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

March 9, 2011

Tomato and Pepper Gratin of Shrimp and Scallops (p. 390)

Scallops are one of my favorite seafoods, but I don't really ever make them at home -- I guess I'm just nervous about not cooking them fully. And to compensate for that, I over cook them, which is what I did with this recipe. Ooops.

Both the shrimp and the scallops are dusted with flour and briefly fried in olive oil until they're browned on each side.

Place the seafood in a single layer in a gratin dish and top with a sauce made of onion, garlic, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. The spices in the sauce are minimal -- just some paprika and black pepper. 

Top the whole dish with dry bread crumbs and put under the broiler for about five minutes, then serve immediately.

So, the scallops were definitely on the rubbery side, which I guess is from over-cooking. The shrimp was lovely though, and the tomato sauce went nicely with them. It's a pretty quick and easy dish for a weekday night.

scallops -- $12.59
shrimp -- $7.27
tomatoes -- $1.97
yellow onion -- $1.37
Total Cost of Tomato and Pepper Gratin of Shrimp and Scallops: $23.20
($7.73 per serving)

March 5, 2011

Slow-Cooked Chickpeas with Orange Zest and Lemon Juice (p. 255)

Be ready to commit to making this recipe -- it takes about 4.5 hours altogether, though the majority of that is cooking time.

Luckily the actual assembly of the dish comes together pretty quickly -- it's just sauteed onions and garlic combined with sweet pepper, chickpeas (drained over night), celery, orange zest, bay leaves, and vegetable stock.

Cook until simmering and then stick the whole dish in the oven, covered in aluminum foil, for about three hours. Stir n mustard and lemon juice and cook for another hour.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

This was good, though not my favorite chickpea recipe ever. If I made it again I would up the level of citrus and reduce the amount of onions.  Also, I cut the recipe in half and it still makes a ridiculous amount, so chef beware.

vegetable broth -- $2.50 (plenty left)
bell pepper -- $1.88 (3/4 left)
orange -- $.86 (only used the zest)
yellow onion -- $1.49
celery -- $2.99 (most of the bag left)
Total Cost of Slow-Cooked Chickpeas with Orange Zest and Lemon Juice: $9.72
($1.94 per serving)

March 1, 2011

North African Shrimp Tagine (p. 387)

I know, I know -- I've been totally neglectful of cooking. We just spent a fabulous weekend in Winston-Salem and Asheville and I'm ready to get some recipes under my belt again.

What I loved about this recipe is that it has some non-traditional Mediterranean elements in it. The shrimp is marinated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, saffron, paprika, chopped fresh ginger and cilantro, two ingredients not regularly found in Mediterranean cooking.

While the tasty flavors are combining with the shrimp, make a simple tomato sauce of tomatoes and chopped garlic, along with a little bit of cumin. Spoon the majority of this into a tagine or, if you don't have one, like me, just in a pot that has a lid.

Layer in yummy veggies: carrots, red onions, red potatoes, red pepper, and a spicy green pepper.

Add the rest of the tomato sauce, cover with the lid, and steam lightly for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are fully cooked.

Put the marinated shrimp with all its juices on top, throw on some olives, and cook for 10 more minutes.

We ate this with toasted pita halves and were very very happy. I loved the flavors of the marinated shrimp -- the ginger was amazing -- and the veggies were a tasty complement. I'd totally eat this again, as is, or with just the marinated shrimp and some rice. Super tasty.

cilantro -- $1.69 (most of the bunch is left)
red onion -- $1.13 (half left)
carrots -- $1.29 (most of the bag is left)
red pepper -- $2.94
red potatoes -- $.89
olives -- $4.20 (I bought way too many so I could just eat them)
poblano pepper -- $.70
tomatoes - $1.82
ginger -- $.25
shrimp -- $10.65
Total Cost of North African Shrimp Tagine: $25.56
($8.52 per serving)