Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Cheese

Sea Bass

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 lb sea bass fillets, ½-inch thick, cut into smaller portions

Caper Sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Season the fish with salt and pepper and brush the fillets with some of the sauce.

Heat a medium skillet and sear the fish on both sides about 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to low and pour the sauce over the fish and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Serve immediately.

Creamy Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 firm, medium-sized tomatoes

Filling
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 4 ears)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced scallion
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut off tops of tomatoes; remove seeds and pulp with a spoon. Leave a 1/2-inch wall of flesh around the inside of the tomato. Invert tomatoes on a paper towel to drain while preparing the filling.

Combine the corn with the rest of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and black pepper and fill with a generous amount of corn filling (amount will vary depending on the size of the tomatoes). Arrange stuffed tomatoes in a baking dish.

Bake tomatoes until the filling is hot and the cheese has melted 15–20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Patties

The potato cakes can bake in the oven along with the tomatoes in this dinner menu.

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup blanched finely ground almond flour (1 oz)
Cooked and mashed sweet potato (2 sweet potatoes)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sea salt, black pepper, honey, scallions, and thyme. Mix in the almond flour. Add the mashed sweet potato to the egg mixture. Mix well.

 

Using a ¼ cup scoop or measuring cup, form six mounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten with a spatula. Spray with oil.

Bake the sweet potato cakes for 15 minutes. Turn them over, spray with more oil and bake until browned and set, 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.


Heirloom Rosa Bianca eggplants are one of the most eye-catching varieties of eggplant. They’re plump and round, and their violet and white exteriors have an attractive appearance. This mild variety is completely void of bitterness and tastes best when sliced and roasted or grilled. S
Rosa Biancas are a Sicilian variety, so incorporating them into a classic Sicilian or Italian dish is typical. Their mild flavor is a perfect complement for tomatoes and cheese and they are excellent choices for Caponata and for grilling.

Eggplant Stacks

I made 6 stacks

For the eggplant
4 large eggs, beaten
11/2 cups Italian flour (00) or all-purpose flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 round eggplants, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stacks
Ricotta cheese
6 Tomato slices
6 Fresh mozzarella slices

Directions

Choose 12 large round slices of eggplant after you slice them and save the remaining slices for another dish. Season with salt and pepper.


Prepare two shallow dishes, in one beat the eggs with one tablespoon of water and the grated Parmesan cheese, and place the flour in the second dish.
Coat eggplant slices first with flour, then with egg and then in flour a second time.


Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Shallow fry eggplant slices 2 minutes or until lightly brown, turn over, and continue cooking until the second side is brown and soft.
Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil; keep warm until all eggplant slices are cooked, adding more oil as needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the stacks:
Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place a large slice of eggplant on the foil and spoon 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese on top.

Cover with a slice of eggplant. Top with a tomato slice and a slice of mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella slices.


Bake stacks until the cheese melts and the stacks are hot about 15 minutes.


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 and 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 their cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

So how did we come by the cheesesteak? Here is how the legend goes:

During the 1930s in the Italian immigrant section of South Philadelphia, brothers Harry and Pat Olivieri sold hot dogs and sandwiches. Tired of hot dogs, Pat suggested that Harry go to a store and buy some beef. Harry brought it back, sliced it up and grilled the beef with some onions. The brothers piled the meat on rolls and were about to dig in when a cab driver arrived for lunch and smelled the meat and onions. Pat never got a bite because the cab driver asked how much? Pat didn’t know what to charge, so he charged a nickel. The cab driver supposedly said, Heyforget about those hot dogs, you should sell these. It was not until 20 years later that cheese was added to the sandwich by longtime employee, Joe Lorenzo, who was tired of the usual preparation and added some cheese.

According to Philadelphians, you simply cannot make an authentic Philadelphia Cheese Steak sandwich without an authentic Philadelphia roll. The rolls must be long and thin, not fluffy or soft, but also not too hard.

In 1940, the brothers opened Pat’s King of Steaks at 1237 East Passyunk Avenue. The business has been there ever since, open 24 hours a day. Cheez Whiz was added to the steak and onions starting in the 1960s, and provolone, American cheese, and pizza sauce later became options along with various condiments and side dishes.

In 1970, Pat Olivieri retired and moved to southern California. A dispute over ownership broke out with Pat’s lawyer son, Herbert, on one side and Harry and his children, Frankie and Maria, on the other. In 1974 Pat died, and later Frankie bought the business out.

The reason the cheesesteak really blossomed was because of Pat himself. He was a larger-than-life figure who visited local theaters and concert halls, bringing steak sandwiches to the stars, then luring them back to his shop and taking pictures of them eating. He spread the word about his sandwich all over the world via these celebrities and they made him into a star.

Here is how I make this sandwich at home.

Ingredients

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 extra-large onion diced
1 pound ribeye steak fat removed, very thinly sliced and each slice cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-inch long) Italian loaf, 2 hoagie rolls or 2 baguettes, heated
4-6 slices Provolone or American cheese or both
Hot peppers or ketchup, optional

Directions

Heat a stove-top griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and the diced onions. Cook onions for 2 to 3 minutes until they are just beginning to brown.

Add the sliced meat and more oil if needed. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, using a spatula to continually move the steak around and break it up into smaller pieces. Cook until all of the pink is gone. Sprinkle the meat and onion mixture generously with salt and pepper.

Separate meat into two piles for each cheesesteak sandwich. Place 2-3 slices of cheese on each pile of steak and let them melt slightly.

Invert a warm hoagie roll on top of each pile. Allow to heat for 1 minute.

Use a long spatula to scoop the cheesesteak and roll off the griddle/frying pan. Flip the sandwich over onto a serving plate and add your favorite optional toppings, and serve.

 


Summer squash and red potatoes are vegetables that are in season now and make a delicious side dish to go with fish or steak.

Ingredients

1 large sweet onion, diced
8-10 small yellow summer squash (each about 4-inches long) sliced into thin rounds
5 medium red potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
Olive oil
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400ºF
Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with olive oil. (I used a 12×8-inch oval baking dish.)

Cover the bottom of the dish with squash slices, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle ⅓ of the onion and 1 cup of shredded cheese over the squash.
Cover the squash with potato slices, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then ⅓ of the onion and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Cover the potatoes with another layer of squash, overlapping them slightly, Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then ⅓ of the onion and 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Spray a sheet of foil large enough to cover the baking dish with cooking spray. Place the sprayed side down on the baking dish and press tightly to the edges of the dish.
Bake the casserole for one hour. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Here is another post to celebrate all the fresh produce available now in the markets. I received an abundance of white eggplant in my CSA share this week. White eggplant has hard skin when compared to purple eggplant. The skin of the white eggplant should be peeled off. White eggplant has white flesh whereas purple eggplant has a greenish hue. White eggplants come with more seeds but are less acidic, less bitter, and creamier than purple eggplant. This recipe makes a delicious main dish or a side for chicken cutlets or grilled Italian sausage.

Ingredients

2 small white eggplants, 8-10 oz each, stems trimmed off
Olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced onion
¼ cup finely diced banana peppers (mild)
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 slices fresh tomato (Beefsteak tomato slices cut ¼-inch thick and diced
2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
3 basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut a thin slice of eggplant off the top of each peeled eggplant. Dice the slices.
Hollow out the flesh of the eggplant to create a boat using a melon baller or small spoon, leaving a 1/2-inch of the flesh all around to create a shell. Dice the scooped-out eggplant flesh and combine it with the diced eggplant tops

In a medium skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are softened. Add the chopped eggplant and cook about 8-10 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomato breaks down. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the panko crumbs, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Let cool for about 15 minutes.

 

Oil a small baking dish and place the eggplant boats in the dish. Divide the stuffing evenly between the 2 eggplant boats.
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook until the eggplant is tender and the topping is brown about 15-20 minutes.

 


This is the perfect time of year to make lots of vegetable dishes. The farm stands and CSA allotments are abundant now, so take advantage of these beautiful vegetables and add them to your menu.

This easy to make soup is delicious for lunch or for a light dinner with a salad. Use any combination of vegetables that you like for this soup.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 banana peppers (mild), chopped
4 small yellow summer squashes, chopped
2 cups fresh corn, about 2 cobs
1 cup sliced okra
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
8 cups chicken broth (homemade recipe)
1 cup heavy cream
Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the garlic and next 8 ingredients. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are coated in oil and beginning to soften about five minutes. Add the broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cream. Heat over low until hot. Do not boil.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with ¼ cup of cheese.


Parmesan Coated Flounder 

Ingredients

2 flounder fillets (1 pound total)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill or preheat the broiler.
Coat a sheet of heavy-duty foil with nonstick olive oil spray.


In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice. Spread the mixture over both sides of the fillets. Sprinkle each side with shredded Parmesan. Lightly press the cheese into the fish.


Place the foil on the grill or on the broiler pan. Grill the flounder with the cover closed or broil about 8 inches from the heat for about 6 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove the fish with a long spatula to individual serving plates.

Grilled Eggplant Stacks

Ingredients

1 small round purple eggplant, peeled
Basil pesto
4 tomato slices
4 fresh mozzarella slices
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill or the broiler.
Lightly brush the eggplant slices and the tomato slices with basil pesto.
Grill or broil until brown and tender, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the eggplant to a platter. Grill or broil the tomato slices until hot, about 1 minute per side.

Place a tomato slice followed by a mozzarella slice on top of each eggplant slice. Return the stacks to the grill or the broiler and cook until the cheese begins to melt. Transfer the stacks to a serving platter.

Grilled Summer Squash

Ingredients

8 small yellow summer squash
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill or the broiler.
Slice squash in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper. Combine the oil and lemon juice and brush on the cut sides of the squash.
Grill or broil squash on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes until tender. Remove the squash to a serving plate and sprinkle with the chives.


This pie makes a great lunch or you can serve it for dinner with a big salad.

If you have lemon-flavored olive oil, it works very well in this recipe.

Ingredients

Olive Oil Press in the Pan Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups Italian flour (00) or 1 ¼ cups unbleached All-Purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup olive oil
3-4 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a 91/2 to 10-inch pie pan. 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. Set aside.

Filling

1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini, ends removed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 large roasted red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt

Directions

Place the zucchini in a colander set over a plate. Toss the zucchini slices with 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Spread the zucchini out on a clean dish towel, roll it up, and squeeze gently to remove some of the liquid.

Put the zucchini slices into a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
With a fork, mash together the cheese, seasonings, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the bottom of the pie dough with the cheese mixture. Lay the zucchini slices evenly over the cheese, sprinkle with the chopped red pepper. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and top with the Parmesan cheese.


Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the filling is set and the dough is golden brown. Cut in wedges and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Ingredients

1 1/2-pound beef tenderloin roast, all visible fat and silverskin removed
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Tie the meat in three or four places with kitchen twine. Put the roast in a medium-sized heavy nonstick roasting pan and coat the roast with the olive oil. Rub the garlic all over the meat and sprinkle on the herbs and pepper. Scatter the shallots on top of the meat.

Cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes per pound for medium-rare, or to your desired doneness. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the salt. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Slice the roast and place it on a serving platter. Drizzle the pan juices over the meat and serve.

Roasted Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients

4 small to midsize zucchini
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or substitute unseasoned breadcrumbs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Split the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a serrated spoon scrape out the seeds, digging a trough in the center of the zucchini. Sprinkle the zucchini shells with salt and turn them over on a paper towel to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

For the filling: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onions until tender. Add the garlic. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add tomato, breadcrumbs, herbs, and cheese. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Place the filling down the center of each zucchini half. Place the zucchini in a greased baking dish and roast in the oven until the zucchini shells are tender and the topping is lightly brown (about 25 -30 minutes). Serve as a side dish in this meal.

Basil Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

Pesto
4 packed cups washed basil leaves
½ cup shelled pistachio nuts, pignoli or walnuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pasta
! cup grated parmesan cheese
One lb bucatini or other long pasta, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons room temperature butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Place the nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a processor bowl. Process until the nuts and garlic are chopped.

Add the basil leaves and process for a minute or two. In the opening spout at the top, pour the olive oil as you process. Keep processing until the mixture is smooth.

Place the sauce in a large pasta serving bowl. Add the hot drained pasta, parmesan cheese, and butter. Gently toss until the pasta is coated in sauce. Serve as a side dish in this meal.


Roasted Potatoes And Green Beans

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds baby gold potatoes, halved
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 whole bay leaves
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and add the garlic cloves and bay leaves. Arrange the green beans on top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until veggies are just tender. Stir the mixture halfway through the baking time. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Italian Tomato and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta Sauce

This sauce is also excellent for an appetizer spread on toasted slices of Italian bread.

Bruschetta Sauce

ingredients

5 Roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, about 8, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside at room temperature.

Baked Chicken Bruschetta

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup Italian Tomato and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta Sauce, recipe above
2- 4 large slices Mozzarella cheese

Directions

Place the chicken cutlets in an oiled baking dish and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake in the oven alongside the potato/green bean pan. After 25 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and spread the chicken evenly with the Bruschetta sauce and cover with slices of mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes more to melt the cheese. Serve with the potatoes and green beans.



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