a bowl of quinoa the next day. Ti amo, Pesto Rosso… Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients for the Pesto RossoServes 2

  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/6 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 garlic clove
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/8 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-1 tbsp grated romano cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper

Ingredients for the Caprese Pasta:

  • 80g medium shells pasta
  • 1/2 pesto rosso preparation
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (diced)
  • chopped fresh basil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot, and cook the pasta for the time written on the packaging (mine takes about 9 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto rosso. In a food processor, add the sundried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and almonds. Pulse until everything is roughly chopped, and chunky. Next, add the cherry tomatoes, and a light splash of balsamic vinegar. Pulse again, until well combined. Then, add the olive oil with the cheese and keep pulsing. Finally, add 2 tablespoons of the pasta water and pulse until the sauce is creamy and homogeneous. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot, add the diced fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, and toss with the pesto rosso. Top with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil. Mamma mia how delicious it is!

Bircher Muesli (Swiss Overnight Oats)

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I’ve been in a crazy overnight oats phase lately. That’s all I ever want to eat for breakfast, and I start craving it the moment I put the container in the fridge the night before. The possibilities are endless with overnight oats, all you need is a base and you can then top it off with absolutely whatever you like. My most recent type is Dr. Bircher’s classic recipe. It’s been done for ages and never ever gets old to me. It’s a healthy, tasty and filling way to start your day. This also makes a great on-the-go breakfast, as you can just grab your jar out of the fridge and leave if you’re on a run. Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 5 minutes (8 hours rest)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened (or vanilla) almond milk
  • 1/4 apple
  • 1/2 banana
  • a handful of nuts
  • maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

  1. The previous night, mix the oats, the milk and the yogurt together in an airtight container. Place in the fridge and let the oats soak overnight.
  2. The next morning, grate the apple, sprinkle with lemon juice and incorporate to the base.
  3. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup (or honey), 1/2 banana (sliced) and sliced nuts or granola.

TIP: If you like your muesli sweeter, you can substitute the plain yogurt for vanilla flavored one, or use a ratio of 1/2 condensed milk 1/2 almond milk instead of plain almond milk. Alternatively, you can use fresh mixed berries instead of the banana, but be sure to keep the apple as it smoothes out the overall texture of the base.

Homemade Peasto Linguine

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It’s peasto time! In case the title wasn’t explicit enough, this is a recipe for a homemade pesto made with sweet peas. I’d been thinking about it and lurking at my huge bag of frozen peas for a little while before I actually decided to give it a shot. Since I had a little extra time this week end, I finally got to try my hands at it and tweak a recipe to make it just the way I like it. Let me tell you up front that I’m now obsessed with it. So obsessed actually, that I tend to just eat most of it out of the bowl while the pasta cooks. I just spread it on toasted bread instead. And oh how good it tastes… Once the pasta is done though, I still toss it with what’s left of the sauce. It’s absolutely delicious once topped with fresh grated parmesan! This peasto is a little sweeter than your typical basil pesto and definitely makes for a refreshing change! Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 80g linguine pasta
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 small garlic clove (minced or crushed)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • a spoonful of sliced almonds
  • 1/4-1/3 cup pasta water
  • salt, pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot, and cook the pasta for the time written on the packaging (mine takes about 10 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, cover the frozen peas with water and cook for about 1:30 minutes. Drain, reserve about a spoonful, and place the rest in a food processor.
  3. To make the “peasto”, add the garlic, the almonds, the olive oil, the parmesan and some cooking water from the pasta to the food processor. Mix until the sauce is smooth and homogenous. If it’s too thick, add some more pasta water until you reach a better texture.
  4. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot, toss with the peasto, adjust the seasoning, and top with extra parmesan cheese and the spoonful of reserved cooked peas.

TIP: you can substitute the almonds for pine nuts if you have some on hand. Additionally you can add a bunch of fresh herbs while mixing the pesto. Basil or mint are my favorites for this dish!

Linguine with a “Cream” of Eggplant

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Before I dive in, I’d like to clarify something: there’s actually no cream in this recipe. Only a small dollop of plain yogurt. Yet, the sauce has an inexplicable creamy texture to it. I’m not sure where it comes from, but when you mix the ingredients in the food processor, the sauce becomes extremely smooth. So you basically get a guilt-free creamy sauce, which is really all that matters. Though this dish doesn’t look like much, it tastes amazing! The sauce nicely balances the taste of the eggplant, the garlic and the lemon, to make a whole pot of goodness. You can also make it without the yogurt but I find that it helps to balance the tastes. Don’t be scared if this recipe is totally different from all the pasta sauces you’ve ever tried before, it’s still oh so good. Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 100g linguine pasta
  • 1/4 small eggplant (cut in a wedge)
  • 1/4 small garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp plain yogurt
  • salt, pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drizzle the eggplant wedge with olive oil and roast it until the flesh is tender (about 20 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile bring salted water to a boil in a large pot, and cook the pasta for the time written on the packaging (mine takes about 10 minutes).
  3. Once the eggplant is roasted, scoop the flesh out, put it in a food processor, and mix it well with the lemon juice, the yogurt, the olive oil, the garlic and up to 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  4. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot, toss with the “cream” of eggplant, season to taste, and top with parmesan cheese and sliced almonds.