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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: February 2016

comfortfoodcover

This time of year the weather can be quite unpredictable. A few days of nice, warm, sunny weather and them the cold comes roaring back. Those are the days when you want some warming comfort food again. Here are a few recipes to keep you comfy.

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Chicken Osso Bucco

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lb)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 8-oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 3 teaspoons lemon peel
  • 28 oz can Italian crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 16 oz dried linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F.

In shallow bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Coat chicken in the flour mixture and shake off the excess flour.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the coated chicken and cook 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.

Place chicken in an ungreased 13 x 9 inch (3-quart) baking dish; set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Italian parsley, 2 teaspoons of the lemon peel, the tomatoes and chicken broth; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Pour tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or a meat thermometer inserted in the chicken registers 165°F.

Cook pasta al dente and drain.

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown; remove from the heat.

Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon peel. Serve chicken over pasta and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture.

comfortfood3

Mushroom Broccoli Flatbread

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 oz package frozen broccoli florets, defrosted
  • 1 lb pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 ½ cups (6 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°F. Coat a large (15 inch) cookie sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

Dry broccoli on paper towels.

Press pizza dough to the edges of the pan. Bake about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.

In a small bowl, mix the oil and garlic. Brush on the baked pizza crust. Top with mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, cheese and pepper flakes.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the cheese is melted. Cut into squares to serve.

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Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

8 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ¼ cup butter plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chopped fresh Tuscan kale (lacinato)
  • 28 oz can diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (2 cups)
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

Heat the oven to 450°F. Line 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with foil; lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the olive oil until well blended. Spread on the prepared pan in a single layer.

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Bake 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and golden brown.

In a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven, cook pasta al dente and drain. Return pasta to the pan.

In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Add flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy. Gradually stir in milk; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Coat a 13 x 9 inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Stir roasted vegetables, sauce, kale, tomatoes and chickpeas into the cooked pasta in the Dutch oven until well blended.

Spoon half of the pasta mixture into the baking dish; sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat with remaining pasta mixture and remaining 1 cup cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the bread crumbs until well blended.

Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly onto the pasta mixture Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bread crumbs are light golden brown.

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Steak with Italian Mushroom Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz baby portabellas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 (1-inch thick) boneless steaks, such as NY strip or ribeye (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato (marinara) sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season steaks with salt. Place oil in the pan, then add the steaks and cook 3 minutes without turning.

Turn steaks and cook 5–6 minutes or until the steaks register 145°F (for medium rare) on a meat thermometer.

Remove the steaks from the pan; cover to keep warm. Add mushrooms, onions and pepper flakes to the pan; cook and stir 5 minutes.

Add stock and tomato sauce to the mushroom mixture. Reduce heat to low; simmer 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until reduced by about one-half. Stir in parsley.

Slice steak; top with sauce and Parmesan cheese. Serve.

comfortfood2

Quick Bean and Italian Kale Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion,
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery,
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-½ cups water
  • 14.5 oz can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 15 oz can low sodium Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chopped Italian kale, stems removed
  • ½ cup dry small pasta shells, uncooked
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.

Add water, undrained tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce; stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil.

Add kale and pasta; stir. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until the kale and pasta are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

'I reduce my stress with comfort food. Now none of my clothes are comfortable.'

‘I reduce my stress with comfort food. Now none of my clothes are comfortable.’

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triestecover

The province of Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. Trieste enjoys a beautiful natural location, as it is surrounded by the Carsic hills and the Adriatic Sea.

The province is located in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy and was first established in 1920. It contained the current territory of the province, as well as, significant portions of the Kras plateau and the region of Inner Carniola in present-day Slovenia. After the end of World War II, the Free Territory of Trieste was established as a free state. In 1954, Italy and Yugoslavia came to an understanding and the territory was divided between the two states. Zone A of the free state became the new Province of Trieste and Zone B was administered by Yugoslavia. The Province of Trieste formally became a part of Italy on 11 October 1977, by the Treaty of Osimo.

triestecityhall

Trieste City Hall

Trieste is composed of several different climatic zones according to the distance from the sea and/or elevation. The average temperatures are 6 °C (43 °F) in January and 24 °C (75 °F) in July. The climate can be severely affected by the Bora, a northern to north-eastern wind that can reach speeds of up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) per hour.

The Italian language is spoken within the whole province. In the city of Trieste, many people speak Triestine, a dialect of Venetian. Besides standard Slovene, which is taught in Slovene-language schools, three different Slovene dialects are also spoken in the Province of Trieste.

Roman Arch

Remains of a Roman Arch

Trieste was one of the oldest areas of the former Hapsburg Monarchy (1382-1918) and it was one of the most important ports in Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest and Prague) and was also known as an important hub for literature and music.

Trieste, which probably dates back to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33–32 BC by the Roman Emperor Octavian. Roman influence continued during the 1st and 2nd centuries. A Roman theater lies at the foot of the San Giusto hill, facing the sea and much of the theater is made of stone. The statues that adorned the theater are now preserved at the Town Museum.

Miramare Castle

Miramare Castle

Along the coast, one can admire three ancient castles and the city center boasts Venetian influences, complete with calli (narrow streets) and campielli (small squares) and a majestic cathedral. The Castello Miramare, or Miramare Castle, was built between 1856 and 1860 from a project by Carl Junker working under Archduke Maximilian. The Castle gardens provide a setting of beauty with a variety of trees, chosen by Maximilian. Today, the gardens include: two ponds, one noted for its swans and the other for lotus flowers, a bronze statue of Maximilian and a small chapel.

Trieste Square

Trieste Square

Since the 1970s, Trieste has had a huge economic boom, thanks to a significant commercial shipping business. Trieste is also Italy’s and the Mediterranean’s (and one of Europe’s) greatest coffee ports, as the city supplies more than 40% of Italy’s coffee. Coffee brands, such as Illy, were founded here and are headquartered in the city. Currently, Trieste is one of Europe’s most important ports and centers for trade and transport.

triestecafe

Trieste Cafe

The cuisine in Trieste Province is rich and varied, due to Austrian, Venetian and Friulian influences and quite distinct from the rest of Italy. After years under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many parts of this region prepare hearty cabbage soups and delicate pastries. Bean soup with sauerkraut is typically served as an antipasto. Frico, another antipasto, consists of shredded cheese with a bit of flour that is baked or fried until crisp.

White fish soup (made with mullet, bream, flounder, etc) is cooked in a cast iron pot with a little oil, whole garlic cloves and fish flavored with white vinegar and black pepper. Pickled turnips are used to accompany roasted or boiled meats. They are made by cutting turnips into small slices and slow cooking them in a pan with olive oil, bay leaves and a piece of pork. Polenta is cooked with cheese and ravioli are made with a potato, cinnamon, raisins and a herbs. In Trieste, lasagna is kept simple and sprinkled with a special sauce made with butter, sugar and poppy seeds.

Desserts include strudel made from a thin layer of dough rolled around a sweet or savory filling and they are either baked or boiled. Gubana, “guba” meaning “piega” (to fold) in Italian, is a very traditional pastry that somewhat resembles strudel and usually comes with a minced apple and grappa filling. Presnitz is a dessert of puff pastry rolled up with walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, figs, prunes, apricots, raisins, grated chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and rum filling. Legend has it that a Trieste baker invented this cake in honor of Princess Sissi of Austria. The cake is popular during Christmas time.

Wines are mostly white and remarkable for the number of grape varieties that are used in their blends, like Refosco, Terrano, Malvasia, Tocai and Rebula. Italy’s popular grappa, distilled from the skins, seeds and stems of many types of grapes left over after wine making, is also produced here. Beer is popular here also. Many Italians, especially in the northeast, finish off their meal with a glass of distilled grappa.

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Jota (Bean and Sauerkraut Soup)

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces dried cranberry (borlotti) or kidney beans
  • 1/2 pound pork shoulder, trimmed and cubed or 1 ham hock
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 10 ounces sauerkraut, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Place the cranberry beans in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain.

In a large Dutch Oven or soup pot bring the cranberry beans, pork, bacon, onion, water, garlic, bay leaves and salt to a boil. Cover and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour.

Rinse sauerkraut thoroughly in a large bowl of cold water, then drain in a colander and rinse again. Add the drained sauerkraut and potatoes to the pot with the beans. Continue simmering, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30-45 minutes. Discard bay leaves before serving. Garnish with parsley.

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Goulash (Gulash) Trieste style

Ingredients

  • 800 g (1 3/4 lb) stewing beef (chuck), cubed
  • 800 g (1 3/4 lb) onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon bay  leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Italian diced tomatoes
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Polenta

Directions

Saute the onions in oil in a large saucepan, over low heat. Add the meat with the herbs and simmer until the meat begins to brown.

Dissolve the paprika in a little warm water and add it with the tomatoes along with enough warm water to make enough liquid to just cover the meat.

Season with salt and simmer over very low heat, covered, for an hour or until the meat is very tender. Serve over polenta.

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Brodetto alla Triestina (Trieste-style fish stew)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds cleaned, whole sea bass, without the head, tail and fins, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 2 pounds cleaned, whole striped bass, without the head, tail and fins, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ pound cleaned squid, cut into 1 inch rings
  • 2 eight-ounce lobster tails in the shell, each cut into four pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups fish stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Salt, if desired
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined,
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 14 mussels, scrubbed

Directions

Heat the oil in a very large pot with a heavy bottom and, when it is hot and almost smoking, add the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the pieces of sea bass, striped bass and lobster tails in the pot. Cook, turning the pieces occasionally, over high heat for three minutes. Add the vinegar and stir. Cover and cook about one minute.

Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Cover. Cook five minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and cover. Cook three minutes.

Add the squid, salt and pepper to taste and partly cover the pan. Let cook eight minutes.

Add the shrimp, clams and mussels and cook five minutes longer or until the mussels and clams open. Serve immediately.

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Trieste Chocolate Mousse Cake

Sponge Cake:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:

  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

For the cake:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll (baking) pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat in egg yolks one at a time.

In a separate medium bowl, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt until the whites cling to the beater. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Then, carefully, fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the batter and, carefully, fold it in without decreasing the volume.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake 12-15 minutes, or until cake starts to pull away from the sides. Do not overbake. This makes a thin cake layer.

Cool a few minutes on a wire rack and then invert onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.

For the filling:

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in the microwave or  in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes.

Add rum and vanilla and stir until smooth. Refrigerate 1 hour. When cold, whip the filling until its volume has doubled.

Assembly:

Cut the cake in half and place one half on a rack. Spread the filling over the cake and top with the remaining cake half. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the glaze:

Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on full power 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir until completely melted and smooth. Let cool 10 minutes.

Set the rack holding the cake over a pan or wax paper to catch the drips. Holding the glaze 2 inches above the cake, pour the glaze evenly, using a spatula to cover the sides, if necessary.

Refrigerate 20 minutes or until the glaze is set. This cake is very rich. Cut it into small squares. Refrigerate leftovers.


slowcookercover

Using a slow cooker is a great way to save time and still prepare a nutritious meal. Assemble the meal in the morning, put it in the slow cooker and at the end of the day, dinner is ready — without much mess or many dishes to clean. The device requires only a small amount of electricity to do its work — compared with a standard oven — and a slow cooker uses a lot less energy, so it won’t heat up an entire kitchen the way an oven does.

Cooking with a slow cooker can also be an economically smart choice, because you can use cheaper cuts of meat. Condensation acts as a self-baster, so tougher cuts of meat become tender in a slow cooker. Just because you’re saving time and money doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing taste. Vegetables cooked in a slow cooker can absorb stocks and spices, giving them fuller flavors.

The high and low settings on the device allow you to adjust the temperature for the length of time you want the meal to cook. Today, slow cookers come in all shapes and sizes. There are manual cookers, programmable cookers with digital timers and small cookers designed solely for heating dips. Slow cookers can be either round or oval to accommodate different types of food and they can range in size from one to seven quarts.

It is common knowledge that a slow cooker is good for making soups and stews, but did you know you can make lasagna in a slow cooker?

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Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

LOW 5 hours 20 minutes

6 Servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 6 oz baby spinach leaves
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups tomato or marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 dried lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1-½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions

Spray the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach; cook 3 minutes more or until the mushrooms are tender and the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.

Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pepper in small bowl; set aside.

Spread 3/4 cup sauce mixture over the bottom of the slow cooker pan. Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce mixture, breaking noodles to fit.

Top with 3/4 cup sauce mixture, ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

Add 3/4 cup sauce mixture and the remaining 3 lasagna noodles, breaking to fit. Spoon remaining sauce mixture over the noodles.

Cover; cook on LOW 5 hours until the noodles are tender. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

slowcooker1

Pork Shoulder Sugo

Called sugo, bolognese or ragu, depending on the region — or gravy among some Italian Americans — Italy’s long-simmering meat sauces are legendary. There is a practical side to a ragu, as well, because they get better a day or two after cooking, so they are ideal for dinner parties. They also freeze well for instant pasta meals during the week. Reheat the sauce, cook the pasta and make a salad. You have dinner all set.

LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, peeled
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 28 oz container Italian crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken stock
  • 6 oil-packed anchovies

Directions

In large bowl, mix onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork shoulder 4 minutes on the fattest side, then turn and cook 3 minutes each on the other 3 sides. Transfer to 6-quart slow cooker.

Add onion mixture to the skillet with the pork juices; cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown. Add red wine; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in tomatoes; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Pour mixture over the pork in the slow cooker. Add chicken stock and anchovies; stir liquid.

Cook on Low heat setting 8 hours or High heat setting 4 hours.

Transfer pork to a cutting board; cool slightly. Cool liquid 10 minutes, then carefully puree in a blender in batches (or use an immersion blender), and return the mixture to the slow cooker.

Set the slow cooker to the Warm heat setting. Shred pork, discarding any pieces of fat. Add pork to the liquid in the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Leave on warm until you cook the pasta. Dress the pasta with some of the sauce.

slowcooker4

Tuscan Chicken and Beans

6 servings

HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil cured Italian olives
  • 1 can (15 oz) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 cups cooked orzo pasta
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Directions

Coat the bowl of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place onion and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Season chicken on both sides with Italian seasoning, thyme and black pepper and arrange the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Drizzle lemon juice over the chicken and evenly spoon tomatoes and olives on top.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, stir in the beans and oregano.

Serve chicken and sauce over cooked orzo. Garnish with lemon slices.

slowcooker3

Italian Steak and Peppers

4 servings

HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless round steak, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Cubanelle peppers (Italian long peppers), seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 sweet (Vidalia/Walla Walla) onion, sliced
  • 8-10 oz white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Purchased polenta that comes in a tube shape, sliced into rounds and grilled or broiled
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Directions

Coat bowl of slow cooker with cooking spray.

Season both sides of the steaks with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker. Scatter Cubanelle peppers, red pepper, onion and mushrooms over the top of the meat.

In a small bowl, combine broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Pour over peppers, onions and mushrooms.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Place grilled polenta rounds on the dinner plates. Add the steaks and some of the peppers, onions, mushrooms and spoon some of the sauce over the top of each steak. Garnish with basil leaves.

slowcooker5

Italian Sausage and Farro Stuffed Peppers

4 servings

LOW for 4 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large red, orange or yellow bell peppers (7 to 8 oz each)
  • 12 oz sweet Italian pork or turkey sausage links, casings removed 
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (chili) flakes
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¾ cup uncooked pearled farro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Cut a 1/2 inch off the top stem end of each bell pepper. Remove the seeds and membranes; rinse the peppers. Remove the stems from the pepper tops and chop the pepper tops; set aside.

Combine the two cheeses and set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, cook sausage and crushed red pepper over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain. Remove to large bowl; set aside.

In same skillet over medium heat, add onion and garlic; cook and stir about 3 minutes. Add chopped bell pepper tops; cook 2 minutes. Add zucchini; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, pepper and salt. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat.

Add farro to the sausage in the bowl and mix to combine. Add onion mixture; mix well. Gently stir in 2 tablespoons of the basil, the oregano and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.

Divide this  mixture evenly among the peppers.

Pour 1/3 cup water into a 5- to 6-quart oval slow cooker. Place stuffed peppers upright in the slow cooker, leaning against each other and the slow cooker sides to prevent them from falling over.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours or until the peppers and farro are tender. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the tops of the peppers.

Cover; let stand 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the peppers to serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.

'Whatever's the most durable. This is the fifth year it's been regifted.'


IMG_0147

Beef brisket is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat that requires a long cooking time at a low temperature, but the wait is worth it. Beef brisket is a cut from the breast section and sold boneless. Because brisket is a tough cut of meat, it’s best when braised (that is, simmered in a small amount of liquid), either in the oven, in a slow cooker or on the stove top.

Two different cuts of brisket are available. Unless the recipe specifies one or the other, either may be used in recipes calling for boneless beef brisket:

  • Beef Brisket Flat Half (also called thin cut, flat cut, first cut, or center cut). With its minimal fat, this cut is generally the more expensive of the two.
  • Beef Brisket Point Half (also called front cut, point cut, thick cut, or nose cut). This cut is the less expensive and has more fat and flavor than the flat cut.

There are so many ways to prepare this cut of beef, but the recipe below is one of our favorites. I like to serve it with homemade baked beans and coleslaw. The brisket tastes even better if made the day before. Slice the cooled, cooked beef and place it in a baking dish. Pour the sauce over the sliced beef and cover the dish with foil. Refrigerate the dish overnight and reheat the next day in a 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes. Leftover brisket also makes a great sandwich.

BBQ Brisket

This recipe requires advance preparation.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb beef brisket
  • 3 tablespoons brisket rub, recipe below
  • Barbecue Sauce, recipe below
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Cooking spray

Brisket Rub

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

For the rub:

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar. You will need 3 tablespoons for this recipe and the rest can be saved for other uses.

To make the BBQ sauce:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a cover and refrigerate until ready to cook the brisket

Place the brisket in a dish and coat all sides with 3 tablespoons of the rub. Cover the dish and refrigerate the brisket overnight.

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The next day, bring the brisket and BBQ sauce to room temperature. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the brisket in the pan. Pour the BBQ sauce over the brisket. Pour the beef broth around the bottom of the pan. Cover the dish tightly with foil.

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Bake for two hours and remove the baking dish from the oven and turn the brisket over. Cover with the foil and bake for 2 more hours.

Uncover the baking dish and continue to bake the brisket for one hour or until very tender.

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Let the brisket rest for 15 minutes. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with the sauce.

Homemade Baked Beans

Baked Beans

For this recipe, the beans do not have to be soaked overnight. Check the sell by date to be sure the beans are not old. Old beans do not cook evenly and tend to be tough, so the cooking time is much longer.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried navy beans, washed and drained
  • 3 slices thick bacon
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Directions

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cook the bacon until crisp in a Dutch Oven. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and when cool, break into small pieces. Set aside

Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat until tender. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add mustard and garlic powders, honey, molasses and ketchup. Stir well.

Add the beans and cooked bacon and stir until coated in the sauce. Add the water, return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil.

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Cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook for about six hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water, if necessary, to keep the beans barely covered.

After five hours remove the cover and add the salt and vinegar. Stir until blended.

Cook the beans for an additional hour or until the sauce is thick and the beans are tender.

Apple Fennel Coleslaw

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12 servings

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Gala or Fuji apple, peeled and grated

Salad

  • 3 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 3 cups very thinly sliced savoy cabbage
  • 3 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and shredded
  • 2  green onions, thinly sliced

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, honey or agave, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the grated apple and mix well.

To the same bowl, add the cabbage, carrots, fennel and green onions, tossing until well combined. Chill until serving time.

Later in the week you can use some of the leftover brisket to make sandwiches. Here is an easy recipe to make homemade rolls to make those sandwiches extra special.

sourdough rolls

Easy Homemade Sourdough Sandwich Buns

8 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 ¼ cups bread flour
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Cooking Spray

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable. This dough does not come together in a ball.

Push the dough to one side of the bowl and coat the bowl with cooking spray. Push the dough to the other side of the bowl and coat that side of the bowl.

Push the dough back and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough evenly in a greased hamburger pan – use about ¼ cup of the dough in each of 8 bun cups.

Let rise covered for one hour. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes until golden. Switch the pans halfway through the baking time. Cool on a wire rack.


oristanocover

oristanocover1

Oristano is a province on the island region of Sardinia in Italy. It is the smallest province in Sardinia. A large area of the province’s western coastline is part of the Gulf of Oristano and the land is mainly flat with some marshland. Oristano Province contains many protected areas: Monte Arci Regional Park, the Sinis Peninsula – Mal di Ventre Island Marine and the S’Archittu a Santa Caterina Natural Monument near Cuglieri. The Stagno di Mistras is a protected  breeding ground for gulls and flamingos.

oristanobeach

The province was founded in the 11th century BC by the people of Tharros. There is a monument to Eleonora d’Arborea, who was an important figure in Sardinian history and ruled the area from 1383 to 1404. The Tower of St. Christopher dates from 1291 and the cathedral, rebuilt in the 18th century, dates from 1288. Oristano is now an agricultural and fish-canning center.

oristano1

oristano2

A series of folkloric events and festivals are hosted here throughout the year. The most popular is the Sartiglia, a horse race of Medieval origins, held in Oristano on the last Sunday and Tuesday before Lent. San Salvatore hosts the traditional Corsa degli Scalzi (the Barefoot Race) that gathers hundreds of people on the first Saturday of September. They dress only in a white and carry a wooden statue of Jesus Christ from the village of Cabris to the Church of Cristo Salvatore. Sedillo, on July 6-7 hosts the Ardia, a horse race to honor Constantine I, the Roman Emperor. In Marrubiu, the honey, cheese, sausage and wine festival (sagra) takes place on the first Sunday of September.

pane carasau

pane carasau

This traditional, yet unique Sardinian cuisine combines food from the sea and the farms. The local specialities include pane carasau, thin sheets of flatbread that stay super crispy for days and go perfectly with Sardinian cheeses or with the local honey. All the cheeses and ricotta are made from ewes’ milk and range from very spicy to sweet.

bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs)

bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs)

Most popular is bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs) that are either sliced or grated over pasta and other foods. Fregola, small balls of handmade pasta similar to couscous, are served with seafood. Lorighittas are a special pasta made out of two thin pasta ropes wound together and usually served with sausage and tomato sauce. Panadas are oven baked pies with meat, fish or vegetables.

 fiore sardo cheese

fiore sardo cheese

Other specialties include malloreddus alla oristanese (gnocchi made from durum wheat and served with spinach, beets, eggs and heavy cream, myrtle hen (a hen boiled with aromatic herbs and myrtle branches) and su ghisa is a stew prepared with different types of meat.

Vernaccia di Oristano

Vernaccia di Oristano Grapes

Noteworthy wines include the Arborea, Vernaccia di Oristano (a world-famous wine), Nuragus, Vermentin, Sangiovese, Semidano, Moscato and Bovale.

Lorighittas

oristanopasta

Small rings of double twisted fresh pasta called lorighittas are typical in the province of Oristano. Traditionally, lorighittas are seasoned with a sauce made from tomatoes and free range rooster, or a meat ragu or a sauce made with beans, ricotta and saffron. At the beginning of August, a festival takes place where you can watch the local women making this pasta. If you calculate that 16 lorighittas make a serving then it will take at least 3 hours to prepare the dough for 4/5 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 lbs (600 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) table salt
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons (10 grams) extra virgin olive oil

Directions

On a board or counter mix all the ingredients: flour, water, oil and salt until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and pinch off a piece of dough. Roll it into a long string about ⅛ inch thick (0.2 cm diameter).

Roll the string up with a double turn of the strand on three fingers (index finger, middle and ring) and make a double ring. Cut off the excess dough.

Twist the two “strands” of dough between your fingers to form a braid.

oristano7

Spicy Tomato Sauce for Lorighitta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Two garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cups oven roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly grated fiore sardo cheese, to taste

Directions

In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil, then add the smashed garlic and chili pepper.

Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove garlic and add salt, to taste.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then add the Lorighittas. The time needed is a bit variable, depending on the size of Lorighittas, how dry they are, etc.

Stop the cooking process when the Lorighittas are ready by pouring a glass of cold water into the pot, stir and, then, drain the Lorighittas.

Place the drained pasta in a bowl and toss with some tomato sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve immediately.

oristano8

Sea Bass in Vernaccia di Oristano Wine

Vernaccia di Oristano is a white Italian wine grape variety grown on the island of Sardinia that is designated Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) of Vernaccia di Oristano based in the province of Oristano.  Vernaccia di Oristano is a distinct variety that is not related to the Tuscan wine grape Vernaccia used to make Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sea bass
  • 1 small onion. finely chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leafed parsley
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup black olives
  • 1 cup Vernaccia di Oristano wine

Directions

Clean, scale and wash the bass.

In a large skillet with a cover, sauté the onion chopped, some finely chopped parsley and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. As soon as the onion becomes golden, add the sea bass and the remaining olive oil. Cook over low heat for ten minutes, turning the bass over after 5 minutes. Add the olives and Vernaccia, cover the pan and cook until the fish is done. Divide each fish in half and serve with the sauce.

oristano6

 

Winter Vegetables with Bottarga

Sardinian caviar is found in mullet. The mullet is greatly appreciated in Sardinia for its eggs. These eggs are washed, placed in a wooden box and covered with salt, then pressed to make them flat. It is a favorite garnish in Sardinia called Bottarga and it is used to top a wide variety of dishes. The first people to salt and season the egg sacks of mullet were the Phoenicians.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 small fresh carrots with tops
  • 2 heads of fennel
  • 4 chard leaves
  • 40g mullet bottarga
  • Large pinch of dried chili flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 ½ fl oz (100 ml) good, delicate olive oil

Directions

Prepare the vegetables:

Peel the carrots, leaving a little bit of the green top on them — if large, split in half lengthways. Remove the outer layer of fennel and cut the fennel into six or eight wedges depending on its size. Cut the chard leaves in half.

Boil a large pot of salted water.

Grate the bottarga finely into a mixing bowl and add the chili, lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the boiling pasta water. Let rest for a few minutes, then mix with a whisk to make a smooth paste. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk to make a light emulsion.

Boil the vegetables — they should all take roughly the same time, but you may have to scoop out the chard leaves early, if the stalks are thin. You want the vegetables to be soft enough to cut with a fork, but not mushy. Drain the vegetables and mix them with the bottarga sauce. Serve warm.

oristano5

Sardinian Amaretti Cookies

Traditionally these cookies are mixed by hand.

Makes about 13-14 amaretti.

Ingredients

  • 9 oz (250 g) finely ground almonds
  • 2 drops of almond extract
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 small lemon, zested
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Extra sugar for coating your hands

Directions

Preheat the oven to 160 °C (330 °F)

Place almonds, sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl

Add egg whites a little at a time.

Place extra granulated sugar on a plate.

Dampen the palms of your hands with a little cold water and press them into sugar on the plate. This helps to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.

Roll a small quantity of mixture into a ball (roughly the size of a ping-pong ball).

Roll the ball in the dish of extra sugar.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Oristanomap


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Eating in the Mediterranean style is a healthy choice.

The Mediterranean people use olive oil in almost everything they eat. So, what is healthy about olive oil? Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, may reduce inflammation, which could help prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases, as well as certain cancers.

The traditional Mediterranean diet utilizes lots of fish and vegetables and very little meat. Whole grain foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, polenta, rice and couscous are also a key part of the diet. Fruit is “what’s for dessert” in the Mediterranean and other important staples include nuts, legumes, yogurt and small amounts of wine.

Here are a few recipes to give you a taste of the Mediterranean.

IMG_0142

Spinach Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen spinach, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), white and light-green parts only, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 12 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 roll (20 sheets) from a package of frozen phyllo dough (Athens brand), thawed and at room temperature.
  • Olive oil nonstick cooking spray

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Heat the oil in a saute pan and add the garlic and scallions. Cook for a minute or two until the scallions soften. Add the spinach, cook for a minute and remove the pan from the heat. Cool to room temperature.

IMG_0137

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, feta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in the cooled spinach mixture.

Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Reserve 5 layers of phyllo dough for the top and keep them covered with plastic wrap. Use 15 of the phyllo sheets for the bottom of the dish keeping the sheets covered  with plastic wrap after you remove each sheet of dough.

Place one sheet of dough in the baking dish off-center so it overs one side of the dish and hangs about 2 inches over the side of the baking dish. Repeat the layering so each side of the dish is covered in this manner. Coat each sheet with cooking spray after you place it in the dish.

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Spread the spinach filling on top of the phyllo layers. Take the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo dough and layer them over the filling, coating each sheet with cooking spray as you place it on top of the filling. Fold the overhanging side pieces of dough onto the top layer. Coat with more cooking spray.

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Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the phyllo is golden brown. Let rest before cutting. Can also be served at room temperature.

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Lemon and Olive Baked Fish

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless fish fillets
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the baking dish
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lemon slices
  • Large Italian green olives (Castelvetrano, if available)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the fish fillets in a baking dish coated with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Beat lightly with a fork. Pour this mixture over the fish.

Scatter some olives around the fish. Sprinkle the top of the fish lightly with panko crumbs and place a lemon slice on top of each fish fillet.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking.

Italian Tomato Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tomatoes (any type, as long as they are good quality)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 2 generous pinches of sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Thinly slice the tomatoes into rings and place them into a serving bowl.

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a small  bowl. Mix well.

Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and let the dish sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving.


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Are you concerned about how much food we waste? I know I am and a good way to stop the waste is to come up with ways to use leftovers that are not boring. Another way to not be wasteful, is to keep track of your food purchases that you keep in the refrigerator and the pantry. The bell peppers that looked so beautiful at the market won’t look that way when you find them in the back of the refrigerator vegetable bin two weeks later.

meat5

Recently, I roasted a pan of winter root vegetables and served them with slices of leftover turkey meatloaf. You can see the recipe for the Apple, Sage and Turkey Meatloaf on the post link:

https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/01/05/healthy-weeknight-meat-entrees/

The meatloaf and the roasted vegetables went very well together. Of course, there were plenty of roasted vegetables leftover and I decided to make a Roasted Vegetable Galette with the leftover vegetables for another meal later in the week.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 4 medium golden beets peeled and quartered
  • 6 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 2 bunches fresh carrots, tops removed and cut into thirds
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, core removed and cut into eighths
  • 6 large cauliflower florets cut from one head
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Several thyme stalks and sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the oil and honey on a large baking sheet with sides. Add the vegetables and garlic and mix until all the vegetables are coated in the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and distribute the herbs evenly over the vegetables.

Bake for an hour or until the vegetables are tender and browned. Stir the vegetables after about 30 minutes to prevent sticking.

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Roasted Vegetable Galette

Tip: Make 2 Galettes – one for dinner and one to freeze. The extra Galette will come in handy on a night you do not feel like cooking. All it needs is a salad. I made a cucumber salad to go with our dinner and it was just right.

One Galette serves 4

Ingredients

  • Two prepared 9 inch pastry rounds
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 cups diced roasted root vegetables, divided

To assemble the Galettes:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place parchment paper on two large baking sheets with sides.

Place one pastry round on each baking sheet.

Place 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in the center of each pastry round and top each with 3 cups of the diced roasted vegetables, leaving a 1 ½ inch pastry border.

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Brush the uncovered pastry with water.

Fold the border up and over the filling to form a rim, pleating as you go. See photo above.

Bake the Galettes until the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

Wrap the second Galette in heavy duty foil, place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze.

When you are ready to use the second Galette, place the foil wrapped Galette on a baking sheet in a 400 degree F oven and heat for about 45 minutes. Open the foil and expose the top of the Galette during the last 15 minutes of baking.

cucumber salad 1

Dilled Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup Greek low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

Directions

Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.

Toss the cucumbers with 2 teaspoons salt and place them in a colander set over a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.

In a medium serving bowl, combine the yogurt, dill, vinegar, agave and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Remove the cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with paper towels. Add to the bowl with the yogurt dressing; toss to combine. Chill until serving time.



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