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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Author Archives: Jovina Coughlin

Prosciutto-Wrapped Baked Zucchini

Ingredients

2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
1/2 of a small shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded chili
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Score the cut side of the zucchini halves 1/8 inch deep in a diamond pattern. Toss shallot, olive oil, chili, garlic, 1 salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Rub the mixture on the cut sides of the zucchini halves. Wrap each zucchini piece with 2 prosciutto pieces, and arrange, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until zucchini is crisp-tender, 20 minutes.
Transfer zucchini to a serving plate. Sprinkle with parsley.

Turkey Piccata

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless turkey cutlets
1/2 cup flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Season the flour with salt and pepper, and lightly pound the turkey breast into thin cutlets. Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy frying pan, and add the cutlets to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side over medium heat, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove the cutlets to a plate and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

Add the wine to the pan and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add the lemon juice and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the capers and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Return all of the cooked cutlets to the frying pan, and heat in the sauce. Serve hot.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

ingredients

1 pound Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
Coldwater, for cooking, enough to cover by 1-inch
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste

Directions

Scrub potatoes well and peel them. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces and place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water, then stir in the 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil on high, then reduce the heat to maintain a low boil until potatoes are tender and a knife moves easily through the center, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes.

In a small pan, gently melt the butter and cream and mix together, keep warm.

Return the drained potatoes to the cooking pot, turn the heat to medium and let the excess water cook off for a minute or two, shaking the pan occasionally. Mash the potatoes until smooth. With a spatula, slowly turn the cream-butter mixture into the potatoes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.

Note: the potatoes can be prepared earlier and reheated in a casserole dish in the oven with the roasting zucchini.

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I am fortunate to live near a farm that grows these beautiful, round Italian heirloom eggplants. This variety is a plump, tear-drop- shaped eggplant with rosy lavender skin and alabaster flesh. The meaty and firm yet tender flesh has a delicate mild flavor and a creamy consistency with no bitterness. Rosa Bianca has few seeds, making it the perfect variety for grilling and baking.

Baked Eggplant Stacks

Ingredients

1 Rosa Bianca Eggplant, about 1 ½ lb.
½ cup flour
3 egg whites beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
2 cups Italian seasoned Panko crumbs
1 large beefsteak or heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
6 Fresh Mozzarella slices
6 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ cup Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pour the ¼ cup olive oil into a large rimmed rectangular sheet pan.
Peel the eggplant and slice into six 1/2-inch-thick circles.
Dip the eggplant slices into the flour, then the egg white mixture and finally the crumbs, tossing around to make sure the crumbs adhere. Place the breaded eggplant on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or two.


Put the sheet pan with the oil in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven (with oven mitts) and arrange the eggplant on the hot pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake another 10 minutes or until they’re golden on the other side.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put a tomato slice on top of each eggplant slice, then a basil leaf on each and top each with a slice of mozzarella. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese melts.

 

Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta

Use beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are in season now along with lots of fresh herbs.

For two servings:

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced\
1 large heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, parsley, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside for up to 30 minutes.
Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. You should get 4 slices. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the tomato slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle with reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Old Fashioned Vidalia Onion Pie

Vidalia onions are in season now. They are a sweet, mild onion grown in Georgia. Vidalias can be used in place of any yellow onion, but their flavor is so special that you can really let them be the star of the show, such as this Vidalia Onion tart.

One 9-inch pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan if you like. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top. Fill and bake.

Filling Ingredients:
2 large Vidalia onions, diced
1/4 cup butter
8 oz cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup whole milk

Directions

Saute the onions in butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until golden brown. This will take 40 to 45 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F Line a baking sheet and place the pastry-lined pie pan on the baking sheet to help with transferring in and out of the oven.

Spread half the cheddar cheese over the bottom crust and top the cheese with the cooked onions.
In a measuring cup, whisk the eggs together with the milk and ½ teaspoon of salt, then pour it over the onion mixture. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese.


Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.

Plum Crostata

Plums are generally in season somewhere in the United States from the end of May all the way into October. Not only are they good for eating out of hand, but they are an excellent fruit for baking, such as this crostata recipe below. Crostata is the Italian term, and Galette is the French term for a rustic dessert that consists of a rolled out piece of pastry dough and the edges of the dough are folded in about an inch or so over the filling.

Ingredients

Pie pastry for one 9-inch pie
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 plums
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Directions

Slice the plums into thin wedges.
Roll pie dough out to a 12-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Slide the parchment onto a sheet pan. Spread marmalade on the center of the tart; then fan around the wedges of plums, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the pie crust dough edge over onto the plums.

Drizzle honey over plums, brush pie crust dough edge with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F until fruit is tender and crust is cooked on the underside, about 25 to 30 minutes.


Pepper Steak

Ingredients

1 pound top sirloin steak or flank steak, cut into very thin strips
1/4 cup soy sauce (divided)
1/3 cup Shaoxing wine (divided)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch squares (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, whites only, finely minced
4 tablespoons vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
Kosher salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha

Directions

Combine beef, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine in a bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Combine remaining soy sauce with cornstarch and stir with a fork to form a slurry. Add remaining Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Set aside.

Combine peppers and onions in a bowl and set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, and scallions in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or a large deep skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of the beef and cook without moving until well seared, about 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and remaining beef. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil and half of the peppers and onions. Transfer to the bowl with the beef. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining peppers/onions.

Return pan to high heat and add the peppers/onions/beef and the garlic/ginger/scallion mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring until incorporated about 30 seconds. Add sauce and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until thickened, about 45 seconds longer. If you like your Chinese recipes with spice add several tablespoons of Sriracha.

Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve with rice


Tip: The baking time will vary depending on how many cookie sheets are in the oven at the same time. I have found that if two cookie sheets are in the oven, the cookies below take 20 minutes. If one sheet is in the oven then the cookies take 15 minutes to bake.

Honey Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1⁄2 cups rolled oats, not instant
1 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, brown sugar, honey, egg, and water thoroughly.
Sift together the dry ingredients then stir in the oats. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and combine. Stir in the raisins.


Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, switching the pans on the racks after 10 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack. Keep in an airtight container or freeze.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients

1/2 cup very soft room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. The butter should sit on the counter for a few hours to get very soft.

Beat the butter with the peanut butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix until creamy.
Beat in vanilla, egg, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the flour, a ½ cup at a time, until the cookie dough comes together. Stir in chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop drop cookie dough balls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes, switching pans on the oven racks after 10 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze.


Crab Cakes

Makes 10 medium cakes. You can make them larger if you wish but I find medium works best. Since I don’t add bread crumbs to the filling (just a little on the outside) the medium cakes are easier to turn. Plus I think two medium cakes are enough for a portion.

Ingredients

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat picked over for shells
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1/4 cup celery finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter

Directions

In a medium bowl, carefully pick over the crab and remove any shells. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and seafood seasoning. Toss gently.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pepper, and parsley.
Add the mayonnaise mixture to the crab mixture and carefully fold in the mayonnaise being careful not to break up the crab meat too much.
Use a muffin scoop form the crab mixture into 10 patties. Lightly press the crab cakes into the panko crumbs and transfer to a platter. Chill for 30 minutes or more.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the crab cakes and cook over medium heat until golden, approximately 3-4 minutes. Turn the crab cakes over gently with a wide spatula. Cook until golden brown, crispy and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.

Fettuccine With Lemon Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
8-10 oz fettuccine
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
Heat the butter in a skillet and add the lemon zest.
Drop the fettuccine into the boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain.
Add cream to the butter and lemon zest mixture. Add the pasta and lemon juice and stir until just heated through. Add the Parmesan and toss. Serve with the crab cakes.

Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients

2-10 oz packages frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium and let the spinach cook slowly until tender and silky., about 15 minutes.


In the mood for deep-dish pizza? No need to to get take out because this deep dish pizza is easy to make at home.

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza

Makes two 10-inch deep-dish pizzas.

Ingredients

1 recipe Deep Dish Pizza Dough, recipe below
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, crumbled
1/2 pound button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
26-28 oz container chopped Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz mozzarella, shredded
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in two 10-inch round deep dishpans. Place one dough ball in each pan and press into the pan until the edge of the dough reaches the corners of the pan. Press the dough so that the edges rise up slightly. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest as you prepare the filling.


Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sausage and cook until lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, Italian herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and tomatoes to the pan and cook until thickened, about 1 hour. Allow to cool to room temperature and divide the mixture in half.


Sprinkle the bottom of each dough with 1/4 of the shredded cheese, about 1/2 cup. Spread an equal amount of the sausage mixture over the dough in each pan. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then top each pizza with the remaining mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Transfer the pizzas to the oven and bake until the dough has risen, the cheese has melted, and the surface of the pizza and dough are a golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest 10 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve hot.

Deep Dish pizza dough ingredients:
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
Pinch of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

In a large mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, add all the dough ingredients. Mix until the dough forms a ball around the paddle. Remove the paddle and switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 7 minutes to form a smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually 1 hour. Divide dough into 2 portions and form each into a ball.


 

I make freezer jams because they are easy to make, don’t need packaged pectin and last a long time in the freezer. The secret ingredient is lemon. Lemon has natural pectin in it, but it needs sugar to gel. I also use a natural sugar substitute because we try not to eat sugary foods and it works just fine in the jam.

Freezer Blueberry Jam

Ingredients

4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a large saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and reduced by about half, about 30 minutes. Using a potato masher crush the berries several times during the cooking process. Pour the jam into clean freezer jars. Cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the freezer. When ready to use a jar, place in the refrigerator overnight.

Strawberry Preserves

Preserves are cooked the same way jam is, however, the only difference is that the fruit in preserves is cut into chunks, whereas with jam, the fruit is crushed. The texture of preserves is not as stiff as jelly or jam. It is easy to spread and makes a great topping for ice cream or pancakes.

Ingredients

1 quart of strawberries
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 long strip of lemon zest

Directions

Fill 4-pint jars with boiling water and place the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you make the preserves.

Wash the strawberries and remove the leaves. Cut them in half and place the berries in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Stir well.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir occasionally until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes or a candy thermometer registers 220 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the heat. Empty pint jars and remove the lids from the water.

Fill the jars with the preserves and place the lids on the jars. Cool for a few hours at room temperature. Store the jars in the refrigerator for a few weeks or freeze them for future use.

Fig Jam

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 orange
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 whole thyme sprigs
2 pounds ripe fresh figs, stemmed and quartered

Directions

Remove the strips of rind from the lemon and the orange using a vegetable peeler, avoiding the white pith. Combine the rind strips and the remaining ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan or large Dutch oven.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium; and cook 50 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. (If testing with a candy thermometer, it should read 220°F.) Discard the thyme and citrus strips.

Pour into refrigerator or freezer storage jars. Store in the refrigerator for several months or the freezer for up to six months.

Blackberry Jam

For 2 1/2 pints

Ingredients

3 pounds ripe blackberries
2 cups sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Using a potato masher, crush the fruit until soupy. Measure this puree and note the quantity. Put the puree in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. The puree should be no more than 1 inch deep in the bottom of the pot. I placed half of the blackberry puree in a strainer to remove seeds before proceeding with the recipe. For every two cups of fruit puree, add to the pot one cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Bring the fruit-sugar mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. After it boils, continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 12 to 14 minutes, or until thickened.
Check the consistency by turning off the heat and putting a spoonful of hot jam on a chilled
When the jam is set, ladle it into clean half-pint jars or other air-tight containers. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Easy Homemade Peach Jam

4 cups

Ingredients

4 cups (1 kg) fresh peaches, pureed
2 cups (400 grams) white sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Using a sharp knife, peel the peaches and remove the pits. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. You can do this in batches.
Pour the peach puree in a large and deep pot and add the sugar and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. Bring to a light boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes stirring very frequently. The jam will be ready when it reaches 221 °F/105 °C or when it’s thick enough when dropped onto a cold plate. Add the rest of the lemon juice, stir, and remove the pot from the heat.

Transfer the hot jam into pasteurized jars, making sure not to fill them all the way to the rim. Using thick gloves or a towel, secure the lids, invert the jars upside-down, and let them cool. Refrigerate or freeze.



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