Eggplant Gratin with Sweet Onions and Feta

1½ lbs. eggplant

¼ – ½ C olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced in half-moons (about 2 cups)

12-16oz. prepared Marinara or Arrabiata (spicy) pasta sauce

6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

¼ C grated Parmesan

Slice the onion into half moons, then heat a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion slices. Add a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally until browned and caramelized, while you prepare the eggplant.

Rinse and pat dry the eggplant, trim the ends and do not peel. Cut the eggplant in half crosswise, then cut each half into 6 or 8 (1½–inch) wedges.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant wedges, a few at a time without crowding. Sauté on all three sides until lightly browned, adding small amounts of olive oil as necessary.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the eggplant wedges in one layer. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with about 1 cup of the pasta sauce – enough to lightly cover the dish. Transfer wedges to the baking dish and line them against each other in two rows. If necessary, pack the wedges tightly to avoid creating a second layer.

Distribute onion slices evenly over the eggplant. Cover with one more cup of sauce, leaving most of the eggplant exposed, but do not completely immerse in sauce. Top with crumbled feta and sprinkle with Parmesan, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes; uncover and bake another 10-20 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.


Mediterranean Summer Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Figs and Kasseri

Combining thyme and mint in one dish is common throughout Greece and Turkey. Look for the best summer tomatoes you can find, it will make the salad shine. Pomegranate molasses is found in most supermarkets or any middle eastern grocery store.

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1½ lbs heirloom tomatoes, chopped into ½ inch dice (2-3 large)

½ pint (about 8) figs, quartered

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 T fresh mint leaves, chopped

¼ C red onion, finely chopped

6 C baby arugula or mixed seasonal greens

1½ C crumbled Kasseri cheese (or Feta)

 

Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon

2 t pomegranate molasses (or good quality balsamic vinegar and 1 T honey)

¼ C olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large serving bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients except the cheese. Whisk together the dressing and pour it over the salad. Toss well. Add the cheese and toss lightly. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

 

Note: make it a main course by adding chunks of cooked chicken.

 


Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Black Olives & Mint

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1 C dried French lentils (lePuy) rinsed well and picked over

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

2 bay leaves

¼ t dried oregano

1 cinnamon stick or ¼ t. ground cinnamon

 

Combine the lentils, garlic, oregano, bay leaf and cinnamon in a saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain the lentils well and discard the whole spices.

 

¼ C olive oil

1 T rice vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)

2 T fresh lemon juice, more to taste

1 t lemon zest

½ t ground cumin

Sea salt and pepper to taste

 

In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin and salt together. Toss the lentils with this vinaigrette and let stand while preparing vegetables.

 

1 red pepper, diced small

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small

¼ C pitted black olives, sliced in half or quarters (Kalamata or Moroccan)

3 T fresh mint, chopped

½ C (2 ounces)feta cheese, crumbled

 

Add the chopped vegetables to the lentils, stir gently. Adjust seasoning for salt and pepper or fresh lemon juice.


Melon and Blueberry Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette

A healthy summer salad that can be amped up with a pinch of cayenne. You can also try it with a bit of Tajin chili-lime powder, available at many supermarkets, including Walmart. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tajin-Fruit-With-Lime-Seasoning-5.3-oz/10849977

 

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2 C Galia or cantaloupe melon, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 C watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 apple, thinly sliced (a combination of red and green is nice, but choose whatever you like)

1 C blueberries

4 C arugula

¼ lb feta cheese, crumbled

 

Dressing:

4 medium shallots

Zest and juice of 1 lime

¼ C apple cider vinegar

1/3 C olive oil

1 T honey

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

½ t Tajin chili-lime powder OR Sumac (optional)

Sea salt, to taste

 

Roast the shallots: Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the shallots in an oven tray with the skin on, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast for 45 minutes. Allow them to cool enough to handle and remove the skins. Transfer the shallots to a food processor, mini-prep or Magic Bullet and add the remaining dressing ingredients. Blend well, taste and adjust for salt and spice.

 

Put the arugula in a large, wide serving bowl and scatter it decoratively with the melons, apple slices and blueberries. Add the crumbled feta and lastly drizzle with the vinaigrette. Extra dressing can be served on the side. Serves 4.


Kabocha Wheatberry Salad

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An Autumnal combination — you get the sweetness, nuttiness, crunch, and the tahini in the dressing brings it all together. Kabocha is Japan’s pumpkin — slightly flattened and green dappled with white. Its flavor is similar to pumpkin, but sweeter. If you can’t find kabocha squash, substitute acorn or delicata. With its assertive creaminess and mild saltiness, the French feta, made from sheep’s milk, is particularly good in this dish, but you can definitely substitute your favorite feta. This recipe was adapted from the blog honestlyyum.com by Adrienne for a class Brookside November 18 2015. 

1 kabocha squash
½# shiitake mushrooms
1/4 C olive oil
1 C of wheatberries, cooked
1/3 C hazelnuts
2 large handfuls of baby arugula or kale
French feta

Dressing:
1 T tahini
1 T honey
juice of 1 large lemon
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (more as needed)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Halve kabocha across its equator and scoop out seeds; using a large chef’s knife, cut squash into wedges. Toss wedges with half the olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast squash 25-30 minutes until tender. Remove and discard stems from shiitake; slice tops into strips. Toss in extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until they begin to get dark and crispy around the edges. (You can also roast the shiitake and squash together, just remember to remove the shiitake before the squash).Toast the hazelnuts in a small pan over medium heat. Keep the hazelnuts moving to prevent them from burning. When you begin to smell their fragrance, remove them from the pan. Cool and chop roughly.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk tahini and honey; add lemon juice and vinegar and incorporate well; slowly add olive oil and continue whisking until the ingredients are emulsified and the dressing is smooth; if the dressing is too thick, add more olive oil to achieve the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, arrange the squash wedges on a plate. Combine the arugula, hazelnuts, shiitake mushrooms, and wheatberries in a bowl and toss with dressing. Place the salad between the wedges and top with several cubes of French feta; drizzle with additional olive oil.