Zucchini salad with feta cheese


Zucchini with feta cheese

Zucchini with feta cheese

This is another simple and healthy put-together recipe that requires, however, some prep work. You need to boil the zucchini until tender and wash and chop the parsley. Then, just combine the ingredients! #mindfuleating #mindful_eating

Ingredients

  • zucchini (boiled tender and sliced)
  • olive oil
  • lemon
  • parsley, chopped
  • olives, pitted
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Put together: Slice the zucchini and combine with the remaining ingredients to your taste. Add as much salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, feta cheese as you like. For 3-5 zucchini, I usually need the juice of a big juicy lemon, I add salt and olive generously because zucchini need both.

NY Strip Steak with Zucchini Puree and Fried Potatoes


 

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It’s a holiday and our family decides to do a cook-off. My dad and I, versus my mom and my sister. Here are the directions for the winning dish.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound NY strip steak
  • Orange zest
  • Oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • 1 Zucchini
  • ¼ of an onion
  • Vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 8 medium size red potatoes
  • Sage
  • Vegetable oil

Directions for the steak: First for the steak marinade, get out a bowl. Fill it with oil and then put the soy sauce, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, and oregano. Mix thoroughly. Then dip your steak into the marinade and let it soak there for 5 minutes. Cook the steak on a pan for 20 minutes and flip when needed. When done cooking, lay steak on plate. Zest orange on top of the steak.

Directions for the pureeCut 1 zucchini into small pieces and put in a blender. Add the oil, vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper into the blender. Blend until it turns into a puree. Then lay the puree on the same plate as the steak.

Directions for the fried potatoesCut red potatoes into pieces first. Then fill a pan with vegetable oil. Fry the potatoes in the pan with vegetable oil until brown. When done being cooked lay the potatoes on to the same plate as the steak and puree. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and sage on the potatoes.

When you have everything done and on the plate, serve!

Zucchini pie with puff pastry …or not


Zucchini pies with puff pastry

Zucchini pies with puff pastry

These pies were made using the core of the zucchinis used for stuffed zucchini. The filling of the pie is exactly the same as the filling of the zucchini pie posted before on mydinnertoday. This time I didn’t have time to make the hand-made dough so I used puff pastry squares to fold in spoonfuls of the zucchini filling. Some of them I folded in triangles and I rolled the rest for variety. There was still some dough left. I filled couple of ramekins with the leftover dough and threw them in the oven. See the photo at the end of the post. Didn’t they come out great! Zucchinis are awesome whatever you do with them.

Ingredients

  • 15 puff pastry squares
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pounds whole zucchini or the core of 2 pounds zucchini
  • salt, pepper
  • 150 grams feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • parsley, chopped

How to make: In a skillet, heat the olive oil and onion for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook them until they are soft. About 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. After you take the skillet off the fire, add the rest of the ingredients and combine them well. Line a pan with parchment paper, silicone pads, or aluminum foil. Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each square puff pastry and fold in a triangle. Using a fork, pinch the folded edges to make them stick. Alternatively, roll the puff pastry and, again, pinch the open edges with a fork. Cook in pre-heated 375F/190C oven for about 20 minutes or until they have a nice golden color.  Let them cool off before removing them from the pan.

If you  don’t have puff pastry, spread the filling in an oven safe shallow pan or ramekins and cook them until the top is set and nicely browned.

Enjoy!

Zucchini pie with no dough

Zucchini pie with no dough

Crispy zucchini


crispy zucchini

I’m on the train returning from an NSF workshop in DC and very happy that I finally got some time to post one of several draft recipes that have been patiently waiting to make their appearance on mydinnertoday. I can’t remember where I found this particular recipe. It’s been a while and it’s pretty intuitive. However,  I searched the web and found a very similar one on foodnetwork. I make this when I have couple of spare zucchinis and not much time or all of needed ingredients to cook any of the other wonderful mydinnertoday zucchini recipes. This recipe is a great alternative to fried zucchini and makes a great side dish for that. You will need some Parmesan and bread crumbs. Determine the quantities of the ingredients according to the quantity of the zucchini you have.

Ingredients

  • zucchini
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan and bread crumbs at equal quantities
  • salt and pepper

How to make: Wash, pat dry, and slice the zucchini.  In a bowl or plate, put some olive oil and roll over the zucchini so they get a nice coat. Add salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine grated Parmesan with bread crumbs. Roll over the zucchini so they get a nice coat and arrange them flat on a slightly oiled pan. Pre-heat the oven at 375F/190C and cook until they are nicely browned, about 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate bread with zucchini!


Recipe

chocolate bread with zucchini

Chocolate bread with zucchini

A big shout-out for this recipe to Simply Recipes. I have made a tag, actually, so you can quickly find all the recipes that I got from Elise Bauer’s blog. Visit the blog. You’ll love it. I like her recipes because they match my family’s taste, they are on the healthier side and taste great. How could I resist a chocolate bread made with zucchini?! You ask, “and did it taste any good”. I answer, “ask my kids”.  They enjoyed it to the last piece and I loved the opportunity to include some zucchini in their dessert! I substituted the almond extract with vanilla extract because my daughter has a nut allergy. Other than that, I followed the recipe to the letter.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

How to make: Grate the zucchini and let it stay in a strainer until you are ready to use it.  Beat the sugar with the eggs. Add the melted butter, coffee, and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Combine the zucchini with the sugar. Add the flour mix to the zucchini in 2-3 batches. Butter one (mine was long)  or two loaf pans, add the batter, and bake at pre-heated 350F/180C oven for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool down, slice, and serve!

Loaf of chocolate bread with zucchini

Loaf of chocolate bread with zucchini

Express zucchini gratin, with photo


Express zucchini gratin

I promised, I deliver. The fantastic zucchini gratin dish that I discovered in summer that I posted without a photo because it disappeared before I had a chance…. not once but twice already…. it’s finally here with a photo. This is the deluxe version in which I used whole zucchini (as suggested by Psychouli in “Gastronomos”, issue 64) but I want to say that it comes just as good with just the inside parts of the zucchini, which are left out when you cook stuffed zucchini. Never throw them away.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) zucchini, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup and maybe a bit more olive oil
  • a bunch of dill, chopped
  • a bunch of parsley, chopped
  • a bunch of mint leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dry mint)
  • 1 pound (1/2 kilo) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon or so flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make:  Saute the onions and zucchini in a big and heavy skillet until all excessive liquids are gone. In a big bowl, combine the zucchini and onions with the rest of the ingredients. Use as much flour as you need to get thick consistency. Oil the bottom of the pan, pour in the mix and cook at a pre-heated oven at 360 F/180 C for about 45 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Done!

Tomatoes stuffed with tuna and zucchini


Tomatoes stuffed with tuna, zucchini, and fresh herbs

This recipe is summer 2011’s  most pleasant  discovery. Fresh tomatoes stuffed with tuna fish, grated zucchini and plenty of herbs. Amazingly refreshing and light for summer. We fell in love. I got it from the  printed version of Gastronomos that comes with a Sunday paper and it is signed by Dina Nikolaou.  I hope I’ll be lucky to get another issue of Gastronomos and Gourmet before we leave for the States.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cans tuna fish in oil
  • 200 grams “katiki” (or strong, salty feta)
  • parsley
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 zucchini, grated and strained
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make: First get the tomatoes ready. Remove the “caps”  so the top part is open. Remove the inside part of the tomatoes and save it in a bowl. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, also a bit of sugar,  in each tomato. Put them upside down on a rack and let them drain for at least 15 minutes. Now, onto the filling.  Cut any bigger chunks from the inside of tomatoes into small cubes. Drain the tomato bits and keep the liquid in another container mixed with 20ml olive oil. You can use this sauce later for serving. In the bowl with the tomato chunks add the tuna fish (strained), “katiki” or crumbled feta, parsley, onions, zucchini and the rest of the olive oil. Give them a good stir. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. When ready to serve, drain any excessive liquids, fill the tomatoes, arrange them in a serving platter, pour some of the tomato-olive oil sauce and serve.

Notes and tips: In case you haven’t  grated zucchini before: wash the zucchini, remove the edges and grate them just like you’d grate cheese. If you only have tuna in water, drain the cans and add some vegetable oil in the cans while you’re getting everything else ready. When ready to use, drain any excessive oil. The dish looks better with expensive, chunkier tuna. I got cheaper cans with tuna that was more ‘mushy’.

Express zucchini dish, divine


This dish disappeared so fast, I didn’t get a chance to take a photo. You’ll have to use your imagination until the next time I make it, which won’t be too long. I was looking for a recipe to use the leftover inside parts of zucchini used for another recipe. When in the U.S., I make a zucchini pie with those precious bits.  But here, in Greece,  I don’t have the space or the roller pin to make the dough so I was looking for a recipe that  didn’t need crust. I found the perfect fit in  “gastronomos’, the food magazine that comes with a Sunday paper. The recipe is signed by Eleni Psychouli. Delicious.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) zucchini, sliced (I used the inside parts…)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup and maybe a bit more olive oil
  • a bunch of dill, chopped
  • a bunch of parsley, chopped
  • a bunch of mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound (1/2 kilo) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make:  Saute the onions and zucchini in a big and heavy skillet until all excessive liquids are gone. In a big bowl, combine the zucchini and onion with the rest of the ingredients. Use as much flour as you need to get a thick consistency. Oil the bottom of the pan, pour in the mix and cook at a pre-heated oven at 360 F/180 C for about 45 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Ready!

Chicken with zucchini casserole


Chicken with zucchini casserole

It’s the heart of summer in Greece and the veggie markets are divine.  Tomatoes,tomatoes and more tomatoes. Zucchini, zucchini, and more zucchini, yummy and much cheaper than in Whole Foods. It’s paradise.

Another great thing in Greece, it’s the Sunday papers. They come packed with extra magazines, great classic literature books, cds,  you name it…. Last Sunday I delved into two cooking magazines, “gastronomos” and “gourmet”, searching for recipes with veggies good for our family and  mydinnertoday, i.e., healthy, easy, yummy.  I made a bookmark on this one. It was posted on gourmet and signed by Makis Georgiadis.  Excellent summer dish. We all liked it.  I made several substitutions and they all worked fine.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts cut in cubes (I used 2)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 pound (1/2 kilo) zucchini
  • 50 ml ouzo (I used ‘tsipouro’)
  • 10 caper leaves chopped (I used capers)
  • 10 plum tomatoes or big cherry tomatoes (I used four big tomatoes cut in  8 cubic pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • the juice and zest from one lemon
  • 1 hot pepper (I used a sweet pepper)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mint for serving

How to make: Saute the chicken pieces in a big and deep pan until lightly browned. Add the onions and zucchini and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Add the ouzo (or tsipouro as I did). Add the rest of the ingredients (except the mint). Reduce the fire and cook for another 10 minutes. Take the food off the fire, sprinkle with mint and serve.

The amazing zucchini and tomato soup is back!


This soup is simply amazing. It requires a bit more time to prepare than the usual mydinnertoday kind of soup and you need to have zucchini  and  peppers in hand but it’s worth it! I’m posting this recipe again as a reminder and also to show the variation you can get in the color. This time round I used fresh  tomatoes, no sauce or tomato paste, which gave it a more yellowy and less reddish color than before. The taste… unbeatable! Serve with toasted bread or crostini (bread pressed on oily surface and baked to crispy in the oven).

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (or a cup of frozen, diced onion)
  • 4 red bell peppers and 2 yellow red peppers cored, seeded, and thinly sliced (or 2 cups of frozen sliced peppers)
  • 8 plum tomatoes, quartered (or a best quality, big can of plum tomatoes)
  • 4 zucchini, halved on the long side and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced  (or 2 cubes frozen garlic pulp)
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cubes of frozen basil (or 1 cup of basil leaves processed with 1 cup of vegetable oil)
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock

How to make: Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and cook the onion with the peppers.  Put the onions and peppers aside. In the same skillet, add 2 drops of olive oil and cook the tomatoes for about 10-12 minutes.  Added salt, pepper, 2 frozen cubes of garlic pulp and 2 frozen cubes of basil pulp. When the tomato sauce is ready, put it aside. Add couple more drops of olive oil and sautee the zucchini for about 10 minutes. In the meantime,  put the chicken stock in a pot and turn on the heat. When the zucchini is ready, everything goes  into the pot with the chicken stock (sauteed onions & peppers, tomato sauce, and zucchini).  Add the potato cubes and cook at low heat for 20 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand blender.

Update 2014-02-26

Today our helper made the soup using the one and only zucchini we had in the fridge. It came out just great in taste but too thick. That’s probably because that one zucchini did not release enough water. Not a big problem. Extra broth or water fixes the consistency. So, when you make this soup bear in mind that what your soup should be  fairly thick and rich but if should not look like potato puree. If you can eat it  with a fork you know it’s too thick. Add more liquid!

Stuffed zucchini week


Early dismissal for my daughter so we’re together in the kitchen granting her wish to make stuffed zucchini again because she “LOOOOOOOOVED” it.   By the time we were done with the dish, she had an announcement to make. This will be the ‘stuffed zucchini’ week. And that’s because with the ingredients required for the stuffed zucchini we prepared not one but  four dishes:

1. Stuffed zucchini made by Melina

So, the ingredients we put together to  make stuffed zucchini were zucchini, minced meat, and rice.  This time Melina did all the work following the recipe instructions.  At moments like this I LOVE mydinnertoday! I showed her how to core the zucchini and helped turning over the zucchini in the pan.

 

Stuffed zucchini with egg and lemon sauce

 

2. Zucchini pie

We made the zucchini pie with the core of the zucchinis that Melina removed to get them ready for stuffing.  I followed the zucchini pie instructions, only I cut all quantities in half and used just the core of the zucchinis instead of slicing wholes.

 

Zucchini pie

 

3. Soup with meatballs

We used the leftovers from the minced meat & rice stuffing for the zucchini (as-is) to make soup with meatballs (giouvarlakia)

 

Soup with meatballs

 

4. Mydinnertoday’s signature meatballs

To make stuffed zucchini, we opened a package with 2 pounds of minced meat but used only one for the zucchini.  My husband and my son used the other pound to make their favorite meatballs.  But they disappeared before I had time take a photo!

 

Where are the meatballs?

 

My daughter liked so much the idea of having special food weeks that she already made assignments for the next two weeks: fruit week and veggie week.  Stay tuned. I have no idea how I’ll make fruit-filled dinners but I’m sure I’ll figure something out by then. 😉

Stuffed zucchini


With the same meat mix that I used for the soup with meatballs yesterday, today I made stuffed zucchini. That’s been a special order by my daughter. She tried them in summer in Greece and it was love at first sight. You will need a special utensil to remove the core from the zucchini.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (approximately half a kilo) minced meat
  • 3 tablespoons rice
  • 1 onion, pulped (I use a mini food processor)
  • fresh dill or parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 medium size zucchini cut in half (or 10 small)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • juice from one lemon

How to make: To make the filling, mix the minced meat with the rice, pulped onion, fresh dill or parsley, salt and pepper. To prepare the zucchini, rinse them and scrape them with a knife if needed to smooth the surface. Use a  zucchini core remover to remove the core of the zucchini. It’s very easy if you have the right utensil. Here’s one and one more photos that I found on the internet to help you out. Fill the zucchini with the meat mix. Heat the butter in a big and deep pan or a big pot. Saute the zucchini for about 5 minutes, turning sides. Add some salt and pepper. Arrange the zucchini in one layer if possible. Add water until it reaches halfway through the height of the zucchini (assuming the pan is all covered with zucchini). Cook at medium/low heat for about 45-60 min until the liquids have thickened.  To prepare the egg sauce, beat the white part of one egg until it becomes fluffy. Mix a teaspoon of corn flour with the juice of one lemon (or less if the lemon is very juicy). Combine the egg with the lemon. Add the liquid from the zucchini, slowly while you continue beating. The liquid must be hot but not boiling hot. Put the egg sauce in a small pan and cook it very lightly on very low fire. Keep stirring with a which until it thickens.  Pour the egg mix over the zucchini and shake the pot with your hands to fold in the egg mix. Do not use forks or other utensils at this point.  Ready to serve!

Notes and tips: You can find this recipe  in Greek here (συνταγές της παρέας). Vicky from tastefull.gr has some tips for this dish. She prefers to saute the onion before adding it to the meat mix. She adds some water to the meat mix to make it fluffier. On Skoura’s advice, some feta cheese can be added to the meat mix for extra flavor.

A strong flavored veloute soup with zucchini


It’s the first chilly day of Fall and it’s a Sunday. On the kitchen table was the most recent Williams Sonoma catalog, which had couple of interesting recipes, despite its dramatic shrinkage  over the past year (they go green).  A vegetable soup got my attention. It was there to support the advertisement of a smoking gun. I don’t have a smoking gun so the soup didn’t get ‘smoked’ but the recipe was a hit regardless. A very rich and strong flavored soup made perfect lunch and would have easily made perfect dinner.  It  now boasts membership to our family’s hall of  fame soups.  You need to have zucchini handy. If your kids can work at the kitchen table or their room is next to the kitchen, this is a good  time to supervise their homework. The recipe is very easy but you will need to put things in a pan every 10 minutes or so for couple of times.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (or a cup of frozen, diced onion)
  • 4 red bell peppers and 2 yellow red peppers cored, seeded, and thinly sliced (or 2 cups of frozen sliced peppers)
  • 8 plum tomatoes, quartered (or a best quality, big can of plum tomatoes)
  • 4 zucchini, halved on the long side and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced  (or 2 cubes frozen garlic pulp)
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cubes of frozen basil (or 1 cup of basil leaves processed with 1 cup of vegetable oil)
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock

How to make: Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and cook the onion with the peppers. I used frozen peppers so I first sauteed the onion for about 7-8 minutes and then added and sauteed the peppers for another 3-4 minutes. Put the onions and peppers aside. In the same skillet, add 2 drops of olive oil and cook the tomatoes for about 10-12 minutes.  At this time, I added the salt, pepper, 2 frozen cubes of garlic pulp and 2 frozen cubes of basil pulp. When the tomato sauce was ready, I put it aside, added couple more drops of olive oil and sauteed the zucchini for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, I put the chicken stock in a pot and turned on the heat. When the zucchini was ready, everything went into the pot with the chicken stock (sauteed onions & peppers, tomato sauce, and zucchini).  Add the potato cubes and cook at low heat for 20 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand blender and serve with crostini. Mine were very simple. I brushed a cookie pan with very little olive oil, I pressed  4 slices of whole grain bread, turned them over so they have some oil on both sides and cooked at  360F/180C  for 10 minutes. Delish!

Notes and tips: I cooked the garlic and basil  with the tomato because I used frozen pulp for both. If you use fresh garlic and basil, you need to saute the garlic with the onion & peppers (couple of minutes before they are done) and use a blender to process the basil leaves with vegetable oil. The processed basil will go in the pot with the chicken stock with the rest of the ingredients.

Update 2014-02-26

Today our helper made the soup using the one and only zucchini we had in the fridge. It came out just great in taste but too thick. That’s probably because that one zucchini did not release enough water. Not a big problem. Extra broth or water fixes the consistency. So, when you make this soup bear in mind that what your soup should be  fairly thick and rich but if should not look like potato puree. If you can eat it  with a fork you know it’s too thick. Add more liquid!

 

 

Zucchini pie


So, the Memorial Day weekend  passed, the Memorial Day being Monday. As is  customary, we had a barbecue dinner.  Being Greek, though,  I needed a little extra, you know, like  a pie, to celebrate the day. I took  Chrysa Paradisi down from the shelf and made this wonderful zucchini pie. I think I overdid it with salt but but my husband loved it!  He kept enjoying and praising the pie the next day,  when he timidly asked if it was too hard to make 🙂  Bring the zucchini mix to your taste for salt and pepper and enjoy! I did make the dough myself which didn’t take too long but, still, not something you’d like to try when you’re back home from work.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) zucchini, sliced
  • salt, pepper
  • 250 grams feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan (I did one cup Parmesan and 100 grams feta cheese)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • parsley, chopped
  • For the dough: 4 cups flour, 1 cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 10 tablespoons water

How to make: To make the filling, heat the oil and saute the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini (sliced), salt & pepper and cook for about half an hour. When ready, add the feta cheese crumbled,  Parmesan, bread crumbs, yogurt, the four eggs beaten, salt, pepper and parsley. Save couple of tablespoons of egg to brush on the dough later. To prepare the dough, cut the butter in small pieces and combine it with the flour, using your hands. Squeeze and rub the butter against the flour until you get a crumbly texture. Add the salt and water and knead to make a ball. Let it stand in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Cut the dough in half and roll the first half flat, enough to cover the bottom of an 11 inch/28cm round pan.  Add the zucchini mix. Then, roll the other half of the dough flat and cut it in stripes (it’s easier when you use a pizza cutter). Twist the stripes and arrange them on top of the zucchini mix in a checkered pattern.  Brush the stripes with egg. Cook in a hot oven for about 15 minutes. Then, lower the heat to 390F/200C oven and cook for another half hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Notes and tips: The dough looks dark because I used whole wheat flour. You can, of course, use regular flour. I want to say, though, that whole wheat is an acquired taste. If you use it early on with your kids, they will like it. Switching from white flour to whole wheat can be harder.

Update March 22, 2013.

Enjoy this beautiful version of the recipe that our nanny made with non-twisted stripes!

Zucchini pie without a twist

Zucchini pie without a twist

 

Pasta with zucchini


This is a dish I made a while ago during the holiday but didn’t get a chance to post it then. It’s really a summer dish but when you live in the U.S., it doesn’t really matter, as you  get zucchini any time of the year.  It will probably work just as well to use frozen zucchini if you have some in the freezer but I never tried it.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • pasta of your choosing, linguine recommended
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 sliced, or better yet julienne, zucchini
  • 2 cloves slices garlic
  • 2 cubes frozen basil
  • juice from one lemon
  • salt, pepper, oregano
  • shredded cheese for serving

How to make: Cook the pasta following package instructions, drain and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Heat two tablespoons or more olive oil in a large pan and saute the garlic for a minute or two. Add the zucchini, washed and sliced (no peeling necessary). This recipe calls for julienne zucchini but I don’t have a julienne chopper so I did my best using a knife. It takes time, though.  Add the basil together with the zucchini and saute until the zucchini is tender. Add the lemon, stir, add salt, pepper and, optionally oregano.  Stir the zucchini mix in the pasta and serve with shredded cheese.

Notes and tips:  You can, of course, use  finely chopped fresh basil instead of frozen cubes. If you use fresh basil,  saute the zucchini first and then add it together with the lemon, salt and pepper.

Roasted zucchini with tomatoes


Zucchini and tomatoes

Zucchini and tomatoes

Last night, I wanted to  cook something with zucchini and tomatoes. I found this recipe, which looked very promising and with great reviews. Well… I’m reporting moderate failure …at least the way I did it.  Let me show you the recipe as I did it, and then I’ll tell you what I did to save it.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6-8 small to medium size zucchini
  • 4 big  tomatoes, cut in 4-6 pieces each
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • garlic, basil, red crushed pepper
  • salt, freshly ground pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese

How to make: Put zucchini, tomatoes and onion in a roasting pan. I used Pyrex. Add olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper, red crushed pepper flakes. Add garlic and basil (I added the frozen pulps I keep in the freezer). Roast in a  pre-heated 450 degrees F oven for 40 minutes. Add Parmesan when you serve.

Notes and tips: The original recipe recommended 20 minutes in the oven. When I checked in at  20 minutes, the zucchini was too crispy so I left it longer.  The problem was that my pan had too much liquid from the tomatoes! The veggies were boiling in it. I removed most of it and put it back to continue cooking. So that was OK.  When it was done, I found that the dish was a little too ‘peppery’ for a family with small children.

My advice if you do this (it IS a very easy and healthy dish):  Use a baking ‘sheet’ as the original recipe says and lay all the veggies in a single layer. You may still have to watch out for excessive liquid. Some tomatoes can be a lot watery. Careful with the  red crushed pepper. It’s hot, hot and your kids may not like it.  So, take it easy.

Briam, a feast of summer veggies


briam, dish with vegetables

Briam

I have made a post with “briam” before. It was titled “roasted zucchini with tomatoes” but there were some problems the way I made it then, as you can see, if you visit the link. That was not fair for the recipe, which makes a delightful summer dish, simple, tasteful, and wholesome. I made it again this past week while we were in Greece and this time it came out superb. Get eggplants, zucchini, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes and start chopping. It’s a bit more expensive to make in the  U.S. but in Greece, eggplants, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes abound and are very tasty.

Recipe

Ingredients (approximately)

  • 5-6 medium potatoes
  • 4-5 medium zucchini
  • a variety of 4-5 peppers (green, red, or “kerato”)
  • 3-4 eggplants
  • 2-3 onions
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • parsley
  • salt, pepper
  • about 3/4 cup olive oil
  • about 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste (optional)

How to make: Wash the zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and parsley. Remove the ends of the zucchini and slice them. Remove the seeds of the peppers and slice them. It’s OK if you only have one type of pepper. Green bell peppers are quite common and they taste great. Avoid any hot peppers, though. Remove the ends of the eggplants and slice them or cut them in medium size chunks. Peel the onions and slice them in rings. It’s OK to chop them if your family doesn’t like to see them in big rings. Peel the potatoes, wash them and slice them or cut them in chunks.   Cut the tomatoes into 4-6 chunks each.

Time to combine. Use a big shallow roasting pan  and arrange the veggies. First, make a layer with the potatoes to cover the pan. Add salt and black pepper. Add the onions, zucchini, sliced peppers, and eggplants. Add salt and black pepper. Add the tomatoes on top.  Add salt and black pepper, generously. Add the parsley, chopped, but save some parsley to add it fresh when you serve. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies, generously. Optionally, melt the tomato paste in the water and add it to the dish. You need to add some water even if you don’t use tomato paste. At this point, I actually use my (clean) hands to stir the veggies a bit and make sure there’s oil and liquids everywhere. I prefer not keep the onion rings covered so they don’t get burned. Cook the veggies in a pre-heated 400F/200C oven for about 2 hours. Check the dish a few times and stir the veggies gently with a wooden spoon. When all the veggies are soft and nicely browned, take the dish off the oven and serve with fresh parsley. If you want, you can add Parmesan or feta cheese.

Enjoy!

Vegetable soup aka minestrone


I was looking the other day at my soup recipes and realized that most of them are low fiber. So, I thought I needed to add to our diet more soups that are both yummy and high fiber.  This vegetable soup with lots of beans and peas fits the bill. The quick version is to use canned Cannellini beans and frozen peas but, of course, you can prepare the beans yourself  and use fresh peas instead.

Recipe   Servings: 6    Calories per serving: 113

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1-2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 cup plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can Cannellini beans or one bag (1 pound)  Cannellini beans soaked and boiled
  • 10 cups of water or 5 cups water combined with 5 cups chicken broth

How to make: In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onions for about five minutes. One minute before the onions are ready add the garlic. Add the carrots and zucchini and cook until tender. In a big pot, bring to boil  10 cups of water or combination of water and chicken broth. Add the sauteed veggies, peas, diced tomatoes and the cooked Cannellini beans. Cook for half an hour and serve.

Notes and tips: To prepare uncooked beans, soak them overnight and cook them in water until they become tender.

For a stronger taste, instead of heating oil, you can cook 4 slices of bacon. Remove the bacon from the pan when it’s ready. Use the fat from the bacon to saute the onions and the other veggies. Crumble the bacon and add it to the pot with the other veggies.

nutritional value

Eggs & sides


Eggs

  1. Baked eggs for a special breakfast
  2. Beautiful sunny side up eggs with asparagus and bacon
  3. Eggs with tomatoes
  4. Eggs with tomatoes, roasted peppers, and basil
  5. Omelette with cheese and how to make it
  6. Omelette with potatoes
  7. Perfect sunny side up
  8. Poached eggs
  9. Spinach frittata
  10. Spinach frittata 2
  11. Sunny side up with sausage, tomatoes, and feta cheese

Sides

  1. Baked baby potaotes with caraway seeds
  2. Beautiful string beans
  3. Rice with tomatoes
  4. Potatoes au gratin
  5. Potatoes puree
  6. Potatoes with rosemary
  7. Pacman potatoes
  8. Zucchini, crispy

Salads

  1. Potato salad with olive oil and vinegar

Stuffed peppers and other veggies


Stuffed peppers and other veggies

I made this recipe while I was still in Greece.  The full version of it maybe more appropriate for those living in Greece in summer, when veggies are plentiful in the market.  I’m putting it up for all of us as an alternative cooking method to the “Stuffed tomatoes” recipe. In “stuffed tomatoes”, I cooked the rice before stuffing the tomatoes. Here the rice goes in the veggies uncooked and more water is added in the pan. I found the recipe in “Gastronomos”, issue 64, signed by Myrsini Labraki. I’m giving you the full recipe in case you get lucky with the veggies. I only stuffed tomatoes, bell peppers, long peppers, and zucchini. In the photo you see what was left…

Recipe

Veggies for stuffing (pick any)

  • 3 tomatoes for stuffing
  • 1 tomato, grated to use as sauce
  • 4 zucchini
  • 2 eggplants
  • 3 long peppers
  • 3 potatoes
  • 15 fresh vine leaves (!)
  • 15 zucchini flowers
  • 15 vine leaves
  • salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 200 ml water

Filling

  • 20 tablespoons rice
  • 4 pulped onions
  • parsley or mint leaves, chopped
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, freshly ground pepper

How to make: Prepare the veggies: wash, cut the top or side parts and remove the inside.

For the zucchini, cut and throw up the edges but save the inside parts, cubed.

For the peppers, be sure to remove all seeds.

For the tomatoes, be sure to cut the inside part in cubes and save in a bowl

For the potatoes, cut a top part and a special tool to remove all but a bit more than a quarter  inch thick shell (1/2 cm).  If you use potatoes cut the removed part in cubes and save it.

Add some salt to the inside parts of the veggies and let them drain upside down on a paper towel for about half hour.  While they’re drying, take a big bowl and combine the cubed zucchini, tomato and potato parts,  rice, onions, parsley or mint, salt and pepper.  Stuff the veggies about 2/3 of the way to leave room for the rice to grow as it cooks.  If you use vine leaves, put a  teaspoon of the filling on each and fold.  You will only need a teaspoon of filling for the zucchini flowers, too. Arrange the stuffed veggies in the pan and any remaining filling in between. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle some olive oil on top. Add the grated tomato and the water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook a pre-heated 320F/160C for about an hour and 15 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or so. Check the filling to see if the rice is cooked.  I had to add some water during cooking directly in the veggies to help the rice soften. Maybe because I used fewer veggies (with  inside parts) which altered the proportion of rice to the other ingredients in the filling.  Keep an eye to be sure and …bon appetite!

Notes and tips: Everybody liked the recipe but to be honest I didn’t find it superior to the less stressful version I posted on  “Stuffed tomatoes”. I get peace of mind when I cook the filling and then put the stuffed veggies in the oven only for softening  and to get the flavors blended.  But I know a lot of people who prefer cooking everything in the oven so pick what works best for you.