Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Almost one year ago, I thought I should try to prepare these cute, decorative and elegant pearls, which would give a special taste and wonderful look to many salads as well as dishes.

The balls in the pictures where made with white balsamic vinegar which I infused with basil.

You can use any vinegar, with different taste; if you want, you may also buy a ready-made infused vinegar. To preserve the ball, place them in small jars covered with more of liquid, which you used to produce them.

If you want to produce more drops, work with placing the container of the oil an iced bath!

Finally, I did it and it was easy!

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit :Artandkitchen

Ingredients

  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar (any colours, infused if you like)
  • 5 agar
  • 1 cup of oil

Directions

  1. First, place the oil in a high container in the freezer. The container should be high enough, as you will drop the vinegar in it! A jar of about 400 ml is perfect.
  2. Place the vinegar in a small sauce pot, add the agar and stir well
  3. Heat the vinegar mixture stirring constantly.
  4. As soon it comes to boil, remove from the heat and let cool down a little bit ( to about 75°C).
  5. Drop the vinegar using a syringe or other dropper into the oil. I tried to produce drops of the same size and I found out that it works better if I let drop them from about 20 height; let them drop moving the syringe over the all surface of the oil.
  6. When you have finish to drop, sieve the pearls from the oil (you may use the oil for another lot) and then gently rinse under current water.
  7. Use for decorating salads, starters and even desserts.

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls (2 of 1)

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Okras with Vegetables from the Oven

The plant and its seed pods are also known as “lady’s fingers” and in Greece this dish is called “Bamies sto fourno” (Μπάμιες στο φούρνο). The Greek name come from the Arabic name, bamyeh.

While in central Europe, we can get this fresh vegetable almost only in Turkish shops, in Greece we can find it in almost all supermarkets and farmer markets!

Okras could turn slimy ant to prevent this we should cook it whole, after tossing it with salt and vinegar and marinating for at least 30 minutes.

In Greece this dish is very popular ad for the recipe the quantity of oil is at least 3 fold of what I suggest her with my recipe.

Okras with Vegetables from the Oven

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

You need

  • 1 kg okra, trimmed and washed
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced into 1-2 cm pieces
  • 2 strips orange zest (about 5-5 square centimeters J )
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, coriander or dill chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Trim the stems off the okra, and place in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, toss and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain the okra, and rinse thoroughly. Place these in an oven safe baking mold.
  2. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  3. In the meantime heat the oil in a skillet, add onion, garlic and red peppers. Fry until fragrant. Combine water and tomato paste. Add this to the skillet as well as the tomatoes and orange zest. Heat thoroughly. Add herbs and adjust salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the sauce over the okra, cover with foil or lid and place it for 1 hour and 30 min in the oven. The last 15 min remove the lid to allow the food to get a bit of color.

Juicy Prune Compote with Spices

This year we had been blessed with a lot fruits from the garden and now the plums (European plums or prunes) are just ripe enough.

I decided to create a side dish, which goes with meat (for example roasted pork, chicken or game), but now I think that this (perhaps with less salt, and adapting the spices to your taste) would be lovely as a dessert with vanilla ice cream, Greek plain yogurt or over your morning muesli (or cereals) . Next time…

For the preparation, I used allspice, finely crushed coriander and pepper, but other combinations would work as well. Alternatives could be cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, cloves, grated orange zest, garam masala and so on.

Juicy Prune Compote with Spices

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

You need

  • 12 prunes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • ½ teaspoon finely crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoon brandy (or grappa, whisky, …)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Procedure

  1. Wash the prunes, cut into halves and remove the pits.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugar spices, salt, water and brandy
  3. In a non-sticky frying pan, heat the butter at medium heat and fry the prunes on the skin side for a few minutes until you see that the skin begins to brown.
  4. Pour the mixture over the prunes and turn the prunes cut side down.
  5. Cook until the juice reduces to a thick medium thick sauce and the cut side of the prunes begins to turn brown. Don’t let burn the sugar!
  6. Immediately remove from the skillet and place in a serving plate.

 

Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

A tagine is such a wonderful way to prepare and serve a complete meal at once.

The combination of meat, vegetable and carbs makes this possible and super easy!

The special spice mix, which I call “Moroccan Spice Mix”, is a wonderful very versatile balanced combination of flavours; I use this in many different ways, mostly spontaneously according to the ingredients I have on hand at home.

In the recipe below, I added some honey from our own production; this made the plate really really delicious!

Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Moroccan Spice Mix:

  • 2 teaspoon ras el hanout spice mix, if available, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Tagine:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 g chicken skinned, cut into big pieces (if you prefer deboned)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters (wedges)
  • 1/2 lemon with peel, cut vertically in wedges (skin on)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 teaspoons Moroccan Spices Mix (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetal broth
  • 1 can chickpeas, about 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoon raisins (+ some for decoration)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley for decoration

Prcedure

  1. Prepare in advance the ingredients taking care to prepare the tomatoes. To peel the tomatoes dip them in boiling water for two minutes, place in cold water and remove the skin. Cut into half and with your fingers remove the seed, cut into 1-2 cm pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet (provided of lid) and fry chicken for 2 minutes, add onion and lemon wedges and fry for other 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Stir fry shortly until fragrant.
  4. Add tomatoes and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Set aside a few pieces tomatoes, one lemon and one onion wedge for decoration.
  5. Add the broth and stir well-
  6. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, honey and raisins.
  7. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cover and let simmer covered for about 30 minutes or better one until the chicken results tender. Stir and add little water from time to time as it should not result dry.
  9. Just before serving top with the reserved lemon and onion wedges, the pieces of tomatoes, a few raisins. Cover for a few seconds.
  10. Top with parsley and serve with a smile!

 

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Dolmades me Avgolemono – Stuffend Wine Leaves with Egg-Lemon Sauce

Spring, sun, flowers, herbs and missing Crete!

During my walk through the garden I noticed that the fist wine leaves were almost big enough to be used for one of my favourite Greek dishes: dolmadakias (diminutives of dolmades)! Now in early spring the leaves are very light, tender and even if even still small, I decided to try to make this without meat (lamb or beef

As the same times I had some asparagus on hand, I decided to prepare also the egg-lemons sauce, which is perfect for both preparations!

Usually for this recipe, we use pine nuts, but as did not have such of them just now at home, I decided to uses some previously roasted pumpkin seeds; and WOW! This was real great!

I collected only about 30 leaves about 10-12 cm wide (yes real small, but tender!) and these made 3-4 cm sized dolamadakias.

Note: this dish often served lukewarm and the lemon leaves would taste even better the next day.

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  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

Leaves:

  • 30 young tender fresh grape leaves (double the filling and the sauce if you have big leaves), washed and stem removed

Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup vegetal broth (or simply the hot water you used to prepare the leaves + salt)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, copped
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped roasted pine nuts (or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/2 lemon, grated peel of
  • 1 cup water (I used drained liquid form the stuffed leaves +  the blanching water for the leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional lemon juice

Procedures

  1. Bring about 1 liter of water to boil and place the leaves in hot water. Drain the leaves after 3 minutes (preserve one cup of water). Set aside and don’t discard the water.
  2. Fry the onion in the oil just until translucent, add the rice and the broth. Reduce to simmer.
  3. Add the herbs and seed, cook until the water is adsorbed for about 6-8 minutes, the rice will not be cooked through, but this just fine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place a small amount of this filling (about 1 teaspoon or more if the leaves are big) on the backside of the leaf near the stem and then close it. For this step, I first fold the left and right side of the leaf toward the center and I roll it up starting from the side of the stem (like the spring rolls).
  5. Place one tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of you pot, and then place the stuffed leaves one by one, near each other, opening side down so that they don’t move. If you have more leaves you some leaves to cover the bottom of the pot or (even better) a few thin sliced potatoes (addition to your meal)!
  6. Try to make two layers of the leaves in the pot (size depends on the leaves and the pot!)
  7. Grate le lemon zest, set aside; juice the lemon and set this aside as well.
  8. Place parts of the peel or additional lemon slices over the stuffed leaves, cover with the water (add to the water previously salt to taste), add about 1 third of the lemon juice as well.
  9. Cover with a small plate the stuffed leaves, so that they don’t move while cooking. Cover with the lid and simmer for about 40 minutes (adding some more water if needed). Drain out the liquid and use it for the sauce.
  10. If you have rice leftovers, cook them in a small saucepot with water as a risotto until done.
  11. For the egg-lemon sauce blend together the egg, the lemon juice the lemon zest, the drained liquid from the stuffed leaves, the cornstarch and the olive oil.
  12. Very slowly heat the sauce in a small saucepot until it thickens (do not let it boil but add more water if needed). Adjust salt and pepper. If you need add more lemon juice to taste.
  13. Serve the stuffed leaves with this sauce.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

Today I do not pretend to bring you a completely new recipe. Once again as in the…. I will bring a variation using a different kind of flour: an Italian flour blend of mixed grain.

The proportion are similar:  ½ cup starter + 1 cup water + 3 cups flour and salt.

Take care to refresh your sourdough starter with white flour as usual!

Enjoy this beautiful crunchy bread!

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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You need:

FIRST RISING

  • 1/2 cup starter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

SECOND RISING

  • 2 cups flour mixed grain flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

TOPPING

  • Flour fort he working surface and to coat the bread

Procedure:

  1. The evening before or early in the morning combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a bowl, cover and let sit.
  2. After 2-8 hours (2 hours by 30°C – 8 or more hours by normal room temperature), add the mixed grain flour and the salt. Knead shortly and let lit it sit until you see that it begins to rise.
  3. Knead well again, cut into two pieces and shape each of them to a ball (boule) giving strengths to the walls.
  4. Dust well with flour and place them on the well-floured tray where you bake them.
  5. Make 3 long incisions: about 1 cm deep and crossing in the center of the bread.
  6. Last proof depends on the temperature. When the breads are at least doubled, preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until well browned, this takes about 30 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool down on a grid.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/