Corn, Rice, Tomato & Arugula Salad

Corn, Rice, Tomato & Arugala SaladThis is a great light salad that is even better the second day, as the flavours have had a chance to meld. If you can find fresh corn, it’s definitely worth it! This recipe will serve 6.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice
4 ears of fresh corn, husked & silks removed (or one 341ml can of corn niblets)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
1 cup fresh arugula leaves or spinach*
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup red onion, cut into thin slices (approximately ½ small red onion)

For Dressing:

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean arugula and spinach.

Directions:

Prepare the rice according to package directions and cool. Cook corn in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain. Let ears cool, and then trim the corn off the cob by cutting closely to the cob in long strips. Carefully lay aside. Combine cooled rice, halved tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and arugula in a serving bowl. Carefully arrange corn strips on top of rice mixture and drizzle the salad dressing over all. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Now while I don’t know any Jewish wedding that this amount of soup would fit the bill for, you can feed about 8-10 people with it as a nice starter. Think of it as an Italian chicken soup, but with meatballs instead of matzo balls! Not that the edition of matzo balls would be a bad idea… hmm…

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup coarsely chopped onion
⅓ cup coarsely chopped carrot
⅓ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 ½ quarts chicken broth
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt to taste
1 cup seashell pasta (or other small-shaped noodle)
2 cups spinach – packed, rinsed* and thinly sliced

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined, but do not over mix. Shape the meat into ¾ inch balls, and set aside. In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until the onion becomes slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, and let cook a few minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the broth, bay leaf and peppercorns and any salt that is desired, bringing the broth to a boil. You may wish to put the bay leaf and peppercorns in a little cheesecloth bundle, to make for easy removal later, but you can skip this step, and simply fish them out later. Once boiling, slowly drop in the meatballs and pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. At the last minute add the spinach and wilt it into the soup. Serve hot with crusty bread and enjoy!

* click here to check out how to clean spinach properly.

A Greek Chorus of Appetizers

Stacked Greek Salads

Stacked Greek

Ingredients:

4-6 large tomatoes, hothouse, beefsteak or even romas, sliced ¼” thick
8oz. feta cheese, sliced ¼” thick
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 cup olives, green or kalamata, sliced
1-2 english cucumbers, sliced ¼” thick
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
salt and pepper

Directions:

On individual plates or a large serving platter, arrange 6 slices of tomato, then layer on top cheese, onions, cucumbers, some olives and sprinkle with some oregano and pepper. Then if possible (depending on your stacking skills), create another layer of the ingredients and finish off with a drizzling of olive oil and lemon juice. If needed, you can skewer the stacks with bamboo sticks to help balance everything.

Greek Dip

Greek Mediterranean Dip
Original recipe makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

1 (10 ounce) container red pepper hummus
1 (10 ounce) container of tzatziki
½ cup finely chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup finely chopped artichoke hearts
½ cup diced fresh tomato
¾ cup peeled and diced cucumber
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup finely diced red onion
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

This dish is great if you can serve it either in a glass pie dish that is wide and shallow OR a trifle dish that lets you see all the beautiful layers. It’s also really easy in that it’s just a “dump” recipe, where you can add a bunch of pre-made things together to make them look incredible. Start by spreading out the layer of the hummus, then the tzatziki. Then layer on the rest of the vegetables and then top with the cheese and onions. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on the oregano. Serve with toasted pita chips or tortilla chips and enjoy!

Spanakopita

Spanakopita

Ingredients:

½ cup olive oil, divided
2 large onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach – thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (4 ounce) packages feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) packages fyllo dough

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Heat half of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly cook and stir onions until softened. Mix in spinach, dill and flour. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the moisture has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Mix in feta cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. With a pastry brush, coat a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with some of the remaining oil. Lay a sheet of fyllo dough in the pan, brushing it with olive oil. Lay 4 more sheets of fyllo in the pan, brushing each with oil. Spread half the spinach mixture over the fyllo. Cover this with 3 more sheets of fyllo, brushing oil on each sheet. Spread the rest of the mixture over this and layer 5 more sheets, again brushing each sheet with oil. With a sharp knife, score the pie. Bake for 40 minutes.

Best Minestrone Soup

Minestrone

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced in ¼” rounds
6 cups vegetable broth
1 796ml can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 769ml can crushed tomatoes
1 540ml canned kidney beans, drained
1 540ml can green beans, drained
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and checked*
2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup pasta, seashell or ditalini, or your favourite shape
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, diced and crushed tomatoes and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. If the soup is too thick, or you would like more broth, you can add additional vegetable broth or water.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt. You can omit the salt if you’re watching your sodium, but this is really your only chance to flavour the pasta itself. You could also add a teaspoon of bouillon to the water instead of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

* To learn how to check spinach, click here.