Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Cheese

Burritos

Ingredients

Marinade
1 orange
1 lime
¼ cup avocado oil
2 – 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound beef flank steak

Burrito
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Half a large sweet onion cut into thin rings and rings halved
2 medium sweet bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin strips
6-8 inch flour tortillas, warmed
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 cup of salsa

Directions

Zest the lime and orange. Juice both the orange and lime. In a large resealable plastic bag combine 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 2 tablespoons lime juice, avocado oil, chipotle peppers, cumin, and the salt. Add steak. Seal bag; turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 12 hours.

Remove meat from the marinade. Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade; discard any remaining marinade. Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a large grill pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add steak to the pan. Cook for 14 to 18 minutes or until steak reaches desired doneness, turning once halfway through cooking. (Or, for a gas or charcoal grill, grill the steak on a greased rack of a covered grill over medium heat for 17 to 21 minutes or until steak reaches desired doneness.)

Transfer meat to a cutting board. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Heat the same grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers to the drippings in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini. Cook 1 minute more. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.

Lay tortillas on a flat work surface. Arrange the meat on the bottom third of the tortillas. Top with cooked vegetables, and cilantro. Roll up tortillas tightly. Serve with salsa.

Tips
If using a gas or charcoal grill, use a large skillet to cook the vegetables. Use 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in place of the drippings.

Cheese Sauce

ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
Stir over medium-high heat until all cheese is melted.

Creamy Southern Succotash

Ingredients

1 recipe cooked southern field peas (see recipe), drained
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
Cheese sauce, recipe above

Directions

After the cheese sauce is complete, stir in the drained peas and corn. Add the chili powder and simmer over low heat until hot.
Serve with the burritos.


Smothered Pork Chops

Pork Chops
1 pound boneless pork chops, about 3/4-1 inch thick.
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Gravy
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk or heavy cream
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture. Season pork chops with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Refrigerate for several hours.
Dredge each chop in the flour; shake off the excess and reserve the remaining flour.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, sear the pork chops in a single layer on each side 2 minutes per side. Remove pork chops from the pan and keep warm.

In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
Add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook while stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and poultry seasoning; cook 30 seconds.

Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining flour to the pan. Mix the flour into the onions and cook 2 minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid reduce and thicken slightly, about 2 minutes.
Whisk in the buttermilk (or cream) and simmer for 1-2 minutes until thick and creamy.
Return the pork chops to the pan. Coat them in the sauce and let simmer until the pork is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes (or until the pork is cooked to your desired doneness). Taste test and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with the chopped parsley before serving.

Southern Field Peas

ingredients

4 cups fresh heirloom cowpeas
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 bell pepper finely diced
1/2 Vidalia onion, finely diced

Directions

Place cowpeas, bell pepper, onion, chicken stock, butter, and salt into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes. Taste the peas to be sure they are tender. If not, simmer for a few minutes more. Drain and serve.


Corn Cakes

Makes 9-10 cakes

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients (do not over mix). Fold in the corn and cheese.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop heaping ¼-cup portions of the batter into the skillet and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately.


Scallopini

Ingredients

Two 6 oz boneless, skinless cutlets (turkey, chicken, veal, pork or fish), pounded until thin
Kosher salt
Ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, preferably Wondra
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons white wine, or dry vermouth
1 lemon, juiced (4 tablespoons),
1 tablespoon capers

Directions

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly coat in flour. Shake off excess.


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter, swirl them around the pan, and add the cutlets. Turn the heat to medium and saute for 2 minutes per side. Add the wine, lemon juice and capers, swirl them around in the pan and turn off the heat. Serve immediately with a small sprinkling of salt and pepper.

CreamyRoasted Tomato Pasta

Ingredients

5-6 large plum tomatoes quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Half of a small onion, minced
1 medium or two small zucchini cut into sticks about the size of the pasta
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups short pasta
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated plus extra for serving

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.


In a medium baking dish lined with foil, toss together the quartered tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes. Turn the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and roast the tomatoes for 2o minutes more. cool to room temperature. Remove the tomato skins and discard them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and zucchini sticks. Cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Add the thyme and the cream, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the sauce. Add in ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Add pasta water if necessary to loosen up the sauce. Season to taste with black pepper. Serve with extra parmesan cheese.

Homemade Olive Bread

Ingredients

2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Directions

Place all the bread ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a clean bowl greased with olive oil. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Punch the dough down and place on a parchment-lined baking pan. Shape the dough into an oval. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes. Make three slashes in the top of the bread with a sharp knife. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake the bread for 40 minutes.

Cool un a wire rack. Serve the bread with olive oil for dipping.


Flounder Florentine

2 servings

Ingredients

One large (12-16 oz) flounder filet
1 cup leftover sauteed spinach (recipe)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions

Coat a baking dish large enough to hold the flounder with olive oil. Place the flounder in the dish and season with salt and pepper.
Spread the spinach over the flounder and top with the shredded cheese.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Bake the flounder for 15 minutes.

Baked Tomatoes For Two

Ingredients

1 large fresh tomato. Cut in half
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Italian flavored panko crumbs
Olive oil

Place the tomato halves on a small baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and top each half with 1 tablespoon of panko crumbs. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. ( Bake in the oven with the flounder.

 

Lemon Vegetable Couscous

Ingredients

Olive oil
1 ¼ cups chicken broth
1 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous
1 small zucchini, diced
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring1 ¼ cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous. Return the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook 10 minutes. The couscous will absorb the broth. Stir, add ½ teaspoon salt, and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Saute over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, Italian seasoning and salt, and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the cooked couscous and lemon juice. Heat. Adjust seasoning with salt to taste. Serve with the flounder.


Make a large piece of meat (beef roast, chicken, or pork roast) one day a week and you will have lots of easy meals during the week. Last week I made a baked ham (recipe) that had been in my freezer for a few months. Having these leftovers made for some easy meals.

Ham Omelet For Breakfast

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 large eggs
4 small red potatoes, cooked and diced
1 cup diced Italian light green frying peppers
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup diced cooked baked ham
3 slices American cheese, broken into pieces

Directions

Position rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat the broiler.
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Heat oil and butter in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, and potatoes; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham; cook, stirring, until the ham is hot.
Pour the eggs over the vegetable ham mixture and cook, lifting the edges of the omelet so uncooked egg can flow underneath until the bottom is light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top, transfer the pan to the oven and broil until the eggs are set, 6 to 8 minutes. Let rest for about 3 minutes before cutting. Serve hot or warm.

Ham And Potato Soup For Lunch

Ingredients

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large onion diced
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cups peeled and diced potatoes
4 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced (add more if desired)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups ham broth, see recipe below
3 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of salt (adjust to your taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

For the ham broth

Simmer the ham bone in a stockpot filled with enough water to cover the bone halfway.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and let simmer until the meat clinging to the bone begins to shred. (about 1 hour).
Discard the hambone.

For the soup

Heat the butter in the stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until beginning to soften (about 4 minutes).
Add the potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
Mix the flour through the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the ham stock, mixing all ingredients together, and making sure the flour is completely dissolved. Cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are ‘just’ fork-tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the milk and stir over the heat until thickened (about 5 minutes). Using a hand blender, process the soup until partially pureed. Leave a few chunks here and there. Stir in the chopped ham and heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.

Air-Fryer Chicken Tenders For Dinner

Ingredients

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Salt
1 cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
¼ cup of vegetable oil
Cooking spray
6 chicken tenders

Directions

Pound the tenders between plastic wrap to ¼ inch thick

Mix the oil into the panko crumbs until combined.

Dip each tender in the egg and then the panko. Place on a plate. Sprinkle the tenders lightly with salt. (Can be refrigerated at this point until ready to cook.)

Set the air-fryer temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat the oven (takes about 10 minutes).

Remove the air-fryer basket and coat with cooking spray. Place the tenders in the basket – don’t do more than 6 at one time. Repeat the process if you have more.

Bake 6 minutes. Turn the tenders over and bake 6 more minutes. Remove to a serving platter.

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes
4 teaspoons panko crumbs
10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oil in a small saucepan and add garlic; cook 1 minute
Add spinach and heat.
Make a well in the center of the spinach and add the cream.
Heat and stir until cheese is dissolved throughout the spinach. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut a thin slice off the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Salt the inside of the tomatoes and turn upside down on a plate lined with a paper towel to extract juices, about 15 minutes.

Stuff the tomatoes with the spinach filling, Sprinkle with the top of each tomato with Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Place the tomatoes in a greased baking dish just large enough to hold the four tomatoes. Bake until the filling is hot and the tops are light brown, about 20 minutes.


Take advantage of summer produce and add them to your baked bread or muffins.

Herb and Cheddar Squash Bread

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons of your favorite dried herbs (I used chives)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups yellow squash, shredded

Directions

Combine dry ingredients, herbs, and cheddar in a large bowl; mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs then add oil and milk.
Squeeze excess moisture out of squash then add to the liquid mixture.

Bake at 375°F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffins comes out clean.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Serve warm.


Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cranberry Sweet Potato Muffins

12-15 muffins

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes (without added butter or milk)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup fresh, dried or frozen cranberries
Chopped pecans
Cinnamon-sugar

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, sweet potatoes, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the cranberries.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Vegetable Corn Bread

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup shredded carrots (2 to 3 small)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl stir together cornmeal, wheat flour, chives, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and honey.

Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture; stir just until moistened.

Fold in carrots and bell pepper. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoons salt (omit if you use salted butter)
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini), squeezed dry

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and dust the bottom with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.

Beat the eggs in a mixer until frothy. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the melted butter, olive oil, and milk. Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. If you gently press down on the surface of the loaf, it should bounce back and a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaf from the pan to cool on a rack.


Here is an easy dinner for when you want something simple.

Grilled Ribeye With Grilled Onion

2 servings

Ingredients
2 petite ribeye steaks, 6-7 oz each, ½-inch thick
2 thick slices sweet onion, cut from the center of a large onion
Olive oil Cooking spray
Steak seasoning
Salt

Directions

Sprinkle the steaks with steak seasoning and salt. Coat the onion slices with cooking spray;
Preheat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan. Oil the grill grates or the grill pan.
For outdoor cooking
Turn one of the burners off for indirect heat on the outdoor grill.
Place the onion slices on the indirect heat and turn them over when you turn the steaks.
Grill steaks until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.
For indoor cooking
Grill the steaks as directed above and place them on a serving platter. Add the onion slices to the pan can cook over low for 2-3 minutes just until they show a few grill marks.

Place the onion slices on top of the steaks and serve.

Wedge Salad

Ingredients

Salad
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Ranch Dressing or Buttermilk Dressing, see below
Crumbled blue cheese to taste
1 small tomato, diced
¼ cup diced red onion

Dressing
Whisk together in a small bowl:
1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk,
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
Stin in 1/2 cup crumbled mild blue cheese

Directions

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a screw top and shake well.
Cut 1 small head of iceberg lettuce into 4 wedges; place a wedge on two individual salad plates and spoon some of the dressing over the wedges.
Top each with bacon, diced red onion, diced tomato, and more crumbled blue cheese.


Scallops in Garlic Cream Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 oz sea scallops
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 small zucchini about 6 oz, finely diced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 oz cooked pasta (I used pappardelle)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons chopped basil

Directions
Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.
Remove the side muscle from the scallops if attached. Thoroughly pat the scallops dry with paper towels.


Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot and sizzling. Add the scallops in a single layer.
Season with salt and pepper and cook without moving for 2 minutes on one side, then turn the scallops over and cook 1 minute. Remove the scallops from the skillet and transfer to a plate.
In the same pan, add the garlic, shallots, and zucchini. Cook stirring the ingredients often for 5 minutes.


Add cream and allow to simmer until slightly thickened.
Remove the skillet from the heat; stir in lemon juice and add the scallops back into the pan to warm through slightly.

Stir in the basil, cooked pasta, and cheese. Serve in pasta bowls.


Tomatoes are at their peak now in my area and they are plentiful. Here are some ideas on what you can cook with them.

Greek Tomato And Eggplant Tart

Pastry
1 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons of ice-cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal or semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Filling
1 small (about 1 lb) eggplant, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
6 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling

For the pastry
Mix the yogurt and ice water together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix together the flours, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have small pieces. Add the water/yogurt mix one tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture, mixing gently. Gather the wet dough pieces together and shape into a ball. Do not overwork the dough, it will be soft. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours (can be frozen for one month).

Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Brush eggplant slices with oil and broil on high for 5 minutes on each side until tender. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place a piece of parchment on a smooth surface and lightly flour. Top with another piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to 11 inches in diameter, Transfer to an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.

Layer in the following order: eggplant slices, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, herbs, feta cheese, and drizzle with olive oil. Crimp the edges of the pastry.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the layers are bubbly and hot. Cool for at least ten minutes or until room temperature before serving.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

4-5 pounds of fresh Roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded retaining as much pulp as possible
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 large cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
1-2 teaspoons honey, if needed

Herbs
Place the following herbs in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth closed.

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of parsley

Directions

Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots.
Saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the tomatoes and sea salt.
Simmer on low heat, covered, for about an hour until the tomatoes cook down.
Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, process the mixture until smooth.
Return the pot to the heat and add the herb cheesecloth package.
Taste the sauce to see if the tomatoes were too bitter. Add the honey, if needed.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced and thick, an hour to an hour and a half more. Remove the cheesecloth package and discard it.
Pour the sauce into a refrigerator container and store the sauce up to 1 week, or freeze in batches.


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.

Summer Fresh Tomato Salad

2-3 servings

Ingredients

½ cup diced red onion
1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges
Shredded fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ 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.


Italian Chicken Cutlets And Mediterranean Salad

Ingredients

Chicken
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for a garnish
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Salad Dressing
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, diced
8 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
15 fresh basil leaves, sliced

Directions

For the salad dressing: In a jar with a lid, combine the oil, Champagne vinegar, shallots, mustard, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Tightly close the lid and shake so the dressing is well combined. Set aside.

For the cutlets: Using 3 wide shallow bowls, add the flour to 1, the eggs to another, and to the third bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and thyme.

On a work surface, put the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, lightly pound the chicken until 1/2-inch thick. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess egg to drip off. Coat the chicken with the bread crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

In a large, nonstick saute pan, heat half the oil over medium heat. Add 3 pieces of the breaded chicken into the oil and cook until light golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining chicken and oil. Sprinkle the cutlets with additional grated parmesan cheese.

For the salad: Put the romaine in a large salad bowl. Add enough dressing so that each leaf is lightly coated when tossed. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Scatter the tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella over the salad along with the pine nuts, and finally with the basil leaves. Serve the salad on the side of the cutlets.



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Philosophy is all about being curious, asking basic questions. And it can be fun!

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