Tag Archives: olives

Caponata with Israeli Couscous and Spinach and Feta Meatballs in a Yellow Tomato Sauce

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Remember the eggplant I bought a couple days ago? While we’ve been slowly eating leftovers, I’ve been devising my eggplant plan. What did I come up with? Jamie Oliver’s “Incredible Sicilian Aubergine Stew,” also known as caponata. I am also making Spinach and Feta Meatballs to go alongside.

Deviations: 

  • Used kalamata olives
  • Used balsamic vinegar
  • Used 1 red bell pepper
  • Used 2 zucchini and only 1 eggplant

Ingredients:

• olive oil
• An eggplant, cut into
large chunks
• teaspoon dried oregano
• kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 small red onion, peeled and finely
chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley,
leaves picked and stems finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons  capers
• a handful of kalamata olives
• 2–3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
•  2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Method:

In order to make sure that my eggplant and zucchini were browned and toasty, I did several batches. I think I fried four pans full of eggplant and zucchini–and I’m glad I did. The roasted flavor really came through in the final dish. Between each pan full, I dumped it into a plate to rest.

When I was done doing the eggplant and zucchini in batches, I added them all back to the frying pan and added a bunch of dried oregano. I sauteed this for awhile, then I added the onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and parsley stems to the pan.

Five or ten minutes later (I really let this cook down quite a bit), I added olives, capers, and vinegar. Then the chopped tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. I cranked it up for about five minutes, then lowered the heat and put a lid on it.

 While the caponata was simmering away, I began making the meatballs.

Spinach and Feta Meatballs in a  Yellow Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • spinach, microwaved and squeezed dry
  • feta cheese

I hand mixed these ingredients together and pan fried the meatballs, a few at a time. When all of the meatballs were done, I took them out of the pan and let them rest on a plate. I drained the grease from the frying pan and added a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes. I let the tomatoes cook until they burst, gave them a drink of wine, and let them reduce for a couple minutes.

Then, I put the meatballs back in the pan with the sauce and let them simmer with a lid on for a few more minutes.

While everything was simmering away, I made a cup of Israeli couscous.

When the couscous was done, I poured a good deal of the yellow tomato sauce into it to finish it off.

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Jamie Oliver’s Squashed Cherry Tomato and Olive Salad with Ciabatta

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Squashed Cherry Tomato and Olive Bruschetta

Jamie served this as a bruschetta.  Instead, I just sliced ciabatta rolls in half and toasted them. More of an open faced sandwich than proper bruschetta.                                          Sorry for the crappy pictures.

Ingredients:

  • Two handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • One handful of kalamata olives
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • some basil
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • ciabatta bread
  • mozzarella cheese

Method:

Smash the olives and tomatoes in a bowl. Add oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Refrigerate for awhile. Toast ciabatta bread. Rub a garlic clove onto the toasted bread.  Top the bread with the salad and some mozzarella cheese. 

Weekend Menu Planning

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I have been on summer vacation for the past two weeks now and have probably cooked one time.  There are a couple of reasons for this–but not really any good ones.  I haven’t blogged because I haven’t been cooking–but I also haven’t been blogging because one of my students dropped my camera on the last day of school and broke it. Excuses, excuses.  No blogging, no camera, no homemade meals…

I have been eating out way too much as a result. This. Needs. To. Change. Today.

Camera or not, here is a blog post and camera or not I will be posting recipes and attempting pictures with my phone.

Yesterday, we finally went grocery shopping.  Here’s what I got:

  • pizza dough
  • olives
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil
  • mozzarella
  • regular tomatoes
  • chicken breasts
  • hamburger
  • ciabatta bread
  • mushrooms
  • green onions

Here is a tentative plan:

Feta Rice Stuffed Tomatoes                                                                                                      I will hollow out some tomatoes and stuff them with a feta rice dish that I made earlier this week. (Feta rice: 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of stock, cumin, mexican oregano, garlic, a large handful of corn, 1 onion, some feta cheese. Saute the spices, garlic, and onion. Add the rice to the pan and toast it for a minute or so. Add the liquid, corn, and feta. Cover with a lid and cook until rice is tender.) After stuffing tomatoes, I will bake them in the oven at 400 degrees until they are bubbling and done.

This week, for Jeff’s birthday, I bought a TV and an Xbox.  He has been gleefully playing his games, and I have been watching Jamie Oliver’s old show, “Oliver’s Twist,” on Netflix. Let me just say this: I absolutely love Jamie Oliver. His food is accessible, passionate, playful–and Jamie seems to embody those characteristics as well.  Super love him and super love his show.  This recipe is from one of his episodes.  It looked delicious.
                                                                                                                                                              Calzones
I don’t have a recipe for this, but I think I will throw in whatever sounds good at the moment. I have some artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms that sound like a lovely combination.  I still don’t know what to do with the hamburger or chicken that I purchased, though.  Maybe meatballs, and a chicken soup?  I begin work again tomorrow (Summer School) and I need to start thinking about packing lunches again. 

Oh, Sunday…

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Here I am: 1:30 pm.  Buried under piles of lesson planning materials.  Fretting over administering state testing over the next several weeks.   Just the thought of reading hundreds of pages of training materials and manuals makes me heart beat fast–panic is setting in.  Not enough time to get done everything I need to get done.  Such is a teacher’s life.

On a more positive note…

Yesterday, the husband and I took a much needed break from responsibilities and went the KLCC Brewfest with friends.  The same friends also cooked us dinner:  a ridiculously good pizza, topped with ricotta, pear, broccoli, artichokes…

Pear?  Yes, pear.  It was phenomenal.  The beer at the event was phenomenal as well.  Highlights?  Block 15’s Love Potion Number 9 and Steelhead’s Barley Wine. Lowlights?  Just one:  Gilgamesh’s Mambo–tasted like tangerine perfume.

Trying to shake off the stress of work, and inspired by our friends’ company and the KLCC event last night, I think I will head into the kitchen and get to cooking.

Today’s menu:

Acorn Squash with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Spicy Citrusy Black Beans

Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Sunday Menu

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Tonight, Jeff and I are making:

Chard and White Bean StewMediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad, and Rice and Chicken Pilaf with Toasted Almonds and Dried Currants.

I also might make Smashed Chickpea Salad, a slight departure from the hummus kick I am on.

I have been so stressed out lately–eating out too much and eating all of the wrong foods.  I cook each weekend, so that we can have healthy food during the week, but when the week’s stress knocks the wind out of me, I call Papa John’s.  Or Kowloon’s.  Or go to sushi.  Or Quiznos. Or Wendy’s. (What an embarrassingly long list!) But this habit, as comforting as it is in the moment, is expensive–and is rather conducive to weight gain.  Fatty-ness. Eating may make a person feel good momentarily, but tight jeans the next day (and not tight in the sexy way) make me regret the takeout from the night before.

I chose these recipes for their Mediterranean flavors–light, simple, wholesome.  All of them will reheat nicely when we take them to work for lunch.  I really look forward to the rice and chicken pilaf–the combination of cinnamon, garlic, dried fruit, and chicken sounds amazing.  When I went grocery shopping for the ingredients, the Market of Choice as out of dried currants, so I bought dried cherries instead.

If I find the energy and inspiration, I’ll take some pictures of tonight’s cooking marathon.

 

In process: Pasta with goat cheese, kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, and basil

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Process: Chop tomatoes; slice onions; prepare two heads of garlic.  Douse in olive oil. Salt and pepper. 425 degree oven. Roast. Don’t let them stick or burn.

Take vegetables out of the oven.

Set tomato/onion mixture aside.

Let garlic cool. Make it into a paste. It’ll spread like butter.

Boil pasta in salty water.  I used rigatoni.

Mix garlic paste, goat cheese, basil (chiffonade), chopped kalamata olives with some starchy water reserved from the pasta. (Cut your left hand and burn your right. Drink wine to dull the pain.)

This is the sauce.

Mix the tomatoes/onions with the garlic, basil, roasted garlic goat cheese.

Drain pasta.

Pour sauce over pasta.

Done.

Sunday Menu

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I love my Saturday morning ritual: sitting in bed, drinking hot coffee (with almond milk), and searching the Internet for recipes.

The husband is sitting next to me, reading Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.  This book, written by evolutionary psychologists, argues that the presumption that ancient human families and sexualities were monogamous and possessive is wrong. He’s reading it as part of his research on family structure evolution.

Recipes up for consideration for this weekend’s cooking marathon:

I really wanted to make either mushroom soup or sweet potato soup, but guess what–

Thanks to the Summer of Hummus, I don’t have a blender.  And I want a pureed soup.  So, I plan on pouting for a bit this morning, and trying to decide whether or not I want to buy a blender today.