A glass of beer, a loaf of bread, a bowl of cereal, a standard of measurement, a form of currency, a medication – they all began with Barley – an ancient grain, possibly even older than rice. Barley’s once exalted status has been redefined. No longer does it serve as a unit of monetary exchange or a unit of measurement. No physician thinks of prescribing it for an ailing patient. Now, barley is largely relegated to being a food or a key ingredient in the making of beer.
We owe much to the desert nomads and the camel caravans who endured sand storms and unrelenting heat to trade their sacks of barley with distant neighbors, who then traded with other distant neighbors. Our steaming bowl of bean and barley or mushroom barley soup is a hand-me-down recipe with roots that take us back to prehistoric man. In 2005 barley ranked fourth for cereal production. There are many types of barley, many different uses for it and a long history of its importance to mankind.
Cultivated barley is descended from wild barley, which still grows wild in the Middle East. Cultivated barley is an annual plant, but there are also many other perennial species. The exact origin of barley is debatable, possibly originating in Egypt, or Ethiopia, or the Near East or Tibet. However, we are fairly certain that barley was among the earliest cultivated grains, around the same time as the domestication of wheat. Barley was grown in the Middle East prior to 10,000 BC, but barley’s cultivation in China and India probably occurred later. Barley was grown on the Korean Peninsula by 1500-850 BC along with millet, wheat and legumes. In ancient Egypt (3200 BC to 30 BC) barley bread and beer (made from barley) was a major part of the diet.
As one of the first cereals cultivated in the Middle East, barley was used by ancient civilizations as food for humans and animals, as well as to make alcohol. Actually, the first known recipe for barley wine dates back to 2800 B.C.E. in Babylonia. Barley water has also been used for various medicinal purposes since ancient times. The ancient Greeks relied on barley to make bread and athletes attributed much of their strength and physical growth to their barley-containing diets. Roman athletes also honored barley for the strength it gave them. The gladiators were known as hordearii, meaning “eaters of barley”. Since the heads of barley are heavy and contain numerous seeds, barley was also honored in ancient China as a symbol of male virility.
Given the relatively high cost of wheat in the Middle Ages, many Europeans at that time made bread from a combination of barley and rye. In the 1500’s, the Spanish introduced barley to South America. The English and Dutch settlers of the 1600’s brought barley to the United States. Today, the largest commercial producers of barley are Canada, the United States, Russia, Germany, France and Spain.
Types of Barley
Barley has many different varieties and there are many ways to classify barley.
One classification identifies barley by whether there are two, four or six rows of grains on the head. Six row barley can produce 25-60 grains, while two-row barley produces 25-30 grains.Wild barley is two-row and most cultivated barley is of the six-row type.
Another way to classify barley is to describe the beards (awns) covering the kernels – as long or short.
Barley can also be described as hulled or hulless (naked), malt type, height or seed color (colorless, white, yellow, blue).
Still others classify barley into 4 types based on geography: Manchurian types, Coast types, Hannchen types or Compana-Smyrna types
Barley is grown for many purposes, but the majority of all barley is used for food or malting. High protein barleys are generally valued for food and starchy barley for malting. Most barley used for food is either pearled barley or barley flour. Prior to the 1500′s barley flour was the main ingredient for breads. The second most important use of barley is for malt and, in the US, there are price premiums for malting barley. Malt is used to produce beer, distilled alcohol, malt syrup, malted milk, malt flavoring and breakfast foods.
Hulled Barley is the most nutritious form of barley with only the outermost hull removed. With its bran still intact, it is nutrient dense and high in fiber. It’s full of important trace minerals, like iron and contains a range of B vitamins. Although the cooking time is longer than for other types of barley, the nutritional benefits are worth the effort. The added bonus is its distinct nutty flavor and brownish color. While it’s generally unavailable in most supermarkets, you’ll likely find it in health food stores.
Pearl Barley or Pearled Barley is the most common form of barley available and is sold in most supermarkets. Because the outer hulls including the bran have been removed, the grains have a pearly white color. The polishing process involves scouring the barley six times during milling to completely remove the outer hull and the bran layer. Though pearled barley cooks in less time than the whole grain hulled form, many of its nutrients are scoured away along with the bran. Still, pearl barley is rich in protein and high in fiber.
Quick Barley, or instant barley, is pearl barley that is pre-steamed then dried, shortening the cooking time considerably, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Scotch Barley, also called Pot Barley, is slightly less refined than the pearl barley and is scoured only three times, leaving part of the hull remaining. Health food markets may be the only place to find this uncommon variety.
Barley Grits are processed similar to bulghur wheat. The grain is cracked, toasted or parboiled, then dried, making it a quick-cooking product. The health food store is your best bet for locating this form of barley.
Barley Flakes, Pressed Barley or Rolled Barley have the appearance of rolled oats and are often included in muesli-type cereals. Since barley flakes are a favorite grain of the Japanese and Koreans, they can often be found at Asian markets, as well as health food markets.
Barley Flour is hulled barley that is finely ground and has a lightness and delicate sweetness. Since barley has such a low-gluten content, it is frequently blended with other flours in baking. Health food markets are likely to stock barley flour.
It’s always best to store grains in airtight containers. Unrefrigerated, barley will keep for six to nine months. If the grains are stored in the refrigerator, they will keep several months longer.
Barley can be used in place of rice in almost any dish. For convenience you may want to cook a large quantity to have on hand for different recipes. Reheating takes only a few minutes.
The cooking method for all forms of barley is the same–only the cooking times vary. Combine barley, water and salt in a heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low and simmer until grains are soft and all liquid is absorbed.
To shorten the cooking times, soak the barley overnight for cooking in the morning, or soak all day for cooking the barley at dinnertime.
Whole-grain hulled barley is ideal for soups that often simmer on the stovetop for a couple of hours. Add some beans, vegetables and seasonings for a hearty meal. Pearl barley will work equally as well and requires a shorter cooking time.
Barley combined with vegetables, potatoes, dill and a variety of dried mushrooms, blend together to create a richly flavored Mushroom Barley Soup. Top off this soup with a dollop of sour cream.
Barley grits make a quick breakfast that delivers a wholesome dish in practically no time. Follow the directions on the package for the barley grits, then add a topping of chopped fresh fruits, a sprinkle of cinnamon, some chopped nuts, a little milk and a sweetener, if desired.
This breakfast cereal comes together even more quickly with leftover cooked barley. Simply reheat the barley by adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of water to the pot, cover, and warm over medium heat for about 4 to 6 minutes. Then create your own toppings with a dash of cinnamon, raisins, nuts and seeds, a little maple syrup and your favorite milk.
Leftover cooked barley, either hulled, pearl or barley flakes make the perfect base to build a salad. Add some chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced sweet onions, trimmed snap peas, sweet corn, minced garlic and chopped basil leaves. Dress it with some extra virgin olive oil, lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Other combinations work equally as well. Choose your favorite crunchy veggies or even leftover steamed or roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, zucchini or carrots.
While the barley is simmering, saute some chopped onions and minced garlic. Simply add these along with herbs to your cooked barley and season according to taste.
Barley Primavera: Create your own original Barley Primavera just as you would with pasta. While the barley is cooking, saute chopped vegetables, add seasonings to taste and prepare your favorite sauce. For each serving, mound the barley on the center of the plate, top with some sautéed vegetables and finish with the sauce. The sauce could be a marinara, oil and garlic or a creamy white sauce. A light sprinkle of toasted nuts or seeds adds an appealing touch.
Stuffed Vegetables: Barley is an ideal grain for stuffing vegetables. Try stuffing cabbage, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, acorn squash or even Japanese pumpkin (kabocha squash). To the barley, add sauteed chopped vegetables, nuts or chopped, browned sausage and dried herbs. Season to taste and bake about 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Barley Risotto: Pearl barley makes an excellent creamy risotto. The timing will vary with barley. For risotto, use only the pearl barley. The hulled barley will not break down into a creamy state like pearl barley.
Barley Pudding: Make a barley pudding, much like you would make a rice pudding. Add sweetening, spices and dried fruits. Prepare a fruit sauce by pureeing your favorite fruits in the processor with a touch of sweetening and a squeeze of lemon and use that as a topping.
Some Springtime Barley Recipes
For the barley:
- 12 ounces pearl barley
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 Spanish onion, cut in half
- 2 garlic cloves, whole
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 cups (32 ounces) water
For the salad:
- 1 medium carrot, thinly julienned
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 10 baby tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
- Red and green leaf lettuce
For the dressing:
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons apple vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 red onion, small dice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
For the barley:
Rinse barley. In a large pot, combine barley and 32 ounces fresh water. Add carrot, onion, garlic, celery, and salt. Simmer covered at medium-high heat for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Discard the vegetables and drain the barley. Let the barley cool and place in a glass bowl.
For the salad:
In a glass bowl, mix together the barley, julienned carrots, scallions, tomatoes and parsley.
For the dressing:
In a smaller glass bowl, add all ingredients for the vinaigrette, except for the oil, and mix well. Drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk. Dress the salad. This salad tastes even better if you let it rest for 1-2 hours.
Serve over red and green leaf lettuces.
Springtime Vegetable Barley
This dish makes an excellent side for grilled meats or fish. It can also be served as a vegetarian main meal.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, saute onion and carrot in butter until crisp-tender. Stir in the barley; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir n 1 cup broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.
Add asparagus. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add more broth as needed. Stir in marjoram and pepper; sprinkle with cheese.
Barley Sausage Stuffed Peppers
- 4 large green peppers
- 1/2 pound Italian Sausage, casing removed
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 3 cups cooked barley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds. In a large kettle, blanch peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, onion and garlic until onion is tender and sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, barley, thyme, salt and pepper; heat through.
Spoon into peppers; place in an ungreased 8-in. square baking dish. Cover and bake at 350°F. for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is hot.
Barley Risotto with Eggplant and Tomatoes
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups risotto
- 6 cups diced (1/2-inch) eggplant
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta or cubed mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine eggplant, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse and eggplant is tender.
Combine broth and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Stir in pearl barley and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring constantly.
Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 40 minutes total).
Gently stir in eggplant mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Top with cheese, basil and nuts.
- 6 large tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cups pearl barley
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- Additional pecan halves, for garnish
Cut tops from tomatoes. Scoop out pulp and reserve to use in soups or sauces. Sprinkle centers of tomatoes with salt and pepper. Invert tomatoes on paper towels to drain.
In a medium saucepan with lid, bring water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon butter to boil. Add barley and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
In a small skillet, sauté chopped pecans in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add pecans to cooked barley along with chopped bell pepper and green onion. Fill tomatoes with barley mixture.
Place filled tomatoes close together in baking pan. Add 1/4 cup water to pan. Cover with foil and bake at 375° F for 20 minutes. Garnish each tomato with a pecan half, if desired, and serve.
Barley Flour Drop Biscuits
Makes 10-12 biscuits depending on how large you form them.
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 ¼ cups barley flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 beaten egg
Soften dry yeast in lukewarm water, add honey and allow mixture to set for approximately 15 minutes, or until frothy.
Combine barley flour and salt and, with two knives or pastry blender, cut butter into the dry ingredients.
Combine buttermilk and egg and beat slightly, then stir into the flour mixture.
Add yeast mixture, mix thoroughly and let the whole mixture stand for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Drop dough by tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet.
Pat into 2-inch rounds and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until nicely browned.
- Barley breakthrough allows long-life beer (abc.net.au)
- Pearl barley hot/cold salad (soulinspires.com)
- Barley and boiled egg soup (feedthepiglet.wordpress.com)
What Does Mother’s Day Mean To You?
I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine about how commercial Mother’s Day has become and how the inventor of the holiday, Anna Jarvis, became disillusioned by how this special day evolved. Miss Jarvis’ image of Mother’s Day was very specific. It was to be a singular Mother’s Day — not a general Mothers’ Day. She didn’t see it as a holiday. She saw it as an intimate day between children and their mothers. Miss Jarvis wanted a national observance day, writing leaders in every state and around the world. Her persistence paid off. In 1914, President Wilson, her longtime friend, signed a proclamation stating, “The American mother is the greatest source of our country’s strength and inspiration.”
However, her triumph was short-lived, as Miss Jarvis watched the florist, card and candy industries cash in on Mother’s Day. In her mind, they were twisting heartfelt sentiment into crass commercialism. In the early 1920′s, florists began heavily marketing carnations and greeting card companies began to sell Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis hated this, as her intention was for children to write hand-written, personal notes. Though she had spent almost a decade trying to establish the holiday, she eventually turned against its commercialization and was arrested for protesting at a Mother’s Day carnation sale. Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to end Mother’s Day.
Well, Mother’s Day or any day of the year is the perfect day to say thank you to your mother for unselfishly giving of her life and love to make you the best man or woman you could be. Better than the greeting cards, of which there are 107 publishing establishments, nationwide; or better than the jewelry, of which there are approximately 27,000 jewelry companies in the U.S; or better than the wired flowers or the purchased gifts; or better than e-mails or text messages; sharing your time with your mother is ultimately the greatest gift you could give her. My mother and I do not live near each other, so get togethers involve traveling long distances. However, she is delighted with a weekly telephone call, where we catch up on all that has happened during the week. She also loves to share her thoughts about current events and discuss politics. I realize this is important to her and I am happy to have these conversations with her. So I would suggest, that the best Mother’s Day gift you could give your mother, would be that you find “the thing” that makes your time with your mother special.
Have Breakfast With Your Mom On Mother’s Day
Or Any Day Of The Year
- 1 cup cold fat-free milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1 medium banana, cut up
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking cocoa
In a blender, combine all the ingredients; cover and process for 1-2 minutes or until blended. Pour into 2 chilled glasses; serve immediately.
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 fresh pineapple
- 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts or hazelnuts, toasted
Combine syrup and butter; set aside. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise, leaving top attached.
Heat an outdoor grill or stove top grill pan. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.
Grill the pineapple quarters, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn; brush with maple butter. Grill 5-7 minutes longer or until heated through; brush with maple butter and sprinkle with nuts.
Serve with remaining maple butter.
Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Dash each white pepper, cayenne pepper, ground allspice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Shape into eight 2-1/2-in. patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook patties over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
Extras freeze well.
Raspberry-Cinnamon French Toast
This moist French toast bake can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning.
- 12 slices cinnamon bread, such as Pepperidge Farm’s whole wheat cinnamon swirl bread , cubed
- 5 eggs, beaten or the equivalent egg substitute
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cups packed brown sugar, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
Place bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; pour over bread.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle almonds over egg mixture. Combine butter and remaining brown sugar; drizzle over the top.
Bake, uncovered, at 400° F. for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with raspberries. Bake 10 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Thoughts for Mother’s Day (cocoamill.wordpress.com)
- Because My Name Is Mother (stacyknows.com)
- Philadelphia Has Deep Connection To Mother’s Day (manhattan.ny1.com)
- Today’s Birthday: ANNA MARIE JARVIS (1864) the tireless campaigner for “Mother’s Day (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage) family. The root is related to kale, broccoli, cauliflower and horseradish, among others. In the horseradish family, radishes are related to wasabi, a type of horseradish, which in paste form is a staple condiment of Japanese cuisine. The name “radish” is said to come from the Latin word “radix”, which means root. Other sources say the radish got its name from the Greek word for “quickly appearing”.
Radishes are thought to date back thousands of years to China and Egyptians grew them even before they began building the pyramids. Later, Romans spread the radish to other cultures. They also believed radishes had medicinal purposes, including helping indigestion and constipation. The ancient Greeks made gold radishes and offered them to Apollo, their god who oversaw medicine, among other things. Other eras and cultures also considered the radish to be medicinal. In the Middle Ages they were thought to help cure insanity.
Europeans introduced radishes into Central America and North America in the 1500′s. The British brought them to North America, when they settled there and radishes were grown by the first English colonists in America. European Radishes, it seems, used to be much larger in general, more like the Asian ones. There is no written record of the small ones until the 1500′s. In France, Radishes were served at the beginning of a meal, to clean the palate and get it ready for the “delights” that were to follow.
Types of Radishes
Radishes come in many varieties but here are some general types:
The standard or salad type radish can be found in early spring and fall. This variety dislikes heat so some growers do not grow them in the summer.
The first, by far the most common, are Red Globe Radishes, the ones that everyone thinks of when they think of a radish. A small red ball about 1 inch wide, red on the outside and white on the inside.
There are also White Icicle Radishes. These are available earlier in the year and have a milder flavor. They are long like a carrot, with white skin.
The heirloom varieties:
French Breakfast or Early Scarlet Globe, are delicious for an early spring radish .
An exciting one to try is Chinese Red Meat or Beauty Heart, also known as the “Watermelon Radish.” Watermelon radishes are so-named for an obvious reason. Anyone who has ever cut into their green skin and and seen their brilliant red-pink interior will know. Scrub clean, cut into wedges and serve as a sharp and beautiful crudite or cut into thin sticks to add to salads.
Black radishes (Spanish radishes) have a black exterior that covers a snowy white flesh. Black radishes are sharp when raw and add a nice bite to salads and raw vegetable plates. When sliced paper-thin, they make beautiful garnishes. Scrub these radishes clean in order to keep the brilliant contrast between the black peel and the white interior. Black radishes also good in gratins and are delicious when cut into wedges and added to pans of roasted vegetables.
If you are looking for a milder type of radish, you might want to try a golden yellow one from Czechoslovakia, called Helios.
The Sicily Giant radish is a large heirloom variety originating from Sicily. It has a smooth, bright red skin and tastes hotter than some other radishes. It can grow up to 2 inches across the widest part.
Another type are known as a winter radishes or Daikon radishes. Some varieties include China Rose, Black Spanish Round or Philadelphia White Box. These are a Japanese variety of radish quite different from the red globe radish we are familiar with. It is long like a carrot and quite big (growing from 5 to 18 inches is hotter than red globe radishes, and its skin is tan colored rather than red, though inside it is still white. They are often pickled or dried, but are delicious grated into soups or added to roasted or braised vegetables. They aren’t usually eaten raw, but can be bright, crispy delights when peeled and cut into very thin slices.
Breakfast Radishes are often called “French Breakfast Radishes”, particularly in North America and got their name because the Victorians ate them for breakfast. These radishes are a red, oblong radish tapering to a whitened tip.
Radishes have many uses, but primarily fall into two different use categories – food and biofuel.
The taproot of the radish is the most commonly eaten portion, despite the entire plant being edible. The tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. There is no particular advantage, though, to saving the leaves. Radish tops aren’t usually eaten like other leaves of the cabbage family are, because they aren’t particularly tasty. Radishes are most often eaten raw, delivering a crisp texture with a spicy, peppery flavor. Radishes are a great low-cal snack; one cup of sliced radishes has only 19 calories. They are also often used in soup and salad recipes.
The radish seeds can also be used to extract seed oil. The seeds contain up to 48% oil that is not suitable for human consumption. However, that oil from the seeds can be refined into biofuels. There are several programs underway to develop this alternative fuel.
Most states grow radishes, but California and Florida boast the biggest crops in the United States. Radishes sold in bunches with their tops on, rather than in bunches with the tops removed, are the freshest (provided the leaves look healthy). Packaged radishes will last longer, though. Radishes get stronger tasting as their growing season progresses; early ones will be relatively mild.
Cooking Tips for Radishes
Wash under cold water, cut off the tops and tails.
Most of the heat in radishes is in the skin. You can peel the skin off radishes if you want to, but they won’t taste or look as great. The radishes are most attractive served whole or in large slices.
If you wish to peel any of the radishes, you can use a vegetable peeler or paring knife, then slice or grate depending on how you are using them.
Radishes make a great addition to a relish tray. In France, they are often the way to start a meal: they are served with butter, sea salt and crusty bread. You split the radish with your knife, spread it apart a bit, put a bit of butter in, dip it in the sea salt on your plate and eat along with the bread.
Any type of Radish can also be cooked.
Equivalents for Radishes
1 bunch = 12 Radishes = 1 cup sliced
1 pound = 1 2/3 cup sliced
If you have bought them with the tops on, twist off and discard the tops, and store the radishes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
If any seem to be going a bit soft before you use them, you can crisp them up again by soaking them in ice water for an hour or two.
As An Appetizer:
Radishes in Red Wine and Thyme
First trim and clean a bunch ( 15 to 25) radishes and set aside.
Use a large deep, skillet and add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add half an onion cut into small pieces and cook till soft and brown.
Remove the onion to a bowl and add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook till aromatic.
Return onions and add 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (chopped) to the pan.
Add one cup water and one 1/4 cup good red wine and heat to a simmer.
Add radishes and cook until tender.
Remove radishes with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
Reduce liquid to make a sauce.
A glass of red wine and some crusty bread are great pairings with this dish.
- 6 long, red radishes
- 6 thin slices prosciutto
- Olive oil
- Fresh black pepper
Wash and peel radishes, leaving stems intact.
Carefully wrap each radish in a slice of prosciutto.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Sliced Baguette with Radishes and Anchovy Butter
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Coarse kosher salt
- 8 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
- 5-6 radishes (such as French Breakfast), trimmed, thinly sliced on diagonal
- Additional chopped fresh chives (for garnish)
Mix butter, chopped anchovy fillets and chives in a small bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread a thin layer of anchovy butter over 1 side of each baguette slice. Top each baguette slice with radish slices, overlapping slightly to cover bread. Garnish with additional chopped chives and serve.
As A Salad:
Red Radish and Greens Salad
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons walnut or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- dash of salt
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup thinly sliced red radishes
- 1 large apple, quartered, cut into julienne strips
- 1 orange, peeled, membranes removed and separated into sections
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup fennel cut into julienne strips
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
Place dressing ingredients in a large bowl, whisk together and set aside.
Combine greens, sliced radishes, apple strips, orange sections, shredded carrots and fennel strips in a large salad bowl.
Toss salad with dressing and place on four plates.
Garnish each salad with 1 tablespoon walnuts and 1 tablespoon feta cheese.
Roasted Radish & Farro Salad
Farro is an ancient type of soft wheat that is often used in soups and salads in Italy. Farro’s delicious nutty taste makes a wonderful base to bulk up cooked vegetable salads.
This recipe also gives you a chance to try radish leaves. If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can leave them out or substitute another green, such as arugula.
- 2 cups farro, rinsed
- 1 bunch radishes, with green tops, rinsed well
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine the farro with 6 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until the grain is plump and chewy. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the greens off the radishes, chop and set aside. Quarter the radish roots and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until browned and tender.
In a skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and clove of garlic. Once the garlic begins to turn golden, add the radish greens and cook stirring until wilted, about 3 minutes. Discard the garlic and pour greens into the cooked farro.
Once the radishes have roasted, toss them with the farro and radish greens. Stir in the lemon juice with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
As In A Main Dish:
Pineapple Salsa with Radishes and Peppers
Try this sweet, spicy salsa on grilled, spice-rubbed chicken breasts, pork chops or turkey cutlets.
Yields about 3-1/2 cups
- 1/2 to 3/4 medium-size fresh pineapple, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
- 4 large radishes, trimmed and cut into small dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 medium orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into small dice (about 2/3 cup)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, mix the pineapple, radishes, bell pepper, basil, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper. Let stand while you grill the meat.
Chickpea, Carrot & Parsley Salad
Serves four to six as a vegetarian main dish; eight as a side dish.
- 19-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, very coarsely chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed shredded carrot (about 1 large carrot)
- 1/2 cup sliced radishes (about 6 medium)
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (about 4)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Put 1/2 cup of the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash them into a coarse paste with a potato masher or large wooden spoon. Add in the remaining chickpeas along with the parsley, carrot, radishes, and scallions. Stir to combine.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Continue whisking, while adding the olive oil in a slow stream. Pour over the salad and toss gently. Season the salad with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with the feta and pine nuts and serve with warmed pita bread, sliced into wedges.
Risotto with Radishes
This recipe goes well with grilled fish.
Serves 6 as main course
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (48 fl ounces)
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/2 cups)
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound trimmed radishes, julienned
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Bring broth and water to a simmer in a 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onion, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Stir 1 cup simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly, keeping at a strong simmer until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next cup, until rice is just tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 22 minutes. Thin with some of remaining broth if necessary (you will have some left over). Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
Whisk together vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss radishes with dressing and chives. Serve risotto topped with radishes.
- Your Radish Recipes Just Got Better! (cookthestory.com)
- Oh, the lowly radish sandwich… (fork-lore.com)
- Braised Radishes (bloomfieldroad.com)
- Daikon Radish (yourlighterside.com)
- Not so easy, radishes (elenawil.wordpress.com)
- Salsa with Radish (christinasfyoga.wordpress.com)
- Wordless Wednesday 13-11 (curiosakat.com)
Italian immigrants to Chicago faced many drastic changes in their environments and way of life. The bustling new metropolis was very different from an Italian rural village. The mass of new Italian immigrants who entered the city in the late nineteenth century, primarily men from the small towns surrounding Palermo, Sicily were either single or had left their wives and children back in Italy. Frugality was essential. Most workers saved their wages to repay initial passage money, send funds to needy family members left behind or to purchase land in Italy.
In the summers many Italian laborers lived in railroad or mining work camps where food was provided by the padrone who recruited them. In the winter, workers returned to Chicago where they frequently lived cooperatively, sharing meals and kitchen chores.
When possible, single men boarded with Italian families, a practice unknown in Italy. Boarding, freed men from the necessity of doing any of their own housework, while providing supplemental income for the families who housed them. Lodging and boarding continued in the Italian communities until immigration was curtailed by World War One.
With time, many men had a new reason to economize. As months of saving stretched into years, most immigrants decided to settle permanently in the city, so passage money was put aside for wives, children and other relatives to come to the U.S. Eventually, family members joined the men.
While wages in Chicago exceeded those of Italy, the railway and street work at which many Italian men were employed, was intermittent and low paying. Garment work, done at home by Italian women, added only a meager amount to the family income. Italian laborers did much of the grueling ditch digging and manual labor which the growing city required. Women struggled to keep house in the cramped confines of tenement flats. Small flats of two to four rooms were common. Sinks and toilets were sometimes located in yards, halls or basements and water was unavailable when plumbing froze in winter. Basement and cellar flats were common due to the large number of homes below street level and “many a kitchen floor, the only playground for the children, was cold, damp and water soaked.”
Settlement worker Edith Abbot reported that in tenement homes food was hung from the ceilings to keep it away from the rats. The kitchen sometimes doubled as sleeping space for family members or lodgers. As late as 1925, ice-boxes were uncommon on the Near West Side and window sills were often the best means available to keep perishable food cold. As city dwellers and renters, Italians lost the option of supplementing their diets with home-grown foods. Many made valiant efforts to garden in the minuscule backyards and on the fire escapes and porches of tenement homes, where tomatoes, peppers and parsley struggled for existence in the cramped spaces.
Terese DeFalco, who grew up on the Near West Side, recalls that there was no room for gardening amidst the densely packed housing in her neighborhood. “Our garden was the alley,” she says. Most food was purchased and Italians spent a large proportion of their incomes on food. Under these conditions, lessons learned in Italy remained relevant. Diets consisting of bread, macaroni and vegetables remained the norm among Italian immigrant families. Homemade Italian bread, with its thick crust and heavy texture, provided bulk at the evening meal and stayed fresh long enough to be dunked in coffee the next morning. Working family members carried chunks of it to their jobs, along with peppers purchased from the numerous street vendors found in Italian neighborhoods or from neighborhood stores, which sold familiar Italian ingredients.
Phyllis Williams noted that one of the reasons Italians shunned the recipes taught in settlement cooking classes was that “Italians thought many of the dishes prepared were too expensive and would not satisfy hungry children.” In hot summer months, when putting on the stove would be unbearable in cramped tenement apartments, Rose Tellerino, born in 1899, remembered salads were the daily fare while macaroni was “all we ate” in the wintertime. Wine, usually made at home, continued to be drunk at meals and milk and water were not, much to the chagrin of the Hull House reformers.
The Italian communities of Chicago were enriched by a phenomenon all too rare in their towns of origin, voluntary associations. By the 1920’s the Italians in Chicago had church and school-oriented clubs and sodalities that worked at fundraising, as well as special-interest organizations, sponsored by the settlement houses. The Holy Guardian Angel and Our Lady of Pompeii served the Italian community. On the near Northwest Side, a varied community of Baresi, Sicilians and others grew up around the Santa Maria Addolorata Church. Perhaps the most colorful Italian sector was in the 22nd Ward on the city’s Near North Side. It was known as, “Little Sicily”, and this neighborhood was home to some 20,000 by 1920.
World War II changed everything for Italian Americans. It Americanized the second generation. The G.I. Bill opened up the first possibilities for a college education and the first opportunities to buy a new suburban house. Other government policies, such as urban renewal, public housing and the building of the interstate highway system combined to destroy their inner-city neighborhoods. First, was the building of the Cabrini-Green Housing Project, which destroyed the Sicilian neighborhoods in the Near North Side in the 1940′s and 1950′s. Then, came the construction of the expressway system on the near south, west and northwest sides which dislodged additional Italian families and institutions including many churches and schools.
Today, some 500,000 Italian-Americans, about the population of a medium-sized Italian city, live in Chicago. Though the group has been in the city for about a century, it maintains a lively array of civic, religious and cultural institutions and organizations that provide a sense of ethnic identification and recognition in a manageable area inside the larger metropolis. Because these institutions perform the functions of allocating recognition and ethnic identity, they will not die or fade quickly from the scene.
Source: University of Illinois at Chicago and Jane Addams Memorial Collection
Taylor Street, in the Near West Side, became the hub of the Italian community, most notably, because of Jane Addam’s Hull House that was established to educate and help assimilate European immigrants and because of Mother Frances Cabrini, who started a school and founded two hospitals in the Italian community. Although parts of the Italian neighborhood were torn down when road construction and the University of Illinois at Chicago were completed in the 1960′s, numerous Italian and Italian American clubs and organizations helped maintain a strong sense of community.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, established in 1910 and the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame added more culture and heritage to the area. Major events include an Italian Street Festival in June and Taylor Street Festa Italiana in August. Italian food and regional specialties from the area’s restaurants, entertainment, merchandise from Italy and children’s activities are part of both celebrations. Festa di Tutti I Santi, a fundraiser for The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, is held in August.
Taylor Street is the main dining area in Chicago’s Little Italy, anchored with favorites like Pompei (1531 W. Taylor St.), opened by Sicilian, Luigi Davino, in 1909, Pompei has remained a family-run business ever since, but don’t expect to find deep dish here: the pizza is still Sicilian style.
For a neighborhood specialty, stop at Al’s Beef (1070 W Taylor St.); Chicago’s well-known Italian beef sandwich was created here in 1938 and has grown from a humble depression era street food to a legendary Italian staple. Order yours with Italian sauce and eat it standing wide-legged and leaning over the counter.
There are many neighborhood grocers, but Conte Di Savoia (2227 W. Taylor St.) has been the neighborhood specialty market since 1948 and continues to serve the area.
Opened in 1908, Salvatore Ferrara’s Italian pastry legacy lives on today at Ferrara Bakery (2210 W Taylor St.), where the baked goods have been pretty well perfected over its century-plus existence. When Ferrara Bakery opened its doors over a hundred years, it was a staple in the Italian community of Chicago. Backed by a strong immigrant work ethic and an American public infatuated with pastries and confectioneries, Salvatore Ferrara opened a pastry shop on Taylor and Halsted Streets, with a candy shop located roughly a mile away on Taylor Street and Ogden Avenue. While the candy aspect of Ferrara’s business has boomed, distributing worldwide, the pastry shop maintains a more modest reputation. Forced to relocate due to the construction of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Original Ferrara Pastries resides in the old candy distributing facility at Taylor and Ogden.
The Food of Chicago’s Little Italy
If you’re craving deep dish, head about 15 minutes north of Sicilian Little Italy and pay a visit to Uno Pizzeria (29 E Ohio St.), home of the famous Chicago style pie.
Chicago pizza is a not your typical pizza. When Pizzeria Uno founders, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, invented it in 1943, they weren’t trying for true Italian. They believed Chicagoans needed something more substantial: deep dish pizza, which is more a casserole than a flatbread. It grew so popular that they opened a second location, Pizzeria Due, across the street in 1955.
The deep-dish pie spread throughout Chicago due to several pizza makers who left Uno. The first was Uno’s primary pizza chef, Alice Mae Redmond. It is said that Alice Mae was the one who developed Uno’s dough recipe. She left in the sixties, formed a partnership with three local businessmen, including cab drivers Fred Bartoli and Sam Levine, and opened Gino’s East. Gino’s has been through several changes in ownership, but still uses the same recipe at its thirteen locations.
Chicago’s Italian beef is a sandwich of thin slices of seasoned roast beef, dripping with meat juices, on a dense, long Italian-style roll, believed to have originated in Chicago, where its history dates back at least to the 1930′s. The bread itself is often dipped (or double-dipped) into the juices the meat is cooked in and the sandwich is typically topped off with Chicago-style hot giardiniera or sauteed green Italian sweet peppers. I posted a recipe for the Chicago Italian beef sandwich last July. You can see the recipe at http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/07/10/in-the-mood-for-a-really-great-italian-sandwich/
The Chicago style dog is a steamed poppy-seed bun with a Vienna beef hot dog hidden under relish, yellow mustard, onions, tomato, celery salt, hot peppers and a pickle spear.
UNO’S FAMOUS DEEP-DISH PIZZA
Recipe shared by Uno in celebration of the 65th anniversary of Uno’s Chicago-Style Pizza.
MASTER DOUGH RECIPE
Yield: one 20-ounce ball of dough to make one 12-inch Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
- 1 teaspoon. sugar
- 1/4 cup corn oil
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 12″ Deep-Dish Pizza Pan or Cake Pan
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast with water and sugar. Add the corn oil and blend. Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. If using a stand mixer, mix for 4 minutes at medium speed, until the dough is smooth and pliable. If kneading by hand, knead for 7 to 8 minutes. Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand for two additional minutes. Add olive oil to a deep bowl. Place the dough ball into the bowl and turn it twice to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.* Let the dough rise for two hours. Do not punch it down. Spread and push the dough ball across the bottom of the deep dish pan and up the sides.
*At this stage, the dough can be put in the refrigerator and allowed to rise slowly overnight. Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you are ready to assemble the pizza.
PEPPERONI DEEP-DISH PIZZA
- 1½ cups tomatoes, ground
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1 teaspoon basil, dried
- 2 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated
- 5 oz. part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella, sliced
- 5 oz. provolone, sliced
- 24 ea. pepperoni slices (about 2 oz.)
In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, oregano, basil and Romano cheese. Set aside.
Lay the slices of mozzarella and provolone on top of the dough, overlapping the slices to cover all of the dough.
Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the cheese.
Dot the top of the tomatoes with the pepperoni.
Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 475° F. oven for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Allow the pizza to rest for 3-4 minutes before cutting and serving.
Eggplant Ravioli is a specialty of Francesca’s On Taylor. Here is a similar recipe you can make at home. Francesca’s on Taylor features the earthy cuisine of Rome and the surrounding areas of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. Chicago Magazine notes, “It brings a new kind of abbondanza to an old Italian neighborhood.”
(Makes about 1 pound)
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 to 3 tablespoon lukewarm water
Put the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in a food processor.
Pulse several times to blend the ingredients.
Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until dough starts to come together.
Avoid adding too much water or the dough will be too sticky to roll.
It may still look dry but can be gathered into a ball.
Gather the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface.
Knead lightly, just until the dough is smooth.
Divide in half and keep one-half covered while you work with the other.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil or oregano
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons asiago cheese, grated
- 1 egg yolk
- Salt and pepper
Saute garlic in olive oil over low heat about 2 minutes.
Add eggplant and dried herbs, cover and cook 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, cool, and pulse in food processor to finely chop.
Add remaining ingredients and fill ravioli.
Forming the Ravioli
Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness into strips about 4 inches wide.
Using a tablespoon, place mounds of filling 1-1/2 to 2-inches apart down the center of the dough.
Brush a little water across the top and bottom of the strip and between the mounds of filling.
Place another 4-inch wide strip of dough over the top.
Press the dough down around the mounds of filling to seal.
Cut the ravioli into rounds or squares using a ravioli cutter, pastry cutter or a knife.
Completed ravioli can be refrigerated for a few hours before cooking.
They can also be frozen by placing them on a cookie sheet and freezing until firm and then storing in a plastic bag for 2-3 months.
Cook ravioli in salted water until they rise to the top, 3-4 minutes for fresh ravioli or 9-10 minutes for frozen.
Serve with Marinara Sauce.
Maggiano’s Baked Ziti and Sausage Casserole
Maggiano’s Little Italy is an American casual dining restaurant specializing in Italian-American cuisine that is aimed at “re-creating the classic pre-World War II dinner house featuring family size portions”.
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked ziti pasta
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 lb Italian sausages (casings removed)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- Black pepper
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 (1 lb) carton cream-style cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
Set oven to 350 degrees. F. and grease a 3-quart baking dish.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until JUST tender (do not overcook the pasta as it will cook more in the oven). Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl.
Heat oil in a skillet; add in the sausage meat and cook until browned, remove to a plate.
For the white sauce; melt butter in a medium saucepan; add the onion, garlic and cayenne pepper if using) saute for about 3-4 minutes. Add in flour and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add in half and half cream; bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until thickened.
Remove from heat; add in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta in the bowl; mix with a wooden spoon.
In a medium bowl mix together the cottage cheese with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, egg and chopped parsley, then season with salt and lots of pepper.
Spoon HALF of the creamed ziti mixture into the prepared baking dish, then spread the cottage cheese mixture on top, then spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top of the cottage cheese mixture.
Sprinkle the cooked sausage meat on the top.
Top with mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle paprika on top.
Bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
Let stand about 5 or more minutes before serving.
Similar to the Ferrara Bakery’s Famous Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
9 inch ungreased springform pan
For the Pan di Spagna (sponge cake): Have the following ingredients at room temperature at least 1 hour before baking 6 eggs, lemon juice, orange zest and sherry.
FOR THE SPONGE
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup rum, for sprinkling the cake layers
FOR THE FILLING
- 1 1/2 lbs. ricotta cheese
- 6 tablespoons rum
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate, grated
- 1/4 cup candied cherries, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
TO MAKE FROSTING:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup toasted finely chopped almonds
TO MAKE SPONGE LAYER
Separate 6 eggs and set the egg whites aside.
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in sugar, lemon juice, orange zest and sherry.
Beat until foamy.
Sift flour 3 times and fold into egg yolk mixture gently but thoroughly.
Beat egg whites until foamy, add salt and beat until stiff but not dry.
Fold into yolk mixture.
Pour batter into a 9 inch ungreased springform pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.
TEST by pressing lightly with fingertips, if cake springs back at once, it is done.
Leave cake in the pan to cool and invert on a wire rack.
Once the cake is completely cool, slice it into 3 layers.
Sprinkle layers with the 1/4 cup rum.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
Crush ricotta very finely with a potato masher.
Add 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the 6 tablespoons rum, grated chocolate, chopped cherries and cinnamon.
Spread the ricotta filling over the sponge cake layers, using 1/2 inch of filling on each layer.
Leave the top and sides of the cake plain.
TO MAKE FROSTING:
Cream butter with 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar.
Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff and gradually beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar into the egg whites.
Fold egg whites into the butter mixture and fold in 1 teaspoon almond extract.
Cover sides and top of cake with this frosting evenly. Sprinkle nuts on the top and sides of the cake.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve it.
- Cleveland’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- New England’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Philadelphia’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Western Pennsylvania’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Italian American Neighborhoods – Boston (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Ybor City – Florida’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Baltimore’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Little Italy – Manhattan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
With classic springtime ingredients arriving at grocery stores and farmer’s markets, it’s time to lighten up that suppertime standby, pasta. Spring’s produce not only brings a variety of fresh flavors to the table; it also gives you a broad range of nutritional benefits. Freshly harvested vegetables taste great in spring pasta recipes and they’re full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Pasta makes an ideal partner for the lightest, most delicately flavored spring vegetables.The job of the noodles is to make a substantial, but never heavy, meal. It’s also fitting to celebrate the season’s produce bounty with pasta that’s just as varied, such as, farfalle bow ties, fluted garganelli tubes, long, hollow bucatini noodles or broad pappardelle ribbons. Dried pastas are pantry-friendly and offer a satisfying chew, when cooked al dente. Fresh pasta will also work for these lighter dishes.
Whatever vegetables you use, bump up the nutritional content of your spring pasta recipes by skipping regular white pasta and using whole grain varieties instead. Whole wheat and other whole grain pastas make healthy recipes even healthier because they’re produced using grains that haven’t had their germ and bran stripped from the grain. Leaving the grain intact allows you to gain the benefits of the whole grain, which include extra fiber, B vitamins, protein and antioxidants, as well as minerals like selenium, magnesium and potassium. Studies have shown that whole grains help protect against cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Also, whole grains help with weight control. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to find a variety of whole grain pasta options at the grocery store these days.
Pair hearty pasta with these delicate spring veggies and you’ll create a meal that’s both nutritious and satisfying. As different vegetables turn up at your market, you can change up the recipes for added variety. For the healthiest results, prepare dishes using plenty of fiber-rich veggies, smaller portions of pasta and lean protein to make them extra-filling.
Sauces used in springtime pasta dishes are not heavy or meaty. They might feature light protein, such as tuna or chicken, but they are typically vegetarian dishes. Light lemon sauces, vinaigrette and other thin dressings are most commonly used on spring pasta dishes. Light pesto sauces are also good choices. A simple pasta dish can be dressed with some olive oil, sea salt and grated Italian cheese. Including eggs in the preparation may help the dressing adhere to the pasta, as well as provide additional flavor. Chopped herbs can be added as desired.
Some favorite ingredients utilized in springtime pasta recipes are mushrooms and asparagus. Onions are popular inclusions, as are sugar snap peas. Fresh parsley is often included, too. Other fresh spring pasta herbs might include chives and dill. Escarole is frequently utilized in creating spring pastas dishes. Fresh spinach may also be tossed into the pasta. Another popular green used in spring dishes is Swiss chard.
Pasta Primavera is a very popular spring pasta meal. Zucchini and other squashes are often used in this pasta dish, as can broccoli florets and plum or cherry tomatoes. Tasty elements of crunch or nuttiness, from pine nuts to fava beans, are often included, though many of the spring vegetables, like radishes, can also provide plenty of crisp texture and flavor. Fresh cheeses may also be grated, lightly, on top of spring pastas.
Farfalle with Spring Vegetables
- 2 slices of sandwich bread, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 1 pound farfalle
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 fennel bulb—halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed, or 1 pound fresh peas, shelled
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350° F. On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let cool, then stir in 1 tablespoon each of the parsley and chives and 1/2 tablespoon of the tarragon. Season the crumbs with salt and pepper.
In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the broccolini until tender, about 1 minute. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the broccolini to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
Boil the pasta in the same pot until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
In a deep skillet, heat the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, fennel, scallions, peas and chopped broccolini and cook over moderate heat until the fennel is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.
Add the pasta, lemon juice and cooking water and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat until the water is nearly absorbed. Stir in the remaining herbs.
Sprinkle the pasta with the bread crumbs just before serving.
Pappardelle with Baby Spinach, Herbs and Ricotta
Fettuccine will also work if you can’t find pappardelle. Have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before beginning to cook—the pasta needs to be hot when mixed with the other ingredients to create a creamy consistency.
4 servings (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)
- 8 ounces uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup diced pancetta
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cook pasta with 1 tablespoon kosher salt according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.
Combine 1/2 cup reserved hot cooking liquid and ricotta cheese in a food processor or use an immersion blender and process until well blended.
Heat oil in a skillet and saute pancetta and garlic for a few minutes. Add spinach and cook just until wilted.
Combine hot pasta, cheese mixture, spinach mixture and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Add additional cooking liquid to moisten, if needed.
Chicken and Artichoke Fettuccine Alfredo
- 1/2 pound uncooked fettuccine
- 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup lowfat milk
- 4 ounces reduced fat Cream Cheese, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and halved or frozen and defrosted
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil and cook chicken over medium heat until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add the milk, cream cheese and salt to the skillet; cook and stir until smooth. Stir in the artichoke hearts, red pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Drain fettuccine. Stir in sauce and chicken; heat through. Sprinkle with basil.
Pasta with Squash and Sage Leaves
- 8 oz whole-wheat penne
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 sage leaves
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 medium butternut squash or any squash of choice (about 2 lbs), peeled and seeded, if needed, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Cook penne as directed on the package. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sage leaves, turning once, until crisp on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel.
Add onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 3 minutes. Add squash, 3/4 cups pasta water, salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash softens, 5 to 7 minutes. Add pasta to squash mixture; stir over low heat, add remaining pasta cooking water, if a thinner sauce is wanted.
Cook until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Serve, garnished with cheese and cooked sage leaves.
Pasta with Arugula Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
Makes: 4 servings
This twist on classic pesto swaps arugula for basil, making a peppery sauce with toasted pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. For something extra, grate a little Pecorino or Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
Sun-dried tomatoes come packed dry or in oil and can be found in most grocery stores. In this recipe use tomatoes packed in oil (just drain well) because they give more flavor than their dry counterparts (which need to be reconstituted before using).
- 1 pound pasta, such as orecchiette, gemelli, or conchiglie
- 10 ounces arugula, washed and tough stems removed
- 5 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and thinly sliced
Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, combine arugula, garlic, lemon juice and half of the pine nuts in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and process until evenly blended, about 2 minutes. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and process again to blend in seasoning.
Drain pasta and return to the pot (but do not return to the heat). Add arugula pesto, remaining pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta water, if needed. Mix until evenly combined.
Linguine with Spring Vegetables
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3/4 pounds linguine
- 1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise (quartered if large) and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces sugar snap peas, stem ends trimmed, halved
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes just short of al dente; add asparagus, zucchini and snap peas. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and vegetable mixture and set aside.
In the same pot, bring half & half and butter to a simmer. Add in pasta-vegetable mixture , cheese and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce (it will thicken as it stands).
Season with salt and pepper and top with tarragon.
- Springtime Pasta (simplysophisticatedcooking.wordpress.com)
- Springtime Asparagus Pasta (thericealwaysboilsover.wordpress.com)
- Barcelona Pasta (whatscookingmum.wordpress.com)
- Sinless Springtime Alfredo Pasta, with Peas and Prosciutto (indulgencerecreated.com)
- Springtime Pasta Salad (thebirdcreates.wordpress.com)
- Pasta Salad (thevegcookbook.wordpress.com)
The perfect sandwich is a healthy sandwich that tastes good and makes you full longer. Sandwiches are one of the most popular midday choices of on-the-go Americans. They’re quick, delicious and, if properly portioned, an option for losing weight. If you aren’t careful, though, a few high fat ingredients can add hundreds of extra calories. So before you make that sandwich, make sure you know what hidden calories are lurking between those bread slices. If you make smart choices regarding the basic elements of a sandwich, you’ll be building healthier sandwiches in no time.
1. Select healthy bread.
- High-fiber whole wheat bread.
- High protein bread.
- Wraps and pita bread (they are thin and have fewer calories). Whole wheat versions are even better.
- Reduced calorie bread.
- Multigrain bread.
2. Find high-quality proteins.
Most (although not all) sandwiches benefit from tasty, high-quality protein. What is available and healthy to you may vary by region or supermarket. Keep in mind portion control–a serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of playing cards.
Consider the choices:
- Classic deli meats: Turkey, chicken, ham, roast beef, corned beef and others without nitrates.
- Tip: Check the sodium in prepackaged and even deli-fresh meats; most products run high. Cut the sodium by slicing meat you have roasted at home or by asking specifically for meats lower in sodium.
- Vegetarian spreads: Hummus, peanut butter, cashew butter, tahini, vegetarian patties
- Salads: Tuna fish salad, seafood salad, chicken salad.
3. Cheese. Although cheese can add a good deal of fat, it also contains a good deal of calcium.
- Harder cheeses, such as Swiss and Cheddar that usually have less fat.
- Softer cheeses (like Blue cheese) may have more fat, but if spread thinly, can add overall less fat than slices of hard cheese.
- You can even use low-fat cheese in a sandwich.
4. Dressing. Sandwiches usually taste best with a little condiment added–but it is optional.
- Mustard, salad dressings, salsa and lowfat mayonnaise all add little calories and lots of flavor.
- Avoid high-fat salad dressings, and regular mayonnaise in a sandwich.
5. Vegetables. A sandwich is a great way to slip in a lot of vegetables into a meal. Make sure they are fresh and crisp.
- Sliced tomatoes
- Cucumbers or pickles
- Onions: sweet or red
- Peppers: sweet or hot
- Bean sprouts
- Apples (especially good with ham)
- Sauerkraut (with corned beef is a classic Reuben Sandwich)
- Herbs (Basil tastes terrific in a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich)
Consider heating or toasting:
Heating or toasting a sandwich adds no calories and can greatly enhance the taste. Add lettuce after heating.
Sandwiches are even healthier with classic pairings like carrot and celery sticks, a bowl of healthy soup or a side salad.
A sandwich is a marvelous canvas to work with and while there are classic pairings (peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese on rye, grilled cheese, BLT, etc.) you can come up with a new favorites.
Here are a few ideas to start you off.
- 2 cups packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (supermarket coleslaw mix)
- 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing
- 2 tablespoons Thousand Island salad dressing
- 8 1/2 inch thick slices rye bread
- 8 ounces sliced, cooked low sodium turkey breast
- 4 slices provolone cheese (4 ounces) (reduced fat works just fine in this sandwich)
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- Pickle spears
In a medium bowl, combine coleslaw mix and Italian salad dressing; set aside.
Spread Thousand Island salad dressing on one side of each bread slice.
Place four of the bread slices, dressing sides up, on a work surface; top with turkey, cheese, tomato and coleslaw mixture.
Top with remaining bread slices, dressing sides down.
Preheat a large skillet sparayed with nonfat cooking spray over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook sandwiches, half at a time, for 4 to 6 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, turning once. If desired, serve with pickle spears.
Oven Fried Green Tomato BLT Sandwiches
Makes 4 servings
Green Tomatoes & Garnish
- 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg white
- 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 large green tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 8 slices cooked bacon
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 4 hamburger buns
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 sweet gherkins, chopped, or 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
To cook tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a parchment paper-lined baking pan.
Whisk together buttermilk and egg white in a medium bowl.
Mix together cornmeal, salt, paprika and cayenne in a shallow dish.
Dip the tomato slices into the buttermilk mixture, then transfer to the cornmeal mixture. Gently turn each slice in the cornmeal mixture to coat.
Transfer the slices to the wire rack on the baking sheet. Lightly coat tomatoes on each side with cooking spray.
Bake the tomatoes in the hot oven until both sides are well browned, 18 to 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.
To make remoulade sauce:
While the tomatoes are in the oven, combine mayonnaise, sour cream (or yogurt), horseradish, mustard, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, scallions, gherkins (or pickle relish) and capers in a small bowl.
To assemble sandwiches:
Place lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns. Top with tomato slices, remoulade sauce and bacon; cover with bun tops.
Tuna Steak Sandwiches
- 2 tuna fillets, each 4 ounces
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat Caesar dressing, recipe below
- 2 whole-grain onion buns
- 2 lettuce leaves
- 2 slices tomato
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
Sprinkle the tuna fillets with pepper. Place the fillets on the grill rack or broiler pan. Brush the tuna with 2 tablespoons of the Caesar dressing while cooking.
Grill or broil until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, about 8 minutes. Just before taking the tuna off the grill, place buns on the grill or broiler pan to toast.
Place the tuna steaks on the buns. Top with lettuce and tomato. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Caesar dressing. Serve immediately.
Caesar Salad Dressing
Makes about 1/2 cup.
- 1/2 small clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Place garlic and salt in a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon to form a paste.
Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy paste (if using), and pepper; whisk to combine.
Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add cheese and whisk to combine.
The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Egg-Vegetable Salad Wraps
- 6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow summer squash or zucchini
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh tarragon or basil or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon or basil, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 6 leaf lettuce leaves
- 6 whole wheat flour tortillas
- 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
In a large bowl combine eggs, cucumber, squash, carrot and red onion.
in a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, milk, tarragon or basil, salt and paprika.
Pour the dressing over egg mixture and toss gently to coat.
For each sandwich:
Place a lettuce leaf on a tortilla. Place 3 or 4 tomato slices on top of the lettuce, slightly off center. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture on top of the tomato slices. Roll up tortilla.
If necessary, secure with toothpicks. Cut the tortilla rolls in half crosswise.
Mediterranean Chicken Panini
- Olive oil nonstick cooking spray
- 1 recipe Tomato-Pepper Spread, below
- 2 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces total)
- 4 slices whole wheat bread or multigrain ciabatta rolls, split
- 1 small zucchini
Lightly coat an unheated panini griddle, covered indoor electric grill or large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat or heat according to manufacturer’s directions.
Add chicken. If using griddle or grill, close lid and grill for 6 to 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. (If using a skillet, cook chicken for 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning once.)
Cool chicken slightly; split each chicken piece in half horizontally and cut crosswise into 2-inch-wide slices.
Spread the Tomato-Pepper Spread on cut sides of the bread. Place chicken on bottom half of the bread.
Using a vegetable peeler, cut very thin lengthwise strips from the zucchini. Place zucchini strips on top of the chicken. Place bread tops on top of the zucchini, tomato pepper spread side down. Press down lightly. Lightly coat the top and bottom of each sandwich with nonstick cooking spray.
Place sandwiches on griddle, grill or skillet, adding in batches if necessary.
If using griddle or grill, close lid and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until bread is toasted. If using skillet, place a heavy saucepan or skillet on top of sandwiches. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bottoms are toasted.
Carefully remove saucepan or top skillet it may be hot. Turn sandwiches; top again with the saucepan or skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until bread is toasted.
Yield: 1/3 cup
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil packed)
- 3 tablespoons boiling water
- 1/3 cup drained bottled roasted red peppers
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a small bowl combine sundried tomatoes and the boiling water. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Transfer undrained tomato mixture to a small food processor (if you have a larger food processor you will need to stop and scrape down sides occasionally).
Add roasted red sweet peppers, balsamic vinegar, oregano, garlic and black pepper. Cover and process until smooth.
Grilled Vegetable Pitas
- 14 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Dash salt
- Dash ground black pepper
- 1/4 of a medium yellow or red sweet pepper, stem and seeds removed
- 1/4 cup chopped tomato
- 1 large whole wheat pita bread round, halved crosswise
- 8 fresh spinach leaves
- 8 small fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
If present, remove and discard mushroom stem. If desired, remove mushroom gills. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Gently brush half of the oil mixture over mushroom and sweet pepper.
Place mushroom and pepper on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly charred and tender, turning frequently.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining oil mixture and the tomato; toss gently to coat. Cut grilled mushroom and pepper into bite-size strips. Add mushroom and pepper strips to tomato mixture; toss gently to combine.
Open pita halves to create pockets. Line pita pockets with spinach and basil leaves. Fill pita pockets with grilled vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.
Grilled Steak Sandwich
- 1 (8- to 10-ounce) lean sirloin steak or 8 to 10 ounces leftover steak
- 1 baguette, cut into 4 (5-inch) pieces
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
- 2 cups arugula or lettuce
Preheat the grill. Lightly oil the steak and grill it for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly.
While steak is resting, cut baguette in half horizontally.
In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and blue cheese.
Spread half the bread with the mayonnaise mixture; top with sliced steak and arugula. Top with remaining baguette half and divide into fourths.
- Vegetables Make the Sandwich (3despikipbojonegoro.wordpress.com)
- The Simple, Soothing Sandwich (fishstickstosushi.wordpress.com)
- Basics of tuna melt, a sandwich classic (utsandiego.com)