Shockingly delicious moroccan grilled vegetables on linguine bed

Hello super chefs,
I know what you’re thinking: Moroccan dish? pasta? how….? well, maybe it doesn’t go together but in my kitchen it does.
So in this dinner you will indulge on juicy grilled vegetables zapped with a custom blend of Moroccan spices. Loaded with fiber, low in fat, 100% organic and 200% vegetarian not to mention satisfying and the smell – if my kitchen walls could talk…nice hah?
But before we get to business please allow me to share some thoughts with you o.k.? You know, I wasn’t sure if I should post this recipe. I mean look at the pictures, besides that my photography is that so shabby, it’s pretty self-explanatory – linguine topped with grilled vegetables right? right. But wrong. You see, there is much more to it than just cooking and feeding a hungry mouths. Here is how I see it – I am very creative as you probably know but sometimes I don’t feel like cooking (happened to you?). And when I do, as tired as I might be, I’m out of ideas and not in the mood to be bothered with too much “kitchen” you know (happened to you?). And sometimes, just when everybody else in the household expects the genie in me to make magic…well…all I want then is hide (happened to you? please say yes so I wont feel left out here).

delicious moroccan grilled vegetables on linguine

Simply put – some days are just not your days. So what are you going to do about it? I’ll tell you what I do – I cook – but not just cook – I cook hot and spicy. Taking it out on the food? maybe. But I don’t just cook hot and spicy people, I go the extra mile and blend colors with textures and spices sometimes without even thinking, driving everybody crazy with a wicked aroma, while amusing myself and avoiding thinking about how the day that wasn’t my day was you know. But don’t get me wrong, hot and spicy doesn’t mean punishing your loved ones (think this option didn’t cross my mind?), but I’m all about balance. Just try not to lose it, get creative, get the genie out of you if you need to and get to business. After all, commands are fully obeyed on a happy stomach.
backyard grown tomatoesMy own grown tomatoes from my yard. Little jewels that inspired me to cook this dish.
I usually eye-ball almost everything (a method I inherited from my mother), but here I was more specific for those who need that extra help.

You know, when I made this dish my husband was literally starving. I mean not only for food but for a super creation and honestly, he didn’t expect to “experience” this kind of smell that just popped out from the spices, I mean he drooled. When he finally sat down to eat and took the first bites, he looked at me. I saw the fire in his eyes…he would get me arrested if he could… for doing that good.

So, shall we:
1 pkg of linguine, cooked (follow package directions)
zest of 1 lemon
2 of each of these fresh vegetables:
carrots, red onion, yellow onion, grape tomatoes
1 jar baby artichoke hearts in vinegar (you can use plain artichoke hearts in a can)
1 tsp shredded ginger
handful arugula
3 tbsp chopped parsley
any spices you have: 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1 tsp of each: ground coriander, red sweet paprika, red-hot paprika, mustard seeds, cumin, nutmeg
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil
1 large garlic head (cloves separated with skin on) and save 7-8 cloves for the linguine
Peel the carrots, cut to large pieces and cook in a boiling for a few minutes or until tender. Drain well and put in a large mixing bowl. Drain the artichokes, pressing gently to remove any access liquid and add to the carrots. Peel and cut to large pieces or slices all the other vegetables (garlic cloves leave whole) and add to the carrots. Add spices and coat with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Combine all the ingredients making sure vegetables are well coated with the spice blend. Set a side and get the linguine sauce going.delicious moroccan grilled vegetables
Linguine sauce: cover the bottom of a medium non-stick pan with olive oil. Add 7-8 garlic cloves (I like to leave the skin on). Don’t let the oil get too hot, add 3/4 cup of water, be careful though and add parsley and lemon zest. Add the cooked linguine, season with salt and pepper and gently fold. Let simmer about 3 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat.
The Vegetables: get a hot non-stick skillet going. Carefully lay marinated vegetables in skillet, you will hear sizzling sounds (love that!) and in no time you will begin to feel high. The aroma is going to drive you crazy. and your dog too. Grill vegetables 3-4 minutes on each side, turning gently while trying to keep the pieces whole, until nicely charred.

moroccan grilled vegetables

Assembly: on a large platter, pick a pretty one you are about to impress your family and yourself, lay the linguine and pour over any liquid left from the pan. Top linguine with the heavenly charred vegetables, garnish with arugula.
delicious moroccan grilled vegetables on linguine

Enjoy. I know you will.

Delicious grilled cheese ravioli

grilled cheese ravioliThis recipe merely requires anything except for an appetite and the desire to try something different.

When I’m looking for creativity I usually turn to my oven. I grill almost anything, many times after its been cooked and I want to add some crunch to it. When I prepared this dish I was ready with all the ingredients for the tomato sauce, but while the ravioli was on its way to redemption, I returned the tomatoes and herbs to the refrigerator and turn my oven on. I strained the ravioli, lightly showered it with good quality olive oil and hit the oven/grill.
Surprisingly, my husband who’s not a big fan of ravioli loved it grilled.
Tomato and ravioli always go together and the color combination is striking when at least one of them is fresh. I chose the tomato.

grilled cheese ravioliHome made ravioli is best. It fills your mouth with big flavor and freshness. A dish that’s a bit different from the usual but the results speak for themselves:

shall we:

1 package of home-made cheese ravioli – I buy mine from a bakery that actually make the ravioli on the premises and package it ready to go . If you can’t find home-made ravioli near you, a store-bought will do fine.
1 medium sliced tomato
salt and black pepper
a couple of tbsp good quality olive oil
water for boiling the ravioli

Preparation: boil water in a large pot, add one tbsp of salt. When water is boiled add ravioli. I put about 15 pieces of large square ravioli and boiled it for 10 min. Store bought ravioli – follow package instructions. Strain ravioli, lay aluminum foil on a baking sheet and lay the cheese ravioli on top. Sprinkle a few tbsp of olive oil making sure all is coated, turn over gently but be careful – ravioli still hot. Insert baking sheet into broiler, 400º for about 3-4 min., or until ravioli turns light-medium brown and sizzles.

Carefully remove ravioli from the oven and transfer it to a beautiful large dish. Arrange sliced tomato on top of ravioli, sprinkle with black pepper. Done.

tips: For a creamy texture add grated fresh mozzarella cheese.

It’s best to use large pieces of ravioli. Not only that it looks better served but holds better while grilled.

Eat. Bonn apetite.

“never thought fish fillet could be this good” recipe

For all my girls friends who love my cooking but think cooking is complicated – well ladies, and other ladies i don’t know, this dish is for you. Easy and juicy – I promise your men will ask for more.

picture of baked tilapia fish filletThis is one of my husband’s light and easy favorites…that sounds like a commercial for a radio station don’t you think?

I always thought fish fillet was too pale and boring to cook or eat.

I was wrong. Halleluyah.

So while I was healing myself from the tough mental and physical changes after the move from NY to Florida and getting used to my new kitchen (bigger, better, newer, brighter..hmm), my search for fresh interesting ingredients has begun. Cooking always made me feel at home and I assure you, I’d feel the same way even in your kitchen.

fish tilapia with mixed greens saladArmed with limited choices I hit the local supermarket, its boring but my husband, a lover of Moroccan cuisine, wanted fish that night and even with limitations i had to come up with something. I left the fish counter carrying a small pack of fresh tilapia fillet but honestly, fillet was never my choice. When my mother cooks fillet she always prepare another dish of whole fish just for me. But now I had to use my imagination.
And like with anything else i do, i like to get inspired even for my dishes. A bright and colorful nail polishes in the cosmetic isle did the trick – i would steam the fillet with olive oil and lots of green herbs, garlic, bright red cherry tomatoes and purple olives?

image of nail polishsource

In a perfect world I would use my mother’s Moroccan cooking – hot and spicy, vivid red sauce that requires an embarrassing amount of bread for relief, nevertheless – it is heaven. But that’s another post.

image of oven baked fish tilapiaEnough talking. Shall we?

feeds: about 4 unless you’re really hungry then it’s one
fresh 3 or 4 tilapia fillet

handful fresh chopped dill
salt and fresh black pepper
1 sliced lemon
2 tbsp unsalted butter
less than 1/4 cup of olive oil (eye-ball it)
a couple of chopped garlic cloves
1 package fresh baby spinach
handful baby grape tomatoes
xv olive oil/balsamic – 3 to 1 part (for dressing)
olives (any kind you like. I prefer kalamata for the color and grassy flavor)
handful pecan (roasted even better)

picture fish tilapia

Preparation: Lay aluminum foil (optional – less mess) in a baking pan. Place rinsed and dried fish and sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil and lay the butter somewhere in the pan. Spread garlic and dill, cover with another sheet of foil to create an incubator and tight it on all sides. Bake 350º, 20-25 min (depending on your oven).

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine spinach, tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle the dressing of olive oil and balsamic that you’ve already prepared and flavor with a salt and fresh bp (black pepper). Mix salad gently.

Carefully (it’s hot and because i wasn’t and I ripped the foil with a spoon which made the sauce run under…messy), uncover the aromatic tilapia and transfer, with the lemon/garlic/dill deal, to a beautiful dish. On its side lay some of the freshly made spinach/tomato salad. Zap it with bp, chopped dill and garnish with pecans. Slices of fresh lemon add a pop of color.

eat. bon appetit.