Showing posts with label butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label butter. Show all posts

Greek Easter Cookies-Koulourakia Me Lemoni-Butter Lemon Cookies

These are very traditional Greek Easter cookies. They are similar to the ones that I posted before, Koulourkakia Portokaliou-Greek Easter Cookies
but this time I didn't have oranges, since our Easter is in May, so I improvised and used lemon rind. They came out tasting delicious. They are great with coffee and also good after that big Easter meal of lamb and potatoes, and tzatziki, (you will find the post here Smyrneika Soutzoukakia in Domatosaltsa - Sausages from Smyrna in Tomato Sauce and as appetizers with Tzatziki sauce) and Spinach Cheese pie (Spanakotyropita).

Kalo Pascha!

Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 36 servings)

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups white flour
1/4 cup white flour for kneading
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. milk
Sesame seeds (about 2 tbsp.)

Directions

Bring the butter to room temperature. Don’t melt it in the microwave or over the stove. For the butter cookies to come out well and be pliable the butter has to be room temperature.
Shift the flour with the baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
In in mixer add the butter and the sugar and beat well together till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the lemon rind and vanilla and beat well. Slowly add the flour, and beat well. The dough should be pliable in your hands. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean surface. Sprinkle some of the ¼ cup flour on your hands and the kneading surface and knead the dough adding flour as needed till it doesn’t stick to your hands. Refrigerate for 30 minutes for the dough to rest. Cut a small piece of the dough and roll it out with your hands into a long rope. Twist the dough by bending it at the half point and bring the one end over the other until it forms a twist. Place them in a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Brush them with the beaten milk/egg yolk mixture and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.
Bake at 375 degree oven for 20 minutes till golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. You can put them in an airtight container to keep them soft and crumbly. They can last up to 3 months.

Note: you can shape these cookies into any shape you like. Rounds, ovals or twists. Twists are very common shapes in Greek Cookies.

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 serving (34.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 138
Calories from Fat 51
Total Fat 5.7g
Saturated Fat 3.4g
Cholesterol 33mg
Sodium 42mg
Potassium 66mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.9g
Dietary Fiber 0.4g
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 2.1g




Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust

It's fall again, and time for pumpkins and fall dishes and desserts. This is a pumpkin cheesecake that I've been making for the last few years. I wanted to get that baked type cheesecake that you get at a restaurant, like a New York style cheesecake. So I've been playing around with a few recipes and came up with this one. The difference is that I didn't use graham crackers for the crust. I used Anna's Swedish almond thin cookies since they have no soy in them. As for the gluten free version, I took the leftover cheesecake batter, placed in ramekins without a crust and baked them in the oven along with the cheesecake. Since my daughter is gluten free she was able to enjoy the cheesecake without having to worry about gluten. It's a delicious dessert and can be enjoyed during this time of the year. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 18 servings = 4.2oz each serving)

5 ¼ oz Anna's almond thin cookies crushed (about 1.5 cups)
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter
16 oz. cream cheese
16 oz one third less fat cream cheese (cream cheese that has 1/3 less fat)
1 ¼ cups sugar
16 oz canned pumpkin
½-cup sour cream
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

Directions

Crust:
Crush the box of Anna's almond thin cookies. It will make 1 and 1/2 cups.
Melt the butter. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the crushed cookies along with the butter. Mix together and press into a 9" spring form pan. Refrigerate.

Filling:
At room temperature mix together the regular cream cheese with the 1/3 less fat cream cheese and the sugar. Mix till well blended. Add the canned pumpkin packed solid, the sour cream, the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Mix well together. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Pour into the 9" spring form pan and the rest into 9 ramekins without crust. Place the 9" spring form pan into a 350°F preheated oven. Place the 9 ramekins into a baking sheet that's 1/4 filled with lukewarm water. Place those in the oven too. Bake the 9" spring form pan for 1 hour and 30 minutes and the ramekins for 1 hour and 15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Some oven temperatures vary so it's best to use the toothpick method as a guide. Remove from the oven and let them cool before serving.

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 serving (117.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 294
Calories from Fat 180
Total Fat 20.0g
Saturated Fat 12.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 263mg
Potassium 107mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 19.0g
Protein 5.6g

Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust
 Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust and Dream whip cream 


 Gluten free cheesecake baked in ramekins
Gluten free cheesecake in ramekin sprinkled with icing sugar

Koulourkakia Portokaliou-Greek Easter Cookies


Koulourakia Portokaliou - Greek Easter cookies

These cookies are a very traditional treat for Greek Easter. But they are also good for any other occasion or even year round. In Greece while I was growing up, these cookies were only made during Easter to be eaten on Greek Easter Sunday and for the next 50 days until Holy Pentecost. Nowadays, the bakeries in Greece, sell these cookies year round and the locals buy them to offer them to company with an afternoon coffee.

I used to have these cookies for breakfast, dipping them in my milk, while I was growing up in Greece. They usually went quite fast. All of us in my family loved these cookies, and on occasion, my mother would have to bake another batch to offer to visitors while they came over for coffee.

I continue this tradition in my family as much as I can, making them during Greek Easter. They last for about 3 months, but in most cases, they are gone before the time is up. They are called Koulourakia portokaliou (pronounced = koo-loo-rάhk-yah por-toh-kahl-yoo) =  cookies with orange.

Enjoy!


Makes 82 servings (approximately 0.5oz each)

½ lbs. butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
¼.cup orange juice
1 tbsp. baking powder
4 ¼ cups flour (keep the ¼ cup for kneading)
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. water
¼ cup slivered, raw almonds chopped

Bring the butter at room temperature. Don't melt it in the microwave or over the stove. For the cookies to come out well and be pliable, the butter needs to be at room temperature.

Save ¼ cup of the flour for kneading the dough later. Sift the rest of the flour with the baking powder.

In a stand-alone mixer, beat together the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well together. Add the orange rind and the orange juice. Beat well together. Add the flour and beat well. The dough will be a bit sticky. Remove it from the bowl and flour a clean surface with a little bit of the ¼ cup flour. Knead the dough with the remaining flour until the dough doesn't stick to your hands. Place the dough in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Butter the cookie sheets with the 2 tbsp. butter. When the dough is cool, take about 1 inch balls with your fingers, and roll it out into a strand, fold it in half and twist it. Continue until all the dough is done. Mix together the egg yolk and water and brush the cookies. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Bake at 375 degree oven for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container. They can last up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (16.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 63
Calories from Fat 27
Total Fat 3.0g
Saturated Fat 1.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 21mg
Potassium 32mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.3g
Dietary Fiber 0.2g
Sugars 3.2g
Protein 1.0g





Gluten Free Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Almond Chocolate Crust and Chocolate Mousse topping

I made this cheesecake at Christmas time. Since my daughter has to have gluten free food, and I can't have any soy products (they are usually in graham crackers/crumbs) I decided to come up with something different that will be tasteful and we can all have. In Greek cuisine there are quite a few cakes and cookies that are made with ground almonds; like my almond macaroons (Gluten Free Greek Almond Macaroons - Ergolavi) and the Greek almond cookies (Kourabiedes or Greek Almond Cookies in Icing sugar). So I thought: "why don't I try to make the crust from ground almonds." And honestly the texture turned out like any other crust I might have used, but more tasteful. The cake came out delicious, rich and creamy and very decadent. It tasted like the ones you have at Cheesecake Factory, but healthier and with a lot less calories. I also made a chocolate whip topping to spread on top of the cheesecake. That is absolutely optional. But the topping came out so thick and velvety that I couldn't resit. It's a perfect cake to make for your honey this Valentine Day. Enjoy!

Makes 18 servings (about 3oz each serving)

Ingredients for almond chocolate crust:
1 ½ cups ground almonds
2 tbsp. butter
1 oz. Baker's chocolate
¼-cup sugar

Ingredients for the cake:
16 oz. cream cheese
¾-cup sugar
½-cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz. Baker's chocolate
½-cup sugar

Directions for the crust:

Melt the 1oz Baker's chocolate over a double boiler. In the meantime, pulverize the ground almonds as fine as you can get them in a food processor. Melt the butter. In a bowl, mix together the ground almonds, sugar, and melted chocolate. With a pastry blender, mix the crumbly mixture together. The chocolate will harden as soon as you pour it in the almond mixture. With the pastry blender you will be able to evenly spread the chocolate. Like making a pie crust. Add the melted butter and mix well together. In a 9" spring form pan, spread the ground almond/chocolate/sugar/butter mixture evenly. Set aside.

Directions for the cake:
Melt the 6 oz Baker's chocolate over a double boiler along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Stir continuously till completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, remove the double boiler from the hot element, and let the chocolate sit over the hot water, while you are mixing the cream cheese mixture.

In a mixing bowl, beat the 16 oz (2-8oz packages) of cream cheese till soft. Add the 3/4 cup sugar and mix well. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and 1tsp vanilla. Mix well together. Add the 4 eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Separate the cheese mixture in half. In the one-half add the melted chocolate/sugar mixture and mix well together.

Pour the chocolate mixture  in the pan over the almond crust and spread evenly (the chocolate mixture will be thick in comparison to the cheese mixture). Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. With a knife swirl around in the pan, till you see a bit of the chocolate mixture to the top. (You can omit the step altogether, if you’d like. I ended up making a chocolate whip topping so the swirl really didn’t show).

Bake at 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, till the top is firm to the touch.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (78.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 290
Calories from Fat 196
Total Fat 21.8g
Saturated Fat 11.3g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 70mg
Sodium 101mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.6g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 17.2g
Protein 6.6g

The almond crust with the pastry blender
The crust in the springform pan
The cheesecake out of the oven

Chocolate Mousse

Makes 18 servings (about 2 tbsp.)

Ingredients

6 oz baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 envelope Whipped Topping Mix (like Dream Whip)
1 cup skim milk
6 heaping tbsp. icing sugar

Directions

Melt the unsweetened chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat. In a bowl whip together the envelope of whip topping with the icing sugar and the 1 cup skim milk. Add the melted chocolate gradually. Beat well together. Spread over cheesecake, or use as  icing for any other cake.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (25.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62
Calories from Fat 42
Total Fat 4.7g
Saturated Fat 3.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 6mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 3.4g
Protein 1.8g

Note:  I was able to freeze this cake with the chocolate whip topping.  And when I took it out it still tasted as if I had just made it.  


Covered with the chocolate mousse


You can see the layers of the almond crust, chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake and chocolate mousse. This picture and the one below, were taken after I froze the cake for about a month and took it out.  I let it defrost in the fridge overnight.  

Truly decadent and delicious. 
Enjoy!

Greek Almond Macaroons - Ergolavi or Amygdalota Gluten-free

You can find these cookies at the sweet shops all over Greece. I always loved them, and wanted to make them. Since I can't find them in North America, the closest recipe I came up with, tasting anything close to these cookies, were the coconut macaroons that I used to make every Christmas while we were in Canada. When a neighbor in Greece told me that the only thing these cookies needed were some egg whites, ground almonds and sugar, ...well then, I had to try to make them on my own. With a little of experimentation I perfected the recipe ingredients and here they are: the Greek Almond Cookies or Ergolavi (I have no idea where the name "Ergolavi" came from, and I don't think anyone in Greece does either*) or Amygdalota (meaning made from almonds) as they are called in Greece. They are easy to make and they are gluten free. Enjoy!

Makes 27 servings approximately 1.2 oz each

3 cups finely ground almonds - pulverized
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 egg whites
½ tsp vanilla
1¼ cup slivered almonds

Melted butter for the cookie sheets and the palms of your hands to roll the cookies -- about 6 tbsp.

Beat the egg whites with the sugar. Add the pulverized ground almonds, and vanilla. Mix well together. Grease 2 cookie sheets generously with butter. Also, grease your palms with butter while shaping the cookies. Shape them into 1 1/4" balls. Roll in slivered almonds. Place on cookie sheet far apart. Cookies will spread.

Before they go in the oven

Bake at 325° F oven for 20-25 minutes till the edges are brown and they are firm to the touch. Remove from the oven. Let them cool before removing them from the pan, and place them in an airtight container or they will dry out.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1.097 oz (31.1g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134
Calories from Fat 67
Total Fat 7.4g
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 6mg
Total Carbohydrates 15.6g
Dietary Fiber 1.8g
Sugars 13.0g
Protein 3.6g

Ready to serve!  Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


*Note: If anyone looking at my website knows where the name "Ergolavi" has come from, please feel free to email me or put it in the comments below.



If you try this recipe and like it please comment below. If you like what you see on this blog, feel free to follow it and share with your friends.  If you have any questions post them in the comments box.



Gluten free Oatmeal Cookies with Craisins and Walnuts

As the holidays are upon us, we rush to finish our Christmas shopping and our baking. When a big snowstorm hits us, we await anxiously for it to pass so that we can finish our shopping. Some of us welcome the onset of a snowstorm that might leave us home-bound. On those days, we take out our baking pans and begin experimenting on recipes. That’s how I came up with this Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie recipe. I had this recipe in my files along with some of my other old recipes that I have kept over the years. This time I wanted to try making them with gluten free flour. I substituted regular flour with King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour. I added dried cranberries (craisins) and chopped walnuts. The cookies turned out full of flavor, chewy and crunchy. They go well with coffee or tea during an afternoon break, or as a morning treat. Enjoy!

Gluten free Oatmeal Cookies with Craisins and Walnuts

Makes 30 servings approximately 1.4 oz each

½ cup butter + 6 tbsp. butter melted
½ cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups Quaker oats old fashioned (the ones you cook)
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt the butter. Combine the butter with the sugars in a bowl till creamy. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat well. Combine the gluten free all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Add to the mix and blend well. Add the oatmeal, the craisins, and the walnuts. Blend well together.

In a greased cookie sheet or lined with wax paper cookie sheet, drop the dough by 1 tablespoon. I used an ice cream scooper. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes till the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and wait to cool before removing from the pan.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (40.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 166
Calories from Fat 78
Total Fat 8.7g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 124mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.7g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 7.2g
Protein 3.1g






Sweet potato mash with paprika and chill powder


I made this dish to accompany the Gluten Free Meatloaf with Middle Eastern Spices below.

Makes 6 servings (approximately 7 oz)

2 1/4 lbs sweet potatoes
1/2 cup skim milk
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Peel and wash the sweet potatoes. Cut them in quarters and place them in a pot with water to boil. Or microwave them in a microwave bowl with water. When soft drain the potatoes and mash them with a potato masher. Add the butter, the milk and the spices. Blend well and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (198.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263
Calories from Fat 58
Total Fat 6.5g
Saturated Fat 4.0g
Cholesterol 17mg
Sodium 261mg
Total Carbohydrates 48.7g
Dietary Fiber 7.2g
Sugars 1.9g
Protein 3.4g




Kourabiedes or Greek Almond Cookies in Icing sugar

During the Christmas holidays in Greece, my mother used to make these traditional Greek cookies called Kourabiedes drenched in icing sugar. I used to love these cookies growing up. The only problem was that you had to have a plate to eat them otherwise the icing sugar will be all over your clothes or on the floor. I used to sneak in the dining room where my mother kept the kourabiedes on a glass tray to just sample one, but I had to make sure that I didn’t drop any of the icing sugar on the floor or I’d be in trouble. Kourabiedes are very customary cookies to make during Christmas in Greece. Over the years I began making these icing sugar drenched delights for my own family traditions.  Enjoy!

Kourabiedes Greek Almond Cookies in Icing sugar      

Makes 64 cookies (approximately 1oz each)

1 lbs unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup ground almonds, toasted
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
3.5 - 4 cups flours (keep the 1/4  -1/2 cups separate)
4 cups icing sugar or as much or less as it takes


In a nonstick frying pan toast the ground almonds with ¼ tsp. of the icing sugar. Toast it for about 5 minutes but do not let it brown. Remove from heat and let it cool.

With an electric mixer beat the butter till soft. Add the icing sugar while continue beating. Add the egg yolks, the vanilla, the baking powder, the whiskey and the cooled ground almonds, while beating continuously. Gradually add the flour and beat well. Turn the mixer off. With your hands knead the dough lightly. Pour a little bit of the 1/4 cup flour on your hands so the dough won’t stick to your hands. Keep kneading the dough by adding the 1/4 cup flour over your hands, till done. Add more flour as needed. When the dough pulls away from the bowl stop kneading.   The dough will be sticky.  If it's too sticky, place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes so it will be easy to form the cookies.

Take about a spoonful of the dough and roll it between your hands into 1'' ball. Shape them into 1/2 moons or ovals or rounds. Place them in an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them in a preheated 350° oven for 18-20 minutes. The cookies shouldn't brown. They should be almost white on top. When the edges become lightly browned take them out of the oven. 

While still warm, place them in a bowl that’s filled with the icing sugar. Coat them well with the icing sugar and place them in a platter. Shift the remaining icing sugar on top. You will have extra icing sugar left over. You can use it as you serve the cookies to freshen them up.  You can drench them in icing sugar or dip them in melted chocolate. Either tastes equally good. The Greek way is with icing sugar.

Nutrition Facts 
Serving Size 0.878 oz (24.9g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119
Calories from Fat 60
Total Fat 6.7g
 Saturated Fat 3.8g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 41mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.7g
Dietary Fiber 0.4g
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 1.1g



Right out of the oven


 
Drenched in icing sugar


  
Or half dipped in chocolate!




Merry Christmas! Enjoy!


Cherry Cheesecake with Almond thin cookies for crust

I’ve been making this cheesecake for the past 35 years. It’s a Canadian recipe that I used to use. Both my daughters love this cheesecake. It’s light, easy to make and needs no baking. The original recipe asks for graham crackers crust. I found out though that graham crackers have soybean oil and since I am trying to stay away from any foods that contain soy, I experimented with a different crust. I found these almond thins at the European section of our local market. They are called Anna’s almond thins and they are Swedish.

 They contain no soy or any hydrogenated products (I used only one box).  This is a great desert to take to pot luck dinners or holiday parties. Enjoy!

 Cherry Cheesecake with Almond thin cookies for crust

Makes 35 pieces (approximately 2.4 oz each)

Crust:
1.5 cups crushed almond thin cookies
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp sugar


Filling:
1 – 8 oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup Realemon Lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla


Topping:
1 – 21 oz can cherry pie filling

Preparation: 
For the crust, crush the cookies by placing them in a ziplog bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. In a 12x7.5 pyrex pan pour the crushed cookies, add the melted butter and the sugar. Mix well and pat it at the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate.

For the filling: in a bowl put the cream cheese and beat with an electric beater. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk while beating. Add the lemon juice and the vanilla and continue beating till light and fluffy. Take the crust out of the refrigerator and pour the filling in. Smooth the top and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. It chills quite fast, but overnight will chill it quite firmly.  

When chilled pour the cherry pie filling on top and serve. You can cut it into individual pieces and then top with the cherry pie filling. 

Note 1: The above ingredients will also accommodate a 9” pie plate
Note 2: You can substitute the almond thins with graham cracker crust or nila wafers crushed. They are both equally good.  
Note 3: For topping, you can substitute blueberry or strawberry pie filling. They both taste good.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (66.6 g)
Amount Per Serving 
Calories 233
Calories from Fat 82
Total Fat 9.1g
Saturated Fat 5.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 30mg
Sodium 218mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.6g
Dietary Fiber 0.6g
Sugars 19.5g
Protein 4.5g


If you try this recipe and like it, please comment below.  If you like what you see on this blog, please feel free to follow it. Thank you.



Salmon with Lemon Artichoke and Capers Sauce

Salmon is such a great fish which is a shame to actually cover it with any type of sauces.  But I got tired of eating grilled salmon all the time so I thought I'd try it with this lemon caper sauce that I sort of came up with a few years ago.  Back then, I used flour.  More like a basic white sauce but with lemon juice.  Over the years, I experimented making it with cornstarch, which takes a lot less time for the sauce to thicken than making it with flour.  It's a great sauce to pour over grilled chicken or any other type of fish.  Another time I baked some tilapia fillets in the same sauce in the oven, but without the cornstarch.  That recipe  in another Greek Fusion Cuisine Blog post.  This is a quick and easy recipe to make if you are crunched for time, or to make on a weekday after work.  Within an hour I had dinner on the table. 


Makes approximately 6-8 servings depending on how big you want your serving. 6 servings are approximately 8 oz each. The Nutritional information below is for 6 servings at approximately 8oz each.

1.5 lbs salmon fillet
 2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 lemon slices

Preheat oven to 500° F. (Broil) Put a grill pan – big enough to fit the salmon fillet- in the oven to get hot. When hot remove from the oven and brush with the one-tablespoon olive oil. 



 In the meantime, wash and pat dry the salmon. Put the salmon, skin side down on the pan and brush with the remaining olive oil.  Top the salmon with the lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the pan back in the oven and broil for 8-10 minutes.  

Lemon Caper sauce with Artichoke hearts
¾ cup chicken stock
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
2 cups artichoke hearts quartered (from a jar will do fine)
1 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup water
1.5 tbsp butter
2 tsp capers
Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce-pan add the chicken stock, lemon juice and artichoke hearts. Heat through. Dilute the cornstarch in the ¼ cup water and add to the sauce stirring till slightly thickened. Turn the heat off. Add the butter and stir till the butter is melted.  Add the capers.   Remove the salmon from the grill pan and place in a serving platter.  Pour the lemon-artichoke-caper sauce on top.  Serve over hot rice   


 Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (255.1 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 345
Total Fat 21.8g
Saturated Fat 5.4g
Cholesterol 79mg
Sodium 285mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.6g
Dietary Fiber 4.3g
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 27.8g

Eggplant and Penne with Bechamel Sauce - Greek Style

This is my version of moussaka.  Instead of layering the eggplant with the meat sauce, I decided to do a vegetarian version.  I took the eggplant and made a tomato base sauce with it.  Instead of the eggplant as the base of this dish (the layering), I used penne pasta.  Covered it with the bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked it in the oven.  It came out delicious.  

This could be quite an intimidating dish to make for the novice cook.  It's not that difficult, but one needs to be organized.  You can start by having all the ingredients on hand, before you even begin to make this dish.  Once all the ingredients are ready, you start making it without any difficulty following the instructions.  This dish takes me about two hours to make from start to finish.  An hour to prepare the sauce and assemble and an hour in the oven.  But I do have a couple of the elements on my stove burning at the same time.  While the sauce is simmering I boil the pasta.  Once the pasta is done and the sauce is almost there, I drain the pasta and begin on the bechamel sauce.  I pay full attention to the bechamel sauce.  I want it to be perfect without any lumps.  In the meantime, the sauce is off the hot stove and the pasta has drained well.  When the bechamel sauce is done, I begin the assembly.  And from there it's just baking it in the oven... and the one thing that all of us don't like to do, is washing and cleaning up all the pots and pans.  In the end, though, you have a wonderfully tasting good dish.  Serve it with a romaine lettuce salad, or a spinach salad.  it actually tastes good the next day too and packs well as lunch for work or school.  Just reheat in the microwave.    


Enjoy!!!   


Eggplant and Penne with Bechamel Sauce Greek Style         

Eight (8) servings (approximately 13 oz/per serving)

½ cup olive oil + 1/3 cup olive oil for the tomato sauce
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 cups diced eggplant
½ cup parsley
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 14.5 oz box of multi grain penne

Peel the eggplant, in stripes (1).  Rinse under cold water, pat it dry and dice it.  In a heavy saucepan, over high heat, add the ½ cup of olive oil.  Add the chopped onion and chopped garlic.  Sauté, until transparent.  Add the diced eggplant.  The eggplant will absorb all the oil.  Sauté until the eggplant is moistened with the oil (look at the picture below)  



Add the fresh-diced tomatoes, the chopped parsley, the canned diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and the extra 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Add the salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until the eggplant is tender but not mushy (approximately 30-40 minutes) (See picture below).  Remove from heat. 



In the meantime, bring a big pot of water to a boil.  Add salt, if you prefer in the water (2), and then add the pasta (penne).  Cook according to the package directions.  When cooked, remove from heat, drain and rinse under cold water, if you added salt.  The rinsing will rinse the extra salt off the pasta but without leaving it bland.  Set aside.

Bechamel Sauce (White Sauce)
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I buy the part skim milk/low moisture mozzarella)

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt the 4 tbsp. butter.  Add the 4 tbsp. flour stirring constantly.  Gradually add the 2 cups of milk stirring constantly with a whisk.  Lower the heat to low and continue cooking and stirring to avoid any lumps (3).  Continue cooking over low heat until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.  While still hot, add the 1 cup shredded mozzarella, and continue stirring with the whisk until the mozzarella melts and the sauce becomes velvety smooth.  Set aside. 
The Bechamel Sauce

The assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
In a 13x9 (4) pan, layer half the pasta, then the eggplant/tomato sauce and then the rest of the pasta.  
The penne pasta layered with the eggplant tomato sauce

Pour the béchamel sauce on top, covering all the pasta. 


Bake in the oven for about one hour and a half or until it’s bubbly and the top golden brown.  Wait to cool a bit before serving. 
 Baked, out of the oven.  


Serve when cool.

Notes:

(1) When I peel an eggplant I don’t peel all the skin away.  I will peel it in stripes.  I will cut the stem first, then I will peel it lengthwise; leaving about half an inch of skin, peel another half inch, and so on.   
(2) Adding salt when boiling pasta.  I usually add 1 tsp of salt when I boil the pasta.  This way there is some flavor in the pasta.  Afterwards I rinse it in cold water.  Some of the salt will rinse off, but the flavor of the salt will stay with the pasta.  If you try to add salt after the pasta is cooked, it will not flavor it.  This is on individual tastes.
(3) If by any chance you get any lumps on the béchamel sauce, take a fine mesh strainer and pour the sauce through it, to another pot, while the strainer holds back any lumps.  Return to heat, and continue cooking and stirring, till it’s velvety smooth.  
(4)  The pan measurements are inside the pan.
(5) The nutrition facts below include the béchamel sauce.

Nutrition Facts (5)
Serving Size                                         1serving (355.9 g-approximately 13 oz)
Amount Per Serving
            Calories                                               563
Calories from Fat                                              307                              % Daily Value
Total Fat                                                           34.1g                           52%
Saturated Fat                                                   9.4g                             47%
Trans Fat                                                          0.0g
Cholesterol                                                       28mg                           9%
Sodium                                                             1009mg                       42%
Total Carbohydrates                                         58.1g                           19%
Dietary Fiber                                                     6.4g                             26%
Sugars                                                             9.1g
Protein                                                             12.8g