Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Pastry

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

Greek Tomato And Eggplant Tart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

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

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

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

Directions

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


Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta

Use beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are in season now along with lots of fresh herbs.

For two servings:

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced\
1 large heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, parsley, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside for up to 30 minutes.
Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. You should get 4 slices. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the tomato slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle with reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Summer Fresh Tomato Salad

2-3 servings

Ingredients

½ cup diced red onion
1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges
Shredded fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Place the onion, tomatoes, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a salad serving bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.


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.


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

A pasty is a baked meat pie, a traditional variety of which is usually associated with Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is made by placing an uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables, on one half of a flat shortcrust pastry circle, folding the pastry in half to wrap the filling in a semicircle and crimping the curved edge to form a seal before baking.

The traditional Cornish pasty, which since 2011 has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in Europe, is filled with beef, sliced or diced potato, swede (also known as yellow turnip or rutabaga) and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked. It is regarded as Cornwall’s national dish and accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy. The origins of the pasty are unclear, though there are many references to them throughout historical documents and fiction. The pasty is now popular worldwide due to the spread of Cornish miners and sailors from across Devon and Cornwall, and variations can be found in Australia, Mexico, the United States, Ulster and elsewhere.

Michigan Pasty (Meat Hand Pie)

When Cornish miners migrated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1800s, they brought with them their beloved national dish, the pasty. The Finnish miners that followed adopted these meat pies as their own (easily transportable for long subterranean days!), and the pasty became such a large part of the regional culture that there’s an annual pasty festival in early July. In this recipe, beef, carrots, onions, and potatoes are essentially steamed within the dough pocket.

6 hand pies

Ingredients

Pastry Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 cup shortening or lard ( I use Spectrum)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup ice-cold water
Filling
8 ounces boneless steak such as sirloin, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
Ketchup, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, shortening, and salt in a food processor and run the motor until the dough starts to clump together. With the motor running, drizzle in the water. Stop the motor when a ball begins to form.

. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour. This step allows the gluten to relax and makes for easier rolling.

Mix together the steak, carrots, onions, potatoes, and parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to form the pies.

Cut the dough into 6 even pieces, about 5 ounces each, and form into balls. Flour a work surface and roll out each ball of dough into an 8-inch circle. Or roll each piece of dough between a sheet of wax paper and a piece of plastic wrap.

Evenly divide the filling (about 3/4 cup per pasty) on one half of each dough circle. Brush the edges of the circles with egg. Fold the dough over to cover the mixture and crimp the edges using a fork. Cut 3 small slits on top of each pie. This prevents steam from building up and splitting the dough. Brush the pasties with the egg and refrigerate the baking pans until ready to bake for dinner.

Bake on the prepared baking sheets until the crust is golden brown and flaky about 1 hour. Serve with ketchup, if desired.Pasties can be baked and then frozen. To reheat, place in a 300 degree F oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes.


I am fortunate to live near a farm that grows these beautiful, round Italian heirloom eggplants. This variety is a plump, tear-drop- shaped eggplant with rosy lavender skin and alabaster flesh. The meaty and firm yet tender flesh has a delicate mild flavor and a creamy consistency with no bitterness. Rosa Bianca has few seeds, making it the perfect variety for grilling and baking.

Baked Eggplant Stacks

Ingredients

1 Rosa Bianca Eggplant, about 1 ½ lb.
½ cup flour
3 egg whites beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
2 cups Italian seasoned Panko crumbs
1 large beefsteak or heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
6 Fresh Mozzarella slices
6 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ cup Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pour the ¼ cup olive oil into a large rimmed rectangular sheet pan.
Peel the eggplant and slice into six 1/2-inch-thick circles.
Dip the eggplant slices into the flour, then the egg white mixture and finally the crumbs, tossing around to make sure the crumbs adhere. Place the breaded eggplant on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or two.


Put the sheet pan with the oil in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven (with oven mitts) and arrange the eggplant on the hot pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake another 10 minutes or until they’re golden on the other side.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put a tomato slice on top of each eggplant slice, then a basil leaf on each and top each with a slice of mozzarella. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese melts.

 

Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta

Use beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are in season now along with lots of fresh herbs.

For two servings:

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced\
1 large heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, parsley, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside for up to 30 minutes.
Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. You should get 4 slices. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the tomato slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle with reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Old Fashioned Vidalia Onion Pie

Vidalia onions are in season now. They are a sweet, mild onion grown in Georgia. Vidalias can be used in place of any yellow onion, but their flavor is so special that you can really let them be the star of the show, such as this Vidalia Onion tart.

One 9-inch pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan if you like. 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. Fill and bake.

Filling Ingredients:
2 large Vidalia onions, diced
1/4 cup butter
8 oz cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup whole milk

Directions

Saute the onions in butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until golden brown. This will take 40 to 45 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F Line a baking sheet and place the pastry-lined pie pan on the baking sheet to help with transferring in and out of the oven.

Spread half the cheddar cheese over the bottom crust and top the cheese with the cooked onions.
In a measuring cup, whisk the eggs together with the milk and ½ teaspoon of salt, then pour it over the onion mixture. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese.


Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.

Plum Crostata

Plums are generally in season somewhere in the United States from the end of May all the way into October. Not only are they good for eating out of hand, but they are an excellent fruit for baking, such as this crostata recipe below. Crostata is the Italian term, and Galette is the French term for a rustic dessert that consists of a rolled out piece of pastry dough and the edges of the dough are folded in about an inch or so over the filling.

Ingredients

Pie pastry for one 9-inch pie
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 plums
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Directions

Slice the plums into thin wedges.
Roll pie dough out to a 12-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Slide the parchment onto a sheet pan. Spread marmalade on the center of the tart; then fan around the wedges of plums, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the pie crust dough edge over onto the plums.

Drizzle honey over plums, brush pie crust dough edge with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F until fruit is tender and crust is cooked on the underside, about 25 to 30 minutes.


The history of southern tomato pie is largely based on conjecture. Some accounts point to 19th century Shaker recipes for pies with ripe tomatoes, cream, and bacon. David Shields, a historian of southern food and the author of Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine, writes that savory tomato pies have roots in the south as far back as the 1830s when they included meat.
The version made today with mayonnaise and shredded cheese has origins in the 1950s. Nancie McDermott, the North Carolina-based author of Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Recipes, From Lemon Chess to Chocolate, says she’d put the pie in the “modern-classic category,” surmising that it’s a product of 20th-century magazine editors, Junior League cookbooks and Southern Living magazine all coming up with tasty ways to make use of summer’s abundance.

And, here is my version:

Regular Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working with the dough
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Low Carb/Gluten Free Crust
1 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon oat fiber (or coconut flour)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bacon fat (or coconut oil, ghee or butter)

Filling
4 large fresh vine ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
1/2 cup regular mayonnaise
2 slices bacon, cooked, diced and fat reserved
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
Dried basil

Directions

For regular crust:
Pulse flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a processor until moist crumbs form.
Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie pan and with floured fingers press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the side of the pan.
Freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes; prick all over with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees F.until golden, pressing with a spoon if it puffs up, about 25 to 30 minutes; cool for 10 minutes before filling.

For low carb crust:
In a 9-inch pie plate mix parmesan cheese, almond flour, oat fiber, egg, bacon fat, and salt with a fork. Press onto the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool for 10 minutes before filling.

To finish the pie:
Place sliced tomatoes on a double thickness of paper towels for an hour to drain off some of their moisture.
Place ½ cup shredded cheese in the bottom of the crust.
Place sliced tomatoes over the cheese, overlapping slightly.
Sprinkle bacon and red onion over the tomato slices.

Mix mayonnaise and remaining shredded cheddar cheese together. Spread the mixture over the sliced tomatoes, spreading the topping to the edges of the crust.

Sprinkle dried basil over the top.
Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake the pie for about 30 minutes until browned and bubbly. Let the pie rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The pie is also good served at room temperature.



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