Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crostini with Tomatoes, Olives, and Two Cheeses

For this recipe, I started with our popular Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta, added shredded mozzarella, and heated it under the broiler until the cheeses started to melt. The result is a richer, cheesier version of the original, for when you're in the mood for something light but truly decadent.

It's great on its own as an appetizer or snack, or as an accompaniment to a main-dish salad or soup meal.


French baguette or submarine/hoagie rolls, sliced into 16 (1/2-inch) slices
3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, shredded or coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Broil until one side of the bread is lightly golden. Turn the bread slices over and broil until the other side is lightly golden. Remove from broiler.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except for the mozzarella. (Note: Go easy on the salt, as the feta is salty.)

Spoon the tomato mixture evenly onto the bread slices. Top with the mozzarella.

Broil until the mozzarella is melted and bubbly.

-- 8 appetizer servings

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spinach with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Pine Nuts

This recipe was inspired by our popular recipe for Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts. This version omits the raisins, for those people who do not like raisins and for others who just want a change of pace. The result is just as good - more savory and less sweet than the original recipe.

A pile of spinach doesn't have to be boring!


1 pound fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Rinse the spinach, but do not dry. The water clinging to the spinach will help to steam it during the cooking process.

In a large skillet, saute the spinach over medium-high heat just until wilted. Transfer the wilted spinach to a colander and set aside.

Wipe any spinach liquid from the skillet, and then heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and saute for a minute or two until golden and fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn. When the garlic is golden, remove it from the pan and discard.

Add the pine nuts to the garlic-infused oil in the skillet, and saute over medium heat for a few minutes until the pine nuts are lightly golden.

Return the spinach to the pan, along with salt and pepper to taste.

Saute over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes to reheat the spinach and blend all the flavors.

-- 2 servings

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Feta

This quick and easy recipe contains some of the most classic and popular flavors of the Mediterranean. It's one of my favorite comfort foods.


8 ounces dried spaghetti
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf parsley)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (approx. 3-4 ounces), at room temperature*

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the tomatoes and olives to the skillet, and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked/drained spaghetti, along with the parsley. Saute for 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors.

Add the feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Go easy on the salt, as the feta is very salty.)

Toss lightly, until the feta is warm but not completely melted.

-- Serves 3-4

* Note: Take the feta out of the refrigerator when you start to heat the water for the pasta. It should be close enough to room temperature by the time you’re ready for it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Zucchini Hummus

Mixing some chopped zucchini into a classic hummus recipe adds extra flavor, color, and nutrition to a favorite Middle Eastern dip.

Serve with Pan-Grilled Pita Wedges, pita chips, and/or fresh veggies for dipping.


1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, reserving the chickpea liquid
1 medium unpeeled zucchini (about 1/2 pound), diced
1 small clove garlic, crushed through a press or finely minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor, including 1 tablespoon of the chickpea liquid. Puree until fairly smooth. If too thick, add more chickpea liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.

-- 8 appetizer servings