Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Author Archives: Jovina Coughlin

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake

Almond Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Dough

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages (1/4 ounce) or 4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
8 ounces almond paste

Glaze

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

To Make the Dough:

Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in the electric mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the water and eggs and beat until well combined.

Mix in the flour until the dough comes to a ball or comes away from the sides of the mixer bowl.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough.

Remove the dough to a floured surface. Grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

To Make the Filling:

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese and the almond paste together until smooth. Chill until ready to use.

Assembly:

Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper. I use a pizza pan.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle, about 20 x 14 inches.

Spread the filling on the dough, leaving a half-inch border all around the dough.

Roll the dough up from the long side (jelly roll style). Seal the edge tightly. Form the roll into a circle and pinch the ends together to form a ring.

Place the cake on the prepared pan. Using kitchen scissors, cut two-thirds through the dough from the outer rim of the circle at 1 inch intervals.

Allow the ring to rise, covered with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel for 1 hour until almost doubled in size.

Baking:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.

Bake the ring for 35 to 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wrap well and freeze until the day before Christmas. Defrost the cake at room temperature overnight.

For Christmas Morning

To make the glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, almond extract, and enough milk to make a frosting that can be poured over the cake. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired. Allow the glaze to set before serving.


Making cookies for Christmas is an important part of my family’s holiday tradition. This week I am sharing some of our favorite recipes.

Christmas Butter Cut-out Cookies

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2 cups butter ( 4 sticks)
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour
Powdered sugar icing (see below) and red and green colored sprinkles, for decoration

Directions

In a large electric mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and smooth.
Separate 3 of the eggs and leave one whole. Beat the 3 egg yolks and the remaining whole egg into the butter-sugar mixture. Set aside the eggs whites and use for another recipe.
Beat in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour and mix well. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
Divide the dough into four equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one-fourth of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutters. Transfer cookies to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and re-roll the scraps until all the dough is used.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Frost the cookies lightly with the icing and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

Store in tightly covered containers for up to two months in a cool place, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Powdered Sugar Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Mix together to make a thin icing.

Italian Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter
3 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans halves
Powdered sugar icing, see below
Multi-Colored sprinkles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat butter, powdered sugar, water, and vanilla until creamy in an electric mixer. Add flour and salt. Mix well.
Cover a pecan half with 1 tablespoon of dough and place on cookie sheets.
Bake for 30 minutes until lightly brown. Cool cookies on a rack.
Frost with powdered sugar icing and sprinkle colored sprinkles on top.

Powdered Sugar Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Mix together to make a thin icing.

Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups, softened (2 ½ sticks)
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Red food coloring

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream together the butter, egg, powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and vanilla. Add flour and salt. Divide the mixture in half. Add 1 teaspoon red food coloring to ½ the dough. Chill both halves.

Divide each half into 60 small balls. Press a red ball and a white ball together. Roll the two into a 4-inch rope and form into a candy cane shape. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 9 minutes. Cool.
These cookies also freeze well.


Making cookies for Christmas is an important part of my family’s holiday tradition. This week I am sharing some of our favorite recipes.

Rainbow/Venetians/Neapolitan/Tri-Color Cookies

Ingredient

1- 8 ounce can almond paste
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops green food coloring
8 drops red food coloring
12-ounce jar apricot preserves
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dishes; line with waxed paper; grease paper.
Break up paste in large mixer bowl with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and extract and beat with the mixer until fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and salt.
Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir into almond mixture with a wooden spoon, using turning motion similar to folding.
Remove 1-1/2 cups batter; spread evenly into one of the prepared pans. Remove another 1-1/2 cups batter to small bowl; tint green with coloring. Spread into the second pan. Tint remaining 1-1/2 cups batter red. Spread in remaining pan.
Bake 15 minutes or until edges are lightly golden; cake layers will each be 1/4 inch thick. Immediately remove cakes from pans onto large wire racks. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Cool.


Place red layer on upturned jelly roll pan or large platter. Heat preserves; strain; reserve chunks in a strainer for other uses. Spread half of the strained preserves over red layer. Top with a white layer. Spread with remaining preserves. Cover with a green layer, top side up.
Cover with plastic wrap. Weigh down with a large wooden cutting board, heavy flat tray or large book. Refrigerate overnight.
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over hot water.

Trim off the uneven cake edges with a sharp knife. Frost the top layer with half of the melted chocolate. Let chocolate dry. Turn the rectangle over and frost the remaining chocolate. Cut cake crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into 1-inch pieces. Makes about 6 dozen. Cookies freeze well.

Marshmallow Fudge Squares

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 (6 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons milk
30 large marshmallows

Directions:

In a 1-quart saucepan melt butter and chocolate squares. Remove from heat.
Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Into large mixer bowl, measure flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat at low-speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. With a spoon, stir in chocolate mixture. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate pieces and milk. Remove from heat.
Remove baking pan from oven; arrange marshmallows in rows on top of the baked layer. Bake 5 minutes longer or until marshmallows are soft and puffed. Remove to wire rack. With a metal spatula, flatten marshmallows and spread evenly.
Drizzle melted chocolate mixture over marshmallow layer. Cool on rack 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate, until cold and the top is firm, about 2 hours. When cold, cut into small squares,
Store in tightly covered container in the refrigerator to use up within 3 days.
Cookies may be frozen with between layers of wax paper.


Making cookies for Christmas is an important part of my family’s holiday tradition. This week I will share with some of our favorite recipes.

Pine-nut (Pignoli)Macaroons

Use only almond paste, not marzipan or canned almond filling.

Ingredients

1 can (8-ounce) almond paste, cut in small pieces
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites, from 2 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 cup pine nuts, pignoli

Directions

Heat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In mixer bowl beat almond paste, sugar, egg whites, and lemon peel with an electric mixer until smooth. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls dough 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle with pine nuts to cover, then press them gently to adhere.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes until tops feel firm and dry when lightly pressed. Cool completely on cookie sheet on wire rack. Store airtight at room temperature. (Cookies are best eaten within 2 weeks, or they can be frozen.)

Italian Wedding Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
powdered sugar ( for rolling baked cookies in)

Directions

Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy; stir in vanilla.
Whisk together flour and salt; add gradually to butter mixture; stir in chopped nuts.
Chill dough if it seems too soft.
Form dough into 1 inch balls and place onto parchment-lined or ungreased baking sheets.


Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or just until the cookies start to turn light golden-brown; remove from oven and allow to cool slightly; while cookies are still warm (but NOT hot) remove them from baking sheets and roll, a few at a time, in powdered sugar until evenly coated; cool cookies completely on wire racks.
Cookies may (optionally) be rolled in powdered sugar a second time once cooled to room temperature. Cookies freeze well.
Yield: 48 cookies.


 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup water
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 pound tender steak{beef tenderloin tails, ribeye, or flank steak} trimmed, cut into 1-inch squares
3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
3 tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine, divided
3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
2 ½ teaspoons packed light brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
6 scallions, white parts sliced thin on a bias, green parts cut into 2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Directions

Combine 1 tablespoon water and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Whisk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1½ teaspoons cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon sugar together in a small bowl. Add soy sauce mixture to beef, stir to coat, and let sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

Stir-fry Sauce
Whisk remaining ¼ cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons sherry, remaining 1½ teaspoons cornstarch, remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and ½ teaspoon pepper together in the second bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons peanut oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of the beef in a single layer. Cook without stirring for 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown on both sides, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining beef and 2 teaspoon oil.

Return skillet to high heat, add 2 teaspoons peanut oil, and heat until beginning to smoke. Add bell peppers and scallion greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are spotty brown and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl with beef.

Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Return beef and vegetables to skillet and stir to combine.

Whisk sauce to recombine. Add to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. Serve over rice


Turkey Noodle Soup

Broth
Turkey bones {I had a large turkey breast carcass from a 7 lb turkey breast with some meat still attached}
1 carrot halv4ed
1 celery stalk, halved
1 small onion, halved
2 garlic cloves, halved
12 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 large carrot peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
8-10 cups turkey broth
2 cups cooked turkey chopped or shredded
2 teaspoons fresh thyme minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
8 ounces noodles {I use whole wheat because they do not become soggy in soup}
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Place the turkey bones and vegetables in a large Dutch Oven. Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a bubbling simmer, partially cover the pot and cook for 3 hours. Strain the broth in a fine mesh colander and discard the solids, Add salt and refrigerate the broth until ready to make the soup.
Soup
Heat the oil in a large Dutch Oven and add the chopped vegetable. Saute until tender about 10 minutes. Add the prepared broth. You should have 8-10 cups. Bring to a boil. Add the seasoning and noodles. Cook the noodles in the soup for about 12 minutes. Add the chopped turkey. Taste and adjust salt. Serve in individual bowls or refrigerate for a later time.

Turkey Salad

Ingredients
3 cups leftover cooked turkey, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
½ to ¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Combine the turkey, onion, celery, grapes, and walnuts in a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough mayonnaise to moisten the ingredients. Sprinkle with chives. Serve or refrigerate until serving time.


Cooking Dried Beans
When the beans have finished soaking, drain and rinse them with cold water. Put them in a pot large enough to fit the number of beans you are using and cover with cold water by about 3 inches. Cover the pot with the lid and turn on the heat to medium. When the water comes to a boil, adjust the heat so that the cooking water simmers gently. Cook the beans until they are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Taste them periodically to check for doneness. Drain and set aside.

 

Pasta e Fagioli {Pqwtqa And Beans
Ingredients
1 ½ cups dried cannellini beans, precooked
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Two 26 oz containers of Italian chopped tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 oz elbow pasta, cooked al dente
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for sprinkling
Directions
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, and onion and saute until they begin to soften, making sure not to brown them. Add in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients except for the cooked pasta and grated cheese. Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers very gently. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil, adjusting the heat as necessary. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are fully tender, stirring periodically. Stir in the cooked pasta and heat for 5 minutes or until hot. Remove rind before serving.
Sprinkle each serving of soup with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Italian bread.

 


 

Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine wet ingredients: butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a separate mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes until creamed together. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add dry ingredients: Gradually mix in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop dough: Measure out 1/4 cup balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet 2 inches apart.
Bake for15 minutes or until set around the edges (don’t overbake!).
Allow cooling for several minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
Notes
Make-ahead Instructions: Make the dough up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
Freezing Instructions: The cookie dough balls may be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze the baked cookies, allow them to cool completely and store them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.


Potato Filled Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients

Cabbage
8 large savoy cabbage leaves
1 carrot shredded
½ cup water

Potato Filling:
4 cups plain mashed potatoes
1 onion finely chopped
2 eggs
4 tablespoon butter melted
1 teaspoons salt

Directions

I like to remove the large cabbage leaves, put them in a zip; ock freezer bag, and place the package in the freezer until you are ready to make the cabbage rolls. Defrost the leaves overnight in the refrigerator. Place on kitchen towels.
Or
Remove the core from the cabbage head, Add the cabbage to a pot of boiling water, core down, and cook for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the number of leaves you want for the stuffed cabbage. Place them on a kitchen towel. Reserve the remaining cabbage for another dish.

Combine the potatoes with the eggs, onion, salt, and melted butter and set aside.
To stuff the cabbage leaves:
Remove the top of the stem with kitchen scissors. Place ½ cup of the filling onto the bottom part and roll folding in the sides.
Place the rolls in a greased baking dish just large enough to fit the rolls. Pour ½ cup water into the dish.

Sprinkle the shredded carrot over the cabbage rolls. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 2 hours. 4 servings

Serve with

Pork Chop Piccata

Ingredients

4 thin pork chops
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Capers, drained
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Directions

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a wide dish and coat the pork chops.
In a skillet, melt the butter on medium. Add the pork and cook for 5 min. per side, until browned.
Add the lemon juice and capers to the skillet. Being to a boil. Remove from the heat. Garnish with parsley and serve. 4 s34vings


Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Leaves

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons peanut oil oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon grated garlic
2 scallions, chopped
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb total), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 -oz sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup bottled hoisin sauce
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
12 large red- or green-leaf lettuce leaves

Directions

Heat a wok or a 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until just smoking, then add oil. Add ginger, garlic, and scallions and stir-fry for 45 seconds.

Add chicken and mushrooms and stir-fry until just cooked through about 2 minutes. Add water chestnuts and sauce. Stir-fry until heated for about 1 minute.

Transfer to a bowl.
Have guests serve themselves by spooning the chicken mixture into lettuce leaves and wrapping leaves around filling to enclose.

Pork Fried Rice

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)

Ingredients

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large egg
2 tablespoons peanut oil or olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Chinese chili sauce
1 boneless pork loin chop, one-inch thick, cooked, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 cups cooked, chilled long-grain rice
4 oz diced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

Sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Chinese wine {shaosing}
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Directions

Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a skillet and add the egg. Scramble the egg and remove to a small bowl/

Combine the chili sauce with the cubed pork.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to a pan, swirling to coat. Add pork, celery, and scallions to the pan, and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the skillet and add the rice, stirring well to coat the rice with oil; cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Add the sauce and stir-fry for one minute. Add the pork mixture, water chestnuts, and egg. Stir-fry until all the ingredients are combined and hot.
Serve with the Lettuce wraps.



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