Donna Maurillo, Food for Thought |Flavorful, colorful food appeals to the tongue and eye – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Donna Maurillo, Meals for Thought |Flavorful, colourful meals appeals to the tongue and eye – Santa Cruz Sentinel

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A few of my favourite meals come from across the Mediterranean Sea. That features not solely Italian, but in addition Greek, Tunisian, Spanish, Syrian and others.

Really, I like dishes that come from hotter climates, generally. That’s as a result of they’ve entry to luxurious spices and contemporary substances nearly all 12 months. So, into my “favorites” combine you’ll be able to throw Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, Szechuan, Cambodian and a protracted listing of others.

What can I say? I identical to flavorful and colourful meals. It appeals not solely to the tongue, but in addition to the attention.

Greek delicacies, as an example, relies on good olive oil, the olives themselves, cheeses constructed from sheep and goat milk, yogurt, mint and different flavorful herbs, seafood (logical, with all that shoreline), honey (baklava, anybody?), nuts, fruits like lemon and apple, and contemporary greens like eggplant and tomatoes.

Mizithra is one in all my favourite Greek cheeses. This dried and salted cheese could be grated. However mizithra could be made delicate and with out salt, very like ricotta. In that case, it has a candy, contemporary, milky taste and is served with honey.

In case you discover halloumi cheese, slice it up and toss it right into a pan on the grill or stovetop. It has a excessive melting level, so you’ll be able to brown the floor and serve it as a snack or as a topper for salad.

In terms of meat, Greeks do use beef. However they’re greatest recognized for lamb and goat dishes as a result of the Greek terrain doesn’t lend itself to elevating cattle. Goat and lamb are sometimes served roasted, however floor lamb is included in stuffed grape leaves, moussaka, meatballs, or different dishes.

Doesn’t all this make you content that “lamb season” is arising? Lamb is outlined as any sheep youthful than a 12 months previous, whereas mutton is older than a 12 months. Due to its tenderness and milder taste, lamb is usually most popular over mutton. Consider lamb chop “lollipops.” Mutton, then again, is best in a stew or one other dish requiring braised or stewed meat. This moist cooking helps to interrupt down and tenderize the meat.

And let’s not overlook the Greek expertise for creating tissue-thin phyllo pastry sheets—the idea for tiropita, spanakopita, baklava, and lots of different treats. You could find recipes for home made phyllo, however I choose to search out it within the freezer case!

In case you’d prefer to attempt a flavorful Greek dish, I’ve included a recipe right here. It’s simple to make inside an hour, and Gary gave it a number of “forks up.”

Boiled Eggs, Anybody?

You’d assume that boiling an egg can be simple. However no. I’ve boiled them. I’ve allow them to sit in scorching water. I’ve cooled them slowly. I’ve dunked them in ice water. However generally I nonetheless get imperfect eggs, or the shells received’t slide off. As a substitute, they cling to the egg for pricey life. tried a number of methods to exhausting boil eggs, they usually discovered some clear winners. First, about these clingy shells. Recent eggs are extra susceptible to do this, so allow them to sit within the fridge for about 10 days earlier than cooking. You’ll have higher luck.

OK, concerning the cooking methodology. On the backside of the listing was putting the eggs in muffin tins and baking them at 325F for 30 minutes. Some eggs scorched. Some shells caught. Outcomes had been actually uneven.

One other blah consequence got here from beginning with chilly water, bringing it to a boil, and eradicating from the warmth to let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Then the eggs had been plunged into ice water. Properly, peeling was an issue as soon as once more.

Among the finest methods was doing them in a strain cooker or Immediate Pot. Put the eggs on a steamer rack within the pot, add a cup of water, and strain cook dinner on low for six minutes. Launch strain, and place the eggs in ice water to chill. Peeling was a breeze, and the eggs had been completely accomplished.

However the most effective methodology was to deliver Three quarts of water to a boil, decrease 6 eggs in, boil 30 seconds, cowl, and cut back to a simmer for 12 minutes. Drain and place in an ice bathtub for 15 minutes. Apparently, beginning with boiling water as an alternative of chilly water forces the whites to shrink away from the shell. Bingo! A flawless peel!


Banish exhausting water spots in your glasses! Pour white vinegar into the rinse-aid compartment of your dishwasher. It is going to neutralize these mineral deposits.


These heavenly meatballs come from Denise Ward and Mirella Savegnano’s cooking class. Serve them as an appetizer or with orzo or polenta.


Makes 12-15

For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sprig rosemary

1 chile de arbol, crumbled (or a couple of shakes of chili powder)

half of cup diced onion

half of teaspoon thyme leaves

A pinch every of cumin, floor cinnamon, and cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

14-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (or diced tomatoes)

half of teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice, plus 3-inch strip of zest

1 teaspoon salt

Recent floor pepper

1.     Warmth a big saucepan over medium excessive warmth for 1 minute. Swirl in about 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the rosemary and chile. Warmth one other minute.

2.     Add the onion, thyme, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and bay leaf. Sauté for 5-6 minutes till the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a potato masher. Add the sugar, orange juice, zest, salt, and pepper. Prepare dinner 8-10 minutes till thickened.

For the Meatballs:

1/Three cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 extra-large egg yolk

half of teaspoon every floor cinnamon, floor cumin, and crushed pink pepper flakes

Pinch of cayenne

1/Four cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 pound floor lamb

1/Four cup panko crumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 ounces feta cheese

2 tablespoons sliced mint leaves

2 teaspoons every salt and pepper

1.     In a medium bowl, combine collectively the onion, cream, egg yolks, cinnamon, cumin, crushed chilies, and cayenne.

2.     Place lamb in a separate mixing bowl. Season evenly with salt and pepper. Add the panko crumbs and parsley. Add the onion and spice combination. Mix effectively along with your arms. Form into golf ball-sized balls.

3.     Warmth a big frying pan to medium-high. Swirl the olive oil across the backside. Place the meatballs rigorously within the pan. Prepare dinner for 1-2 minutes till properly browned. Flip the meatballs over, browning on all sides.

4.     Switch meat to the pot of tomato sauce. Simmer till lamb registers 145F on a meat thermometer or till cooked via. Serve with a topping of crumbled feta and slivered mint leaves.

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