Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: March 2019

As of January 2018, the largest population of French American people live in the state of Maine. French Americans also live in Louisiana where the largest French-speaking population in the U.S. is found in St. Martin Parish. Country-wide, there are about 10.4 million U.S. residents that declare French ancestry or French Canadian descent, and about 1.32 million speak French at home as of the 2010 census. An additional 750,000 U.S. residents speak a French-based creole language.

Maine Farmers

Creole Musicians

While Americans of French descent make up a substantial percentage of the American population, French Americans are less visible than other similarly sized ethnic groups. This is due in part to a tendency of French American groups to identify more closely with “New World” regional identities such as Acadian, Brayon, Cajun, or Louisiana Creole. Unlike other immigrants who came to the United States from other countries, some French Americans arrived prior to the founding of the United States. In many parts of the country, like the Midwest and Louisiana, they were the founders of some of the villages and cities and were often the state’s first inhabitants.

New Orleans French Quarter

French immigrants introduced a wide range of interesting foods to America. For example, French Americans made the first yeast bread and brought technical farming skills that vastly improved American rice and wine. Huguenots grew and prepared the first okra, artichokes, and tomatoes. The popularity of French cuisine took off in the 1780s, following the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution. Many respected French chefs, such as Arthur Goussé in Los Angeles, immigrated to the United States and established restaurants. A number of French culinary terms remain prominent in modern times, including bouillon, purée, fricassée, mayonnaise, pâté, hors d’oeuvres, bisque, filet, sauté, casserole, au gratin, and à la mode.

Extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes form the basis of Provencal cuisine. This trio appears in sauces, soups, and salads, and as companions for dozens of fish, pasta and meat courses. The combo is often enhanced with fresh herbs, including parsley, oregano, fennel, basil and rosemary, as well as black Nicoise olives, capers, shallots or leeks. The stew below is classic French cuisine where beef and vegetables are simmered in red wine.

Slow-Cooked Provençal Beef Stew

Serve the stew with homemade biscuits.

Bouquet Garni
2 scallion tops (about 6 inches long)
1 bay leaf
1 medium celery stalk
2 sprigs fresh parsley, with stems
3 sprigs fresh thyme
One 2-inch-long strip orange peel

Stew
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 ounces bacon
2 pounds beef stew meat, such as chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 large, red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms (I used portabella and cremini), halved if small, quartered if large
1/2 bottle (375 ml) full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
2 cups of water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated zest of 1/2 orange

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

To assemble the bouquet garni: Place one scallion top on the counter. Top with bay leaf, celery stalk, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and orange peel. Place the second scallion leaf on top and tie the bundle together in four spots with kitchen string. Set aside.

To prepare the stew: Place the bacon in an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until barely brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving any drippings in the pot. When cool break into small pieces.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add half the beef cubes (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a large bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Repeat with the second batch of meat, salt, and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the beef.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

Pour wine and water into the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Return the browned beef, the carrot mixture and the reserved bacon to the pot. Press down on the beef and vegetables, making sure to submerge them completely in the liquid; if necessary, add just enough hot water to make sure they are covered. Place the bouquet garni on top.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pot and press it directly on top of the stew, covering it completely. Transfer the stew to the oven and cook, with the lid off, until the beef is tender enough to cut with a fork, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Check every hour to be sure the ingredients stay submerged in liquid during the entire cooking time. If too much wine evaporates, add a little hot water to make up for the loss. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the reserved mushrooms.
Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Combine chopped parsley and orange zest in a small bowl and scatter on top of the stew just before serving.


Chinese immigrants to the US in the 19th century worked as laborers, particularly on transcontinental railroads such as the Central Pacific Railroad. They also worked as laborers in mining and suffered racial discrimination at every level of society. In 1924 US law barred further entries of Chinese and those already in the United States had been ineligible for citizenship since the previous year. Also by 1924, all Asian immigrants (except people from the Philippines (annexed by the United States in 1898) were excluded by law, denied citizenship and naturalization, and prevented from owning land. In many Western states, Asian immigrants were even prevented from marrying Caucasians.

In the 1940s when the United States and China became allies during World War II, the situation for Chinese Americans begin to improve, as restrictions on entry into the country, naturalization, and mixed marriage were lessened. In 1943, Chinese immigration to the United States was once again permitted—by way of the Magnuson Act—thereby repealing 61 years of official racial discrimination against the Chinese. However, large-scale Chinese immigration did not occur until 1965 when the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 lifted national origin quotas. After World War II, anti-Asian prejudice began to decrease, and Chinese immigration increased. Currently, the Chinese constitute the largest ethnic group of Asian Americans (about 22%) in the US. As of the 2010 census, there are more than 3.3 million Chinese in the United States, about 1% of the total population. The influx continues, where each year ethnic Chinese people from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and to a lesser extent Southeast Asia move to the United States.

A photograph of a Chinese restaurant on DuPont Ave near Sacramento Street from a Carleton Watkins stereo card (DuPont Ave is now Grant St), San Francisco, California, circa 1880. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Foundations for American Chinese cuisine were brought by immigrants from the southern province of Guangdong, the origin of most Chinese immigration before the restriction of immigrants from China in 1924. These Chinese families developed new styles and used readily available ingredients, especially in California. The type of Chinese American cooking served in restaurants was different from the foods eaten in Chinese American homes. Of the various regional cuisines in China, Cantonese cuisine had been the most influential in the development of American Chinese recipes. Stir-frying, pan frying, and deep frying tended to be the most common Chinese cooking techniques used in American Chinese cuisine, which are all easily done using a wok (a Chinese frying pan with bowl-like features that can withstand very high cooking temperatures. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that the United States got its first taste of “authentic” Chinese cuisine. The 1960s brought new arrivals from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Mainland, who in turn brought with them the foods they had enjoyed in areas like Hunan, Sichuan, Taipei, and Shanghai. Today, according to the Chinese American Restaurant Association, there are over 45,000 Chinese restaurants currently in operation across the United States.

Here are two of my favorite recipes.

Sichuan Peppercorn Shrimp

Adapted from Sang Yoon, Los Angeles Chef

Servings 4

Ingredients

1 ½ teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 pound large shrimp—shelled, deveined and butterflied
Salt
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 scallions: 1 finely chopped, 1 thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large or 2 small jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
2 whole dried Tien Tsin chile peppers
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Sesame oil, for drizzling

Directions

In a small skillet, toast the peppercorns over moderate heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool. Transfer the peppercorns to a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder. Put the shrimp in a bowl, toss with 1 teaspoon of the ground peppercorns and season with sea salt.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Add the shrimp and stir-fry over moderate heat until almost cooked through, 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in the skillet. Add the chopped scallions, garlic, jalapeños and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the scallions and garlic are softened, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and lime juice and stir until the shrimp are just cooked through 1 minute. Remove Chinese chile. Transfer to a bowl; garnish with the sliced scallion, drizzle with the sesame oil and serve.

Fried Rice

Adapted from David Chang, New York City Chef

Serves 4

4 cups cooked white rice or cauliflower rice
4 thick slices bacon, diced
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely diced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 green onions, sliced

Directions

Bring the cooked rice to room temperature; set aside.
In a large deep skillet cook the bacon for 4-5 minutes.


Add the onions and celery, and sauté together for 4-5 minutes more, turning down the heat slightly if too much browning occurs.
Add the peas, and stir to combine. Then gently stir in the rice and sesame oil.

Let the rice mixture heat thoroughly over medium heat. Make a well in the middle, and add the eggs. Stir occasionally to make sure they’re cooking, then stir them into the rice. There should be little bits of cooked egg throughout the rice.


Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce. Just before serving, stir in the green onions.


America is a land of many cultures. Our ancestors came from around the world to settle here and that is what makes our country so unique and diversified. This diversity is also obvious in our food and I feel it is so important to preserve those recipes. It was one of the reasons I started my blog seven years ago because I had hoped to preserve my family’s Italian recipes for those who came after me.

Growing up in NJ, I took for granted the pizzeria downtown for Friday night dinner, the bagel shop for Sunday breakfast and the taco stand for a quick lunch. In just about any city in America, it is relatively easy to find: Lebanese, African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Indian, French, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Jamaican, etc. food. Each wave of immigrants has brought a new level of food identity and traditions to our country.

Some of my past series have described the individual uniqueness of the regions of Italy, the food of America’s many Little Italies and the cuisines of the Mediterranean. In my new series, I want to celebrate the cuisine of the many cultures represented in America by preparing the dishes and sharing the recipes with you.

Rank Ancestry or race Population Percent of total population
1 German 46,403,053 14.7%
2 Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 38,785,726 12.3%
3 Mexican (of any race) 34,640,287 10.9%
4 Irish 33,526,444 10.6%
5 English 24,787,018 7.8%
6 American 22,746,991 7.2%
7 Italian 17,285,619 5.5%
8 Polish 9,385,766 3.0%
9 French 8,272,538 2.6%
10 Scottish 5,409,343 1.7%
11 Puerto Rican (of any race) 5,174,554 1.6%
12 Norwegian 4,445,030 1.4%
13 Dutch 4,289,116 1.4%
14 Swedish 3,933,024 1.2%
15 Chinese 3,852,099 1.2%
16 Asian Indian 3,303,512 1.0%
17 Scotch-Irish 3,046,005 1.0%
18 Russian 2,843,400 0.9%
19 West Indian (non-Hispanic) 2,824,722 0.9%
20 Filipino 2,717,844 0.9%

Italian American Pizza

Pizza became most popular in America after soldiers stationed in Italy returned from World War II. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza became a dish of considerable popularity in the United States. The United States pizza restaurant industry is worth $37 billion and has an organized industry association. However, in my mind homemade makes best.


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

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

26 oz container strained or finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

Topping

Pizza sauce, recipe above
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 oz sliced pepperoni
Black pepper and oregano for sprinkling on top

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.

Mix the ricotta with ½ teaspoon salt. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.

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

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni, ricotta cheese dropped by tablespoons, and oregano.

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.


Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillets

Ingredients

10-12 oz white fish fillets
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon quarters

Directions

Combine the egg, cream and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the fish fillets lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a skillet.
Coat the fish in the batter and add to the hot butter in the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom side and turn over to cook the second side until golden. Serve with lemon quarters.

Coleslaw

Ingredients

1/4 of a large savoy cabbage, sliced thin
2 scallions, finely minced
1 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the honey, salt, pepper, celery seed, mayonnaise, whipping cream, sour cream and vinegar using a whisk.
Add the shredded cabbage and scallions, stir gently to mix.
Refrigerate, covered, for several hours before serving.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb./500 g total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in half crosswise. Using a crinkle cutter or a mandoline fitted with the waffle cut blade, thinly slice the potatoes into waffle-cut rounds about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick according to the manufacturer’s instructions, rotating the sweet potato 90 degrees between each cut.

Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss the sweet potatoes to coat evenly, the spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake until the potatoes are crisp and golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and serve hot.


Spices are very important in Moroccan cuisine. Common spices include cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, saffron, mace, cloves, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek, caraway, black pepper, and sesame seeds. Twenty-seven spices are combined for the famous Moroccan spice mixture called “ras el hanout”.

Due to its location on the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in natural resources and meals are usually built around seafood, lamb or poultry. The Moroccan national dish is a tagine or stew named for a special pot that is used for cooking. Common ingredients include chicken or lamb, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, prunes, lemons, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The tajine, like other Moroccan dishes, is known for its distinctive flavoring, which comes from spices that may include saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and ground red pepper. Give this Moroccan inspired recipe a try.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken

Ingredients

1 tablespoon chili paste (harissa or sambal oelek)
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 orange, zested, then cut into segments
2 tablespoons oil
4 bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup green olives
1/4 cup chopped preserved lemon
Couscous, recipe below

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a wide, deep braising pan over medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, combine the chili paste, paprika, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, allspice, cardamom, cayenne, orange zest, and 1 tablespoon oil. Stir to form a paste.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper; rub half of the spice mixture on both sides of the chicken thighs.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the heated pan. Sear the chicken skin-side down until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the garlic, onion and remaining spice mixture to the same pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan along with the tomatoes, chicken stock, olives, preserved lemon, and sliced oranges. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to braise until the chicken is tender, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Couscous

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ¼ cups no salt added chicken broth

Directions

Bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour in the couscous and the olive oil, give a quick stir, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork to break up any lump and serve.

Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

1 English cucumber, sliced thin
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed.

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl. Mix well, cover the dish and refrigerate several hours before serving.


Paprika is critical to Hungarian cuisine and it adds a very special and unique flavor. Hungary’s climate and soil conditions produce nearly ideal conditions for growing the peppers that end up as paprika, and their paprika is preferred by chefs across the globe.

All paprika is made from hot chilies, and the piquancy level of the finished spice is dependent on how much of the interior pith (which contains almost all the capsaicin, the chemical compound responsible for spicy flavor) is left attached to the fruit of the pepper before drying and grinding. Hungarians love the entire paprika spectrum, from fully hot (all the pith left intact) to “sweet,” or mild (with all pith removed). Hot paprika is difficult to find in the United States, but the sweet variety is a part of nearly everyone’s spice rack.

Paprikash showcases paprika perhaps more than any other Hungarian dish. Pieces of meat (usually chicken but other types of meat can also be used) are braised in a brick-red sauce made simply from onions, tomatoes, and of course paprika, then finished with a bit of sour cream. Here is my version.

Pork Paprikash

Ingredients

1 (1 pound) pasture raised pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt
Half a large sweet onion, cut into thin wedges
1 garlic clove, minced
1½ tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup bottled mild banana peppers, finely chopped
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons arrowroot or all-purpose flour

Directions

Trim fat and silverskin from the meat. Cut meat into thin medallions ( crosswise) and sprinkle lightly with salt; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown the slices on both sides, about 3 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil and add the onions. Cook until tender. Stir in the garlic.
Sprinkle with the paprika, black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook and stir 1 minute more.

Add tomatoes, broth, and banana peppers. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Return the meat slices to the pan and cook, uncovered, about 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to low. Stir together the sour cream and arrowroot in a small bowl; stir into the meat mixture. Cook and stir until very thick.

Serve the Paprikash over rice, cauliflower “rice” or wide noodles.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients

One 2 lb. acorn squash
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Seasoning mix: Combine ¼ teaspoon of each: chili pepper, brown sugar, lemon peel, orange peel, cilantro, and salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut acorn squash into quarters and remove the seeds from the center of each quarter.
Slice each quarter in half and place in a baking dish. Pour the melted butter over the squash and turn the pieces over in the butter.

Sprinkle with the seasoning mix.
Roast the squash until tender, about 25 minutes.


I am reposting this page because the post I published Friday was marked as against “community standards” on FB. I don’t know how recipes can be marked as against community standards. So I am trying this again.

Grilled Chicken Tenders

Ingredients

1 lb chicken tenders
Marinade
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Combine the marinade ingredients in a plastic ziplock bag. Place the chicken tenders in the bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat the meat really well, Place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate for several hours.
Preheat a stovetop grill pan to medium-high heat. You may also use a broiler. Grill the tenders, turning them every 2-3 minutes until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Stuffed Zucchini

For 2 servings

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit the zucchini.
Using a serrated spoon, remove the fleshy centers of each zucchini half. Lightly salt the zucchini shells.

In a small skillet heat the oil and cook the chopped zucchini flesh, garlic, and scallion until soft. Add the drained spinach, salt, and pepper to taste and the oregano. Cook until the spinach is tender about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat to cool.

Add the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and feta cheese. Stir well. Scoop the spinach mixture into the zucchini shells and place in the baking dish.

Place in the oven to bake, 35 to 40 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Let cool slightly and serve.

Tomato Salad

2-3 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges
Shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
Place the onion, tomatoes and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a salad serving bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.


Stuffed Zucchini

For 2 servings

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit the zucchini.
Using a serrated spoon, remove the fleshy centers of each zucchini half. Lightly salt the zucchini shells.


.In a small skillet heat the oil and cook the chopped zucchini flesh, garlic, and scallion until soft.
Add the drained spinach, salt, and pepper to taste and the oregano. Cook until the spinach is tender about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat to cool.


Add the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and feta cheese. Stir well. Scoop the spinach mixture into the zucchini shells and place in the baking dish.

Place in the oven to bake, 35 to 40 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Let cool slightly and serve.

Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders

2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 lb chicken tenders
Marinade
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Combine the marinade ingredients in a plastic ziplock bag. Place the chicken tenders in the bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat the meat really well, Place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate for several hours.
Preheat a stovetop grill pan to medium-high heat. You may also use a broiler. Grill the tenders, turning them every 2-3 minutes until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Tomato Salad

2-3 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges
Shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
Place the onion, tomatoes and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a salad serving bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.


Baja California is located about 15 miles from downtown San Diego and south of the California border in the country of Mexico. Baja cuisine is distinct from mainland Mexican cooking. Most food historians speculate that the fish taco emerged in this area when Asians introduced Baja natives to the practice of deep-frying fish. When this battered fried fish was combined with traditional Mexican toppings, the fish taco was born. It was also where I discovered fish tacos. While I do not deep fry the fish in my recipe, these tacos are delicious and come close to what I remember eating on my visit there.

Serve the tacos with black beans and sliced tomatoes.

Avocado Cream Sauce

1 ripe medium avocado, halved and pitted
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro or 2 tablespoons cilantro paste
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Slaw Topping

1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

Fish Batter

4 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Tacos

1 lb thin, firm fillets of mild, white fish, cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips
1 tablespoon avocado oil, plus extra for the tortillas
4-6 regular or low carb tortillas
Lime wedges for serving

Directions

Scoop the avocado flesh into a mini food processor. Add cilantro, sour cream, lime juice, and salt. Process until smooth. Refrigerate until serving time.

Stir cabbage, carrot, scallion, vinegar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush both sides of the tortillas lightly with avocado oil. Carefully drape each tortilla over two bars of the oven rack. Bake about 10 minutes until crispy but still pliable.

Mix together arrowroot powder, chili powder, cumin, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in egg whites. Coat fish in the batter.

Heat the avocado oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the battered fish pieces and cook, until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain.

Spread a generous amount of the avocado cream sauce over one half of each tortilla. Top with some of the slaw mixture and some of the cooked fish. Top with more avocado cream sauce and serve.


The pronunciation is PAH-nay and the name indicates cutlets that are breaded and fried. The term “panne” comes from the French word for bread, “pain” and/or the Spanish term “pan” for the same. This is a common recipe made in New Orleans cuisine and served with a Creole Sauce. The sauce definitely elevates these simple cutlets. I used turkey cutlets in today’s recipe but any cutlet works well. Serve the cutlets New Orleans style with cooked greens and rice on the side.

If you are following a low carb or gluten-free diet use arrowroot powder for the flour and low carb or gluten-free bread for the crumbs.

Creole Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 chopped garlic clove
1 large ripe tomato, seeds removed, diced
1 cup chicken stock
3 green onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 small sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Cutlets

4 cutlets, pounded thin (chicken, veal, pork or turkey)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning (store-bought or homemade, recipe below)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup freshly grated bread crumbs
Olive oil
Fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

For the Creole Sauce

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic until just tender, but not browned–about five minutes.

Add the fresh tomatoes to the pot, along with the chicken stock. Bring to a light boil.

Add all the remaining sauce ingredients and cook over medium heat for five minutes.

Lower to a simmer and cook until the sauce becomes very thick. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning if needed, and keep warm until time to serve.

For the cutlets

Tip – I like to prepare the cutlets earlier in the day and refrigerate them uncovered until ready to cook because the breading stays in place better when frying.

Pound the cutlets between two pieces of waxed paper (or inside a large food-storage bag) until they are evenly thick and about twice their original size.

Mix the salt and Creole seasoning into the flour, and lightly coat the cutlets.

Place the cutlets in the beaten egg and then dredge in the bread crumbs.

Heat a coating of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high and cook the cutlets for about a minute and a half per side, or until the exterior is golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the Creole sauce on each cutlet and serve garnished with chopped parsley.

Creole Seasoning

Ingredients

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons paprika

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and stir so that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Store in an airtight container or zip lock bag.



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