Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies.

3 large sweet peppers- red, yellow and orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T capers
¼ C black olives, pitted and quartered (preferably Kalamata or Nicoise)
1 t red wine vinegar

1 t lemon zest
¼ C good quality olive oil (extra virgin)
2 T fresh basil and/or oregano, chopped or thinly sliced

Place the peppers directly on the burner of a gas grill or on the rack of a hot charcoal grill. As each section turns puffy and black, turn the peppers with tongs to char evenly. (If you don’t have a grill, place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil in the oven, turning as each side becomes charred.) Transfer the roasted peppers to a plastic bag and close the bag, letting them cool down in their own steam. When they are cool enough to handle, halve peppers crosswise and remove stems, ribs and seeds, and remove any charred skin. (This can also be done at the sink, under running water.) Slice the peppers in 1-inch thick strips and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fresh basil and/or oregano, and toss well. Taste and adjust for salt, perhaps more red wine vinegar if you prefer a more tart flavor. Let salad marinate at room temperature until ready to serve. Garnish with basil just before serving. Serves 4-6.


Provençal Leeks

provencal-leeks

 

We learned this recipe quite literally at our mother’s apron strings. As children, we spent summers on the beach of a coastal small village on the Cote d’Azur. Our mother occasionally brought in Madame Victoria, an elderly woman from Provence who then lived in St. Maxime, where she cooked and cleaned.  She taught our mom a lot about the cuisine of the region, leeks Povençal being a classic favorite. Mom made it every spring when leeks were abundant in the marchés near the village outside Paris where we lived. Danielle made this for our alluim ,month, May 2016.

3 medium-sized leeks, trimmed and washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tomatoes, or 1 (15-oz) can, cut into eighths
¼ C pitted black Kalamata or green olives
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t Herbes de Provence
¼ C white wine
¼ C olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim and clean the leeks: remove one outer layer of the leek and remove the dark green top. Slit the leek vertically and rinse under running water to remove and sand or dirt. Cut the leeks into 2-inch pieces, removing any additional dark or touch pieces. You want to be left with the white and light green parts only. Put the trimmed, washed and cut leeks into an ovenproof baking pan.

In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, olives, lemon juice and zest, garlic and Herbes de Provence. Spread mixture over the leeks, mixing gently. Add the white wine and olive oil. Season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes until leeks are very tender. Serve warm or chilled on a hot summer day. Serves 4-6.


Pan-Fried Halloumi with Fennel, Olive & Mint

halloumi

 

 

Halloumi is the cheese you can cook. It doesn’t melt, it just gets a nice crust on the outside when you pan-fry or grill it. Salty, chewy and intense, the cheese is a favorite in Cyprus, its country of origin, where in the summer it is commonly served grilled with tomatoes or watermelon. Halloumi is becoming increasingly popular around the globe and when you try this recipe you’ll understand its following. High in protein — the cheese is typically made from goat or sheep’s milk — it’s a great substitute for meat in vegetarian diets. This treatment makes it a good choice as a first course. Served as a side with a rice pilaf or lentil stew, you have a lovely filling meal you won’t soon forget.  The remaining half of the fennel bulb can be added to a roast vegetable to accompany this or your next meal. This recipe was adapted by Adrienne, who demoed it at USBG September 16 2015.

3 T olive oil
½ medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1-1/4 cups)
½ medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 pitted Kalamata olives, slivered (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 t finely grated lemon zest
1/3 C minced fresh mint
1 8-oz. package halloumi cheese, cut into 1/4- to 3/8-inch-thick slices

Heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the fennel and onions, cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften (but don’t let them brown), 2-3 min. Reduce the heat to medium low, add 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables soften completely, another 2-3 min. Turn the heat to low and stir in the olives, lemon zest, mint. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

Wipe out skillet and add remaining olive oil; heat on medium high until hot, about 1 minute. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, cook the halloumi until golden in spots, about 2 min. Flip and cook until the second side of each slice is golden, about 2 min. more. Reduce the heat as needed if the halloumi is browning too fast.

Shingle the halloumi on a serving platter. Stir the vegetables and spoon over the halloumi, drizzle with hot olive oil from skillet. Serve immediately.


Mediterranean Lentil Salad

lentilAdapted from Rebecca Katz, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

1 C dried lentils
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small
¼ C pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
3 T fresh mint, chopped
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
1 T brown rice vinegar
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
1 t cumin
½ t sea salt
¼ C olive oil

Begin by cooking the lentils: rinse them well, put them in a saucepan and cover in water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat, and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes. While the lentils are simmering, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Drain the lentils thoroughly and toss with the dressing, then refrigerate for 20 minutes to cool and allow the dressing to soak into the lentils.

Chop the pepper, cucumber, olives, mint and parsley and add to the lentils. Adjust for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve. Store in an airtight container 3-5 days. Serves 6.

(Note: cooked lentils can be found in the produce section of many grocery stores. If you choose to use them, warm them in the microwave before tossing with the dressing. The warm lentils will absorb the dressing better and soften the lentils. You will need 2 cups cooked.)


Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

tanis

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies. Read More