Mom’s Birthday Part Two: Orso Pizzeria

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Orso Pizzeria

 

Because my mom was celebrating her birthday in Antwerp, of course we wanted to go out for dinner. I feel like over the years my parents have really gotten to know Antwerp the city, but not really Antwerp the province, which comprises of many smaller cities. For the birthday dinner we decided on Orso Pizzeria in Berchem. Berchem is most famous for its art nouveau style architecture. On our way to dinner we were able to look at all of the beautiful houses!

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Sicilian Parmigiana Di Zucchine

The Green Kitchen

For my birthday I received The Green Kitchen from my sister-in-law Barbara. She knows that I am a fan of the Green Kitchen Stories blog, and surprised me with the cookbook. I am having a great time exploring the recipes – like the Marcarpone Beanotto with Mushrooms and Spinach, a riceless risotto, and the Amaranth and Halloumi-Stuffed Tomatoes. All are delicious! The best recipe by far that I’ve tried is the Sicilian Parmigiana Di Zucchine. Not only is it the best recipe from the book that I’ve tried, but Koen puts it in his Top 10 meals I’ve ever made. Can’t wait to make it again!

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Watermelon Gazpacho / Chacalli Wines

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

I love experimenting with soup and was excited to try the Watermelon Gazpacho from Green Kitchen Stories. It was a relatively warm summer day in Antwerp and a cold soup sounded refreshing. Although the soup tasted delicious, it was a bit much as a main course. I think it would be better as a starter – strained and served in drinking glasses for a party, perhaps with a shot of vodka.

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Eggplant Lasagne

Eggplant lasagne topped with pistachios and basil

Eggplant lasagne topped with pistachios and basil

This dish came about by accident. Originally I wanted to make Green Kitchen Stories’ Involtini di Melanzane, or rolled stuffed eggplant, because I had tomato sauce left over from a couple of nights before. But it turns out I am awful at slicing eggplant. You have to slice the eggplant very thinly, but mine were uneven and all but a few weren’t the entire length of the eggplant. Because the eggplant needs to be grilled in the oven before rolling, I had an idea for making lasagne after seeing the slices laid out in a casserole dish. So instead of pasta, I used the eggplant slices! Mmm…it turned out very well!

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Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Easy Peanut Sauce

All of the ingredients laid out and ready to be combined! Quinoa, basil, carrots, lettuce leaves, peanut sauce, radishes, and cucumber.

All of the ingredients laid out and ready to be combined! Quinoa, basil, carrots, lettuce leaves, peanut sauce, radishes, and cucumber.

Koen and I are back from New York, so now I’m back in the kitchen trying new recipes. For this evening I wanted a recipe that was fresh and easy to make. On the plane I watched an episode from one of Jamie Oliver’s cooking shows, and was inspired to make lettuce wraps! I did a Google-search and found this recipe for Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Easy Peanut Sauce. Really delicious and crunchy!

 

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Pesto

Pesto

Pesto Process

After using the pestle and mortar for the Gado Gado dressing, I realized I don’t use it enough! When I think of the cooking tool, the first dish that comes to mind is  pesto – and I’d never tried it before. Surprisingly, maybe just to me, pesto is easy to make. Really. I served Jamie Oliver‘s basic pesto recipe with white fish and pasta. Delcious and simple flavors!

 

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Linguine with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

Linguine with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

Linguine with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

I have a tendency to always make salmon with tomatoes or with teriyaki sauce, so I spent a little extra time finding this recipe for Linguine with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon. I don’t know if you can see in the photo, but the pasta with the basil, salmon, and capers is on top of a bed of spinach. If I make this dish again, I will lightly sauté the spinach because it was a bit too raw for my taste in combination with the warm food on top. But the flavors were really nice and delicious!

I love tomatoes!

There are so many ways to serve tomatoes, with so many varieties and means of preparation.  With such a versatile vegetable, Koen and I are able to incorporate tomatoes in some form into our meals at least a few times a week.  This week especially I’ve been enjoying them with the warm weather.

 

Oven baked tomatoes over linguine, tomate aux crevettes

 

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Antwerp’s China Town and Vietnamese Summer Rolls

This week has actually felt like it is really Summer here in Antwerp. What better way to celebrate than with Vietnamese Summer rolls? Sunday is always my day off, so I took advantage of the sunshine and visited China Town. Although it’s called China Town, maybe Little Asia is a better name because they sell food from all Asian countries, including Vietnam. It’s also the only recognized China Town in Belgium!

China Town is located close to the Central Station and the Koningin Astridplein. I passed the fair on my way. There always seems to be a fair somewhere in Antwerp.

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Ferris Wheel at Koningin Astridplein

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