Fresh Figs with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Balsamic Reduction

Fresh Figs with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Balsamic Reduction

 

Fresh Figs with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Balsamic Reduction

I know it seems strange that my last two posts have been about wintery soups and now I am here slapping you in the face with a full-on summer dish. But that is the game that Mother Nature plays with us – bringing us out of those cold dark days and into days full of bright greens and colorful menu options. When we just can’t take any more cabbage, and root vegetables, Mother Nature bring us a summer bounty full of fresh baby lettuces, snap peas and later tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, stone fruits and these little beauties.

Just look at the color of that fig – if that isn’t a sexy show stopper on your spring and summer table, I don’t know what is! It is the perfect hue of spring green.

I am also pleased to tell you that this little snack is not just gorgeous, but also super easy to prepare and only requires 3 ingredients – figs, cheese and balsamic vinegar. There is very little prep work and it is absolutely delightful to eat. Win, win, win! Beautiful, fresh and elegant. Perfect for sharing with friends and family. There is just something magical about the pairing of figs and balsamic vinegar. The sweet, syrupy richness of the vinegar cutting through the sweetness of the fig is unparalleled.

asset_BestBloggersContest

I have entered this recipe in this month’s Better Recipes Best Blogger Recipes Ever contest featuring Potluck and Party Food. If you bring this to a potluck or party I can guarantee that it will be the hit recipe!

If you have a great potluck and party recipe, please enter your recipe too. The more the merrier! The winning blogger each month will win a full page feature in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine! That means if yours is one of them, thousands of new readers will discover your voice. You will also win a $1,000 cash prize and be guest editor for a day!

Please check out my recipe and if you like it, I would definitely appreciate your vote in the contest. You can vote every day, so if you really like the recipe, think about voting more than once. Thank you and enjoy!

My Friend Elle

Elle

 

My friend Elle: She was a beautiful soul – hilariously funny, witty as hell, spunky, kind and giving. She was an amazing cook, known for her creative and tasty ice cream experiments. She was part of our food blogging community and I was lucky to call her a friend since she started her blog in 2008. Elle was so easy to become friends with, she was so supportive and seemed to have more energy than anyone raising 4 children, cats and cute corgis, not to mention spending time with her loving husband, Bill, should have time for. But she did. She made time to make you feel special and remembered.

Well, Elle, I will remember you. I will remember your delicious entries in the Royal Foodie Joust and I will remember all the nice things you said about the competition. I will remember your beautiful jewelry and wish I had bought a piece from you sooner rather than later. A missed opportunity. I wanted to commission you for a special piece. I will remember your support for my blog, my life and The Foodie Blogroll – you were always sending us emails telling us what a good job we were doing, just when I needed it most. You were even one of our spokes-people. We even have your quote on our website:

“I’m thrilled to have gotten in on The Foodie Blogroll Publisher Program so I can be a part of it as it grows! Jenn (the founder) has been a blogger herself for years, so she knows what we want and expect in an ad network. I know she and her team truly care about the bloggers in the program. With very competitive rates and no crazy restrictions, you can’t lose. Above all, I know I’m working with people I know and respect.”

I will remember all the funny conversations we had on facebook and all of the sweet comments you left about Alba. This one being the most recent:

“Awww! Is it just me, or is she very tall?…She’s the sweetest little thing. I also love her booties :)  And lucky her for being tall.”

I will miss you my friend. It hurts to think I can never talk to you, or vent with you or hear your funny stories and read your statuses on facebook and twitter, or see more of your delicious creations on your blog. Halloween will be especially hard next year, as I know how much you relished the holiday.

I hope you knew how much you were loved and by so many while you were alive! All the outpouring of love across the globe for you these past few days is a testament to you and the mark you made in this world and the impact you had on so many lives just by being YOU. You are a star and will be forever remembered.

A Tribute to Lis, the Queen of the Daring Kitchen

 

visit-at-judy_chocolate-valentine-cake-cooling

It is with deep sorrow that I write this post. The food blogging community has lost one of its brightest members, Lis, Co-Founder of the Daring Kitchen, Daring Bakers and author of the blog La Mia Cucina. Lis was a true leader in the blogging world, kind, funny and always ready to help a budding blogger. In fact she was one of my food blogging idols when I just started out and when I got the email that I had been accepted into the Daring Bakers, I felt like I had received a letter from a celebrity, I was star-struck. Lis always had a kind word, encouragement or a witty remark for anyone. It seems so wrong that such a person can be snuffed from this world so suddenly and so before her time. Lis, you will be missed.

I am not a Daring Baker anymore, once I started The Foodie Blogroll, my time was turned more towards developing that community that I didn’t have much time for my blog anymore, let alone the Daring Bakers project. No one understood that better than Lis, and when I told her about my new venture, she was so encouraging and helpful, instead of seeing me as competition. That is how things used to be in the blogosphere. But I digress.

So today I want to share with you some of my favorite DB challenges. I was never very good at baking, but my time with the DBs changed that! I met a lot of bloggers who I am still very close with today from that group and I lost my fear of baking. In fact, when I spend time in the kitchen these days (which is not usually for long periods of time as a new mother), I bake and that is thanks to the DBs and Lis.

By way of tribute, I would like to share with you my favorite DB challenges! None of them are gluten free, but they were fun! :) I hope you enjoy reading them, they are actually some of my funniest posts – seems perfect since Lis was such a funny and witty person.

Chocolate Valentino Cake (this one is actually GF!) that I made with my dear friend Judy

Eclairs 

Hazelnut Gateau with Pistachio Praline

Lavender and Honey Danish

Coconut and Dulce de Leche Opera Cake – my very favorite and most delicious DB challenge!

Yule Log – I make one every year now!

To see all of my DB challenges, please click this link!

 

Shakshouka: Eggs cooked in fragrant tomato sauce

 

Long time readers of this blog will know how much I love eggs. They are definitely one of my favorite foods and I have written about them often (this blog has almost 100 recipes featuring eggs!). In fact I have often bordered on waxing poetic about them. My one and only youtube video is all about eggs (from hen to pan) and one of my egg recipes was even featured in a cookbook on brain healthy foods, Think Food . So yeah, I am a big fan.

It is hard to say anything negative about eggs these days, especially now that people are hip to the understanding that eggs don’t increase your cholesterol or make you fat, more and more the egg is being praised again for its health benefits. It really is nature’s most perfect food and each day I marvel at the little miracles deposited in our hens’ nesting boxes. Studies are even speculating that those with egg allergies, really aren’t allergic to the eggs but to the soy  in the eggs from the feed chickens are given.

“Eggs are an amazing whole food. They are rich in choline, a key ingredient in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is necessary for the healthy communication between brain cells. Studies have shown that choline intake promotes recovery from learning memory disorders in the aging brain, and may even improve psychic function in those with senile dementia or Alzheimer’s. Egg yolks are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, yielding additional brain benefits”.ThinkFood, Recipes for Brain Fitness

Now I have already mentioned many times that you should make sure to find a source of good quality, organic, pasture raised eggs (and soy free if you can find them). But it doesn’t hurt to say it again. When it comes to eggs, meat and dairy, organic, pasture raised is a must. These are foods I will never skimp on. It is the way nature intended and this is the only way to ensure you aren’t getting GMOs, added hormones or antibiotics in your food, all things that make naturally good and healthy food, unhealthy. It really is that simple. What the animals we eat, eat, is what we eat. Hence the famous cliché – You Are What You Eat. Well, you really are.

One of my favorite things about eggs is that they are so easy to raise yourself. It is a way of getting cheap, local, sustainable food right in your backyard (or front yard, in our case)! Many towns allow people to keep at least 3 hens, backyard layers are becoming as popular as gardening these days! And this is good – we could all be a little more sustainable and self-sufficient. And if you can’t raise hens yourself, check out localharvest.org to find a local farm near you that does! A great way to support your local economy and find out from the farmer exactly what went into those eggs.

(Shakshouka served with gluten-free sourdough bread)

Now onto the recipe, I learned how to make Shakshouka from my best friend Liz. Shakshouka is an Israeli dish comprised of peppers, onions, garlic and eggs cooked in tomato sauce, spiced with cumin and it is absolutely delicious. In fact the first time we had it, her Israeli husband made it for us, for dinner. There were sweet and hot peppers in it and the flavors just popped! Combine that with perfectly poached eggs on top, breaking and releasing their delicious yolks and it is pretty much heaven on a dish (or in a bowl). They served it with pita and hummus. It was a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Wikipedia says that Shakshouka was introduced to Israeli cuisine by Tunisian Jews and so it is a popular dish in North Africa as well.

I don’t often have access to fresh peppers unless it is the height of summer. So I usually use roasted jarred peppers and a pinch of cayenne or hot smoked paprika to lend some heat to the dish. I use the best canned tomatoes I can find – usually that means home canned tomatoes. I also like Pomi brand tomatoes and Eden Organics (the cans are BPA free) and of course our farm fresh eggs! Sometimes if I have leftover potatoes, I will add them as well.

Add some spice to your morning eggs and get your day going with some delicious Shakshouka!

INGREDIENTS:

A nice glug of olive oil
1 roasted bell pepper (or fresh) cut into thin slices
½ a small onion
1 clove of garlic minced
2- 8 oz cans of diced tomatoes (or one box of Pomi)
Cumin, cayenne (or hot smoked paprika) salt and pepper to taste.
4 large farm fresh organic eggs

METHOD:
Heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Gently sauté peppers, onions and garlic on medium-low heat until tender. Add tomatoes and spices/seasoning and simmer over medium heat until much of the liquid is evaporated and you have a nice spiced sauce (about 10 minutes). Crack eggs over pan, season, place lid over pan and let cook until egg whites are cooked and yolks are still runny.

Eat Like a Dinosaur Book Review (and giveaway!)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Eat Like a Dinosaur for free in exchange for a review of the book. This in no way influenced my review, which is true and honest.

CONGRATS to Kelly, the winner of the book giveaway!

I was very excited a few weeks ago to be contacted by the Paleo Parents asking if I would be interested in reviewing their new book, Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids. This is a cookbook geared towards gluten-free kids and their families. The recipes in this book are all free of grains, dairy and legumes. But it is so much more than that – it is a guide to helping parents navigate the murky waters of raising children with multiple food allergies, learning how to overhaul the SAD (Standard American Diet) as a family and having a great time preparing and eating good food at the same time!

I don’t often agree to do cookbook reviews because frankly, most cookbooks don’t cater to my dietary needs and the needs of many who read this blog. I don’t mind doing extra leg work to translate standard recipes into gluten-free, allergen-friendly, WAPF eating but I don’t expect that everyone who reads this blog has the time or inclination for that. So it was really fun for me to read through this book and realize that I could eat everything in it – and so can many of you! Not only that, but the recipes are interesting, simple, fresh and delicious looking. Although I do eat dairy, legumes and some grains, it is refreshing to have a cookbook where I don’t have to think; I can just make it, worry free.

So I am obviously not a kid, nor do I have young children living at home with me (yet!) but when it comes to food, there is a kid in all of us! We all enjoy comfort and nostalgic foods, so many of which come from our past and are not allergen or traditional food friendly. I think some of these recipes will hit that childlike sweet spot in all of us: spaghetti with meatballs (using spaghetti squash), shepherd’s pie, sweet potato fries, chocolate chip cookies, milkshakes, puddings and cupcakes as well as recipes for ketchup, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise. There is also something in each section for more mature tastes: lemon dill salmon, curried mussels (not muscles), black olive tapenade and several recipes for making jerky at home (how cool is that?).

For families that have children with allergies beyond grains, gluten and dairy, Eat Like a Dinosaur is super handy, there is a key for the top 8 allergens: fish, shellfish, tree nuts and eggs and although there is no dairy, wheat, peanuts or soy in any of the recipes, their icons have also been included on the side of each recipe just for reassurance! So you can see at a glance the recipes that are perfect for you and your family! There is also a helpful guide to ingredients at the front of the book explaining what various ingredients are and resources for getting them. Honestly, even if your kids don’t have allergies but you are a busy parent looking for healthy foods that your kids will eat, you should really consider this book as well. The farther away we can get from the SAD and start cooking more at home, the better off we will all be! This book takes the guesswork out for you.

Some other great features geared specifically towards the kids are a section in each recipe showing steps that kids can participate in to help create the meal, making mealtimes a true family event. There is also a very cute illustrated story about food allergies and health just for the kids – to help them understand in a fun way why eating like a dinosaur is super healthy!

I really like this book, not only do the recipes look great but you can tell that the Paleo Parents really care, not just about their own family but about yours as well. They know first-hand how difficult a transition from the SAD to a whole foods diet can be and they have made themselves a resource to you every step of the way, from how to talk to your kids about it, to ways to deal with family and friends that just don’t understand your new eating habits or maybe don’t understand how serious defaulting on that diet can be.

I thought about giving away my copy of Eat Like a Dinosaur to one lucky reader, but you can probably understand now why I want to keep it! But I do want to get this book out to more people and support the Paleo Parents and all their hard work in preparing this great resource for all of us. So I am going to give away a copy of this book to one of my readers. Please let me know why you need this book and I will pick a random winner!

How to Enter The Eat Like a Dinosaur Giveaway:

Anyone is welcome to enter, provided doing so does not violate any local laws of your place of residency. US entries only for this one, due to shipping restrictions, and all participants must be over the age of 18.

Please remember that for your entry to count, you must leave a separate comment for every entry you make and make sure to include your email address in the spot provided when you fill out the comment form so I can get in touch with you if you win.

1) DO THIS FIRST (REQUIRED): In the comments, tell me why you need this cookbook.

Optional ways to get more entries:

2) Blog about this giveaway describing why you want to win the book, and link your post to this giveaway. (1 extra entry)
3) Subscribe to The Leftover Queen RSS feed. (1 extra entry)
4) Enter your email address (on right hand sidebar) to Subscribe to Email Updates. (1 extra entry)
5) Subscribe to my newsletter (see box on top right of my blog). (1 extra entry)
6) Tweet and tell your friends to “sign up for @leftoverqueen Daily Emails or RSS feeds”. (1 extra entry)
7) Fan The Leftover Queen on Facebook. (1 extra entry)
8) Follow The Leftover Queen on Twitter and tweet @leftoverqueen and @PaleoParents with a link to the giveaway. (1 extra entry)

If you are already a fan of The Leftover Queen and have done all or some of the above, and wish to enter the contest just write that you already subscribe to the newsletter, facebook page or RSS feed, by email, etc. Make sure to leave a separate comment for every entry.

Why Enter?

1) Because it is free
2) This cookbook is awesome
3) To support bloggers!

The winner will be announced on this post Friday, March 16, 2012. The winner will be drawn at random and contacted on March 16th. The winner has until Monday, March 19, 2012 by 10 AM, EST to respond before another winner is chosen.

Oladyi : Russian Yogurt Pancakes

 

(Oladyi topped with currants)

Yes, I realize that I missed International Pancake Day, but then again, I am not usually one to follow the herd. In fact, I have been meaning to post about these pancakes for a while because we have been enjoying them more times than not on Pancake Sunday- so I thought posting them on a Friday could get you thinking about making these for a wonderful weekend breakfast!

Pancake Sunday is a tradition in our house. It came from those dark days when I was both gluten and egg free for a time and ended up crying over pancakes. Yes, crying, and this folks is why I will never give up eggs again. But what I was so upset about was missing pancakes, the girl who grew up never liking pancakes, but went to live in Norway and fell in love with them. It is funny the things you miss the most when you can’t have them. This is when I realized pancakes needed to be celebrated on a weekly basis and not a Sunday has gone by without them since.

So in my journey to find amazing, delicious gluten free pancakes, we have tried many kinds and have found some favorites: Buckwheat Pancakes, Coconut Flour Pancakes, Norske Pannekakker  (grain free) and for those of you who are not gluten-free I suggest Sourdough Crepes and Aebelskiver.

Recently we have added Oladyi to our list and currently these are the reigning favorites! I got this recipe from my friend Sofya, who blogs over at The Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter . I made a few changes to her recipe to make them gluten free, so you can feel free to do them either way, depending on your dietary needs. These pancakes are referred to in this house as “the pancakes that eat themselves” – they are light, airy and disappear quickly! They are also good if you make more than you will eat and put the extras in the freezer to have later in the week. This way they can also be a quick and easy mid-week breakfast.

Sofya says that these pancakes are great to make when your yogurt is starting to go bad. So if you are thinking it is time to use up some old yogurt, these are a perfect way to enjoy it!

Oladyi: The Russian Yogurt Pancakes (adapted from A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter )

INGREDIENTS:

2 C plain yogurt (going bad OK) – I usually use up my filmjölk before it is time to make another batch
enough flour to make a medium-thick batter (one that holds its shape but is still a liquid rather than a paste) – I usually use about 1 ½ cups of freshly ground buckwheat flour.
2 eggs
2 TBS honey, maple or even molasses
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
butter for frying

METHOD:
Mix flour and yogurt together and let rest overnight (I leave it out on the counter). Next morning preheat cast iron skillet or pancake grill. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (add more flour if needed). Heat butter in the skillet and spoon the batter in. I usually use 1/3 cup for each pancake. Cook until you see bubbles and flip. When I make pancakes, I usually preheat my oven to 200-250 F and place cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm while the others cook. Serves 4 or 2 people with leftovers. Recipe is easily doubled!

Guest Post: Orecchiette Carbonara, or a Procrastinator’s Tale

The final installment to this series of guest posts, comes from a very funny pastry chef, and by funny, I mean extremely humorous. I have known Jenni for a while now, and even though her focus is on pastries (and I keep begging her to delve into gluten-free versions of her goodies) that I can’t eat, I love her down to earth and hilarious posts. She does also feature more savory dishes on her blog, The Balanced Pastry Chef,especially her Sunday Suppers series.

I read a lot of diverse blogs, and for many reasons. Some I learn from, some help me stay up to date with longtime blogging friends, some are inspirational, and some are just downright FUN to read, and that’s Jenni’s blog. She is so very down to earth, and as a former teacher turned pastry chef, she is here to help people who want to cook learn the methods and techniques that arm the average person with the skill to cook amazing meals at home! So please check out her blog!

We have a lot in common – she also raises chickens, and cares about food waste in the world. She founded the Four Pounds of Cheese Project, which is now a facebook group that discusses tips and tricks for reducing food waste. So check that out too!

 

First off, I must say that I am very Excited to have been asked to write a post over here at Jenn’s place. I’ve known Jenn online since we were both miserable in Florida (apologies to any Florida lovers out there). Now, we’re both happy–me in North Carolina and her in Vermont. Which I’m a little jealous about, since I have always had a non-specific but real Desire to visit Vermont. At any rate, I am happy that these words, at least, are on a blog that originates from The Green Mountain State. Thanks for having me, Jenn, and hello to all of Jenn’s readers!

orecchiette carbonara with bell peppers

When Jenn asked me to write a guest post, I knew that I wanted to make something utilizing local ingredients. And that, of necessity, means that if you don’t live right around here, you can’t use exactly what I use. But that’s okay. It’s more than okay, actually. It’s the way it should be. Pricey gourmet shops have sprung up like mushrooms because the Fancy cook book or magazine recipe says that you have to use pollen from Peruvian llacon* or the leaves of the Malaysian pandan tree*. But cooking should be local. It should be about what is growing in your yard, or your neighborhood or your community.

So, if you live in Peru, go harvest some llacon pollen. If you’re Malaysian, by all means use pandan leaves. But if you can’t find those things, don’t let it limit you. Let it free you to do your own experimentation.

Let me just say now that I am not a homesteader. I don’t make my own kefir or yogurt. And I don’t own goats. I think it is the Height of Awesome that Jenn is living her dream, but I know my limitations. I am limited by a Procrastination Gene that prohibits me from working too hard. Being a procrastinator does not mesh well with being a homesteader. We do keep chickens, but only for eggs. And God forbid we try to have goats. I hear they can’t wait until I finish Lounging to be milked. So, we try to buy happy meat or no meat at all. Happy meat, by the way, is my short-hand way of saying “naturally raised, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, romping-in-pastures, eating a natural diet, allowed-to-have-sex animals who lived carefree lives. Until they were slaughtered in as humane a way as possible. So we can eat them.” But that takes a long time to say, let alone type, so I normally just go with Happy Meat.

I’m happy to buy what I don’t have the time –or want to take the time–to make, and I try to strike a balance between local/organic and cost-effective. It’s not always easy, but I feel like we generally do a good job. And we eat pretty well, if I do say so myself.

As a matter of fact, sometimes my tendency to procrastinate results in a Surprisingly Yummy Meal. Take, for instance, last night’s meal. I knew that my husband and I had to attend a class at our chiropractor’s office at 6:30. I knew it all day long. Until I finally stopped knowing and started realizing, at about 5:45, that I should probably make something to eat because we’d have to be Out The Door by 6:20 to get there on time. And once I am committed to action, there is no stopping me.

Here’s what went on in my brain:

Okay, pasta is fast. It’ll take about 6 minutes for the water to boil and another 10-11 for the pasta to cook. In that amount of time, I can have a reasonable meal on the table. What to do…what to do. Oh, there’s a lovely pepper from Roberta’s garden (next door neighbor)! And we have marinated feta from Prodigal Farm. Onions…half&half…olive oil. Oh, eggs! I’ll beat an egg and add it in with the sauce to make a kind of carbonara-type deal.

Heat a pan…chop some onions…add some olive oil. A lot of olive oil. Toss in the onions to sweat…cut the pepper into strips but reserve them so they stay crisp. Turn the heat down and melt in some of the feta. Wow, that doesn’t melt too, well. Oh, well, it’ll taste Amazing and should mix in well with the half&half and egg…

I won’t subject you to any more of my crazed stream of consciousness mental cooking chatter. Suffice to say that the meal was Quite Good. It was a bit rich, but the barely-cooked peppers added a nice green counterpoint to all the dairy goodness. And if you’re gluten-free, you can absolutely sub rice pasta for the wheat pasta. I’ve had a lovely rice penne from Trader Joe’s, and penne would work really well in this recipe.

Prodigal Farms Marinated FetaSo, are you going to be able to use Roberta’s peppers or Prodigal Farm marinated feta? Probably not. But you will be able find some sort of vegetables. (Asparagus would be perfect for this. Now I have to wait for spring…) And you will be able to scare up some cheese and some milk (or cream or half&half) and an egg. Use whatever short, fat pasta you have on hand, and prepare to Wow your family. You don’t need to wait until the last minute to make this, but I find that victory is so much sweeter when you have to rush a little!

Procrastinators’ Delight: Orecchiette Carbonara
Carbonara usually contains bacon, and you can certainly add it here. I left it out because it was one extra step between me and dinner and being on time. This served 2 generous portions. Scale accordingly to serve 4, 6 or even 8.

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • hot pepper flake, to taste
  • about 1/4 cup marinated feta
  • 1/4 cup half&half
  • 1 small bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 8 ounces orecchiette, or other short, fat pasta shape
  • 1 egg, beaten with about 1 tablespoon half&half

Put on a large pot of water and let it come to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and then add the olive oil, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.

Sweat the vegetables until soft–you might need to turn down the heat a bit as you don’t really want anything to brown.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the hot pepper flake and the marinated feta. Mash the feta so it sort of melts into the oil. It will look a bit grainy. Don’t worry, that’s how feta looks melted.

If your water is boiling, salt it so it tastes like the ocean, and add the pasta. Mine took about 11 minutes to cook.

Add the half&half to the skillet and bring the heat back up to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then add the vegetables. You want them warm but still crisp, so how long you let them cook will depend on what vegetables you choose. If you’re using spinach, it’ll only need a minute or two. I let the pepper strips cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

When the pasta is ready, reserve about 2 tablespoons of pasta liquid and drain the rest.

orecchiette carbonara sauceWith the skillet off the heat, whisk in the egg mixture and the reserved cooking water until well blended. Add the drained pasta and toss everything together over medium-low heat until the pasta is nicely coated. Do this fairly quickly and keep everything moving so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.

And that’s really it. Pair this with a nice green salad, and you’ve got a lovely meal. If you’re me, plop some on a plate, be grateful and then inhale it so you’re not late to the chiropractor’s office.

And, whether or not you are Plagued by the Procrastination Gene, it’s nice to know that you can have this meal on the table in about 20 minutes.
orecchiette carbonara with bell peppers

 

 

Guest Post: Pasteli

 

I hope you all are enjoying this series of guest posts by some of my favorite food bloggers! I know I am.

This next edition is written by a great friend of mine, and one of the few blogging friends I have been able to actually meet in person – Peter Georgakopoulos from Souvlaki for the Soul. Isn’t that the coolest blog name? Not only is the blog name so inventive, but the recipes he posts are absolutely mouthwatering. Greek is one of my favorite cuisines, and Peter, although born and raised in Sydney, Australia, is of Greek descent, and this shows in his delicious food! He uses simple, fresh and delicious ingredients to their fullest potential, and more often than not, they include the flavors of Greece, including old favorites. Not only is the food divine, but the photography and food styling really bring his recipes to life.

I just love Peter, and really can’t say enough about what he offers on his blog, so if you haven’t already been to Peter’s blog, you need to get on over there! So now, I will let Peter take it away! THANK YOU PETER!

First off, let me begin by saying that I am very honoured and proud to be a guest blogger here at the Leftover Queen. I’ve “known” Jenn and Roberto from the blogging world and have actually met them in real life too. Their food philosophies and passion for everything about it is infectious. They are truly a great example of people who believe and follow their dreams.

When Jenn asked me if I was keen to do a guest post I said “yes” straight away. My mind went to cooking up something Greek (of course) plus I wanted it to be healthy. I thought about all those hours they put in to running their farm-from herding the goats, looking after the chooks, planting vegetables and making cheese. This is serious hardcore work that requires some energy! So I came up with the idea of creating some natural “energy bars” known as pasteli.

Pasteli is Greece’s version of the sesame bar. Traditionally it is made with sesame seeds and honey and sometimes has nuts mixed through it. Once it sets, it becomes this chewy, irresistible, almost addictive snack. When I was growing up, I always looked forward to the “care packages” we got from Greece and they almost always had pasteli included in them. I must admit, I had a love/hate relationship with this all natural energy bar. I loved it’s taste (cause I adore sesame seeds) but hated the way it sort of got stuck in your teeth! Nevertheless, I still munched on them with great abandon.

For today’s recipe (which I adapted from Elly’s blog here ) I played around with this concept by adding some black sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and pistachios. If you can get hold of some Greek thyme honey it would make this recipe just about perfect, if not any honey will do. It’s as simple as toasting the seeds in a hot pan, adding in your warmed honey, letting it cook for a few minutes and voila! You have nature’s perfect marriage. Feel free to add any kind of nuts you like as well. I’ve made my pasteli a little thicker as I wanted them to look like energy bars but traditionally it is much thinner. If you want them thinner use a larger baking pan. Also, if you prefer a “crisper” i.e.”jaw breaking” pasteli you may wish to add some sugar ( I wouldn’t add more than 50 grams).

Munch on these during the day as a healthy snack between meals, pop them in your kids lunch boxes or serve them up with a cup of Greek coffee. Whatever you do just make these! Thank you Jenn-hope you guys like these.