THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for International Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Authentic Greek Salad Recipe & The “American” Greek Salad

Authentic Greek Salad
[1] The real deal: an authentic Greek salad from Little Cooking Tips. Here’s the recipe.

Greek Cobb Salad
[2] We love how Dishing Delish has arranged the Greek salad ingredients like a Cobb salad. Here’s her recipe for the Best Greek Salad Dressing.

Deconstructed Greek Salad
[3] We also love this deconstructed Greek salad: an appetizer on a romaine wedge. Here’s the recipe from DeLallo.

Creative Greek Salad

[4] All the ingredients of an authentic Greek salad, with some creativity in assembly, from Stix | NY.

 

Our favorite luncheon salad is a Greek salad, most often homemade, sometimes at a diner or similar casual spot.

We follow the latter’s recipe: romaine, tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, peperoncini (the italian spelling; pepperoncini is the English spelling), and hopefully, a couple of grape leaves and pita or crusty bread on the side. For seasoning, a sprinkle of oregano and cruets of oil and red wine vinegar.

We’ve been known to substitute balsamic vinegar for the conventional acidic red wine vinegar, and add fresh basil or other herb when we have it.

We especially love a Greek salad in the summer, when the seasonal tomatoes are a joy in of themselves.

THE AUTHENTIC GREEK SALADbelow, from Chef Amanda Cohen.

Bloggers Mirella and Panos of Little Cooking Tips says: “The authentic horiatiki [Greek salad] is a very specific salad, with very specific ingredients.

The Authentic Greek Salad Ingredients

  • Tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes; whole tomatoes, cut in wedges)
  • Cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
  • Red onions (thinly sliced)
  • Green bell peppers (thinly sliced)
  • Kalamata olives (whole, not pitted)
  • Traditional Greek Feta (in a big slice or chunk, never crumbled)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for dressing)
  • Dry oregano
  •  
    The above exist in any authentic horiatiki you’ll be served throughout Greece. There are only two optional ingredients in addition to the ones above:

  • Capers (added mostly in horiatiki salads that are served in Greek islands)
  • Red wine vinegar (for people who want extra acidity).”
  •  
    There is no lettuce, no stuffed grape leaves, no peperoncini, no radishes, no anchovies—nothing that isn’t in the bullet points above. Here’s their authentic horiatiki recipe (photo #1).

    Of course, there are other popular salads in Greece, including:

  • Lahanosalata, cabbage slaw, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
  • Maintanouri, parsley salad, usually used as a condiment.
  • Marouli, lettuce salad with onion and dill.
  • Pantzarosalata, boiled, sliced beet, sometimes with the beet greens, dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  • Patatosalata, potato salad with finely sliced onions, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Revithosalata, chickpea salad.
  • Roka salad, arugula/rocket (roka) dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar or lemon juice, sometimes with added anchovies.
  •  
    Cypriot salad, native to the island of Cyprus, has similar ingredients to the horiatiki, exchanging the oregano for flat-leaf parsley.

    The other ingredients in Cypriot salad: finely chopped tomatoes (not sliced, as in horiatiki, capers, cucumbers, onions and feta cheese, dressed with olive oil and lemon or red wine vinegar.

    The bell peppers and olives: lost in translation.
     
    THE HISTORY OF GREEK SALAD, HORIATIKI

    Horiatiki is primarily a summer dish, using lush tomatoes off the vine. Since lettuce only grows in Greece during the cooler, winter months, a horiatiki salad does not include lettuce (source).

    And while horiatiki is ubiquitous in Greece, it is a relatively new combination. Some of the ingredients are thousands of years old, others as new as the last century.

  • Bell pepper—all peppers, including peperoncini and hot chiles—are new world produce. Pepper seeds were brought back to Spain in 1493 after a member of the Columbus expedition tasted hot chiles and called them “pepper,” after the heat of the black peppercorns used in Europe (the native name for the category is chilli). From there the pepper spread to other European, African and Asian countries. It may have gotten to Greece in the 16th century.
  • Feta cheese may be the oldest ingredient in the salad. References to Greek cheese production date to the 8th century B.C.E., and the items used to make cheese from sheep’s or goat’s milk, described in Homer’s Odyssey are similar to those used today’s handmade feta [source].
  • Lettuce was first cultivated in Egypt for food around 2680 B.C.E. Romaine lettuce was bred on the Greek island of Cos, an alternative word still used for romaine [source]. Romans usually cooked their lettuce, and the plant became known as Roman lettuce due to the Roman belief in its healthful and healing properties.
  • Olives have been cultivated in Greece for thousands of years. Kalamata olives are just one variety from a specific region. Greece produces both green and black olives, in addition to the purple kalamata. Here’s more about Greek olives.
  • Onion’s origin cannot be established for certain. The wild onion is extinct so botanists lack the markers used to track its origin and spread. Traces of onions recovered from Bronze Age settlements in China indicate that onions were eaten as far back as 5000 B.C.E., and may be a point of origin. Archaeologists, botanists and food historians point to are central Asia or Persia as the site of early cultivation. Onions have been cultivated for at least 7,000 years, and were probably simultaneously domesticated around the world [source].
  • Tomatoes didn’t arrive in Europe until the 16th century…but not planted until 1818 in Greece. They were brought back by from the New World by the conquistadors in 1529, but as a member of the Nightshade family were first thought to be poisonous. They were used as houseplants and not eaten for another two centuries. In Greece, they weren’t widely cultivated until the early 20th century [source]. Here’s the history of tomatoes.
  •  
    Now, on to a salad from one of America’s great vegetarian chefs, Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy, in New York City.

    Her “American Greek salad” is layered with some ingredients that no Greek chef has likely thought of (photos #5 and #6).

    RECIPE: AMANDA COHEN’S GREEK SALAD

    “This recipe, while it might look intimidating, makes this salad a party on your plate,” says Chef Amanda. “Sumac and za’atar give this recipe its zip. Sumac is a dried berry with a bright citrusy flavor, and za’atar is a vibrant, intensely herbal seasoning. You can find them at any Middle Eastern or Indian grocery store.

    “You can always leave them out, but this salad is a lot more fun if they’re invited to the party.”

    In addition to sumac and za’atar, this recipe invites pickled onions and fried onion rings with a preserved lemon drizzle.

    Thanks to Wüsthof for the recipe. Wüsthof is Chef Amanda’s cutlery of choice; and THE NIBBLE has more than a few in its knife rack, as well. Brush up on your knife skills with these Wüsthoff videos.

     

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Pickled Onions

  • 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 3 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  
    For The Salad

  • 1½ cups plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1½ cups hot house cucumbers, diced
  • ¾ cup fennel, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  •  
    For The Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup chopped preserved lemons, seeds removed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  •  
    For The Mushrooms

  • 2 trumpet royale mushroom
  • 1 can (12 ounces) seltzer water
  • 8 cups canola oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 tablespoons za’atar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pistachios, crushed
  •  
    Plus

  • Pita or crusty rustic bread
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pickled onions. Massage 1 tablespoon of the salt into the onions. Keep massaging until liquid starts to seep out of the onions and then squeeze all of the liquid out. Wash the onions a few times and repeat a second time. Then, add 1 tablespoon of the salt and ¼ cup of the lime juice to the onions and let sit for a few hours. Squeeze all of the liquid out of the onions. Repeat the above sequence. When ready, onions should be a bright pink color. If they are not, repeat the process again.

     

    Amanda Cohen Greek Salad

    Amanda Cohen Greek Salad
    [5] and [6] Chef Amanda Cohen’s take on “the best Greek salad” (photos courtesy Star Chefs).

    Vertical Greek Salad
    [7] Daunted by Chef Amanda’s recipe? Then take on this one, served at Death Ave in New York City. Just stack on a piece of toasted rustic bread and serve.

    Wusthof Serrated Chopper

    [8] One of our favorite Wüsthof knives: the serrated chopper, available at Williams-Sonoma.

     
    2. MAKE the dressing. In a blender mix the garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and black pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil. Add the oregano and blend until it is broken up into small pieces.

    3. MAKE the preserved lemon mayonnaise: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until very smooth. Put the mixture into a squeeze bottle.

    4. MAKE the salad. In a bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, herbs and olives. Add the feta and adjust the salt levels.

    5. MAKE the mushroom rings: Slice the mushrooms into ¼” thick rings and punch the centers out, leaving about ¼” for an outer ring, so that each ring is ¼” thick and ¼” wide. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 375°F.

    Mix the flour and the seltzer in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the panko, the salt, the sumac and za’atar. Dip the rings in the seltzer mixture first and then dip them in the panko mixture. Fry in batches for about 2-3 minutes each. When done, the mushrooms should be golden brown on the outside.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Toss the salad with the dressing; taste and adjust the salt level. Divide the salad onto four plates. Place 4 onion rings on top of each salad. Squeeze a few lines of the preserved lemon mayo across the salad. Garnish: Sprinkle with the sumac, za’atar and the pistachios. Place a tablespoon of the pickled onions on the side of the plate. Microwave the pita and you’re ready to eat!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chermoula Sauce With Chicken And Zucchini, Plates Or Wraps

    While it’s easy to find something fresh and delicious in the summer months, today’s tip is a good template for year-round dinners. Simply combining broiled or grilled protein (chicken, fish) and seasonal vegetables with a tasty sauce makes a healthful, flavorful dinner any time of year.

    Just make (or buy) the yogurt sauce and chermoula sauce in advance (see “What Is Chermoula, below).

    You can also use tzatziki—a cucumber-garlic-yogurt dip often found ready-made in with the other refrigerated dips—or its Indian relative, raita. Click on the links for recipes.

    We adapted this recipe from a Good Eggs meal kit. You plate the food individually, or pass a platter with flatbread (naan, pita, tortillas) to pass around.

     
    WHAT IS CHERMOULA SAUCE?

    Chermoula is a North African marinade and sauce popular in the cuisines of Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

    As with pesto recipes, there are countless regional variations both in ingredients and proportions. But chermoula usually starts with a mixture of fresh herbs (especially cilantro), olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and salt.

    Flavorful chermoula is typically used with fish and seafood, and its green color adds brightness to what we personally refer to as “the ubiquitous beige and brown foods.” Variations include black pepper, fresh coriander, ground chiles, onion, pickled lemons and saffron, among others.

    Chermoula is also used to flavor meat, poultry and vegetable dishes. You can use it to coat fish and chicken before broiling; we love it as a condiment with lamb.

    Here’s the recipe for chermoula sauce.
     
     
    RECIPE: SMOKY CHICKEN & SUMMER SQUASH

    While we crave the smoky, summery flavor of food off the grill, we don’t have access to one in our small city apartment. Our broiler is our substitute. As a time saver (and to avoid cleaning the broiler), we often buy pre-broiled chicken breasts at Trader Joe’s.

    You can make the chermoula and yogurt sauces up to 3 days in advance. You can use the chermoula or yogurt sauces on the salad in addition to the wraps, or pick another salad dressing of choice.

    Ingredients

  • Chermoula herb sauce (substitute pesto)
  • Yogurt sauce
  • Flatbread wraps
  • Summer squash: yellow, zucchini or combination*
  • Spring onions†
  • Marinated‡ chicken breasts (or boneless thighs)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Romaine, washed salad mix, or salad ingredients of choice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MARINATE the chicken at least 30 minutes before cooking, to 2 hours or overnight. Mix all ingredients of the marinade in plastic zip-lock bag. Add the chicken and make sure that every piece is covered evenly. Marinate in a fridge for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours or, better yet, overnight. Place the chicken and all of the marinade in a baking dish.

    2. PREHEAT the broiler and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Wrap the flatbread in aluminum foil. Bring the sauces from the fridge and place in serving bowls to warm, and set aside.

    3. RINSE and slice the squash and spring onions at an angle, into coins. Toss with a pinch of salt and some olive oil and arrange in a single layer over half of the sheet pan. Place the chicken on the other half, leaving space in between each piece. Drizzle the marinade over the chicken if desired, but don’t reuse any protein marinade (uncooked marinade can retain bacteria from the raw proteins).

    4. BROIL on the top rack of the oven for 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables have browned. Then, place foil-wrapped bread on the bottom rack of the oven to heat for 2 minutes, or until warmed through. While the chicken is broiling…

    5. WASH the romaine and prepare any other salad ingredients of choice.

    6. REMOVE both the sheet pan and bread from the oven. Plate and serve chicken and veggies with a dollop of yogurt sauce, a drizzle of chermoula, and warm lavash!

    ________________

    *Thinner is better: Thinner squash are more tender than fatter ones, and better suited for rolling in the flatbread.

    †Spring onions substitute: Spring onions are not the same as green onions/scallions. They are immature bulbs of red or yellow onions, with bulbs about 1 inch bulbs in diameter and green tops that can either be eaten fresh or cooked. If you can’t find them, pick the smallest yellow onions from the bin.

    ‡Easy marinade: Some Americans have defaulted to marinating chicken in bottled Italian salad dressing, which may be convenient but is pricier and less elegant in flavor than an easy homemade marinade. Just combine oil, acid (vinegar or citrus juice), minced garlic, salt and pepper, plus a bit of honey or maple syrup for a nuanced sweetness. As a guide, start with 6 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice or wine vinegar and flavorings of choice: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, 3 to 6 cloves of minced garlic, and to taste, a few dashes of hot sauce, salt and pepper.
    ________________

     

    Grilled Chicken-Zucchini Wrap
    [1] Chicken-zucchini with wraps; or serve them plain (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Chermoula Sauce
    [2] Chermoula sauce (photo courtesy Off The Meat Hook).

    Summer Squash
    [3] Green and yellow summer squash are “fraternal twins” in the same species (photo courtesy Produce On Parade, which has a delicious recipe for both squash in a green curry sauce).

    Yellow Crookneck Squash
    [5] Crookneck yellow squash can often be found at farmers markets (photo courtesy Only Foods), which has lots more information about them.

    Ball Summer Squash

    [6] Eight-ball squash, the size of softballs, are an heirloom variety (some are hybrids), can be found at some markets—or grow your own with seeds from Burpee.

     
     
    YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH & ZUCCHINI: THE DIFFERENCE

    In terms of cooking and eating, there is no difference; although some find that yellow summer squash (straight neck or crook neck) to be a bit sweeter.

    Both belong to the genus and species Cucurbita pepo, which originated in Mexico. Their species siblings include winter squash such as the field pumpkin and acorn squash, among others. All are subspecies of the pepo species.

    How can these latter thick-skinned winter squashes be siblings of the delicate-skinned summer squash?

    Summer squash are picked while still immature and thin-skinned, so that the skin and and seeds are still soft and edible. They also grow on bush-type plants that do not spread across the ground, like winter squash and pumpkin. A few healthy and well-maintained plants produce abundant yields.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Ceviche & The Different Types Of Raw Fish Dishes

    Deconstructed Ceviche
    [1] Deconstructed ceviche at Seviche | Louisville.

    Ceviche Trio
    [2] A trio of ceviches with different mixes of seafood and vegetables, from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.

    Sea Bass Ceviche
    [3] Sea bass ceviche with traditional ingredients from Coya | London.

    White Fish Tiradito

    [4] Tiradito: a fusion preparation with sashimi-cut fish and a non-traditional garnish (fried capers), at Raymi | NYC.

     

    June 28th is National Ceviche Day, so let’s have some fun with it.

    Ceviche is delicious “health food.”

  • Fish and seafood are high in protein.
  • Citrus juice is high in antioxidants including vitamin C; and is a good source of potassium and folate.
  • There’s no sugar or added fat.
  • Ceviche is low in calories. Most fish have 30-40 calories per ounce; shrimp and lobster have 30 calories, bay scallops 25 calories and octopus 35 calories per ounce. Other ingredients such as chile, cucumber, herbs, onion and tomato add negligible calories.
  •  
    And perhaps most important to some:

  • Ceviche is not raw fish. The fish is cured by marinating in citrus juice.
  •  
     
    DECONSTRUCTED CEVICHE

    Seviche Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky serves a different ceviche any day. While there are traditional presentations, they’ve also served it deconstructed (photo #1).

    Instead of serving it traditionally—in a bowl or other container, resting in its marinade/curing liquid and topped with garnishes—the deconstruction in Photo #1 comprises:

  • Slices of cured fish set directly on a plate.
  • Topped with minced vegetables, instead of diced vegetables mixed in with the fish.
  • The marinade becomes a sauce, artistically place on the plate.
  • The plate is garnished with non-traditional garnishes—herbs, edible flowers, jicama, radishes, etc.—instead of cilantro or parsley, diced avocado, lime wedge or sliced onions.
  •  
     
    THE DIFFERENCES AMONG RAW FISH DISHES

  • Carpaccio is Italian for raw fillet of beef, not fish. Crudo is the term for raw fish or seafood. You will find fish “crudo” on restaurant menus, but that doesn’t make it correct. While raw fish consumption is ancient, beef carpaccio was based on the Piedmont speciality, carne cruda all’albese (raw beef Alba-style), created by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Using fine Piedmontese beef, he originally prepared it for a countess whose doctors had recommended that she eat raw meat. At the time, there was a local exhibition of the 15th-century Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio; hence the name of the dish.
  • Ceviche, seviche or sebiche, from South America, is a marinated raw fish dish that date to pre-Colombian times. Then, seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn. The Spanish brought onions limes, which are essential to today’s ceviche.
  • Crudo is analogous to sashimi—plain raw fish, although the fish is cut differently.
  • Escabeche is not raw, but seared fish (or meat) that is then marinated it in a vinegar-based sauce redolent of herbs and spices. As with ceviche, there is always an acidic marinade. It is served cold or at room temperature.
  • Poke is a Hawaiian dish that recently has made its way from coast to coast. A mix of raw fish and vegetables are served as an appetizer or salad course. It is different from tiradito or ceviche in that the fish is cubed with a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing, and Hawaiian garnishes like roasted crushed candlenut and limu seaweed, along with chopped chiles. It is pronounced poe-KEH. Here’s more about it.
  • Sashimi is Japanese-style sliced raw fish, generally served with a bowl of plain, steamed rice (not sushi rice, which is prepared with vinegar and sugar). The word literally means “pierced body.” No one is certain of the origin, but it may have come from the former practice of sticking the tail and fin of the fish on the slices, to let it be known which fish one was eating.
  • Tataki is a fillet of fish that is lightly seared: Just the surface is cooked, with the majority of the fish eaten in its raw state.
  • Tiradito is a more recent dish, fusing the concepts of ceviche and sashimi. Fish is sliced in pieces that are longer and thinner than sashimi. They are artfully arranged on a plate on top of a light sauce, and garnished (with cilantro, fresh corn kernels, thin slices of hot chile, etc.). The name derives from the Spanish verb tirar, which means to throw (i.e., throwing together raw fish with a sauce). Here’s a recipe.
  •  
    Don’t worry if you can’t keep these straight: We saw a dish called carpaccio at New York City’s top seafood restaurant, that was clearly tiradito (with sauce and chile garnishes).
     

     

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CEVICHE & TIRADITO

    In South America, marinated raw fish dishes date to pre-Colombian times, when seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn.

    In the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived with limes, onions and bell peppers, three essential ingredients in basic modern ceviche. Lime juice cured the fish, and marinating the sliced/diced onions and bell peppers mixed in with the seafood. Large kernels of roasted Inca corn are a common garnish.

    Ceviche is found in almost all restaurants on the coast of Peru, typically served with camote (sweet potato, which originated in Peru). It has been called “the flagship dish of coastal cuisine,” and is one of the most popular dishes in Peru [source].

    Over time, fruits were incorporated; most popularly, tomatoes (native to Peru) and mango.

    The influx of Japanese immigrants to Peru in the 1970s brought with it chefs who cut and treated the fish in the manner of sashimi. A fusion dish developed called tiradito, with seafood cut sashimi-style (but thinner and longer), a spicy dressing incorporating Peruvian chiles, and more elaborate garnishes.
     
     
    CEVICHE, CEBICHE, SEBICHE, SEVICHE

    Ceviche is variously spelled with a c or an s, with a v or a b.

    In Peru, cebiche is the spelling in Lima; although ceviche is used elsewhere in the country, and is the most common internationally.

    However, seviche was actually declared the proper spelling in 2004, by Peru’s National Institute of Culture.

    Additionally, historical texts refer to the dish as seviche, including those by the Academia Peruana de la Lengua (Peruvian Language Academy), founded in 1887 [source].

    Since even in its homeland, the national dish has multiple spellings, don’t argue with anyone over which one is “correct.”

    Lobster Ceviche recipe
    Make Your Signature Ceviche Recipe
    More History Of Ceviche
    Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
    Trout Ceviche Recipe
    Wasabi Ceviche Recipe

     

    Ceviche MartinI Glass
    [5] Presentation in a Martini glass with plantain chips, at Elegant Affairs Caterers.

    Ceviche Grilled Lime

    [6] A modern update garnished with fresh tarragon, fried Chinese noodles and a grilled lime wheel.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Ingredients For Summer Tacos

    Summer Chicken Tacos

    Fish Mango Tacos

    Chicken tacos with radish and avocado. Here’s the recipe from Heather Christo. [2] Fish tacos with mango. Here’s the recipe from How Sweet It Is.

     

    The 2017 summer solstice falls on Wednesday, June 21st at 12:24 A.M. If you’re having a midnight dinner tonight, you can officially have summer tacos.

    What are summer tacos? Tacos with lighter ingredients: chicken, fish and vegetarian instead of beef; summer vegetables used as garnish or in vegetarian tacos.

    Bonus: These ingredients are more bountiful in the summer; hence, better priced.

    Here are 12 ingredients to add to your tacos:

    1. Basil. While it’s available year-round, fresh basil in a Caprese salad is the aroma of summer. Add some shredded basil to the taco or mix chopped basil into salsa. If you’re near a farmers market, pick up different varieties: lemon basil, opal (purple) basil, etc.

    2. Beans. Add beans and/or grilled tofu to a vegetarian taco. Use black beans, or think outside the conventional box of beans.

    3. Chives. For a subtle onion flavor, consider some chopped chives. We often add chopped red onion; but in the hot weather, chives are a lighter alternative.

    4. Corn. Use fresh corn kernels as a topping. You don’t need to cook them. Or, make corn salsa.

    5. Eggplant. While not the most obvious addition to a taco, it makes a delicious vegetarian taco and also pairs well with chicken and fish. Grill it and add it. For a vegetarian taco, combine it with summer squash and beans.

    6. Fish. Most Tex-Mex restaurants use frozen tilapia, a lower-cost fish (better restos use mahi-mahi). After you fry it and add the garnishes, who notices? We notice! During the summer, better fish are available in larger quantities; thus the price goes down. Treat yourself to black sea bass or striped bass, grouper, hake, mahi-mahi or red snapper (if you like strong fish flavors, we recommend bluefish, usually a bargain). Enjoy the fresh fish flavor with grilled—not battered and fried—fish.

    7. Jalapeños. Pickle your own: Slice them and add to a jar with brining liquid to cover (one part white vinegar, one part water and a big pinch each of salt and sugar). Add garlic or other spices or aromatics (e.g. diced onion). Then cap the jar, shake to blend, and keep in the fridge.

    8. Mango and pineapple. Dice and use them as a sweet contrast. We like mango as is, and the pineapple grilled.

     
    9. Radishes. This spicy veg adds crunch to the taco. Check farmers markets for heirloom varieties.

    10. Summer squash. Zucchini and yellow squash, also available year-round, are at their best in the summer. Chop them raw, add grilled zucchini to chicken and fish tacos, make squash salsa.

    11. Tomatillos. These green orbs—not related to tomatoes—are the base of salsa verde. You can add them raw, sliced, to the taco, or make your own salsa verde. Simply husk the tomatillos, give them a light char on the grill or under the broiler, and toss them into a food processor with cilantro, sliced jalapeños, salt and lime juice.

    12. Tomatoes. They’re at their best and least expensive in summer. Treat yourself to heirloom tomatoes. Diced or sliced, they make a big difference over the bland plum tomatoes used year-round.
     
     
    These ingredients will make better Taco Tuesdays, for sure!

    Tonight we’re having black bean, grilled zucchini and corn tacos. How about you?

     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Skillet Flatbread

    Homemade Flatbread

    Homemade Flatbread

    Greek Salad Sandwich

    [1] Warm, fragrant and ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, This recipe is from Girl Versus Dough. [2] Here’s the recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. [3] Turn your Greek salad into a sandwich (photo courtesy Girl Versus Dough).

     

    Long before there were ovens, bread—the first was flatbread—was baked on flat stones in a fire. When the skillet finally evolved, in ancient Mesopotamia and Greece, people still cooked everything over a fire (here’s the history of the frying pan).

    Flatbreads are the simplest breads, requiring no leavening—although in modern times, some are leavened to produce a lighter, airier, more easily chewed bread.

    Flatbread can be extremely thin, like a tortilla, one millimeter or so in thickness, to a few centimeters thick, like focaccia.

    Each region of the world developed a flatbread; for example:

  • Arepa in South America.
  • Chapati, naan and roti in India.
  • Injera in Ethiopia.
  • Crispbread in Scandanavia.
  • Jonnycake in the U.S.
  • Lavash and sangak in Persia.
  • Matzoh in Israel.
  • Oatcake in Scotland.
  • Pita in the Middle East.
  • Pizza in Italy.
  • Tortilla in Mexico.
  •  
    Some other breads called flatbreads are not completely flat, but use yeast and are partially risen, such as Italy’s focaccia.
     
    Here’s the history of bread and the different types of bread.
     
     
    MAKE YOUR OWN FLATBREAD

    Using five pantry staples, you can have fresh, hot bread on the table in less than 30 minutes with no need to turn on the oven. Instead, use a skillet or stove-top griddle.

    The dough comes together very quickly, and you’ll have something special for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

    RECIPE: SKILLET FLATBREAD

    Consider this recipe from King Arthur Flour as your first foray into homemade flatbread. Here’s a step-by-step in photos.

    Ingredients For 10 to 12 Flatbreads

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 2 to 3 additional tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add the oil and ice water and mix to make a soft, cohesive dough. Adjust with more flour or water as needed. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

     

    2. PREHEAT a heavy-bottomed skillet on the stove top. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat until the oil starts to shimmer in the pan.

    3. DIVIDE the dough into 10 to 12 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh about 1- 1/2 to 2 ounces, about the size of a large egg. Dredge each piece in flour, and roll to a rough circle or oval about 1/4″ thick. If you prefer, hand shape the pieces by flattening between your palms.

    4. FRY the flatbreads in the hot oil in batches. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and fry on the second side for another 2 minutes. Add more oil as needed for frying successive batches.

    5. TRANSFER from the pan to a rack to cool slightly before serving.

     
      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.