So, I guess this will be my first post. Very exciting! Why am I starting a blog, you might ask. I ask myself the same question as well: I don’t exactly have a history of sticking to blogs. I abandoned my last blog, the one I started when studying in Spain (in 2008), after about one post (in fact, I don’t even recall the blog’s name – shame!). Even though my life might have been mildly adventurous even now and then, I was never really compelled to keep a diary after the age of 11. And every time I buy a very pretty journal, promising myself to use it for meetings or notes, I tend to fill 20-ish pages before it ends up in my library on a shelf, for the sake of prettiness.
So far, history doesn’t predict good things about this blog. But perhaps this time will be different. This time, the intention to start something has been itching at me for quite a while. I don’t want to have a blog about myself: it is gonna be about food – in Brussels. Last year, I started a catering course in Leuven. In July of this year, we moved to Brussels and I’m continuing my cooking lessons in a new city. The more I am immersed in the language and ways of food, the more I become interested by it. I wouldn’t say I really am a foodie – but I’m definitely aspiring to be one! Moreover, I’m very eager to start exploring Brussels and its culinary opportunities. Therefore, this blog will be about food, about Brussels, and about food in Brussels.
Time to stop blabbing, and start a first post about food! My favorite magazine, delicious., has dedicated itself to ‘no waste’ this month. Personally, I hate wasting food but like most busy people, I tend to find some milk that has gone bad, or cheese that has started sprouting hairs, or very interesting ingredients purchased for one special dish and then left behind to grow mouldy in the back of my fridge every once in a while. Therefore, I love recipes that constitute more or less the same ingredients, but do something differently with them, or use up leftovers. Over the past two weeks, I worked my way through a few packages of tortilla wraps (the very common supermarket kind).
It started with my housewarming party, where I served a whole array of hors d’oeuvres/amuses (are they not the best course? I sure think so), including my standard hot tomato salsa. Since I have a habit of munching down those lovely-but-greasy store-bought tortilla chips, I looked for a healthier alternative. Of course, Martha Stewart was there to help me out. In her Hors d’Oeuvres cookbook (or, my Bible, you could say), she explains how to make tortilla chips from (old) tortilla wraps, as is actually done in the original recipe in Mexico.
How to make healthier tortilla chips from wraps:
-take some tortilla wraps and cut them in long strips (2cm width) or triangular shapes. Brush with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Put them on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius (around 375 Fahrenheit) for 5 to 10 minutes, until they start to get brown and crispy-looking. Take them out and serve with tomato salsa, guacamole, humus or whatever dip you can lay your hands on.
Of course, since the party got busier and busier, I got lazier and lazier concerning healthy tortilla chips and ended up tearing open a bag of store-bought ones when all the healthy ones were eaten. So I was stuck with some leftover wraps. After a few days in the fridge, I found an opportunity for a pre-Belgian soccer game-dinner (that sounds a bit strange – I just mean a dinner before heading off to the Belgium-Kazachstan soccer game). The oven is turned on as hot as possible (220 degrees Celsius in my case, or about 400 Fahrenheit) and the wraps become pizza crusts!
-How to make pizzas from leftover wraps:
Take the wraps (it’s actually good when they’ve been in the fridge for some days and have started getting a little hard) and put some tomato sauce (this can be anything from just plain passata to herb-pasta sauce, which I happened to have around) on them. Not too much, or the pizza will get soggy. Add your favorite toppings! In my case: eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, anchovies, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese… The anchovies were replaced by bacon for my not-so-vegetarian boyfriend (I don’t eat meat, but anchovies are definitely a weak spot). Put on a tray in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the oven’s strength, until the cheese has melted and it looks like a pizza. Enjoy!
Since we were joined for dinner by some soccer-loving friends (before heading off to the game), I ended up opening a new package of tortilla wraps. Um, okay, so there I was, stuck with a new open package. Time to make a third recipe: an all-time favorite. This one comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook (the one about oven dishes). The tortillas get a whole different twist as a Mexican oven-baked wrap. Once again, a favorite at home! And even better: you can reuse a whole bunch of the ingredients from the pizzas!
Weight Watchers tortilla wraps for two persons:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit). Take a can of red beans and a can of corn and drain them. Cut 30 grams of feta cheese into small cubes. Cut up an onion, garlic (very fine) and two red or yellow bell peppers into small cubes. Heat a bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the vegetables for a few minutes, until slightly tender. Spice with pepper, salt and cumin (this dish made me discover that cumin is a very Mexican spice! Your kitchen will immediately smell like a Tex Mex restaurant, but healthier). Add the beans, corn and feta cheese to the mixture in the pan. Take two or more wraps and fill them with the mixture. Roll them tightly (not necessary to tuck in the ends), put the rest of the mixture into an oven-proof dish and put them into the dish. You might have to keep them closed with some toothpicks. Pour tomato sauce (passata or whatever you have around) over the wraps and sprinkle with oregano and some more feta cheese. Put the dish into the oven for about 25 minutes. Et voila, there is your healthy, vegetarian, Mexican oven-baked wrap! For me, this recipe is a great reason to eat some beans once in a while, since I don’t eat them very often, even though I’m a vegetarian.
All right, that’s enough for one post. Let me know what you think, or if you’ve tried one of these recipes!