You don’t always have to serve meat as a main course in order to make a delicious dinner.
Plant-based recipes consist of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, but no dairy, eggs or meat. While I would not be happy with a diet devoid of dairy, eggs or cheese, I am very happy to eat whole plant food meals a few times a month. I am not a purist, so I include olive oil in my cooking preparations. We really liked these recipes and did not think they needed the addition of meat.
Try some plant-based recipes every once in a while. They are good for you and the planet.
Serves 6 as an appetizer. This also makes a good spread for bruschetta.
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the baking pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
8 chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup minced jarred roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Basil leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score once or twice with a knife (not hitting the skin on the bottom.)
Roast face down on foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil, about 20 minutes or until tender. Let drain on a paper towel for 10 minutes, cut side down.
Scoop the eggplant out of the skin and finely chop.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (or substitute vegetable broth) over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, celery, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the Italian tomatoes, vinegar and agave and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the remaining oil, eggplant, capers, red peppers, olives and parsley and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
Cool to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with your favorite Italian bread.
Serve over cooked pasta, polenta or rice.
2½ pounds fresh mixed mushrooms, small and firm
1/2 ounce dried porcini, soaked in 1 1/4 cups warm water
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary, a tender stem about 4-inches long
1 sprig fresh sage, with 4 big leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
1 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups canned finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
Squeeze out the soaked porcini and slice them into pieces about 1/4-inch wide. Strain the soaking water and set aside
Clean, trim and slice the fresh mushrooms into thin slices, barely 1/4-inch wide.
Tie all the fresh herb sprigs together with piece of kitchen twine or enclose the leaves in cheesecloth.
Put the oil or vegetable broth into a large, deep skillet with a cover or Dutch Oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir well.
Cook for 6 minutes or more-stirring often-until they’re soft without any browning.
Add all the porcini and sliced mushrooms into the pan.. Sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon salt and add in the herb bouquet, toss briefly, raise the heat a bit and cover the pan.
Cook, covered, for about 3 minutes-shaking the pan now and then to sweat the mushrooms.
Uncover and continue to cook over fairly high heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms shrink and the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes or more.
When the mushrooms begin to brown, clear a spot and add the wine and stir constantly until the wine thickens and evaporates. Pour in the porcini water, vegetable broth and Italian tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, stirring and then lower the heat to keep the sauce bubbling gently and cover the pan. Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
If after one hour the mushrooms are thoroughly tender and the saucy liquid has thickened, remove the herb bouquet. If you want the sauce thicker, cook for another 30 minutes.
Taste and add salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper.
Use the sauce immediately or let it cool. Store it in the refrigerator for a week or freeze, for use within several months.
Italian Vegetable Stew
Vegetables that will hold up to long cooking times are the best choices for stews. If you use more delicate vegetables, they should be added toward the end of cooking. Good veggie choices for stews are sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, root vegetables such as carrots, turnips and parsnips, green beans, pumpkin, winter squash and cauliflower. Cutting the vegetables into uniform pieces helps them cook evenly.
I used purple and red potatoes in this recipe to give the stew some added color.
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable broth or water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/4 lbs mixed small purple and red potatoes, cut in half
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
One 26 oz container strained Italian tomatoes (Pomi) or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups frozen Italian or regular green beans, partially defrosted
Heat the oil (or water) in a Dutch Oven and add the garlic and onions. Saute over low heat for a few minutes until the onion softens.
Add all the remaining vegetables, except the Italian green beans, and stir until coated with the onions. Add the red wine and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
Add the seasonings, strained tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the sauce starts to bubble.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the stew for 30 minutes. Add the green beans, cover and cook for 10 or 15 minutes more.
Don’t forget the crusty Italian bread to dunk in the sauce.
Ancona is a province in the Marche region of central Italy. The province is bordered by the Adriatic Sea in the north and the Apennine Mountains on the west. Ancona’s sandy beaches are popular with Italians but not well-known to tourists.
The hills of the region are littered with Medieval buildings and walls, and unlike many other often-invaded areas, historical architecture has been preserved and adapted for modern uses.
The Ancona port, one of the main ports on the Adriatic Sea, is located in the city of Ancona and is a busy passenger port with ferries running to Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro.
The city was founded in 387 BC by Greek settlers and the name Ancona comes from the Greek for elbow, due to its elbow-shaped harbor.
Many of the small craft workshops of the past scattered throughout the rural settlements have modernised and become small businesses, some of which have become major brands known all over the world (Indesit, Tod’s, Guzzini, Teuco). This evolution led to the emergence of ‘specialised’ industries: footwear, leather goods, furniture, household appliances and textiles, all made in the region.
The demand for Italian textiles and clothing is strong in the United States and Japan, as well as China, Hong Kong, Turkey and Russia. Italy is also a pioneer in the export of yarn, woolen fabrics, silk fabrics, clothing and hosiery.
A large area of the province’s land is farmland and much of it is used for wine production; as the production of Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Verdicchio grapes. Traditional feasts are held in the province during the harvesting period.
The mountainous regions and the Conero Regional Park, which contain dense forests, are where black truffles are found and they are sold throughout the province and neighboring provinces.
The main products grown are cereals, vegetables, animal products and grapes. Olives are also produced and managed by various harvesters. The sea has always furnished a plentiful supply of fish,
The influence of the neighboring regions, particularly Emilia-Romagna, can be seen in the popularity of fresh egg pasta and oven-baked pasta dishes in the province. Vincisgrassi is a regional favorite and is a type of baked-lasagna stuffed with chicken livers.
In and around Ancona, you will find a variety of soups. Minestra di lumachelle is a local favorite containing lumachelle, a type of pasta made with egg, cheese and bread crumbs, similar to passatelli. Tripe soup, or minestrone di trippa, is also a regional specialty that is served with a battuto, lard pounded together with herbs.
Along the coast, fish soups are typical. Brodetto is prepared with a variety of fish. There are also a number of special, regional preparations for local seafood: cooked with white wine, tomato, lemon juice and spices, alla marinara, stewed in tomato sauce; al forno or oven-broiled.
Meat is also popular. Pilotto is a way to prepare meat by wrapping it in paper with a piece of lard, which melts into the meat during cooking. Another local favorite is Porchetta, a spit-roasted whole, boneless pig that has been stuffed with herbs.
Some of the best cheeses made in the area are Casciotta d’Urbino DOP, Raviggiolo del Montefeltro, Slaatto and herb-flavored sheep’s milk cheeses. For a special treat, olive ascolane are stuffed with meat, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and then fried.
Cicerchiata is a dessert made from yeast dough, shaped into balls, baked in the oven and covered with honey. Becciate are made with raisins and pine nuts. Migliaccio is a dessert made with pig’s blood, sugar and citrus peel.
Broad Beans with Anchovies
Serve with crusty Italian bread as an appetizer.
- 2 lb broad beans, fresh and shells removed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 pinch marjoram
- 4 anchovies
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- White wine vinegar to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the broad beans in a small quantity of salted water until they are fairly “al dente”.
Prepare the topping with a chopped mixture of anchovies, garlic, marjoram, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the topping over the broad beans as soon as they have been drained. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Brodetto (Fish Stew) Ancona-Style
You can use any type of fish–swordfish, squid, red snapper, shrimp, clams, mussels and lobster for this recipe with a total weight of 3 lbs.. Clean the clams and mussels well and put them into the stew whole. Some versions of brodetto use saffron instead of red pepper flakes and white wine instead of vinegar. You can substitute rice for the bread, as well.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Red pepper flakes (chili) to taste
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
- 1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup white vinegar or wine
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups fish stock
- 1 pound clams in the shell, scrubbed
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp, with shells
- 6 (3/4 inch thick) slices Italian bread, toasted
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, Dutch oven, or a clay pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bay leaves, parsley and red pepper.
Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the mashed tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Pour in the vinegar or wine and cook 10 minutes. Pour in the fish stock and add the snapper.
Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Gently mix in the clams and cook until the clams open (discard any that don’t) about 2 minutes, and then stir in the shrimp.
Cook until the shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes.
Place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the brodetto over the bread and serve immediately.
Pollo in Potacchio
- 1 small chicken cut into 5 pieces (wing, drumstick, thigh and breast cut in half)
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup chopped imported Italian tomatoes
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Hot water
- 10 small Yukon gold potatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
Line a dish with paper towels and lay out the chicken, skin side up. Let air dry uncovered in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the potatoes into wedges. Place in a pot, cover with cold water, and add a pinch of salt. Over high heat, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
The potatoes will not be completely cooked. Drain in colander.
Add the potatoes to a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add the leaves from two of the rosemary sprigs. Add a good pinch of salt and toss.
Pour the potatoes out onto a sheet pan and shake to separate. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning the potatoes once with a stainless steel spatula.
In a large skillet add a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, about ten minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl.
Discard the rendered chicken fat and oil.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the large skillet, still over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic cloves; sauté until soft but not brown.
Add the white wine and rosemary sprigs; cook until the wine evaporates.
Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes. Season with salt and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the chicken and a splash of hot water. Turn the chicken over to coat. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve the chicken topped with a little sauce and the potatoes.
Orange Cake – Ancona-Style
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting the pan
- 3 eggs
- Grated peel of 3 oranges
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature, plus butter for greasing the pan
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, with 3 tablespoons sugar dissolved in it.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thickly smear a Bundt pan with butter and dust with flour.
Put the flour, eggs, orange peel, 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar and liqueur in a food processor and run until all the ingredients are evenly mixed.
Add the milk and baking powder and process again to incorporate into the mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it won’t fill it up all the way) and place the pan in the preheated oven.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester placed in the center of the cake comes out clean..
Invert the cake while still warm and place it on a rimmed plate. Poke many holes into the cake with a thin handle from a wooden spoon.
Pour the orange juice over the cake slowly. At first, the holes fill to the brim with juice, but this will be absorbed by the cake. Repeat until all the juice is used.
Whatever juice ends up at the bottom of the cake, leave it there; it will eventually be absorbed.
Serve at room temperature. The cake keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for a week.
Fermo is a province in the Marche region of central Italy. The province stretches from the Sibillini Mountains to the Adriatic Sea and its main geographic features are the valley of the River Tenna and the River Aso that form the southern border of the province. The coastline consists of beach areas interlaced with shady pine trees that offer visitors a perfect combination of natural landscapes.
The town of Fermo, the capital of the province, is an old town perched on a hill. It has a historic center, a large piazza and a cathedral with a Gothic facade dating from 1227. There are also traces of a Roman amphitheatre nearby. Underneath the town is an intricate system of well-preserved Roman cisterns dating back to around 40 AD. They were built to conserve and purify the water for the people of the town and are considered to be one of the finest examples of their kind in Italy.
An 1861 report by Minister Minghetti justified merging the small and fragmented provinces of southern Marche into a single large province, a move to remove the historical border between the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Papal States. The residents of Abruzzo were opposed to this. Despite the opposition, 58% of the population of Fermo voted in favor of merging some smaller provinces. In 2000, supporters of forming a new province of Fermo were able to pass a law changing the boundaries and the province of Fermo was re-established in 2004.
Footwear and leather goods produced in the area, are a specialty of the region. The production of women’s shoes is a tedious, time-consuming craft. After the initial stages of leather cutting, stitching and fitting the body of the shoe, the next steps vary according to the shoe style. Each artisan is trained to specialize in one task. The leather must be stretched taut over the toe of every shoe. Another craftsman delicately brushes special glue onto the bottom of the shoe structure, allowing it to dry completely before heating it up again and applying the sole by hand, lining it up exactly and using a special machine to press it tight. At the end of the assembly line, another craftsman places each stiletto heel in just the right spot before securing it with a press machine and sending it on for the finishing touches. Then the shoes are polished, buffed, boxed and shipped. It’s an example of the care and handcrafting that give Italian shoes their reputation for durability and quality. With over 54 components needed for every pair of women’s shoes, shoemaking can be laborious work.
Dino Bigioni manufactures 700 pairs of shoes a day. All employees come from shoemaking families that have educated their children in the craft. While many of the younger generation attend an area trade school to learn the craft, family tradition is the preferred training method. This factory is just one of hundreds of small yet established family shoe businesses in this area. The families say they are friends rather than foes and that they help one another in times of hardship. The Italian shoe industry is not just about footwear – it’s about preserving a tradition, a culture and a family name. Each family specializes in one part of the shoe – one family may make only stiletto heels; others only the soles for men’s loafers. With the exception of the leather (which comes from Tuscany and the Veneto), all shoe components are produced locally.
The province’s main agricultural products are cereals, vegetables, grapes, olives and livestock. The pecorino grape takes its name from the sheep (pecore) who originated in the area. It is an early ripening variety and produces fine white wine. The red wine Offida Rosso DOCG and the white wine Offida Bianco DOCG are also produced in this province as well.
Cereals, olives and mustard are grown and produced and the fish and seafood along the coast of this province are excellent. Maccheroncini di Campofilone, a variety of pasta that has received the PGI, is made exclusively here. The pasta is very thin and only fresh eggs and flour are allowed to be used. No other liquid can be added to make this pasta dough.
The Roveja bean is an ancient legume also known as a wild pea. Flour is made from the bean and used to prepare a kind of porridge, called “Farecchiata”. The bean grows wild in the area of Sibillini. The Greeks, Romans, shepherds and farmers considered it a delicious legume. Today, it is produced in small quantities in Umbria and in the Sibillini mountains. The roveja bean is the size of a pea and varies in color from orange to brown. The flavor is similar to chickpeas and lentils.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 250 g of dry roveja beans
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 large potato
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 3 leaves of sage
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt, pepper and extra-virgin olive oil
After soaking the roveja beans in water to cover for 10-12 hours, boil them for about an hour until soft.
Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the garlic, onion, celery, carrot and potato Add the roveja beans with its cooking water.
Season with salt and pepper, add the rosemary, sage and bay leaf and simmer until thick and creamy.
Maccheroncini di Campofilone al ragù
di La Cucina Italiana
- ½ pound maccheroncini (very thin egg pasta)
- ¼ pound beef stew bones (optional)
- ¼ pound chopped veal
- ½ pound chopped sirloin
- ¼ pound chicken giblets (optional)
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- ½ cup of white wine
- 2 cups peeled tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the pan
- Salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- 3 sprigs of fresh basil
Salt and pepper all the meat. Heat a large sauce pan and add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom. Add the stew bones and brown them; then add the veal and sirloin and saute until brown.
Remove the bones and chopped meat to a plate and place to the side. Lower the heat and place the giblets in the saucepan with the diced celery, onion and carrots and allow them to gently cook.
After the vegetables soften, add the wine to deglaze pan, stirring to bring the juices from the bottom of the pan into the mixture.
Return the meat and bones to the mixture and add the tomatoes and olive oil and cover the pot. Simmer over very low heat for two hours, stirring often.
Boil maccheroncini in a generous amount of salted water for 1-2 minutes (pasta should be firm to the bite) and drain. Place in a serving bowl and add a large spoonful of sauce.
Garnish with cheese and fresh basil leaf and serve.
Peposo (Peppered Lamb Stew)
From La Tavola Marche Cooking School
- 2 kg/4.5 lb leg of lamb, cut into thick steaks with bone-in
- 20 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 heaping tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 juniper berries, crushed
- Drizzle of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 225 F/105 C degrees.
In a heavy pot (just big enough to hold all the ingredients), drizzle with olive oil and place a layer of the sliced meat at the bottom of the pan.
Cover with a few cloves of garlic, sprinkle with pepper, salt and rosemary. Repeat, starting with the meat, and keep layering until all the ingredients are used and the pot is almost full.
Pour the wine over the top and add the bay leaves and juniper berries. Add water, if necessary, so that all the ingredients are covered with liquid.
Slowly bring to a boil, cover tightly with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about 8 hours or until tender and falling apart.
([If you want to cook the stew faster, raise the temp to about 300 degrees and cook for 4-6 hours. However it will be richer, the slower you cook it.)
Once the stew is done, skim off the fat from the surface and remove the bones, the bay leaves and rosemary twigs. The meat should be very soft and juicy with a rich flavor.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Break up the pieces of meat. Serve a ladle of stew on toasted bruschetta with a drizzle of olive oil or serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.
Rustic Tart with Strawberries (Crostata di Fragole)
From La Tavola Marche Cooking School
- 1 1/3 cups, 250g butter
- 4 cups, 500 g of flour
- 1 1/4 cups + extra for dusting, 250g sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon, 5g baking powder
- 2 full eggs + 3 yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon grappa, rum or brandy
- 1 pint of fresh strawberries per tart, sliced
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and liqueur and beat until combined.
Sift together all the dry ingredients.
Incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture with a few strokes of a wooden spoon to form a dough.
Roll 2/3 of the dough out slightly larger than your tart pan. Crimp the edges of the dough to create the crust.
Arrange the strawberries slightly overlapping to cover the pastry. Sprinkle a little sugar over the strawberries.
To make the latticework top:
Pull off a pinch of dough and roll into a long snake. If it breaks, just pinch it back together. This is a rustic tart. Moist hands will help if the dough is sticky.
Continue until you have enough strips to make a lattice top.
Bake in a preheated 350 F/175 C degree oven for about an hour or until the top is brown and the bottom is cooked. The dough should shrink away from the pan a bit. Cool.
The province of Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. Trieste enjoys a beautiful natural location, as it is surrounded by the Carsic hills and the Adriatic Sea.
The province is located in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy and was first established in 1920. It contained the current territory of the province, as well as, significant portions of the Kras plateau and the region of Inner Carniola in present-day Slovenia. After the end of World War II, the Free Territory of Trieste was established as a free state. In 1954, Italy and Yugoslavia came to an understanding and the territory was divided between the two states. Zone A of the free state became the new Province of Trieste and Zone B was administered by Yugoslavia. The Province of Trieste formally became a part of Italy on 11 October 1977, by the Treaty of Osimo.
Trieste is composed of several different climatic zones according to the distance from the sea and/or elevation. The average temperatures are 6 °C (43 °F) in January and 24 °C (75 °F) in July. The climate can be severely affected by the Bora, a northern to north-eastern wind that can reach speeds of up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) per hour.
The Italian language is spoken within the whole province. In the city of Trieste, many people speak Triestine, a dialect of Venetian. Besides standard Slovene, which is taught in Slovene-language schools, three different Slovene dialects are also spoken in the Province of Trieste.
Trieste was one of the oldest areas of the former Hapsburg Monarchy (1382-1918) and it was one of the most important ports in Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest and Prague) and was also known as an important hub for literature and music.
Trieste, which probably dates back to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33–32 BC by the Roman Emperor Octavian. Roman influence continued during the 1st and 2nd centuries. A Roman theater lies at the foot of the San Giusto hill, facing the sea and much of the theater is made of stone. The statues that adorned the theater are now preserved at the Town Museum.
Along the coast, one can admire three ancient castles and the city center boasts Venetian influences, complete with calli (narrow streets) and campielli (small squares) and a majestic cathedral. The Castello Miramare, or Miramare Castle, was built between 1856 and 1860 from a project by Carl Junker working under Archduke Maximilian. The Castle gardens provide a setting of beauty with a variety of trees, chosen by Maximilian. Today, the gardens include: two ponds, one noted for its swans and the other for lotus flowers, a bronze statue of Maximilian and a small chapel.
Since the 1970s, Trieste has had a huge economic boom, thanks to a significant commercial shipping business. Trieste is also Italy’s and the Mediterranean’s (and one of Europe’s) greatest coffee ports, as the city supplies more than 40% of Italy’s coffee. Coffee brands, such as Illy, were founded here and are headquartered in the city. Currently, Trieste is one of Europe’s most important ports and centers for trade and transport.
The cuisine in Trieste Province is rich and varied, due to Austrian, Venetian and Friulian influences and quite distinct from the rest of Italy. After years under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many parts of this region prepare hearty cabbage soups and delicate pastries. Bean soup with sauerkraut is typically served as an antipasto. Frico, another antipasto, consists of shredded cheese with a bit of flour that is baked or fried until crisp.
White fish soup (made with mullet, bream, flounder, etc) is cooked in a cast iron pot with a little oil, whole garlic cloves and fish flavored with white vinegar and black pepper. Pickled turnips are used to accompany roasted or boiled meats. They are made by cutting turnips into small slices and slow cooking them in a pan with olive oil, bay leaves and a piece of pork. Polenta is cooked with cheese and ravioli are made with a potato, cinnamon, raisins and a herbs. In Trieste, lasagna is kept simple and sprinkled with a special sauce made with butter, sugar and poppy seeds.
Desserts include strudel made from a thin layer of dough rolled around a sweet or savory filling and they are either baked or boiled. Gubana, “guba” meaning “piega” (to fold) in Italian, is a very traditional pastry that somewhat resembles strudel and usually comes with a minced apple and grappa filling. Presnitz is a dessert of puff pastry rolled up with walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, figs, prunes, apricots, raisins, grated chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and rum filling. Legend has it that a Trieste baker invented this cake in honor of Princess Sissi of Austria. The cake is popular during Christmas time.
Wines are mostly white and remarkable for the number of grape varieties that are used in their blends, like Refosco, Terrano, Malvasia, Tocai and Rebula. Italy’s popular grappa, distilled from the skins, seeds and stems of many types of grapes left over after wine making, is also produced here. Beer is popular here also. Many Italians, especially in the northeast, finish off their meal with a glass of distilled grappa.
Jota (Bean and Sauerkraut Soup)
- 10 ounces dried cranberry (borlotti) or kidney beans
- 1/2 pound pork shoulder, trimmed and cubed or 1 ham hock
- 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3 quarts cold water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- Sea salt to taste
- 10 ounces sauerkraut, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Place the cranberry beans in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain.
In a large Dutch Oven or soup pot bring the cranberry beans, pork, bacon, onion, water, garlic, bay leaves and salt to a boil. Cover and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour.
Rinse sauerkraut thoroughly in a large bowl of cold water, then drain in a colander and rinse again. Add the drained sauerkraut and potatoes to the pot with the beans. Continue simmering, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30-45 minutes. Discard bay leaves before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Goulash (Gulash) Trieste style
- 800 g (1 3/4 lb) stewing beef (chuck), cubed
- 800 g (1 3/4 lb) onions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Italian diced tomatoes
- 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Saute the onions in oil in a large saucepan, over low heat. Add the meat with the herbs and simmer until the meat begins to brown.
Dissolve the paprika in a little warm water and add it with the tomatoes along with enough warm water to make enough liquid to just cover the meat.
Season with salt and simmer over very low heat, covered, for an hour or until the meat is very tender. Serve over polenta.
Brodetto alla Triestina (Trieste-style fish stew)
- 1 ½ pounds cleaned, whole sea bass, without the head, tail and fins, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- 2 pounds cleaned, whole striped bass, without the head, tail and fins, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- ¾ pound cleaned squid, cut into 1 inch rings
- 2 eight-ounce lobster tails in the shell, each cut into four pieces
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 4 cups fish stock
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- Salt, if desired
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined,
- 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 14 mussels, scrubbed
Heat the oil in a very large pot with a heavy bottom and, when it is hot and almost smoking, add the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Arrange the pieces of sea bass, striped bass and lobster tails in the pot. Cook, turning the pieces occasionally, over high heat for three minutes. Add the vinegar and stir. Cover and cook about one minute.
Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Cover. Cook five minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and cover. Cook three minutes.
Add the squid, salt and pepper to taste and partly cover the pan. Let cook eight minutes.
Add the shrimp, clams and mussels and cook five minutes longer or until the mussels and clams open. Serve immediately.
Trieste Chocolate Mousse Cake
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 4 eggs, separated
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the cake:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll (baking) pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat in egg yolks one at a time.
In a separate medium bowl, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt until the whites cling to the beater. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Then, carefully, fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the batter and, carefully, fold it in without decreasing the volume.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake 12-15 minutes, or until cake starts to pull away from the sides. Do not overbake. This makes a thin cake layer.
Cool a few minutes on a wire rack and then invert onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.
For the filling:
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in the microwave or in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes.
Add rum and vanilla and stir until smooth. Refrigerate 1 hour. When cold, whip the filling until its volume has doubled.
Cut the cake in half and place one half on a rack. Spread the filling over the cake and top with the remaining cake half. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the glaze:
Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on full power 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir until completely melted and smooth. Let cool 10 minutes.
Set the rack holding the cake over a pan or wax paper to catch the drips. Holding the glaze 2 inches above the cake, pour the glaze evenly, using a spatula to cover the sides, if necessary.
Refrigerate 20 minutes or until the glaze is set. This cake is very rich. Cut it into small squares. Refrigerate leftovers.
Traditional meat stews can add up to 1,000 calories per serving. The calories really depend on the protein used, as fatty cuts of meat contain more calories. The sodium level can also be off the charts, providing much more than the amount recommended per day. Watch portion sizes, also.
Ground turkey isn’t always the leanest choice – it depends on which part of the turkey is ground. And, while ground turkey breast is the leanest, it can end up rather dry after cooking. The best solution is a combination of white and dark ground turkey meat which will keep the meat moist while saving on calories.
A healthy version of traditional beef stew should use 4 ounces of beef per serving while adding lots of vegetables. To keep sodium under control use a low-sodium beef or vegetable broth. Seafood is also a good choice for stew. Lentils are also a good stew ingredient because they contains both healthy protein and carbs and they are filled with fiber to help keep you satisfied.
So, take control of the ingredients and make your own delicious, healthy stews. Since it is quite cold here in the south today, the Bean and Sausage Stew is on our menu.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme and basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 28-oz can Italian diced tomatoes, with juices
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1 lb littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 lb frozen cooked crab claws
- 1 lb cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 lb sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a 5-quart Dutch Oven, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until onions soften slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add celery, fennel, chili, oregano, thyme, basil and cayenne; stir to combine. Add wine, tomatoes, broth and clam juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak clams in cold water for 20 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer clams to the stew pot. Cover and cook until clams open, about 20 to 25 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Add crab claws, cover and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Add cod and scallops. Cover and cook until the fish is firm, about 5 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Easy Oven Beef Stew
Serves 6; 1 cup per serving
What makes this stew easy? Toss all the ingredients together in a Dutch oven, place it in the oven and forget about it for two hours or cook it all day in your slow cooker.
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds lean boneless round steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup onions
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a large plastic bag with a tight-fitting seal, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add meat and shake until well coated. Shake off excess flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke.
Add half of the beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke. Transfer beef to large plate.
Repeat with remaining beef and oil. Leave the second batch of meat in the pot after browning and add the browned beef on the plate and the remaining ingredients to the Dutch Oven. Mix well.
Cover, place in the oven and bake for 2 hours or until the meat is tender, stirring once or twice during the cooking time. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve hot.
White Bean and Sausage Stew
6 to 8 servings
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 1/2 pound lean sweet Italian turkey sausage, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh large rosemary sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Place on a plate and refrigerate until the beans are cooked.
Add the tomato paste and oregano to the same pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and the bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.
When the beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sausage is hot. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with additional vinegar and olive oil.
Chicken Stew with Lima Beans and Cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco®
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups (10 ounces) frozen lima beans (no need to thaw)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups coarsely chopped (1/2 – inch chunks) cauliflower (about 1/2 of a large head)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken thighs and hot sauce; saute until chicken is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
Add broth, lima beans, tomatoes, cauliflower and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the beans are tender. Serving size: one chicken thigh and one-fourth of the stew.
Pork and Vegetable Stew
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 onion, medium, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 cup canned diced Italian tomatoes
- 14 1/2 oz canned low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add pork pieces and shake to coat. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, green pepper and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Sauté pork on all sides, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Return sautéed vegetables to the Dutch Oven. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until the pork is tender.
Season with salt and pepper, garnish with basil and oregano and serve.
How to get back on track:
Not only does it reset your body by getting your metabolism going, but it also helps you set the tone mentally for a regular eating day.
Water helps you feel full, so you won’t be as tempted to carry your overeating into the next day.
Squeeze in Some Exercise
It will make you feel so much better.
Have a Filling Salad for Lunch
The water in the veggies will help hydrate you and keep you feeling full until dinner.
Cook Dinner at Home
Go for clean foods, like a piece of broiled fish with roasted veggies and a whole grain like quinoa or barley. They’ll give you the nutrients you need and you won’t be hungry.Choose lean cuts of meat and avoid oversized portions. A serving of protein should be no more than 3 ounces (85 grams) — or about the size of a deck of cards — and should take up no more than one-fourth of your plate. Vegetables and fruits should cover half your plate. Whole grains make up the rest. Try a few meatless meals each week for added health benefits.
A few really tasty recipes follow to get you started.
Roasted Vegetable Crepes
- 1 cup flour
- 2/3 cup reduced-fat milk
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 3 eggs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 cups grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 5 ounces softened reduced fat cream cheese
To prepare the crepes:
Place flour in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in milk and water until smooth. Whisk
in eggs, 3 tablespoons melted butter and salt. Let stand 10 minutes. (This allows the flour to absorb the liquid.)
Heat an 8 or 9 inch crepe pan over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly brush the pan with some of the remaining melted butter.
Pour 1/4 cup batter into the center of the pan. Quickly tilt in all directions. (Batter should lightly cover the bottom of the pan.) Cook 30 seconds. Lift edge with a spatula to check doneness. Shake and jerk the pan by its handle to loosen the crepe. Turn crepe over and cook 15 to 20 seconds. Second side will be spotty brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter and melted butter. Makes 10 crepes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To prepare the filling:
Makes about 3 cups.
Place zucchini, bell pepper, onion and tomatoes in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt, thyme and pepper. Roast 30 minutes or until tender.
Spread 2 tablespoons of cream cheese on half of each crepe. Top with about 1/3 cup roasted vegetables. Fold in half, then in half again. Serve with a green salad.
Winter Vegetable Stew
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick rounds
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound red skinned or yellow gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 parsnips–peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
- Flat leaf parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large nonreactive skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to a casserole dish.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add potatoes and butternut squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to the roasting pan. Repeat the cooking process using another tablespoon of oil and the acorn squash and parsnips.
Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a simmer over high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Pour the broth over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and add the marjoram. Cover and cook the vegetables in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until just tender when pierced. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with parsley. Serve with a slice of crusty country bread.
Tomato, Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin
- 1/2 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or mashed
- One 14-ounce loaf Italian bread, crusts removed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
- 3 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
In a colander, toss the eggplant and zucchini with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Drain well and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
In a small bowl, stir the olive oil with the garlic. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic-infused oil.
Tear the bread into 2-inch pieces and line the bottom of the baking dish with the bread, fitting the pieces tightly together. Drizzle the bread with 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and sprinkle the bread with half of the basil leaves.
In a medium bowl, toss the eggplant and zucchini with 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tomato slices with salt and pepper. Arrange the eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes over the bread, overlapping them as necessary. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining garlic oil.
Bake the gratin for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown and the bottom of the bread is golden brown. Remove the vegetable gratin from the oven and let stand until cooled slightly, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, cut into serving pieces.
Italian Style Stuffed Peppers
- 4 medium bell peppers
- 1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef or turkey
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup drained, canned whole Italian tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought tomato sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Slice off the stem end of peppers and remove and discard seeds and membranes. Submerge the peppers in a pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes; drain.
Brown ground beef and onion in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Drain on paper towels.
Return meat mixture to the skillet. Add tomatoes, breaking them into pieces with a spoon, and cook until the liquid evaporates. Remove meat mixture from heat; stir in wild rice, Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasoning.
Spoon 1/2-cup portions of the mixture into the peppers; sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs and cheese.
Place peppers in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon tomato sauce over peppers and return to oven until heated.
Broccoli Swiss Quiche
Easy Whole Wheat Pastry Crust
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces reduced fat milk
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium tomato, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Directions for making the crust:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Into 8 or 9 inch Quiche pan or pie plate, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Combine the oil and milk in a measuring cup and pour over the flour mixture.
Mix with fork till all the flour is dampened.
Press dough evenly against the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Crimp edges.
Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until the pastry is set and dry.
Remove the pie plate from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Directions for the Quiche Filling:
In a mixing bowl whip eggs with a wire whisk and stir in the broccoli, shredded Swiss cheese, milk, garlic, onion, salt and pepper; stir until blended.
Assembling the Quiche:
Pour into baked pastry crust. Place the tomato slices on top of Quiche mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until Quiche tests done in center. Protect pastry crust with foil at the end of the cooking time to prevent over browning.
Cool on wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.
Whole grains generally are packed with nutrients and fiber, which aid in healthy digestion and weight management. These are the “good carbs” that help balance your diet and can fill you up.
Time-saving tip: cook extra grains and store portioned leftovers in the freezer — you’ll be ready when you need them for a recipe.
Farro And Chicken Chili
Farro is popular in Italy and, more recently, in North America and other European countries as well, for its roasted, nutty flavor and distinctive chewy texture. Farro’s tough husk makes it more difficult to process than other commercially produced grains, but that husk also helps protect the grain’s vital nutrients. With a higher fiber and protein content than common wheat, farro is also especially rich in magnesium and B vitamins. As a type of wheat, farro is unsuitable for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat sensitivity or allergy. As with all grains, pearled farro will take less time to cook.
- 1 cup semi-pearled farro
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chopped onions (2 large)
- 2 cups chopped zucchini (2 small)
- 1 cup chopped carrots (2 medium)
- 1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Two 14 1/2 – ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
- One 14 1/2 – ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
- One 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
Rinse farro. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water to boiling. Stir in farro. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until farro is tender. Drain off any excess water and discard.
In a large skillet bring 2 cups water to boiling. Add chicken breasts. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 minutes or until no longer pink (165 degrees F). Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a cutting board. Cool slightly. Coarsely dice the chicken. Set aside. Retain the chicken cooking water.
In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook onions, zucchini, carrots and chili pepper in hot oil about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and the chicken cooking water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
Stir in cooked farro and diced chicken. Cook and stir until heated through. Ladle chili into serving bowls. Top each serving with cheddar cheese.
Note* Chili peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes. When working with chili peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.
Beef Steaks With Kasha Pilaf
Buckwheat Groats are soft white seeds with a mild flavor, but when toasted they develop a more intense flavor. Groats can be steam-cooked like rice for salads and side dishes or ground into fresh flour. Buckwheat flour makes delicious pancakes. Buckwheat groats are gluten-free seeds from a plant related to rhubarb. The outer husk is pulled away and the grain-like fruit is harvested and eaten. First cultivated in Southeast Asia thousands of years ago, kasha eventually took root in Eastern Europe, where it became a classic side dish. Buckwheat is very nutritious and provides a complete protein, including all the essential amino acids. Use buckwheat groats in any recipe that calls for whole grains. Be sure to purchase buckwheat groats that have been toasted.
- 2/3 cup buckwheat groats
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion (1 medium)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup coarsely snipped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound beef tenderloin
- 1/4 teaspoon steak seasoning
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a medium saucepan bring 1-1/2 cups water to boiling. Stir in buckwheat groats; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender (you should have about 2 cups of cooked groats). Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or just until the onion begins to soften.
Drain cooked groats, if necessary. Add onion mixture to the cooked groats. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cherries, basil, vinegar and salt.
Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the beef.
Cut beef crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Evenly sprinkle beef pieces with the steak seasoning. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same skillet; heat over medium heat.
Cook beef pieces in hot oil about 4 minutes or until medium (145 degrees F), turning once halfway through the cooking time.
Serve beef pieces over groats mixture. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.
Amaranth Biscuit Topped Stew
Amaranth is often popped like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a popular treat in Mexico called “alegría” (meaning “joy”). Although amaranth derives its name from the Greek for “never-fading flower,” it is its highly nutritious seeds, not its vibrant red blooms, that are its most valuable asset. Like buckwheat and quinoa, amaranth is an especially high-quality source of plant protein including two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine. Amaranth is packed with iron and calcium and its fiber content is triple that of wheat. Amaranth is completely gluten-free and suitable for those with celiac disease. It is an especially digestible grain, making it a good choice for people recovering from illness.
- 1/2 cup whole grain amaranth
- Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
- 1 1/2 pounds lean pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cubed sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup butter
Place amaranth in a small bowl. Stir in 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
Sprinkle pork with sage and toss to coat. In a large nonstick skillet brown pork in hot oil over medium-high heat. Transfer pork to the prepared baking dish.
Add mushrooms, onion and garlic to the same skillet. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Stir in sweet potato cubes and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling.
In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup cold water, the cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; stir into the mixture in the skillet. Cook and stir until mixture thickens.
Pour the mixture over the pork in the baking dish. (Sweet potatoes will not be done yet.) Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
For the biscuits:
In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, thyme, black pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add soaked amaranth and any liquid remaining in the bowl. Stir until combined.
Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, drop about ¼ cup of the biscuit dough into eight mounds on top of the stew.
Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean.
Quinoa Salmon Cakes
The quinoa plant is a relative of beets, spinach and Swiss chard, but we treat its seeds as we would a grain, preparing and eating them in much the same way. Available in light brown, red and even black varieties, quinoa is filling and has a mellow flavor. It is a good source of manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals and has the highest protein content of any grain. It is especially high in lysine, an amino acid that is typically low in other grains. Quinoa’s protein is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids – a rarity in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is gluten-free and easy to digest.
While it’s best to rinse all grains before cooking, pre-washing is especially advisable for quinoa, in order to remove the bitter saponin coating on its outer hull that sometimes remains after processing. To do so, simply run cold water over quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer, rubbing the seeds with your fingers. (Avoid soaking quinoa, however, as saponins can leach into the seeds.)
After rinsing, combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes, or until the grains become translucent and the germ appears as a thin white ring around each grain. This recipe will yield 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Quinoa holds lots of water, so you have to make sure you drain it thoroughly after it’s cooked. Fluff with a fork.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 12 ounces cooked salmon or two 6 ounce pouches pink chunk salmon, drained
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
- 6 cups arugula
- 1 lemon, cut into thin wedges
- One 6 ounce carton plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Dash freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl stir together cooked quinoa, salmon, onion, 2 tablespoons chives and the garlic.
In a medium bowl stir together panko and lemon pepper seasoning; then add milk, eggs, egg whites and oil, stirring until combined. Add the panko mixture to the salmon mixture; stir until well mixed.
Generously coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray. Divide salmon-panko mixture evenly among the prepared cups, using a heaping 1/3 cup in each cup.
Bake about 25 minutes or until tops are golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of a cup registers 160 degrees F. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Divide arugula among six serving plates. Run a knife around the edges of each cup to loosen; remove cakes from muffin the cups. Arrange on top of the arugula. Serve with lemon wedges and the lemon mustard sauce.
For the lemon-mustard sauce:
Stir together yogurt, mustard, 1 tablespoon chives, the lemon juice and black pepper. Serve sauce with warm salmon cups.
Barley-Stuffed Red Bell Peppers
A staple of soups and stews, barley is the oldest known domesticated grain and comes in hulled and pearled varieties. Hulled barley is the true whole-grain form, with only the outermost hull removed, whereas pearled barley is polished to remove the bran layer and often the inner endosperm layer as well. Pearled barley is both easier to find and the type called for in most recipes. Barley is an excellent source of fiber (one cup cooked contains 13 grams); its insoluble fiber helps maintain large populations of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Additionally, barley has been shown to aid in regulating blood sugar after meals (more so than other grains) for up to 10 hours, Like wheat and rye, barley is a gluten grain and is therefore unsuitable for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
If you cannot find quick cooking barley then combine 1 cup pearled barley and 3 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45-60 minutes.
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 2/3 cup quick-cooking barley
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
- 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 1/3 cup soft bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Several dashes of bottled hot pepper sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan combine mushrooms, broth and barley. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until barley is tender; drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Halve sweet peppers lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes.
In a medium bowl combine egg, tomato, 1/2 cup of the cheese, onion, zucchini, bread crumbs, basil, rosemary, onion salt and hot pepper sauce. Stir in cooked barley mixture.
Place peppers, cut sides up, in an ungreased 2-quart baking dish. Spoon barley mixture into peppers. Pour the barley cooking water around the peppers to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes or until barley mixture is heated through and the peppers are tender. Sprinkle each pepper with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 2 minutes more or until the cheese is melted.