Sunday, August 17, 2014

Greek Scalloped Potatoes

Potatoes are my favorite comfort food...or at least a close second to pizza. But since pizza goes to my waist (and hips, and butt, and...) I choose potatoes over pizza most often. Mashed, roasted, boiled, you name it, I love them. Here's my latest take on them, scalloped with Greek flavors!

This version of scalloped is almost healthy, with very little cheese, just a little milk to steam them and lots of healthy Swiss Chard hidden inside. Add feta and kalamata olives for bursts of flavor and your heart, belly and soul are satisfied!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Foul - Moroccan Fava Beans

Foul - pronounced like "fool" is a traditional fava bean dish of North Africa. Also called Ful, I've seen it in Moroccan restaurants and if you search the web you'll see it listed as Egyptian. No matter what country claims it, prepare yourself for a hearty, delicious dish made with those magical legumes, fava beans!

Foul is made with dried beans, not the fresh, so it's easy to make it year round. Like so many Mediterranean cuisines, this dish makes the most of basic ingredients and not too many: cumin, lemon, parsley, tomatoes and beans. It's a shockingly great combination. I simply gilded the lily with the feta and olives, but certainly not traditional.

We ate this along with some Swiss Chard sauteed with garlic, coriander and smoked paprika and a dash of balsamic vinegar, which was fantastically good but the photo was not, so it's not yet featured on the blog. But it will definitely be making a future appearance, so look for it. To round it all out, muhammara, some homemade naan, feta and olives completed our meal. It was a Moroccan tapas of sort, and made us pretty happy!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Breakfast Nachos

Breakfast nachos...why didn't I think of this sooner! It's huevos rancheros with crisp chips on the side instead of buried beneath all of the goodies.

And it's amazingly delicious!

Unlike true nachos, these are not smothered in cheese but definitely heavy on the protein side, with both refried beans and scrambled eggs. The sprinkling of grated cheese is more for texture than heavy nacho-ness, but it brings the dish together. The only ingredient I probably would have added, but didn't have it on hand, would be pickled jalapeno slices. Oh well, guess I'll have to make it again!

Make sure the chips you use are the best. Here in California we are lucky enough to be able to buy Have'a Chips which are made with soy sauce and lime juice and are outta this world good! It makes a difference, so don't skimp on the chips!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Taco Smorgasbord

Have you seen the really small corn tortillas? They're ridiculously cute, about 5 inches across, and perfect for making taco smorgasbord.

Smorgas what?

Yes, I combined Mexican and Swedish food words to create a taco smorgasbord. Think of it as Mexico's answer to sliders, only they're mini tacos with a variety of fillings. Smorgasbord is a tradition in Sweden where a variety of dishes are offered buffet style, usually associated with holidays. Growing up, we always had Smorgasbord on Christmas Eve when we opened presents.

When offered a gift of a stack of mini tortillas, I crafted four different types of fillings. Putting them in a muffin tin was a stroke of genius for serving - only one dish to clean!

The smorgasbord just came together based on what I had in the house, so feel free to improvise based on what's in your refrigerator or pantry. Of course add all your favorite toppings, it's a party after all!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche with Olive Oil Crust

When was the last time you made quiche? Maybe it was yesterday or last week or last decade, like me. Quiche used to be in my regular rotation when I was a graduate student, back in the '90s (egads, that's so long ago!) And I don't know why it fell out of favor, it's a fantastic way to use up veggies heading south and odd assortments of cheese collecting in the fridge!

Perhaps quiche falls by the wayside because of the pesky crust question - homemade or not. In my grad school days, I made it all from scratch because it was cheaper. Now when I look at the ingredient lists on store-bought crusts, my stomach curdles. So I still make the crust. But here's an easier version, healthier too: olive oil crust.

Frozen olive oil that is. Or at least very chilled. You don't actually want to freeze it, just chill it for 1 hour (don't go more, it will be too cold). And then you have the making for a perfect crust!

A side note to the photo above, with the extra slice of mushroom quiche. It turns out that I forgot that my beau's youngest daughter is not a huge fan of broccoli, so I made half the quiche mushroom and cheese and half broccoli; everyone was happy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Corn, Red Cabbage and Avocado Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Corn season will soon be full blown and here's and easy and fun salad to enjoy corn to its fullest!

Cut fresh corn off the cob, saute with some jalapenos, garlic and onion and toss with a lime vinaigrette and add cabbage and cilantro and presto! Delicious side salad bursting with summer freshness!

I was inspired to create this because we had leftover roasted corn from our 4th of July party, but only 1 ear of roasted corn. So instead of firing up the entire grill (which does not mean flicking a switch, we're hardwood grillers!) I resorted to my cast iron pan and stovetop. Great flavor even if it lacked the smokiness of hardwood grilled corn. But don't let that stop you from roasting a bunch of ears and making up a picnic size portion of this beautiful salad!