Okay Cousin Bonnie, here is the salad recipe you asked for…it was yummy!
Lemony Chickpea, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe by Michela Chiappa from Michela’s Tuscan Kitchen
600g ripe tomatoes (I just drained a can of diced tomatoes)
1 small bunch fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
small handful walnuts
½ jar good quality chickpeas (about 300g)
pinch of dried cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 good handfuls of arugula
1 small round of crumbly, soft goat’s cheese
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. Rip in most if the basil leaves, keep the baby leaves to one side. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.
- Place a small frying pan on a low heat, add the walnut halves and cook for 5 minutes until toasted and smelling delicious. When ready tip into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, drain and the chickpeas. Add the cumin, oregano, lemon zest and half the juice and a drizzle of oil. Toss together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas to the tomatoes and toss together. Add the arugula and crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts.
This is a great recipe for lamb lovers! If you are not into lamb then use beef… The sauce is incredible! I plated this dish with the saffroned rice over which I put the lamb and lots of sauce. For a complete meal, steam some great snow peas. Use any leftover sauce over some pasta for another meal the next day. So…what to serve for dessert? How about a wonderful strawberry rhubarb pie ice cream??? Watch for this recipe NEXT WEEK….
Persian Saffron Lamb, Slow cooker Style
• 2 – 3 pound boneless leg of lamb, or an equal amount of lamb shanks cut in cubes.
• 1 onion
• 2 Tablespoons butter, ghee, or neutral cooking oil of choice
• 2-3 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice.
• 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon coriander seed
• 2 Tablespoons saffron water (boil 1/4 cup water to the temperature you’d use to make tea. Add a pinch, approx. 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads to the water. Save the remaining water to add to whatever rice you choose to cook. I prefer Jasmine rice.
• 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and left whole (6 to 8 cloves)
• 2 15 oz. cans chopped Roma tomatoes
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove fat from lamb using a sharp knife.
2. Chop onion into half moons. In a large Dutch oven. cooking pot, or skillet, heat fat over a medium heat and add onion, stirring often.
3. Allow onion to cook about five minutes. As it cooks, salt and pepper the outside of the meat. Remove onion from the pan. Place meat in the pot and sear it for 2-3 minutes per side…enough to get a nice crust on it. Remove meat from the pan and place, carefully, on a heat-safe surface.
4. Place onion back in the pan and add all spices EXCEPT saffron. Stir often, and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you begin to catch the scent of the spices. Put onion into slow cooker immediately.
5. Add the whole garlic cloves.
6. To the slow cooker, add the lamb, canned tomatoes, saffron water, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper (you can always adjust salt and pepper later).
7. Cook on high setting for 30 minutes. Stir. Cook an additional 2.5 to 3 hours.. Once the meat is done, taste sauce, adjust seasoning accordingly, serve over saffroned rice, and enjoy!
Still got that hambone in the freezer since Christmas? I was keeping ours to make split pea and ham soup, since I really miss the Canadian brand, Habitant. Every store I checked never had split peas, so I decided to try canned garbanzos. The Internet turned up this recipe, which I modified as seen by the red lettering.
It was suggested on the site that one could go to Honey Baked Ham and get a bone if you don’t have one. I was thinking after, why not just buy a ham steak and chop it up?
Let me know how you like it…
Spanish Bean Soup (Potaje de garbanzos) adapted from www.thekitchn.com
1 pound dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (I used a can of garbanzos)
8 ounces good-quality bacon or salt pork, chopped
1 (6-8 ounce) leftover hambone or smoked ham hock OR one ham steak
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced (you can omit)
1 small onion, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped * I added a few more veggies like carrot and celery
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Chicken stock or water, to cover (or mix of both)
Pinch of saffron threads
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (canned will work)
Kosher salt and pepper
Wash garbanzo beans in cold water, discarding any beans with visible imperfections. Cover with 3 inches of salted water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly and set aside.
OR…use the canned ones to simplify your life and speed up the process
In a large Dutch oven, combine the bacon, ham bone, onion, tomato, green pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. Cover with two inches of chicken stock (or water) and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam as needed. Cover and lower heat to a gentle simmer.
Cook for 30 minutes, then add the reserved beans. Bring to a boil again, cover, and return to a simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in the saffron and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender but not overcooked. Remove the ham bones, shredding and returning any meat left on the bones.
Add the potatoes and season with salt. Cover and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, another 30 minutes or less if using canned potatoes Season to taste.
Chow-chow (also spelled chow chow or chow chow) is a North American pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used. These ingredients are pickled in a canning jar. After preserving, chow-chow is served cold, most often as a condiment or relish. (Wikipedia)
Tis the season for lots of fresh veggies. While visiting our friend in Waterloo, we sampled her friend’s relish. It was dynamite! She graciously consented to share the recipe, so here it is. Let me know if you make it and liked it! Now that we are home again, I will be making a batch. She tells me it can make 10 to 12 jars…maybe I will sell it…LOL. Thanks again Lorna!!
Seriously, I will cut the recipe in half…
Chow Chow Relish
6 qt basket tomatoes (8-10 large tomatoes)
3 large diced onions
2 cups diced celery
2 green peppers diced
1 red pepper diced
1 or 2 hot peppers
1 ½ cups vinegar
4 cups sugar – I use 2 brown and 2 white
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup pickling spice tied in cheesecloth
1. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water; peel and chop.
2. Dice celery, onion and peppers – size as desired. (I do quick pulses in food processor for convenience; makes the chili sauce more minced than diced)
3. Tie pickling spice in cheesecloth and add to pot.
4. Stir in vinegar, sugar and spices.
5. Bring to slow boil. Simmer about 3 hours, or until desired consistency is reached.
6. Put into sterilized jars and seal. Keep in a cool place.
2 ripe avocados peeled
1/2 cup basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
2 T. Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
Blend avocados with basil, garlic and juice. Drizzle in oil. Set aside. Serve with spaghetti or baked spaghetti squash, adding tomatoes and cheese at last minute.
Grill chicken breasts to serve with it for protein.
Several years ago we were in Fiesole, just outside Florence when we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant – Perseus. The special of the day was Ribollita, traditionally made with day old bread, tomatoes and cannelloni beans. Alas, it was not very memorable as it was mostly bread.
I just came across this version which had less bread, no beans and lots of tomato-ey flavour! We thought it was awesome and certainly worth making again. Heres a view of Fiesole –
Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup
Extra virgin olive oil, plus high quality finishing oil, for garnish
1 large red onion, diced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes, diced (Substitute two cans of chopped tomatoes)
10 basil leaves, half whole and half cut into chiffonade
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups day-old Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Coat a large wide pot with olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, to taste, and cook until the onions are soft and very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt, to taste, and cook until the tomatoes are really soft and juicy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Toss in the whole basil leaves.
Working in batches, carefully puree the tomatoes in a blender*. Return the tomato puree to the pot and add the tomato juice and the bread. Cook the soup over medium heat for until the bread has completely lost its shape and the soup is really thick, about 20 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. (I usually skip this process as I like my soups chunkier, which means I just dd the bread to the pot. You decide!)
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with grated cheese, basil chiffonade and a drizzle of big fat finishing oil.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell
Another classic dish from my cooking courses way back when. This is so easy, even one of your kids could make it with supervision.
Soup Bowl Stew
35 meatballs bought at the store
15 oz. stewed tomatoes
1 cup small onions
1 can whole potatoes and the liquid
8 oz. any kind of vegetables (can be frozen)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
Combine all ingredients on the stovetop. Heat to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve.
Lee was asking for some fish dishes a while back. Today and next week, I will post two excellent fish dishes which never fail….here’s my first favourite… you can also search here for salmon…
Filetes de pescado a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets Braised with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives & Herbs)
No matter where fish is served, you can be sure that pescado a la Veracruzana will be on the menu. It’s a delicious blend of Old and New World ingredients: Capers, olives, herbs, and garlic weave their way through two of America’s greatest contributions to Mediterranean cuisine – tomatoes and chilies. Though practically any firm, white-fleshed fish would work well, when the dish is made with fresh Gulf snapper – as it often is in Veracruz – it’s a revelation.
This is a company favourite in Mexico….well worth the prep time!
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
• 1 cup sliced pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup capers, divided
• 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, divided * (optional)
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup olives, water, 2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons jalapeños*, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced to 6 cups. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Discard bay leaves.
Arrange fish in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with lime juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes; discard marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spoon sauce over fish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons jalapeños*. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.
Here’s a little touch of Spain that we enjoyed in Havana. Adjust the amount of cumin to your specific taste! Red lettering indicates my changes to the original recipe as always…
Omit the meat if you want a vegan dish!!!
Sautéed Chickpeas with Chorizo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, skin removed OR bacon chopped
- 3 1/2 ounces roasted red bell peppers, sliced into 1/4- by 1/2-inch strips
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 can drained chunky tomatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat; add the shallots and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Cut the chorizo/bacon into small pieces and add to the chickpeas. Continue to cook until the chorizo begins to render out some of the fat, 5 minutes. Add cumin.
3. Add the roasted red peppers to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Toss with the chopped parsley and serve warm with lemon wedges for squeezing.
Looking back and I realize that I have never posted this recipe for a wonderful soup made with limes which is a Yucatecan favourite! If you don’t like the heat, omit the chili peppers. Let your guests add their own spice!
Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup
(Sopa de lima)
This is about the best chicken soup that I’ve ever tasted. Plus, it’s good for you. Lime juice is loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C. Chile peppers blast open stuffed sinuses. And garlic acts as an antibiotic. I can’t think of a better remedy for a cold or rainy day.
Makes 4 servings
· 4 corn tortillas (6″ diameter), cut into thin strips (or buy the already baked tortilla strips)
· 1 large tomato, halved crosswise and seeded
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 medium onion, finely chopped
· 8 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 to 2 Serrano chili peppers, thinly sliced (wear plastic gloves when handling) (OMIT if you don’t want the heat)
· 4 cups Chicken Stock or fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
· 1 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
· 1 bay leaf
· 4 to 6 tablespoons lime juice
· 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
· Salt and ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Arrange the tortilla strips on a baking sheet. Bake for 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.
(Skip the two steps above if you can find tortilla strips already baked)
3. Working over a small bowl, grate each tomato half on the coarse side of a hand grater. Discard the skin.
4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and chili peppers. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, stock or broth, chicken, and bay leaf. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the lime juice and the cilantro. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste and add more lime juice, if desired. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle each with some of the tortilla strips. I usually slice a lime and puts some in each bowl before I pour the soup in…