mediterranean stuffed peppers

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

mediterranean stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are what dinner dreams are made of, for various reasons;
1). They can be filled ahead of time, and baked when you’re ready making them perfect for a fancy-ish dinner.
2). Fancy enough for a dinner party
3). Financially pleasing, aka cheap to make.
4). Everything in one place, protein, fibre and veggies/vitamins
5). It’s a no-brainer
6). The most delicious dinner I have had in a while

The great thing about stuffed peppers is that everybody likes them, even non-pepper lovers. Probably because the peppers turn so tender and sweet in the oven.
But what I love most about these stuffed peppers, is slicing the leftovers the next day and stuffing them into a sandwich with some of the tomato sauce, so good. That of course if you’re lucky enough to have left overs. Having said that, you can easily double the recipe just to be save. I do also freeze these but have noticed that the peppers do become a little softer, but flavour-wise still awesome.

mediterranean stuffed peppers

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 1 hr

Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup white rice uncooked
• 1 cup water
• 2 medium yellow onions chopped fine, about 1 cup
• 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 2 slices white bread good quality crusts removed
• 2 tbsp. milk
• 1 lb. / 500 gr. ground beef
• ¾ tsp. salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp. thyme dried
• ½ tsp. oregano dried
• 3 tbsp. pine nuts
• 1 egg yolk
• ¼ tsp. all spice
• ¼ cup chopped parsley more for garnish
• 4 red peppers large
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 medium onion
• 1 garlic minced
• 1 tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 tbsp. flour
• ½ cup dry white wine
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• 1 cup chicken or beef stock
• ½ cup crème fraiche
• Chopped green onions for garnish

mediterranean stuffed peppers

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F
2. Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Drain and cool, or use leftover rice, about 1 cup.
3. Dry toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat for about a minute, remove and reserve.
4. In a skillet over low heat, heat 1 tbsp. of oil and sautée the chopped onions until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
5. Turn off heat and let cool.
6. In a bowl, place the bread torn into pieces together with the milk and let soak for about 5 minutes.
7. Add the meat to the bowl together with the cooled onion and garlic. Season with the salt, pepper, mustard, thyme, oregano, pine nuts, all spice , parsley and egg yolk.
8. Wash the peppers and make a cut in the middle and carefully open them enough to remove the seeds and membranes.
9. If you are using the regular bell pepper, remove the lid and proceed as above.
10. 10. Arrange peppers in an oiled baking dish. For bell peppers, slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.
11. 11. Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture, I use my fingers and a spoon to push it all the way into the pepper.
12. 12. For the sauce: heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sautée onion and garlic until almost soft. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the flour and stir to cook for 30 seconds, gradually add the wine and stock. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the teaspoon of sugar. Season to taste. Spoon sauce around the peppers. Cover loosely with tin foil. Place in the middle of the oven. After about 20 minutes, remove the foil.
13. 13. Bake for 45 min to 1 hour in the preheated oven until the peppers are tender.
14. 14. Before serving stir in the crème fraiche.
15. 15. Serve with the sauce and garnish with green onions and reserved parsley.
Great with some french bread to mop up the sauce.

Enjoy!
Myra XO

Beef Bulgogi Soft Tacos with 5 minute Kimchi and lime Aioli

These tacos are going to make you very happy, I promise. Don’t let the long list of ingredients turn you off, it is really as simple as can be. The Kimchi for instance is done in minutes rather than days. Obviously it is not fermented like the real deal, but just as tasty I assure you.

I pan fry the Bulgogi so it’s nice and quick and accessible to everyone. Then rolled in simple soft tacos or wraps, because it’s just so easy and fun. I like all things wrapped, not just food (think presents!) I am not the kind of person who has ever said, Oh, you shouldn’t have… seriously. Who says that, and who ever means it???? Anyway….moving on….

So, yes, this is made in a flash really. Just read it through, start with the marinade for the bulgogi, put it in the fridge (maybe do it in the morning if you have time). Then make the Kimchi. Stir together the lime aioli and leave the rest for later. Then at dinner time it’s a flash to get on the table. But don’t fret if you don’t have time to marinate it all day, even an hour gives off a lot of flavour. Also I leave the pear sliced and not chopped or grated (like in some recipes) because I love the flavour and texture when it’s cooked together with the beef.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS BEEF BULGOGI TACOS:

  • Kimchi
  • Beef Bulgogi
  • Lime Garlic Aioli
  • 2 Avocados
  • 4 – 8 Tortillas or soft Tacos depending on size
  • 1 – 2 extra lime for serving
  • some radishes for serving (optional, just for color)
  • salad greens

INGREDIENTS 5 MINUTE KIMCHI:

  • 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic grated
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. honey or coconut sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) or 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 8 ounces daikon or radishes, peeled and cut into match sticks

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients for the Kimchi in a bowl and crunch together with your hands, let marinate while you prepare the rest.

INGREDIENTS BEEF BULGOGI:

  • 1 pear, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 -3 teaspoon or hot sauce or sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pound steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Instructions:

  1. Combine pear, onion, garlic, soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger, sugar, and sesame oil in a large resealable plastic bag or medium bowl.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice meat into very thin strips.
  3. Add to marinade, seal bag, and squish everything around until the meat is coated. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes, or chill up to 8 hours.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high until oil is shimmering. Remove half of meat from marinade, letting excess drip back into bag and cook in a single layer without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Toss meat and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until cooked through and crisp at edges, about 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining meat.

INGREDIENTS LIME AÏOLI:

  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup Crème Fraîche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry garlic powder or granules, or 1 clove garlic peeled and grated (I prefer dry in this case)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

To serve the tacos, heat the tortillas or tacos as directed by the package.

Place some of the beef in the taco, top with kimchi and lime aïoli. Serve straight away.

Enjoy!

Myra xo

Mexican Pulled Beef with Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread

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I feel like putting on a big sweater and pulling the sleeves over my hands while I eat a bowl of Chili…..

I had been walking around with this image in my head for a while and since the temperatures are dropping here in NL, I’ve made that vision finally come true. I wanted something different from the classic “chili con carne”, so I made pulled beef instead, with a mexican twist.

And since “twist” is my middle name, I’ve made a different kind of Cornbread to go with it. One with softness and texture at the same time, some cheese for extra flavour and a tiny Jalapeño kick, and I say tiny because I have only used half a Jalapeño. I still wanted to be able to eat the chili at a reasonable speed.

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Ingredients Chili;

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2.5 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2 thick slices

1 tsp. Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. All Purpose Unbleached Flour

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped fine

3  garlic cloves, peeled and grated

2 tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa (this is a must)

2 tbsp. ground Cumin

2 tbsp. sweet smoked paprika

¼ cup tomato paste

2 Tablespoon fresh oregano leafs or 2 teaspoon dried

1/2 tsp. dried Thyme

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, or to taste

1/4 C. Chopped Coriander

1 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 C. beef stock

1-2 tbsp. Liquid Smoke

1 – 2 tsp. chopped chipotle (depending on how hot you like it)

1 tbsp. coconut sugar or sweetener of choice

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp. fresh Coriander leafs

Toppings; scallions, avocado chunks, sour cream, cheddar cheese, fried onion rings

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Method;

Turn on your slow cooker, set to high.

Meanwhile heat a large frying pan and add 3 tbsp. of oil. Season the beef with the salt and pepper and toss with the flour. Sear the beef on both sides and brown until quite dark. Transfer to the slow cooker

Next fry the onions in the pan with the remaining oil until golden add the garlic and cook for an other minute. Transfer to the slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, except the beans and Coriander leafs

Cook on high for 4 hours. After three hours add the beans. The cooking time depends on your slow cooker and the quality of the beef. So just check by pulling away a piece of beef with a fork. If it loosens easily transfer the beef to a cutting board or large platter. Leaving the beans in the pot. Pull the beef apart into chunky bits and shreds with two forks. Return to slow cooker. Heat thoroughly again for about half an hour  until ready to serve. Sprinkle generously with fresh Coriander leafs. Serve with Pumpkin Corn Bread and lots of toppings.

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Ingredients Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread;

1 C. corn meal

1 C. Spelt Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. dried Onion Powder

1/2 tsp.

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tbsp. honey

1/2 C. corn kernels form a can, drained

1/2 C. Cheddar cheese, grated

3/4 C. unsweetened plain yoghurt (or soy)

1/2 C of milk (or unsweetened soy) + 1 tbsp.

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 Jalapeño, sliced and deseeded

3 tbsp. olive oil

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Method;

Pre heat the oven to 425° F / 220° C

Put an 8″ cast iron skillet in the oven too to pre heat

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients and stir to mix. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven with an oven mitt! Oil spray generously and pour the cornbread batter in the skillet.

Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake from 20-25 min.

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Maybe get some Mexican beer to go with it!

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Cajun Jumbo Shrimp Tacos with Corn, a Peach & Koriander Salsa and Roasted Pepper Aïoli

Moroccan Meatball with Quinoa

Moroccan Meatballs with Quinoa

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Serves 4

We went to Marrakech once , and the food, the market, the people, the smell…….was so enchanting like nothing else I had ever seen before. I fell in love instantly with the sweet and savoury cuisine.

I have been making these meatballs ever since. I make a lot of other Moroccan dishes too but this one is by far the quickest and easiest.

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Ingredients;

1 lb. lean ground lamb or beef

1 onion peeled and chopped fine

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

1 tsp. himalayan salt or regular

ground black pepper

1 egg yolk

1/4 C. (home made ) dried breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp.  Ras el Hanout , see Ras el Hanout. for spice mix recipe

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground dried ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander plus 1 tbsp. for serving

3 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan). Reserve one tablespoon to sprinkle over before serving.

4 dried apricots chopped

For the sauce;

1 tbsp. tomato puree

1  14 oz. can chopped tomatoes, or 5 to 6 fresh ones chopped

1 tsp. beef stock powder

1 tbsp. honey

3  tbsp. orange juice plus 5 tbsp water to make 1/2 cup in total

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Method;

In a large frying pan add 1 tbsp. of  the oil and cook the onion and garlic gently for about 5 minutes on medium low heat until slightly beginning to turn golden. Add all the spices and remove from the heat to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat the onion and spice mix, the breadcrumbs, egg yolk, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. pistachios, chopped coriander and apricots. Mix with your hands and form into golf ball sized meatballs.

Wipe your frying pan and add the remaining oil. Set heat on medium high. Fry all the meatballs until nicely browned all over and remove to a plate. Work in batches if necessary.

Once you have cooked all the meatballs. Start making the sauce in the same frying pan with the remaining oil in it and add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, add the meatball back to the pan and simmer with the lid half on the pan, for about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile make the Quinoa.

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For the Quinoa;

1 cup (dry) quinoa

2 c. chicken or beef stock

2 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan)

1 c. chickpeas drained

6 dates, stone removed and chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tsp. garlic powder

ground pepper

2 tbsp. chopped coriander

Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water. This is to remove the saponins that taste very bitter.

Did you know that saponins are for protection against insects?

Put quinoa to a medium saucepan. Add the stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add the dates, carrot, garlic powder, chickpeas and pepper. Just before serving add the coriander and the pistachios.

Note: some quinoa only takes ten minutes to cook, so check the package instructions!!!

To serve place the quinoa on one side of a large platter, the meatballs and sauce on the other side. Sprinkle with more pistachios and chopped coriander.

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about these  Meat Balls ?

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Epic Lasagna

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Serves 6.

Preparation: 1 hrs.

Cooking time 35-40 min.

Oh no, not another Lasagna recipe. Well, yes. But a different one. This recipe is actually from my mother, who still lives in Spain. She came about the idea, more out of need to finish of large amounts of Eggplants. She is always buying Eggplant and red bell peppers in bulk,  amounts enough to feed an entire army. She will eat a slice of toast with a whole grilled pepper on top. I mean I like them too, but Jeez. As a child I was never a fan of Eggplant, but I learned to appreciate them thru this dish. They get a lovely soft texture but are still firm enough to be recognized with every bite.

This delightful sauce is simmered for hours to fully develop the flavours, the sauce includes bacon and red wine but you can sub the red wine for stock if you prefer. Best even if you make the ragú (the red meat sauce) the day before. The Eggplant or Aubergine, is thinly sliced and grilled with some olive oil. This adds a nice smokey flavour and is then layered between the pasta and sauces. Much like Moussaka, hence the name.

It is some where in between a Moussaka and a Lasagna.

My mother adds All spice to the sauce, which works really well and is not at all overpowering. This recipe is for 6 people, but you can easily double the recipe, make two dishes and freeze one before the oven cooking step. You will need to cover it very well with foil and cling wrap, then it will keep for 3 months in the freezer. When you want to bake it, take it out the evening before and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove all the wrapping and bake as stated in the recipe.

You will need :

An 8″ x 11″ x 3″ Casserole dish

12 sheets of dried Spelt (or regular) Lasagna sheets

Ingredients for the Ragú;

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 oz. smoked bacon, diced

1 medium onion, peeled and diced small

1 celery stalk, chopped fine

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed

2 bay leaves

1 lb. minced beef

1 15 oz. can tomatoes

1 15 oz. Passata

2 organic stock cubes, beef or chicken

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)

1 tbsp. Coconut sugar

1 glass of red wine

2 tsp. dried Basil

2 tsp. dried Oregano

1/2 tsp. Sage

1/2 tsp. Thyme

1/4 tsp. All Spice

2 Bay Leaves

1/4 C. chopped Parsley

1  can of water.

For the Eggplant;

2 Eggplants, washed and sliced 1/4 ” thick

cooking oil spray

For the Bechamel; 

3 tbsp. olive oil (or butter)

3 tbsp. Spelt flour

3 1/2 C. Soy milk unsweetened, or a milk of your choice

a good grating of Nutmeg

1 organic stock cube, beef or chicken

1 C. grated cheese, a mix of Parmesan and Mozzarella

Method:

Ragú:

Put a large frying pan on high heat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground beef and the bacon and cook for 7 minutes until brown. Add all the chopped vegetables. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the stock cubes ( I always crumble them up between my fingers), the coconut sugar and the nutritional yeast. Give it a stir. Add the tomato paste and fry for one minute before adding the glass of red wine. Now add both cans of tomato plus one can of water. Add all the dried herbs and the Parsley. Cover half with a lid and simmer on low heat for about two hours. Check once in a while to see if you need to add more water. Alternatively you can transfer the sauce to a slow cooker. Set on high for about one hour until it bubbles then reduce to low and cook for four hours. When the sauce is done, check for seasoning, add a grinding of pepper and add some salt if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. You should end up with 4 cups of sauce. Add liquid if necessary.

Bechamel:

You need to use a pan with a very thick bottom so the sauce doesn;t stick or burn easily. Heat the olive oil and add the flour all at once. Stir in the milk, very little at a time so you do not get any lumps. Stir constantly. Adding milk bit by bit.

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You should end up with a silky smooth sauce like this.

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Add Nutmeg and the  stock cube (crumbled up) and let simmer for about ten minutes to cook the flour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Eggplant:

Wash the Eggplants and cut of the crown. Cut in 1/4″slices. Heat a large Griddle pan and spray the pan. Put in enough slices to cover the pan with just one layer of Eggplant. When ready to turn spray the top and turn over the slices. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate when done. Repeat with all the slices.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

To assemble:

Oil the Casserole dish generously. Start with a thin layer of sauce, then layer the rest like this;

  • lasagna sheets
  • sauce
  • Eggplant
  • Bechamel
  • Grated cheese

The last layer should just be Lasagna sheets, bechamel and cheese.

Put in to the preheated oven and bake until brown and bubbling, for about 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for at least ten minutes before cutting.

Buon Appetito.

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Meat Balls

There is something very comforting about meat balls. I always have a batch in the freezer for When I don’t know what to make for dinner. This recipe is how my grandmother used to make them. They have to simmer for quit a while, but then you end up with really juicy meat balls. The great thing about meat balls is that they are so versatile. You can put them in sandwiches, serve them over pasta with tomato sauce, have them as a snack. Or even slices them and top them with melted cheese, put them in a bun and pretend it’s a hamburger.  This is a pretty classic recipe, but I also like making variations like Italian meatballs with parmesan cheese, or Indonesian with cumin, coriander and sate sauce. The possibilities are endless. I hope you enjoy these.

I recommend you use half pork half beef for the meat balls to get a juicier result. Only beef could end up a bit dry. If you do want to use only beef I suggest you add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the ground beef.

Serves 4.IMG_6215

Ingredients;

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled and diced very small

1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated or chopped very fine

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. coriander

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. black pepper, or a few twists of the mill

1/4 tsp. marjoram

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/8 tsp. allspice

a pinch of cayenne

1 egg, beaten

1/4 C. dried breadcrumbs*

1/2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp honey

a few splashed of Worcestershire sauce

1 C. beef stock (from a cube if you like)

Method;

Start of by gently cooking the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over low heat until just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and let cool. In a bowl mix all the remaining ingredients and shape into about 8 meat balls.

Heat a frying pan with the remaining oil and brown the meat balls all over, now lower the heat and sprinkle the meat balls with the flour, add the tomato paste, 1 tbsp honey, the Worcestershire sauce and a cup of beef stock. Stir everything and set the heat to very low. Partially cover with a lid and let simmer for an hour.

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Dutch Pot Roast

Serves 4

Now this may come across as a bit of a “winter like” recipe, but I assure you that you can eat this all year round. The weather outside is awful at the moment from where I am writing, 32° F  with rain, snow and some hail in between. But like I said, you can eat this all year round. It’s not at all heavy and depending on what you serve it with you can make this either a  winter feast served with mashed potatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprout or baked potatoes. Or a Summer dinner, serving it with a cold beet root salad and some crusty french bread. Or some grilled summer vegetables. Maybe even Corn on the cob.

I start of by searing the beef in a pan and then transferring it to the slow cooker. So you don’t have to hang around in the kitchen for long. You can even get everything ready the evening before by searing the beef and putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Leave overnight in the refrigerator and then before you go to work the next morning, put it in the slow cooker, set it on LOW and when you come home in the evening dinner will be ready. When you leave it to cook all day make sure you add enough liquid so it doesn’t dry out.

Ingredients;

2 tbsp. Olive oil

2 lbs. Beef chuck, cut into two thick slices

4 medium carrot, peel and cut into fairly large chunks

2 cellery sticks, washed and cut into thick slices

2 to 3 medium onions, peeled and quartered

2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and bash with the side of your knife

4 or 5 sprigs of fresh oregano (2 tsp. dry)

2 sprigs of rosemary (1 tsp. dry)

2 tbsp. tomato puree

1 1/2 tbsp Apple butter or coconut sugar

1 glass of dry white wine

1 C. beef stock

3 Bay leaves

1/2 a cinnamon stick

a good grating of nutmeg or 1/2 tsp. powder

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/.2 tsp. All spice

Season the beef liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then heat a pan on high, add the olive oil and brown the meat on both sides until it is dark brown and has a good caramelized color. This is very important for the flavor. Transfer to the slow cooker. Turn the heat of your frying pan to medium and add all the vegetables and the garlic cloves. Cook for about three minutes until they just begin to color and add to the beef.

Now put the tomato puree and the spices in the frying pan and the apple butter or coconut sugar and slowly add the white wine. Swirl around and pour over the beef.

Add the bay leafs, oregano and rosemary  to the beef and pour in the beef stock to just cover the meat.

Cook on high for about 5 hours, or on low for about 7 or 8 hours. Check the liquid towards the end and add some beef stock if necessary.