“French Onion” Potato Salad

Hi everyone, I am sure lots of my American friends are getting ready for their Father’s Day BBQ’s.  Today, I have a recipe for a potato salad that we made on my recent visit to Pittsburgh, it was so tasty we made it twice!!  You might want to add it to your menu for tomorrow.  It is easy and really, really good, it reminds me of a big bowl of potato chips with French onion dip, only lighter….Let’s cook!!

French Onion Potato Salad with Yogurt

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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A light non mayo potato salad with lots of flavor

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Ingredients

5 lb of new potatoes, note I used 25-30 little potatoes

5 medium sweet onions

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

3/4-1 cup fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley chopped

3 cups plain greek yogurt i.e. Fage

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Wash and scrub the potatoes, add to a large pot fill with cold water add sea salt and bring to boil, cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potato.  A knife should be easily inserted when cooked, drain and let cool

-When potatoes are cool enough to handle peel and cut into quarters or eights, depending on the size of your potatoes, you will want large bite size pieces add to a large serving bowl

-While potatoes are cooking, peel and thinly slice your onions, cut the slices in half and add to a skillet, add olive oil and cook on a low heat, the goal is to gently cook the onions until they lightly start to caramelize.  Be patient with your onions allow them to cook slowly, you do not want them to burn.  When they are a light golden brown, take them off the heat and add them to the potatoesIMG_0226.JPG

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-Add the salt,  pepper and the parsley

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Add the yogurt and mix well.  Taste to adjust the salt

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Serve and enjoy

Bon Appetito!

Mickey

 

Cheese And Tomato Stuffed Eggplant

As promised last week, here is a stuffed eggplant recipe that was not only beautiful, but tasted great.  Eggplants, always so abundant in the summer months are probably one one the most versatile vegetables, they can be fried, grilled, puréed, sautéed and stuffed. Today, we will use this deep purple vegetable as a shell to hold a tomato and cheese filling . Let’s Cook!!

Cheese and Tomato Stuffed Eggplant

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Great as a side dish, appetizer or even as a main course

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Ingredients

4 Globe eggplants

1 Sweet onion

2 Garlic cloves

1.5 lbs of ripe tomatoes

3/4 lb Scamorze cheese

Fresh oregano

Parmesan Cheese

2tbls Extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling

Fresh Basil 
-Cut the Eggplant in half, with a knife carefully leaving 1/2″ border cut along the shape of the eggplant, with a spoon,scoop out the pulp leaving 1/2 along the bottom


-Cut the pulp into cubes place in a colander add salt and let sit for at least 1/2 hour

-Chop the garlic, add 2 tbls olive oil sauté until lightly brown on medium heat

-Chop the onion, add to the garlic and sauté until onion becomes translucent, add the eggplant mix well and continue sautéing until eggplant softens

-Chop the tomatoes into cubes or in quarters if using cherry tomatoes, add to the eggplant mixture

-Salt and pepper to taste, add fresh oregano, mix well

-Take the mixture of the heat, add the scamorze 


-Line a baking dish with parchment or foil, fill the Eggplant shells with the filling and place into the baking dish generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil

-Bake in 350F oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on oven) until eggplant shell is soft but still holding it’s shape and cheese is melted and golden


-Chop a handful of fresh basil and sprinkle on top

-Serve and enjoy

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

Green Beans with Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

It is another  Meatless Monday.  On Monday’s I try to post meatless ideas.  Today, I am making an easy side dish market fresh green beans topped with balsamic glazed red onions.  A recipe to keep for all your summer entertainment, dinners, picnics and bbq’s.  Let’s cook!

Green Beans with Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Summer recipe winner, great to serve at all your outdoor events

Ingredients

1 lb of green beans ends snapped and washed

1 cup of thinly sliced red onions

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 tbls balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Snap and wash the green beans

-In a pot large enough to hold the beans, fill with cold water, add sea salt and boil the beans until they are to your desired doneness.  *note- I like my green beans cooked a little longer than normal until they are soft, but not mushy.

-Drain beans and place in a serving bowl

-Thinly slice the red onions, in a small skillet, add the olive oil and the onions, on low heat, slowly cook the onions until they become soft

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-Add the balsamic vinegar to the onions, cook for a few minutes until the onions are sweet, tender and the flavors meld

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-Add the balsamic onions to the green beans, mix well  *note-try to add the onions to the beans while they are still warm, it enhances the flavors .  Adjust salt and pepper.

-Serve and enjoy as a side dish with all your grilled meats/fish/poultry

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

It’s Fry- day…..Crispy Crunchy Salted Fried Zucchini

I know of few Italian Restaurants in America that do not serve fried zucchini as an appetizer option.  I guess we all love zucchini, served hot and crunchy,  dipped in either a aioli or tomato sauce.  Well here is a recipe for fried zucchini that you can make at home.  If you like, serve the zucchini with a  simple tomato sauce .  We like it as is, salted with lemon wedges!!

Crispy Crunchy Salted Fried Zucchini

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Its easy to make and everyone will love it

Ingredients

4-6 medium to small zucchini

2 eggs

1 cup of flour

2 cups of breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil

Finishing salt

Directions

-Slice the zucchini lengthwise, as thin as possible

-On parchment paper or aluminum foil, or a prep board add the flour and the breadcrumbs

-Heat the oil in a high sided heavy bottom wok, pot or pan until you drop a tiny piece of breading and it fries actively

-In a shallow bowl or dish beat the eggsIMG_0133

-Dip the zucchini in the flour, the egg and then the breadcrumbs…. you can press the crumbs to the zucchini making sure to coat the zucchini well….set aside until the oil is ready and you have breaded all the zucchini

-Carefully add the zucchini to the hot oil, try not to overcrowd the pan….fry until golden brown

-With a Slotted flat spoon carefully remove from oil and place on a platter lined with paper towel.

-Salt with a finishing sea saltIMG_0130

-Best served hot

Buon Appetito!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamed Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Hopefully this creamy, healthy, spicy soup will keep  our friends warm in the cold weather….This soup is  fast, easy and  nutritional, with tons of veggies and lentils.  I like making it  a little spicy, and love using a fresh mexican salsa, avocado, tomato and cucumber salsa and/or  even shredded radicchio salad on top…a dollop of sour cream works too!!

Creamed Lentil and Vegetable Soup

  • Servings: 1 pot
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

-2 1/2 cups of green lentils rinsed

-4 stalks of celery chopped in chunks

-1 large yellow onion cut in chunks

-3 scallions peeled and quartered

-5 carrots peeled and chopped in chunks

-2 cups of chopped mushrooms

-1 red bell pepper cut in chunks

-1 red hot pepper fresh chopped finely

-4 cloves of garlic, peeled whole and smashed

-1 ripe tomato cut in pieces or 1tbls tomato paste

-5 cups of broth vegetable, chicken of beef

-2 tbls olive oil extra virgin

-1 tsp cumin seeds

-1 tbls of chili powder

-1tsp of ground oregano

-sea salt and ground pepper

Directions

-in a soup pot add olive oil, garlic cloves and hot pepper, lightly brown the garlic to release it’s flavor

-add all the vegetables and lentils, stirring with the pepper and garlic

-add the broth and seasonings

-cook on low heat until all vegetable and lentils are soft 45-60 minutes (note-if lentils absorb cooking liquid add more broth at anytime during cooking)

-off of the heat, with an immersion blender puree the soup into a cream

-serve with chopped avocado, fresh salsas and or sour cream

Buon Appetito

 

Fennel au gratin

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Fennel au Gratin

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Easy, light and healthy way to eat fennel

Ingredients

-4 fennel bulbs, washed and trimmed of the fronds

-1/2-3/4 cups of Parmesan cheese

-extra virgin olive oil

-sea salt (large grain)

-ground pepper

Directions

-preheat oven to 375F

-cut the fennel into quarters making sure to leave the bottom of the quarter  intact (the bottom will hold the fennel piece together while cooking)

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-place in pot and fill with cold water add a small handful of sea salt

-boil the fennel for 10 minutes a fork should be easily inserted into the center when done, drain carefully we want to keep the fennel intact

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In an ovenproof dish lay the fennel side by side, salt and pepper

-drizzle olive oil across the fennel 2 times

-sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top generously

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-bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown

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Buon Appetito!!

It’s Artichoke Season!!!! Artichokes 3 Ways

In Italy one of the most exciting seasons  is “Artichoke season”….We love, love, love our artichokes, prepared in every which way.  To start today, I am cooking with  3 different types of artichokes , preparing them in 3 different ways…..The first, a spiny leafed artichoke with a long stem attached is from the Italian Island of Sardinia.  Carciofo_14476198380142

Next,  the  Roman Artichoke, this artichoke is similar to what we find in our American grocery stores.  In my following recipe I will only be using the bottoms of these Roman artichokes.  In Italy, we can easily find artichoke bottoms at our vegetable vendor.  There is a technique for cutting away the artichoke while keeping it’s bottom intact,   you are welcome to try it…..I will give a lesson on this in a upcoming blog.FullSizeRender 6

And finally, the third type are the small flower top blooms which we call Bottoli, in America we call them “baby artichokes”.FullSizeRender 4

The following recipes are fast, easy, and healthy, don’t forget Artichoke have tons of health benefits sooooooo  eat up!!!

Buon Appetito

Basic Baby Artichokes

  • Servings: 15 baby artichokes
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe is one of my   “BASIC” recipes, meaning the recipe is used as a base for other dishes ie….Risotto con Carcofi or Pasta with Artichokes.

Ingredients

-15 baby artichokes  (bottoli)

-3  garlic cloves peeled and smashed with a knife

-2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-3/4 cups of water

-small knob of butter (optional)

-fresh parsley, chopped fine

-sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

-First,  pull off all the outer leaves of the artichokes, cut the tops straight across where the last spiny tipped leaf ends.  Then with a paring knife peel the outer layer of the stem and cut the very bottom of the stem.  When finished they should look like the photo below.

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-In a heavy bottom pot, like a Le Creuset  enameled,add the olive oil and the smashed garlic cloves, on med/low heat lightly brown the garlic.

-Add the artichokes, water,  a palm of parsley, sea salt, pepper and if you like a small knob of butter.  Cook covered on low heat until  artichokes become tender.  They should cook in  15-20 minutes depending on their size and the amount of outer leaves they have.

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Artichoke Bottoms with Fried Parsley and Garlic Chips

  • Servings: 6 artichoke bottoms
  • Difficulty: easy
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A great side dish or vegetarian entree.

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Ingredients

-6 artichoke bottoms

-3 large garlic cloves

-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

-1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped fine

-sea salt and pepper

Directions

-In a pot large enough to fit your artichoke bottoms cover with water, add sea salt and bring to a boil.  Boil until a fork is easily inserted through the thickest part of the bottom. Drain and plate.

-Peel the 3 garlic cloves and slice thinly as possible

-Chop the parsleyIMG_0681

-While boiling the bottoms, in a small heavy skillet add the olive oil and the garlic chips making sure that they are not overlapping.  On low heat bring the oil to a boil and watch carefully as not to burn the garlic (note-once the garlic browns you can turn the heat off noting that it will continue to brown until the oil cools).  Add the parsley into the boiling oil when garlic is golden brown and cook another minute.IMG_0685.JPGIMG_0686

 

– On the plated artichoke bottoms, divide the garlic chips and parsley and  the seasoned olive oil.

Buon Appetito !!

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Simple Grilled Artichokes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Easy, easy, easy and so good!!

Ingredients

-4 large artichokes with stems

-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

-sea salt large ground

-3 large garlic cloves pressed

Directions

-with a paring knife, peel the outer layer of the stem, and cut of the bottom end.

-cut the artichokes in half,  remove the fuzzy, spiny  pulp in the center of the choke, careful not to remove the heart.  Remove the outermost leaves, then, cut  the top of the artichoke in a place where the pointy tops are all cut off (note-this will make sense when you see the artichoke without the outermost leaves)

-Place all the artichokes in a large enough pot to boil without having to cut off the stems or bend them add sea salt and bring to boil.  Boil for 8-10  minutes until the artichokes soften. Drain and place on a paper towel while you heat the grill.IMG_0651

-while the artichokes are boiling, clean the garlic and using a garlic press, press the garlic into the olive oil and set aside.

-on a hot grill direct  medium heat,place the artichokes  with a brush, paint the garlic oil mixture on the artichokes and add the sea salt being generous.  Turn and do the same with the other side.  Cook until the artichokes are golden brown.

Plate and enjoy

Buon Appetito!!