Showing posts with label tomatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tomatoes. 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 







Greek Tomato Salad - Horiatiki Salata

Greek Tomato salad-Horiatiki Salata (pronounced haw-reah-tiki  sah-lah-tah) with feta cheese

 Here is my version of the Greek Tomato Salad.  This the traditional Greek tomato salad that I grew up with.  There are many variations of the salad here in the US and in Greece.  Different areas have their version of the "Horiatiki Salata".  This is a very simple salad if you need something quick to go with your dinner.    But if you prefer you may garnish it with one or two Greek Kalamatta olives (like some restaurants do in Greece) or chopped parsley, and substitute the scallions with red onion.  Enjoy!


Makes 8 servings

2 large tomatoes
½ cucumber (you can use either English or regular cucumbers)
2 scallions
8 oz feta cheese
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp dried oregano

Cut the tomatoes into wedges.  Clean and slice the cucumber and scallions. Cube or slice the feta cheese. Sprinkle with olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss  and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 103 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 142
Calories from Fat 112
Total Fat 12.4g
Saturated Fat 5.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 319mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.7g
Sugars 2.4g
Protein 4.6g





Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Peas in tomato sauce

Peas in tomato sauce with dill or with fennel is another common, vegetarian Greek dish. It’s mostly a summer dish, since the peas are available fresh in their pods. I remember when I was young, my mother showed me how to peel the pods remove the peas and then peel the skin off the pods so that they will cook along with the peas. It was a dish, even though I disliked vegetables, one that I loved. The fresh tomato sauce and the fresh dill made it even tastier. The fresh bread, that we used to pick up from the bakery, along with a slice of feta and a fresh tomato salad completed the summer meal.  

On other occasions, my mother cooked the peas with beef tenderloin. It was more of a Sunday meal, one she used to serve over hot rice.  

Here is my version of peas in tomato sauce with pork tenderloin instead of beef. I also experimented with fennel instead of dill. I’ve tried it both ways and both ways is equally tasteful. If you don’t like the taste of fennel you can omit it altogether and add fresh dill to the dish. The dill (or fennel) is what actually gives the dish that savory flavor.


Makes 14 servings (approximately 8 oz each serving)

2.5 lbs pork tenderloin cut into 2” chunk pieces
½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp chopped garlic
15 oz can tomato sauce (1 can)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (1 can)
2 cans water
1.5 cups sliced fennel (1 large fennel bulb)
2 12 oz bags of frozen peas
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped fennel leaves
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Wash and pat dry the pork tenderloin. Cut into 2” chunk pieces. Set aside. Peel, wash and chop the onion. Set aside. Peel and chop the garlic. Set aside. In a dutch oven, over high heat add the olive oil, the onions and garlic. Saute till transparent. Add the pork pieces. Saute a little longer. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce along with 2 cans of water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 1 hour. Don’t add salt, since salt will toughen the meat and will need to cook longer.

When the meat is almost done, during the last 5 minutes add the sliced fennel, the fennel leaves, the peas, the parsley and salt and pepper. Cover and let it simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve over rice or orzo. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese or romano cheese if desired.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 
1 serving (219.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 237
Calories from Fat 93
Total Fat 10.3g
Saturated Fat 2.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 59mg
Sodium 392mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.0g
Dietary Fiber 4.2g
Sugars 4.9g
Protein 24.7g


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.
 
 

 

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

Makes 7 cups

3 cups diced cooking onions

16 cups crushed fresh tomatoes

3 cloves garlic (about 3 tsp) crushed

1 cup olive oil

2 tbsp fresh Greek oregano

2 tsp salt

2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Pinch of sugar

Wash and clean the tomatoes. Place them in a food processor and grind. In a large pot over high heat, add the olive oil, the crushed garlic and the diced onions.  Sauté till transparent.  Add the crushed tomatoes, the fresh Greek oregano (if you don’t have Greek oregano, any type of dried oregano will do), salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. The sugar will take the acidity of the tomatoes away. Let it all come to a boil stirring constantly. Then lower the heat to simmer and let it cook till the sauce reduces to about half the size. That will take a couple of hours.

Since tomatoes retain a lot of water, I would suggest that you don’t cover the pot while simmering the sauce. Condensation will build up and the sauce will end up being watery instead of thick and creamy-like. It freezes well, and can also be used for homemade pizzas, or dip fresh bread in it.  Another note: if you don't have fresh tomatoes you can use can of crushed tomatoes.  It will work the same way, as the fresh ones.  I used to make this sauce with canned crushed tomatoes also.    

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 8.106 oz (229.8g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176
Calories from Fat 92
Total Fat 10.2g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 617mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.2g
Dietary Fiber 7.0g
Sugars 12.0g
Protein 5.1g