Sunday, April 6, 2014

Vegan Homemade Tomato Soup

Are you ready for a healthy and delicious meal in the bowl? Today, I like to share with you my  version of tomato soup.  I think, the combination of tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic is divine. This soup is so rich, thick and has very intense flavor.  Moreover, it is vegan, super healthy and very easy to make.  So lets get started!

For this recipe you will need:

4 cups of chopped organic tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Homemade vegetable stock 
1/2 teaspoon of dry thyme
1/2 teaspoon of freshly chopped basil
Lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

Coat the bottom of the large saucepan with the olive oil, saute one chopped onion over medium-heat until translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and garlic and cook them all together for about 7 minutes,  stirring occasionally. Add dry thyme, freshly chopped basil, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Combine vegetable stock and bring it to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook it for 10-15 minutes. Puree the soup with the blender until smooth and place it over medium heat for another 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A clean snack, Broiled Grapefruit

The taste of grapefruit can be too bitter sometimes, so I love to broil it with banana, honey and cinnamon on top. I would even consider it as a dessert, since it is sweet and quilt free. Also, you can serve it for your guests, it looks pretty, it is delicious and very easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit sliced in half
1 tablespoon of honey (or brown sugar)
Half of sliced banana
Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Set your oven on broil and preheat to 450 degrees F. Place the grapefruit on the baking sheet, put banana slices on top, spread honey evenly, sprinkle cinnamon on. Place it in oven and broil for about 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Delicious Guacamole

I try to eat avocado almost every day and because I skip my dinner, I eat avocado instead. Avocado is so nutritious and high in potassium, minnerals and vitamins. Sometimes, when I am lazy, I eat avocado with salt, pepper and a little bit of lemon juice, or I just spread it on the piece of toast and eat it with my green salad. However, when I am not lazy I have time and right ingredients in my fridge, I make one of my favorite dips - Guacamole.

It is so easy to make, it basically involves mashing together the ingredients and serve it with chips or crackers! super easy and delicious.

Ingredients:

3 avocados
1 finely chopped tomato
2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons od chopped red/white onion or shallots
1 small minced chilli pepper
Lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of olive oil (optional)

Preparation:

Mash avocado with the fork, add all the remaining ingredients and mix everything together. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Voila!



Friday, March 21, 2014

Nikita Restaurant. Malibu

On Saturday, me and my husband decided to explore a fairly new Mediterranean restaurant in Malibu, called Nikita. I love Malibu, but I honestly think that it's been missing a nice place by the water. Nikita is a beautiful restaurant,  right by the beach, which makes the place very special, since we do not have that many options with beach view restaurants. The food was average, but you are paying more for the ocean view, rather than a good food. The stuff is friendly and they pay attention to the details.

If you ever decide to visit Nikita, I would recommend to explore their outside bar area, to get a bottle of chilled white wine, or champagne, order some snacks and enjoy the beautiful sunset of Malibu.
We'll definitely be back, but mostly for the ambiance and the view.







Burrata Pizza



Cocktail with champagne, muscat and hibiscus tea





Sea food tagliatelle



Grilled vegetable pizza



Fettuccine Carbonara





Ginger Mojito

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Novruz!

Novruz is traditional Azerbaijani holiday, which celebrates the coming of spring and the New Year in Persian calendar. To be honest, I don't really look at it as a New Years celebration, since in my world is year 2014, not 1392 (?) but I look at it as a celebration of spring. It's been 12 years already, that I've been living outside of my hometown - Baku, but wherever I am, I make sure, I have my khoncha, semeni and Azerbaijani delights on Novruz. 
Novruz is celebrated on 20-21st of March, but one month before the actual holiday, people celebrate the four last pre-holiday Tuesdays. They are called:
  • Su Chershenbesi - Tuesday of Water
  • Od Chershenbesi - Tuesday of Fire
  • Yel Chershenbesi - Tuesday of Wind
  • Torpag Chershenbesi - Tuesday of Earth
We usually prepare the khoncha, which is a tray with different kind of nuts, raisins, dried fruits, dyed eggs and traditional Azerbaijani sweets. We also put samani in the centerpiece of the table and lighting up the candles.
I want to wish my Azerbaijani and Persian readers, Happy Novruz! May the coming of spring bring happiness and peace to the world!
Novruz Bayraminiz Mubarek!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wild Salmon with couscous, caramelized shallots, zucchini and cilantro sauce.




I prefer to buy wild salmon over farm raised, whenever possible. It is not only ecologically sustainable, but also tastes so much better. Yesterday, I made beautiful pan fried wild salmon with couscous, caramelized shallots, zucchini and cilantro sauce. Easy, healthy and delicious!



For salmon you will need:


2 pieces of salmon
2-3 lemons
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For couscous:

2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of couscous
Fresh herbs to your taste
Salt and pepper to taste

For caramelized shallots and zucchini:


2 pounds of fresh shallots
2 sticks of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

For cilantro sauce: 

Fresh cilantro
Half of lemon
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
Half spoon of Sriracha hot sauce.



You need to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then, melt the butter in ovenproof saute pan, add shallots and brown sugar and cook them over medium heat for 15 minutes or until shallots start to brown. Mix well, add vinegar, salt and pepper and toss all together one more time.



In the same pan saute some baby zucchini for about 5 min. Then place the pan to the oven and roast it for about 30 min.



Generally, the couscous that we can find in the local stores, is instant couscous. It means, that it was already steamed and dried, so we only need to add boiling water and wait until it absorbs. The proportions are 1:1. I also added extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.



Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towel, season with sea salt and pepper, squeeze some lemon juice on top. Heat the oil over medium high. Lay the salmon in to the hot oil and cook until the skin side is slightly golden-brown. Turn and continue cooking. The total cooking time for salmon is about 7-10 min.    



I also made a cilantro sauce, which is delicious and adds beautiful green color to the dish. For sauce, you need to blend cilantro, lemon juice and sriracha hot sauce, slowly add extra virgin olive until blended. Voila!

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Healthy Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is very popular in Turkey, they call it Mercimek Corbasi. It goes well with crusty loaf bread and some veggie salad on the side. So, here is simple, flavorful and delicious lentil soup recipe that I made several times and it turns out amazing every time.


Ingredients:
About 8 ounces of red lentils
1 large onion
2 carrots
2 tb. spoons of tomato paste
1 tea spoon of cumin powder
7 cups of vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon and fresh mint for serving

Preparation:
In a large pot, saute one large chopped onion, chopped carrots, adding a tea spoon of cumin powder and 2 tea spoons of tomato paste. Meanwhile pick through the lentils and rinse them several times with cold water. Add lentils into the pot, mix with the vegetables and add 7 cups of vegetable stock (or water). Lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Add some salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and mint garnish. You can also blend the soup until it is creamy. Enjoy!



 

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