Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kofta---Kind Of

I have to say, I did not invent this, I have augmented this with feta. My parents lived in Turkey and this is the way they were taught to make this dish. That said, it does not even remotely resemble what you would find in a cookbook other than it is lamb dish--so go figure.

½ onion grated (grating is key)
1.5-2 lbs ground lamb
5-7 leaves of fresh mint minced
2 eggs
2 TBS Penzys Turkish seasoning (or use salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder)
Feta (sorry guys, you will have to eyeball this, look for about a 3 meat to one part feta ratio)

Mix together and form into equal size ovals about the size of two eggs(don’t ask me why you don’t make the traditional meatball ball. I am sure it would work, it just wasn’t the way I grew up having it). I think these are best grilled; however a broiler will work in a pinch. These get dry easily (how I don’t know?) so I would really recommend a meat thermometer if you aren’t one of those few that have grilling down to an art. I would cook it to medium. Now, we always ate these with tzatziki sauce and Tabuli as a side. However it is awesome in a pita with tzatziki on it and little lettuce, tomatoes, and sliced onion. Below is how I make tzatziki

1 individual container of plain yogert
¼ cucumber grated
1 tsp minced garlic (pre-minced stuff not fresh)
½ tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Sometimes I put some feta in too, because I am a slave to all cheese, but that is your call.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Guilt Free Apple Parfait

1 medium apple
½ TBS butter
4 TBS cottage cheese
2 tsp. Sugar
1/8 cup walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon

For just under 200 calories this is a yummy treat. I originally started making it with uncooked apple which was great too. I do have to say, I like it even more with cooked apples, but try it uncooked and it will save you about 25 calories per serving. I didn’t use, low fat butter or cottage cheese, using both would of course save on calories as well.

Melt butter in a pan. While melting clean, core and cut up apple. Add to butter and cook until just soft. Add sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and mix. Remove from heat. Divide into two bowls. Add two tablespoons of cottage cheese to each bowl, mix together and eat. This would also be good, with pineapple but I would personally ditch the cinnamon, but maybe add a little coconut.

A note on the cinnamon: I use Penzeys China Cassia Cinnamon. I can’t even tell you how good it is and how much better I think it is than other cinnamon’s. In fact, I love Penzeys Spices in general. If you don’t have a store near you, check them out on line at:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Veggie Pasta Salad

1 16oz box macaroni
¼ sweet onion chopped
1 cucumber chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
¾ C. Light mayo
2 TBS lemon juice
Greek seasoning (if you don’t have use salt, pepper and a little garlic powder)
Lemon Zest
Grated parmesan

Bring water for pasta to a rumbling boil. Add pasta. I recommend adding the frozen veggies a minute or two later, however you can also just add them with the pasta if you want. While the pasta is boiling, chop onion, carrots and cucumber. Once pasta is done, drain pasta and veggies. Run cold water over until pasta is completely cool. You can throw a cup of ice in there to speed up cooling if you desire. Add pasta mixture to chopped vegetables and stir together. Add mayonnaise and lemon and mix again. Add Greek seasoning ( I personally swear by Cavender’s) and grated parmesan to taste. If you have a fresh lemon and are so inclined zest ½ of the lemon over pasta. Just a note: I use lemon a lot. I think it give things a very fresh taste. It also allows you to cut the salt a bit and still get a good salt flavor.

This is a very light side dish that would be good with any veggies really so use your favorite or what is fresh. Good tomatoes are always super. If you would like to make it more of a meal, shrimp or chicken would be good, or for you vegetarians, add a can of black beans. I haven’t tried it, but if you were to add shrimp, old bay seasoning might be a nice substitute for the Greek seasoning. Go ahead, give it a try!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tilapia with Green Tomato Tapenade

1.5-2 lbs of Tilapia
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS lemon juice
2 medium to large green tomatoes
¼ large onion
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 heaping TBS capers
Pinch basil

Dice onion and Green tomatoes. Sauté until onion translucent. Add Rotel tomatoes, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes. While tomato mixture is cooking salt and pepper tilapia. In large skillet heat olive oil. Add filets and cook until done. Remove filets from pan and place on large plate or serving platter. With burner still on add lemon to pan that fish was cooked in. Swirl lemon around pan to incorporate the remains of oil (deglaze). Poor lemon/oil mixture over fish. Remove tomato tapenade from heat spoon over fish and serve.

The tapenade is great in pasta, served as an appetizer with bread rounds or the recipe would be great if you substituted another mild fish or thin chicken breast. It’s a great way to use up your green tomatoes at the end of the season. You can also make a big batch and freeze it, and it is a nice taste of late summer when it’s cold. I do have to say, I think this is good enough; I am looking forward to summers first tomatoes that might just not get a chance to ripen!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

1 whole chickens innards removed
1 rutabaga cut into medium chucks
2 sweet potatoes cut into medium chucks
4 large carrots cut into medium chucks
1 onion cut into medium chucks
3 cups of dry white (preferably not a Chardonnay)
2 TBS flour
3 chicken bullion

Preheat oven to 450. Cut up vegetables and layer the bottom of a roasting pan. Sprinkle with the 2 TBS of flour. Pour wine over and add bullion. Sprinkle with about 1 TBS of Marjoram. Roast vegetables for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Sprinkle chicken with Salt, pepper and Marjoram. Place chicken breast down in vegetables and broth. Cover and cook until chicken is done (depends on size).

You can use any root vegetable. Parsnips and plain white potatoes would be good as would any winter squash.

Quick Pesto Spread

This is super easy and good. It would be easy to augment with the addition of sun dried tomatoes, or feta, or use goats cheese instead of cream. Just do whatever strikes you.

1 brick of cream cheese (Neufchatel is great too)
1/2 C. Pesto (pesto’s vary so you might find you want more for a really strong pesto flavor)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 c largely chopped walnuts

Let cream cheese soften. Add all the above. Mix until incorporated. Serve.

Any leftovers would be great in a stuffed chicken breast with some artichoke and feta or kalamatas.