Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Easy Cinnamon Raisin bread

 

This recipe makes two large loaves of bread that can be used for toast, FrenchToast of sandwiches.

Ingredients

1 1⁄2 cups milk
1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
3 eggs
1⁄2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup raisins
8 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon or more if you prefer a stronger taste.

Directions

Soak the raisins in hot water while you prepare the dough.

Combine all the ingredients except the raisins in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Switch to the dough hook, sprinkle in the drained raisins.

Knead the dough until smooth.

Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough.

Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise until doubled. about 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough in half and form it into logs. Place the logs into two greased 9” by 5” bread pans. Let rise, covered, until the dough crowns over the top of the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 20 minutes.

Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on a rack.

Using Up the Ratatouille

Last week I shared the ratatouille recipe that I made with the freshest end-of-the-summer vegetables. The recipe is versatile and I was able to create a number of dishes from the recipe. The first was an appetizer with brie, the second a delicious pizza and the third was a hearty pasta dish.

Here is the link to the ratatouille recipe.

Pizza

Ingredients

1 lb of your favorite pizza dough

16 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced

2 cups leftover ratatouille

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 459 degrees F.

Oil a large pizza pan and place the dough on the pan. Using your fingers push the dough to the edges of the pan.

Distribute the cheese slices over the dough. Spread the ratatouille over the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Place the pan in the oven and cook until lightly brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Pasta

Ingredients

5 Spicy Italian sausage links, casing removed

2 cups leftover ratatouille

2 cups canned Iranian tomatoes chopped

1 lb short pasta

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Place the sausage in a large deep skillet. Brown the meat breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it browns. add the ratatouille and tomatoes. Heat on low for 39 minutes.

Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions. Do not drain. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the cooked pasta from the skillet. Stir well and let the pasta cook in the sauce, Mix well and add the grated cheese. Serve in pasta bowls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Culinary Stories-Gullah Crab Cakes

America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland. True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

Gullah cuisine originated in the Gullah-Geechee community. These West African Slave Descendants farmed the rice plantations of the Lowcountry back in the 1700s. The Southern region now embraces its traditional food customs. Gullah Recipes are based on rice, simmered vegetables, and fresh seafood. Specifically, oysters, shrimp, grits, and okra are commonly incorporated. These beloved, cultural dishes boast a rich history and even richer flavors.

Crab cakes are popular in the Lowcountry, as blue crabs are abundant off the Carolina coast. While there’s nothing highly unusual about the way crab cakes are done here—the name is really to distinguish them from Maryland crab cakes, which are (presumably) sourced from the Chesapeake Bay and tend to use Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in their preparation—the typical way of doing these in Charleston is with lots and lots of fresh lump crab meat (and very little filler), some mayo, herbs like parsley, dill, or tarragon, and often a dash of hot sauce or cayenne for a little kick; then they’re almost always pan-fried/seared.

Shrimp, crab, peas, rice, okra, and greens – these are some of the nuts and bolts of Gullah dishes. Descendants of enslaved West Africans, the Gullah people have been preparing their recipes for centuries, with many of the dishes, rooted in a culture that is thousands of years old.

The cuisine of the Gullah, who still maintains a presence in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and sea islands, relies upon the gifts of land and sea. The ingredients are locally sourced in season in keeping with the ways of old. Okra soup, purloins (seasoned dishes of rice and meat), seafood soups, red rice, garlic crabs, and “Reezy Peezy,” a simple mainstay made from stewed field peas, are some of the delicious dishes that can be enjoyed today, thanks to the culinary traditions kept alive by this remarkable culture.

Though most Gullah cooking happens in the privacy of family kitchens, there is a small treasure trove of establishments where you can sample these special foods. Restaurants with dedicated Gullah menus are rare, so it’s likely you’ll find Gullah dishes mingled in with Southern or soul food fare. Click here to learn about these distinctions. Most Gullah-owned restaurants are modest and no-frills, but that’s part of the experience. Fancy is fine, but if you want a true taste of South Carolina’s culinary heritage, seek out these restaurants and eat the Gullah way.

Version One

I made this version because it is different from my usual recipe. It is delicious.

Charleston Grill 

Ingredients

Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat

1 egg white

1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2  cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Butter or olive oil, to cook

Sauce

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into thin strips

10 red pear tomatoes

10 yellow pear tomatoes

2 limes, juiced

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh dill.

Directions

Crab Cakes

Mix together the mayo, salt, pepper, egg white, zest, juice, chives, and thyme. Fold in the crab meat. Add pano crums. Add just enough for the mixture to hold together.

Form mixture into patties and refrigerate for several hours, if possible.

Saute in butter or oil until crisp and golden on both sides.

Sauce

I made half the amount of sauce because it seemed to be too much for us.

1. Heat shallots in oil, then add shrimp and cook.

2. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.

3. Serve warm over crab cakes.

Version Two

Charleston Crab Cakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup minced red onions

1/3 cup minced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1lb lump or jumbo lump crabmeat (picked over for shells and drained of any liquid)

3/4 cup panko crumbs

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Place onions, bell pepper, tarragon, and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl and combine. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Add the panko and season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. The panko will absorb some of the moisture and the mixture will stay together.

Layout a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter surface. Place half of the crab mixture on it and use a spatula or a spoon to form it into a tube about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Bring the wrap-up over the crab and roll the crab mixture up. Twist the ends to close. Pierce any air pockets with a toothpick or skewer. Twist the ends even tighter to compress the crab mixture. Tuck under the ends of the wrap and place the tube on a plate. Repeat with the second half of the crab cake mixture. Place the tubes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to cook, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cut the tubes of crabmeat into 1 1/4-inch-thick cake.s. Gently remove the plastic wrap, leaving the cakes in nice cylinders.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan (non-stick works well here) over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Gently place 4 of the crab cakes in the pan and sear for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gently turn the cakes over and sear the other side until golden brown. Place them on a baking sheet and into the oven to keep warm. Wipe the pan, add the remaining olive oil and repeat this process for the other 4 crab cakes. (If you have a big enough pan, you can cook 6 or 8 of them at the same time and skip the warming oven, but the cakes need room to sear properly and be turned so be careful not to crowd the pan).

End Of The Summer Ratatouille

 

Ingredients

2 zucchini (6 to 8 inches long), ends trimmed 

4 small eggplant,

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded

1green bell pepper, seeded

1 red onion,l

2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

½ cup extra Virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 large Roma tomatoes

¼ cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut the zucchini, onion,  tomatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers into ½-inch cubes 

Place the zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, onion, ¼ cup olive oil,,1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons black pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour the vegetables onto a large sheet pan. Roast for 30minutes.

Heat the teaming oil in a Dutch Oven. Add the roasted vegetables and remaining ingredients to the pan. Simmer for one hour. Refrigerate overnight to develop the flavors.

Serve at room temperature with crusty bread and Brie cheese.

 

Beef Tenderloin Steaks Au Poivre

Steaks Au PoivRE

I SERVED BAKED POTATO AND GREEN BEANS WITH THE STEAK.

Ingredients

2 beef tenderloin steaks, 6 oz each
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
1 1/2 tablespoons green peppercorns
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

Place the peppercorns in a plastic bag and coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mallet


Pat the filets dry with paper towels. Place the steaks between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to an even ½- inch thick.

Sprinkle the filets with salt and then press the crushed pepper evenly on both sides. Allow resting at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and the oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high.. Place the steaks in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Saute the steaks for 4 minutes on 1 side and then for 3 minutes on the other side, for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the saute pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir. Add the cream and stir. Return the steaks to the pan and the pan and coat the steaks in the sauce.

STUFFED EGGPLANT PARMESAN

 

2 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

2 small eggplants, about 10 oz each

¼ cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet Italian sausage link cooked and diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

5 basil leaves, chopped 

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice a thin layer off the top of each eggplant

Hollow out the flesh of the eggplant to create a boat using a melon baller or small serrated spoon.

Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the onion. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant flesh and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, salt, and pepper to taste the tomato and the chopped sausage. Let the mixture cool. Stir in the mozzarella. Stuff the eggplant shells equally with the filling and place them into a small baking dish,

Top each with 1 teaspoon each of Pecorino Romano cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more.

Mahi Mahi Mexican style

Mahi Mahi

Ingredients

3 ¼-inch slices of red onion from a large onion, cut in half

8 (6ounces) mini sweet bell peppers, seeded and quartered

1 clove garlic, grated

1 teaspoon fajita seasoning or taco seasoning

2 Mahi Mahi fillets about 5 ounces each

¼ cup salsa

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Avocado oil

1 lime

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Heat one tablespoon of avocado oil in a medium skillet. Add the sliced onions and peppers.

Drizzle a teaspoon of oil in the bottom of a small baking dish.

place the mahi-mahi pieces on top and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and drizzle with butter, top with sliced lemon, and sprinkle with the parsley and cilantro, cover and bake at 350 for about 30 mins or slightly firm to touch.

Black Bean And Corn Saute

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/21 a small onion, finely chopped

1 cup cooked with cooking liquid or canned black beans

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup canned green chiles, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup fresh corn kernels

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and very soft, about 10 minutes.

Drain the black beans, and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the beans, the reserved bean liquid, and the remaining ingredients to the saucepan; cover, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts And Gnocchi For Dinner

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 to 4 servings depending on how large you like your portions.
I prefer to butterfly the chicken rather than cut a pocket. The breasts are much easier to fill if butterflied.

Ingredients

2 {8 oz} boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil,

For the stuffing
1/4 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon olive oil

Breading
½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 egg beaten
1 cup panko crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
4 slices of tomato from a large tomato, ¼ inch thick
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl combine the stuffing ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Pat the chicken breast dry. Place the breast on a cutting board. With a boning knife, butterfly the breast. Place it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet to even the meat out. Repeat with the second breast.

Place half of the filling on one breast. Press down firmly on the filling to help it stick to the breast. Fold the other half over the filling and press the edges to seal. Repeat with the second breast.
Dredge the breasts in flour, then dip in the egg, and finally press in the panko crumbs. Place the breast in an oiled baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and top each breast with two tomato slices. Place the dish back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F.

Gnocchi With Peas

Ingredients

One 17 oz pkg Potato Gnocchi or

Homemade Gnocchi

2 pounds russet potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To make homemade gnocchi

In a covered 8-quart Dutch oven cook potatoes in enough boiling water to cover about 20 minutes or just until tender (do not overcook); drain. Peel potatoes.

While potatoes are still hot, push through a ricer into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add about half of the flour; mix well. Stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Divide dough in thirds.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough at a time into a 1-inch-thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the top of each piece. Place on a baking sheet; chill while preparing the sauce (up to 2 hours).

Heat the butter and peas.

To cook the gnocchi

In the Dutch oven bring a large amount of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the gnocchi; cook for 10 to 15 seconds or until the gnocchi starts to float to the top. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi as they rise to the top of the boiling water, to the p of the pan with the butter and peas. Add the cheese and mix well. Serve.

 

Beef Stroganoff with Noodles

Beef Stroganoff

Serve with a salad.

Ingredients

1 pound beef tenderloin fillet tips
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter,
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 small onion, sliced
4 oz sliced mushrooms
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
5-6 oz egg noodles, cooked to package directions
Chopped parsley leaves, garnish

Directions

Cook the noodles, drain, and reserve.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add beef and flour mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until beef is browned. Gradually add broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add mushrooms; cover and cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in sour cream mixture. Cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until heated (do not boil). Stir in parsley, if desired. Serve over the egg noodles.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf Dinner

Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 celery stalk chopped fine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup low sugar ketchup
2 pounds of lean ground round
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten slightly
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the meat, eggs, vegetables, bread crumbs, ketchup, seasonings, and parsley. Form into a loaf and put into an oiled rectangular baking pan with inch-high sides.

Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

Salt
3 ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ to ⅓ cup heavy cream

Directions

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until very soft, about 20-25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put them into a ricer and press the potatoes back into the cooking pot. Add the butter and just enough cream to moisten. Taste for salt and warm the potatoes.

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients

1 bunch kale
Salt and pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, sliced in half
¼ cup olive oil

Directions

Remove the kale leaves from the stalks. Chop into small pieces. Wash well and dry in a salad spinner.
Heat the garlic and oil in a deep skillet. Add the kale, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook the kale over low heat until soft, about 30 to 40 minutes.


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