Baked Trout with Vegetables

Baked trout with vegetables and rucola

Baked trout with vegetables and rucola

Baking fish wrapped in foil is an excellent idea, because flavors are much more intense and the meat is more tender. The downside, as you can see from the above photo, is the presentation, which suffers a bit. Well, to be honest, I don’t have special fish plates, that’s why I served it straight from the foil.

Anyway, here’s my baked trout recipe:

Get two medium-sized fish. If you can arrange with the shop assistant to clean them for you, that’s awesome. If not, expect a bit of mess in the kitchen. I’ve got mine already cleaned and ready to cook:

Cleaned fish

Cleaned fish

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Chop one big onion and add it to the pan.

Cooking onion in hot olive oil

Cooking onion in hot olive oil

Cook it for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add 10-12 chopped mushrooms:

Chopped mushrooms

Chopped mushrooms

Stir well, then add salt and some red hot chili flakes:

Fish stuffing: onions, mushrooms and red chili flakes

Fish stuffing: onions, mushrooms and red chili flakes

Chop 3-4 cherry tomatoes and one green bell pepper and add them to the pan:

Vegetable stuffing mix for fish

Vegetable stuffing mix for fish

Chop 6-7 garlic cloves and mix them with two tablespoons olive oil and the juice from half lemon:

Chopped garlic with olive oil and lemon juice

Chopped garlic with olive oil and lemon juice

Put the fish on aluminum foils, spoon the vegetable stuffing inside them, then pour this mixture on top of the fish.

Fish - stuffed, glazed, ready to go in the oven for baking

Fish - stuffed, glazed, ready to go in the oven for baking

Close the foils, so the fish look now like Egyptian mummies :)

Fish in aluminum foil

Fish in aluminum foil

Bake the fish in the oven, over medium heat. It should be done in about 45 minutes. Anyway, after 40 minutes, take it out of the oven and open the wrappings, then return it to the oven and bake it for 5-10 minutes more, so it gets a kind of crust.

Oven-baked, stuffed fish

Oven-baked, stuffed fish

Now, if you want to go festive, transfer the fish on special fish platters. The easier option is to just unwrap and serve it like this:

Nice and juicy baked trout

Nice and juicy baked trout

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium size fish (trout or any other fish of your choice)
  • 10-12 mushrooms
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes (or one big tomato)
  • 6-7 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • lemon juice from a half lemon
  • lemon slices (for serving)
  • red chili flakes
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Spicy Chicken Wings

Do you need some easy party finger food recipes? Spicy chicken wings can be perfect for a snack with friends in front of the TV during the Super Bowl or with any other occasion. There are several methods of making spicy chicken wings. I’ve chosen to bake them, because it’s not only healthier than deep frying, but also easier: after putting the wings in the oven, all you have to do is wait the required amount of time.

Count your guests and buy 3-4 chicken wings for each person.

Free range chicken wings

Free range chicken wings

My recipe makes six wings and I ate four of them as soon as I took them out of the oven.

Wash the chicken wings in cold water.

Wash the chicken wings under cold running water

Wash the chicken wings under cold running water

Remove any hairs you can see. Hairy chicken wings are not very appealing, so you want to make sure your guests won’t have a surprise. A surefire way to get rid of all hair is to scorch the wings a little bit on the stove top, however you need to have a gas stove for that. My wings were clean, so washing was enough.

Prepare a dry rub. I used the rub from this roast chicken recipe, improved with a tablespoon of curry powder and a teaspoon of ground red hot chili flakes. If you start your dry rub from scratch, mix the curry powder and the chili flakes with one teaspoon of salt, half teaspoon ground black pepper and half teaspoon dried rosemary.

Spread the rub on a plate. Just start with a small amount and add some when needed. In this way, you can save the rub you won’t use.

Dry rub for roast chicken

Dry rub for roast chicken

Coat each chicken wing thoroughly.

Chicken wings coated in dry rub

Chicken wings coated in dry rub

Pour one tablespoon of salt and two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a dish.

Salt and extra virgin olive oil

Salt and extra virgin olive oil

Coat the chicken wings in olive oil and salt. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Chicken wing taking an olive oil bath

Chicken wing taking an olive oil bath

Set the chicken wings on a baking tray, making sure they don’t touch each other. Add 7-8 whole garlic cloves between the wings. Roast garlic is simply delicious and it gives a wonderful flavor to the meat.

Chicken wings and garlic ready for the oven

Chicken wings and garlic ready for the oven

Roast the chicken wings for about 30 minutes on medium to high heat.

Spicy chicken wings

Spicy chicken wings

Arrange the chicken wings nicely on a plate (or more, if you made lots of them) and serve them hot. I served mine with a side dish of potatoes with butter and parsley and with rocket salad with grated cheese, olive oil and lemon juice.

Chicken wings with potatoes on a plate

Chicken wings with potatoes on a plate

Ingredients for 1-2 people:

  • 6 free range chicken wings
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 7-8 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons dry rub for roast chicken (mix your favorite ingredients)
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Quesadilla with Mushrooms and Onions

Tasty quesadillas

Tasty quesadillas

This is an idea for a filling, healthy breakfast. Melting cheese, caramelized onions, mushrooms, fresh parsley and a little garlic, gathered together between two crisp tortillas will make your morning awesome and will give you energy for a few good hours.

Take one onion, chop it and saute it with a bit of olive oil and salt.

Chopped onion

Chopped onion

Saute the onions over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until they start to caramelize.

Caramelized onions for mushroom quesadilla

Caramelized onions for mushroom quesadilla

Get 5-6 white mushrooms, clean them, chop them, then add them into the pan and saute them together with the onions. Add a little bit of salt and ground black pepper.

Mushrooms and onions for quesadilla

Mushrooms and onions for quesadillas

In about 15-20 minutes,mushrooms will be cooked, onions will be soft, so it’s time to add 3-4 garlic cloves, minced. Cook them for 1-2 minutes, then add about two tablespoons of beef broth to deglaze the pan. Keep on cooking until the broth evaporates. Remove from heat and add minced parsley (I added two tablespoons of fresh parsley).

Mushrooms, onions, garlic and parsley = quesadilla filling

Mushrooms, onions, garlic and parsley = quesadilla filling

While the mushrooms are cooking, grate some cheese. You’ll need about 1 cup of grated cheese for one quesadilla.

Grated cheese

Grated cheese

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan. Add one of the tortillas, rub it a little to coat it in oil and let it heat for 1 minute.

Tortilla number 1 heating

Tortilla number 1 heating

Flip it on the other side and heat it for 1 minute.

Flipping the tortilla in the pan

Flipping the tortilla in the pan

Set the first tortilla aside. Repeat the procedure with the second tortilla, then add half of the grated cheese on top of it.

Mounting quesadillas - first cheese layer

Mounting quesadillas - first cheese layer

Add the onion-mushrooms mixture, spreading it evenly onto the surface.

Mounting quesadillas - mushrooms and onions layer

Mounting quesadillas - mushrooms and onions layer

Spread the rest of the cheese on top, then cover with the other tortilla.

Mounting quesadillas - second cheese layer

Mounting quesadillas - second cheese layer

Cook it over low heat for about 2 minutes, then flip it and cook it for 2 more minutes or until the cheese melts.

Flipped quesadilla - cooking on the second side

Flipped quesadilla - cooking on the second side

Take care when you flip it, because the filling will want to come out and spread all over your kitchen floor. The easiest way to do it is to cover the pan with a plate, then with both hands, reverse the pan, so the quesadilla lands on the plate. Then let it slide from the plate into the pan.

When ready, cut the quesadilla in quarters and serve it with salsa topping.

Quesadilla recipe with mushrooms and onions. Bon Appetit!

Quesadilla recipe with mushrooms and onions. Bon Appetit!

Ingredients for this quesadilla recipe:

  • 2 small tortillas
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 5-6 white mushrooms (small-medium size)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons beef broth (can be replaced with dry white wine)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Bruschetta is one of the most popular appetizers and one of the easiest to prepare finger foods for parties. The original Italian “bruschetta” meant just toasted bread slices rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. The first known use of this word dates back from 1954 (information source: Merriam-Webster). Nowadays, the meaning has been extended to garlic – olive oil toast slices with various toppings such as tomatoes, mozzarella and herbs.

This is my version of bruschetta with tomato and basil which I serve as appetizer at parties. It’s my favorite finger food recipe for summer time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 French baguette, sliced thick
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6-7 basil leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Remove it from heat and add the tomatoes. Wait one minute. Drain the tomatoes, peel them, chop them and remove the seeds and the stem areas. Parboiled tomatoes are very easy to peel.

Mince the basil leaves and two garlic cloves, dice the mozzarella, then mix them with the chopped tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Refrigerate while you prepare the bread.

Cut the French baguette in diagonal slices about 1/2 inch thick. Toast the bread slices. Cut one garlic clove and rub the toast with it, then drizzle some olive oil on top. Spoon the tomato – basil mixture on top of each toast slice, on the side that’s been rubbed with garlic and oiled. Serve the bruschetta immediately.

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Crispy Potato Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 medium size potatoes, grated
  • 2 onions, finely chopped or grated
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten (if you have large eggs, one is enough)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:
Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Peel and grate the onion. Peel the potatoes. Grate them. Squeeze the excess liquid from the grated potatoes with the help of your hands. As we are not going to use that liquid, you can just take handfuls of grated potatoes and squeeze them over the kitchen sink.

In a large bowl combine the grated potatoes with onion, garlic flour and beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper. Stir very well.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Form the potato mix into balls, then flatten them as much as you can, making sure they don’t fall apart. Cook the potato pancakes for about 5 minutes on each side. If they turn brown too quickly, lower the heat. When pancakes are cooked, remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels.

Potato pancakes are best hot. If you prepare them in more than one-two batches, put the cooked ones in the warm oven until you’re done.

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Goat Cheese Quesadilla

Goat cheese melts very well, therefore it’s a great choice for quesadillas. You can combine it with various fillings such as asparagus, mango, chicken, spinach or even bananas. Quesadillas are perfect as appetizers, breakfast or even dessert, they are easy to prepare and relatively inexpensive. Here’s my favorite goat cheese quesadilla recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 flour tortillas (6” diameter)
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, cilantro, green onion, salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Set the food aside. Place the tortillas one at a time in the pan and heat them for 2 minutes on each side. It’s nice to do this because heat makes the tortillas crisp, preventing them from becoming soggy when you add the goat cheese.

Assemble the quesadillas as follows: one tortilla, crumbled goat cheese evenly spread on top of it, then the garlic and green onion mixture, then some fresh cilantro. Spread another layer of goat cheese, then cover with the second tortilla.

Heat the grill pan. Cook the assembled quesadilla for about 2-3 minutes, flip it over carefully, then cook it for about 30 seconds on the second side. Repeat with the second one.

Cut in wedges and serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream spread on top.

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Chicken and Taco Sauce Quesadilla Recipe

The beauty of almost any quesadilla recipe is that it can help you “clean the fridge”, meaning that you can turn food leftovers into delicious meals. Chicken quesadillas are great to be cooked just after you’ve prepared chicken roast, as there’s usually a lot of meat that nobody want to eat two days after. This recipe is based on chicken breast, as that’s the part of the roast chicken I like less. Quesadilla makes it much better, as you’ll see in a moment.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked, shredded
  • 1 cup Jack Monterey cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, peeled, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 chili pepper
  • 1 green pepper, seeded, diced
  • 4 tablespoons Taco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Directions:
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Cook the onion, garlic, chili pepper and green pepper for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the taco sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute, then add the shredded chicken. Mix it well to make sure it’s covered in sauce, then add the cheese. Cover the pan and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Take another skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in it, then put a tortilla in the pan. Warm it for 2-3 minutes on each side, then place it on a plate and fill half of it with the chicken mixture. Fold it. Top it with sour cream and finely chopped fresh parsley.

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Shrimp Quesadilla

This is a quesadilla recipe perfect for a light lunch. You can use fresh shrimps, if you can find them. If not, frozen shrimps are still fine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large tortillas
  • 1cup frozen cooked shrimps, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red hot chili flakes (if you like very spicy food, you can use as much chili as you wish)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a stick-free pan. Add the green onion, garlic, chili flakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, stirring a few times. Add the shrimps, lime juice and parsley. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Heat the tortillas in a pan for about 30 seconds on each side. After you finish heating the second tortilla, leave it in the pan and add shredded cheese on top of it. Then add the shrimp mix on top of the cheese and cover with the other tortilla. When the cheese starts melting, flip the quesadilla over. You can do that with the help of a plate or of a second pan, or you can just use two spatulas, if you’re handy enough.

Cut the quesadilla in 6-8 wedges and serve it hot.

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Roast Whole Chicken Recipe

I like roasting the whole chicken. Although I know a big part of it will eventually end up in the soup, I still like to roast it whole, then tear apart those juicy, tender pieces, covered by the golden, crispy skin.

Here’s how it goes:

Take one piece free range chicken, as small as you can find. Mine was about 2 pounds.

Free range chicken - ready to roast

Free range chicken - ready to roast

Bigger chickens take longer to cook, so if you want to also roast some vegetables with your meat, they will be overcooked. If you cook for more than 3-4 people, you’ll probably need two chickens like this.

In a cup, mix one teaspoon of salt with half teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon paprika and one teaspoon rosemary. If you can find fresh rosemary, that’s nicer. I only had dried rosemary, so that’s what I used. You can add whatever other spices you like. Red chili flakes and garlic powder are also excellent.

Roast chicken spices mix

Roast chicken spices mix

Rub the chicken thoroughly with the spice mix you prepared. Don’t be afraid to use your hands. In order to minimize the mess, I put the chicken in a big pot before rubbing it. It’s much better than doing it on the kitchen bench, believe me!

Rub the chicken with spices

Rub the chicken with spices

Don’t forget the interior and the underarms :)

Rub the chicken all over

Rub the chicken all over

Use plenty of spices, because this is how your roast chicken will get a nice color and amazing flavors. Rub the interior of chicken as well. You can also sneak some spices between the meat and the skin on the breast (you’ll see that there’s a kind of a pocket between the skin and the breast itself). That’s nice, because it helps the usually dry breast to become more tender and flavorful.

Don’t forget to pre-heat the oven now, you’ll need it soon. 400F should be a good temperature.

Free range chicken - ready to roast

Free range chicken - ready to roast

Oil an oven tray. Add some salt and the chicken. Now you don’t want your chicken to get bored for a whole hour in that hot oven, so add several potatoes, an onion and some 5-6 garlic cloves. Wash and cut the potatoes in halves or quarters. Do not peel them. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Don’t peel the garlic cloves.

Chicken and vegetables in the oven tray

Chicken and vegetables in the oven tray

Roast the chicken and the vegetables for about 45 minutes over medium heat. Take the tray out of the oven, turn the chicken and the vegetables upside down and cook them for 15-20 minutes more.

Roast whole chicken with crispy skin

Roast whole chicken with crispy skin

If you have guests for dinner, you can bring the whole roast chicken at the table, on a big plate, decorated with lettuce leaves. If you eat alone, like I did this time, you can simply grab whatever parts of the chicken you like most, put them on a plate with some of the roast vegetables and eat it using your bare hands.

Roast chicken leg and potatoes on a plate

Roast chicken leg and potatoes on a plate

I had that with pickled beetroot salad, which I was too hungry to photograph, so you’ll have to imagine it.

Now, the list of ingredients for this roast whole chicken recipe:

  • 1 whole free range chicken, about 2 pounds weight
  • 7-8 medium size potatoes, halved or quartered, not peeled
  • 1 medium size onion, peeled and halved
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, whole, not peeled
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
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Shrimp Broccoli Quiche Recipe

If you want a quiche recipe which is quick and tasty, suitable for breakfast as well as for dinner, then this one is a winner for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie shell, pre-baked
  • 4 fresh, free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shrimps, cooked, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less, if you prefer)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • herbs & spices according to taste

Directions:
Mix together the broccoli, shrimps, green onions and garlic cloves. Evenly spread them over the pie shell. In a bowl, beat the eggs, then gradually add the cream, salt and pepper, any other herbs and spices you like, stirring well until the custard becomes homogeneous.

Pour it over the quiche filling, making sure to have all filling ingredients evenly covered.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the quiche for about 40 minutes. After 30 – 35 minutes, you can try it with a toothpick: insert it in the center and if it comes out clean, remove quiche from heat. If not, keep it in the oven for 10 minutes more, then try it again. Serve hot, but let is cool for about 10 minutes before cutting it.

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