The Mediterranean countries include France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal along the north; Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel on the east; and the African countries of Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on the south. The Mediterranean countries utilize many of the same ingredients but each country has a unique way of creating recipes with those same ingredients. So far in this series, I have written about Mediterranean cuisine in general and about the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria. This series continues with the country of Lebanon.
Stretching along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon’s length is almost three times its width. As it stretches from north to south, the width of its terrain becomes narrower. Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate characterized by a long, semi-hot, and dry summer, and a cold, rainy and snowy winter.
The country’s role in the region was shaped by trade. Lebanon is named “the pearl of the middle east.” It serves as a link between the Mediterranean world and India and East Asia. The merchants of the region exported oil, grain, textiles, metalwork, and pottery through the port cities to Western markets.
Lebanon was heavily forested in ancient and medieval times, and its timber, especially cedar, was exported for building and shipbuilding. Although Lebanon’s diverse and abundant plant and animal life suffered a heavy toll during the country’s lengthy civil war, the post-civil war period was marked by the rise of fledgling environmental groups and movements that worked toward the creation of protected areas and parks in Lebanon’s ecological areas.
Lebanon has a heterogeneous society composed of numerous ethnic and religious groups. Ethnically, the Lebanese compose a mixture Phoenicians, Greeks, Armenians and Arabs.
The cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes an abundance of grains, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten, it is usually lamb.
Many dishes in the Lebanese cuisine can be traced back thousands of years to eras of Roman and Phoenician rule. More recently, Lebanese cuisine was influenced by the different foreign civilizations that held power. From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Turks controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, such as cooking with lamb. After the Ottomans were defeated in World War I (1914–1918), France took control of Lebanon until 1943, when the country achieved its independence. The French introduced foods such as flan, a caramel custard dessert dating back to the 16th century AD, and croissants.
Most often foods are grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil and vegetables are often eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. Herbs and spices are used in large quantities. Like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons and what is available. In Lebanon, very rarely are drinks served without being accompanied by food. Similar to the tapas of Spain and aperitivo of Italy, mezze is an array of small dishes placed before the guests. Mezze may be as simple as raw or pickled vegetables, hummus, baba ghanouj and bread, or it may become an entire meal consisting of grilled marinated seafood, skewered meats, a variety of cooked and raw salads and an arrangement of desserts.
Salads may include tabbouleh, fattoush and kebbeh. Patties such as the Sambusac and stuffed grape leaves are often included. Family cuisine offers also a range of dishes, such as stews, which can be cooked in many forms depending on the ingredients used and are usually served with meat and rice vermicelli. Lebanese flat bread, called pita, is a staple at every Lebanese meal and can be used in place of a fork. Although simple fresh fruits are often served towards the end of a Lebanese meal, there are also desserts, such as baklava. Although baklava is the most internationally known dessert, there is a great variety of Lebanese desserts.
Lebanese Dishes To Make At Home
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading/forming
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 cup and 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1⁄2 cup of warm water. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the salt in 1 cup of warm water. Add the flour and turn the mixer on.
Slowly add the yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix until the dough combines (it will be sticky), about 2 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place on a lightly greased sheet pan. Coat lightly with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 (5 oz.) pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Cover the balls with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the plastic wrap stick to the balls (you can do this by placing coffee mugs or short glasses on the sheet pan). Let the balls proof for 15 minutes.
Lightly dust one piece of dough at a time on both sides with flour.
Push the dough out with your fingers in a circular motion to create a disk that is approximately 5″ in diameter and 1⁄2″ thick.
Using a lightly floured rolling-pin, roll the dough in a clockwise motion to get it to 7″ in diameter and 1⁄8″ thick.
Transfer the dough to an inverted lightly floured sheet pan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 3 minutes.
Flip the bread over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the bread and cover with a damp towel. Let the bread sit for 10 minutes, or until cooled.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
When ready to serve, lightly brush the pitas with the remaining olive oil and grill for 1-1 1⁄2 minutes on each side.
It should be warm but still pliable. Cut the bread into wedges and serve.
Thick, tart, and creamy yogurt-like cheese, is eaten with olive oil, pita bread and za’atar.
8 cups whole milk
1 cup plain yogurt
Kosher salt, to taste
Olive oil, for serving
Bring milk to a boil in a 4-quart nonreactive saucepan fitted with a deep-fry thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool until the thermometer reads 118°F.
Transfer 1 cup of the milk to a bowl; whisk in yogurt until combined.
Add yogurt mixture to the saucepan and whisk until smooth; cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (ideally 70°F-75°F) until thickened, 6-8 hours.
Line a fine-mesh strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth; set over a bowl. Transfer yogurt to the strainer; let drain at least 8 hours or overnight.
Transfer to a serving dish. Season with salt and drizzle with oil. Add olives and za’atar, if desired.
Spiced Chicken And Tomato Kebabs
1 cup plain yogurt
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons crushed saffron
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 plum tomatoes, cored
Ground sumac, to garnish
2 limes, halved
Pita, for serving
Stir together the yogurt, juice, oil, zest, cumin, salt, pepper, saffron, coriander, garlic and onions in a large bowl; add chicken and toss to coat.
Chill for 4 hours.
Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, heat a gas grill to medium-high or a heat broiler to high.
Skewer chicken on 4 metal skewers and skewer tomatoes lengthwise on another skewer.
Grill chicken and tomatoes, turning often, until the tomatoes are soft and charred, about 7 minutes, and the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle skewers with sumac; serve with limes and pita.
Garlicky Lentil Salad
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring lentils and 3 cups of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan.
Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until the lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an 8” skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft, 7–8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining oil, lemon juice, cumin and allspice. Pour the garlic mixture over the lentils.
Add parsley. mint and season the lentils with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve lentils at room temperature.
Eggplant is probably my family’s favorite vegetable and it is certainly a major food in Italian cuisine. It is versatile and can be prepared healthy or anyway you like it. I prefer to bake the eggplant slices instead of frying them and then I can use them in any number of ways: parmesan, lasagna, “meatballs” or as below – rollatini. This dish is delicious as a main entrée or as an appetizer. Grilled Italian sausage is an excellent side dish as are the green beans.
If you choose, you can also coat the eggplant slices in egg and breadcrumbs and bake as described below. If you want less carbs, leave out the crumbs.
2 large eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise into very thin slices, to get about 14-15 slices
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups prepared marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and place them on a large baking sheet.
Roast (or broil) in a 400-degree F oven for 20 minutes, turning the eggplant slices halfway through cooking.
Place on paper towels to cool.
For the filling:
Combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella, egg, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well.
When the eggplant has cooled about 10 minutes, place about 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture on each slice.
Spread it over the eggplant slice and then roll up into a cylinder. Repeat with all the eggplant slices.
Coat the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara sauce. Place the eggplant rolls in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the eggplant rolls. Cover the dish with foil and bake in a 400-degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Let rest a few minutes before serving.
Grilled Italian Sausage
1 ½ lbs Italian pork sausage
Heat an outdoor grill for both direct and indirect cooking. Oil the grill grates.
Brush the sausage lightly with olive oil.
Place the sausage on the indirect side of the grill and close the cover.
Cook for 15 minutes and turn the sausage over. Cook for 15 more minutes. Slice and serve.
Skillet Green Beans
1 pound green beans, washed, trimmed and cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled, smashed flat with the side of a knife
A little coarse salt
1/4 cup water
Black pepper to taste
Heat the skillet on medium and add the oil.
Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until lightly golden, stirring.
Add the beans, turn a few times to coat well with the oil. Sprinkle with salt.
Stir in the water. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Cover and cook 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are slightly wilted but still crunchy.
Uncover and increase the heat to high.
Cook 2 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are cooked but still bright green.
Taste and adjust the salt as needed. Add black pepper and transfer to a serving dish.
Making a BBQ dinner for friends is a great way to entertain, especially if the weather cooperates. I enjoy having guests for dinner and I usually plan my menu with dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. That way I am able to spend time with friends rather than doing a lot of food preparations while they are visiting.
You may have noticed that more and more of your friends are following different diets. Some are only eating low carb foods, others are on a Paleo diet, some are diabetic, others vegetarian and some vegan. It is a good idea to check with your friends to see what they can eat. I am always open to planning variations of what I am making to accommodate their diets. In this case a few friends are following a vegan diet, so instead of 8 beef burgers, four are beef and four are made from oats and beans. These vegan burgers are great on the grill, hold up perfectly and do not fall apart. Just be sure your grill is well oiled. The rest of the menu works for everyone.
For 4 servings
20 oz (1 ¼ lbs grass-fed organic ground steak for burgers
Steak seasoning (I like Penzey’s Chicago seasoning)
1 large sweet onion, cut into 4 ½ inch thick slices
Olive oil cooking spray
4 wheat burger buns
Shape the meat into four equal patties, about 5 oz each.
Sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the patties and spray each with olive oil cooking spray.
Coat the onion slices on both sides with cooking spray
Heat an outdoor grill on high. Oil the grill grates. Place the burgers on the grill, cover, cook turning once, for a total of 8 minutes.
Place the onion slices on the grill and cook until grill marks form on the bottom, turn them over with a wide spatula and cook the second side for a total of about 4 minutes.
Toast the rolls at the same time. Place the burgers on the bottom half of the rolls and top with a grilled onion slice.
Serve with ketchup and your favorite burger condiments.
Vegan Bean and Oat Burgers
For 4 servings
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup dry pinto beans
1/4 cup dry red or black beans
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 medium carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for grilling
Grilled Onion slices
4 wheat burger buns
Ketchup or other condiments
Soak the beans overnight in water to cover and cook the next day for 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place the oats in the bowl of the processor and process until finely ground.
Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Remove the mixture from the processor and shape into four patties. Cover with plastic wrap.
Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before grilling.
Brush the patties with olive oil and place on an oiled grill.
Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place on toasted buns and add a grilled onion slice. Serve with ketchup or other condiments.
Whole-Wheat Burger Buns
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the flours, yeast, salt, wheat gluten and baking soda.
Add the warm water, honey and oil. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together around the paddle.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on low until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky.
Place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.
Punch down the dough and divide into 6 smooth balls
Place the buns on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet, a few inches apart or in a greased burger baking pan.
Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers, and let the buns rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the buns in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove to a rack and allow the buns to cool.
Zucchini Fennel Salad
1 large zucchini, sliced very thin
Half red onion, sliced very thin
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
12 Italian green olives, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
In a large serving bowl, combine the zucchini, onion, olives and fennel.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients; shake well.
Pour over the zucchini mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours until chilled before serving.
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 8 medium peaches)
2-3 tablespoons agave nectar, depending on the sweetness of the peaches
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 – 1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, combine the fruit and the agave nectar. Spread the mixture evenly in an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Stir the oil into the topping mix with a fork until you get a crumbly mixture forms.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the fruit in the baking pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden.
Looking for a few ideas on what to cook for dinner on busy weeknights? Here are a few recipes for you to try. The codfish, pork kabobs and Parmesan chicken come together fast. For the pasta dish, roast the broccoli in the oven while the pasta is cooking. Just a few minutes more are needed to pull it all together with some delicious results. Use seasonal vegetables for the sides.
Lemon Breadcrumb Topped Codfish
Pacific cod is a sustainable fish. Serve with a pasta or rice side dish and a vegetable.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil mayonnaise
Two 6 oz center cut Pacific cod fillets
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Make the lemon-zest breadcrumbs: In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, oil, salt and pepper to taste and the lemon zest.
Mix well. Set aside.
Place the cod fillets in a small baking dish coated with olive oil.
Spread the non skin side of each fillet with some of the mayonnaise and then press on a layer of breadcrumbs.
Put the pan in the oven and roast until the fish is cooked through, 18-20 minutes.
Grilled Pork Kabobs
Serve with potato salad or baked beans.
3 (1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick) boneless pork loin chops (1 lb), trimmed of fat
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ of a red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
Half a medium bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup Peach BBQ sauce
Heat an outdoor grill and oil the grill grates.
Sprinkle both sides of each pork chop with salt and pepper; cut each chop into 1 inch pieces.
Alternately thread pork pieces, zucchini, onion and bell pepper evenly onto metal skewers. .
When ready to grill, place the skewers on a gas grill over medium heat or on a charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals.
Brush with the BBQ sauce. Cook 5 minutes. Turn kabobs; brush with more sauce.
Cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.
Creamy Broccoli Pasta
Serve with an Italian mixed green salad or a tomato salad.
1 lb dry rigatoni pasta
1 large bunch broccoli florets
1 clove garlic
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup grated Parmigian0-Reggiano cheese
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt, pepper and olive oil
6 slices of Prosciutto di Parma
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl mix the broccoli with enough of the olive oil to coat generously, add salt to taste, and a few grinds of pepper.
Turn the broccoli out onto the baking sheet and arrange the pieces so that they are evenly spaced.
Roast until the florets begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir the broccoli pieces and add the slices of prosciutto to the pan,
Continue to roast until the broccoli is tender and the prosciutto is crisp, about 10 more minutes.
Boil a large pot of water to cook the pasta. When it reaches a full boil, add salt and the pasta and cook according to package instructions for al dente.
When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and then drain the pasta in a colander.
Mince the garlic and cook it over medium heat in the empty pasta pot with the butter until the garlic has softened slightly (3-5 minutes).
Add the flour, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Whisk in the milk.
Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until the milk mixture comes to simmer.
As soon as it reaches a simmer, it will thicken and should be able to coat a wooden spoon.
Turn the heat off and whisk in the cheese. Add freshly cracked black pepper, nutmeg and salt to taste.
Return the drained pasta to the sauce in the pasta pot and add the reserved pasta water, tossing the pasta to loosen it up.Stir in the roasted broccoli.
Top the pasta with broken pieces of the crispy prosciutto and serve.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Cutlets
Serve with a light pasta and a green vegetable.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
Table salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
Half a lemon , cut into wedges
Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to even 1/4-inch thickness.
Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Set up three shallow bowls: one with the flour, one with the egg and one with the cheese.
Using tongs and working with 1 cutlet at a time, coat chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
Transfer chicken to the egg; coat evenly and let excess run off.
Coat chicken with shredded Parmesan mixture, pressing gently so that cheese adheres.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the cutlets in the skillet and reduce heat to medium.
Cook until cheese is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Carefully turn the cutlets over and continue to cook until the cheese is pale golden brown on the second side, about 3 minutes.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
I remember my years living up north and the wonderful Asian restaurants we had in our area. Missing those dishes, I have been tinkering with recipes and sauces to create some of the tastes I remember. This recipe turned out with the taste I was looking for, especially with the combo of grilled meat and deliciously seasoned vegetables and noodles. Give it a try. It has great flavor.
Asian Grilled Pork Kebabs
4 servings. This recipe may be doubled.
1 (12-ounce) pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Sambal owlet chili paste
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a glass dish.
Add the pork and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
When ready to grill, thread the pork onto two 12-inch metal skewers, leaving 1/4 inch between pieces. Reserve the marinade in the dish.
Spray both sides of the meat generously with vegetable oil spray.
Turn all grill burners to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burners.
Clean and oil the cooking grate. Place the skewers on the hot side of the grill and cook the pork until well charred, 3 minutes.
Turn the skewers, brush with the reserved marinade mixture, and continue to grill until the second side is well charred and the meat registers 140 degrees on an instant read meat thermometer, 3 minutes longer.
Transfer the pork to a platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest while the stir fry vegetables are prepared
Stir Fry Sauce
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Combine ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a jar and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Asian Stir Fried Vegetables and Noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups Chinese fresh noodles
Stir Fry Sauce, recipe above
2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
12 oz broccoli florets, cut into smaller florets
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
3 scallions, sliced
Place the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let sit in the hot water until ready to add to the stir fry.
Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger followed by the broccoli.
Stir fry until the broccoli florets are tender. Add the shredded carrots and stir for a minute or two.
Remove the skillet from the heat.
Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet. Stir in the stir fry sauce and water.
Return to the heat, gently toss for 1 minute to heat through the noodles and for the sauce to thicken. Add the scallions. Stir.
Pour onto a serving platter and top with the grilled pork to serve.
July’s dinner recipes take full advantage of all the wonderful, seasonal produce available at this time of year. Where I live, this month is just about the end of the local growing season, too hot, while many of you are just reaping the benefits of gardens begun just a few months ago. And, for me, it is also too hot to grill. What you say! Since I am fortunate to be able to grill 12 months a year, the thrill is not seasonal. Some days I do not want to deal with the heat and the hot grill. So. many of my meals on these very hot days are prepared in an air-conditioned house.
Garden Fresh Meatloaf
Serve with a green bean salad and fried Italian peppers, recipes below.
2 lbs. grass-fed, organic, lean ground beef
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
Half of a large green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Half pint grape tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup of your favorite fresh herbs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup water
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add all the diced vegetables and garlic to the skillet and cook until tender.
Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the beef in a mixing bowl. Add the cooked vegetables, beaten eggs, ketchup, water and bread crumbs.
Combine thoroughly and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 60-75 minutes.
Let rest a few minutes and then unmold, slice and serve.
Green Bean Salad
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a serving bowl; set aside.
For the green beans:
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil; add the beans and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a bowl of ice water. Drain well and toss with the vinaigrette, oregano, feta and onion.
Chill before serving.
Italian Fried Peppers
10-12 long Italian frying peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, sliced thin
½ teaspoon crushed fennel seed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Wash and dry the peppers.
Heat a large saute pan over medium to high heat and add just enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds
Add the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Turn the peppers over a few times to coat in oil.
Add the fennel and oregano and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Can be served at room temperature.
Shrimp Tacos For Two
Serve this entrée with a cucumber salad. Recipe below.
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove garlic grated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
4 corn tortillas
Homemade Tomato Salsa, recipe link
Shredded Garden Leaf lettuce
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
Combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin, paprika, garlic and red pepper in a zip-top plastic bag, add the shrimp and seal. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Remove shrimp from the bag; discard marinade. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Arrange the shrimp on the pan and grill 2 minutes on each side.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat 4 corn tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and place them in a metal taco holder.
Place the holder in the oven and heat the tortillas until just beginning to get crispy, about 10 minutes.
Remove the holder from the oven and fill each shell with shrimp, tomato salsa, cheese and shredded lettuce.
Cucumber Salad with Ranch Dressing
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced into 1/4″-thick half-moons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small sweet onion sliced into thin rounds and halved
¼ cup ranch dressing (recipe link here)
Chopped fresh dill, optional for garnish
Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Alternate the cucumber and onion slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with the ranch dressing, garnish with dill, if using, and serve.
This is a great one pot meal. If you do not have access to fresh cherry peppers, you can use the jarred version instead.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
All-Purpose flour, Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
½ cup dry white wine
A dozen fresh sweet red cherry peppers, halved and seeded
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes, optional
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the potatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat.
Season the chicken with a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
Cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Return the potatoes to the skillet.
Add the wine, artichoke hearts, red chile flakes, if using, and cherry peppers.
Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the oregano and serve.
Grilled Greek Salmon
Serve with a Tabbouleh Salad (click here for recipe link), Tzatziki Sauce and Pita Bread or Chips.
Sumac is a middle eastern spice that’s tangy and a little tart. If you don’t have it, use more lemon zest instead.
1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon fillets, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sumac
Tzatziki Sauce, recipe below
Mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, dill, dried oregano, crushed red pepper and sumac in a plastic ziplock bag.
Place the salmon fillets in the bag and close the bag.
Gently massage the marinade into the fish to coat it evenly, refrigerate and allow the fish to marinade for about 30 minutes.
Heat an outdoor grill to medium high.
Place the fish on a foil lined baking sheet skin-side down, turn the foil edges up and pour the marinade over the fish.
Slide the foil onto the grill, close the lid and cook the salmon for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the foil from the grill by sliding the foil back on the baking sheet.
You can also cook the salmon in the oven.
Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Spoon some Tzatziki Sauce over the top and serve with Tabbouleh Salad and pita chips or bread.
This sauce is delicious on top of grilled salmon.
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place the yogurt in a medium bowl.
Grate the cucumber on a box grater onto a paper towel, roll up and squeeze the towel to remove some of the liquid.
Add it to the yogurt along with the remaining ingredients and stir.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
My 2017 Jeta Farms Community Supported Agriculture shares started at the end of May with lots of fresh, just picked produce. So far this season, there has been a regular supply of Silver King Corn, sweet onions, cucumbers, green beans, squash of all types, tomatoes, eggplant, red potatoes, blueberries, blackberries and peppers. Looking forward to the rest of the season.
Grilled Patty Pan Squash
2 large patty pan squashes
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat an outdoor grill and brush the grates with oil.
Cut each squash in half. Brush all sides of the squash with the pesto and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper,
Place on the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the squashes over and cook another 5 minutes.
They should be tender but cook a minute or two longer, it they are not.
Place the grilled squash on a severing dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Summer Potato Salad
1 ½ lbs medium red potatoes
2 tablespoons pickle juice
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced bread and butter pickle slices
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water just until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
Drain and let the potatoes cool until they can be handled without burning your hands.
Peel the potatoes and slice thinly into a storage bowl. Add the pickle juice, stir and set aside for 30 minutes.
Add the onion, celery and pickles. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix together the mayonnaise and mustard and stir into the potato mixture. Garnish with parsley.
Chill the salad before serving.
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
2 quart jars with lids ( I use recycled pickle jars)
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
5–6 pickling (Kirby) cucumbers
Place the pickling spice in the boiling water. Take the pan off the heat.
After the pickling spices have steeped for 10 minutes in the boiling water, add the vinegar, sugar and salt and stir well.
Let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
Then, strain the mixture into a large measuring cup and discard the solids.
Trim the ends of the cucumbers, discard and slice the cucumbers into ¼ inch slices.
Firmly pack layers of onions and cucumbers into two clean quart jars.
Once the jars are full, pour the strained vinegar mixture into the filled jars all the way to the very top.
Put the lids on and close tightly. Turn the jars over onto a kitchen towel and let them sit for a half an hour.
Return the jars to an upright position and put them in the refrigerator.
After about 24 hours the cucumbers will begin to change color a bit – that is when they are ready to eat and they should last about a month in the refrigerator.
Oven Baked ”Fried” Green Tomatoes
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
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a cookie sheet.
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.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tomatoes over with a with spatula after 10 minutes.
Serve with your favorite sauce.
Italian Frying Peppers
6-8 Italian frying peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove smashed and cut in half
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.
Pinch of salt and pepper
Heat oil and garlic in a small saute pan. Lower the heat and add the whole peppers.
Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Saute slowly until lightly brown on all sides.
Serve at room temperature. These peppers are delicious as an appetizer, on a sandwich or as a side dish.
I almost always make these blueberry muffins with the farm’s sweet berries.
Makes 12 – 15 muffins depending on the size of your muffin pan.
2 1/4 cups (9 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) fresh blueberries
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 12-15 cup muffin pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand-held or stand mixer, until light and fluffy and almost white in color.
Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients and mix on low-speed just until the batter is smooth. Fold in the berries by hand.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using 1/4-cup for each muffin.
To make the topping:
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over the muffins.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.