‘Mediterranean Style’

Hummus

 

 

Yields 2 cups

 

2 (15 oz) cans chick peas

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 Tbsp Tahini Paste*

1 tsp salt

 

Drain the chick peas, discarding the liquid. Place all ingredients in a blender (or beaker for an immersion blender) and blend to a smooth paste.

Hummus Prep

 

Serve with toasted pita bread.

 

Pita bread

Olive oil

Provence herbs or Italian herbs blend

Cut the pita bread into wedges. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs. Toast under the broiler for a few minutes.

 

* For super easy hummus, substitute 1½ teaspoons of pure sesame oil instead of tahini paste. It is not as tasty as the homemade tahini paste, but it works in a pinch.

Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew

 

 

Serves 4

½ cup dry barley

½ tsp salt

Water

Place in a saucepan, rinse with water to wash away any ‘floaters’ or debris. Cover with 2” of water. Add salt. Bring to a boil. Tilt the lid and simmer gently over medium heat for 45-60 minutes. Add water if needed.

 

2 cups dry lentils

8 cups water

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

 

Place in a medium pot, rinse with water to wash away any ‘floaters’ or debris. Add water, salt & pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. Tilt the lid and simmer gently over low heat for 20-30 minutes.

 

2 medium potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes       (I prefer the light yellow sweet potatoes, but the orange are fine.)

1 tsp salt

Bowl of water

 

While the barley & lentils cook, peel and chop the potatoes into 1” pieces. Place them immediately into a bowl of cold water with the salt. This keeps them from turning brown. Set aside.

 

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet onion

6 stalks celery

3 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp Provence herbs

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Pour the olive oil into a large soup pot. Chop the onion and celery into ½” pieces. Crush the garlic cloves, peel and chop. Add to pot with spices. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

 

½ gram Spanish saffron (or more to taste)

3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

 

Drain the sweet potatoes and add to the stew along with the saffron and 3 cups broth. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Remove about 2 cups of the vegetables and mash or process with a mixer to form a paste. Return the paste to the pot to thicken the stew.

 

 

When the barley is tender, drain and add to the stew. Add more broth if desired.

 

12 stalks asparagus

Chop the asparagus into 1” pieces and steam for 10 minutes or so until crisp tender. If you are not serving immediately, rinse in cold water to cool, and reheat later.

 

 

Serve the stew in a shallow bowl along side the lentils. Top with asparagus.

 

Optional:

Spicy Sautéed Shrimp

 

Prepare the shrimp (click for recipe) and serve in the same bowl as the stew.

 

I suggest serving the stew with warm pita bread, hummus and olive tapanade.

 

I was craving saffron-infused paella and did not have all of the ingredients, so I invented this dish. I am sure it is not authentic Moroccan, but it is what I imagine Moroccan to be!

Spicy Shrimp

 Spicy Shrimp

 

Serves 6-8

2 lb frozen raw shrimp

 (Look for large, deveined or cleaned shrimp in the shell, 16-20 per pound)  

Remove the frozen shrimp from the package and place in a bowl of cool water to thaw for 30 minutes. Peel the shrimp and place in a colander to drain. Leave the tails intact or remove if you prefer.

 

3 cloves garlic

¼ cup olive oil

4 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp Frank’s Red Hot sauce

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp Provence or Italian herb Mix

½ tsp salt

Grated black pepper

  

Mince or finely chop the garlic.

 

Heat the oil, butter and garlic in a sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Add the seasonings. 

 

Carefully add the shrimp, protecting yourself with a splatter screen. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon and cook for 4-5 minutes, just until the shrimp becomes pinkish-white and opaque.

1 fresh lime

 

Remove from the heat and squeeze the lime juice over top.

 

For an appetizer, serve on a bed of crisp Romaine lettuce leaves.

 

For a main dish, serve on top of rice or pasta.

Thinking of Bing Crosby? No wonder… Christmas Eve dinner starts with this shrimp appetizer at our house.

Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapanade 

1 jar (12 oz) green olives stuffed with pimento

1 jar (8 oz) Kalamata olives, pitted

1 can (15 oz) black olives, pitted

1 jar (4 oz) tiny capers

2 cloves garlic

½ tsp salt

1 tsp Provence herbs or Italian herb mix

¼ cup olive oil

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)

  

Drain the olives and capers well. Mince or finely chop the fresh garlic.

Blend everything together in a salsa chopper or blender using the pulse mode.  Don’t over-blend; try for 1/8” bits.    

Serve with warm Herbed Flat Bread or garlic toast.

Red Peppers!

Red Peppers  Red Peppers with Spicy Shrimp 

 

Serves 8

Oven 400 F

1 (6 oz) pkg Uncle Bens Original Long Grain & Wild Rice

Prepare as directed. Start the rice first and it will be ready when you need it.

 

4 large red bell peppers

3 Tbsp olive oil

   

Cut the peppers in half, cut through the stem, leaving the stem intact. Remove the seeds and membrane. Wash and drain on paper towels. Arrange the halves in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Roll the peppers over in the oil to coat. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 425 F. Cool slightly.

 

12 fresh mushrooms

1 large onion

4 stalks celery

2 cloves garlic

 

Wash and slice the mushrooms. Dice the onion and celery fine to ¼” bits. Mince or chop the garlic. Set aside.

½ cup pine nuts

Olive oil

 

Pour olive oil to cover a large sauté pan. Heat to medium high. Quickly fry the pine nuts, stirring constantly until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Set aside.

 

1 Tbsp dried herbs – Provence mix or Italian mix

 

Return the pan with oil to the stove. Add herbs, onions and celery. Cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook 2 minutes.

 

2 cups fresh chopped spinach or 1 small box frozen spinach, thawed

 

1 tsp Frank’s Red Hot sauce

Salt & pepper

 If desired:

I-2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

or

1-2 cups raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined

 

Add additional oil if needed. Add spinach, cooked rice, hot sauce, salt & pepper. Stir and add more hot sauce to taste.   Mix in meat or shrimp or both if desired. (This is a great way to use left-over turkey!) 

Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture. Cover loosely with foil. Return to the oven and bake 30 minutes at 400 F. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle the stuffed red peppers with the pine nuts.

 

I created (or I should say imitated) this dish after many samplings of the signature stuffed peppers at the Red Peppers Café in Esher, England.