Grilled Ratatouille Muffuletta

June 29, 2013

Grilled Ratatouille Muffuletta
The Muffuletta is a sandwich that hails from New Orleans. It’s sold in bakeries (and street carts) as an entire loaf of bread, cut in half and layered with a piquant olive spread and various meats and cheeses. A whole muffuletta can easily feed four hungry people.

Italian Polenta Pie

June 26, 2013

Italian Polenta Pie

Polenta is not exactly a summer food. I get that. But last night while I was doing intervals along the river I started craving polenta. I have no idea why, but I just did. So by time I got back home I needed polenta; badly.
I had eggplants and tomato sauce, so I created this simple yet wonderful polenta dish. Full of flavors and so Italian. To me any dish involving eggplant, tomato and basil deserves to be labeled as “Italian”. So here it is, a magnificent Italian Polenta Pie.

Italian Polenta Pie

Many are intimidated to try polenta at home. You hear lots of things about how it can become rubbery, or you have to stir forever. It’s none of these things. You just have to nail the correct ratio polenta : water and you’re good to go. And trust me, the proportions I give you in this recipe work pretty well.
Polenta is a thicker cornmeal. It absorbs water and thickers as it cooks, just like oatmeal. No biggies. It cooks pretty fast and you don’t have to do anything besides stirring every now and then.

Eggplant goodness
Eggplant and tomat: yummy!
You might also need to dodge hot polenta splatters when it first starts to boil. But that’s about it.

Stirring Polenta
Thing with polenta it’s that it’s gluten-free, pretty low calorie, almost fat-free and very tasty. When paired with ton a of veggies, it makes for a complete meal full of goodness. All in all this dish is winner. Yes, one more click to convince you: BAM!

Italian Polenta Pie

Italian Polenta Pie                                                                                                    Print this recipe! 
Inspired by PinchOfYum

Few notes. This recipe makes for quite a lot of food, so cut quantities in half if you have to feed a smaller crowd. It may look like I used a ton of cheese but it was actually less than a cup, and you might as well skip it if you don’t feel like it.

Serves 8


1 ½ cups polenta
6 cups water
1 + 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

Eggplant mixture

2 large eggplants (about 2 ½ lb / 1.2 kg), cubed (not sure how to cube an eggplant? Look here)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 29 oz / 822 gr can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
½ cup water


Mozzarella cheese (or vegan cheese)
Fresh basil
Red pepper flakes (optional)


Fill a large bowl with cold water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until salt dissolves completely.
Place eggplant. Let eggplant sit at least for 20 minutes to draw out the bitterness. Drain eggplant cubes and pat them dry.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan (I used a non-stick wok) over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute’ for 1 minute, add eggplant cubes and saute’ for 10 minutes stirring every so often, making sure that the eggplant doesn’t stick to the pan.
Add tomato sauce, water, basil, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of salt, turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
In the meantime make the polenta. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large non-stick pan, add 2 teaspoons of salt and, using a whisk, add the polenta making sure no lumps form. Continue cooking stirring once in a while to prevent it from sticking all over the bottom (also be careful that the polenta tend to splatter so use a lid). Polenta will thicken as it cooks.
Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes for a soft polenta, adding a little more water if necessary.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Arrange the eggplant mixture in the bottom of a baking dish and spread polenta evenly over the top. Cover with mozzarella cheese (or vegan cheese) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, turn on the broiler and bake for another minute until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh basil and a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes if you want to add a kick.

Nutrition facts

One serving scores 298 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, 51 grams of carbs and 8.1 grams of protein.

Mint Choc Chip Frozen Yogurt

June 23, 2013

Mint Choc Chip Frozen Yogurt

Every now and then I need a sweet treat before bedtime; and it has to involve chocolate.
Last night I was CRAAAAving mint choc chip ice-cream. It’s my superhero treat, my kryptonite. I know it’s not exactly healthy food but I have the (damn) right to stuff my face with it once in a while.
Except that last night I was in the mood to make my own mint choc chip ice-cream. That’s when I remembered about an awesome recipe in Sara Forte’s cookbook “The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take On Whole Foods”, involving mint, choc chip and Greek yogurt. So I ended up making frozen yogurt, not ice-cream. Minh Choc Chip Frozen Yogurt to be precise.
Three words: DE-LI-CIOUS. And calorie considerate too.
So my superhero treat has just gotten much healthier. It’s not going to be my kryptonite anymore.

Pesto Quinoa Patties

June 19, 2013

Pesto Quinoa Patties

Let’s be completely real with ourselves, healthy food is not exactly “gangsta” or “cool”.
You’re never going to see quinoa served at a gathering of the Russian mob. Probably because you’re never going to be invited to a gathering of the Russian mob. And if you do get invited and things ever get hectic chances are you would not be making out in one piece to recount what food was served. But trust me on this one, quinoa is not going to make it on the menu.
The same goes if you ever go to a rock festival (and I’m talking about badass rock festivals here).
After jumping and dancing your heart out you’re probably going to eat something like a pulled pork sandwich with cheese fries. And wash all that grease down with a pint (more like 3 pints) of beer. Green juice? I really don’t think so.

Strawberry Basil Frozen Yogurt

June 15, 2013

Strawberry Basil Frozen Yogurt

Life is all about seizing the moment. Everything doesn't have to be planned down to the minute. If something I’d like to do comes up on the spur of the moment, I don't hesitate and just go for it.
It’s a rule of thumb that I tend to apply in every sector of my life, kitchen included.
For instance a couple of days ago I was crAAAAAving ice-cream. Badly.
All I had were strawberries, Greek yogurt and some basil. What to do with it? Strawberry basil frozen yogurt of course. What a silly question...

Kale Pasta Salad

June 13, 2013

Kale Pasta Salad
I kind of hate pasta salads drenched in mayo. To be honest, I can’t stomach them. I think they’re gross, loaded with calories, and just the very opposite of what a salad should really be.
A salad is supposed to be crunchy and light, not mushy and heavy. Final.
In other words, I’m a strong believer that pasta salad should never be made with mayo. You can disagree, of course. But that’s my opinion and until you’ll be able to prove me wrong, I am going to stick to my guns.

Light and Tangy Potato Salad

June 7, 2013

Light and Tangy Potato Salad

This recipe is a total revelation. Seriously. I was very skeptic when I first saw it; but decided to give it a try nonetheless.
The mayo is subbed with an emulsion made of cooked leeks, Djion mustard and a couple of other ingredients.
To my own surprise, Dijon mustard gives body to cooked leeks in a very unexpected way. Making for a velvety dressing with a rich mouthful. No one will miss the fat.

Some of the Benefits of Running

June 5, 2013

I run almost everyday and every so often someone tells me:Running is no good for you, it’s too hard on your joints, knees and your body. You should not run that much!" 
While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I’ll stick to my guns and say: “Everything has pros and cons, but if done right, running it’s actually good for you, very good for you!


Three-Tomato Sauce

June 4, 2013

This is my go-to sauce recipe when I’m craving spaghetti with tomato. It’s a special recipe. So special I was actually on the fence whether sharing it with you guys. I then reminded myself how my mom taught me the importance of generosity. So here it is (I know, I’m such a giving person!)
Why so special?
First off because it comes together while the pasta is cooking (i.e., 10 minutes or so). This makes it a preferred choice when you’re in crunch time.
Secondly because it’s very light. There’s no frying or sauteing the onion in fat. The olive oil is added “raw” as the very last step. There’s nothing wrong with sauteing (don’t get me wrong) but skipping it makes the sauce much skinnier.
Lastly, it’s soooo tasty. I mean REALLY good. If it wasn’t so, it wouldn’t be my go-to tomato sauce recipe.

Chicken Parm Meatballs (Low Carb and Gluten-Free)

June 1, 2013

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Is there anything better than a juicy and tender parm meatball? I don’t think so. It’s one of the bestest thing ever. The food you expect to eat at your grandma’s, on a typical lazy Sunday; when life’s good.
For some reason, there’s always room in your stomach for that 4th helping of parm meatballs.
Even though you’re incredibly full. How’s that possible?
The answer involves an explanation of hormones called Ghrelin and Leptin, your brain, your stomach and some psychological nuances.
In short, the desire to eat an extra serving of your grandma’s parm meatballs is a toughy one to beat. Nearly impossible to overcome. It’s like fighting against Rocky. You’re getting beaten up. Sure.
Chicken Parm Meatballs