Tomato Loaded Barley Rusks – Greek Dakos

If you want to impress your friends with a tasty Greek dish, you must try this one. It is super simple to put together and will more than satisfy your tastebuds. You really need to find good quality tomatoes, as this is the main ingredient. Here in Dubai the season for tomatoes is now, so you can find good ones. In my case though, tomatoes come from my back yard. Have planted both cherry and  beefsteak tomatoes. They are so juicy and full of flavor.

Barley Rusks have a great, strong earthy flavor. Barley, thought to have been domesticated in Southwestern Asia, has been consumed extensively throughout history. Mostly in the Mediterranean world, but also in ancient India and the Arab world (Source: “On Food and Cooking”, by Harold McGee). Barley contains lots of fiber, iron, magnesium and vitamins among other nutrients. It’s also thought to have cholesterol-lowering abilities (Source: “On Food and Cooking”, by Harold McGee) and to improve blood sugar circulation. You can find barley rusks in any Greek (or even generally Mediterranean) Deli. I remember, there were quite a few by Bayswater in London. I always loved taking the tube over there and spent hours picking ingredients, brainstorming recipes, maybe grabbing a bite to eat.

So back to the recipe 🙂 First thing to do is roughly chop your tomatoes and put them aside. If you are using, fleshy beef tomatoes, you can also grate them. Entirely up to you.

This time I used round rusks. Its basically one round rusk cut in two. So take each round disk and run it under cold water for literally 2-3 seconds. They tend to be hard but eventually the water will soak in and they become softer as they stay. Don’t over water them because they might become too soft and crumble. Remember olive oil and tomato will go on top thus providing even more moisture.

Right after, put them on a plate. Wait 1-2 min and then discard the water from the plate. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Load your rusk with chopped tomatoes, salt to taste. Sprinkle some caper berries, crumbled feta and a bit of oregano (oregano gives it such an aroma!). And that’s it, ready to be devoured. This dish is perfect for sharing as a side or even as a light lunch.

 

Tomato Loaded Barley Rusks – Greek Dakos

This is ultimate tomato side dish that will bring a Greek touch on your table!

  • 1 double round Barley Rusk
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 300 g (11 oz) Tomatoes
  • 60 g (2 oz) Feta Cheese
  • 2 big caper berries
  • Oregano
  • seasalt
  1. Roughly chop your tomatoes and put them aside. If you are using, fleshy beefsteak tomatoes, you can grate them.

  2. Take each round disk and run it under cold water for literally 2-3 seconds and plate  them. Don’t over water them because they might become too soft and crumble.

  3. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

  4. Load your rusk with chopped tomatoes, salt to taste.

  5. Sprinkle some caper berries, crumbled feta and a bit of oregano.

 

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Blood Orange Breakfast Yogurt

 

As I write this, I still have the sweetness of the blood oranges in my mouth. They are so good! Honestly, I love them. The specific oranges are not sour, rather quite sweet. So they are perfect for people that dislike the natural sourness of regular oranges. Blood oranges are usually smaller than the common orange with a deep red blush on their outer skin. The inside flesh varies from completely red to partly red. Their skin is hard to peel, so use a sharp knife.

This dish is good for breakfast, snack or even light dinner if you like. In this case, I used rolled oats to go with. They contain only 1 g of sugar per serving and lots of fiber. They are also a good source of Vitamins A & D, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. You can use granola if you like, just make sure in the Nutrition table that it doesn’t contain too much sugar.

I also added flaxseed. I have come to adore flaxseed, it has a great earthy taste and its crunchy to the tooth. Its perfect for yogurt and salads. On top of that its it ranks very high for its health benefits. It contains lots of fatty acids, dietary fiber, several B vitamins, iron, calcium and magnesium among others. It’s good for you!

Now to make this breakfast yogurt is fairly easy. In a bowl add the yogurt and the rolled oats. Let it sit for like 5 mins so the oats soak a little and become softer. Peel the blood oranges. Cut off the two edges and then put the halves face down. Cut along stripes of peel from top to bottom. Carefully not to apple too much pressure and squeeze out much of the juice. They are tricky to peel so use a sharp knife. Then, add the flaxseeds and the dried fruit in. Squeeze the remaining orange half. Lastly you sprinkle on top the peeled orange pieces. Give it a stir and its ready for you to enjoy!

 

 

Blood Orange Breakfast Yogurt

This is a healthy breakfast yogurt with sweet blood oranges, oats and flaxseeds. Its a great way to start your day, as it’s healthy and delicious!

  • 2 blood oranges
  • 200 g (7 oz) thick yogurt
  • 3 tbsps rolled oats
  • 1 tsp flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp dried fruit
  1. In a bowl add the yogurt and the rolled oats. Let it sit for like 5 mins so the oats soak a little and become softer.
  2. Peel the blood oranges. Cut off the two edges and then put the halves face down. Cut along stripes of peel from top to bottom. Carefully not to apple too much pressure and squeeze out much of the juice.
  3. Then, add the flaxseeds and the dried fruit in.
  4. Squeeze the remaining orange half. Sprinkle on top the peeled orange pieces. Give it a stir and its ready for you to enjoy!

[recipe]

 

Chicken Salad with Kale and winter veggies

This salad came to be as my plan B 🙂

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I went to buy blood oranges for a blood orange yogurt breakfast recipe. And surprise surprise, they were out. Hence Plan B. Chicken Salad with Kale and winter veggies. Some of the best things in life happen by accident. Though I have to confess here that it wasn’t a complete accident. I was working on chicken salad with winter veggies in my mind. And I found this gorgeous tender Kale. Brighter green in color, kind of purplish around the stem. Perfect for salad! Had some really nice heirloom carrots in the fridge. So voila, my tasty plan B in action.

The first thing to do is cook the chicken. Simple process. Wash the chicken breasts and grind some salt and pepper on each side. In a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) heat up some olive oil. Saute the breasts both sides until they are nicely browned, around 10 mins on medium high. Stick the skillet in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until they are thoroughly cooked inside out. Set aside to cool down. Slice it later on for the salad.

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While chicken is cooking, prepare the Quinoa. Bring water to boil and add the quinoa. Let it cook for around 20 mins over medium fire. It should be relatively crunchy at the end.

Prepare your vegetables also. Wash them all very well. Cut the kale in big pieces. Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Cut the red cabbage in fine slices carefully with your knife.

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Make the dressing. In a bowl mix extra virgin olive, mustard, almond oil, white vinegar and orange juice for some natural sweetness (if you have blood oranges, even better!). It should be a fairly thin mixture when done. If its too thick, you can always add some more orange juice.

Get a nice and big bowl. Add the quinoa, kale and carrots. Sprinkle on top with the red cabbage slices. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Scatter the chicken all around and drizzle over the dressing. I guarantee you, you will love this dish!

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Serves 2-3

Time: 40 mins in total

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + 1.5 cups water

2 medium chicken breasts, about 300 g / 10.5 oz

60 g / 2 oz fresh kale

2 medium carrots, about 160 g / 5.5 oz, finely grated

1/2 cup red cabbage, finely chopped

seasalt, pepper

 

For the Vinaigrette

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

3 tsps plain mustard

3 tsps almond oil

3 tsps white vinegar

2 tbsps orange juice

 

DIRECTIONS 

Wash the chicken breasts and grind some salt and pepper on each side. In a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) heat up some olive oil. Saute the breasts both sides until they are nicely browned, around 10 mins on medium high. Stick the skillet in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until they are thoroughly cooked inside out. Set aside to cool down. Slice it later on for the salad.

While chicken is cooking, prepare the Quinoa. Bring water to boil and add the quinoa. Let it cook for around 20 mins over medium fire.

Wash your vegetables very well. Cut the kale in big pieces. Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Cut the red cabbage in fine slices carefully with your knife.

Make the dressing. In a bowl mix extra virgin olive, mustard, almond oil, white vinegar and orange juice. It should be a fairly thin mixture when done. If its too thick add some more orange juice.

In a big bowl add the quinoa, kale and carrots. Sprinkle on top with the red cabbage slices. Add a little salt and pepper. Scatter the chicken all around and drizzle over the dressing.

 

 

Seabream with peas and dill

Cooking for two was the idea behind this recipe. So I thought something light, healthy and simple to put together. I found some really nice seabream. If you are in the US you can use snapper or seabass.  I love fresh fish with vegetables and fresh dill. Dill my friends is an herb that I highly recommend for fish. It gives a fresh and slightly lemony finish with a hint of anise. It goes hand in hand with the delicate texture of fish. I also had some fresh peas in the fridge… and some gorgeous carrots. By the way, peas, carrots and dill make the perfect veggie side at your dinner table. But that’s a recipe I’ll have to delve into another time.

For the seabream, you can ask your fishmonger to clean the fish. Heads off, descaled and belly cleaned. Now take your fish and wash it thoroughly. Set aside. Put some olive oil in a baking tray and add the carrots, peas, pepper and spring onions. Sprinkle with chopped dill. Season with salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir so the olive oil blends in well. Remember to leave some veggies on the side for stuffing in the fish. Because the fish cooks very quickly, we will give our vegetables a headstart. Stick the tray in the oven for 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F.

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Now its time for the fish.  Grab the veggies you set aside and the onion and stuff them inside the belly of the fish as much as you can.  Use a toothpick to close the vegetables inside the fish.  Insert the toothpick across both outer ends of the fish belly. Push the skin so that it tucks in as much as possible. This way that the vegetables are stuffed nice and tight inside.

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Check your vegetables.  When you think they need another 20-25 mins take the tray out. Place the fish on top and sprinkle with some more dill. At this point if the liquid in your food looks like it’s diminishing a lot, please add a cup of hot water. It’s nice to have a bit of liquid (full of flavor and aromas!) at the end. It goes well on the fish and brings a lot of flavor to your dish. Put your tray back in the oven and cook for another 20-25 mins at 180 C / 350 F. The fish does cook fairly quickly, but cooking times vary from oven to oven. You want to make sure to cook it thoroughly. To check that, try peeling of the big bone in the middle, does it come off easily? Yes? It’s done! If it sticks a little to the meat the fish needs more time.

I find this recipe delicious, let me know how it works for you 🙂

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Serves 2

Time:10 mins preparation, 40 mins cooking

INGREDIENTS

1200 g / 2 lbs 10 oz  Seabream, 2 fish heads off, descaled and belly cleaned (US substitute  Snapper or Seabass)

1/2 bunch dill

3 carrots

5 spring onions

1 red bell pepper

200 g / 7 oz fresh peas

extra virgin olive oil

1 cup hot water

2 toothpicks

 

DIRECTIONS 

Take your fish and wash it thoroughly. Set aside.

Put some olive oil in a baking tray and add the carrots, peas, pepper and spring onions. Sprinkle with chopped dill. Season with salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir so the olive oil blends in well. Leave some veggies on the side for stuffing the fish. Stick the tray in the oven and cook 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F.

To prepare the fish grab the veggies you set aside and the onion and stuff them inside the belly of the fish as much as you can.  Use a toothpick to close the vegetables inside the fish.  Insert the toothpick across both outer ends of the fish belly. Push the skin so that it tucks in as much as possible. Salt and pepper on top.

When you think they need another 20-25 mins take the tray out. Place the fish on top and sprinkle with some more dill. If there is just a little liquid in the tray, add a cup of hot water.

Put your tray back in the oven and cook for another 20-25 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until fish is thoroughly cooked. To check if the fish is cooked, try peeling of the big bone in the middle, if it comes off easily, its done! If it sticks a little to the meat the fish needs more time.

Enjoy.