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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Sauces

Pork
2 boneless loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick, all fat removed
2-3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Vegetables
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large white mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Noodles, 3-4 oz uncooked

Directions
Pat the chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour with the Italian seasoning. Coat the pork chops in the flour mixture.
Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to serving platter and tent with foil.


Cook the noodles according to package instructions.


Add mushrooms and zucchini to the skillet and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, cream, roasted peppers, and Parmesan cheese and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened about 5 minutes. Add the pork chops back to the skillet and heat.


Serve over cooked noodles.

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The majority of Norwegian immigrants lived in the farming communities of the upper Midwest making their homes in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and North and South Dakota. They settled in cities such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Seattle.
Once the first Norwegians came to an area, others often followed, particularly after the Homestead Act of 1862 that made Minnesota land available almost free for the asking. Norwegian immigrants developed commercial fishing along the North Shore, worked in the Iron Range mines and offered trades needed in their areas.

Norwegian immigrants pose for a picture on the passenger and freight steamer America sometime between 1900 and 1910. (Photo courtesy of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center, Duluth)

Why did Norwegians leave their homeland?

In the 19th century, Norway was a difficult place for the common folk. Its population was increasing and they were squeezed onto the slivers of land that could be cultivated — only 3 percent of the country. Farm mechanization pushed out landless laborers, and a rigid social hierarchy gave them no chance to improve their situation.

So, they left. Starting in the late 1830s, Norwegians came to America.

Those who had a farming background headed to Norwegian settlements in the coulee country of southwest Wisconsin, the bluff country of southeast Minnesota and Iowa and then the fertile Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota. Norwegians who fished headed for the shorelines of Door County and Minnesota’s North Shore. By 1915, Norway had lost 750,000 people to the United States, contributing, after Ireland, the highest percentage of its population to the new country. Norwegians often chose land that reminded them of home.

They also tried to carry on their Norwegian traditions here in America. Each Christmas, Norwegian-Americans headed to the nearest Norsk deli to buy lutefisk that once was a staple for peasants in Norway. They grated potatoes for lefse, a flat peasant bread, and rolled thin butter cookies on krumkake irons for their holiday celebrations. There are more than 4.5 million people of Norwegian ancestry in the United States today. Norwegian Americans actively celebrate and maintain their heritage in many ways. Much of it centers on the Lutheran-Evangelical churches they were born into. Culinary customs, national dress, and Norwegian holidays (Syttende Mai, May 17) are also popular.

Norwegian cuisine in its traditional form was based largely on the natural materials readily available in Norway and by its geography. Norwegian fare had a strong focus on fish and game. A gradual transition to American life weakened immigrant folkways. Some traditions and customs survived and were cultivated, others were reintroduced and given importance as a part of their ethnic heritage. Toward the end of the century, lutefisk became known as a Norwegian American dish. It was served at lodge meetings, festive banquets, and church suppers, most regularly during the Christmas season.

One tank holds about 900=950 pounds of lutefisk ready for packing, at the Olsen Fish Company in Minneapolis, which produces about 450,000 pounds annually from dried cod. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Lutefisk is whitefish — which refers to several species of finned fish such as cod, ling, or burbot — that has been air-dried and may or may not be salted. It is first soaked in cold water for five or six days, with the water changed daily. The saturated fish is again soaked for two days in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye. Lye is a substance obtained by leaching ashes and is also known as sodium hydroxide. After this weeklong process, the fish loses half of its protein and gains a jelly-like consistency. At this point, it needs another four to six days of soaking in cold water, refreshed daily, before it is ready to be cooked. Since the saturated fish is quite delicate, a layer of salt is added about a half-hour before it is cooked. This releases some of the water being held in the fish. It is then placed in a sealed pan and steam cooked on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or wrapped in aluminum foil and baked at 435 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Since Minnesota has a large population of Norwegian immigrants, lutefisk is quite popular in the Twin Cities and their surrounding areas. It can be served a number of ways, but some of the more common ones are with boiled potatoes, green peas, melted butter, small pieces of bacon, horseradish, or cheese.

Aquavit is Norway’s famous exported liquor made from potatoes. Distillers flavor it with spice bags of caraway seeds or star anise. After the warm alcohol passes through the bags, it is aged in wood barrels. Cold-pressed, clear Aquavit isn’t aged but is served slightly chilled with herring, cold meat, and fatty dishes. Norwegians serve dark Aquavit, that has been aged for several years, after dinner.

Here are some Norwegian American style recipes for you to make at home.

Pan-Fried White Fish

Ingredients

1 lb white fish fillets
White pepper
Salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
6 tablespoons butter
Norwegian Lemon Butter Sauce, recipe below

Directions

For the Pan-Fried White Fish

Check to make sure all the fish bones have been removed. Season the fillets with the salt and white pepper.

Lightly whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl combine the breadcrumbs with ¼ teaspoon salt.

Dip the fillets in the egg and then dredge in the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Fry the fillets until they are golden brown.

Place the fillets on a paper towel. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and drizzle with the lemon sauce.

Norwegian Lemon Butter Sauce (Sandefjords Mor)

Ingredients

1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

Place the lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Add cream; whisk to combine. Continue to cook until the cream reduces and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 or 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Whisk in a few pieces of cold butter, stirring until the butter melts before adding more. Continue adding the butter a few pieces at a time until all the butter is emulsified into the cream. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and chopped parsley. Whisk until well blended. Keep sauce warm until ready to use.

Sour Cream-Chive Mashed Carrots & Parsnips

Norway has a long history with root vegetables. They are grown in many parts of the country and can generally be easily stored. Norwegians have favorites – like rutabaga, carrots, and potatoes – but more and more, others are being used more frequently in cooking, such as turnips, parsnips, and beets.

Ingredients

8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions

Place carrots and parsnips in a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan.

Use a potato masher or ricer to finely mash the vegetables. Add sour cream, 2 tablespoons chives, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until heated through. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chives.

Green Beans with Dill Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 pound green beans

Directions

Stir together the vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl until the ingredients are combined and the salt has dissolved. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. Gently stir in chopped dill and set aside.
Steam green beans until tender. Drain. Arrange green beans in a serving dish and season with a little bit of salt. Pour the dill dressing over the green beans. Mix well and leave at room temperature until serving time.

Rhubarb Rolls

For the bottom layer

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen and thawed)

For the top layer

1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the bottom layer

In a large bowl mix the butter into the brown sugar with a pastry blender until crumbly. If using frozen rhubarb, dry on paper towels after draining. Stir the rhubarb into the brown sugar and butter. Divide the mixture evenly into a well greased 12 cup muffin pan. Do not use muffin papers. Set this aside.

For the top layer

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the egg and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Once blended, add to the creamed butter mixture in small amounts alternating with the cream.

Spoon the batter mixture evenly over the rhubarb layer in the muffin cups.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top of the batter is golden brown.

Remove from the oven, set on a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Place a serving dish on top of the muffin pan and flip the two over so that the bottom of the buns are right-side up.

Serve while still warm.


Going to a Potluck Dinner? Here are some tips and suggestions for dishes that travel well:

Pre-baked casseroles held together with cheese or eggs
Slow-cooked dishes that travel in the crock pot
Salads with separate dressing to be mixed in just before serving
Pasta salads
Savory pies and tarts
Dishes that do not need re-heating – use an insulated carrier to keep the food hot.

re is a recipe for a dish I like to bring to a potluck: Stuffed Shells.

Italian-American Meat Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
Salt
Two 35-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups of water
6 oz can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and pork and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the meat is brown, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, water and tomato paste. Stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 hours.

Spinach Ricotta Cheese Filling

Ingredients
Two 10 oz pkgs frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
32 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to stuff the shells.

Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Ingredients

One 12 oz box jumbo shells (about 46 shells)
Spinach ricotta cheese stuffing (see recipe)
Meat sauce (see recipe)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drop the jumbo shells into boiling salted water and cook about 10 minutes or until tender but not overcooked. Drain and place on kitchen towels.


Spoon a layer of sauce over the bottom of two large baking dishes.
Fill each shell with equal portions of the ricotta cheese mixture.

Arrange the shells stuffed side up in the baking dish. Spoon more meat sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Cover the dishes with foil and bake for 30 minutes.


Italian Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
One 26-28 ounce container Italian diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano
Salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Then, stir in the broth and undrained tomatoes, bay leaves, herbs, salt to taste and red pepper. Cover with the lid ajar and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is very thick, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

Chicken Fontina

Ingredients

2 large boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
All-Purpose or low carb flour
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made from regular or low carb bread
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large slices Italian Fontina cheese
Italian Tomato Mushroom Sauce, recipe above.

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the pounded chicken breasts in flour. Dip in the beaten egg white and then into the bread crumbs. Press the crumbs onto the breasts. Place the breaded cutlets on a plate and refrigerate for several hours.


In a large skillet with a cover heat the butter and oil. Add the cutlets and brown on both sides.

Cover each breast with tomato mushroom sauce and a 1 1/2 slices of cheese. Cover the skillet and heat until the cheese begins to melt.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Serves 4

1 pound medium asparagus, woody stalks removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
l garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the asparagus with oil in a large baking dish.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the minced garlic and lemon zest on the asparagus and roast an additional 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


About 1.3 million Americans are of Greek descent and have the majority live in New York City, Boston, and Chicago. However, Tarpon Springs, Florida is home to the highest per capita representation of Greek Americans in the country (11%).

In 1768 about 500 Greeks from Smyrna, Crete, and Mani settled in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The colony was unsuccessful, and the settlers moved to St. Augustine in 1776. The first significant Greek community to settle in the U.S. was in New Orleans, Louisiana during the 1850s. By 1866, the community was numerous and prosperous enough to have a Greek consulate and the first official Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. Immigration picked up again in the 1890s and early 20th century, due largely to economic opportunity in the U.S. Most of these immigrants worked in the northeastern cities in the United States; while others labored on railroad construction and in the mines of the western states. Many Greek immigrants expected to work and return to their homeland after earning capital and dowries for their families. However, due to conflicts between Greece and Turkey, Greek immigrants lost the right to return to their homeland and were made refugees. Additionally, in 1924 the first widely implemented U.S. immigration limit against non-Western European immigrants created an impetus for immigrants to apply for citizenship and permanently settle in the U.S.

Greeks began to arrive in large numbers after 1945, fleeing the economic devastation caused by World War II and the Greek Civil War. From 1946 until 1982, approximately 211,000 Greeks emigrated to the United States. In the aftermath of the recent Greek financial crisis, there has been a resurgence of Greek emigration to New York City with the majority of the immigrants settling in Astoria, Queens.

As immigrants from various Greek areas, they settled in different regions of the United States and became “Greek Americans”. Many of their traditional foods and recipes depended on the availability of those ingredients in the U.S. so these recipes often developed into new traditions. For example, Greek Salad is called Horiatiki in Greece and the salad is made with feta and cucumber, but no lettuce—only the Greek American version of the salad contains lettuce. Greek cuisine has certainly influenced American cuisine not only with the popularity of Greek salad but also with foods like gyros, souvlaki, and baklava.

Contemporary Greek cooking makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and meats that include lamb, poultry, rabbit and pork. Also important are olives, cheese, eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (courgette), and yogurt. Greek desserts are usually made with nuts and honey.

Below are some traditional Greek recipes for you to try.

Spanakopita (Spinach Triangles)

Ingredients

10 sheets of phyllo dough
500g spinach washed and roughly chopped (18 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
200g feta cheese, crumbled (7 ounces)
Pinch of grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Melted butter for the pastry
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until soft and turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted. Let the mixture cool down in a colander to drain. Pour into a mixing bowl. Mix in the feta cheese, eggs, nutmeg, dill, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread one sheet of the phyllo dough on the kitchen counter and keep the rest covered with a cloth.
With a cooking brush drizzle some melted butter on the phyllo sheet on the counter. Spread one more sheet on top and drizzle with some more butter.

Cut the phyllo sheets in 3-4 lengthwise pieces (depending on if you like the spanakopita triangles to be small or larger). At the end of each piece add one tablespoon of the filling. Fold one corner over the filling to form a triangle and continue folding the triangle upon itself, until the entire piece of phyllo is used. Continue with the rest of the phyllo sheets and filling.

Oil the bottom of a large baking dish, place the spanakopita triangles in the dish and brush them with more melted butter. Bake in the preheated oven at 25-30 minutes, until golden and crispy. Serve with Tzatziki Sauce.

Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, grated

Directions

Chop the cucumber into tiny pieces, place in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 20 minutes. Squeeze dry in a paper towel. Place in a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

Grilled Zucchini and Lamb Chops

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
4 loin lamb chops
Marinade
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Greek seasoning or oregano
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Cut the zucchini into quarters. Combine the marinade ingredients in a ziplock food storage bag. Give it a shake. Add the lamb and zucchini, seal the bag and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat an outdoor or stovetop grill. Place the lamb and zucchini quarters on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Greek Couscous

Ingredients

1 cup couscous
1 cup of water
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Prepare couscous as directed on the package. (Boil the water, add couscous, stir quickly. remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes). Do not add butter and salt.

In a large bowl, mix peppers, tomatoes, and olives together well. Add couscous and stir with a fork to fluff the couscous.
Add the oil, pine nuts, and feta and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with parsley.


America is a land of many cultures. Our ancestors came from around the world to settle here and that is what makes our country so unique and diversified. This diversity is also obvious in our food and I feel it is so important to preserve those recipes. It was one of the reasons I started my blog seven years ago because I had hoped to preserve my family’s Italian recipes for those who came after me.

Growing up in NJ, I took for granted the pizzeria downtown for Friday night dinner, the bagel shop for Sunday breakfast and the taco stand for a quick lunch. In just about any city in America, it is relatively easy to find: Lebanese, African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Indian, French, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Jamaican, etc. food. Each wave of immigrants has brought a new level of food identity and traditions to our country.

Some of my past series have described the individual uniqueness of the regions of Italy, the food of America’s many Little Italies and the cuisines of the Mediterranean. In my new series, I want to celebrate the cuisine of the many cultures represented in America by preparing the dishes and sharing the recipes with you.

Rank Ancestry or race Population Percent of total population
1 German 46,403,053 14.7%
2 Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 38,785,726 12.3%
3 Mexican (of any race) 34,640,287 10.9%
4 Irish 33,526,444 10.6%
5 English 24,787,018 7.8%
6 American 22,746,991 7.2%
7 Italian 17,285,619 5.5%
8 Polish 9,385,766 3.0%
9 French 8,272,538 2.6%
10 Scottish 5,409,343 1.7%
11 Puerto Rican (of any race) 5,174,554 1.6%
12 Norwegian 4,445,030 1.4%
13 Dutch 4,289,116 1.4%
14 Swedish 3,933,024 1.2%
15 Chinese 3,852,099 1.2%
16 Asian Indian 3,303,512 1.0%
17 Scotch-Irish 3,046,005 1.0%
18 Russian 2,843,400 0.9%
19 West Indian (non-Hispanic) 2,824,722 0.9%
20 Filipino 2,717,844 0.9%

Italian American Pizza

Pizza became most popular in America after soldiers stationed in Italy returned from World War II. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza became a dish of considerable popularity in the United States. The United States pizza restaurant industry is worth $37 billion and has an organized industry association. However, in my mind homemade makes best.


Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

26 oz container strained or finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

Topping

Pizza sauce, recipe above
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 oz sliced pepperoni
Black pepper and oregano for sprinkling on top

Directions

One day before making the pizza:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Mix the ricotta with ½ teaspoon salt. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni, ricotta cheese dropped by tablespoons, and oregano.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Spices are very important in Moroccan cuisine. Common spices include cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, saffron, mace, cloves, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek, caraway, black pepper, and sesame seeds. Twenty-seven spices are combined for the famous Moroccan spice mixture called “ras el hanout”.

Due to its location on the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in natural resources and meals are usually built around seafood, lamb or poultry. The Moroccan national dish is a tagine or stew named for a special pot that is used for cooking. Common ingredients include chicken or lamb, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, prunes, lemons, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The tajine, like other Moroccan dishes, is known for its distinctive flavoring, which comes from spices that may include saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and ground red pepper. Give this Moroccan inspired recipe a try.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken

Ingredients

1 tablespoon chili paste (harissa or sambal oelek)
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 orange, zested, then cut into segments
2 tablespoons oil
4 bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup green olives
1/4 cup chopped preserved lemon
Couscous, recipe below

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a wide, deep braising pan over medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, combine the chili paste, paprika, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, allspice, cardamom, cayenne, orange zest, and 1 tablespoon oil. Stir to form a paste.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper; rub half of the spice mixture on both sides of the chicken thighs.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the heated pan. Sear the chicken skin-side down until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the garlic, onion and remaining spice mixture to the same pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan along with the tomatoes, chicken stock, olives, preserved lemon, and sliced oranges. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to braise until the chicken is tender, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Couscous

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ¼ cups no salt added chicken broth

Directions

Bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour in the couscous and the olive oil, give a quick stir, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork to break up any lump and serve.

Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

1 English cucumber, sliced thin
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed.

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl. Mix well, cover the dish and refrigerate several hours before serving.



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when literature and travel meet at the cul-de-sac

nekesaagola.wordpress.com/

This is a lifestyle blog. I get to put down life experiences of different people.Their passions and their joys, their struggles and their tears. I also get to feature once in a while.

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