Monday, March 25, 2013

Hard "Boiled" Eggs

Good friend Pam (of Lasagna Soup fame) shared a great Easter tip on her Facebook page yesterday and I was so intrigued I had to try it....Bake your hard boiled eggs!  Yep..set your eggs in muffin tin cups and bake in a pre heated 325F oven for 30 minutes and then using tongs, place them in a bowl of ice water.  You can bake as many as you like..time and temperature are the same.  No more cracked eggs for Easter!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This week Food52 is having their "Your Best Fennel Contest" and so far I've entered two new recipes (as well as a few older ones). 
Pictured first is A Gratin of Fennel, Orzo, Tomato..... You can find it here: 

The second one is Lemon Cured Halibut over Shaved Fennel Salad.  See it here:

Both were really good...maybe one more fennel recipe this week? Maybe....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spinach and Chickpea Pasta with a Lemon "Pop"

Have you figured out that we LOVE spinach around here? It's pretty much a staple.  This time I took a can of chick peas, olive oil, garlic, spinach and a secret ingredient for this quick and extremely inexpensive pasta.  A couple of years ago I posted an easy recipe for preserved lemons..and I still preserve them now.  I have another batch of  Meyer lemons preserved in the fridge and used one for this pasta. Here's the link to Preserved Lemons: 

Makes about 4 servings

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1  14.5 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 whole preserved lemon
A 9 to 10 ounce bag of baby spinach leaves
12 ounces of dried linguini (or pasta of your choice)
1/4 cup grated parmesan plus more for serving

In a large skillet heat the oil and saute the garlic for just a couple of minutes until soft.  Add the chick peas, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper and continue to saute for about 4 more minutes.
Cook your pasta about a minute short of being done.  Drain, saving about 1  1/2 cups of the pasta water.
Now rinse the preserved lemon, and finely mince the peel and pulp.
Add the lemon to the chickpea mixture and add the cooked pasta.  Stir in the spinach over the heat, adding enough pasta water to create a nice sauce.
Once the spinach has wilted stir in the 1/4 cup of parmesan and serve, topping each serving with more cheese.  Enjoy the lemony "pop"!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Buns

Not quite a calzone, these spinach and cheese stuffed buns are a real treat warm or at room temperature.  A great lunch or snack!

Makes 8

For the bun dough :
4 cups bread flour
1  1/2 cups water
1 package or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbl sugar
1Tbl salt
2 Tbl olive oil

Heat the water to about 100F degrees and then stir in the yeast.  Let the yeast rest for a few minutes while you gather your other ingredients.
Stir the sugar, salt and oil into the yeast/water mixture.
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and give it a good whisk.
Slowly stir in the liquid mixture, bring together and then on a floured surface knead, knead, knead for about 10 minutes, adding a little flour if necessary, until you have a smooth elastic ball.  Transfer the dough to an olive oil coated large bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rest in a warmish draft free place until the dough doubles in bulk. (I turn on my oven for just a few minutes to warm it up, turn the oven off, wait a few minutes and then place the bowl in.)

For the filling:
20 ounces fresh spinach
2 Tbl olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1  8 ounce can tomato sauce
3 cups mozzarella, shredded (or a combination of Italian cheeses)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Gently saute the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in the olive oil until the onion softens.  Stir in the tomato sauce and let simmer for about three minutes. Let the mixture cool.
In the meantime, fill a large pot with the spinach and a quarter cup of water.  Heat to wilt the spinach, stirring it around once in awhile.  Once wilted, let it cool and then squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
Break up the spinach and stir it into the tomato mixture, along with all the cheese until everything is well mixed and all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Now...time to make the buns:
Punch down the risen dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Take a piece and on a clean work surface spread that piece out with you hands to form about a 5 inch disc.  Place about 3/4 cup of the filling in the center and stretch up the dough to seal everything in.  Set the bun on a parchment lined baking sheet. repeat with the remaining pieces.
Let the buns rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
Now you can brush them with an egg and water wash or with a topping made by placing a garlic clove, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/4 cup olive oil in a mini processor and process until smooth..then stir in 2 tsp Kosher salt.
Brush the tops of the buns with either topping (we did 4 of each) and bake in a preheated 450F oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350F and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or so.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature.  

Monday, March 4, 2013


I made this the other day with vegetables I had on hand.  It's probably better to do in the summer when these particular veggies are at their peak...but I'm longing for warmer weather and besides, stewing these brightens them up. You can add different veggies or delete some.  Serve at room temperature as a little condiment or side.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 eggplant, peeled and diced
1 small zucchini, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced

Salt, pepper, a little dried oregano and basil
About 8 kalamata olives. sliced

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and add the onion and garlic.  Once the onion has softened, add everything else, except the olives.  Let everything simmer away and if need be, add a little water if the stew looks too dry. Once everything is nice and soft, stir in the olives. Cool and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving at room temperature.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vangelica's Eggplant

My Great Aunt Vangelica, known to us as Lella Ginda, made this little appetizer or side frequently.  It's not difficult , but oh so good if you're an eggplant and garlic lover.  Here's what you do:

Slice an eggplant ( or 3 or 4 depending on how much you'd like to make), lightly dust each slice in flour and then fry the slices in olive oil and drain on paper toweling.
Now arrange a layer on a plate, squeeze fresh lemon juice over and scatter minced garlic, a little salt and chopped parsley over.  Layer and repeat with more lemon, garlic, salt and parsley.
Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors marry, but serve at almost room temperature.