Tag Archives: homemade

Stuffed Tomatoes with Gruyere and Fresh Herbs

stuffed tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes with Gruyere and Fresh Herbs

“One of the most savory ways of serving tomatoe is à la provençale. These tomatoes go well with many things – steaks, chops, roast beef, lamb, roast or broiled chicken, broiled mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring, or swordfish. They may also be a hot hors d’oeuvres, or accompany egg dishes.” – Julia Child

6 firm, ripe, red tomatoes about 3 inches in diameter
1 ½ cups soft breadcrumbs (about 5 slices of bread, pulsed through a food processor – do not use dry breadcrumbs!)
¾ cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 scallions, minced
¼ cup basil, minced
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Slice off the top of the tomatoes and hollow out the insides. Grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the tomatoes side by side, open side up. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the tomatoes with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Za’atar Meatballs with Fresh Herbs and Yogurt Pomegranate Sauce

zatar meatballs

Za’atar Meatballs with Fresh Herbs and Yogurt Pomegranate Sauce

Lately I can’t get enough of za’atar. An aromatic spice blend of oregano, sumac, cumin, thyme and sesame seeds, it has been eaten in the Middle East for centuries. The 12th century philosopher Maimonides is said to have prescribed it to his patients to treat a variety of ailments.

I love it tossed into roasted vegetables or mixed with olive oil and spread over warm bread or feta cheese, but the flavor it gives to these meatballs might be my favorite use for it yet.

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
1 tablespoon za’atar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
lettuce leaves

For the pomegranate yogurt sauce:
seeds of one pomegranate
2 cups plain whole Greek yogurt
2 scallions, finely chopped
juice of one lemon, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt

Make the yogurt sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, scallions, lemon and salt. Gently fold in all but 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with reserved pomegranate seeds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Light a grill.

In a medium bowl, gently mix the ground meat with the onion, garlic, parsley, mint, za’atar, salt, cumin and pepper. Form the meat into 1 1/2-inch balls and flatten them to 3/4 inch thick patties. Grill the meatballs over medium high heat until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Wrap the grilled meatballs in lettuce leaves and serve with a dollop of the pomegranate yogurt sauce.

Serves 4

Chicken and Ginger Dumplings


Chicken and Ginger Dumplings

Using flour to make dumplings followed noodles during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 CE) and by the 18th century dumplings were the rage in teahouses.

For the dumplings:
8 ounces ground chicken, shrimp or pork
2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
vegetable oil for pan-frying

1 package gyoza dumpling or thin won ton wrappers
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

For the dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water. Set aside.

Prepare the dipping sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir. Set aside.

Combine the ground meat, green onions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil in a bowl. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper.Dip your finger into the cornstarch mixture and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press the moistened edges to seal.

Place a large, nonstick skillet fitted with a lid over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, place the dumplings in a single layer in the pan; they should be close together but not touching. Depending on the size of the skillet, you may need to cook the dumplings in a few batches. Cook, uncovered, until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, carefully pour 1/4 cup water over the dumplings and immediately cover the pan with a lid and let the dumplings steam until the water has nearly evaporated and the dumplings have begun to fry in oil again, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve golden side up with the dipping sauce.

Makes 2 dozen

Baked Salmon with Mustard Crème Fraiche

salmon with mustard creme fraiche

Baked Salmon with Mustard Crème Fraiche

Mustard cultivation is ancient; the Greek writer Herodotus mentioned mustard as a cultivated plant in the 5th century BC. It has always been important in Europe because it grows locally therefore making it the most inexpensive of the spices. The first sizable commercial mustard businesses arose in the mid-14th century around Dijon, France.

1 1⁄2 pound salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1⁄2 cup crème fraiche
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
fresh thyme and lemon slices for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450° F .

Place the fish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.

While the salmon cooks, prepare the mustard sauce. Stir together the crème fraiche, two mustards, lemon zest and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the salmon warm or at room temperature with a dollop of crème fraiche. Garnish with lemon slices and thyme.

Serves 6