Recently my cooking inspiration decided to go somewhere and not consider necessary to notify me about this, but it came back yesterday afternoon. Since then I am ultra active in the kitchen, which now looks like a battlefield of the fridges, but it was also my greatest pleasure to see how those little images turned into actual treats for the tummy. I ended up completing three ideas: a drink, an appetizer, and another appetizer/meal.
Watermelon-Grapefruit refreshing summer cocktail
Nothing curios or special about this one, but it's colors and freshness bring me joy. I prepared a whole jar with the following:
1 cup watermelon cubes
1/2 cup grapefruit (peeled pieces)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
splash of lime + slices for decoration
Watermelon and grapefruit are smashed and sugar is added, water and ice complete the picture to the desired texture/liquidity. I prefer it more fluid, so added around 700ml water... and voila, refreshing summer day drink. Of course, variations follow - alcohol could be added as well as some sweet liqueur, but I stayed healthy today.
Cucumber cups salad with carrots/corn/blue cheese filling
I like to call them my little volcano flowers, because they have character, but are so colorful at the same time. Also very easy to prepare, although it requires a little bit of time and nerves. To prepare them I used:
2 middle-sized carrots
4 tablespoons corn
100g blue Niva cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
Cucumbers are peeled and cups are formed from them using a teaspoon (the smaller the better). Carrots are formed into long peels with a vegetable peeler. Corn and blue cheese are mixed in a bowl together with the olive oil (I used Niva because of my current location in the Czech Republic, but any mild blue cheese would do). When carrot is peeled it bends and forms almost a circle which allows placing it in the cucumber cup easily; carrot peels are put inside the cup in all directions as to form a flower. With a teaspoon the cheese/corn mixture is put as to fill the cups. With that, all is done, then put the salad in the fridge for some time before serving to allow the cheese to cool down.
Mini pizza a la Caprese crackers
Now these were the challenge of the day, but are also rewarding and delicious, so it was worth it. The are prepared in two steps - first the base, then the filling.
120g white flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg yolk
3 spoons ice cold water
Flour, salt, and butter are mixed in a bowl by hand as to form crumbs. Then the yolk and water are added (usually now this has to be battered with an electric mixer, but since I don't have one, I finished it by hand). One has to quickly form a steady ball from the ingredients and pack it in fresh foil, then put to fridge for 30 mins. After that the dough has to be rolled out on a flour surface - in the end is around 0.5 cm thick. Then the dough is cut with a round cutter, the leftovers are formed in a new ball, rolled out again, etc. The ready pieces have to go back in the fridge for 20 mins. I got mine to 12 pieces, but depending on the size of the cutter, the number may be different. In the meantime the filling is prepared.
200g cherry tomatoes
16 pieces baby mozzarella
12 green olives (without pit)
2 teaspoons green pesto
Ingredients are cut and mixed, forming a homogeneous combination of all of them.
When taken out of the fridge the bases have to be put on a pre-heated oven at 190 C and baked for 15 mins. Then we take them out, put enough filling on them and back in the oven for 10mins more until the mozzarella is melted and the tomatoes soft. After that, one can simply enjoy :)
So, that was my Friday - day off work and happy in the kitchen.