Category Archives: Greek

Greek Lamb with Orzo

I’ve been slacking on the blog lately. No good excuse. Life happens, and sometimes the paying work has to come first. But never fear, I’m still around, and still cooking!  This recipe was just too good to keep to myself.

I had actually planned to make something else last night, but when I turned on my oven, the smoke and the smell and the burning happened. And the smoke detector went off and chaos ensued. And then I remembered. Scalloped potatoes happened on Easter. I made a delicious batch but filled the pan a tiny bit too much and it bubbled over and dripped everywhere, doing its best to adhere permanently to my oven. Did I feel like cleaning it right then? Of course not! I left it and promptly forgot it was there…until I tried to cook again.

So. Plan B. I had found this recipe on Food52 and was planning to make it later in the week. But it got moved up in the schedule since it can all be cooked on the stove top.

If you haven’t tried cooking with ground lamb, give this one a go. It’s easy to cook, with delicious, savory, wonderful flavor. And it’s got orzo! Who doesn’t love that? If you have olive and/or feta haters (who ARE those people?) among you, you can serve the olives and feta on the side if you prefer.

Greek Lamb & Orzo

Greek Lamb & Orzo

Greek Lamb with Orzo
(from Food52)

1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained and smooshed with your hands (fun!)
14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 pound orzo pasta
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta

In a Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break it apart, until it is browned. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

Return the pot to the stove top and add the onion and garlic (still over medium-high). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices (cinnamon, oregano, cumin, coriander, and red pepper) and cook until they start smelling extremely toasty and fragrant (1-2 minutes). Then, stir in the smooshed tomatoes.

Cook the smooshed tomatoes in the spices, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then, add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the cooked lamb back to the pot, give a good stir, then cover the pot and leave it to cook, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. At this point, stir in the fresh spinach and cook just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind you’ll be sprinkling just a touch of feta and olives on, which will add to the saltiness).

While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering together and marrying their flavors, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 or 8 minutes, usually. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Drain the orzo. Toss the orzo with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, and all of the parsley, adding a bit of pasta water at a time, if you feel it needs additional liquid.

The yummy orzo before it gets it's coating of lamb and other goodies.

The yummy orzo before it gets its coating of lamb and other goodies.

Spread the orzo out on a large serving platter or bowl. Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives.  Serves 4-6.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Mediterranean Pizza

I can’t remember the last time I went out for pizza.  There are a few places I like in town, but none are very close to my house, and it usually just seems like too much trouble.  I’ve found it’s much easier to make my own, especially if I want a healthy-ish, gourmet-ish sort of pizza.

I threw this together with a few ingredients I had on hand, and the result was a tasty, Mediterranean style pizza that disappeared in the blink of an eye!  I read an article recently about ingredients you should never put on pizza, and I think spinach was on the list, but what do they know?  I actually really like it on pizza, especially if you cook it at a high enough temp that it gets a little crispy on the edges instead of just wilting.  Because nobody likes a soggy pizza.  This is a great way to get some extra veggies into the little ones (and the big ones!) without it seeming like rabbit food.

If you have a Trader Joe’s in the vicinity, they make a great fresh pizza dough that you can find in their refrigerated section.  It comes in plain or garlic-herb varieties.  If you don’t have a TJ’s close to you, you can use any pizza dough that suits you.

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Garlic-herb fresh pizza crust (I used Trader Joe’s pizza crust, but whatever kind you like will work)
1/2 cup basil pesto (click here for my pesto recipe or use store bought)
Pepperoni
1 tomato, sliced or diced
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
Assorted olives (I used kalamata and some green Italian ones)
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup mozzarella
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, go ahead and preheat that too, otherwise you can use any baking pan.  Flatten your dough out with your hands into whatever shape suits you (I usually just make it whatever shape of pan I’m using). Make it as thin or thick as you like.

Spread pesto evenly over crust.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

Layer  pepperoni and spinach.

 

Pepperoni and spinach.  For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pepperoni and spinach. For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pile on the other toppings, sprinkling evenly over crust. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper, or if you like it spicy, scatter a bit of crushed red pepper over the top.

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top.  Doesn't that look gorgeous?

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top. Doesn’t that look gorgeous?

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned on the edges and bottom.  I like a crispy crust, so I sometimes cook an additional minute or two.  For a softer crust, take it out a bit sooner.

Let it set for a few minutes before slicing.  Cut into wedges and try not to burn the roof of your mouth when you dive in!

Mmmmm!

Mmmmm!

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Quickie Greek Pizza

It’s hard to get much quicker than this little weeknight treat.  It’s so easy I’m not sure it actually qualifies as a recipe, but here it goes anyway.

I buy hummus from a stand at farmer’s market a pretty regular basis.  With so many varieties there is always a new one to try.  But beyond the dipping extravaganza, who knew that it would work just great as a pizza topping?  Well now we know.  Combined with a pita and Greeky sorts of toppings it was just lovely.  And pretty healthy too, gotta like that!

Quickie Greek Style Pizza

Quickie Greek Pizza

Quickie Greek Pizza

1 Greek style pita
2-3 tbsp. hummus, whatever variety you like best
Kalamata olives
Sun-dried tomatoes (I usually use the kind packed in olive oil)
1 tsp. pine nuts
Feta, mozzarella or queso fresco

As you can see from my stellar measurements here, I usually don’t measure anything.  Simply spread the hummus over the pita and sprinkle toppings on in whatever quantity you like!  Crumble some cheese on top and grind a bit of pepper on top.

Now of course you could just eat it like this.  But if you want it hot and crispy, cook it!

Now of course you could just eat it like this. But if you want it hot and crispy, cook it!

For a nice crisp crust, I cooked mine right on the oven rack.  About 10 minutes at 375˚ or until it’s melted and crispy on the bottom.

If you want it less crispy, put it on a pan first and don't cook it as long.

If you want it less crispy, put it on a pan first and don’t cook it as long.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Zingy Purple Potato Salad

One of the things I love best about farmer’s markets are finding things you don’t ever see in the grocery store.  This week I found bright purple potatoes!

Aren't they pretty?  I'm told they are called Purple Vikings

Aren’t they pretty? I’m told they are called Purple Vikings.

Now, I thought these were just too pretty to waste on something normal.  Some time ago I came across an idea for a lighter potato salad that used greek yogurt and lemon so I decided to incorporate those flavors with my lovely potatoes.  Roasting the potatoes added another dimension with a firmer texture and deeper flavor.  You can make this more or less lemony depending on how much zing you want.  As much as we love traditional potato salad, this fresh and summery take on an old favorite was a real winner at my house!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad.  Perfect for summer!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad. Perfect for summer!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad
(adapted from bevcooks.com)

2 pounds purple potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil for roasting
Salt & pepper
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. greek yogurt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. fresh mint, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Toss potatoes with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring halfway through.

Zingy Dressing

Normally I would just eat them like this.

In a large bowl whisk together 2 tbsp. olive oil, greek yogurt, lemon juice, zest, and dill.

Zingy dressing!

Zingy dressing!

Add potatoes and celery to bowl.  Toss to combine with dressing.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Sprinkle fresh mint over the top.

Mmmmm!  You need some of this.

Mmmmm! You need some of this.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobellas

What do you make when you have one dinner guest who’s a vegetarian and one who’s watching the carbs?  It’s a challenge, but not insurmountable.  For this meal I combined these stuffed mushrooms with a big Harvest Salad.  I love portobellos, and they are perfect for stuffing with whatever strikes your fancy.  I gave these a little Greek spin with some feta and kalamata olives and if I do say so myself, they turned out great!  If you’re going “no carb” instead of low carb, add more veggies and ditch the quinoa.

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobella

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobellos

6 portobello mushroom caps
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups spinach
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 375˚.  Remove stems from mushrooms.  Turn upside down on lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  In a little more olive oil, saute onions and garlic until soft.  Add spinach right at the end and saute a minute or so until wilted.  In a bowl combine quinoa, onion and spinach mixture, olives and tomatoes.  Season with salt & pepper.  Scoop into mushrooms.  Top with feta and basil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobellos, ready to pop in the oven.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Greek Salad Wraps

Just a quickie post today, highlighting a quickie dinner!  I’m short on time because I’m starting my kickboxing classes today!  More on that later as I complain about my aches and pains.

These easy, no-cook wraps have everything you like about Greek salad, without even needing a fork.  I especially like them because I usually have most of this stuff in my fridge anyway and they are a snap to make.  Any time I can throw things in a wrap and call it dinner, I laugh a little, since it’s still considered “cooking.”

Greek Salad Wraps

Greek Salad Wrap

1 tortilla or sandwich wrap
2 tbsp. hummus, any flavor you like
celery, sliced
leaf lettuce
tomato, diced or sliced
mild banana peppers
1-2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
3-4 kalamata olives

Spread hummus on wrap, top with other ingredients in a pile going down the center.  Fold up the bottom and roll up like a burrito.  Stick a toothpick in it if it doesn’t want to stay put.  I served these with simple sweet potato fries, which aren’t Greek at all, but still made for a tasty pairing.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Greek Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

One of the challenges when you go crazy at farmer’s market is using all the stuff up that you bought.  This week I not only went nuts at farmer’s market, but also at Trader Joe’s (they had a sale, who could resist?).  I came home with all my goodies, sat down and made a list of all the stuff I picked up, and then made a somewhat creative menu for the week to use it all up (beet pasta, anyone?).  So, at least one main dish salad was definitely in order.  Best of all this recipe was a good excuse to make roasted chickpeas again, and use them in place of croutons.

Greek Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

Greek Salad

4-6 cups mixed greens
Kalamata olives
Cherry tomatoes
Feta cheese
Mild banana pepper rings
Roasted chickpeas (I used oregano and garlic powder for the seasonings for these)

I don’t measure anything when I make salad.  If you like tomatoes, use lots of tomatoes, and so on.  Combine all ingredients.  Toss with Herbed Vinaigrette (see below).

Herbed Vinaigrette

1/4 cup cider vinegar (or apple jalapeno vinegar!)
1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tsp. dijon
Salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients, whisk well or shake up in a jar.  Toss with salad.

Greek Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette & Roasted Chickpeas

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Deconstructed Greek Salad

I don’t have air conditioning in my little house.  It doesn’t bother me most of the time; the climate here in Portland is relatively mild.  But when we do have hot days, the very last thing I want to do is heat it up more by turning on the oven or having things bubbling away on the stovetop.  This weekend we had a couple of warm days (it’s about time!).  That meant that dinner involved more “meal assembly” than actual cooking.

I would have made my own hummus for this, but I had scored some at the farmer’s market on Saturday – Cilantro Jalapeno flavor!  In addition to that, the goat lady had the most delicious feta I have ever tasted so I had to buy some.  From there, it was but a short leap to make some sort of greek salad.  But not being in a lettuce mood, we opted for more of a greek dipping buffet on a plate.  Some fresh veggies and pitas, a visit to the olive bar at the grocery store (or open a jar or two) and we were all set.

Claire calls this a greek salad puzzle, because it’s all the pieces of a greek salad, and they fit together perfectly in your belly. :)

Deconstructed Greek Salad

Deconstructed Greek Salad

Hummus (whatever variety you like)
Pita bread
Cucumber
Red or orange bell pepper
Baby carrots
A variety of olives
Feta cheese

Slice veggies and cut pita bread into wedges.  Arrange everything around a pile or bowl of hummus and dive in!

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 116 other followers