Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's all Greek to me.

I seem to have been very inspired this paste week by Greek foods and recipes. I came up with these three appetizer/ snack recipes that truly show off a Mediterranean flare. My mom and sister gave their approval, so I must have done something right. I hope you enjoy the dishes as much as I did.

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These speedy and crispy patties tempted even my feta hating mother. The bites of feta in between bursts of roasted pepper make each bite simply wonderful. I ate these plain, but I think they would go great on a salad or sandwich with more feta and some fresh veggies.
 
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Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Quinoa Patties
makes about 2 dozen
½ cup dry quinoa
¾ cup water
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 ounces roasted red pepper
2 tsp tahini
¼ tsp ground cumin
dash of cayenne pepper powder
dash of crushed red pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse the quinoa under cold water and put it in a pot along with the ¾ cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, remove from the heat, and let the quinoa sit covered for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet to medium heat with a little olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Combine the onion, garlic, spices, roasted red pepper, tahini, eggs, and half of the quinoa into a food processor. Process until everything comes together. Mix in the rest of the ingredients with a spoon. Preheat a skillet to medium heat with enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time, roll it into a ball, and press it flat. Cook about four patties at a time for about 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

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 Roasted red pepper hummus is my favorite. I have been buying it whenever I can find it on sell, but now with my new food processor, I can make it myself. This recipe truly is homemade since I cooked the chickpeas myself and everything. Served with some veggies and crackers, the creamy red hummus looks as good as it tastes.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
makes about 1 ½ - 2 cups
½ cup dry chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces roasted red peppers
2 cloves of garlic
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
dash of cayenne pepper powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the chickpeas in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil for two minutes, cover, and remove from the heat. Allow the chickpeas to soak in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas. Combine them with 1 ½ cups water. Simmer over medium low heat with the lid tilted to let some steam escape until all the water has been absorbed, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Put the garlic on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds. Combine all the ingredients into a food processor. Process until creamy. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

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To round out my Greek cravings, here is a delicious twist on a traditional Greek dish- kolokythokeftedes. These zucchini fritters are typically fried, but I baked mine, giving them a nice chewy inside and crispy edges. Enjoy your Greek feast!
 
 
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Baked Kolokythokeftedes
1 zucchini, ends trimmed
3 tbsp diced onion
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup flour
1 egg white
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
dash of salt
¼ cup crumbled feta
Preheat your oven 450 degrees. Combine the onion and zucchini in a food processor. Process until the zucchini is roughly chopped. Stir the zucchini, onion, egg white, spices, flour, and breadcrumbs together until well mixed. Add in the feta. Scoop out 3 tablespoons of the mixture at a time onto a well-oiled baking pan. Press flat with the back of a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Let them sit for at least five minutes before removing from the pan.

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Here is a simple card I made for my neighbor's birthday. I'm not sure it I should call it a card at all since it does not fold out, but I thought it was cute enough to show off.

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