Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

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Baked Stuffed Shrimp with Crab

Serves 2

Crab Filling
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 scallion, chopped
F garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
8 ounces crabmeat, picked over for shells

Shrimp
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
Panko crumbs

Pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse ground black pepper
Teo -2o z egg fettuccine pasta nests

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the crab filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Place the butterflied shrimp in a baking dish just large enough to hold the shrimp.
Top each shrimp with the filling [about 1 tablespoon for each. Sprinkle panko crumbs over each shrimp.

Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated until the time you cook. This is a great dish for entertaining because it can be made in advance, plan on 6 shrimp per person.

Bake until shrimp are pink, 20 to 25 minutes.

For the pasta
In the drained pasta pot, melt the butter and add the cheese and pepper. Add the drained pasta and toss.
Place a pasta nest on each serving plate and top with the shrimp.

Serve with Garlic Sauteed Spinach

 


Seafood Salad Stuffed Shells

Yield: 28 Shells

Ingredients

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp
1/2 lb. lump crabmeat
10 oz cooked lobster
1/2 cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Cook pasta shells per manufacturer’s instructions in liberally salted water.
Drain the shells and spread them out on kitchen towels to cool.


Combine the remaining ingredients to make a seafood salad. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of seafood salad into each jumbo pasta shell. Place the filled shells on a platter. Sprinkle the shells with chopped parsley.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makeup to 24 hours in advance.

Focaccia

Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough-my recipe
Olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Coarse sea salt
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves or rosemary
Coarse black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Oil a 4-quart baking dish or pam.
Spread the pizza dough out in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise until the dough rises almost to the top of the pan.
Top the dough with cherry tomatoes evenly spaced over the dough. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients and drizzle lightly with olive oil
Bake 400 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes until golden brown.
Cool and cut into squares to serve.

 


Salmon Cakes

2 servings

Ingredients

1o oz salmon, wild-caught, skinned
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Directions

Coarsely chop salmon and place half in a food processor. Add all the remaining ingredients except the panko and oil. Pulse until the mixture is combined but still chunky. R Transfer the salmon mixture to a medium bowl. Add breadcrumbs and stir until combined. Form the salmon into 4 mini patties, about 3 inches wide each, and place on a plate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon cakes and cook, turning once, until well browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate with the cooked greens.

Asian Style Sauteed Greens

4 servings
Ingredients
1 strip of bacon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 pounds kale or collard greens, stems removed, leaves chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Chili pepper flakes, a pinch

Directions

Cook onions and garlic:
Use a large skillet with a tight-fitting cover. Melt bacon fat and heat olive oil on medium heat.

Sauté onion until transparent, a couple of minutes.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Cook the greens
Mix in the greens, sesame oil, chili pepper flakes, salt, and sugar. Cover and cook until tender, 8-15 minutes. (Note that young collard greens will cook up relatively quickly. Older greens may take upwards of 45 minutes to tenderize.)

Vegetable Fried Rice

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 onion, chopped1
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup diced raw or cooked vegetables
2 cups cold leftover cooked rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 green onions, sliced

Fried rice veggie ideas:
Sliced, diced or shredded, raw or cooked celery, green or red pepper, mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, peas or snow peas, cabbage (regular or Chinese)

Directions

In a wok or a large skillet, heat sesame oil over high heat. Add egg and cook, stirring, until the egg is scrambled. Remove scrambled egg to a plate.

Pour peanut oil into the wok. When it is very hot, add chopped onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes or just until onion is softened. Add raw vegetables first, followed by cooked vegetables (the first ones into the pan should be the veggies that take longest to cook, like raw carrots). Already-cooked veggies should be added last.

Finally, add rice, stirring constantly to break up the lumps of rice, mix it with the other ingredients, and heat thoroughly. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce and cook, stirring and tossing, for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in scrambled eggs and green onions and stir-fry for one more minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Chinese Chicken Stock

Ingredients

3-4 lb chicken
10 cups water (cold)
3 slices​ fresh ginger
2​ scallions (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
Salt and black (to taste)

Directions

Place the chicken in a large pot with 10 cups of water (or enough to cover).
Add the ginger, green onion, rice wine, or sherry. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the top.
Add salt to taste and black pepper if desired.
Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the broth and use as called for in recipes. Shred one cooked chicken breast for the soup recipe below. Use the remainder of the meat for other recipes.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

8 cups Chinese chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry or Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 oz Asian curly noodles, cut into smaller pieces
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
6 denied shiitake mushrooms, soaked
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz can water chestnuts, drained
Chilies, hot sauce, chili paste, optional

Add broth ingredients to a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
to have ingredients infuse flavors.

Cook noodles according to the package.

Cut vegetables as needed.

Add carrots to the broth and simmer for 2 min. and remove but keep warm. Add
chicken and bok choy and cook for 2-3 min. until bok choy is tender.

Divide the broth between four bowls, add the noodles, carrots, chicken, and
bok choy in sections around the bowl and the green onions scattered in the
middle or the side.

Serve with hot sauce, optional.

Ginger Pork in Lettuce Leaves

6 servings

Ingredients

3/4 pound ground pork
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chile sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
One 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
24 lettuce leaves

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork with bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chile sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil l.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the pork mixture and stir-fry over high heat, breaking it up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce, and cilantro and remove from the heat.

Spoon the pork into bowls. Stack the lettuce leaves on plates. To eat, spoon the pork onto the lettuce leaves, roll up,


This Chinese dish is from the Mandarin style of cooking and is therefore not spicy. If you like spicy food add hot sauce to taste.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1/2 pound bok choy, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 carrots, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 sweet onion, quartered and layers separated
2 celery stalks, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, sliced
Hot cooked Jasmine rice

Sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions

Remove any silverskin from the pork. Cut pork into thin 1-inch-long pieces. Season with pepper and salt.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over high. Add half of the pork; cook, stirring, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and remaining pork.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add bok choy, carrots, celery, onion, remaining salt, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender-crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

Whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl. Pour the sauce mixture over the vegetable mixture in the skillet; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Add pork and simmer stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve with rice.

 


I made a baked ham over the holidays and of course, that meant leftovers. Here are some of the recipes I made with some of the leftover meat.

Ham Broth

You can make your own ham broth for soup using a leftover ham bone:

Simmer the ham bone in a stockpot filled with 12 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and let simmer for one hour.

Potato Soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots diced
1/2 cup diced celery with leaves
4 cups peeled and diced baking potatoes, about 3 large baking potatoes
3 cloves garlic minced or finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced (add more if desired)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups ham broth
3 cups of milk
1 pinch of salt (adjust to your taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Chopped fresh chives

Directions

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until beginning to soften (about 4 minutes).
Add the ham bone used for the broth and potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
Stir in broth mixing all ingredients together. Increase heat and bring to a boil until potatoes are ‘just’ fork-tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove ham bone and pick off meat to add to the completed soup.
Puree soup with an immersion blender.
Mix the flour and milk together and stir into the soup.
Reduce heat to medium-low and stir over the heat until thickened (about 5 minutes).
Add chopped ham. Adjust seasonings.
Top with chives and serve hot.


Ham and Cheese Scones

ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped leftover baked ham
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray or parchment.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Stir in cheese, ham, and chives.

Whisk buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl; stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour. Turn the dough out and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour.

Knead three to five times, or until the dough just comes together. Divide in half and pat each piece into a 5-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the scones until firm to the touch, 20 to 24 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time

Tips
Reheat at 300°F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Ham Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced bell pepper
1/4 cup flour
½ teaspoon mustard powder
2 cups of milk
12 ounces Velveeta cheese, diced
2 cups diced baked ham
Pinch black pepper
1/2 cup panko crumbs
Salt to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot melt butter and add the bell pepper and onion, cook until soft. Stir in the flour, salt to taste, and mustard.

Slowly whisk milk into the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Allow milk and roux to heat for about one minute, then begin adding the Velveeta.

Continue to gently whisk the mixture until all the Velveeta has melted, then add a pinch of black pepper. Stir in the ham and pasta.

Transfer the mixture to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle panko on top.

Cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

 


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

Hoppin’ John: A New Year’s Tradition

Forget champagne—in the Southern United States, Hoppin’ John is standard New Year’s fare. This simple dish of peas, pork, and rice has been a tradition since the 1800s. It’s believed to bring luck and peace in the coming year to anyone who eats it.
The first recipes for Hoppin’ John appear in cookbooks that date back to the 1840s, although the mixture of dried peas, rice, and pork was made by Southern slaves long before then. It seems to have originated in the Low Country of South Carolina, an area where plantation owners searched long and hard for a crop that would flourish in the hot, muggy weather. Rice grew well in the river deltas, so it was a natural choice, but the white farmers had no real experience with cultivating rice on a large scale until enslaved West Africans who had grown rice for generations arrived in America.

Although any type of dried peas can be used for Hoppin’ John, the black-eyed pea is the most traditional. This pea happens to have been domesticated in West Africa, which led to the belief that African slaves took the peas with them, planted them in their new surroundings, and created a dish that would remind them of their lost homes. This is probably only partly true. Newly abducted Africans were lucky to have clothes on their backs, and they certainly weren’t encouraged or even allowed to bring sacks of planting grain along with them. What is more likely is that slave traders saw black-eyed peas as an economical and easy way to feed their cargo.

The origins of the name “Hoppin’ John” are slightly less clear. Some say an old, hobbled man called Hoppin’ John became known for selling bowls of peas and rice on the streets of Charleston. Others say slave children hopped around the table in eager anticipation of the dish. Most food historians think the name derives from a French term for dried peas, “pois pigeons.”

It’s also uncertain why the dish became associated with New Year’s and good luck. The most likely story is that slaves would often have the period between Christmas and New Year’s off since no crops were growing at that time. Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money and “golden” cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes—or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck.

One tradition common in the United States is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune, and romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck (or wealth) that the diner will have in the coming year.

This dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas before serving.Whoever gets the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New Year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. If you eat leftover Hoppin’ John the day after New Year’s Day, then the name changes to Skippin’ Jenny since one is demonstrating their determination of frugality. Eating a bowl of Skippin’ Jenny is believed to even better your chances for a prosperous New Year!

Source: Beyond Black-Eyed Pease: New Year’s good-luck foods, by Mick Bann, Dec. 26,2008, Austin Chronicle.

Recipe for Hoppin’ John

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small ham hock or bone
4 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
8 cups lower-sodium chicken or ham broth
4 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas

For the rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups uncooked Carolina Gold rice
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh scallions, sliced
Chopped parsley

Directions
Heat oil in a large pot. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add broth and black-eyed peas and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until peas are tender about 40 minutes. Drain pea mixture, reserving cooking liquid. Return pea mixture and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the pot. Cover to keep warm; set aside.
To cook the rice
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, and gently stir into pea mixture in the Dutch oven. Stir in the remaining cooking liquid, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle servings with parsley and sliced fresh scallions.

 


Corn is very plentiful and has a long growing season where I live. So when it is at its best, I freeze many quarts of this vegetable to use during the off-season. Even after spending several months in the freezer, you can taste its sweetness when using it in your cooking. You certainly can use frozen corn from the supermarket in this recipe.

Chowder

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups) 

1 large carrot, diced

4 ribs celery with leaves, diced

1 1/2 pounds  Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced 

4 cups vegetable stock 

2 fresh whole sprigs of thyme  

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

¼ -½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1to 2 tablespoons honey 

7 cups frozen sweet corn kernels, divided

2 cups whole milk 

Additional salt to taste, pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes to the pot and saute for ten minutes until soft.

Add honey if the corn isn’t sweet. 

Add 4 cups of corn, vegetable stock, cayenne, salt, and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour. Remove the thyme branches.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree the contents with an immersion blender. Add milk, salt, and pepper to taste and the remaining 3 cups of corn.

Return the pot to the heat and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.

Garnish the soup with cheddar cheese or toasted tortilla strips when serving, if desired.

 


2 servings

Ingredients

12 sea scallops (10 oz)washed, dried and side muscle removed
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 teaspoons sesame oil
5 oz curly soba noodles
2 carrot sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 celery stalk sliced thinly on the diagonal
Half a medium onion finely diced
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Sauce
1 clove garlic, grated
½ cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

Cover the noodles with cold water and let sit until hydrated-30 to 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Cover mushrooms in hot wat and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain and slice thinly, discarding the stem.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup and set aside.
Heat peanut oil in a medium deep skillet or wok. Add the carrot, celery, and onion. Stir-fry about 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the mushroom and sauce. Stir-fry until thickened. Add the drained noodles and mix until the noodles are completely coated in sauce. Keep warm.
Heat the sesame oil in a small skillet and add the chili flakes. Heat for a minute and add the scallops. Cook the scallops for about two minutes on each side,
Divide the noodles between two serving bowls, top each with half the scallops, and serve immediately.



Ingredients

1 garlic clove grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
l1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
3 mini red sweet peppers, finely chopped
10 oz raw shrimp (about 18), peeled and chopped
6 oz firm white fish such as sea bass, chopped
8 oz lump crab meat
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
1 cup whole milk Ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for the top
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
24 large pasta shells

White Sauce
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning

Directions

Cook the jumbo shells in boiling salted water for two minutes less than the package instructions. Drain in a colander and run cold water over them for a minute or two. Place the shells on kitchen towels while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.Butter a large baking dish

In a skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add in garlic, onion, celery, and mini peppers, and cook until the vegetables are softened; about 3 minutes. Add in shrimp and sea bass and season with Old Bay seasoning. Cook until the shrimp become pink and the sea bass is cooked; about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, egg, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir in cooled shrimp mixture and crab meat.

In the same skillet, you cooked the shrimp in, bring the cream and milk to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, add the seafood seasoning. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the flour and parmesan cheese. Return to a simmer, and cook until the sauce thickens about 5 minutes.

Fill each pasta shell with 2 tablespoons of the seafood filling and place them in the baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the filled pasta shells in the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with a green mixed salad.



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