Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

What Is In Season?-Zucchini

Zucchini Frittata

8 servings

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion
2 large zucchini
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
12 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cut the potatoes, onion, and zucchini into thinly sliced rounds.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add the potatoes and cook until softened, Add the garlic and onions, Cover the pan and cook until the onions are soft. Add the zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Pour in the eggs and tilt the pan so the vegetables are covered. Cook for a few minutes and using a spatula lift the edges of the mixture to allow the uncooked egg to drain underneath. Cook until most of the egg is set,
Tuen the broiler to high,


Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the cheeses. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes. The top should be golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into servings pieces.

Scallop And Squash Kebobs

Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs

The shellfish and squash kebabs can be grilled on a sheet of heavy-duty foil to prevent sticking.

4 servings

You can also make a combination of shrimp and scallops if you prefer.

Ingredients

16 large sea scallops (about 1½ pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
16 large basil leaves

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.

If the scallops still have the tough muscle that attaches them to the shell, trim it off. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.

Whisk together the lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt in a medium bowl until the salt has dissolved; whisk in the olive oil. Add the scallops and toss until they are well coated.

Cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Arrange the strips on a work surface and place a basil leaf on the edge of each strip. Top the loaf with a scallop and wrap the prosciutto around the scallop to enclose it. Thread 4 prosciutto-wrapped scallops onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them for 20 minutes in water before threading the scallops.)

Place the skewers on the grill and cook the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until almost firm to the touch, transfer to plates, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Summer Squash

This recipe can be broiled also.

8 servings

Ingredients
4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each
4 medium yellow squash, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each

Marinade
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped scallions, white portion only
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Directions

Trim the ends of the zucchini and the squash, cut them into 2-inch rounds.
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and add the squash rounds. Roll the bag to evenly coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.
Remove the zucchini and squash from the bag and thread on skewers.
Place the skewers on the grate, close the lid, and grill until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the skewers over, close the lid, and grill on the second side until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes.

My Favorite Summer Salad

Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They’d order a just-picked tomato and freshly made buffalo mozzarella on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of fughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products; everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Sometimes I add Italian black olives to the salad for a change but it is not traditional.

Ingredients

2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well, and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Keeping It Healthy

Baked Chiles Rellenos

I prefer to bake these chilies instead of frying them.

ingredients

8 fresh poblano chiles {peppers}
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs, beaten
8 teaspoons granular flour, such as Wondra or Cassava

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Lay chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cook about 4 inches. from the broiler until the chiles are blistering and black, about 5 minutes. Turn chiles over and broil until blistering and black all over, about 5 minutes. Put chiles in a large metal bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes. Peel the chiles and discard the skins. Cut a slit on the side of each chili. Remove the seeds. Set chiles aside on layers of paper towels to dry.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Stuff the chiles with 1 ½ cups of cheddar and place the chilies in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle each chile with one teaspoon of flour. Pour the beaten eggs over the stuffed chilies. Sprinkle chiles with the remaining cheese. Bake until the top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.

Italian Sunday Dinner For Two

While this post is about dinner for two, I am posting my traditional meatball recipe because when I make the entire recipe. That way I can freeze them in small batches for the future. Add a Garden Salad to round out the menu.

Italian Meatballs

Makes 18 to 20 meatballs. Make the meatball mixture early in the day.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
Olive oil

Directions

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Blend bread crumbs into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still, hold its shape. Refrigerate for several hours.
Shape the meat mixture into 3-inch balls.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches.

When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, remove it from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
For dinner for two;
Place a ladle of sauce in a small baking dish. Place 4 meatballs in the dish. Cover with sauce. Cover the dish and bake in the oven with the ravioli.


Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
Two 26 oz containers can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until well mixed. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.

Ravioli Bake

I love that ravioli; i can be cooked this. No more breaking apart in boiling water. If you double the recipe use two baking dishes that can go into the dishwasher. The ravioli need to be in a single layer to cook properly.

Ingredients

2 cups marinara sauce
Half a package of frozen cheese-filled ravioli (25 to 27 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Defrost the ravioli on a plate in a single layer covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish 13x9x2-inches, with cooking spray.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking dish. Arrange the ravioli in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center.

America’s Culinary Stories-Fried Green Tomatoes

 

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.

The first time most Americans heard of fried green tomatoes was when a movie by that name came out in 1991. Based on a novel by Fannie Flagg called Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

According to the Smithsonian spokesperson:

They took us to a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that served simple Southern fare. The whole meal was delicious, as I recall, though the only dish I can remember clearly was the fried green tomatoes. Now, I know that most things that taste good taste even better when battered and deep-fried. But something about this dish was extraordinary—the combination of firm-fleshed tomato with crunchy cornmeal coating, the slight tartness of the unripe fruit balancing the oiliness of the exterior. I was smitten.

The New Orleans visit was our first stop on a road trip to Chicago. (Now, why didn’t I remember this story for Inviting Writing, instead of my sad tale of food-borne illness?) I kept looking for fried green tomatoes everywhere we went. Although I ate lots of other good things on that trip, I found my new favorite food only once more, at an upscale restaurant in Memphis. They were a disappointment—over-seasoned and overcooked.

The next time I encountered fried green tomatoes was almost a decade later at a rural county fair in, of all places, upstate New York. Served at a corn farmer’s food stand, they were not what I had come to believe was traditional Southern-style—they were more like a corn fritter with a slice of green tomato nestled inside—but I have enraptured once again.

The reason I say “ostensibly Southern” is that it turns out, fried green tomatoes may have been as unusual in the South before 1991 as they were everywhere else. In fact, according to Robert F. Moss, a food historian, and writer in South Carolina, “they entered the American culinary scene in the Northeast and Midwest, perhaps with a link to Jewish immigrants, and from there moved onto the menu of the home-economics school of cooking teachers who flourished in the United States in the early-to-mid 20th century.”

Jewish?!

Recipes in several Jewish and Midwestern cookbooks of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, but none in Southern cookbooks and hardly any in Southern newspapers. You can read the whole entertaining and informative account of how a movie changed (or distorted) culinary history at his blog.

Robert F. Moss, a food writer, and culinary historian from Charleston, South Carolina, said he doesn’t remember anyone in his Southern family who battered and fried green tomatoes. He researched the topic and found 11 fried green tomato recipes published in newspapers between 1900 and 1919. Surprisingly, all 11 newspapers were in Midwestern and northern cities. None were Southern newspapers.

During the 1920s, records indicate recipes for fried green tomatoes appeared in Frederick, Maryland, and Danville, Virginia, papers, but the Danville column came from a nationally syndicated source.

Moss found no recipes for fried green tomatoes in Southern papers in the ’30s and only one in the ’40s. There were none in the ’50s or ’60s, which intrigued him, leading him to ponder whether fried green tomatoes were a truly Southern dish.

The real-life Alabama cafe, upon which the fictional Whistle Stop Cafe was based, was owned and operated for 40 years by Flagg’s great-aunt. There is no evidence the cafe ever served fried green tomatoes. Archived menus make no mention of fried green tomatoes, although they may have been served as an occasional side item.

It wasn’t until the movie came out and fans descended upon the cafe requesting fried green tomatoes that they became popular. The new owners developed a batter mix for the more than 60 pounds of fried tomatoes they were selling every weekday. The cafe’s signature dish was invented after the movie premiered.

Based on his research, Moss concluded fried green tomatoes are not a Southern dish, but originated in the Midwest and northeast, possibly linked to the cuisine of Jewish immigrants. A recipe appears in the 1889 addition of “Aunt Babette’s Cook Book” and “The International Jewish Cookbook” from 1919. Other recipes appeared in Ohio cookbooks in the late 19th century.

The lone fried green tomato recipe Moss found in the ’40s appeared in the Dothan Eagle. I was reprinted from a U.S. Department of Agriculture leaflet advocating Americans should begin the day with something nutritious, like fried green tomatoes. The editor of the Alabama paper mocked the recipe, saying “no self-respecting Southerner would dream of eating a fried green tomato.”

Today, fried green tomato dishes can be found in many upscale restaurants. They are a popular menu item at The Greenbrier’s Draper Restaurant. According to one source, fried green tomato sandwiches have iconic status as the distinctive dish of The Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament.

Chef Brian Halstead said he and his staff were using 500 or more green tomatoes daily during the 2017 tournament. The fried tomatoes were topped with bacon, arugula, goat cheese, and black pepper aioli.

With the use of high tunnels to extend the growing season and hydroponic tomato production, locally grown green tomatoes can be found year-round, but, for me, green tomatoes still signal the end of summer and a time to salvage unripened tomatoes dangling on the vines before they get nipped by frost.

Whether you believe fried green tomatoes are a quintessential Southern dish or of Midwestern origin, I hope you will agree, they are a tasty summer dish. There are three different ways to cook this dish. Use the method that appeals to you.

Ingredients

2 to 3 medium-sized green tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Cajun spice
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten

Directions

Place the flour mixed with Cajun seasoning in one shallow dish.

Add the egg to a second dish. Add a tablespoon of water and mix well.

Place the panko crumbs, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a third shallow dish.

Cut the tomatoes into ½ inch thick slices and pat dry with paper towels.

Sprinkle the tomato slices evenly with salt and pepper.

Dredge the tomato slices in the flour, then the egg, and then in the panko mixture to coat evenly.

Place the breaded tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet.

To Deep Fry

Fry Tomatoes: heat the oil to 360º F and using a spatula or flat slotted spoon slide the coated tomato into the oil. Fry for 3 minutes on each side.

To Shallow Fry

Place a deep skillet with cooking oil about ½ inch deep; on medium-high heat. Heat the oil and place green tomato slices in hot oil and brown lightly on each side, careful not to over-brown the green tomatoes. I do mine in small batches.
Place on a paper towel-lined plate when done and serve immediately.

To Oven Bake

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tomatoes over with a wide spatula after 10 minutes.
Serve with your favorite sauce.

Light Eating For Hot Weather

Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs and Pecans

6 servings

Ingredients

For the chicken
1 garlic clove, peeled
3-4 celery tops
Half an onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or dried Italian seasoning
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 ½ lb

For the salad
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley and tarragon)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions

To cook the chicken

Fill a 12-inch covered saute or large saucepan pan 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a simmer.

Add the garlic, celery tops, onion half, seasoning, salt, and pepper. Return the liquid to a simmer.

Add the chicken breasts to the poaching liquid, cover, and simmer until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and set them aside to cool. Save the broth for soup or gravy.

To make the salad

Combine the diced celery, diced onion, mayonnaise, mustard, and herbs in a large serving bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until the chicken is cool

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1/2-inch dice.

Add the chicken and the pecans to the mayonnaise mixture, and mix well. Cover and transfer the salad to the refrigerator to chill until serving time.

Pecan Crusted Salmon For Dinner

Salmon

2 servings
Ingredients

2 salmon filets (6-7 oz. each), skin om
2 thin pats of butter
2 teaspoons honey

Topping
1/2cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sp Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray
Place the pats of butter in the baking dish and place the salmon fillets on top skin side down. Brush each fillet with a teaspoon of honey.


Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the mixture in half and press onto the salmon fillets.
Bake the salmon for 15-19 minutes.

Boils Potatoes With Herb Butter

Ingredients

2 lbs new potatoes
1 teaspoon salts
Sauce
¼ cup butter
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Wash the potatoes well. Cut each in half. Cover with cold water, add the salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander. In the same cooking pot add the sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat until the butter melts, Add the potatoes, stir well and let heat for a minute or two.

Dilled Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers, peeled
2 large green onions, diced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

Directions
Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Place in a colander set over a bowl, and toss with 2 teaspoons of salt; let stand for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, dill, vinegar, green onions, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Remove cucumbers from the colander, and pat dry with paper towels. Add to bowl with t dressing; toss to combine.

What Is In Season-Blueberries

My blueberry bushes are producing lots of berries right now, so I am busy thinking up ways to use them

Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients

One 9-9nch prepared pie pastry

For the filling
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping
1cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°.Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Place the pastry in the pan and crimp the edges.

Make the filling: Mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Transfer to the prepared pie pan.

Make the topping: Stir together flour, oats, baking powder, melted butter, and salt. Using your hands, squeeze topping pieces together into clumps.

Sprinkle topping evenly overfilling. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake until bubbling in center and brown on top, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Thick Pork chops For Dinner

Pork Chops

Ingredients

Dry Rub

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

The Pork

2 large bone-in pork chops (1-inch thick)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit the pork chops.

In a small bowl, mix the dry rub ingredients.

Rub the pork chops with olive oil and season them with a dry rub. Make sure you rub the seasoning all over the pork chops (both sides).

Place the pork chops onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees. 

Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil. While the meat rests – the temperature will redistribute (carryover cooking) and the internal temperature will rise about 5 to 10 degrees.

Oven Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

1 bunch fresh organic carrots about 6

2 tablespoon butter

Slat and pepper

Directions

Cut the ends off the carrots and wash well. Dry.

Oil a 13×9-inch baking pan.

Place the carrots close together in a single layer in the pan..

Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and dot with the butter.

Seal the foil on top and on the edges. Place the pan in the oven with the pork chops and cook until tender. They take about the same time as the pork chops. How tender you want them is up to your taste.

Garlic and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

6 large baking potatoes (about 4 pounds), peeled and diced

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt and pepper

Directions

Place potatoes and garlic in a heavy large pot. Cover with cold salte4d water. Boil over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.

Drain. Return potatoes to the dry pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess liquid evaporates. Add the olive oil and mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

 


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