Mediterranean Barley Salad
1 cup barley
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2 cups cherry tomatoes, split in half
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, or mint, optional
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped, optional
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup almonds, chopped and baked
1 pinch kosher salt, or sea salt, to taste
1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add a half teaspoon of salt.
Add barley, cover, and allow to simmer over medium low heat for about 40 minutes, or until barley is cooked.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and gently toss with the barley to coat well.
3. Allow the barley to cool, then add the red onion, tomato, pepper, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and fresh parsley or mint, and oregano.
4. Season well with oregano and sea salt or kosher salt, and adjust seasonings to taste.
5. Serve your barley salad either chilled or at room temperature.
Caramelized Figs Parfaits with walnuts and yogurt
For the Figs:
- 12 figs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons tawny port, Madeira, or other sweet, fortified wine, optional
- Ice cream, yogurt, or whipped cream, optional
Rinse the figs clean and pat them dry. Trim off and discard any excess stem and cut the figs in half lengthwise. Set them aside.
In a medium frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the honey and gently stir it into the butter.
When the mixture is fully combined, set the figs cut-side-down in the honey-butter mixture and cook. Shake the pan now and again to keep the figs from sticking and spoon the honey-butter mixture over the tops of the figs until everything is bubbling and the figs are starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
If using port, remove the figs from the pan, and whisk in the port (or whatever you're using).
Once the wine is whisked in and a smooth sauce forms, let it simmer and bubble for a few minutes to thicken.
Add the figs back in the pan, spoon the sauce over them to heat everything together.
Serve the figs hot or warm, along with Greek yogurt ice cream or greek yogurt topped with walnuts.
Israeli Chicken with Zaatar, lemon and Potatoes
- 6-8 pieces of bone-in, skin on chicken (thighs, breasts, drumsticks)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons zaatar
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh thyme, optional
Three cups of cooked chickpeas
- 1. Position a rack near the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200C/400ºF.
- 2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of zaatar, and garlic in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and chickpeas. Allow the chicken and chickpeas to marinate for 20 minutes or up to 3 hours.
- 3. Spread the chicken and potato pieces out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of za'atar. You could even sprinkle some chopped fresh thyme on top of you'd like.
- 4. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and lemon slices or wedges, serve with greek yogurt and your favorite spicy sauce.
Czech/Slovakian poppy seeds cake
Poppy seed batter:
- 1 cup poppy seeds (130 g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (80 ml)
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (215 g)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder (13 g)
- 1 1/3 cups milk (320 ml)
- butter and sifted breadcrumbs to grease and dust a sheet pan
- 1 1/2 cup icing sugar (180 g) sifted
- 4 Tablespoons lemon juice (60 ml) freshly pressed
- Before you start baking, grease and flour a sheet pan. Pre-heat oven to 340 °F (170 °C).
- In a large mixing bowl, crack an egg, add vegetable oil and granulated sugar. Mix with a hand-held kitchen mixer for 3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, poppy seeds, and baking powder. Add them to the beaten egg. Add milk and mix everything using a mixer on low speed until a semi-liquid batter is created.
- Pour and spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the cake center. The tooth stick needs to come out clean, or with a few crumbs stuck to the tooth stick, then the cake is finished.
- Set the baked cake aside. Meantime, make a smooth lemon icing. To achieve this, mix sifted icing sugar with freshly pressed lemon juice. Drizzle the lemon icing over warm cake and spread it using a tablespoon.
- Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Slice and serve as a dessert or a coffee cake.
- 6 small potatoes, boiled, peeled, and riced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 1 1/4 cups fresh cottage cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- smoked bacon or guanciale, diced, for garnish
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup boiling water
- Place riced potatoes into a large bowl
- Sautee onions in butter until light brown
- Lightly toss potatoes, with onion, cheese, and seasonings until combined
- Place the flour on a clean work surface
- Add the salt
- Make a well in the top of the flour and add the egg.
- Work the egg into the flour
- Slowly add the water to the flour mixture, mixing it in as you go
- Knead dough until smooth
- Brown bacon and reserve
- Roll the dough out very thin, approx 1/16 inch
- Cut into round circles using a glass or a cookie cutter
- Add a spoonful of the filling to the center of each circle, compacting the filling
- Fold the dough around the filling, sealing the edges, creating a half circle or crescent shape
- When all of the pierogi are filled, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook the pierogi for use a few minutes
- Serve with butter, bacon and the fat of the bacon.