Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema
Adapted from Bon Appetit

If anything says summer in a bowl it would be this beautiful watermelon gazpacho. I just adore the colour of this cold soup. It is healthy, refreshing and has just a hint of heat. I recommend preparing this the day before so the gazpacho is properly chilled. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Gazpacho:
1 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 red chili, seeds removed, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons aged white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Crema:
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons whole milk

Garnish
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
1 cup English cucumber, seeded and cut into small cubes
Extra virgin Olive oil

Directions:
1. In a blender combine, watermelon, tomato, cucumber, chili, oil, and vinegar. Blend until smooth.

2. Transfer gazpacho to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. Can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

3. In a small bowl, mash together the feta and Greek yogurt until smooth. Whisk in the milk. Chill until needed.

4. To assemble, divide cubed watermelon and cucumber among bowls and pour gazpacho over. Top with crema and almonds, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Orange, Blueberry and Feta Salad with Citrus & Vanilla Dressing

Orange, Blueberry and Feta Salad with Citrus & Vanilla Dressing
Recipe by Dragon

This has been my favourite salad of the summer and its all because of the Citrus & Vanilla dressing. Addictive is the best word to describe it. The sweetness of this dressing pairs beautifully with the bitter greens and salty feta in the salad. The addition of the oranges and blueberries will make you heart and tummy happy. Enjoy this healthy and delicious salad!

MAKES: 4 servings

Ingredients:

Dressing:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup sunflower oil
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Salad:
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup segmented orange slices
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced, soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained
1 cup blueberries
1 cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  
Directions.
1. In a bowl, whisk together juices, zests, honey, vanilla and mustard. Slowly add the oil while you whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. The dressing can be made ahead of time and kept in a glass jar until needed. Just shake the jar to combine the ingredients before dressing the salad.

2. In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, orange slices, red onion and blueberries. Drizzle the amount of dressing you desire over the salad and toss to combine. Don't add to much dressing as the salad will get soggy.

3. Top with crumbled feta and slivered almonds. Serve immediately.

4. Leftover dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Bourbon, Citrus & Mint Sweet Tea

Bourbon, Citrus & Mint Sweet Tea

A boozy, refreshing and delicious take on the perfect summer drink; iced tea. Use whatever tea you like, I kept it simple with regular black tea but any flavoured black tea or herbal tea would be delicious in this drink. Enjoy!


Serves 4-6

Ingredients
3 cups water
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you'd like it)
4 black tea bags
1/4 cup fresh mint or lemon verbena leaves
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 to 1 1/2 cups bourbon (depending on how strong you'd like your drink)
Lemon or limes for garnish



Directions:

1. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the sugar to make sure it is dissolved.Take the pan off the heat and add the tea bags and mint. Let the tea steep for 5 - 10 minutes, depending on how strong you want the tea.

2. Remove the tea bags and mint (drain well to get out all the liquid) and transfer the liquid to a pitcher. Add the lemon, lime, and orange slices and let it cool to room temperature. Add bourbon, cover and store in the refrigerator until it is well chilled.

3. Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnish with thin lemon or limes slices.

Feta, Dill and Greek Yogurt Biscuits

Feta, Dill and Greek Yogurt Biscuits
Recipe by Dragon

Light fluffy biscuits are a great canvass for different flavour combinations. This one combines salty Feta with aromatic dill. Greek yogurt adds moisture and a tangy flavour that brightens up these delicious treats. Try to find real Greek Feta which is made with goat or sheep's milk, you'll thank me later. Enjoy!

Makes: 10-12

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
2  tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, stirred
1/3 cup chopped dill
1 cup goat's milk feta cheese, crumbled into large crumbs
1 egg beaten with a splash of milk for an egg wash
Sea salt to garnish
Cracked black pepper to garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450F and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine and sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Place the flour mixture in a food processor. Pulse the flour mixture a couple of times to make sure it's well combined.

3. Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture and pulse to cut the butter into the flour. It should resemble course meal. Don't over mix or the biscuits will not be tender and flaky.

4. In a separate bowl, combine beaten egg, water, yogurt, dill and feta. Add the yogurt/feta mixture to the flour/butter mixture and pulse just until the dough just comes together into a ball. Again, don't over mix.

5. Remove the dough from the food processor and place it onto a well floured surface. Using your hands, pat the dough down until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Fold the dough 3-4 times then pat the dough down until it's 1 inch thick. Use a round (2 - 2 1/2 inch) cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet. Combine the dough scraps, pat the dough down to 1 inch thick and cut out a few more.

6. Brush the tops of the biscuits with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the biscuits are a light golden brown. I rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees half way through for more even baking. These biscuits are best eaten the day they’re made, but will last up to 2 days.
Mint & Oregano Pesto with Lemon and Feta
Recipe by Dragon

I love this Greek inspired pesto. The flavours of mint, oregano, lemon and Feta are classic Greek and a delicious combination. Stir this pesto into any prepared pasta and top it with crumbled Feta cheese for a quick dinner. It can also be used as a dressing for a summer potato salad. Enjoy!

Makes about 1 1/2 cup


Ingredients:

1/4 cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed and stems removed
1/2 cup fresh oregano, packed and stems removed
3 garlic cloves
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or more depending on the consistency you like)
1/3 cup goat's milk feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a food processor combine, almonds,  mint, oregano, garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pulse until everything is throughly combined.

2. With the food processor running, pour oil in a slow stream. Keep food processor running until the pesto is smooth.

3. Add the feta and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use right away with a prepared pasta or transfer it to a an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

Lemon Blueberry Bars

Lemon Blueberry Bars
Recipe by Dragon
  
The warmer weather has me thinking about summer and my favourite summer fruit, blueberries! I like to eat them all year long but I find they are at their best in the warm months. I always seem to pair blueberries with lemons in my baking. Like hot beaches and cool waters.....they are a perfect summer match. Enjoy!

Make: 24 to 36 bars

Ingredients:
Crust and Crumble Topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
grated zest of two lemons
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

Blueberry Filling:
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon limoncello or lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
6 cups of fresh Blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch backing pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside. 

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer (with paddle attachment), combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and mix the ingredients until the butter is incorporated and the mixture has the texture of large pea size crumbs. 

3. Reserve 1/3 of the crumb mixture to use as the topping.  Press the remaining mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan to form a crust.  Bake the crust for 15 minutes until it is golden brown.  Let cool for 15 minutes while you make the filling.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar, Greek yogurt, flour, salt vanilla, limoncello and lemon zest. Whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the blueberry mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumble evenly over the blueberry filling.

5. Place the baking pan on a baking sheet then bake for 50-55 minutes or until the topping is golden. Allow it too cool completely before cutting into squares.



Egg Salad with Lemon Garlic & Parsley Aioli

Egg Salad with Lemon Garlic & Parsley Aioli
Recipe by Dragon

I don't know about you, but during our Easter I always have an abundance of hard boiled eggs around the house. I don't need any better excuse to make my favourite egg salad sandwich. For me, the star of this dish is the Lemon Garlic & Parsley aioli. Nothing beats homemade. This recipe makes a lot of aioli but don't worry, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!


Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
4 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
2 slices of your favourite bread, toasted
 
Aioli:
1 egg
1 teaspoon Dijon
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sunflower oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Make the aioli first. In blender combine egg, Dijon, garlic, parsley and lemon juice.

2. Process at high speed until completely combined.

3. With bender still on, add the oil in a slow stream and blend until mixture is fluffy and creamy. (If the aioli gets too thick, add a little cold water and continue blending)

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5. Chop the eggs and place bowl. Add as much of the aioli as you wish and stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Smear the mixture on the bread to make a sandwich and serve.

Natas do Ceu


Natas do Ceu
Recipe by Dragon

The Portuguese have very colourful names for their desserts. For example this favourite dessert of mine is called Natas do Ceu which translates to "Cream from Heaven".  You know what? The name is perfect. One bite of this delicious and simple combination of lemon, cinnamon & vanilla egg cream, mousse and crumbled Maria cookies and you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. Enjoy!

Serves 6

Ingredients:
Egg Cream:
6 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Meringue:
6 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar

Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar

1 package (roll) Maria cookies, crushed

Directions:
1. In a bowl, beat egg yolks until frothy. In a saucepan over medium high heat, add milk, sugar, lemon rind and cinnamon stick. Using a small sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean with the back of the knife. Add the seeds and bean to the pan. 

2. Scald the milk then slowly add milk to the egg yolks, whisking the eggs constantly. Return the milk/egg mixture to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the egg/milk mixture thickens. Remove lemon rind, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean from the saucepan. Pass egg cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in butter until incorporated and let it cool.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a large clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Slowly add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until the mixture (now meringue) is very thick and glossy.

4. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and vanilla. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of sugar and whip until you get very stiff peaks. Be careful not to over whip the cream or it will become butter.

5. Fold the meringue into the whipped cream, a little at a time and slowly so as to not deflate the mousse mixture.  Chill this mousse until you’re ready to assemble.

6. To assemble: In individual serving glasses or a large serving bowl, add a layer of the crushed cookies, followed by a layer of mousse. Repeat with another layer of cookies and mousse. Smooth the top layer of mousse with the back of a spoon. Top the mousse with the egg cream. Chill for at least 4-5 hours before serving.


Clube Ceia

Clube Ceia "Supper Club"




I am going to be hosting a Portuguese Supper Club! I hope to introduce people to the diverse and delicious world of Portuguese cuisine. The inspiration for this menu comes from the many meals shared around my family's kitchen table while I was growing up. Please join us for a casual night full of wonderful food and delicious memories.


Clube Ceia – Portuguese Supper Club
Sunday, February 23rd 2014 at 6:30 PM

Menu
Petiscos ~ Appetizers
Warm Citrus & Herb Olives and Lupini Beans
Sardine Pate on a Crostini with Quail Egg
Rissois de Camarao “Shrimp Turnovers”
Piri Piri Chicken Lolipops

Primeiro ~ First Course
Salt Cod Salad

Segundo ~ Second Course
Caldo Verde “Green Soup”  (Portugal’s national dish)

Prato Principal ~ Main Course
Drunken Pork with Madeira Sauce
Herb & Garlic Green Beans
Potato Puree

Sobremesa ~ Dessert
Natas do Ceu “Cream from Heaven”


Eventbrite - Portuguese Supper Club

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay

Sometimes, I crave homemade bread but I don't have the time to wait hours for dough to rise. These are the times when I make soda bread. All I need is an hour and then I can slather some butter on a warm slice and appease my cravings.  Soda bread has a soft, cake like texture that makes it perfect for spreads like butter and jam.

The cross on the soda bread has several explanations. My favourite is that bakers did it to "let the devil out" while the bread is baking for good luck. I'm not going to mess with the devil so I always cross my bread. ;) Enjoy!

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Sift the flours, baking soda, sugar and salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle.


3. Add buttermilk to the bowl, mixing gently with a fork or your hands as you add it. Don't overwork the dough but make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed in. If the dough seems a bit wet, add a little more all purpose flour.

4. Place the dough on to a floured work surface and sprinkle with 1/2 of the oats. Knead gently for about a minute to combine. Do not overwork.

5. Form the bread into a round loaf and sprinkle the top with remaining oats, pressing them down slightly.  Place loaf  on the baking sheet.  Use a serrated knife, cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf.

6.  Bake for 40–45 minutes until the bread is golden on the outside and cooked through inside.

7.  Cool on a wire rack. You can serve this bread warm or cold.


Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup



Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
Recipe by Dragon

Summer is over and there's a chill in the air.......ah, welcome Fall. Time for hot, comforting soups! Fall is my favourite time of the year and I love to take advantage of the delicious food being harvested. This soup is a lovely combination of roasted carrots and cauliflower with a nod to the French with Herbes de Provence. This soup freezes well, so make lots. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed & cut into florets
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
Croutons to garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, carrots, onions, oil, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and coat the vegetables in the oil. Transfer the vegetables to a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned.

3. Transfer the vegetables to a large pot over medium high heat. Add the broth and the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the vegetables to cook for 10 minutes.

4. Purée the soup in 2 batches in a blender (hot liquid, be careful!) until very smooth, about 1-2 minutes per batch, then transfer the soup back to the pot. If you want the soup to have a thinner consistency, add hot water until it is to your liking.

5. Bring the soup to a simmer and add the honey and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve with a garnish of croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.




 
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