Quinoa with shrimps and zucchini

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Quinoa with shrimps & zucchiniAlmost 2 months ago I made a short questionnaire that I shared on my Facebook page on what you would like to find more on this blog. The top answer was “healthy recipes”. Obviously, it made my day, since I love experimenting with healthy recipes.

Quinoa with shrimps and zucchini is the synonym of healthy food. The recipe is very easy to follow and the result is a colorful plate with an amazing aroma and flavor.

Depending on the season you may use other vegetables instead of zucchini like spinach, peas, leeks, asparagus or whatever you like and think can match well with quinoa. I choose shrimps since they’re my favorite seafood, but other seafood also works well.

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Homemade Jufka with dried porcini mushrooms

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One of the perks of being a food blogger is that all your friends share their thoughts and experiences on food and special food products with you.

The latest wonderful gift I got were homemade Jufka. Jufka are Albanian traditional pasta, cooked especially on Diber, made with fresh eggs, milk and wheat flour. Dried Jufka keep well for months and are traditionally prepared with meat, chicken or lamb in the oven.

Since I do not eat meat recently, I had to find a creative way to prepare Jufka. And since they are a traditional Albanian product I thought I should combine them with another Albanian delicacy, dried porcini mushrooms from Puka. Porcini mushrooms are one of the best you could use, with a deep earthy flavor and full on proteins and potassium. The result was amazing. I can’t wait to make them again. If you are curious to try other traditional recipes, you may find many of them in the blog.

Jufka

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Stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta and sunflower seeds

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Stuffed zucchini flowersZucchini flowers are a season favorite, especially filled with ricotta, lemon zest and sunflower seeds. They are so beautiful and so tasty. Have you tried cooking them?

Stuffed zucchini flowers make the perfect appetizer or party food. You may prepare zucchini flowers fried or baked. They’re both wholesome and delicious. The only issue is zucchini flowers are rare to find, so in case you see some of these beauties in the farmers market, don’t lose the chance to buy and cook them.

My better half calls the fried zucchini flowers vegetarian “chicken wings”. There are some months now that we don’t eat any meat (we’re still eating seafood though) and are trying to get proteins from other sources. Zucchini flowers filled with fresh ricotta are a great substitute.

Stuffed zucchini flowers

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Sweet potato, millet and greens salad

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Sweet potato and greens saladMe and my salad obsession are back. This time I’m sharing with you an old love of mine “sweet potato, millet and greens salad”. This wholesome salad with earthy flavors was an “empty the fridge creation”. I had some leftover spinach and lettuce and a single sweet potato that was sleeping in my pantry for quiet some days, so I had to invent something.

I stirred fried the sweet potato, hand chopped the spinach and lettuce and added some leftover cooked millet and voila, the salad base was ready.

Than it was “play with seeds and dressing, time”. I added some pepita and sesame seeds and prepared a simple dressing with lemon juice, fig balsamic vinegar, olive oil and tahini. It was so good, I couldn’t stop eating. Anyway, a salad a day keeps the doctor away, so who could blame me.

If you’re looking for other healthy and wholesome salads you may find many recipes in the blog.

Sweet potato and greens salad

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Cauliflower pizza – a must try pizza recipe

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Cauliflower pizzaCauliflower pizza is such a nice alternative to regular pizza, and a great way to consume more vegetables.

The crust recipe I use is slightly adapted from my foodie friend Assorted Bites. The recipe is very easy to follow and is ready in few minutes. All you have to do is blend cauliflower until it reaches a rice consistency, add eggs, flour, olive oil and cheese, mix and it’s ready to bake.

Regarding the toppings anything that works on a regular pizza works also on cauliflower pizza, so unleash your fantasy and enjoy.

 tart with pie crust and pastry cream

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Bulgur salad – a summer favorite

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Bulgur salad is one of my favourite summer plates, because it is fresh, tasty, colorful and ready in few minutes. I usually prepare bulgur salad in the morning and take it to work.

It is full of the best summer ingredients and one of my favorite grains, bulgur. Bulgur is wheat that’s been parboiled, dried, and cracked into small bits. It cooks fast and tastes sooooo good. Bulgur is most common in European, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. I usually use it into salads, for extra taste, crunchiness and fiber intake.

This is my version of bulgur salad that I usually cook in summer, but you may play endlessly with it by adding different vegetables, nuts and spices.

In case you are curious and want to try other easy savory recipes there are plenty of options in the blog.
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Buttery, flaky, all-purpose pie crust (pate brisee) – basic recipes

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Pie crust is the second recipe in “Basic recipe section” in this blog. It is an amazing recipe that can be used for sweet and savory dishes. I love pie crust because the dough can be prepared in advance and kept in fridge for some days or freezer for some months.

You may use pie crust for quiches, savory pies, vegetable galettes, fruit pies, fruit galettes, tarts etc. You may adopt pie crust in version of mini-pies, mini-tarts or mini-galettes and have portion size treats that can be adapted to everyone taste.

This is my basic recipe for pie crust, which produces an amazing, flaky and buttery dough. I sometimes play with it by flavouring the dough with spices or lemon zest which makes my dishes even more flavourful. I also like to replace part of the flour in my basic pie crust recipe with different flours like whole wheat flour, oatmeal flour or almond flour, the result is a little more dense, but still buttery and delicious.

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Tomato soup with poached egg – an amazing summer dish

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Tomato soupOne of the main things I’ve enjoyed in my new home is meeting so many interesting persons. One of them was Roni, the guy who helped us assemble the new furniture. He was so loud and happy and had tried so many things in life; it was just amazing.

When Roni was young he worked as a cook in a fish restaurant and I don’t remember how we ended up talking about tomato soup. Roni’s secret to make an amazing tomato soup was adding a poached egg, lightly cooked. How come I never thought about it.

So here I am sharing with you my favorite tomato soup recipe with a lightly cooked poached egg. It is perfect for summer, when the tomatoes are so juicy and tasty, and all we are looking for are light meals. If you’re looking for other savory meals you may find many recipes in the blog.

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Baked potatoes with homemade aioli sauce

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Who doesn’t enjoy some baked potatoes with a nice sauce? Personally I love it. The smell and taste of baked potatoes is so good, while playing with different sauces is so much fun.

The trick to prepare the best baked potatoes is to boil them for few minutes. It helps keeping them soft and creamy in the insight, while they form an amazing crust on the outside while they are baking.

I never tried or heard about aioli sauce until recently. I enjoyed it in a small bistro in Dusseldorf and from that day, I just wanted to recreate it. I’m not very close to the traditional recipe, but that’s how I like it. I would love if you could share with me what you think of this recipe and what’s your favourite aioli sauce recipe.

I love aioli over baked potatoes, but it also makes a great sauce for the sandwiches, fish or chicken fillet or as a dressing for the salads.

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Japrak – a traditional dish that brings on so many memories

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One of my favorite traditional dishes is japrak (dolma). It is prepared in spring when the nature is so generous with greens. Japraks (dolmas) are cooked in all Balkan countries, Middle East and Central Asia. They’re basically vine leaves stuffed with greens and rice. Many recipes call for meat, but I prefer them without.

I’m pretty sure japraks bring a lot of memories to all of my Albanian readers and will make curious the others.

I’m sharing with you my family recipe of japrak with just a small change. I added a little bit of ground cumin and powdered garlic for flavour. Japraks seem difficult to prepare, but believe me they aren’t. They just require time and patience, but the result is so rewarding. They’re perfect with some yogurt or Albanian cold yogurt soup, for which I will have a dedicated post soon.

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