OC Edwards Co
Summer Accents of Greece: Four Quick Dishes
We've been having a great time enjoying our OC 'adjacent' summer recipes with you, and so dug a little deeper to find some Mediterranean dishes to add to our repertoire.
Dishes along the Mediterranean, whether they be French, Italian, Greece or North African - there seems to be spices that punctuate that hot and muggy coastal vibe. Turmeric, coriander, parsley, fresh black pepper, mint - combined with vinegars, oil and garlic - all of this melt together in perfect complement to one another.
We thought this mix of dishes would make for a great veggie dinner, landing on https://www.themediterraneandish.com/ and focusing on these four:
- Greek Tzatziki Sauce: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/tzatziki-sauce-recipe/
- Mediterranean Tomato Feta Salad: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/mediterranean-tomato-salad-recipe/
- Quick Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/quick-oven-roasted-tomato-recipe-with-thyme-and-feta/
- Easy Greek-Style Eggplant: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/braised-eggplant-recipe-greek-style/
We've done the salads and the Tzatziki before, but the eggplant was new...
Tzatziki Sauce: proper credit to Suzy from The Mediterranean Dish, but we did make slight alterations and notes...
¾ cucumber, partially peeled (striped) and sliced
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced (you can use less if you prefer)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Greek yogurt (I used organic fat free Greek yogurt, but you can use 2% or whole milk Greek yogurt, if you like) - [Our note: we think a regular Greek yogurt would have been even better - 'yes' we get the health difference, but from a taste perspective, just 'more' :D]
¼ tsp ground white pepper
Warm pita bread for serving
Prep the cucumber. In a food processor, grate the cucumbers. Toss with ½ tsp kosher salt. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to drain. Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheese cloth or a double thickness napkin and squeeze dry. Set aside briefly.
In one large mixing bowl, place the garlic with remaining ½ tsp salt, white vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix to combine.
Add the grated cucumber to the large bowl with the garlic mixture. Stir in the yogurt and white pepper. Combine thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce to refresh and transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Add a side of warm pita bread and your favorite vegetables.
This Tzatziki Sauce is amazing and we found it set even better the day after, cooling in the fridge!
Mediterranean Tomato Feta Salad: we saw this salad as being a great versatile one no matter what we wound up making, and we were right. This light, easy salad packs some nice flavors, but we found it's best served quickly. Below is a cut-down with additive notes...
x6 Tomatoes - Heirloom would be best, basically something flavorful and crisp.
x1 Red Onion, x3 Garlic Cloves - onions must be thinly sliced and garlic must be minced
Cup of Parsley, Cup of Dill - chopped
Kosher salt, black pepper and the recipe calls for sumac, but, when you can't find that at the local mart :( - use lemon zest.
Feta cheese - cut into very small cubes.
Citrus Dressing of juice of x1 lemon, x2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Combine tomato wedges, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs in one large bowl. Season with kosher salt, black pepper and 2 teaspoons of sumac (or lemon zest).
Add the citrus dressing and feta.
Best to allow it to sit about 15m before serving. As said, best to eat at serving time - we found the acids broke down the tomatoes by the next day.
Notes: we definitely borrowed the approach, but made quite a bit of alterations to make it work with what we had, recipe below adjusted accordingly.
x2 containers of cherry tomatoes, cut in half - this fills about a single metal oven tray
Extra virgin olive oil (have a lot of extra virgin olive oil :D)
Kosher salt, black pepper, fresh thyme
x4 minced garlic cloves
Lemon zest (for sumac), dried Mexican chile pepper flakes
Pre-heat that oven to 450 F.
Add all ingredients as you can into a large bowl, we broke it into halves with spices accordingly. Properly cover the tomatoes with the mixture and lay them out on the pan, cut side up. As directed, let the tomatoes sit raw on the metal - mmmm.
Roast for about 30m or upon sight.
Now - this was the highlight of the four dishes, so we recommend trying this out before making it for a larger group. The tomatoes will reduce and may not be as many as you think on serving. That said, it will be popular.
The happiness in this one is the pure, unadulterated tomatoes goodness. So good.
Greek-Style Eggplant Recipe
CAVEAT: so this dish was a bit challenging, we followed it to a 't', but found that the flavors were much milder than we typically go for. Our house needs a bit of spice and bit to its dishes - so we'll go into what we did to counter.
The dish is still a 'keeper' in that it is healthy and we appreciated the veggie boldness - we are just weighing other ways to punch it up a bit on the next go-round. So keep that in mind if you happen to make it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 6 people
1.5 lb. eggplant, cut into cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stem and innards removed, diced
1 carrot, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
[NOTE - for spices, here are the original amounts, but keep in mind we wound up adding more of each to taste - we added additional pepper, paprika, turmeric, salt, coriander....]
2 dry bay leaves
1 to 1 ½ tsp. sweet paprika OR smoked paprika
1 tsp. organic ground coriander
1 tsp. dry oregano
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. organic ground turmeric
½ tsp. black pepper
1 28-oz can chopped tomato 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh herbs - parsley and/or mint for garnish
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.
3. In a large braising dish, heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook for another minute, stirring until fragrant.
4. Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.
5. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.
6. Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about ½ cup of water at a time.)
7. When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.
If you like garlic, these are the recipes for you, if you prefer a hint of garlic, just cut the recommendations for garlic in half! ;) We loved the garlicky flavor to these dishes and besides, garlic is so very good for your health! https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic
Some Greek tunes to go along with your meal! :D
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