Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip, Better-than-Pita Grill Bread, Crudites

by Jennifer

This dip, adapted from Eating Well, is supposed to be an appetizer, but it made a wonderful summer dinner.  My husband doesn’t even like eggplant and had three helpings!  My youngest son declared the grill bread “better than naan”, and that’s saying something.  Serves 4.

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb)
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional….I included this, and it was spicy, but delicious)
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBS chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar (optional…I included this)

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches away from heat source.  Prick eggplant multiple times with a fork, then place on a foil-lined pan and broil, turning every 5 minutes or so,

until the eggplant’s skin is charred and a knife inserts easily near the stem, about 20 minutes total.  Set eggplant aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine vinegar and red onion in a medium-sized bowl and let macerate for 20 minutes.  When eggplant is cool enough to handle,

slice it lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the onion and vinegar, and mash with a fork.

Add the olive oil and continue to mash, leaving some texture to the eggplant.

Stir in the remaining ingredients, and serve with grill bread and crudites.

Better-than-Pita Grill Bread – adapted from Gourmet magazine

Keep the grill bread warm in a kitchen towel as you cook them, or you can make them up to a day ahead, cool them completely, and rewarm them, wrapped loosely in foil, in a 350 degree oven until warm.  This recipe makes 10 pieces of grill bread, but honestly, my family of 5 could have happily eaten another 10!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TBS warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 TBS beaten egg

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a medium-sized bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, water and egg.

Add the liquids to the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Knead the dough, using additional flour to keep it from sticking, for 2 minutes (dough will not be smooth);

transfer dough to a clean oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Heat a ridged grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

On a lightly floured surface roll out one piece of dough at a time into a very thin, roughly 6” round (mine are pretty rough).  Brush the skillet with a little oil and grill one round at a time, about 1 minute per side,

until there are grill marks on both sides and the bread is cooked through.

Transfer breads to a kitchen towel and wrap loosely as you cook the rest.  Serve warm.

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Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing; Spicy Shrimp

By Ira

You can make this salad the day before. It’s very satisfying because of the chickpeas and feta, and it has a bright flavor because of the lemon, cilantro, and mint. The spicy shrimp is a nice addition and very easy to make.

You can start by marinading the shrimp, then making the salad, and finally cooking the shrimp.

Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing

Serves 5-6 – Adapted from Clean Eating magazine

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, or 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 6 oz crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, then add the dressing, and gently stir to combine. Taste to check the seasonings and add extra salt accordingly. You can serve it immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Spicy Shrimp

Serves 4

  • 24 uncooked shrimp, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • salt and pepper

You can halve this recipe, or use just 18 shrimp where you can still use the same amount of marinade like I did.

If the shrimp is frozen, defrost it according to package directions, and dry it with a paper towel.

In a medium bowl, combine the grapeseed oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper.

Add the shrimp and let it marinade for 15 to 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the shrimp one at a time without the marinade.

Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, turn each one, and cook on the other side until pink.

Zucchini Pizza with Grape Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

by Jennifer

I’ve minimally adapted this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.   I made my own pizza dough (which is really easy to do, honest, and you can make it up to 2 -3 days in advance), but you can buy prepared dough at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other markets.  I made the pizza on my grill, but you can also use a pizza stone in the oven (I have directions for both methods below).  We had a simple red romaine lettuce salad dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side.  Serves 2 – 4, possibly with leftovers for lunch.

  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 3 small – medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for tomatoes and for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • cornmeal for dusting pizza peel

Preheat oven, with a pizza stone inside, to 500 degrees, or prepare grill for high heat.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 TBS olive oil and cook the zucchini until it starts to become tender and a little golden, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat;  season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, 4 basil leaves, some olive oil, and pepper in a bowl.

If using a pizza stone, roll out dough on a floured surface into a rough 12” circle, and place it on the cornmeal-dusted pizza peel.  Arrange zucchini on top of the dough, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Scatter tomato mixture on next.  Slide pizza onto preheated stone and bake for 5 minutes;  sprinkle feta cheese on the pizza and bake for another 3 minutes.  Remove pizza from oven, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining basil.

If using the grill, roll out dough on a floured surface into a rough 12” circle, and place it on the cornmeal-dusted pizza peel.  Slide dough onto grill and bake for about 3 minutes, until the dough is puffed and there are grill marks.  Remove crust from grill and flip it over on the peel, grill marks up.

Arrange zucchini on top of the dough, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Scatter tomato mixture on next, followed by feta cheese.  Slide pizza back onto the grill and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes,

until the mozzarella cheese is melted and there are grill marks on the bottom.  Remove pizza from grill, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining basil.

Broiled Salmon with Mint and Preserved Lemon; Strawberry Salad with Feta and Pistachios

by Jennifer

My older son had the idea of a strawberry dinner,

celebrating both the local strawberries now in season and Ira’s birthday.  After picking strawberries at a local farm, I came up with this menu:  Strawberry Bellinis with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Onion Phyllo Pouches; Broiled Salmon with Mint and Preserved Lemon, Strawberry Salad with Feta and Pistachios, and No-Knead Bread;  Chocolate – Strawberry Cake.

Broiled Salmon with Mint and Preserved Lemon – serves 4

  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup, packed, of fresh mint
  • 1 small preserved lemon, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus extra for sprinkling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 4 salmon fillets

In a small food processor (or by hand, if you wish), chop the garlic.  Add the preserved lemon and pulse a few times,

then add the mint and process again to finely chop.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in 2 TBS oil, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Preheat broiler.

Brush salmon fillets with oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil a few inches from the heat for 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.  To serve, divide mint/lemon mixture on top of salmon fillets.

Strawberry Salad with Feta and Pistachios – serves 4

  • 1 1/2 lbs strawberries, sliced
  • 10 oz. package Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup, packed, of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 3.5 oz. package crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  Toss together salad ingredients, then add dressing and toss gently to combine.

Quick Quinoa Grecian Salad

by Jennifer

This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, serves 4 generously, or with some leftover for lunch the next day.

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh mint
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 3.5 oz crumbled fat-free feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 TBS minced shallots (1 medium shallot)

Bring broth to a boil in a medium-sized pot;  add quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes

or until liquid is absorbed.  Fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil through salt in a large bowl.

Add cooled quinoa and remaining ingredients, tossing well to combine.

Pasta with Green Vegetables and Herbs

by Jennifer

This great weeknight meal, adapted from Gourmet Magazine, uses only one pot (and a food processor…but still, one pot!).  Serves 4.

  • 1 bunch asparagus – mine was about 1 1/2 lbs. – trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lb. dried linguine
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh mint
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 4 minutes, then remove, using a sieve or slotted spoon, to a serving bowl.

Cook the peas in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer in the same way to the bowl.

Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions;  before draining,

reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.

While the linguine is cooking, pulse the mint, oregano, oil, salt, pepper to taste and 2 oz. of the feta cheese in a food processor

until finely chopped.

Add this mixture to the serving bowl with the asparagus and peas.

Add the remaining cheese, parsley and scallions to the bowl, too.

After draining the linguine, stir the reserved cooking water into the vegetables,

then add the linguine and toss well to combine.

Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon; Sauteed Swiss Chard

by Jennifer

Continuing my current crush on Meyer lemons, I made preserved lemons a while back, and this is my first recipe using them.  The lemons are delicious.  You use only the peel, and make sure to rinse off the salty lemon juice before using them.

Serves 4.

  •  1 lb. orecchiette
  • 14 – 15.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped preserved lemon rind
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente;  drain.  Transfer pasta back to the empty pot and stir in the olive oil.  Add chickpeas, feta, mint, preserved lemon and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Sauteed Swiss Chard

Serves 4.

  •  2 bunches green swiss chard, stems and thick ribs removed, torn into pieces
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add the swiss chard in batches, tossing with tongs until it wilts.

Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.  Toss again, then serve.