This is another comforting winter stew that can also be prepared with chicken if rabbit is not available. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Lobster Fra Diavolo
Three 1-1/4 lb boiled or steamed lobsters (chix) de-shelled and meat removed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red chile peppers, thinly sliced
2 peperoncini peppers, thinly sliced
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 lb heirloom or plain cherry tomatoes halved (leave the small ones whole)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
cooked pasta of your choice to serve
Salt and a dash of black pepper (to taste)
Heat the oil in a pot with a lid over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chiles, peperoncini, garlic, and shallots. Cook, stirring, for 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and red pepper flakes (optional) and stir in the sherry and tomato paste. Cook until it is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and oregano, cover and cook until the small tomatoes burst, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the basil and parsley and cook an additional 8-10 minutes. Add the lobster meat and simmer until meat is heated through, do NOT overcook or the meat will be rubbery. Remove from the heat and serve with your favorite pasta or rice, I chose to use some store bought crab stuffed ravioli. Bon Appetit!!
**A Taste Of Greece** Moussaka ( Ελληνική Μουσακάς )
Ok home cooks & foodies, we will prepare a classic Greek dish. I love Greek food, and a couple of my favorite meals to eat on the go are a Greek Gyro and Soulvaki. These quick meals are pretty popular here in NYC and we have food carts all over the place selling these treats. But enter one of New York’s Greek restaurants and you will encounter a variety of very good dishes from Greece such as Αρνι με Πατατες στο Φουρνο (roast lamb with potatoes); απάκι, which is a famous Cretan specialty of lean pork marinated in vinegar, then smoked with aromatic herbs and shrubs, and packed in salt; Χταποδι στη σχαρα (grilled octopus in vinegar, oil and oregano); and the dish I will prepare tonight: μουσακάς 0r moussaka.
I must admit that prior to this experiment I had never tasted this dish. But after talking to my friend Rena, who lives in Athens, Greece, and she has a website called “Cooking in Plain Greek” (which I love), she gave me the all the motivation I needed. We will use the recipe from her site for this classic Greek dish. The first thing I noticed is that this dish is prepared similar to lasagna but the flavors are different. Instead of using pasta for layers, you use long eggplant slices, and I used ground lamb instead of beef. Another thing that makes it different than lasagna is the spice mix. This dish contains nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, which is unheard of when making Italian lasagna. You also must make a Greek bechamel sauce to top the dish with before baking, which consists of milk, flour, butter, and kefalotyri cheese. Unfortunately, I could not find this specialty hard cheese, but Rena gives us a pass and recommends parmesan for those of us outside of Greece :). If you haven’t tried cooking Greek food, head over to http://cookinginplaingreek.com/traditional-moussaka-recipe/ and try your hand at this dish. Bon Appetit!
Meatless Monday: Tagine of Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Butter Beans
We will kick off this Monday with a vegetarian dish that is easy to make and sure to get your taste buds kicking! This recipe will make a good side dish, or a main entrée if you add some crusty bread. Whatever your choice may be, this is pure delicious and healthy eats.
4 oz butter beans, soaked overnight (or 2 14 oz cans, drained)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 oz ginger root, peeled and chopped
pinch of saffron threads
16 cherry or large grape tomatoes
pinch of sugar
handful of kalamata olives, pitted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and ground pepper
If using dried beans, rinse and drain them and place them in a large pot with water. bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook beans 1-1 1/2 hours until tender. If using canned beans, just drain, rinse and set aside.
In a separate pan, heat the oil then add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Stir in the saffron threads, followed by tomatoes and sugar. As the tomatoes begin to soften, add the butter beans. Once all ingredients are heated through, stir in the olives, cinnamon and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately, plain or over rice or pasta. Bon appetit!