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Spinach Rice

spinach riceA simple and easy way to serve rice and get your vitamins too! We’re all familiar with the cartoon character, Popeye the sailor man, who was always eating spinach to make him strong.  While you would have to eat vast amounts of spinach for the daily recommended amount of iron (only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100g serving of spinach), spinach does help to protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis and is also important for maintaining bone health.  Continue Reading →

Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Peppers

baked feta with tomatoes & peppers by The Culinary ChaseVacations are often a perfect reminder of food we’ve enjoyed. I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since we were in Greece (sigh)!  Greece, with 227 inhabited islands, is one of those vacation spots we couldn’t get enough of – the people, architecture and of course, the food.  When John and I go out to eat, we usually share a starter otherwise we’d be too full to enjoy the main meal.  Greece is one of the Mediterranean countries where the meze reigns (little plates).  Meze is meant to complement and enhance the taste of the drink as well as a perfect setting for a social gathering…right up our food-philosophy alley!  These little plates allowed us to sample the many culinary delights of Greece.  Baked feta with tomatoes and peppers takes little effort to make and these simple ingredients are mouth-watering delicious!

Santorini collageinspired by The Country Cooking of Greece

tomatoes, cut into thick slices
olive oil
sea salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
oregano
feta cheese, crumbled
bell peppers, cut into rings

Preheat oven to 425f (220c).

Add a splash of olive oil in oven-proof dishes. Place tomato slices evenly in each dish and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and evenly top with feta cheese. Top with a pepper ring and a pinch of oregano. Cover dishes with tin foil and bake 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove foil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Serve immediately and use bread slices to mop up the juices. Enjoy!

Tzatziki

tzatziki by The Culinary ChaseTzatziki is a thick Greek sauce where it is served with gyros, souvlaki or in a mezze.  But you can use it with just about anything! Try it as an accompaniment to fish, grilled chicken, lamb, pita bread, falafel, grilled vegetables, as a dip – you get the idea. Tzatziki is easy to make and is always served cold.

2 cups Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated (use the large holes of a box grater)
sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup of fresh dill and mint, chopped

tzatziki with roasted spare ribsMix grated cucumber with a teaspoon of sea salt and place in a fine mesh sieve. Set the sieve over a bowl and let drain for about half an hour. Squeeze cucumber in a tea towel to remove any excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl and mix with garlic, yogurt, herbs, and olive oil. Season to taste.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
The easiest way to deseed a cucumber is to cut it in half lengthways then scoop out the seeds using a spoon. The flavors develop more if you make a day ahead.  Enjoy!

Tomato and Feta Fritters

tomato & feta fritters by The Culinary ChaseFarmers’ markets, roadside vegetable stands and grocery stores all are overflowing with ripe, juicy tomatoes.  When Summer ends and Fall begins, this is the time of year I most enjoy.  I am in heaven with the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies.  Consumers might frown or be a bit flippant with regards to the 100-mile diet, but nothing tastes and looks better than produce that is hauled over a short distance.  I have supported buying local long before any locavore awareness campaign began.  It’s one of the reasons I started this blog 7 years ago.

Makes 12 patties
inspired by Kalofagas

2 lbs. ripe cherry tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, skins on
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup self-raising flour
1 baked potato, mashed
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 egg
crumbled Greek feta, to taste
vegetable oil for frying

Preheat oven to 400f.  In a bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic.  Pour onto a lined cookie sheet and roast 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly shriveled. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.  Add roasted tomatoes to a large bowl. Remove skins from garlic and add to the mashed potato. Combine mashed potato with the tomatoes. In a frying pan, sauté the chopped scallions in a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until translucent. Allow to cool and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the flour, egg and herbs and black pepper to the tomato mixture and combine. The mixture will be soft and a bit wet.  If needed, add a bit more flour for binding.

fritter ingredients by theculinarychase.comAdd a 1/2  cup of feta and taste the mixture before adding more.  To shallow-fry the fritters, pour vegetable oil into a large, non-stick frying pan until the bottom is covered. Place pan over medium-high heat. Use an ice cream scoop to drop the fritter mixture into the oil and flatten each fritter into the shape of a patty. Fry each fritter for about 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown.  Transfer fritters to a paper towel–lined plate and place in a warm oven until the entire all fritters are cooked.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  These Greek-style fritters were so good!  Make sure the tomatoes are relatively dry otherwise the mixture will end up being too wet.  Serve these with a dip mixture of Greek yogurt, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper and minced garlic.  Enjoy!