Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

You can buy rolls if you choose but homemade really make these sandwiches. Serve the sandwiches with pickles and your favorite sandwich sides.

Italian Sub Rolls

6 rolls

Ingredients

Overnight Starter
3/4 cup (85g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (113g) lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup (152g) lukewarm water
2 3/4 cups (326g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (8g) salt

Directions

To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.

To make the dough
Combine the starter and the remainder of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead by hand, or using a stand mixer, to make a smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s very puffy, about 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide it into six equal pieces.

Roll the pieces into cylinders, 4 1/2″ in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly; dough rises more in the center, so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top.

Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. While they’re rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F.

Remove the rolls from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days.

Easy Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 oz shaved deli roast beef
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 sub rolls, split
4 thin slices of Provolone or American or Processed cheese, about 1 ounce each

Directions

In a mixing bowl combine the onion, peppers, garlic, oil, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

Spread the vegetables on a stovetop grill pan or large skillet in a single layer. Grill over high heat until they start to brown and are tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl.
Place the beef slices in a medium bowl, add just enough oil to coat them lightly, and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Grill the steak slices on the grill pan over high heat, 1 minute, Turn the beef slices over with a wide spatula and cook for 1 minute

Warm the rolls.
Build the sandwiches with cheese on the bottom, meat, onions, and peppers. Serve warm.

 

Chicken And Vegetables Over Poienta

Chicken And Vegetables

ingredients

4 chicken cutlets, about 2 lb
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 small zucchini, about 1 ½ lb, sliced ¼-inch thick circles
2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
½ cup finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 cup shreddedMozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Polenta, recipe below

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Sprinkle the cutlets lightly with salt and pepper
Wrap two slices of prosciutto around each chicken cutlet.
Pour the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread the oil over the bottom of the dish.
Layer the zucchini slices overlapping each other across the bottom of the baking dish.
Place the prosciutto-wrapped chicken on top of the zucchini.
Top the chicken evenly with the diced tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper.
Sprinkle the mixture with salt and Italian seasoning.
Bake for25 minutes or until the chicken registers 155-160 degrees F on an instant meat thermometer.
Sprinkle the cheese over each breast and return the dish to the oven. Bake 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the chicken registers 165 degrees F.

Creamy Polenta

4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1 cup polenta
¼ cup cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Place the broth and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add polenta, whisking to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low. Add thyme and the cream cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed and polenta is creamy and thoroughly cooked for about 10 minutes.
Add cheese and salt, stirring gently until incorporated.

To serve
Spread 1/4th of the polenta on a serving plate and top with baked chicken breast and vegetables.

 

Brunch Casserole

Suggested dishes to serve with the casserole: baked ham, sliced tomatoes, muffins, fruit salad.

8 servings

Ingredients

2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large shallot, minced
1 bunch Tuscan kale {spinach/swiss chard}
1 large baking potato, peeled
1 garlic clove, minced
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Coat a medium baking dish with vegetable spray.
Remove the stems from the kale. Wash the kale well. Chop and dry the leaves.
Shred the baking potato on a box grater.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and mustard. Add the garlic, shallot, and, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, the shredded potato, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Stir the kale into the egg mixture, Mix well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Top the casserole with the remaining mozzarella cheese,
Cover with foil. and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake,
uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the top is lightly brown. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

 

Lemon Green Bean Pasta Dinner

Pasta

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 lb bucatini pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until bright green and just barely cooked through, 2 minutes. Use a spider or strainer to transfer the green beans to a colander.
Add the bucatini to the same pot of boiling water. Let cook to al dente, about 3 minutes less than the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.

Return the pot to the stovetop and add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, then add the lemon zest and juice and 1/4 cup pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the butter and green beans, then toss to coat the pasta and beans in the sauce. Keep tossing until the sauce is glossy and thickened, about 3 minutes more.

Turn off the heat and gradually stir in the cheese, tossing constantly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Divide pasta among 4 serving bowls and garnish with parsley, more Pecorino, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Italian Sausage And Peppers

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
2 bags of mini peppers, stems removed
1 large onion cut into thick slices
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover. Cut the sausage links in half and add them to the skillet. Brown the sausage on all sides. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the ingredients until the vegetables are tender.

Italian Style Pork cutlets

Pork Cutlets

2-3 servings {easily doubled or tripled}

Ingredients

5-6 lean pork cutlets,½ inch thick
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup unseasoned Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
5-6 slices of mozzarella cheese

Directions

Spread the mustard evenly over the pork.
Sprinkle the thyme and pepper over the cutlets.
Coat each piece of pork with the panko breadcrumbs.

.Heat oven to 425°F. Spread the olive oil over the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the cutlets.
Between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper, flatten each pork cutlet to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Top each cutlet with tomato slices and mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Swiss Chard And Mashed Potato Combo

Chard Recipe

2 cups cooked Swiss Chard
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Directions

Cook the potatoes and garlic in boiling salted water until soft. Drain and return the potatoes and garlic to the pot. Mash well. Moisten with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the drained cooked Swiss Chard. Mix well, Heat over low heat until hot.

 

Primavera Frittata

Springtime Vegetables and Eggs

6 servings

Cut all the vegetables into ½ inch cubes

ingredients

¼ cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced
1 cup diced red onion
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil1/4 teaspoon drie4d oregano
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup leftover cooked asparagus {see recipe}
8 eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Heat the broiler and move the rack down to the center of the oven.
In a large 12-inch ovenproof skillet or omelet pan, heat the oil.
Add the garlic. potato. Bell pepper android onion. Cook over medium heat until soft, 10=12 minutes. Add the seasonings, zucchini, and asparagus. Cook until heated through.
Pour the beaten eggs over the vegetable and cook over medium until the eggs are set on the bottom. Distribute the cheese evenly over the egg mixture.
Place the pan on the oven shelf under the broiler and cook until the cheese is completly7 melted and the eggs are set on top.
Let the frittata rest for 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

How To Make Arancini

There are many versions of this recipe in Italian cuisine. Some call for the addition of peas or meat. I like to keep them simple and I like to use leftover risotto instead of plain rice because risotto has more flavor, especially the Lemon flavored Risotto I shared with you last week.

This recipe makes 10 rice balls

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
14 oz box or can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes

For the Arancini {Rice Balls}
4 cups leftover risotto or cooked white rice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 eggs
10 ½-inch pieces of mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup flour
½ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

For the tomato sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the arancini

Beat one egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped parsley and risotto. Mix well.


Using a ¼ cup muffin scoop form 10 rice balls and place them on a waxed paper-covered plate. Push a piece of mozzarella into each rice ball and with floured hands form them into smooth balls. Beat the second egg with a few tablespoons of water in a deep bowl, In a second deep bowl place the flour, and in a third deep bowl place the panko crumbs.


Roll one rice ball in flour, then in the egg, and then in the panko crumbs. Return the ball to the paper-lined plate. Repeat the process with all the rice balls. Refrigerate for several hours.

 

In a deep dutch Oven heat several inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the ball in the oil until they are brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

To serve
Place several tablespoons of tomato sauce on a serving plate. Place 2 or 3 arancini on top of the sauce and serve.

Cheesy Veggie Pizza For Friday Night

Ingredients

Dough

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Topping

1 medium zucchini, finely diced

1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

One-quarter of a large red onion, finely diced

16 oz block whole milk mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes for serving

Directions

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

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

For an overnight rise:  Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza.

Turn the oven to 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

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

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella, vegetables, oregano, salt, pepper, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

America’s Culinary Stories-French Toast

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 earliest known reference to French toast is found in the Apicius, a collection of recipes dating to the 1st century, where the dish is described as simply “aliter dulcia” (“another sweet dish”. The recipe says to “Break [slice] fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk [and beaten eggs] fry in oil, cover with honey and serve”.The usual French name is pain perdu.It may also be called pain doré, “golden bread”.

An Austrian and Bavarian term is pafese or pofese, from zuppa pavese, referring to Pavia, Italy.The word “soup” in the dish’s name refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop. In Hungary, it is commonly called bundáskenyér (lit. “furry bread”)

French toast was served in railroad dining cars in the early and mid-20th century. Santa Fe was especially known for its French toast.

So, if the French did not invent this breakfast treat, who did? According to some, it was a man named Joseph French. He created the dish in 1724 and advertised it as “French Toast” because he forgot to add the apostrophe to his name.

Still, others say that there are recipes from the early 5th century AD and the dish we now know as French toast existed as early as the Roman Empire/ Romans would soak bread in a milk and egg mixture, then fry it in oil or butter.

Others believe that French toast was created by medieval European cooks who needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families. They knew day-old bread could be revived when moistened and heated. They added the eggs for additional moisture and protein.

The phrase “French Toast” first appeared in print in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. But it is known by a variety of names including German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, Poor Knights of Windsor, Spanish toast, nun’s toast, and pain perdu which means “lost bread” in French.

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Springtime Risotto

Risotto al Limone

I adapted this recipe from Da Filippo Restaurant in Sorrento, Italy. Leftover risotto is excellent for making Arancini {Rice Balls{.

Lemon Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
3 ½ cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus additional for garnish
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Garlic shrimp, recipe below
Salt to taste

Directions

Bring the water to a boil over high heat on a back burner. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice, keep warm.

Heat2 tablespoons butter in a heavy-duty medium pot over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of lemon water to the rice, using a ladle, and cook, stirring constantly, until the water is, absorbed, 2±3 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining lemon water until the rice is al dente.

Add cream and grated lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat, stir in remaining butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season to taste with salt. (If risotto seems too thick, add more water to adjust to desired consistency.)

Spoon risotto onto individual plates, garnish with lemon zest, and top with Garlic shrimp.

Gamberi in Padella


Garlicky Pan-Roasted Shrimp)

4 servings

Ingredients ts

1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane
Pinch of dried red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and hot pepper and sauté gently until the garlic softens but is not browned about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté, turning once, until they are opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the wine, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds to allow alcohol to evaporate. Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with the risotto.

Kale With Garlic and Olive Oil

4 servings

Ingredients

2 large bunches of kale (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Salt, preferably kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem the kale and wash the leaves in two rinses of water. When the water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and the kale. Blanch for four minutes, until the kale is tender. Transfer to a colander, drain and squeeze the water from the leaves. Chop coarsely or cut in strips.

Heat the oil over medium heat in the same pot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the kale and stir for a couple of minutes, until the kale is coated with garlic and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve


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