Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Breakfast

Shrimp Salad In Cantaloupe Rings

2 servings

Ingredients

8 oz cooked shrimp, diced into small pieces
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
2 center-cut slices of cantaloupe kept in circles, about 1-inch thick, peeled and seeded

Directions

Combine the salad ingredients in a mixing bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
Place a cantaloupe circle on each of the two plates. Divide the shrimp salad in half and pole into the cantaloupe rings and serve with the Zucchini Salad and muffins.


Zucchini Salad

2 servings

Ingredients

Salad
1 medium zucchini, sliced into very thin circles
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set them aside.

In a medium serving bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add half the dressing and mix well. Use the remaining dressing for another recipe.

Mini Corn Muffins

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

Combine the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the egg substitute, milk, and oil together.
Fill your mini muffin cups with batter up to three-fourths full.
Set your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the muffin cups inside the oven then let them cook for ten to twelve minutes or just until the toothpick inserted at the middle of the muffin does not have anything sticking to it when pulled out. Then allow them to cool down for five more minutes then place them on the wire rack.

 

 


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.


Greek Spinach Frittata

Ingredients

12 large eggs
¼ cup olive oil
16 oz frozen spinach defrosted, raw or canned, and drained
1 onion finely dices
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove minced
2 plum tomatoes, cut into thin slices
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Heat the broiler.
In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs. Add the spinach, onion, garlic, and oregano. Mix well.
Heat the oil in an omelet pan. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until set, lifting the edges and letting the eggs run under the omelet. Top the egg mixture with sliced tomatoes, and fetta cheese. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for 2-3 minutes until the top is no longer runnun\g and beginning to brown.
Serve with pita bread and Tzatziki Sauce.


Homemade Banana Pancakes

Perk up your Sunday morning breakfast with these homemade pancakes. I like to mix the ingredients together the evening before and refrigerating the dough overnight. Saves time in the morning when everyone is waiting for pancakes.

Ingredients

2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 large ripe banana. chopped
3 tablespoons canola oil
Topping
Maple Syrup or honey
Mixed berries

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the chopped banana.
In a large measuring cup combine the melted butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

Heat a large buttered cast-iron griddle or skillet. Working in batches, drop batter by 1⁄3 cupfuls 1 inch apart over hot oil. Cook until edges are dry and bubbles form in the center of pancakes, about 3 minutes; turn, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes more. Use remaining oil as needed. Serve with bananas and syrup.


Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
½ cup brown sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425º Fahrenheit. Oil a 6-jumbo muffin pam.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combien the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup including the marmalade. Stir the date and nuts into the flour mixture. Add the wet mixture just until combined.
Spoon the batter evenly into the six cups. Sprinkle with each top with brown sugar.

 

Bake at for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375º Fahrenheit and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 


Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool.

 


Creamy Spinach Quiches

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
10 oz package frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed or the equivalent of fresh spinach
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1 Basic Pie Dough, fitted into a 9-inch pie plate
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a skillet, melt the butter over medium. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach to the skillet; season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 /2 teaspoon pepper.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pie dough with half the cheese. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle it with the remaining cheese. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and transfer it to the oven.

Bake the quiche until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Let quiches stand 15 minutes before serving.

Cucumber Radish Salad

Ingredients

1 large cucumber peeled and cut into cubes
6 large radishes, trimmed and quartered
2 scallions, sliced thin
¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
¼ cup toasted walnuts
¼ cup chopped fresh mint

Combine ⅓ cup of your favorite Red wine vinaigrette mixed with 1 teaspoon honey. Mix into the cucumber salad. Ket marinates for about 30 minutes before serving.



This is not your gourmet recipe for Eggs Benedict. It is my simplified version with an easy-to-make sauce. Store-Bought muffins are perfectly fine but occasionally I like to make the homemade version because they are sturdier for recipes like this than the stores.

Eggs Benedict

2 servings

Ingredients

4 slices of baked ham cut to fit the bottom of the muffins and warmed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 English muffins, toasted {store bought or homemade}

Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
¼ cup milk

Directions
Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a boil on medium heat. Add the vinegar and salt. Turn the heat down until simmering.
Break each egg into a small bowl and gently add to the simmering water. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs poach for 3 minutes.

For the sauce
Place the cheese and milk in a microwave bowl and heat in the microwave for 2’3 minutes until smooth.
Remove the eggs, one at a time with a slotted spoon, and hold the spoon over a clean kitchen towel to drain for a few seconds. Place the egg on top of the ham for each of the 4 muffin halves.
Place two muffin halves on each serving plate. Top each egg with 2 tablespoons of sauce and serve immediately.

Homemade Baked English Muffins

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vinegar, white or cider

Directions

Stir together all the ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 1 minute at the high speed of an electric mixer; the dough will become somewhat smooth.
Scrape the dough into the center of the bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for about 60 minutes until it’s quite puffy.
Cover two large baking sheets; or line with parchment. Grease twelve 3 ¾” English muffin rings, and place them on the baking sheets.
Turn the dough onto a lightly greased or floured work surface. Cut it into 12 equal pieces; each will weigh a scant 2 ounces..
Shape the dough into balls. Place each ball into a ring, pressing it down to flatten somewhat, and top with a greased baking sheet (or a sheet of parchment, then the baking sheet). The baking sheet should be resting atop the rings.
Let the muffins rise for about 60 to 90 minutes until they’ve puffed up noticeably. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bake the risen muffins for 10 minutes. Flip the pans over, and bake for 5 minutes more. Remove the top pan, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, and the interior of one registers about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the muffins from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Remove their rings as soon as you’re able. When completely cool, store muffins in a plastic bag.
Yield: 12 muffins.
Adapted from King Arthur recipes

 


Zucchini Frittata

8 servings

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion
2 large zucchini
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
12 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cut the potatoes, onion, and zucchini into thinly sliced rounds.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add the potatoes and cook until softened, Add the garlic and onions, Cover the pan and cook until the onions are soft. Add the zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Pour in the eggs and tilt the pan so the vegetables are covered. Cook for a few minutes and using a spatula lift the edges of the mixture to allow the uncooked egg to drain underneath. Cook until most of the egg is set,
Tuen the broiler to high,


Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the cheeses. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes. The top should be golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into servings pieces.


 

America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland. True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

The first time most Americans heard of fried green tomatoes was when a movie by that name came out in 1991. Based on a novel by Fannie Flagg called Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

According to the Smithsonian spokesperson:

They took us to a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that served simple Southern fare. The whole meal was delicious, as I recall, though the only dish I can remember clearly was the fried green tomatoes. Now, I know that most things that taste good taste even better when battered and deep-fried. But something about this dish was extraordinary—the combination of firm-fleshed tomato with crunchy cornmeal coating, the slight tartness of the unripe fruit balancing the oiliness of the exterior. I was smitten.

The New Orleans visit was our first stop on a road trip to Chicago. (Now, why didn’t I remember this story for Inviting Writing, instead of my sad tale of food-borne illness?) I kept looking for fried green tomatoes everywhere we went. Although I ate lots of other good things on that trip, I found my new favorite food only once more, at an upscale restaurant in Memphis. They were a disappointment—over-seasoned and overcooked.

The next time I encountered fried green tomatoes was almost a decade later at a rural county fair in, of all places, upstate New York. Served at a corn farmer’s food stand, they were not what I had come to believe was traditional Southern-style—they were more like a corn fritter with a slice of green tomato nestled inside—but I have enraptured once again.

The reason I say “ostensibly Southern” is that it turns out, fried green tomatoes may have been as unusual in the South before 1991 as they were everywhere else. In fact, according to Robert F. Moss, a food historian, and writer in South Carolina, “they entered the American culinary scene in the Northeast and Midwest, perhaps with a link to Jewish immigrants, and from there moved onto the menu of the home-economics school of cooking teachers who flourished in the United States in the early-to-mid 20th century.”

Jewish?!

Recipes in several Jewish and Midwestern cookbooks of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, but none in Southern cookbooks and hardly any in Southern newspapers. You can read the whole entertaining and informative account of how a movie changed (or distorted) culinary history at his blog.

Robert F. Moss, a food writer, and culinary historian from Charleston, South Carolina, said he doesn’t remember anyone in his Southern family who battered and fried green tomatoes. He researched the topic and found 11 fried green tomato recipes published in newspapers between 1900 and 1919. Surprisingly, all 11 newspapers were in Midwestern and northern cities. None were Southern newspapers.

During the 1920s, records indicate recipes for fried green tomatoes appeared in Frederick, Maryland, and Danville, Virginia, papers, but the Danville column came from a nationally syndicated source.

Moss found no recipes for fried green tomatoes in Southern papers in the ’30s and only one in the ’40s. There were none in the ’50s or ’60s, which intrigued him, leading him to ponder whether fried green tomatoes were a truly Southern dish.

The real-life Alabama cafe, upon which the fictional Whistle Stop Cafe was based, was owned and operated for 40 years by Flagg’s great-aunt. There is no evidence the cafe ever served fried green tomatoes. Archived menus make no mention of fried green tomatoes, although they may have been served as an occasional side item.

It wasn’t until the movie came out and fans descended upon the cafe requesting fried green tomatoes that they became popular. The new owners developed a batter mix for the more than 60 pounds of fried tomatoes they were selling every weekday. The cafe’s signature dish was invented after the movie premiered.

Based on his research, Moss concluded fried green tomatoes are not a Southern dish, but originated in the Midwest and northeast, possibly linked to the cuisine of Jewish immigrants. A recipe appears in the 1889 addition of “Aunt Babette’s Cook Book” and “The International Jewish Cookbook” from 1919. Other recipes appeared in Ohio cookbooks in the late 19th century.

The lone fried green tomato recipe Moss found in the ’40s appeared in the Dothan Eagle. I was reprinted from a U.S. Department of Agriculture leaflet advocating Americans should begin the day with something nutritious, like fried green tomatoes. The editor of the Alabama paper mocked the recipe, saying “no self-respecting Southerner would dream of eating a fried green tomato.”

Today, fried green tomato dishes can be found in many upscale restaurants. They are a popular menu item at The Greenbrier’s Draper Restaurant. According to one source, fried green tomato sandwiches have iconic status as the distinctive dish of The Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament.

Chef Brian Halstead said he and his staff were using 500 or more green tomatoes daily during the 2017 tournament. The fried tomatoes were topped with bacon, arugula, goat cheese, and black pepper aioli.

With the use of high tunnels to extend the growing season and hydroponic tomato production, locally grown green tomatoes can be found year-round, but, for me, green tomatoes still signal the end of summer and a time to salvage unripened tomatoes dangling on the vines before they get nipped by frost.

Whether you believe fried green tomatoes are a quintessential Southern dish or of Midwestern origin, I hope you will agree, they are a tasty summer dish. There are three different ways to cook this dish. Use the method that appeals to you.

Ingredients

2 to 3 medium-sized green tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Cajun spice
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten

Directions

Place the flour mixed with Cajun seasoning in one shallow dish.

Add the egg to a second dish. Add a tablespoon of water and mix well.

Place the panko crumbs, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a third shallow dish.

Cut the tomatoes into ½ inch thick slices and pat dry with paper towels.

Sprinkle the tomato slices evenly with salt and pepper.

Dredge the tomato slices in the flour, then the egg, and then in the panko mixture to coat evenly.

Place the breaded tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet.

To Deep Fry

Fry Tomatoes: heat the oil to 360º F and using a spatula or flat slotted spoon slide the coated tomato into the oil. Fry for 3 minutes on each side.

To Shallow Fry

Place a deep skillet with cooking oil about ½ inch deep; on medium-high heat. Heat the oil and place green tomato slices in hot oil and brown lightly on each side, careful not to over-brown the green tomatoes. I do mine in small batches.
Place on a paper towel-lined plate when done and serve immediately.

To Oven Bake

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tomatoes over with a wide spatula after 10 minutes.
Serve with your favorite sauce.


This frittata works for breakfast with fruit and toast. It is also good for lunch with a side salad or for dinner with vegetable side dishes and baked ham. The frittata also keeps several days in the refrigerator. Reheat for 2-3 minutes in the microwave.

6 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 spears of fresh asparagus, cooked and diced
½ cup jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
Salt to taste
8 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat the broiler.

Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat; cook and stir asparagus and roasted red bell pepper until the vegetables are hot.. Stir in cherry tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, and salt, and continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft for another 3 minutes. Sprinkle mixture lightly t with salt.

Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl and pour into the skillet to cover the vegetables with egg mixture. Pull up an edge of the frittata with a spatula and tilt the pan to allow the unset egg to run underneath and continue around the pan, lifting the frittata edge, tilting the an, until all the egg mixture is set.

Sprinkle with feta and Cheddar cheese. Place the pan under the broiler. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese melts. Cut in slices to serve.



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