Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Herbs

Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma (Saltimbocca)

2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
6 pieces Prosciutto di Parma, sliced very thin
Coarsely ground fresh black pepper

Directions

Cut each piece of prosciutto in half, lengthwise. Place a sage leaf on each shrimp. Wrap one Proscuitto half around each shrimp. Refrigerate for a few hours if you have time.

Heat a stovetop grill. Coat the pan with olive oil. Place the wrapped shrimp on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. The prosciutto will get crispy. Sprinkle with the black pepper and remove to a serving plate.

Spinach and Pear Salad

4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 medium red pears, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 celery stalk, diced
1 (6-8ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
1/4 of red onion, sliced
Dressing
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Directions

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine.
Combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.

Homemade Biscuits

6 servings

Use your favorite store-bought mix or my quick biscuit recipe.
I use a cast iron biscuit pan.

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 tablespoons cold butter
5 tablespoons heavy cream
2 eggs

Directions

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender. Combine the cream and eggs. Mix into the flour mixture just until combined.

Coat a 6 cup biscuit baking pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. Divide the biscuit mixture evenly among the six wells. Refrigerate the pan until ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the biscuits in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.


Tuna Steak

2 servings

Rub
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary sea salt

Tuna
16-ounce tuna steak (1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt

Directions

To prepare the spice blend, grind all spices in a mini-food processor or spice grinder until they are powdery. Spread the spice mixture evenly on a large plate. I used half the rub for one tuna steak. save the remainder for another time.

Rinse the tuna fillets and pat dry. Place one side of the tuna on the spice mixture.
In a 10 inch non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Carefully place the tuna steak, spiced side down, into the skillet. A spice crust should form within 1 minute. Cook 3 minutes more. Using kitchen tongs, turn the tuna over, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes or to your desired doneness.


To plate
Cu the tuna steak into two equal portions and place on individual serving plates. Place a handful of arugula on each plate and top with bean salad. Serve the Tzatziki sauce on the side.

Cannellini Bean Salad

Ingredients

1 (15.5 ounces) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed ( or 2 cups cooked dried beans; directions below)
1 cup frozen and cooked or jarred in water artichoke hearts
1 cup sliced fresh grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cups arugula

Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a serving bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Add the cooked or canned beans, sliced artichokes, sliced tomatoes, and red onion. Stir into the dressing. Refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving and let stand at room temperature until serving time.

How to cook dried beans

1 Pound Dried White Beans (Cannellini)
Pinch Baking Soda
Carrot, Cut In Half
1 Celery Stick, Cut In Half
1/2 Onion, Peeled And Quartered
1 Sprig Rosemary

Directions

The night before serving, rinse the beans picking out any bad ones and place in a large bowl. Cover with water, add a pinch of baking soda and let soak at least 12 hours.

The next day, drain well. Place the beans in a heavy stockpot with the vegetables and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender about 45 minutes. Drain, remove the vegetables and rosemary sprig.

Tzatziki with Feta

Ingredients

Half of an English cucumber, unpeeled
1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning

Directions

Seed and finely chop the cucumber. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber and yogurt. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.


Tip: Did you know you can freeze whole lemons and limes? They are perfect for cooking. Leave the frozen fruit on the counter for an hour. The zest is easy to remove, and the fruit slices and juices easily also. Next time you see lemons and limes on sale, buy a bag and freeze them for future cooking.

Southern Italian Style Lemon Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken is very economical because you get several meals from one chicken.

Ingredients

3 large lemons
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 garlic clove minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4-pound whole chicken

Directions

Remove the zest from the three lemons and set aside. Cut the lemons into thin slices and set aside.


In a small bowl combine the lemon zest, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt.


Cut the chicken along the backbone on one side with kitchen shears. Do not remove the bone. Turn the chicken over and flatten it. (The reason I did not remove the backbone is that I want to use the entire chicken carcass for soup.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on the baking sheet. Lay the lemon slices in the olive oil down the middle of the tray as a “rack” for the chicken. Sprinkle one-third of the lemon rub on the underside of the chicken. Turn the chicken over and rub the remaining lemon mixture over and under the skin of the whole chicken. Lay the chicken, skin side up, on the bed of lemons and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Roast, basting every 15 minutes until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the thigh about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Using a fork, mash the lemon pulp into the juices on the baking sheet, discarding the rind. Mix the pulp into the drippings and use this mixture to spoon over the chicken just before serving.

Serve some of the chicken for dinner. I was able to remove about 4 cups meat. I left some meat clinging to the leg, wing and breast bones for soup. Shred 1 to 2 cups for the recipe below. Use the carcass and some of the cooked chicken for chicken noodle soup. You may even have enough leftover for some chicken salad.

Baked Chicken Taquitos (Rolled Tacos)

The entire recipe makes 20 taquitos. I cut the recipe in half and made 10 for my family. I like tortillas made from cassava flour for this recipe because they are grain-free, light and easy to roll.

For the Taquitos:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
20 corn tortillas

For the Toppings:
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Chopped Green Onion
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Pico de Gallo
Salsa

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken with cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and fresh lime juice. Stir until chicken is well coated with the seasonings. Stir in the shredded cheese.

Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and place on a plate. Microwave for 1 minute or until the tortillas are warm and pliable.
Layout the tortillas on a flat surface and divide the chicken and cheese mixture among the 20 tortillas. Roll up each tortilla tightly and secure with a toothpick.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place the taquito, seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling taquitos until the tortillas and filling are gone.

 

Spray the taquitos generously with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the taquitos are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with desired toppings.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Leave some meat on the bones, especially the legs, wings, and breast bone

Ingredients

Broth
Chicken bones leftover from the roasted chicken recipe above
1 whole onion, cut in half
2 carrots, cut in half
4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon peppercorns
8 quarts water

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Cover the pan with the lid ajar.
Strain the broth in a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Let drain completely. Pick out any meat in the cheesecloth and set aside. Discard the cooking vegetables and bones and return the broth to the stockpot.

Noodle Soup

Ingredients

Strained broth
Reserved chicken meat
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
5 scallions, diced
6 oz fettuccine or noodles
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place the strained broth, carrots, celery, and scallions in the stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook the vegetables, about 20 minutes. Return toa boil, add the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt (I added 2 teaspoons) and black pepper to taste. Stir in reserved chicken meat, dill, and parsley.


I recently saw Katie Lee prepare this steak dish on an episode of “The Kitchen” and decided to adapt it for our dinner. The marinade gives the steak great flavor.

Skirt Steak with Plum Sauce

Ingredients

3 ripe plums, a combination of red and purple, diced
1 cup teriyaki sauce/marinade, homemade (see recipe) or store-bought
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 pound skirt steak
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

Puree the chopped plums in a blender until smooth. Stir together the pureed plums with the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, Dijon and sriracha in a large ziplock bag. Add the steak, tossing to coat in the marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


Preheat a grill pan to medium heat.

Remove the steak from the marinade letting most of it drip off the meat into the bag and pat dry on paper towels.
Pour the marinade in the bag into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Salt and pepper each side of the steak and grill over medium heat on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Once grilled on both sides, remove from the heat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the skirt steak against the grain and brush some of the boiled marinade on it.
Save some of the marinade to serve with my baby back rib recipe that will be posted Monday.

Teriyaki Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup of water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons mirin
5 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Directions

Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until nearly heated through, about 1 minute.
Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cold water together in a cup; stir until dissolved. Add to the saucepan. Cook and stir sauce until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

Italian Pan-Fried Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients

1 pound whole small potatoes
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, cut in half
Kosher salt
Olive oil

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add garlic, rosemary sprigs and one lemon half to the water and season well with salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and reserve the lemon half, garlic cloves and rosemary.

Let potatoes cool to room temperature and peel them. Cut potatoes in half. Place on a plate until ready to cook.
Zest the lemon half that was not cooked with the potatoes. Chop the reserved garlic and rosemary and mix together with the lemon zest. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and heat. Add the potatoes cut-side down to the skillet. Cook until the bottom of the potatoes are a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the potatoes and cook on the second side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and drain well. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Squeeze both lemon halves (cooked and uncooked) over the potatoes and sprinkle with the garlic, rosemary reserved mixture.

Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds

Ingredients

Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup almond slices, toasted

Directions

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Set aside.
Heat the butter in the empty saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Return the drained beans to the saucepan and add parsley, almonds, and black pepper and toss gently. Transfer to a serving bowl.


In Italian, “torta” simply means a sweet or savory cake. A traditional Italian torta usually includes ricotta cheese, parmesan, parsley, and onions. There are also variations that contain meat and some that are completely vegetarian. These vegetarian tortes sometimes contain artichokes and herbs for flavor. This torta is made in a springform pan instead of a traditional pie pan.

I have made potato tortes many times through the years, but this summer, not only did I have an abundance of potatoes but also an abundance of yellow squash from my CSA share. So I thought why not combine them. Turned out delicious. Serve with a mixed green salad and if you want a side of meat, grilled sausage would be good. This torte also makes an excellent antipasto course. Serve at room temperature cut into thin wedges.

Summer Squash and Potato Torta

8 servings

Ingredients

1 green onion, finely minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 1/2 pounds yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in heavy-duty foil.
In a mixing bowl combine the green onion, Parmesan cheese, flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of the prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese mixture.

Layer 1/2 of the squash slices in concentric circles on top of the potatoes/cheese mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Repeat with a second layer of the potatoes, cheese mixture, squash slices and cheese mixture. Drizzle the olive oil over the top Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake until the potatoes are almost tender, 90 minutes. Remove the foil; bake uncovered until the torte begins to brown and potatoes are tender, about 90 minutes longer.

Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Remove the sides of the pan and place a serving plate on top. Turn the torte over and remove the pan bottom. Cut the torte into wedges to serve.


Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cows-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products; everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Sometimes I add Italian black olives to the salad for a change but it is not traditional.

Ingredients

2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Turkey Scaloppine

Ingredients

1 lb turkey breast cutlets
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Minced fresh parsley and lemon wedges for serving

Directions

Flatten turkey to 1/4-in. thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In another shallow bowl, beat egg and water together. In a third shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese.

Dredge turkey in flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture and coat with crumbs. Place on a plate and let stand for 5 minutes.


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook the turkey cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink and the coating is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

 


In my region, CSA’s, local farms and farmers’ markets are bursting with produce. There are so many choices that it is difficult to know where to start. Piles of summer squash might be a good place to begin. Zucchini and summer squash are plentiful during the summer months because they are easy to grow and mature relatively quickly. Some of the more common types are:

  • Patty Pan Squash is a variety of summer squash notable for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges, somewhat resembling a small toy top, or flying saucer.
  • Zucchini is a green summer squash also called marrow in some areas of the world.
  • Yellow Crookneck Squash is a lemon-yellow, 6-inch vegetable, with a slightly bent neck that earns it the name Crookneck. For best flavor, pick summer squash like crookneck and zucchini when they are small
  • Cupcake is a hybrid squash shaped like a cupcake, with the soft edible skin of zucchini and the delicate, sweet flavor of patty-pan squash.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Sausage Stuffed Round Squash

4 main dish portions, or 8 side portions

Ingredients

4 pattypan, cupcake or round zucchini squashes, stems removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced celery
1/2 pound cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
1 large slice Italian bread, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian herbs
4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds with a serrated spoon, being careful not to tear through the squash. Remove some of the squash flesh with a serrated spoon leaving a ½ inch shell. Lightly brush the insides of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped squash flesh, onion, and celery. Cook until soft. Add the crumbled sausage, bread and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften all the ingredients.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide filling evenly among the squash halves, piling it up in the center. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. Add water to the baking dish to the depth of about 1-inch. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash halves are tender and the tops are golden.

Yellow Squash Casserole

This yellow summer casserole is a favorite all year round, great for family meals during the summer but also popular for holiday dinners, especially in the South. You can use yellow summer or crookneck squash for this casserole. The recipe ingredients are easily increased for a potluck dish or large family dinner.
This casserole is a good side dish that can take the place of a heavier starch, and it goes well with just about any protein, especially chicken or fish. Variations include adding chopped red peppers or green peppers with the onion that adds a little color as well as flavor. You can spice it up by adding chilies as well.

Ingredients

3 medium yellow summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion. finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 1-quart casserole or baking dish.

Slice the summer squash and place it in a medium saucepan. Cover the squash with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the squash to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan; continue to cook until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain the squash thoroughly; return it to the saucepan and mash it. Add pepper to taste.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add the mayonnaise, chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir to blend thoroughly. Stir the mashed squash into the egg and mayonnaise mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole. Top the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then sprinkle them over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve squash casserole hot.

Squash Frittata

Ingredients

8 oz Italian sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 pound small yellow crookneck, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus extra for the broiling pan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 large eggs, beaten
3 oz sliced Italian fontina cheese, torn into pieces

Directions

Heat the oven to the high broil setting. Set the oven rack in the oven 3 to 4- inches from the broiler.
In a medium bowl toss the sliced sausage and squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Lay the sausage and squash in a single layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan that has been brushed with oil. Broil the sausage and squash for 5 minutes. Turn them over and broil for another 5 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk the eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the drained sausage and squash. Stir.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick, oven-safe saute pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir with a silicone spatula to make sure the egg gets under the squash mixture. Distribute the Fontina cheese around the top of the frittata. Cook without stirring until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set on top, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler back on and brown the top of the frittata, about 2 minutes,
Loosen the frittata from the pan by moving the spatula around the edges. Slide the frittata onto a plate or other serving dish, and cut into 6 servings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Summer Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 small red potatoes (7 oz) peeled and diced
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups yellow squash, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup okra, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mixed herbs finely chopped (dill, parsley, and chives)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil and add the garlic, onions, potatoes, turmeric and a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until all the vegetables are tender about 15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls and garnish the soup with grated cheese.


I can buy freshly shucked clams at my fish market, which I prefer for this type of pasta dish. Clams in the shell are fine for seafood stews but I don’t like trying to remove the shell from the clam and eat it with spaghetti. I know not everyone would agree, but this is the answer if you don’t like dealing with the shells in your pasta.

Spaghetti With White Clam Sauce

Ingredients

1 pint wild caught shucked clams with liquid (16 oz fresh, canned or frozen)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 oz thin spaghetti

Directions

If the clams are large, I like to chop them into smaller pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add wine and cook for a minute. Stir in chopped clams with their juice. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat just until hot.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the clam sauce and toss in the skillet letting the pasta cook in the sauce for a few minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve in pasta bowls.

Add a green salad and some crusty Italian bread to round out the meal.


This classic Italian sauce is called sugo alla puttanesca in Italian. Recipes may differ according to preferences; for instance, the Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies, unlike the Lazio version. Spices are sometimes added. In most cases, however, the sugo is a little salty (from the capers, olives, and anchovies) and quite fragrant (from the garlic). It is usually served with spaghetti but we like it with seafood.

Seafood in an Italian Spicy Tomato Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 fish fillets,(I used sea bass) (about 1 1/2 inches thick 4 ounces each)
4 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
26 oz container finely diced Italian tomatoes (I used the Pomi brand)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers
2 1-inch-thick slices Italian bread brushed with olive oil and grilled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

For the sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet.
Add the anchovy paste and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and continue to stir.
Pour in the tomatoes, oregano and basil and heat to a simmer. Add the olives and capers and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thickened.

For the fish
Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Lightly flour the fish shaking off extra flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Brown the fish fillets and shrimp on both sides.

Pour a cup to 1 ½ cups of sauce over the fish in the small skillet and cover the skillet. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Save the remaining sauce for pasta.

Place a piece of grilled bread in each serving bowl. Divide the fish evenly and place it on top of the bread. Spoon the sauce over each portion and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.


After Russia sold Alaska to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, waves of Russian immigrants fleeing religious persecution moved to the United States. These groups generally settled in coastal cities, including Brooklyn (New York City) on the East coast, and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon, on the West coast.

Many of the city dwellers took jobs in factories, often as garment workers. Those who preferred rural living benefited from the Homestead Act and set up farms across the West, while still others worked in mills and mines in the Midwest. Russians contributed their diverse cultural traditions and devout faith (for some Judaism and for others Russian Orthodox) to the places they settled. Unlike immigrants from other countries, few returned to Russia—America had become their homeland.

Emigration was restricted during the Soviet era, however, following the breakup of the Soviet Union, immigration to the U.S. increased considerably. Some Ukrainian Americans, Belarusian Americans, Rusyn Americans along with Jewish Americans, German Americans from the former Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, identify themselves as Russian Americans. According to the Institute of Modern Russia’s 2011 report, the Russian American population was estimated to be 3.13 million.

In 2007 Russian was the primary spoken language in 851,174 homes, according to the U.S. Census. The New York City metropolitan area has historically been the primary place of settlement for Russian immigrants legally admitted into the United States. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn continues to be the most important demographic and cultural center for Russian Americans. However, as Russian Americans have climbed in socioeconomic status, they have moved toward more affluent parts of the New York metropolitan area, notably Bergen County, New Jersey.

Russian cuisine tends toward the starchy side, with plenty of pickling. Grains are a major crop, with rye, buckwheat, wheat and barley commonly used in cooking, especially for bread. Root vegetables like beetroot, potatoes, and onions are also popular ingredients along with mushrooms, sour cream, cabbage, and the ricotta-like “farmers’ cheese”. Classic Russian dishes include Beef Stroganoff, chicken Kiev, beetroot broth, blini, and cheese dumplings.

They prepare a variety of soups, which are almost always served with sour cream. Most famous is borscht, made from beets, cabbage, and meat. In the summer, borscht is served cold. Shchi, also made with cabbage, includes turnips, carrots, onions, and beef. Fish soups are popular, such as solianka, and include onion, tomato, cucumber, lemon, butter, and sometimes beef. Many soups also include potatoes or dumplings. Traditional dark Russian bread is made from rye and Russian meals are accompanied by vodka.

Beef Stroganov or Stroganoff (Russian spelling: бефстроганов befstróganov) is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with smetana (sour cream). Following its origin in mid-19th-century Russia, the dish has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe.

Elena Molokhovets’s classic Russian cookbook, A Gift to Young Housewives, gives the first known recipe for Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju, “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard”, in its 1871 edition. The recipe involves lightly floured beef cubes (not strips) sautéed, sauced with prepared mustard and broth, and finished with a small amount of sour cream: no onions, no mushrooms, and no alcohol. Another recipe, this one from 1909, adds onions and tomato sauce and serves it with crisp potatoes, which are considered the traditional side dish for beef Stroganoff in Russia. The version given in the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique includes beef strips, and onions, with either mustard or tomato paste as an option.

After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the recipe was popularly served in the hotels and restaurants of China before the start of World War II. Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as US servicemen stationed in pre-Communist China, brought several variants of the dish to the United States, which may account for its popularity during the 1950s.

The version often prepared in the United States consists of strips of beef filet with a mushroom, onion, and sour cream sauce served over noodles. In the UK and Australia, a recipe very similar to that commonly found in the United States is popular, but it is served over rice.

Make a Russian inspired dinner at home.

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 4 (or servings for 2 in parenthesis)

Ingredients

1 (1/2) pound filet mignon or mignon tips (cut into 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide)
3 ( 1 1/2) tablespoons butter
1 ( 1/2) sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 ( 1/4) cup beef broth
1 (1/2) tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 ( 2 T) cup heavy cream
1/2 ( 1/4) cup sour cream
2 ( 1 ) teaspoons flour
2 (1) tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 (1) tablespoons minced parsley
Salt and freshly grounded black pepper
8 ( 4) ounces medium egg noodles, cooked

Directions

Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat and sear meat on all sides, for about a minute. Work in small batches so the meat does not give off any liquid. Remove to a plate.
Add the butter and onions and saute until tender.
Blend broth, flour, mustard, heavy cream, and sour cream together. Lower heat, add the liquid mixture, and simmer, without boiling until sauce thickens about 5 minutes.
Return meat to the sauce and heat, without boiling until meat is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in dill and parsley and spoon over noodles.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Ingredients

2 pounds parsnips
1 pound carrots
2 large shallots
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the carrots, and parsnips into 2-inch sticks. Cut the shallots into 1/2 inch pieces

Place the cut vegetables on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss well. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables, tossing occasionally until the parsnips and carrots are just tender. Sprinkle with dill and serve hot.



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