Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

What Is In Season-Blueberries

My blueberry bushes are producing lots of berries right now, so I am busy thinking up ways to use them

Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients

One 9-9nch prepared pie pastry

For the filling
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping
1cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°.Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Place the pastry in the pan and crimp the edges.

Make the filling: Mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Transfer to the prepared pie pan.

Make the topping: Stir together flour, oats, baking powder, melted butter, and salt. Using your hands, squeeze topping pieces together into clumps.

Sprinkle topping evenly overfilling. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake until bubbling in center and brown on top, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Thick Pork chops For Dinner

Pork Chops

Ingredients

Dry Rub

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

The Pork

2 large bone-in pork chops (1-inch thick)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit the pork chops.

In a small bowl, mix the dry rub ingredients.

Rub the pork chops with olive oil and season them with a dry rub. Make sure you rub the seasoning all over the pork chops (both sides).

Place the pork chops onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees. 

Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil. While the meat rests – the temperature will redistribute (carryover cooking) and the internal temperature will rise about 5 to 10 degrees.

Oven Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

1 bunch fresh organic carrots about 6

2 tablespoon butter

Slat and pepper

Directions

Cut the ends off the carrots and wash well. Dry.

Oil a 13×9-inch baking pan.

Place the carrots close together in a single layer in the pan..

Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and dot with the butter.

Seal the foil on top and on the edges. Place the pan in the oven with the pork chops and cook until tender. They take about the same time as the pork chops. How tender you want them is up to your taste.

Garlic and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

6 large baking potatoes (about 4 pounds), peeled and diced

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt and pepper

Directions

Place potatoes and garlic in a heavy large pot. Cover with cold salte4d water. Boil over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.

Drain. Return potatoes to the dry pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess liquid evaporates. Add the olive oil and mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

 

Sometimes Simple Is Best

Pizza Margarita

Marinara Pizza Sauce

1 cup Italian crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 dried Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper

Dough

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Topping

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz sliced fresh mozzarella
A large handful of fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Directions

For the dough

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with Cthe paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

For an overnight rise: 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 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

For the sauce

Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl

For the pizza

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Brush the dough lightly with olive oil.
Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the sauce,

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and cover the baked dough with fresh mozzarella slices and basil leaves.

Bake 8-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the crust is lightly brown.

Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Pasta Primavera

With all the fresh vegetables coming to market now, this is the best time of year to make Pasta Primavera.

Ingredients

1 lb bucatini pasta or your favorite pasta
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves mashed
2 medium zucchini, dices
Half a medium onion, diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
⅓ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of basil leaves torn into small pieces

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large, deep skillet. Add the garlic and stir until incorporated. Add the diced vegetables and lemon zest. Sprinkle it with salt, black pepper, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook the vegetables just until they begin to soften. Turn the heat to low and add the cream and basil leaves.

Remove the pasta from the cooking water with a spider or large pasta fork and place the pasta right into the skillet with the vegetables. Mix gently and add the cheese. Serve in individual pasta bowls.

Summer Entertaining

Seafood Salad Stuffed Shells

Yield: 28 Shells

Ingredients

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp
1/2 lb. lump crabmeat
10 oz cooked lobster
1/2 cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Cook pasta shells per manufacturer’s instructions in liberally salted water.
Drain the shells and spread them out on kitchen towels to cool.


Combine the remaining ingredients to make a seafood salad. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of seafood salad into each jumbo pasta shell. Place the filled shells on a platter. Sprinkle the shells with chopped parsley.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makeup to 24 hours in advance.

Focaccia

Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough-my recipe
Olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Coarse sea salt
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves or rosemary
Coarse black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Oil a 4-quart baking dish or pam.
Spread the pizza dough out in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise until the dough rises almost to the top of the pan.
Top the dough with cherry tomatoes evenly spaced over the dough. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients and drizzle lightly with olive oil
Bake 400 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes until golden brown.
Cool and cut into squares to serve.

 

America’s Culinary Stories-Bagels

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.

Bagels

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the bagel was a staple of Polish cuisine. Its name derives from the Yiddish word beygal from the German dialect word beugel, meaning “ring” or “bracelet”.

Bagels arrived in the United States in the late 19th Century courtesy of Jewish immigrants from Poland. They were sold on New York’s Lower East Side streets, stacked up on poles or hung up from strings (which explains the holes,) making it easy for customers to buy and enjoy them on the street. Whether they’re served plain or schmeared with cream cheese and topped with lox, capers, tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onions, bagels have never strayed far from their humble roots as simple, comforting peasant food. The Yiddish word for a bagel is “beigel” and some say the bagel is a descendant of the German pretzel, a similar yeasted dough bread that is boiled then baked. This process helps bagels stay fresh longer, which for poor Jews, was very important.

Bagels with cream cheese and lox (cured salmon) are considered a traditional part of American Jewish cuisine (colloquially known as “lox and a schmear”).
Bagels were brought to the United States by immigrant Polish Jews, with a thriving business developing in New York City that was controlled for decades by Bagel Bakers Local 338. They had contracts with nearly all bagel bakeries in and around the city for its workers, who prepared all their bagels by hand.

Around 1900, the “bagel brunch” became popular in New York CityThe bagel brunch consists of a bagel topped with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato, and red onion. This and similar combinations of toppings have remained associated with bagels into the 21st century in the US.

At its most basic, traditional bagel dough contains wheat flour (without germ or bran), salt, water, and yeast leavening. Bread flour or other high gluten flours are preferred to create a firm, dense but spongy bagel shape and chewy texture.

The bagel came into more general use throughout North America in the last quarter of the 20th century with automation. Daniel Thompson started work on the first commercially viable bagel machine in 1958; bagel baker Harry Lender, his son, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender leased this technology and pioneered automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s.[Murray also invented pre-slicing the bagel.

Most bagel recipes call for the addition of a sweetener to the dough, often barley malt (syrup or crystals), honey, high fructose corn syrup, or sugar, with or without eggs, milk, or butter. Leavening can be accomplished using a sourdough technique or a commercially produced yeast.

Homemade Bagels

If you do not live near a bagel shop you can make them at home, just as I do. Here is my recipe.

Dough
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder, brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water, lukewarm

Water Bath
2 quarts (64 ounces) water
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder, brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To make this dough in a mixer, combine all of the dough ingredients and knead vigorously, with the dough hook for 10 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff but hold its shape. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and let it rise until puffy and almost doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up just a little.

While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan.

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Place parchment on each of the two baking sheets.

Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of one ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole until it’s about 2 inches in diameter (the entire bagel will be about 4 inches across). Place the bagel in the simmering water. Repeat the process with two more balls.

Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary.

Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.

Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown, turning them over about 12 minutes into the baking time. Switch the pans on the oven racks.

Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 8 bagels.

Chili Stuffed Bell Peppers

Make my Chili recipe and serve it for dinner with a salad and chips. Save 1 cup of the chili to make the chili stuffed peppers another night.

4 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium bell peppers, washed, seeded, and sliced in half
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups leftover chili
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil, and spread olive oil over foil
Sprinkle the insides of the peppers with sea salt, and place cut side up on the baking sheet. I like to rub a little of the olive oil on the bottoms and cut the sides of the peppers.
Spoon chili into the peppers, and bake for 25 minutes.
Top with shredded cheese, and bake for additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and chili is heated through.

Corn with Tomatoes and Herbs

Ingredients

2 cups fresh corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups assorted cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Directions

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the corn,, 1 tablespoon water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the kernels are tender,3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chives, basil, and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter; toss to combine.

 

Easy Shrimp Tacos

Tacos

I served these tacos with corn and tomato saute.

For 2 servings

Ingredients

4-6 inch flour tortillas
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon olive oil
⅓ cup jarred salsa
1 tablespoon canned diced green chilies
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup prepared coleslaw {My Recipe}
Jarred jalapeño pepper slices

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You will need a taco holder.
Place the four tortillas in the holder. Set aside while you prepare the shrimp.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and then add the shrimp. Cook until just beginning to turn pink. Tuen the shrimp over. Add the salsa and green chilies. Mix well and tune the heat to low. Let the shrimp simmer until completely pink.

Place the tortillas in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the holder and fill the tacos.
In each shell place 2 shrimp, several tablespoons of cheese, coleslaw, and jalapeno slices. Serve in the holder.

Note
I like using a taco holder because it makes it so much easier to bring the food to the table and each person can take their taco without it all falling out.

What Is In Season-Yellow Squash

 

When yellow squash is abundant in your area, you can make this delicious bread with the squash. The bread is great for toast or serves with your favorite soup.

Cheesy Squash Yeast Bread

Ingredients

1 cup shredded yellow summer squash
3/4 cup lukewarm (90 to 95 degrees F) water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 1/4 cups (13 3/4 to 14 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the flour, shredded squash, yeast honey, oil, and water.

Add the salt and cheese. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 8 minutes.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. l

Let rise until doubled, approximately two hours.

Oil a 9-inch inch loaf pan. Shape the dough into a log, and place it in the pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F,

Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

The bread should be browned and reach an internal temperature of about 190 to 200 degrees F.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, De-pan the loaf, and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Sesame Ginger Tuna Fillets

Sesame Ginger Tuna Fillets And Green Beans

Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic pressed
1 tablespoon ginger freshly grated

Tuna
1 teaspoon store-bought Asian Spice rub mixture, see below
2 Yellowfin Tuna fillets, wild-caught, (about 6 oz each)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup cooked green beans

Directions

In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, minced garlic, and ginger. Set to the side.

Rinse and pat dry the tuna steaks. Season with the rub mixture and let rest for 15 minutes.

Heat a skillet to high heat with the oil.

Place tuna in the skillet and cook, uncovered, 4 to 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness (6 to 9 minutes for the ¾-inch-thick steaks) or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork but is still pink in the center, turning once during cooking. Adjust the heat as needed if the skillet gets too hot.

Arrange the cooked green beans on two plates and top each with a tuna fillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the sauce over each serving of fish..
Serve the remaining sauce as a dipping sauce

Note: The Asian spice rub I use contains equal amounts of
salt, brown sugar, red chili flakes, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic.

Cucumber And Radish Salad

Ingredients

2 cucumbers
Half a white onion, sliced
6 large radishes
Kosher salt

Dressing
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dried dill

Directions

Peel the cucumbers and slice into rounds. Place them in a colander. Add the sliced onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let it drain for 30 minutes.
In a serving dish combine the ingredients for the dressing. Slice the radishes thin and add to the dressing along with the cucumber slices and onion. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.


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