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Aug 1, 2013 01:19 AM

COTM August 2013 MEDITERRANEAN HARVEST: Breads, Pizza & Panini; Sauces Dressings & Condiments; Starters, Snacks, Meze & More

Welcome to Cookbook of the Month for August 2013, which is MEDITERRANEAN HARVEST by Martha Rose Shulman.

This is the reporting thread for the following chapters:

Breads, Pizza and Panini
Sauces, Dressings and Condiments
Little Foods: Starters, Snacks, Meze and More

Please remember that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Roasted Eggplant Salad with Feta and Green Peppers (page 109)

    The recipe calls for the flesh of about 2 medium roasted eggplants; lemon juice; an optional pinch of cayenne (I opted); s&p; red onion and green pepper (I had a yellow one), both finely chopped; a seeded, chopped tomato; one or two minced or pressed garlic cloves; and about three ounces crumbled feta. Mix together and serve.

    I made half a recipe using only about 1/3 the amount of Asian eggplant because that’s what I had and the full amount of feta because I adore feta. The feta, by the way, was Dodoni, a Greek import via Costco; not as crumbly or salty as many, but an outstanding feta. Hope it’s something they keep in stock. And I cut back on the olive oil and suspect I could have cut back even further.

    Half of the half was dinner for me one of those steamy, stultifying nights of a few weeks back and I enjoyed it very much. Even though the red onion is soaked in cold water and rinsed, it was still a little harsh; but that was a problem with the onion, not with the recipe. Very nice and unusual take on a Greek salad.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      This sounds excellent Joan. Like you, we love Feta and I'm wondering if we have the Dodoni brand at our Canadian Costco stores. Pity I didn't see your post earlier as we were there last night. I have some lamb chops on the menu this weekend so this salad would be a lovely accompaniment. We're heading to a farm market tomorrow so I'll keep my fingers crossed they have eggplant. Thanks for your review.

      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        This is the Greek feta that I buy as well. Generally, I purchase it at Costco, though they no longer carry it at my nearest one. I like this feta enough to drive even farther once a month to get a box. If your local Costco doesn't sell it, the info desk is always willing to help you locate an item nearby [if there is a nearby.]

      2. re: JoanN


        p. 109 – Big thanks to Joan for highlighting this recipe. Also, Joan’s comment about the harshness of the onion flavour inspired me to opt for an alternate preparation. Instead of roasting the eggplant and using raw peppers and onions, I decided to grill all the veggies. mr bc isn’t a big fan of eggplant and in particular he dislikes its “mushy” texture (his words). My thinking was that grilling the eggplant would allow some of the moisture to evaporate and alter the texture of the veggie. I’m happy to report that this worked. Not only did mr bc like this salad, he loved it. He said it was one of his favourite non-lettuce salads ever! I’m not a fan of green bell peppers so I opted to use Italian frying peppers instead. I did use the raw garlic in the dressing.

        I’m happy to report that the dish is just as delicious the next day and we’ve been enjoying it for our workday lunches as it travels well and is good cold or at room temp.

        This is exactly why I love the COTM’s, I’d never have found this recipe, let alone make it if not for our little community here!!

        I served this with grilled fennel-rubbed lamb chops.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          What a GREAT idea to grill the veggies. Wish I could do that. Almost surprising how well the leftovers hold up, isn't it?

          1. re: JoanN

            You're right Joan, I'm amazed at how well this holds up. Undoubtedly I'll be making this all summer. It's a perfect dish for entertaining as well.

      3. Spicy Beet Salad, Pg. 95

        This is a Tunisian version of vinegared beets but includes harissa and minced garlic which makes up the spiciness of the finished salad. It's really quite simple. I used 3 beets I had roasted 2 days before and increased the amounts of garlic and harissa a tad. The roasted beets are diced then mixed with a dressing of the following ingredients: chopped scallions, garlic, harissa, parsley, red wine vinegar, olive oil, S & P. There it is. Pungent, spicy indeed, and punctuated the tasty turkey burger we made with a recipe from Julie Buiso's Never-ending Summer.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Lovely Gio, this sounds delicious and you know, like Joan's dish above, I'd bet this would be nice with my grilled lamb. Adding beets to the list with thanks!

          Not wanting to get too far OT but how are you enjoying JB's book?

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            We've liked everything so far. Made the ricotta and grilled peaches on thick sliced raisin bread and was quite surprised at how delectably tasty it was. I have to decide which book/or books I'll use this month to augment the Med. Harvest vegetables... I think one wall be the Buiso book.

            1. re: Gio

              Gio, what page is the ricotta and grilled peaches on?

              1. re: dkennedy

                DK... I'll have to tell you in the AM. The books and my computer are on two different floors... and I only go up and down once each day.

              2. re: Gio

                Oh my Gio, that grilled peach dish sounds sumptuous! I'm glad the book is working well for you.

            2. re: Gio

              This was on my to-try list. Sounds good. And I like the idea of accompanying turkey burgers. Will pick up beets and ground turkey at the farmer's market tomorrow and duplicate your dinner casa Joan.

              1. re: JoanN

                That turkey burger was originally "Best-ever steak and tomato sandwich with aïoli." The recipe includes sliced sirloin steak (grnd turkey w cheddar cheese slice), tomatoes (coated w panko & fried), lemons (omitted), caster sugar, aioli, tomato chutney (salsa), iceberg lettuce (romaine), sliced gherkins, arugula, sourdough. Lordy were they delicious!

                1. re: Gio

                  Oh, yes. I remember you mentioned that burger somewhere. I found a copy of it online and it seems to be the same recipe, but in the one I found the tomatoes are not coated with panko. Was that your innovation or is this recipe slightly different from the one in the book?


                  1. re: JoanN

                    That's the exact recipe, Joan. I was worried that the raw tomato slice would not taste good with the salsa I used which was Green Mt. Gringo medium hot so I pressed the slices into panko and shallow fried them in an old Farberware fry pan. G cooked the burgers in the same pan which enhanced the dark meat turkey. This worked well and added to the general decadence.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Thanks, Gio. Headed off to EYB to see if there are any tomato chutney recipes that inspire me.

              2. re: Gio

                Spicy Beet Salad, p. 95

                I had a North African-inspired chicken dish on the menu, and one of those vacuum-packed packets of steamed, peeled beets from Trader Joe's in the fridge (my occasional lazy-woman's solution to having something easy on hand), along with the other ingredients, so this salad was the obvious answer. I used her alternative of sherry vinegar, and after assessing the volume of my ingredients, used 1 T vinegar and 2 T olive oil (instead of 1 1/2 T and 1/4 cup), all else more or less as written. Delicious, tangy, and a bit spicy.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  >> one of those vacuum-packed packets of steamed, peeled beets from Trader Joe's <<

                  What a genius idea! I so wish we had TJ's in Canada.

                  Thanks for the reminder about this dish Caitlin, we still don't have fresh beets at the market but I mustn't forget this dish. I really enjoy the earthy, spiciness of harissa an expect it pairs perfectly w beets.

              3. Deep-Fried Cauliflower

                I wanted to try this recipe because the cauliflower isn't battered, but I think steaming the florets prior to frying might be the way to go (rather than parboiling) as in the end, even though the pieces browned well and looked attractive, they were soggy. Or maybe I just parboiled them a bit too long (?). Anyway, It's a simple enough snack to prepare - the head of cauliflower is broken into florets, parboiled, then deep-fried. Tahini-Garlic Sauce (my choice, which was also easy to put together) or Parsley Sauce are the suggested dipping sauces. I'll probably try it again, (using the steaming method) to see if I can get that crispy exterior/tender interior that I was hoping for.

                4 Replies
                1. re: lesliej

                  Fried cauliflower was one of my favorite foods when I was kid. I always used to ask my mother to make if for me. I'll never forget coming home late from school one day because I had band practice. My family was at the dinner table and I was informed they'd finished all the fried cauliflower as a lesson to me never to be late for dinner again. When I told them where I'd been, they were totally abashed and after that I could get fried cauliflower whenever I wanted it.

                  I'm not sure, but I think my mother did steam the cauliflower first. Whatever she did, it definitely was not soggy.

                  The Tahini-Garlic sauce sounds like a perfect accompaniment. The minute I get back to frying again, this will be first on my list.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Thanks for sharing that great story, Joan (especially since both my kids ended up becoming musicians!). I'll make sure to report back when I (hopefully) have better results.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      There's a little restaurant in Turkey we go to which does the best fried cauliflower. I don't know how they do it but it's so delicious I could eat it every night.

                    2. re: lesliej

                      Deep-Fried Cauliflower, p. 101 (revisited)

                      Much better results steaming the florets for about 2 minutes rather than the parboil/ice bath method...the pieces don't need more than a dab from a paper towel prior to frying and the whole process is faster. I also didn't use that much oil this time around - I filled my 3 1/2 qt. heavy saucepan with about 2" of oil and that was fine for generous handfuls of florets. With the oil temp at 375 they were a deep golden brown within three minutes. Slightly crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. Just for the heck of it I fried some raw florets, and they were done in the same amount of time, but to me they weren't as flavorful as those which were steamed. A sprinkling of salt and a dusting of cumin powder this time around, rather than a sauce, was a nice finish to these tasty bites.

                    3. Beet and Yoghurt Salad, p 94

                      I love Turkish salads with yoghurt and this is a great rendition.

                      Roast your beetroot in a tightly covered casserole or pan with a quarter of an inch of water. Mine were small so they took maybe half an hour. When cooled,peel and slice and marinate in olive oil, sherry vinegar, sugar and seasoning for 3 hours at room temp or in the fridge. I left mine overnight.

                      When ready to eat, crush two cloves of garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Combine with half a cup of strained yoghurt - I used Turkish yoghurt instead,which is similar to Greek. The recipe then says to drain the beets and add a little of the marinade to the yoghurt to taste (I found the beets had absorbed quite a lot so I didn't bother draining the beets). I just combined the yoghurt and beets, to make a beautiful pink streaked salad which was just delicious, with nice acidity from the vinegar. Actually the marinated beets on their own were also good. I love beetroot so can see me making this often when I can get nice ones from the farmer's market. I also liked the method of roasting the beets with a little water. I used my Le Creuset and it worked well.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Just popping back to say this held up very well in the fridge. I had the leftovers for dinner and they were delicious.

                      2. Grilled Eggplant w/ Hot Red Pepper Flakes, pg. 108

                        A simple and tasty twist on the usual grilled eggplant. Mint doesn't appear in the dish's title, but it is at least as important to the flavor as the pepper flakes. Resting the eggplant off grill for 15 minutes after the seasoning has been added, really does improve the flavor. One note, I made a half batch using 1 lb very tender Asian eggplant, and found that the recipe called for way too much olive oil for us, in total 1~1.5 TBS, was more than enough rather than the 3(!) in Shulman's recipe.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: qianning

                          [Roasted] Eggplant w/ Hot Red Pepper Flakes, p. 108

                          I elected to make this last night based on the fact that it looked like one of the simplest eggplant recipes in the book! I had two largish Italian eggplants that I sliced into rounds. Lacking a grill, I roasted them in a hot oven. My eggplant slices looked a bit dry coming out of the oven, but after steaming in a covered dish with a bit of extra olive oil, these were downright luscious! I added a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt along with the chile pepper and mint. We really enjoyed these flavors with the eggplant. While I'm sure they would have been even better if grilled, it didn't take long for two pounds of eggplant to disappear with nary a trace. Good dish.

                          1. re: qianning

                            Grilled Eggplant with Hot Red Pepper Flakes, page 108.

                            Well, this is just the quickest, easiest eggplant dish ever. I had a regular eggplant, sliced it into rounds, brushed with olive oil and popped it on the grill. A couple minutes each side and they're done. These had a wonderful texture, I almost want to describe them as pancake-like. Agree with qianning, the mint makes a big difference, and I think it's funny that it's not in the title of the dish. Delicious! Leftovers for lunch today were not too bad either!

                            1. re: qianning

                              Grilled Eggplant w/ Hot Red Pepper Flakes

                              I don't have the book, so I was guessing, using the reports here. And I guess I guessed correctly (and know the reporting was good), because these were phenomenal. Even my husband who generally will eat eggplant only if it's fried or in a parm prep, loved this.

                              I have tried this prep and failed so many times that I'd given up. (They were always either dried up, almost cardboard-ish or not cooked thoroughly but too done on he outside.)

                              But this time I sliced a lovely lavender-and-white striped eggplant into thin rounds, brushed those generously with OO and grilled them on the Weber, set at medium, for a couple of minutes per side. Perfect: nice grill marks on the outside and a creamy interior. And, yes, the mint makes all the difference. So good. Since mint grows like a weed in my little garden, I rushed out to get more eggplants so I can make these again.

                              1. re: qianning

                                Grilled Eggplant with Hot Red Pepper Flakes - p. 108

                                I made this last night, using two small, white, Italian eggplants. I sliced lengthwise, and cooked on my Big Green Egg. I went pretty heavy on both the chile flakes and the mint. The covered resting time at the end was key. We thought this was good, but needed a bit of acid. A squeeze of lemon over the top did the trick and made this very simple dish even better.

                                1. re: MelMM

                                  Could you tell me about the covered resting time, please? I'm getting ready to prepare this again, and I don't want to skip this step if it makes it even better. Thanks.

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    After you take it from the grill, and toss with olive oil, the recipe has you put the eggplant in a covered bowl for 15 minutes. The eggplant steams a bit and it keeps the outside from being dry.

                                  2. re: MelMM

                                    I like the lemon idea, will definitely have to try that.