I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

April 25, 2010

Lots of Mezze!

Matt and I were hosting a little party yesterday, which was the perfect excuse to make some delicious mezze dishes. It rained and we had to cancel, but yummy food was still consumed.

Marinated Olives (p. 47)
This is an easy recipe that can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for several weeks. Take drained black olives and put them in a bowl. Pare the skin in thin strips off of two lemons -- I actually used my vegetable peeler to peel wide chunks away that I then sliced more thinly. Peel away the white skin of the lemon, and cut the fruit into narrow strips, removing any seeds that you come across. Combine these ingredients with the olives and add red chili pepper, sweet paprika, and cumin.

(All the delicious things that get added in)

Mix the dish thoroughly and then add olive oil. Mix again, and set aside for at least a few hours for the flavors to develop in the olives. Serve at room temperature.

These are very very citrus-y -- next time I would potentially use a little less lemon and more of the spices. Still, very tasty.

Roasted Almonds (p. 51)
This was an incredibly time consuming recipe because the skins need to be removed from the almonds before they can be baked. To do so, you boil a pot of water and add the almonds for about a minute. Put them in a colander and, once they're cool enough to touch, husk the skins away from each almond. (It took forever. I brought a stool over to my sink so I could sit hunched over the almonds -- I watched two half hour shows on Hulu before I was done.) Once the shells are all removed, the almonds are cooked for five minutes and then removed from the oven to mix them with olive oil and salt. They're cooked ten minutes longer and then sit for several hours before serving.

These were one of the favorites for the evening. Lightly salted, crunchy, etc.

Provencal Anchovy Dip (p.53)
This is a super simple and fast recipe -- in a food processor, puree garlic and anchovies, and then slowly add butter (!), olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Chuck some freshly ground black pepper on that and you're good to go.

This didn't photograph well, but it was delicious. It was really flavorful and could potentially even be used on a sandwich as a mustard replacement.

Chickpea Salad (p.54)
Really, this is hummus, or hummus bi tahini. It can also be used as a garnish for lamb. I've made hummus before, but never using dried chickpeas, only with the canned type. The chickpeas soak overnight and are then simmered in boiling water for about half an hour to soften them. They are pureed in a food processor, along with some leftover water that they were cooked in, until they are coarse and grainy. The puree is then mixed with tahini, sesame oil, salt, cumin, a lot of lemon juice, and garlic. A garnish of olive oil and hot pepper flakes is added to the top, along with parsley, which I neglected to do. The recipe also instructs you to save a few whole chickpeas to put in a garnish on top, which was very cute.

The hummus was good, but a little too thick at first. I thinned it out with a little water, and also added additional garlic. I think we're spoiled by Trader Joe's hummus, which we love. This was pretty good, but we had hoped for a little more of a flavor punch.

And for dessert, peanut butter pie. Which is in no way Mediterranean, but is in every way delicious.

black olives -- $3.60
lemon -- .69
Total Cost of Marinated Olives: $4.29 (I halved this recipe)

almonds -- $5.99
Total Cost of Roasted Almonds: $5.99

Total Cost of Provencal Anchovy Dip: Free!

dried chickpeas -- $1.39
2 lemons -- $1.09
Total Cost of Chickpea Salad: $2.48

All of these make a ton of food, and cheap!

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.