salad

Summer Salad in a Jar

"Summer Salad in a Jar" was a team project I've recently done with Marika Elefante and Giulia Revolo.  This cookout salad will be my best buddy this summer.  It's so easy to make, so delicious to taste, and most of all, so healthy for us.  

Recipe by health food chef- Marika Elefante   

Photo Styling by Giulia Revolo

Linens provided by Society Limonta 

Photos by me

 Summer Salad in a Jar 

Summer Salad in a Jar 

Serves: 2 persons

Prep time: 10-15 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Ingredients: 

For the salad:

200g watermelon, deseeded and cut into small cubes

100g feta, cut into small cube

200g cooked quinoa, well drained

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp chopped spring onion

1/2 -1 tsp dried oregano

1 handful arugula

extra-virgin olive oil

For the pesto: 

35g arugula

20g pistachio

20g feta

2g spring onion

25g extra-virgin olive oil

1 pinch of black pepper

1 ice-cube

To make the pesto: Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Instructions for the salad jar:

  1. Season the watermelon cubes that are placed in a kitchen strainer with 1tsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1tsp chopped spring onion and a pinch of salt. Allow the excess watermelon juice drain out of the watermelon cubes.  (tips: this avoids the salad to become too watery)
  2. Season the feta with 1tsp lemon juice, dried oregano, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
  3. Mix the well drained and cooked quinoa with the arugula pesto.  
  4. Get two 500ml glass jar and start assembling from the bottom in such order: watermelon cubes, feta, quinoa, and arugula. This salad is ready to go and best to be eaten within the same day.  Enjoy! 
 Summer Salad in a Jar - Recipe by health food chef-  Marika Elefante  ; Photo Styling by  Giulia Revolo  ; Linens provided by  Society Limonta  ; Photo by  me

Summer Salad in a Jar - Recipe by health food chef- Marika Elefante ; Photo Styling by Giulia Revolo ; Linens provided by Society Limonta ; Photo by me

 Summer Salad in a Jar - Recipe by health food chef-  Marika Elefante  ; Photo Styling by  Giulia Revolo  ; Linens provided by  Society Limonta  ; Photo by  me

Summer Salad in a Jar - Recipe by health food chef- Marika Elefante ; Photo Styling by Giulia Revolo ; Linens provided by Society Limonta ; Photo by me

15 minutes healthy noodle recipe - Spicy Asparagus Soba Stir Fry

I am a noodle person.  Maybe this is why it doesn’t bother me for living in Italy.  I also live real close to this organic supermarket called NaturaSí.  The shop sells practically everything you could possibly think of and most products are Fairtrade certified.  This is Italy’s largest supermarket chain specializing in the sales of organic food items while fully respecting the sustainability parameters.  The pricing is indeed slightly higher but I think it is justified by the high quality and authenticity of the products.  For those who practice a sustainable living in Italy, NaturaSí is certainly the ideal choice. 

What came to surprise me is that NaturaSí actually carries a lot of Japanese food produce.  So whenever I get a little homesick and long for fusion meals,  I can just pop by there to get some soba or rice noodles. 

Here are my extremely easy noodle recipe ideas for the busy bees! 

Spicy Asparagus Soba Stir Fry

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: less than 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

1/2 lb fresh asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces, julienned the stalk parts and leave the heads

1 garlic, finely chopped

1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1/2 chili, finely chopped

1 radish, slivered *optional

1 tbsp mirin

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp sesame seeds

200g soba or mei fun (rice noodle)

sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Cook soba according to its packaging label.  After soba is cooked, rinse with cold water and drain well.  Set aside.

2) Preheat a saucepan with 2-3 tbsp oil on medium-low heat, cook chopped garlic, spring onion, chilli, and ginger 1-2 minutes.  

3) Stir in asparagus and mirin.  Cook 1-2 minutes.  

4) Add water and soy sauce, put a lid on and let the vegetables cook 3-5 minutes.  

5) Add soba and mix well.  Season if necessary.  Heat off. 

6) Garnish with some sesame seeds, radish, chopped spring onion, and a drizzle of sesame oil before serving.  

Spicy Asparagus Soba Stir Fry

Stir Fry Veggies & Rice Noodle -- Here is the mei fun (rice noodle) version stir fry.  The steps are pretty much the same as the one before except I used zucchini instead of asparagus.   

Cold Veggies Soba - another extremely easy soba salad I like to make for cooling the steamy hot summer.  

Ingredients for dressing:

1/4 soy sauce

1/3 water

1 tsp minced garlic 

1 tsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tbsp mirin

1/2 chili, seeded, finely chopped

1/4 lemon or 1/2 lime juice and zest

2-3 tbsp sesame oil 

extra-virgin olive oil

Spring is in the air and my first Sagra del Gnocco :P

Being a vegetarian in Italy is never a problem, choosing what kind of vegetables to cook and eat is the problem.  That's because there are too many choices.  I want to buy almost everything at the vegetable stand and cook as many dishes as I possibly can.  My mind is like a little food machine running on high speed trying to stir up many simple recipes to satisfy my greedy palate.  Sadly, cooking a feast is not possible unless we have some guests over to share food with us.  

So Sunday is the only day that could fulfill my obsession.  Last Sunday, we invited a couple friends over and spent the entire day chilling, eating, and drinking.  We also went to sagra del gnocco in Teolo which is a food festival celebrating local food that's prepared by locals.  The entire village was packed with cars and people.  It was my first time attending a sagra.  I've never seen so many people in the village before.  What I loved about sagra is the immense joy that a humble dish could bring to people.  Life is this simple.  I didn't try gnocchi though because the queue was too long.  Marco didn't have patience but I am definitely going to the next one.  

I took a lot of pictures this past week so let me share some of them with you first. :) 

Every Saturday, Marco and his godfather would work on landscaping the garden while I remove the labels from each wine bottle for recycling.  

Spring is in the air!!  This means asparagus is selling everywhere.  

This dish is so easy to make.  Not much technique nor preparation is needed.  Season the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for about 15 minutes at 180-200ºC in oven and crack an egg to the baking dish and roast for a few more minutes before serving.  

This is no simple salad to me.  This salad is the combination of ONLY local fresh produce.  Nothing was flown in by plane to be served.  

Bruscandolis & cheese frittata  - My first time cooking this wild herb that's only grown in the Veneto region. 

Bruscandolis & cheese frittata

Servings: 4 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 bunch fresh bruscandolis

6 eggs, whisked and seasoned

50-80g biancone formaggio or brie cheese 

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

a pinch nutmeg

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook the bruscandolis for 3-5 minutes.  Drain and chop the cooked herb into small bits.  Set aside.  

2) Preheat the oven at 180-200ºC.  

3) Drizzle a little oil on the baking dish on medium heat, cook onion for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent.

4) Add garlic and chopped bruscandolis, cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.   

5) Add the whisked egg to the baking dish.  Lower heat to medium low.  Put a lid on and cook for 3-5 minutes. 

6) Spread the small chunks of brie cheese around the egg mixture top before transferring to an oven.  

7) Roast for 10-15 minutes until the surface is browned.  

Marco and his friends are not vegetarians so they also added a dish of roasted spring chicken.  

Sunday will always be my favorite day of the week.  We could spend hours at the dining table chatting and laughing over those delicious food we made.  

After a full-on brunch, we decided to lay under the shade.  This is our kind of fun and wouldn't it be nice if we could do this every weekend...  Something to look forward to during the week...  ;P  

Sagra del Gnocco at Teolo last Sunday -- check out all those people queuing and eating at communal tables.  What a great way to spend your Sunday with friends and families.   

Sagra del Gnocco Teolo

Instead of queuing for gnocchi, we went to a bar nearby and drank more. Ha!