Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts

Traditional stuffed peppers and tomatoes - Gemista

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes is a very traditional and popular summer dish in Greece while the vegetables are in season. This is also one of my favorite Greek dishes. The tomatoes are medium size, firm, ripe and juicy. The peppers are small and so tender that you don’t need to peel the skin when cooked. I have experimented with different type of peppers. There are only two types that can be stuffed; bell peppers and cubanelle peppers. Cubanelle peppers have thinner skin than the regular bell peppers. I find them the closest to the peppers I find in Greece.

My mother used to make mainly peppers and tomatoes, but the peppers were the only ones I would eat. Sometimes she’d stuff eggplants too. The eggplants in Greece are also small; what we call here in the US baby eggplant. When my mother made this dish during the summer, she made it mainly vegetarian. On occasion she’d use ground beef. The vegetarian version is with rice and different vegetables. When I make the vegetarian version, I use chopped carrots, and if I stuff zucchini or eggplant, I will incorporate the flesh in the stuffing along with herbs like parsley and dill.

There are many different versions of gemista – or yemista. My mother in law used raisins and pine nuts in the vegetarian version. The raisins give them a sweeter taste and the pine nuts some crunch.

I often make this delectable stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplant dish. Living in the US we can find these vegetables year round, (they are being shipped here from warmer climates). Sometimes I will make them vegetarian style, and other times I will use ground turkey. I usually make enough so that I can give some to my daughters. They also freeze well, especially the peppers. Tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini are best eaten first if you are planning in freezing some. You can place the uncooked stuffed peppers in a separate dish, cover them tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them. When you need them you can take them out, pour some olive oil, a little bit of tomato sauce, season and bake them in the oven. They will taste as good as the day you made them. Another option is to cook all of them, and freeze the stuffed peppers in an airtight container. When you need them, you can take them out of the freezer early in the morning, then warm them up in the oven for about ½ hour till heated through. Now you have dinner ready in minutes.

These will take an hour to prepare and about two hours to cook in the oven. But it’s worth all the effort. Enjoy them with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a slice of feta and some fresh crusty bread on the side. A glass of red wine will also go nicely.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers, Tomatoes and Baby Eggplant

Makes 13 servings about 15 oz each serving

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 lbs ground turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped eggplant (the flesh)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (the flesh)
½ cup rice
3 large tomatoes
5 cubanelle peppers
5 baby eggplants
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz diced tomatoes

Directions
Wash, clean and peel the baby eggplant (as you see in the picture).   Hollow out the eggplant and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the tomatoes. Hollow out the tomatoes and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the cubanelle peppers, cut the top, and remove the seeds. Set aside. Wash, peel and chop the onion. Set aside. Wash, peel and shred the carrots. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley and the dill. Set aside.

In a large skillet add the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the chopped onions. Sauté till lightly browned. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till cooked through. Add the carrots and the flesh from the eggplant and sauté. Add 1 cup of the diced tomato flesh. Add the 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup water and cook till the rice is slightly cooked. Add the salt and pepper. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large oven proof pan, 13x10 assemble the vegetables. Take one by one and fill with the mixture. When the pan is full and all the vegetables are stuffed, drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, the remaining cup of the chopped tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes. Add 1 can (14 oz) of water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours, uncovered, till the vegetable are tender and slightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 15.708 oz (445.3g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272
Calories from Fat 124
Total Fat 13.8g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 139mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.8g
Dietary Fiber 10.5g
Sugars 9.8g
Protein 13.8g 







Pumpkin Orange Ribbon Cake

I was looking in making a pumpkin bread or cake with some kind of cream cheese filling.  I was craving the nuttiness of a pumpkin but also the sweet and savory taste of cream cheese filling.  

As I was looking through my cookbooks (and I have tons of them) I came across a card of pumpkin ribbon bread, that if I recall correctly, came through the mail with something but I don't remember what. That was when we still lived in Canada.  I kept the recipe card because the picture  looked good.  I had never tried to make it before.  There is no  name on the card from which cookbook or cookbook author came from so I really cannot give any credit to whoever came up with the idea of a pumpkin ribbon bread.  Needless to say I tried it first as the recipe ingredients and measurements requested.  I was a bit disappointed though when the recipe asked for two loaf pans and (I did use two) but the batter and the cream cheese filling was not enough to fill the loaf pans or enough batter to cover the cream cheese filling.  However, it tasted good.  But the presentation was not so great.  So I had to try and make it again.  This time I changed the amount of the ingredients.  I used a bit more of cream cheese and went with the less fat cream cheese, I used the whole can of pumpkin pie filling instead of a cup, added a bit more orange zest in the cream cheese filling and a bit more spice in the batter.  I also used a Bundt cake pan and let it bake for 1.5 hours.  It came out moist and delicious (the original recipe being a "bread" came out quite dense and didn't look like it was cooked through for the cooking time the recipe requested).  And the cake was quite photogenic, if I say so myself .  It's a nice fall or winter cake.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 30 servings)

Cream cheese filling
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 egg
2 tsp grated orange peel

Pumpkin Batter
15 oz   cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda

Directions

For filling:
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and flour. Add the egg and orange peel. Beat well together till creamy. Set aside.

For the pumpkin batter:
Beat together the pumpkin, oil and eggs. Add the sugar, flour, salt, cloves, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix well. Grease a Bundt cake pan. Pour 1/2 of the mixture in there. Spread the cream cheese mixture and finish with the remaining batter. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle with icing sugar and decorate with orange slices.  The cake stays well in room temperature.  But after a day or two, store in in refrigerator.  Or you can store in refrigerator and decorate with icing sugar just before serving.  

I was also able to freeze part of the cake.  A few days later when I needed it, I let it defrost at room temperature, sprinkled it with icing sugar and served it.  It was still moist and tasted well.  

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (53.1 g) appr. 2 oz each serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155
Calories from Fat 67
Total Fat 7.5g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 21mg
Sodium 121mg
Potassium 44mg1%
Total Carbohydrates 21.1g
Dietary Fiber 0.7g
Sugars 14.9g
Protein 2.0g





Gluten Free Meatloaf with Middle Eastern Spices


My daughter found out that she is allergic to gluten.  Therefore, when I decided to make this meatloaf, I had to use gluten free breadcrumbs.  I used Udi's gluten free whole grain bread that I crushed in the food processor.  You can substitute regular breadcrumbs for this recipe, or any other type gluten free breadcrumbs.  I have tried it both ways and either way comes out delicious.  I served this with Sweet potato mash with paprika and chill powder  (recipe below).  Enjoy!

Makes 8 servings (approximately 4.5 oz each)

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
2 oz Udi's bread (crushed in a food processor)
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup shredded onion
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup olive oil

Peel and wash the onion. Place it in a food processor and pulse until shredded. Set aside. Clean the garlic and crush with a garlic press. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

In a blow mix together the ground turkey, the shredded onion, crushed garlic, chopped parsley, the bread crumbs, paprika, cumin, thyme, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix well. In an ovenproof pan place the meatloaf mixture and pour over the 1/2 cup olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 2 hours.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (128.2 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343
Calories from Fat 221
Total Fat 24.6g
Saturated Fat 4.7g
Cholesterol 87mg
Sodium 287mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.7g
Dietary Fiber 0.8g
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 24.4g





Greek Garlic and Bread Dip - Skordalia


Makes about 8 servings of 1 tbs per serving

2 thick slices of bread, soaked in water (about ¾ cups when all the water is strained out)

3 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp crushed)

¼ cup olive oil

2 tsp vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water for about 2 minutes. Drain the water and squeeze the bread between your hands to strain any excess water.

In a food processor, add the bread and garlic. Mix together and slowly add the ¼ cup olive oil and vinegar. Blend until mixture is smooth. Refrigerate till ready to serve.

This goes well with Fried Cod.



Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (12.5 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70
Calories from Fat 62
Total Fat 6.9g
Saturated Fat 1.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 42mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Sugars 0.2g
Protein 0.3g

Greek Style Veggie Pizza



Even though pizza is considered the ultimate Italian dish, it actually originated in ancient Greece.  Ancient Greeks used to cover flat breads with herbs, oil and cheese.  Later on, during Byzantine time, they called it “pita” meaning pie.  And the Romans topped their pizza dough with honey, bay leaves and cheese.  Everyone will argue of where the pizza came from.  Greeks can argue that it is their own invention.  Italians can argue that it originated in their country. In fact, the pizza that we eat today has originated in Italy.  Naples to be precise.  Which leads us to believe that it originated from Greeks, since the city of Naples (Neapolis in Greek) was founded by the Greeks.

During the early 1900’s pizza was introduced to Americans.  Even though pizza was originally Greek, it took a few centuries for Greeks to eat the Italian version of pizza.  When I first had pizza in Greece, many, many years ago, I was not too impressed.  I actually thought that I’d never have pizza again.  But when I tried the American style pizza I was hooked. 

As with everything else, that has progressed, so has the pizza and its toppings.  Traditional pizzas have the basic tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, but that’s not quite the norm any more.  We can have stuffed crust pizza, deep-dish pizza, thin crust, round and square shape, toppings like pineapple and anchovies, or Cajun chicken and pork sausage.  As with everything else in my Greek Fusion cuisine, I had to incorporate something Greek, Italian and American to my pizza.  I give you a Thin Crust Vegetarian Pizza, with roma tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach, and of course mozzarella and feta cheese.  It turned out delicious and quite easy to do. 

Enjoy!


Pizza dough from scratch


This will make two (2) 14 inch pizzas

1 packet dry active yeast

1 ¼ cups warm water

Pinch of sugar

1 tsp salt

4 cups flour

2 tbsp olive oil

In 1 ¼ cups warm water dissolve the dry yeast. Add the sugar. Stir till well blended and let it stand for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, sift the flour and the salt together. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. With an electric mixer that has a dough hook begin blending the yeast/water mixture into the flour mixture. Add the olive oil. Continue beating until the dough is firm and has absorbed all the liquid. You will know that the dough is ready when it pulls away from the bowl.

On a slightly floured surface, begin kneading the dough for about 10-15 minutes, till the dough is smooth, elastic and springy when trying to pull. Put it in a floured bowl and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ - 2 hours. This will make two (2) 14 inch pizza’s. (You can freeze 1/2 the dough before letting it rise. It will last for about 1 month in the freezer).

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving(34.8g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 87
Calories from Fat 12
Total Fat 1.3g
Saturated Fat 0.2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 98mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.6g
Sugars 0.1g
Protein 2.2g

Toppings for Greek style vegetarian pizza from scratch - these ingredients are for one (1) 14" pizza 

12 servings – this will make one (1) 14-inch pizza

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp oregano

1 cup shredded mozzarella

4 roma tomatoes sliced (about 1 cup)

¼ cup red onion thinly sliced

1 small can (4 oz) mushrooms

1 cup artichoke hearts quartered (packed in oil or frozen)

1 cup spinach, washed and roughly chopped

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a 15 inch pizza stone. You can use any 14-15 inch round pizza pan.

Preparing the ingredients:

Wash, pat dry and roughly chop the spinach. Set aside. Shred the mozzarella; set aside. Slice the roma tomatoes and set aside. Thinly slice the red onion. If you are using frozen artichoke hearts, make sure they are defrosted and warmed up by heating them in a little bit of water in the microwave. Crumble the feta cheese and set aside.

Roll out the dough to a round shape. No need to use any flour. The dough will be elastic and will stretch to the round shape. If you are using a pizza stone, make sure that it’s already preheated in the oven. If you are using a pizza pan, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it for a pizza. Some might have a coating on it, and there is no need to brush the pan with oil. If not you might need to, so that the pizza won’t stick to it while baking.

Assemble the pizza:

Brush the pizza dough with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the oregano. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Spread the roma tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, artichokes, spinach and the crumbled feta on top.
The pizza assembled before it goes in the oven 

 Return to oven and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about half ( ½ ) hour or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting it. 

  The pizza hot out of the oven

Nutrition Facts 

Serving Size 1serving(62.5 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70
Calories from Fat 41          
Total Fat 4.5g
Saturated Fat 2.3g
Cholesterol 11mg
Sodium 141mg
Total Carbohydrates 3.8g
Dietary Fiber 1.4g
Sugars 1.1g
Protein 4.5g

Note: The Nutrition facts are separate for the dough and separate for the toppings.  

Enjoy!!!!



Hummus with Sun-dried tomatoes and Sour dough bread toasts


Hummus is not very popular in Greece.  It originated in the Middle East, but more and more restaurants in Greece begin to offer hummus as an appetizer dish.  Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are popular in Greece, but they are used mostly for soups or mixed with cooked rice.  On the other hand, tahini or sesame paste, can be found in Greece.  (Greek tahini is even exported in the US.  On occasion, I will find it in the whole food stores).  From what I remember from my grandmother, tahini was sometimes used to sooth stomach ulcers or upset stomach.  I am not quite sure of its medicinal powers but for someone to eat it just plain has to acquire quite a taste. 

I think tahini (sesame paste) tastes better when it is mixed with chickpeas, garlic and lemon juice.  Thus, I give you my variation of hummus with sun-dried tomatoes.  

Enjoy!!!

Hummus with Sun Dried Tomatoes           

Forty Five (45) servings approximately (about 2 tbsp per serving)

2 cans-15 oz each chickpeas
1 tsp garlic (about 2 cloves garlic) crushed or chopped
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
6 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)*
1 cup reserved juice from the chickpeas (there will be about 1 ½ cups liquid from the canned chickpeas) or you can substitute 1 cup of water. 
½ cup lemon juice (about 1 and ½ lemons)
¼ cup olive oil

Drain and rinse the chickpeas reserving the liquid.

In a food processor, or blender, pulverize (grind) together the chickpeas, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and tahini.  Add one (1) cup of the reserved liquid from the chickpeas while blending.  Add the lemon juice alternating with the olive oil while blending.  It should come to a thick consistency.  If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more of the reserved liquid from the canned chickpeas.  Garnish the hummus with sun dried tomato pieces and a drizzle of olive oil (per picture).  You can serve right away, or refrigerate and serve later, with sour dough and rosemary toasts or vegetables. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size                                                     1 serving(30.8g) (approximately 2 tbsp)
Amount Per Serving
            Calories                                                            47
Calories from Fat                                                          23                    % Daily Value*
Total Fat                                                                       2.6g                             4%
Saturated Fat                                                               0.4g                             2%
Cholesterol                                                                   0mg                             0%
Sodium                                                                         61mg                           3%
Total Carbohydrates                                                     5.1g                             2%
Dietary Fiber                                                                 1.1g                             4%
Sugars                                                                         0.1g
Protein                                                                         1.3g

*Tahini or sesame paste can be found in any whole foods stores and even supermarkets.









Sour dough bread with olive oil and rosemary toasts                                                              

Fourteen (14) pieces

3 slices of a day old sour dough bread cut in quarters (I was able to loosely fill a 4-cup measuring cup)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary (crush the rosemary between your fingers to break up the pieces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the bread into quarters (it depends how big the slices are.  My bread was a sour dough bowl bread.  Since the slices were quite large, I was able to use just 3 slices and make about 14 pieces). 

Put the pieces on a cooking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle with the crushed dried rosemary.  Place on the top rack in a 400 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven and bake until golden brown.  By turning the oven to 400 degrees instead of broiling, both sides of the bread will toast to a golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and serve with hummus.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size                                                     1serving(9.5g)
Amount Per Serving
                        Calories                                               52
Calories from Fat                                                          37                    % Daily Value*
Total Fat                                                                       4.1g                 6%
Saturated Fat                                                               0.5g                 3%
Cholesterol                                                                   0mg                 0%
Sodium                                                                         29mg               1%
Total Carbohydrates                                                     3.5g                 1%
Dietary Fiber                                                                 0.3g                 1%
Sugars                                                                         0.2g
Protein                                                                         0.4g