Mediterranean Chopped Salad

As I sit here and watch the snow come down; I think about the summer and all the glorious fresh vegetables that come with it. Someday soon it’ll be summer and the fresh tomatoes will fill my house. Until then, I must find ways to make the icky winter tomatoes taste good. This salad is one of those ways. This recipe is not a throw together kinda salad. There are a few steps that must be done but it’s all worth it in the end. It’s very important to let the tomatoes and cucumbers sit for a good 15-30 minutes with a bit of salt. It helps drain the unnecessary liquid and gives it a great flavor. When I make this again, I will only add half a can of the chickpeas. I felt there were way too many and it sorta drowned out some of the other flavors. My husband on the other hand loved all the chick peas, so it’s up to you on what you want. Make this salad now while it’s bitter cold and snowy. It’ll make you smile knowing that summer is right around the corner. In the meantime, I might have to whip a batch of cinnamon rolls since the kids and I are stuck home.


Mediterranean Chopped Salad:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 cucumber (I used English and didn’t peel), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed (I’ll use half next time)
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  minced red onion
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart (about 6oz), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3oz)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  1. Toss the tomatoes, cucumber, and 1/2 tsp salt together in a colander and let drain for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Whisk the oil, vinegar and garlic together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the drained tomatoes and cucumber, chickpeas, olives, and onion and toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature until the flavors blend, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the lettuce, feta and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Going to start off the week with one of my favorite dips, spinach and artichoke. We always end up ordering this when we go out to eat at a restaurant. The whole family enjoys it and it’s a fight for who will finish it off. Awhile back I decided I should try making this at home so we can enjoy it whenever we want. I finally found my go to recipe through Alton Brown. He is always spot-on with his recipes, but I did end up modifying this a little. The recipe is fast and easy, which I love. He had everything cooking on the stove and microwave, but I wanted to finish it off in the oven with melted cheese on top. That’s what took the dip to a whole new level. Serve this with tortilla chips or 1/2 inch sliced pieces of a French Baguette. You won’t miss your favorite restaurant dip again.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

  • 1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid.
  3. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir everything but the mozzarella together and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Alton Brow via Food Network

Baked Corn

Baked corn is not a very photogenic subject. I tried my best at getting a good photo, but the stuff just didn’t look as good as it tastes. I asked my good friend Kali to please help me. She came to my rescue and made the photos look a lot better. Sorry the picture isn’t bigger. You at least get an idea of what it looks like.

I was first introduced to this baked corn dish when my mother in law made me chicken and waffles for the first time. Growing up in FL I never knew about the wonderful comforting food of the PA dutch. When I married my husband I was introduced to a whole new world of comfort food. I do plan on blogging about chicken and waffles, but first I have to make some. In the meantime, my mother in law recently made baked corn for dinner and I figured it’s time to introduce everyone to it.

Baked Corn

  • 2-3 tbs Corn Starch
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar or 1 cup splenda
  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 1 lg can Evaporated Milk
  • 3 tbs melted butter
Preheat oven 325. Butter 9×13 baking dish.
Mix first 3 ingredients together. Stir in milk and corn. Pour melted butter over the top and bake for 1 hour or until firm.

Fresh Tomato Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust

Summer is not my favorite time of the year. It’s so hot and humid and just plain icky. But, there is one thing I love during the summer and that’s fresh tomatoes. Nothing beats a freshly picked tomato. I ask that you please bare with me the next several weeks as my focus is on tomatoes and other summer veggies. I have to focus on something so that Fall will hurry up and get here. If you didn’t know, I LOVE fall and I love pumpkin so consider yourselves warned.

Fresh Tomato Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust

  • 1 recipe Basil and Garlic Tart Dough
  • 8oz mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1lb), cored, and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1. Prepare the dough, and press it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (The tart shell can be refrigerated for several hours if desired)

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center, slightly overlapping the slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

3. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.)

Basil-Garlic Tart Dough:

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2tsp kosher salt
  • 8tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 4-5tbs ice water

1. Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.

2. Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.

3. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water. Process until dough forms into a ball. Remove dough from processor.

4. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)

5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into the pan. Trim the dough, and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Source: The Complete Italian Vegetarian by Jack Bishop