Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

One Pot Chili

I

I am on a winter vacation with my family and not doing very much cooking. I do cook a dish or two each week and when I was reading the New York Times last week I saw an easy recipe for chili. I made it even easier by using canned refrigerator biscuits. The recipe turned out quite well and it comes to get her very quickly. Great for a weeknight.

ONE POT TURKEY CHILI

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey

1 large onion, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

26-28 oz whole canned tomatoes

2 -15 oz cans low sodium pinto beans, drained

1 can -8 refrigerated biscuits-I used Pillsbury Grands

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

Add the oil to a deep 10-12 inch ovenproof skillet and heat until sizzling. Add the ground turkey. Cook stirring frequently until no longer pink.Add the chopped onion and until tender, about 5 minutes, Add the garlic, jalapeño pepper and spices. Stir for about a minute, Add the tomatoes and their juices.Break up the whole tomatoes. Stir well. Add the beans and stir. Turn off the heat and place the biscuits evenly on top.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake the chili for 25-39 minutes until the biscuits are brown and the chili is bubbling.

Adapted from the NYT -One Pot Turkey Chili And Biscuits

 

 

 

Hearty Winter Fare

Beef Burgundy

Like other stews, Beef Burgundy, tastes best when made ahead so the flavors have time to mingle. Serve with noodles, rice, mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash.

Roasted carrots make a nice side dish.

Ingredients

1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and black pepper
5 slices bacon, cut into thirds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour or arrowroot powder
1 (750-ml) bottle good dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 lb mushrooms, trimmed and halved
1-2 cups beef broth
2 cloves garlic head, crushed
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

Directions

Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is lightly browned on both sides.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Break into smaller pieces.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the pan and melt.

In batches, in single layers, sear the beef in the hot pan for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Remove the seared cubes with a slotted spoon to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Add onions the garlic to the pan and saute for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour or arrowroot over the onions and stir until no dry flour remains. Whisk in the wine, tomato paste and anchovy paste until combined.

Add the bay leaves, mushrooms and thyme to the pan.

Add the beef and bacon and enough beef broth to come almost to the top of the beef.

Place the pan, uncovered, into the oven and cook until the meat is tender, 3 ½-4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding broth, if needed, to keep the meat half-submerged in liquid.

Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Stew can be made up to 3 days in advance.

 

Creamy Seafood Stew

Serve with Focaccia Bread and a Winter Salad. Recipes below.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cups seafood stock or clam juice
1 teaspoon seafood (Old Bay) seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 lb firm boneless fish fillets (such as halibut, cod, red snapper, sea bass, grouper), cut into small cubes
8 oz medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, tails removed and cut in half
8 oz sea scallops, halved
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir into the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook the vegetables until tender. Remove the cover and the salt, pepper, chili flakes, seafood seasoning, thyme, and tomatoes. Sir well.

Add the fish cubes, Cook stirring the mixture gently for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and scallops and cook for 2 minutes more or until the seafood is cooked. Add the cream, parsley, and remaining tablespoon butter, heating gently until the butter is incorporated. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve in large individual pasta bowls.

Winter Tomato Soup

img_0001-2

Winter Tomato Soup

If you don’t like peeling tomatoes as much as I do, here is a technique I use to get around it. I usually purchase fresh Roma tomatoes for cooking and put them in the freezer when I get home from shopping. One day before I am going to cook with them, I place the amount I need in the refrigerator to defrost. The next day, the skins slip right off and are ready for the pot.

Ingredients

6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
Two 26 oz containers finely chopped Italian tomatoes (Pomi)
1 teaspoon honey
4 cups organic broth (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: add ½ cup half & half to make a creamy version
Basil for garnish

Directions

img_0007

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onions, cover and cook until they are soft and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the the fresh and canned tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper to taste and the broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes with the cover ajar. Remove the pot from the heat.

With an immersion blender or in a processor, puree the soup. If adding cream, add it here and warm the soup. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve hot garnished with basil

Chicken Pot Pie

This pie makes use of leftovers. I used chicken in this recipe but this could easily be a beef pot pie using leftover roasted beef or steak, beef gravy, and leftover vegetables.
If you are on a low carb or gluten-free diet, I have included recipes for both regular pastry and a low carb/gluten-free pastry.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups leftover cooked chicken, cubed

½ cup frozen peas
2 cups chopped leftover vegetables or a combination of carrots, onions, green beans, or peas
1 cup leftover chicken gravy
Pie Crust Dough for a double crust (store-bought or homemade recipes below)
Melted butter

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, vegetables, and gravy. Mix well and set aside.


Place one rolled-out pastry crust in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Add the chicken filling and cover with a second crust. Crimp the edges and seal the crust all around the pie. Cut 4 slits in the top crust and brush the top with melted butter. (Pie can be refrigerated until ready to bake.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower oven heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly about 30 minutes.

All-Purpose Flour Pastry

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks (16 oz) COLD unsalted butter diced into 1/4″ pieces
6 tablespoons of ice water

Directions

Place flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

Add cold diced butter and pulse the mixture until coarse crumbs form.
Add ice water and pulse just until moist clumps or small balls form and the dough sticks together when pinched. If the dough is too dry, add more water a teaspoon full at a time. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll out.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and gather dough together into a ball. Divide dough in half and flatten to form 2 disks.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour before using in the recipes.


Place each disk between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper and roll each into 13 inch round circles.

 

 

 

Pizza Night

Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sausage and Peppers Topping

8 oz spicy Italian Sausage, cut into thin slices

1 lb small bell peppers, sliced thin

1 large onion sliced thin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Olive oil

Pizza Sauce

26 oz container strained Italian tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

One day before making the pizza:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Preheat a large sauté pan on medium-high and place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, then add sausage and cook until browned about 6 minutes, stirring until no pink remains. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, peppers, and onions and saute until the vegetables are tender.

Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan. Top the crust with slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, peppers, onions, and sausage.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Homemade Italian Country Bread

Ingredients

2 teaspoons SAF (instant) yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Place the warm water in an electric mixing bowl. Add honey. Mix until the honey is dissolved.
Add the 4 cups of flour and salt and mix. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the flour.

Using the paddle attachment on number 2 speed, mix the dough until a dough forms that holds together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and continue kneading for 7-8 minutes, until the dough is soft but supple.

Shape the dough into a ball. Spray the mixer bowl with olive oil cooking spray and place the ball of dough back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 60 minutes.

Place a sheet of parchment paper in a 9 or 10-inch pan or shallow dish. Turn the dough out onto the parchment pan or dish. Gently shape the dough into a round and cover with greased plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes or more.

At the same time put a covered Cloche pan or Dutch Oven in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Do not grease or spray the Cloche pan or Dutch Oven.

After the dough has risen for 30 minutes and the oven temperature is at 500 degrees F, open the oven and take the lid off the cloche pan.

USE A THICK POTHOLDER BECAUSE THE LID IS VERY HOT!

Transfer the dough while on the parchment to the bottom of the hot cloche pan. Cover with the cloche lid.

Bake for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and remove the cloche li Continue reading

Italian Style Short rRbs For The New Year

Short Ribs

I like to serve this dish with potato gnocchi and garden peas.

8-10 servings

Ingredients

6 lb. English-style beef short ribs
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
2 diced carrots
1 medium diced onion
1 small-diced fennel bulb
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon. finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1teaspoon minced anchovies
2 cups dry red wine
26-28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
2 cup lower-salt beef broth

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. In an 8-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons. of the oil over medium heat.

Place 1 cup flour,  2 teas[oons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large ziplock plastic bag. Add the ribs and shake the bag until the ribs are coated.

Add half of the ribs to the pot (or as many as will fit without overlap), and cook, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a platter and repeat with the remaining ribs. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the pan.

Add the remaining oil, carrots, onions, and fennel to the pan. Season with salt. Cook, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, paprika, coriander, and anchovies, and cook, stirring, until well distributed and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour the red wine into the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, until the liquid is bubbling
Transfer all the ribs (and any juices that have accumulated) back into the pot. Add the tomatoes and beef broth,  Arrange the ribs as evenly as possible and no more than two layers deep. You may also transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and cover it with foil.

Place the pan or dish in the oven.  Cook, turning the ribs with tongs about every 40 minutes, until they are fork-tender, about3/4 hours. (The meat may fall off most of the bones about midway through cooking; this does not mean that the ribs are fully tender.)

Serve the ribs with the sauce spooned over, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Make-Ahead Tips

It’s best to braise short ribs a day ahead for a couple of reasons. First, this allows you to chill the sauce so it can be defatted thoroughly. Also, the flavors only get better with time. To reheat, arrange the meat snugly in a baking dish, cover with foil, and put in a 350°F oven. Reheat the sauce on the stovetop.

New Year’s Eve/Day Entertaining

img_0514

During the holidays or for game events, I like to serve small plate foods. Guests can serve themselves and take what they like when they want it. These plates look attractive and can often be prepared in advance. I set up a few hot plates and place the dishes on there so they stay warm for several hours. I often make Eggplant Parmesan and Greek spinach and Feta Pie and cut them into small squares as an option.

7c0d1d73-8647-4306-8222-f9eed2e9a1cb_1000

For Christmas, I received a Himalayan Salt block as a gift. As the name suggests, a Himalayan Salt Block is a large block of pink salt and mine came with a tray with handles that holds the block securely. The block can be frozen to keep foods cold and it can also be used on the grill. I used mine for a get-together of friends on New Year’s Day and served smoked salmon and whitefish on the block. It looked very attractive and gave the fish a little salt flavor.

img_0513

Other dishes that work well for small plates are Italian Sausage and Peppers, small sandwiches, celery stuffed with flavored cream cheese, shrimp salad, and, of course, a cheeseboard.

img_0004

Here are some recipes for small plates that I like to serve.

img_0001

Mozzarella-Stuffed Arancini

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for cooking
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
16-20 small fresh mozzarella balls (about 6 ounces)
2-3 cups cold risotto
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups panko or traditional bread crumbs
Marinara Sauce, for serving

Directions

In a medium saute pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add in the oregano and basil and stir until the herbs are wilted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the herb mixture to the mozzarella balls and stir to mix.

img_0003

Take approximately 2 tablespoons of cold risotto in your palm and flatten slightly. Add one mozzarella ball covered in the herb mix to the center. Cover the cheese with the rice and roll into a ball form. Dip the ball into flour, shaking lightly to remove any clumps, then into the beaten eggs, and finally, roll the ball in the bread crumbs. Place the coated balls on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining risotto until all of the risotto and/or cheese balls are used.

Pour enough olive oil into a deep skillet to just cover the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil and add the arancini. Cook on all sides until lightly brown all over. Drain on paper towels.

Note: I usually make them in advance and then reheat them before serving in a 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes.

img_0010

Sautéed Calamari

Ingredients

For the bread crumb topping:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

For the calamari:

1/2 pound cleaned squid cut into rings, dry on paper towels, air dry, and then move to a plate
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Make the bread crumb topping:

Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet and add the garlic and Italian seasoning. Saute for a minute. Add the breadcrumbs and stir until lightly brown. Set aside

For the calamari:

Heat a medium skillet and add the olive oil. Then garlic, butter, and chili flakes. Add calamari, salt and pepper, and parsley and cook 1-2 minutes Squeeze lemon over the fish and sprinkle lightly with the toasted bread crumbs.

Note: It is important not to overcook calamari or it will become tough. A minute or two is all it needs to cook.

img_0006

Roast Beef Rolls

Ingredients

½ lb deli-sliced roast beef, cut very thin
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into squares
3 cups baby arugula
Italian salad dressing
Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Pour a little salad dressing over the arugula and mix well. You just want the leaves moistened not drowning in dressing.

Place the roast beef slices on a work surface.

Place a piece of roasted pepper on top. Then add a spoonful of arugula salad.

Roll each slice up tightly and arrange it on a serving platter. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

img_0009

Chicken Pesto Sliders

Ingredients

12 small dinner rolls or slider rolls
½ lb deli-sliced roast chicken, sliced very thin
2-3 plum tomatoes sliced thin
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
Basil Pesto

Directions

Spread a little pesto on both sides of the rolls.

On each roll place 2 slices of chicken, a slice of tomato, and a slice of mozzarella.

Close the rolls and place them on a baking sheet.

Heat in a 325 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes, just until the cheese starts to melt.

Remove the sliders from the oven and place them on a serving tray.

Happy New Year

 MakeTraditional Italian American Sunday “Gravy” Sauce For Christmas Dinner

100_0806

The Meat

The Sauce Ingredients

The Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian fennel sausage, cut into links
  • 11 to 12 ounces boneless pork ribs
  • Meatballs, recipe below
  • Braciole, recipe below
  • 3 (26-ounce) containers of Italian chopped tomatoes, without salt or sugar, added
  • 2 (26-ounce) containers of Italian crushed tomatoes, without salt or sugar, added
  • 2-6 ounce cans of tomato paste
  • Water
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon each salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Meatballs

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 pound pasture-raised ground pork
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Braciole

  • 1 pound beef top round, flank steak or strip steak, pounded thin
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large clove garlic chopped finely
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • String (butcher’s twine) to secure the rolls

Pasta

  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 7-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

To make the Braciola:

100_0799

Lay the meat out on aboard. Pound with a mallet to thin the meat. Cut the meat into 5-6” slices.

In a small bowl combine the olive oil, chopped parsley, shallots, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, pignoli, if using, and salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the beef rolls. Fold in the sides over the filling of each roll. Roll up each slice and secure it with kitchen string.

100_0800

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and coat them with olive oil cooking spray. Place the sausage links on one baking sheet. The second baking pan is for the meatballs.

100_0798

In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the boneless pork ribs. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until browned all over. Place on a clean plate.

100_0802

Add the Braciola and brown them on all sides. Transfer to the plate with the pork and cover with foil to keep warm.

100_0803

Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomato paste. Fill the empty paste cans with water and add to the pot. Stir into the onions and let cook for 2 or 3 minutes.

100_0805

Pour in all the tomatoes and fill one tomato container with water and add it to the pot. Add the seasonings (crushed red pepper – parsley), the pork ribs, and the sausage. Bring to a boil; reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked meatballs and Braciola to the gravy, after it has simmered for one hour. Simmer for an additional 3 to 4 hours (if you want it thick and rich). Stir in the fresh basil just before adding the gravy to the pasta.

In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Once cooked, drain and add the gravy. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve the meat on a big platter, so diners can choose what they want.

100_0804

Add the water to the bread crumbs, mix well, and let sit for a few minutes. Place the meat in a large bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cheese, and parsley to the meat. In a small bowl, beat the egg with salt and pepper and add to the meat mixture. Add the moistened bread crumbs. Mix the ingredients with your hands until the consistency is moist and the meat holds together well. Using your hands, roll the meatballs into 1 1/2-inch ball. Two pounds of meat should make about 18 to 20 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until browned, turning them over after 10 minutes. Cover and keep warm.

100_0801

Place the pan of sausage links in the oven at the same time and bake the sausage until browned. Turn over halfway through baking. Add the sausage to the gravy when the pork ribs are added.


100_0807

Servethesauceandmeatwithyourfavoritepasta.


%d bloggers like this: