March is already bringing on the first spring fever, winter is finally over for me. To underline this and to shorten the waiting time for the really warm months, I’m already bringing summer into the kitchen. Not only do I like to eat well and a lot, but I also cook the same way and of course, I love to share – this time a few summery recipes to brighten up the last days of winter for you too.
Fortunately, I am at the source and have already received a sneak preview of all the wonderful dishes that will be served this summer season in some of the beachfront Falkensteiner hotels. The thought that in a few weeks, we will be able to enjoy these dishes while watching the sunset on a sandy beach with a sea breeze in our hair underlines the anticipation even more. In our next recipes, “summer, sun, sunshine” will be written between the lines. (If you already have an earworm, accompany your cooking with the right music).
Sweet potato orzo with colourful salad
The recipe for this creamy, Croatian pasta recipe is on the menu at the Jadran restaurant in the Falkensteiner Resort Punta Skala. Orzo is a type of pasta that looks something like rice and is usually served as a side dish. You can consider serving your sweet potato orzo with grilled fish, or chicken. I’ll stick to the vegetarian version and prepare a colourful salad to go with it. Here comes the recipe that will take you to the Dalmatian coast in a few bites.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup milk of your choice (substitutes are of course also allowed)
- 300g grated parmesan (normal or vegan)
- 500g orzo
- Salt & pepper
- chilli flakes (optional)
Mixed salad optional with shepherd’s cheese:
- Green salad
- 1 pepper
- 1 cucumber
- 500g cocktail tomatoes
- 1 bunch parsley
- 200g shepherd’s cheese
- Vinegar & oil
- Salt & pepper
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small squares. Toss in the olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180° for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can cook the Orzo Pasta, making sure to cook it 1-2 minutes shorter than described on the packet. When straining the pasta, save some pasta water in a cup for later.
You can also start preparing your salad. Cut all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces and mix them together in a large bowl. Chop the parsley and mix it in. You can also mix your dressing – vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, or whatever you like best. However, I would pour it over the salad just before serving.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft (keep the oven on high), blend them with the milk and 200g of Parmesan to make a creamy sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and possibly a little chilli. You can now mix the cooked orzo with your creamy sauce, if it’s not creamy enough for you, use some of the pasta water. Place the sweet potato and orzo mixture in a baking dish, top with the rest of the Parmesan, and return to the hot oven to bake for a further 10-20 minutes. Once the Parmesan is browned (as you will be in a few months under the sun), your sweet potato orzo is ready with a fresh salad!
Pizza like from Napoli
Nothing makes me indulge in summer thoughts like a good, really good pizza. At lunchtime on the beach, it’s a real classic as a snack between meals. But balmy evenings with a good glass of vino and pizza also describe summer in Italy quite well. Of course, it will never be as good as in Napoli, but a homemade pizza with fluffy yeast dough comes very close. With fresh ingredients for the topping, your next evening in spring will also be beautifully summery.
Ingredients for 2 pizzas:
- 250g wheat flour type 405
- 150 ml lukewarm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2g fresh yeast
- 1 tin/jar of tomato sauce (For special gourmets, I recommend Mutti brand).
- 1 melanzane
- 1 courgette
- 200g grated mozzarella
- 200g feta
- 1 lemon
- Basil (fresh or dried)
If these ingredients don’t appeal to you, please let your creativity and taste run wild and top your pizza however you like!
First of all: good things take time. This recipe is not for those in a hurry – the pizza dough has to rise long enough, otherwise, you can forget the whole story about pizza like in Napoli. Here goes. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and stir into the flour together with the salt. Now knead using a food processor or hand mixer with a dough hook. If you don’t have all these electric helpers at your disposal, you can now knead your dough diligently and thus get a little closer to your bikini body* for the summer. After all, biceps don’t come from nowhere. So at least ten minutes should be enough, but if you have more time, don’t let that stop you – the dough should be very smooth. As soon as you think it’s enough, let your dough rise for two hours, covered with a damp cloth.
Then divide your dough into as many pieces as you like (as many pizzas as you want) and let these balls rise again, covered, for six hours. Physical labour and long waits – I’ve warned you about this and let me tell you again: it pays off. While your dough balls are getting bigger, make sure your vegetables are getting smaller and slice them thinly. I recommend cutting the feta into small cubes. From the lemon, we need a bit of zest. Also, don’t forget to heat up the oven, preferably as hot as it can go. After the second waiting time, you can finally start topping your pizza! Roll out your dough as thinly as possible. Then top it with the tomato sauce (not too much, or the dough will stay too moist), the slices of melanzane, the slices of courgette, and the feta, and sprinkle with grated mozzarella and lemon zest. Put it on the baking tray and in the oven. I don’t like to give you times here, so please follow your pizza and your oven – the pizza is ready when the dough has risen around the edges, is brown and the cheese has melted nicely. Now garnish with basil and enjoy! It almost feels like being in the south of Italy.
Sushi Bowl a la Hoku in Jesolo
Making your own sushi, as served at the Hoku Restaurant & Lounge Bar in the Falkensteiner Hotel Jesolo, is a special challenge that even I, as a true foodie, am not quite up to. But since we still want to bring the Japanese culinary flair into our kitchen, we simply make a sushi bowl. Crunchy vegetables and sweet fruit are especially refreshing on hot days at the beach – or to top up your vitamin supply when it’s still a bit chilly outside. Either way, this dish is not only varied but also really easy to prepare.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 180g rice (I recommend jasmine, or sushi rice).
- 1 cucumber
- 6-8 radishes
- 1 bunch of young onion
- 2 avocados
- 150g edamame
- 1 mango
- Sesame smoked salmon/chicken/shrimp/tofu – Sushi is usually served with raw fish.
However, depending on your preferences and eating habits, shrimp, chicken, tofu or any other protein source of your choice can also be used in this sushi bowl recipe.
- 70g tahini (sesame puree), peanut puree, cashew puree.
according to preference 1 clove of garlic, lightly chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Sriracha, if you like it spicy
First, cook the rice, preferably as described on the packet, or as you always cook rice. While the rice is cooking, you can start with the other preparations. If you have chosen chicken, shrimp, or tofu as your protein source, then prepare this. Cut it into small pieces (the shrimps can stay whole), season it a little (Asian or simple, salt, pepper, and a little chilli), fry it, and deglaze it with a tablespoon of soy sauce (tada Asian feeling is already there). If you have chosen smoked salmon, pre-cooked shrimp, or anything else, just cut it into small pieces so you can have fun serving it later! Once the rice and protein are ready, you can chop your vegetables. There are no rules here, except: cut the vegetables the way you like to eat them. Once that’s ready, all that’s left is the dressing. Here again, your creativity and taste are called for. You can simply blend all the ingredients into a sauce as described (hand blender or stand mixer), season if you like, and add water if the dressing is not liquid enough. Optionally, you could also make a mayo-based dressing (regular or vegan). Mayo can easily be refined with sriracha, lime, wasabi, or even truffle oil, and is also a great topping for any sushi bowl! Once your sauce is ready, you can serve your sushi bowls. Put the rice in bowls first and drape all the other ingredients on top. Finally, drizzle the sauce over it, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve. It is very authentic if you eat the bowls with chopsticks.
I hope you got a little inspiration and your anticipation for summer has already grown. With this in mind: Cheers to long, balmy evenings, refreshing drinks, and the taste of summer! Enjoy!
*Disclaimer: all bodies are bikini bodies.