Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: tomatoes

Tip for crispy oven fried chicken:
Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spread 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over the foil. Place the pan in the oven and leave it there while the oven preheats to your recipe’s oven temperature.

Chicken
2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half to form 4 breats
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
Vegetable oil

Topping
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 slices
9 mozzarella balls {they about 1-inch in size}flattened slightly

Directions

Place the prepared cookie sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In 3 separate shallow bowls: pales the flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper in one bowl. In the second beat the egg with the mayonnaise and in the third place the panko, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Place one chicken breast in the flour, then the egg, and finally the panko/ Repeat with the remaining chicken.

With potholders, take the pan out of the oven and place the breaded chicken on the hot pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pawn from the oven and place 2 tomato slices on top of each breast, followed by 3 mozzarella balls on each piece of chicken. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese melts about 5 minutes.

Serve with a green vegetable. I baked asparagus in the oven along with the chicken.

 


 

Have you tried Sea Bream?

The ancient Greeks and Romans liked sea bream cooked with seasoned sauces and accompanied by fruit. They are most often found in coastal areas but have been caught at depths of up to 150m. Spawning occurs between November and December. Solitary fish, eat worms and crustaceans as well as smaller fish and have impressive teeth when you see them up close.

 

Interestingly, these fish start life as males and change sex at about three years of age.

With dense, moist white flesh, sea bream are usually sold whole or in fillets. With a satisfying meaty texture, a clean taste, and a delicate flavor they’re a good choice for dinner. Whole or filleted, sea bream can be baked, pan-fried, grilled, steamed, or roasted.

A good rule of thumb is not to overcook sea bream. In fact, it’s always better to undercook sea bream than let it spend too long in the pan or the oven.

Cook sea bream fillets with herbs and spices to enhance the fish. Cooking sea bream fillets only takes a few minutes on each side and they’re ready to eat for a quick dinner.

Here is how I like to cook these fillets.

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 sea bream fillets, about 6 oz each

Side Dish
20 cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
A small bunch of basil, chopped
1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Potato Cakes
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 onion, diced
1 egg
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Directions

For the side dish
Place a small saucepan over gentle heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the oil. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper and stir over low heat for 1–2 minutes.
Add the coriander, garlic powder, basil, and lemon juice of one-half to the pan stir, and set aside to allow the flavors to infuse.

For the potato cakes

Mix mashed potatoes, flour, onion, egg, black pepper, and salt together in a bowl until batter consistency.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop 4-inch circles of batter into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter.

To cook the bream
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Slash the skin of the fillets in 3 places. Add a dash of oil to the pan and, when really hot, add the bream fillets skin side down. Season and cook for 2 minutes. (The flesh should be opaque two-thirds of the way up the fillet.)

Turn the fillets and cook on the other side for 1 minute until just cooked through.

To serve
Pace a potato cake on a dinner plate. Top with a fillet and spoon some of the zucchini mixtures around the fish.

 


Cooking Dried Beans
When the beans have finished soaking, drain and rinse them with cold water. Put them in a pot large enough to fit the number of beans you are using and cover with cold water by about 3 inches. Cover the pot with the lid and turn on the heat to medium. When the water comes to a boil, adjust the heat so that the cooking water simmers gently. Cook the beans until they are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Taste them periodically to check for doneness. Drain and set aside.

 

Pasta e Fagioli {Pqwtqa And Beans
Ingredients
1 ½ cups dried cannellini beans, precooked
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Two 26 oz containers of Italian chopped tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 oz elbow pasta, cooked al dente
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for sprinkling
Directions
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, and onion and saute until they begin to soften, making sure not to brown them. Add in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients except for the cooked pasta and grated cheese. Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers very gently. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil, adjusting the heat as necessary. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are fully tender, stirring periodically. Stir in the cooked pasta and heat for 5 minutes or until hot. Remove rind before serving.
Sprinkle each serving of soup with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Italian bread.

 



2 servings

Ingredients

12 oz boneless ribeye steak or tour favorite steak
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups romaine lettuce
1/ 2 cup diced tomatoes
½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
¼ cup thinly sliced radish
¼ cup diced red onion
1/3 medium avocado, sliced or diced
1/2 cup blue cheese
Ranch Dressing

Directions

Dry the steak with paper towels. Heat a medium skillet until very hot. Add the steak and cook without moving for three minutes. Turn the steak over and season both sides with salt and pepper. Top with the butter,

Cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 to 125°F (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes. Slice the steak into ¼-inch thick pieces. Cut smaller if desired.

Arrange all the salad ingredients, except the avocado, in two large individual salad bowls. Top with the sliced steak and sliced avocados. Serve with ranch dressing and warm dinner rolls.


CLASSIC CIOPPINO

For 4 servings 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
6 oz seeded and chopped fresh plum tomatoes
4 cloves crushed garlic
14-16 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups seafood broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 sprigs of fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 extra-large shrimp peeled and deveined
8 large sea scallops, side muscle removed
4 lobster tails, 4-5 oz each, shells removed
4 firm white fish fillets cod, halibut, haddock are all good choices
12 small clams, washed well

Directions
The sauce can be made ahead and reheated just before serving time. When the sauce begins to boil add the fish as described below.

Make the stew base.
Heat the oil in a large deep skillet with a cover. Add the onions, celery, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well. Add the canned tomatoes, seafood broth, and wine. Bring to a simmer. Add all the seasonings. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook the sauce until thickened.

Uncover the pan and turn the heat to medium, Add fish in the following way> place the cod fillets in the middle of the skillet and cook for two minutes. Add the lobster tails and cook two more minutes, Tuen the cod and lobster over in the sauce. Add the shrimp and cook for two minutes. Tuenmn the shrimp over and add the scallops and clams, Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shells open, the shrimp are pink and the sea;;p[s are firm. Don’t overcook the fish.
Serve in individual pasta/soup bowls with crusty bread.


 

Chicken Fajitas

For 2 servings

Ingredients
1 bone-in chicken breast
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 small sweet onion, sliced
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning
2 tablespoon avocado oil
4 – 6 inch tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Directions

Poach the chicken breast in water to cover for about 20 minutes. Cool and slice.
Heat oil in a medium skillet and saute the peppers and onions. Add seasoning and sliced chicken, Cook on low until the chicken is hot.

 


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat the tortillas until beginning to get crispy about 10 minutes.
Fill tortilla shells with the chicken mixture and add toppings.

 

Refried Black Beans

Ingredients

2 cups cooked or canned Black Beans
2 tablespoons avocado oil
¼ cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon line juice
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons mild chile powder

Directions

Mash the beans coarsely and set them aside.
Heat oil in a small skillet and saute the onion over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the beans and seasoning. Cooker low until creamy, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the beans from sticking to the pan. Stir in lime juice.

 

Chunky Guacamole

Makes about 1cup

Ingredients
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ an avocados pitted, peeled, and chopped
½ tomato chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt to taste

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a small serving bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap until serving.


Last week I shared the ratatouille recipe that I made with the freshest end-of-the-summer vegetables. The recipe is versatile and I was able to create a number of dishes from the recipe. The first was an appetizer with brie, the second a delicious pizza and the third was a hearty pasta dish.

Here is the link to the ratatouille recipe.

Pizza

Ingredients

1 lb of your favorite pizza dough

16 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced

2 cups leftover ratatouille

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 459 degrees F.

Oil a large pizza pan and place the dough on the pan. Using your fingers push the dough to the edges of the pan.

Distribute the cheese slices over the dough. Spread the ratatouille over the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Place the pan in the oven and cook until lightly brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Pasta

Ingredients

5 Spicy Italian sausage links, casing removed

2 cups leftover ratatouille

2 cups canned Iranian tomatoes chopped

1 lb short pasta

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Place the sausage in a large deep skillet. Brown the meat breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it browns. add the ratatouille and tomatoes. Heat on low for 39 minutes.

Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions. Do not drain. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the cooked pasta from the skillet. Stir well and let the pasta cook in the sauce, Mix well and add the grated cheese. Serve in pasta bowls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

Gullah cuisine originated in the Gullah-Geechee community. These West African Slave Descendants farmed the rice plantations of the Lowcountry back in the 1700s. The Southern region now embraces its traditional food customs. Gullah Recipes are based on rice, simmered vegetables, and fresh seafood. Specifically, oysters, shrimp, grits, and okra are commonly incorporated. These beloved, cultural dishes boast a rich history and even richer flavors.

Crab cakes are popular in the Lowcountry, as blue crabs are abundant off the Carolina coast. While there’s nothing highly unusual about the way crab cakes are done here—the name is really to distinguish them from Maryland crab cakes, which are (presumably) sourced from the Chesapeake Bay and tend to use Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in their preparation—the typical way of doing these in Charleston is with lots and lots of fresh lump crab meat (and very little filler), some mayo, herbs like parsley, dill, or tarragon, and often a dash of hot sauce or cayenne for a little kick; then they’re almost always pan-fried/seared.

Shrimp, crab, peas, rice, okra, and greens – these are some of the nuts and bolts of Gullah dishes. Descendants of enslaved West Africans, the Gullah people have been preparing their recipes for centuries, with many of the dishes, rooted in a culture that is thousands of years old.

The cuisine of the Gullah, who still maintains a presence in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and sea islands, relies upon the gifts of land and sea. The ingredients are locally sourced in season in keeping with the ways of old. Okra soup, purloins (seasoned dishes of rice and meat), seafood soups, red rice, garlic crabs, and “Reezy Peezy,” a simple mainstay made from stewed field peas, are some of the delicious dishes that can be enjoyed today, thanks to the culinary traditions kept alive by this remarkable culture.

Though most Gullah cooking happens in the privacy of family kitchens, there is a small treasure trove of establishments where you can sample these special foods. Restaurants with dedicated Gullah menus are rare, so it’s likely you’ll find Gullah dishes mingled in with Southern or soul food fare. Click here to learn about these distinctions. Most Gullah-owned restaurants are modest and no-frills, but that’s part of the experience. Fancy is fine, but if you want a true taste of South Carolina’s culinary heritage, seek out these restaurants and eat the Gullah way.

Version One

I made this version because it is different from my usual recipe. It is delicious.

Charleston Grill 

Ingredients

Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat

1 egg white

1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2  cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Butter or olive oil, to cook

Sauce

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into thin strips

10 red pear tomatoes

10 yellow pear tomatoes

2 limes, juiced

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh dill.

Directions

Crab Cakes

Mix together the mayo, salt, pepper, egg white, zest, juice, chives, and thyme. Fold in the crab meat. Add pano crums. Add just enough for the mixture to hold together.

Form mixture into patties and refrigerate for several hours, if possible.

Saute in butter or oil until crisp and golden on both sides.

Sauce

I made half the amount of sauce because it seemed to be too much for us.

1. Heat shallots in oil, then add shrimp and cook.

2. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.

3. Serve warm over crab cakes.

Version Two

Charleston Crab Cakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup minced red onions

1/3 cup minced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1lb lump or jumbo lump crabmeat (picked over for shells and drained of any liquid)

3/4 cup panko crumbs

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Place onions, bell pepper, tarragon, and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl and combine. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Add the panko and season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. The panko will absorb some of the moisture and the mixture will stay together.

Layout a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter surface. Place half of the crab mixture on it and use a spatula or a spoon to form it into a tube about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Bring the wrap-up over the crab and roll the crab mixture up. Twist the ends to close. Pierce any air pockets with a toothpick or skewer. Twist the ends even tighter to compress the crab mixture. Tuck under the ends of the wrap and place the tube on a plate. Repeat with the second half of the crab cake mixture. Place the tubes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to cook, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cut the tubes of crabmeat into 1 1/4-inch-thick cake.s. Gently remove the plastic wrap, leaving the cakes in nice cylinders.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan (non-stick works well here) over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Gently place 4 of the crab cakes in the pan and sear for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gently turn the cakes over and sear the other side until golden brown. Place them on a baking sheet and into the oven to keep warm. Wipe the pan, add the remaining olive oil and repeat this process for the other 4 crab cakes. (If you have a big enough pan, you can cook 6 or 8 of them at the same time and skip the warming oven, but the cakes need room to sear properly and be turned so be careful not to crowd the pan).


 

2 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

2 small eggplants, about 10 oz each

¼ cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet Italian sausage link cooked and diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

5 basil leaves, chopped 

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice a thin layer off the top of each eggplant

Hollow out the flesh of the eggplant to create a boat using a melon baller or small serrated spoon.

Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the onion. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant flesh and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, salt, and pepper to taste the tomato and the chopped sausage. Let the mixture cool. Stir in the mozzarella. Stuff the eggplant shells equally with the filling and place them into a small baking dish,

Top each with 1 teaspoon each of Pecorino Romano cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more.


Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 to 4 servings depending on how large you like your portions.
I prefer to butterfly the chicken rather than cut a pocket. The breasts are much easier to fill if butterflied.

Ingredients

2 {8 oz} boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil,

For the stuffing
1/4 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon olive oil

Breading
½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 egg beaten
1 cup panko crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
4 slices of tomato from a large tomato, ¼ inch thick
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl combine the stuffing ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Pat the chicken breast dry. Place the breast on a cutting board. With a boning knife, butterfly the breast. Place it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet to even the meat out. Repeat with the second breast.

Place half of the filling on one breast. Press down firmly on the filling to help it stick to the breast. Fold the other half over the filling and press the edges to seal. Repeat with the second breast.
Dredge the breasts in flour, then dip in the egg, and finally press in the panko crumbs. Place the breast in an oiled baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and top each breast with two tomato slices. Place the dish back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F.

Gnocchi With Peas

Ingredients

One 17 oz pkg Potato Gnocchi or

Homemade Gnocchi

2 pounds russet potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To make homemade gnocchi

In a covered 8-quart Dutch oven cook potatoes in enough boiling water to cover about 20 minutes or just until tender (do not overcook); drain. Peel potatoes.

While potatoes are still hot, push through a ricer into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add about half of the flour; mix well. Stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Divide dough in thirds.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough at a time into a 1-inch-thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the top of each piece. Place on a baking sheet; chill while preparing the sauce (up to 2 hours).

Heat the butter and peas.

To cook the gnocchi

In the Dutch oven bring a large amount of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the gnocchi; cook for 10 to 15 seconds or until the gnocchi starts to float to the top. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi as they rise to the top of the boiling water, to the p of the pan with the butter and peas. Add the cheese and mix well. Serve.

 



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