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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: squash

savory-italian-pie

There are a great variety of Italian savory cakes, pies and tart recipes for all occasions. You can serve them cold or warm, as a starter or as a one-plate meal accompanied with a green salad.

The main ingredients are fish, meat, vegetables and eggs and they can be made with a pie crust or puff-pastry or pizza dough

A torta (the plural is torte) is a pie, usually a savory one, at least in the countries across the Mediterranean—consisting of a filling (often based on vegetables) enclosed in thin dough and baked in an oven or cooked over an open fire. The notion of savory pies is ancient, perhaps dating to the Mesopotamians. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all ate something similar.

Torte of various designs are made all over Italy today, but the Ligurians seem to produce this dish in its purest form—just dough and filling, without any enhancements. The only complex Ligurian torta made today is torta pasqualina, or “Eastertide torta”, which is filled with either artichokes or Swiss chard and mixed with eggs, cheese, and herbs. Traditionally, torta pasqualina was made with 33 layers of dough—ten on the bottom and 23 on the top—to symbolize the 33 years of Christ’s life.

Sandro Oddo, who is a serious student of local history, folklore, and cuisine, writes that, In the old days people in the mountains ate torte everyday. Pasta was a rarity.” Pasta is filling and comparatively inexpensive, but because little wheat grows in the Ligurian countryside—or anywhere else in the region—flour was expensive, and pasta was usually purchased instead of being made at home. So instead of making pasta, less than a pound of flour could be formed into a thin-dough torta with a filling of wild greens or mushrooms, some eggs from the barnyard and some homemade cheese.  This pie could  feed eight to ten family members. The prevalence of torte in this region wasn’t originally a matter of cultural preference; it was a matter of survival.  

Until 1994 Triora, a city in Liguria, held an annual torta-making contest.  “In the last two years of the contest,” Oddo says, “only two women bothered to enter. It wasn’t much of a competition and the event has been permanently canceled. The art is being lost,” he adds. 

A past contest winner, Allavena, created a torta that was different from that of most of Liguria. Instead of many top and bottom layers, hers was made with a single oversized sheet of dough; the filling was placed in the middle, the edges were drawn up to the center in irregular pleats and the pie was baked. While she often made a traditional chard-filled torta, her specialties were, torta di patate with a filling of puréed potatoes and torta di polenta  with a spinach and herb filling.

She usually baked her torta in a small oven in her little kitchen, but on special occasions Allavena used to carry them down the street to the local communal oven.  “The baker would cook it for you in the leftover heat after he’d finished his loaves,” she said. Unfortunately, the oven closed down recently in response to new Italian safety laws. Another lost art.

In the United States torta often means a combination of layered soft cheeses, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. This is served in a loaf form and spread onto breads or crackers, but this is not the traditional torta as viewed by the Italians. Instead, the Italian torta is a meat and cheese pie or tart, usually double crusted, that slightly resembles a quiche. The primary difference between quiche and torta, besides the double crust, is that the slightly eggy custard in a torta is much more cheese based than egg based. Usually egg is only used to bind ingredients together, instead of making up the majority of the savory filling, as in a quiche.

Some chefs suggest using a pizza dough for the Italian torta, while others suggest a more traditional piecrust. Either type of dough can make a delicious torta, but the pastry crust is more traditional than bread dough. When pastry dough is used, the torta may be made in a large springform pan instead of in a pie dish.

Italian torte can have any combination of ingredients. Some are completely vegetarian, and are flavored merely with vegetables like artichokes or spinach. Other recipes introduce ham or sausage. The principal filling is usually a combination of ricotta cheese, parmesan, parsley and onion. From that point on, you can get creative and use many different ingredients to augment the Italian torta.

You can serve a torta while it is still slightly warm and the cheese semi-melted, or you can serve it cold, especially for parties. The pie’s interior, when cool, is more like a solid cheese custard. Do observe caution when storing the pie, if you plan to serve it cool. It should be kept in the refrigerator, because of its high cheese content, until about ten minutes prior to serving. As mentioned, ingredients can vary significantly. Any and all can make for a delicious and unusual dish to offer guests.   

To keep these dishes on the healthier side, my pie dough is made with olive oil and the pies are made with a single crust. I also use lighter ingredients in the fillings. These savory tarts make a great lunch entrée or you can serve them for dinner with a salad.

Tart Dough/ Oil Pie Crust

Pie crusts made with vegetable oil have a crisp, tasty crust with no trans fats or cholesterol. No rolling needed, just mix it right in the pie plate and pat it into place. This recipe makes enough for a single deep dish crust.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or Eagle Ultra Grain flour or 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour and 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water 

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan, if you like.  Whisk together the oil and water in a small bowl, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened.

Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the edge.

Chill the pie crust or fill and bake depending on your recipe.

Roasted Tomato Tart

Serves 6 to 8

Most of the tomatoes’ moisture evaporates when they are slow-roasted, concentrating their flavor and making them ideal for using in a tart filling. Since the size of tomatoes varies so much, use your judgment as to how many will be necessary.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top of the tart
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • Handful of chopped fresh herbs such as, basil, oregano, thyme, or chives
  • Tart Dough, pressed into a 9” pie pan and chilled
  • 10 to 15 Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, recipe below
  • Sliced basil leaves for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F. and position the rack in the middle of the oven.

Combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper,  egg substitute, and the herbs in a small bowl. Stir until well combined. 

Spread the filling in the prepared tart and arrange the tomatoes on top, leaving a little space between them. Sprinkle the top with additional grated Parmigiano.

Place tart pan on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, rotate the baking pan, and bake 20 minutes longer. Garnish top with sliced basil.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Makes 24

Any size or type of tomato can be slow-roasted but the timing will vary depending on the size and juiciness of each tomato; just look for shriveled edges and just a bit of wetness in the center to tell you they’re done. Enjoy them on their own, or in salads, sandwiches, tarts, and pizzas. Since the juices are reduced, they won’t turn a tart or pizza soggy.  They will keep, layered in a jar and covered with oil, for about a week. The oil can be used in vinaigrettes or as a finishing oil to drizzle over grilled fish.

Ingredients:

  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 or 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 or 3 oregano sprigs
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. and position the rack in the middle of the oven. Line 1 large or 2 smaller baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sliver the garlic as thinly as possible. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cut larger ones in quarters. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet, leaving plenty of space in between. Drizzle with oil and rub the tomatoes with your fingers to coat well. Sprinkle with the garlic, herbs, and salt.

Reduce the oven to 300°F and bake for 2 to 2½ hours, until the tomatoes are shriveled and beginning to brown. Let cool, and transfer to an airtight container.

Squash and Herb Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash or a combination, ends trimmed
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup shredded reduced calorie Sargento Italian blend cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten or 3/4 cups egg substitute
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Tart Dough, pressed into a 9” pie pan and chilled

Directions:

Grate the zucchini using a food processor or a hand grater. Place in a large colander, salt generously, and let drain for 1 hour, pressing down on it occasionally to squeeze out liquid. After an hour, take up handfuls and squeeze out moisture (or wrap in a kitchen towel and twist the towel to squeeze out the moisture). Place in a medium bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes, then add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Transfer to the bowl with the zucchini. Stir in the herbs, cheese, eggs and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425°F, and position the rack in the middle of the oven.

Spread the filling in the prepared tart. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, rotate the baking pan, and bake 20 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Crab and Red Pepper Tart

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup diced crabmeat 
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into very thin strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced calorie Sargento Italian Blend cheese
  • 3 large eggs or 3/4 cups egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup nonfat milk
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 whole scallions, chopped
  • Tart Dough, pressed into a 9” pie pan and chilled

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F, and position the rack in the middle of the oven.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs and add the milk, crabmeat, scallions, cheese, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper.  Pour into the prepared tart and lay the red pepper strips on top in a decorative design.

Place tart pan on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, rotate the baking pan, and bake 20 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spinach Ricotta Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1  cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, or 3/4 cups egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Tart Dough, pressed into a 9” pie pan and chilled

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F, and position the rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add olive oil, green onions and spinach to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a bowl and add the ricotta cheese, eggs or egg substitute, sliced fresh chives, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour mixture into prepared crust; sprinkle mixture with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, rotate the baking pan, and bake 20 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sausage Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage (pork, turkey or chicken), casing removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup green peppers, chopped
  • 1 large plum tomato seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Tart Dough, pressed into a 9” pie pan and chilled

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. and position the rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat skillet, add sausage and brown well.  Drain on paper towels. Drain fat from skillet and wipe clean with additional paper towels.

Add olive oil to skillet and cook until onions are translucent.

In a medium bowl combine sausage, onion, tomato, green pepper and cheese. Add flour and mix until ingredients are coated with the flour.

In another bowl mix spices with beaten egg and add evaporated milk, and add to sausage.  Mix well and pour into prepared tart.

Place the tart on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, rotate the baking pan, and bake 20 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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The keys to good Italian grilling are the use of olive oil and fresh herbs.  The fresh herbs play a large role because they help bring out the full flavor of the dish.  The Italian grill also uses a lot of skewered meatsl, which is great for parties. So, if you’re looking for something a little different when planning your next cookout, you might want to try it Italian-style. Spiedini, which means “skewers”—are one of the many ways Italians enjoy grilled food. Basically, spiedini are the equivalent of “shish kebab.”  The skewers can be made of metal or wood—though, sometimes, simply rosemary sprigs are used. (If using wooden skewers, first soak them in cold water for about 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.)

The preparation for spiedini is simple: Small chunks of meat or fish are placed on skewers (each one an individual serving)—sometimes including vegetables—which are then cooked over a grill. In addition to being versatile—really any combination of meat, vegetable or fruit that can be cut and skewered may be used—spiedini are a great time saver. They may be served as an appetizer, accompaniment (contorno), entrée, or dessert. In fact, using the suggestions here, you can prepare an entire meal outside on the grill—from start to finish—without the need for any indoor cooking at all.
As appetizers, vegetables work well. First, brush the grill with vegetable oil and then grill long slices of eggplant and/or zucchini—cut the vegetables on a diagonal or longitudinally so the slices will be long enough not to fall through the grill grate.. Before serving, drizzle the grilled vegetables with olive oil and garnish with herbs, such as parsley and thyme, and chopped (or roasted) garlic.
If you like anchovies, another great antipasto idea is “Spiedini di alici pomodoro e olive”—grilled fresh anchovies (which are then rolled) and sliced zucchini, with raw tomato wedges and pitted black olives. These spiedini can be served on a bed of lettuce-heart leaves, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with basil.

As a main course, meat spiedini are the most popular in Italy. For these, it’s important to choose tender cuts of meat—such as chicken breast, lamb, pork, and sausages—evenly cut into approximately one-inch pieces. If you want to use beef, select tender cuts, but they don’t have to be particularly lean. To make Spiedini misti di carne (mixed meats), alternate onions, peppers slices, and cubes of various meats, and then grill. A leaf of fresh sage and/or a bay leaf between the pieces of meat will add flavor. To enhance the taste, try marinating the meat—already cut and ready to be skewered—for a few hours prior to grilling, mixing now and then. To make the marinade, simply coat the pieces of meat with olive oil (not too much), and add rosemary leaves (finely chopped), sage, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Fish spiedini (spiedini di mare) are also popular in Italy. For these, the most commonly used seafood are shrimp, scallops, tuna, swordfish, cuttlefish or calamari. The fish is usually lightly marinated or else brushed before grilling with olive oil, herbs (parsley or thyme), sometimes garlic, and salt and pepper. Spiedini di mare are usually served with lemon and a fresh green salad.

Grilled fruit can provide a sweet, healthy finale to your outdoor feast. The grilling process caramelizes the fruits’ natural sugars and concentrates the flavors. Peaches, pears, and apples—simply cut in half and pitted—are great for grilling. Adding just a little lemon juice will preserve the fruit’s color and a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon will enhance the natural flavors. Be sure to brush the grill with vegetable oil so the fruit doesn’t stick. You can then serve the fruit alone or with scoop of ice cream. It’s delicious with yogurt too. Or, try a fresh fruit spiedini using cubes of fresh pecorino and raw pears; or you can serve spiedini di frutta (mixed fresh fruits)—using slices of uncooked peaches, apples, pears, and whole strawberries. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit to prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown.

The following is a list of essential ingredients for the Italian Grill pantry:

  • Anchovies (cured): Salted anchovies are a key ingredient in Italian grilling, any recipe that calls for them.
  • Bread Crumbs: A strange ingredient for the grill, but a lot of meats have a light coating of breadcrumbs..
  • Bread  Cubes: The bread cubes are used in a lot of skewered recipes in Italy, generally they are cut up in 1-inch cubes.
  • Caciocavallo: A cheese made from cow’s milk and is a firm cheese.  The cheese is usually in the shape of a spindle and can  be found in Italian stores or very well stocked grocery stores.  If you are unable to find it, you may substitute with provolone cheese
  • Lemons: The juice of lemons are used a lot in grilling, and only fresh lemon juice should be used.
  • Pancetta: An Italian-style that is cured, but not smoked like American bacon.
  • Flat-leaf parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, Fennel or Sage are the most common types of herbs used.
  • Pecorino: A hard cheese made in Italy that is made from sheep’s milk.   This cheese can be found at most grocery stores,
  • Prosciutto: Domestic prosciutto is good for cooking with, but imported from Italy is far superior.
  • Olive Oil: Use inexpensive extra-virgin olive oil, unless a recipe calls for something else.

Appetizers

Grilled Summer Squash with Pesto and Balsamic Syrup

Ingredients                                                                        

  • 1-1/2 lb. assorted summer squash, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick ovals
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Directions

Prepare a high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a colander, toss the squash with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, put the  the basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor and purée until smooth.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, boil the balsamic vinegar until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 8 to 10 minutes.
Toss the squash with the remaining 2 tablespoons. extra-virgin olive oil and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Grill, flipping once, until golden and tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Arrange on a platter, dot with the pesto, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and the balsamic syrup to taste. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Grilled Bread Salad With Basil and Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium loaf (about 1/2 pound) rustic Italian bread (like ciabatta), cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 8), trimmed and thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 12 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 8 oz bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls), halved or substitute a large fresh mozzarella cut into 1-inch pieces.

Directions

Prepare a medium-high fire on a gas or charcoal grill. Clean and oil the grates to prevent sticking. Using a pastry brush, dab both sides of the bread slices with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Grill the bread until it browns and gets good grill marks, about 2 minutes. Grill the other side until browned, about 2 minutes, and transfer to a large cutting board to cool. Rub the cut sides of the garlic over the bread and discard the garlic. Put the cherry tomatoes and scallions in a large serving bowl with the basil. Cut the bread into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining oil with the red-wine vinegar, pour over the bread mixture, and toss well. Let the salad sit for up to 2 hours before serving. Just before serving, fold in the bocconcini and season with salt to taste.

Main Dishes

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken  

Ingredients                                                                                                                                                          

  • 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1. lb.)
  • Garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 large basil leaves
  • 1/4 lb. Italian fontina cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto (preferably imported)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Prepare a medium charcoal fire or light a gas grill to medium high.
Meanwhile, prepare the chicken breasts. Cut through each one horizontally almost all the way through and open it like a book. Sprinkle the chicken all over with 1/2 teaspoon each garlic salt and pepper. Layer the basil leaves and fontina evenly on half of each breast and then fold it closed. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each breast to hold it closed and then brush lightly on both sides with the olive oil.
Reduce the heat on the gas grill to medium. Grill the chicken breasts, covered, until they are well marked, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook, turning every few minutes, until the chicken is just firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast registers 165°F, 10 to 12 minutes more. Let cool for a couple of minutes and then serve.

Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Skewers

Ingredients             

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Red Onion, cut into 1 inch squares and/or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned or tuna, cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine rosemary, oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add salmon; toss to coat. Alternating the salmon and tomatoes/red onion squares, divide them among eight 12-inch skewers.  Oil the grill rack. Grill the skewers, carefully turning once, until the salmon is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. 

Grilled Sicilian-style Sirloin Steak

In this recipe the steaks are marinated for about 12 hours before breading and grilling.  

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 sirloin steaks (about 3 3/4 pounds total)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt to taste

Directions

In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, basil, and pepper to taste in a 9 x 12-inch ceramic or glass baking pan.  Dip both sides of the steaks in this mixture and then leave to marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 12 hours, turning several times.  Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Spread the bread crumbs on a large plate and mix in the cheese and oregano.  Salt the steaks to taste and dredge in the bread crumbs, patting the steaks to coat them thoroughly.
Place the steaks on the grill and cook, turning only once, to desired doneness, 12 to 15 minutes in all for rare.

Grilled Skewered Meatballs

This Sicilian recipe is an example of cucina arabo-sicula, Sicilian cuisine influenced by the medieval Arab era. The Arab influence is evident in the molding of the ground meat around the skewer.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/4 egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/2 loaf French or Italian bread, cut into eighteen 1-inch cubes or you can substitute vegetables, such as sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
  • Twelve 8- to 10-inch wooden skewers
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for basting or drizzling

Serve with the Grilled Pepper Recipe, below.

Directions

In a medium-size bowl, mix the ground beef, egg substitute, pecorino, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Form the meat with wet hands to prevent sticking into 18 walnut-sized balls.  Leave the meat to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on medium.
Double skewer all the ingredients: place a meatball on a cutting board and skewer the meat balls alternately with the  bread cubes, keeping the 2 skewers parallel to each other about 1/2 inch apart.
Place the skewers on the grill and cook, turning occasionally and basting with olive oil, until the meat and bread are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Grilled Red, Yellow and Green Peppers

Grilling bell peppers of different colors is common in Sicily and Sardinia and makes a very attractive presentation.  Their flavor is a natural accompaniment to grilled meats.  The charred skin of the peppers is peeled off before serving, leaving the smoky flavor.  You don’t have to core or halve the peppers before grilling.
Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on high.
Place the peppers on the grill and cook, turning, until they have blackened on all sides.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove the core and seeds.  Cut into strips and arrange attractively on a platter.
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, and season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the peppers at the last moment and serve.

Dessert

Grilled Fruit Skewers

Spiedini alla frutta

Ingredients

  • 2 golden delicious or gala apples, cored and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 8 pieces
  • 2 ripe but fairly firm peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/3 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 24 fresh mint leaves
  • Sugar

Directions

Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas).

Arrange apple, banana, peach and pineapple on a platter.  Squeeze lemon over apple and banana.  Alternately thread fruit and mint leaves onto 8 skewers.

Sprinkle fruit with sugar.  Let stand until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Lightly brush grill rack with oil.  Grill fruit, turning once, until lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes.



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Chinese Tales of the Strange and Anomalous, translated (roughly) by Geoff Humble

torontofitchicks.wordpress.com/

Our Recipes. Our Stories. Our City.

Yummy-Ciouss

Cooking With Love, Provides Food For The Soul

Flavor Smasher

The ultimate place for smashing flavors

Dessert Times

Extra! Extra! Eat all about it!

Cheche Winnie

Sustainable Living & Wildlife Conservation in Kenya Blog

Kamau kiemo

Safety, Health and HR

Men Can Make Homes

....and quite well as well !!

Recipes by chefkreso

Cooking with imagination

Baking in the Burbs

Sweet and Savory Recipes from my House to Yours

Drawing Back The Curtain

opening...discovering...exploring....creating

Vah Foods

Happy Cooking

TravelwithIgor

Expeditions - explorations - adventures

Seasoned Scribbles

My Culinary Adventure

Living Out Loud

Body, Health and Soul

Commememucho

Rincón de ideas y de recetas sencillas

Pizza Pals

Because talking about pizza is always fun!

Building The Love Shack

This is the story of building a cottage , the people and the place. Its a reminder of hope and love.

The Gypsy Indian

A Travel And Lifestyle Blog

Poems Found

Once lost

Lickmyspatula

Delicious and easy recipes, awesome pictures, cooking tips

The Helsingian Pathfinder

the inward path is the way ahead

My Self-Made Mess

Too much month, not enough money

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