Italian Pasta Salad

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It is not too often that I make pasta salad at our house because my husband is not a fan and I don’t eat lots of pasta, or gluten. But since I was asked to make one for an event this week-end, I chose to make this recipe. It is fresh, light, tastes like summer and it is really easy to make.

I really was not anticipating my children to eat it because they are so picky with their food and they hate tomatoes, but both Lisa and Theo took large helpings of it for lunch, and even took second.

I was surprised because it had tomatoes in it and none of them eat tomatoes. So I asked why Lisa liked it so much and she said: “mom!!! there is pasta, cheese and Salami… why not?!?!” Now that is too too funny!!!

This recipe is very simple. It was adapted and totally changed from  a recipe I had seen on Allrecipes. com called AntiPasto Pasta Salad.

Ingredients for 6-8:

  • 1 box of macaroni pasta
  • 12 oz of baby tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 cucumber sliced very very thinly and cut in 4 ( each slice will be cut again in quarter).
  • 1 cup of feta cheese
  • 1 lb of hard salami cut thinly as well
  • 1 cup of italian dressing
  1. Cook the pasta according the package directions, (or if you are lazy place the content of pasta in the round mold, cover the pasta with 2 cup of water, 1/4 tsp of salt, place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold and microwave for 13 minutes. Stop at half time to see if you need to add more water. ) Cook the pasta al dente.
  2. Rinse the pasta under running cold water to stop the cooking process and wash up some of the gluten.
  3. Place the pasta into a very large bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, feta cheese, salami and dressing.
  4. Mix well and let the pasta rest for a minimum of 2 hours before eating. photo 1
  5. Et voila!!!Easy and Yummy;-)photo 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Salmon Ceviche

Ceviche and tartare are a bit similar in that they are dishes of raw meat or fish. The main difference between tartare and ceviche is that in ceviche, the raw meat or fish is cooked in citrus juice. However the difference is, both are wonderful for the hot summer days because they are easy recipes that require no cooking time, very few ingredients, and that are very very healthy.

Ceviche and tartare are even more to me than a simple healthy recipe, they just make me happy inside and out. They probably do because they are made of only the best and the freshest ingredients. And even though they are very very healthy, they taste divine to my palate, and satisfy my hunger or my cravings for anything else. They are the perfect comfort food for me.

Tartare and Ceviche have found their common place on French menu. Here in the USA, however, they are almost nonexistent, unless you go to more urban cities. I love ceviche and tartare but do not fix them often as it is difficult to buy small filet of fish. I had been cravings to eat ceviches, but never found the time to prepare it until this evening.

Recipe for 3-4: 1 filet of salmon of about 12 oz., 250 gr. or about 9 oz of smoked salmon, 1 lime, 1 inch of fresh ginger, 1/3 of a long european cucumber, 2 tbsp of olive oil, sea salt, pepper, 2 tbsp of shaved red onion.

Remove the skin from the salmon and trim the salmon of any nerves, and darker parts. Cut the salmon in 1/2 inches strips, and then cut the strips into tiny squares. Chop the smoked salmon. Place both the diced salmon and the chopped smoked salmon in a large bowl. Peel, shave and chop the cucumber very thinly and place it with the salmon. Zest the lime, press the juice of the lime and empty both into the bowl with the salmon. Peel the ginger and grind it into the salmon also. Add the shaved red onion, 2 tbsp of olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper and stir so that all the ingredients are well- blended. Taste to see if more salt and pepper need to be added. Place the mixture into the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour.

Serve as it, or with cucumber slices. C’est tout!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

A Summer Must: Andalusian Gazpacho

In this heat, I don’t really feel like eating. And if I do eat, I want to eat refreshing things like salads, tomato sandwiches, seafood with salsa..I must not be the only one as I see more and more ceviche,  and cold soups as appetizers instead of the traditional heavier appetizers. Today I will offer you the recipe of one of the most popular summer soup: Gazpacho.

Gazpacho is “ is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite. Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly Córdoba and Seville, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar” Wikipedia.

There are two types of gazpacho. One called Andalusian which is very smooth and guests can add thinly diced vegetables to it, or you can have the more traditional gazpacho that is a soup made of coarsely chopped vegetables. Both are excellent..

The recipe I am using today is based on that of Anya Von Bremzen. It serves 6 people: You will need 8 slices of day-old country bread ( without the crust), and 4 slice of old -bread with the crust, 3 lbs of ripe tomatoes preferably homegrown, or vine tomatoes diced, 6 medium garlic cloves, 1 long European seedless cucumber peeled and diced, 1 green pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 medium red onion, 1/2 cup of very good quality olive oil, 4 tbsp of very good quality sherry vinegar, a small pinch of cumin seeds, sea salt  and ground pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, place the diced tomatoes, diced cucumber, half of the diced onion, half of the bell peppers. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the vegetables so that the vegetables will let out some juices and liquids. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred 8 slices of bread in pieces in a bowl. Squeeze the juices of a few tomatoes and 1 tbsp of sherry vinegar over the bread, and let this mixture rest for a few minutes. While the bread is soaking using a pestle and a mortar, crush 3 garlic cloves, and the cumin with 1/2 tsp of sea salt.

Take the bowl of bread and with both of your hands massage the bread to make it a paste. Mix this paste with the garlic mixture. Place the whole thing in a food processor and process until very smooth. Slowly add your vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, half of the diced onion, and only half of each bell pepper. You will want to add the olive oil at the same time in 3 additions. Once the whole thing is finally ground, pass it through a sieve. Once you have passed the whole mixture through the sieve, add 3 tbsp of sherry vinegar or more ( according to taste). Salt and pepper as you feel as well.

Chill the gazpacho for at least 3 hours but no more than 6-8 hours or the garlic will overwhelm the taste of the gazpacho.

The Croutons: with the remainder bread, lightly toast the bread in a toaster, grind the garlic cloves over the bread. With a pastry brush, brush olive oil over the bread slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. With a knife or a pair of scissors, cut small squares of bread that you will lay on a silpat. Bake in a warm oven at 325 for a few minutes, or cook them in a frying pan. Make sure to watch that they do not burn so keep on stirring them and turning them while they are cooking.

Place the garnishes in 3 individual bowls. Place the rest of the diced onion in a small bowl, place the croutons in another bowl, and place the left-overs diced red, green and red bell pepper in another bowl for your guests to serve themselves.

Serve the gazpacho in wine glasses and sprinkle a few diced bell peppers on the top of the gazpacho. Let your guests help themselves to the garnishes.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!!