White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip

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White Bean Fritters

So much has been written about the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, one of the primary elements of which—is beans. Beans have tremendous health benefits—they are packed with fiber, vitamins, protein, and phytochemicals. We wanted to incorporate even more of these nutritional powerhouses into our diets, so using cannelloni beans we made fritters that are both light and flavorful.

Our white bean fritters are so quick and easy to prepare. Mash up the beans and add the Parmesan, shallots, and parsley, form into small patties, and cook. They are crisp on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. They go especially well with our Yogurt Cucumber Dip—also easy to make. Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic is a refreshing complement. These fritters are perfect served as an appetizer or as a side—ideal for entertaining, or paired with a salad for lunch.

Yogurt Cucumber DipBe sure to mix the Yogurt Cucumber Dip well before serving.

Mashed ingredients frittersMash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks.The shallots, parsley, and Parmesan cheese are then added.

Uncooked frittersUsing your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round patties.

White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip
4 servings

For the Dip
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, finely grated and drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Fritters
One 15-ounce can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed

For the Dip
In a medium mixing bowl mix together the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator while you make the fritters.

For the Fritters
Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl mash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks. Add the shallots, parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and mix well.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round individual patties (about ¼ inch thick) and dredge each one in the flour, shaking off any excess. Place the formed patties on a platter. You should have ten to eleven patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add half the patties to the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, five to six minutes. Flip the patties carefully with a spatula and cook until the second side is golden, about five minutes more. Add a little more oil if the pan looks dry (the fritters can absorb the oil).

Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cook the remaining patties. Add more oil if necessary.

Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve with the Yogurt Cucumber Dip.

White Bean Fritters crop1

Baked Artichoke Dip With Baby Kale

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Artichoke Cover Pic

We just may love artichokes more than any other vegetable. Corky introduced us to them early. In fact, when she first cooked them for us, most of our friends had never even heard of them. Etched in our memories is the crazy amount of work she put into preparing them; trimming the ends, scraping the choke, and soaking in lemon juice (to keep their beautiful green color). At the table, we kids loved the ritual of taking each separate leaf, and dipping it one at a time into the warm melted butter or creaming, citrusy hollandaise. Little did we know that many of the men in our lives would find eating artichokes almost as arduous and labor intensive as we found cooking them. We experimented, tried the canned, but didn’t love that tinny, preserved taste, and we found that artichokes in the jar had seasonings that didn’t go with how we wanted to prepare them. Then we discovered frozen artichokes! They are not only delicious, but have all of the nutritional benefits with none of the fuss.

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We created a zesty artichoke dip as an appetizer for company but soon realized it also makes a perfect side dish at dinner. As an added bonus, scooping with a pita chip makes eating artichokes a snap.

Baby Kale

Baby Kale Blended

Adding baby kale to the dip not only makes it healthier, but even more flavorful.

Baked Artichoke Dip with Baby Kale
6 to 8 servings

For The Topping
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Dip
Two 9 ounce boxes frozen artichokes, do not thaw
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups packed chopped baby kale
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Sweet paprika, to taste

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450˚ F.

In a small mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the topping, mix well and set aside.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the artichokes in a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the artichokes on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool, and set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, and the garlic, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and stir to incorporate. Cook for an additional 6 to 7 minutes, until the kale is soft.

In a food processor combine the artichokes and kale mixture. Blend until just smooth. Add the mayonnaise, cream cheese, the 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, thyme, and cayenne pepper, and blend until just combined, leaving a few chunks. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Spray the bottom of 9- by 13- inch casserole dish with the olive oil spray. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, to smooth the top.

Generously sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the artichoke dip. Top with a sprinkle of paprika and place in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned.

Serve warm with pita chips, toasted French bread slices, or crackers.

Artichoke Final

Baked Accordion Potatoes with Paprika and Thyme

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Accordian1

Potatoes are a lovely accompaniment to so many dishes and there are almost limitless ways to prepare them—albeit some potato dishes are not quite as “healthy” as others. Our recipe for Baked Accordion Potatoes is a perfect choice.

This recipe for Accordion potatoes is based on the famed Hasselback potato, a Swedish version of baked potatoes that got its name back in the 1940’s as the signature dish of the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm. There are so many varieties of this dish—but we’ve simplified and “healthified” ours––we leave out the breadcrumbs and cheese, and we’ve added the delicious seasonings of paprika and thyme.

You want to be careful not to cut your slits all the way through to the bottom of the potato—but leave about 1/4 inch at the bottom. An easy way to do this is to place the potato in a large wooden spoon, or between two wooden chopsticks, as you cut. The wood will stop the knife from slicing all the way through. We like to fan out the slits so that we can spread the oil/spice mixture a little deeper. Make sure to save half of this mixture so you can baste the potatoes midway.

These potatoes are so simple to make yet so impressive to serve. Even better, they taste like a perfect combination of crisp fries and luscious baked potatoes. So scrumptious.


potatoes

THYME

 

Baked Accordion Potatoes with Paprika and Thyme
4 servings

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8, each 2 to 3 inches long), scrubbed but not peeled
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus for greasing
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

In a small mixing bowl combine the melted butter, olive oil, paprika, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix to blend.

Cut each potato crosswise, making slits 1/8 inch apart, and being careful not to slice all the way through—leaving about 1/4 inch of the bottom intact. (If you place the potato in a large wooden spoon while you cut it is much easier not to cut too deep.) Once cut, gently fan each potato out.

Place the potatoes cut side up on an oiled baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat them all over with the butter mixture, reserving half of it.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, fan out the potatoes a little more, and brush the potatoes once more with the remaining butter mixture, letting it drip into the slits. Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes until the edges are crisp. Season generously with additional sea salt and serve hot.

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Spanish Tortilla with Spinach and Manchego Cheese

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Sometimes we just don’t have time to go to the market. Five o’clock rolls around and we open our refrigerator in a panic. Our old standby is often a Spanish tortilla. Guaranteed you will have the ingredients to whip up this easy dinner in no time. In this recipe we use spinach but you can just as easily use mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli. This Spanish omelet is a great way to take familiar ingredients and turn them into something exotic and international. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal served with warm corn tortillas and guacamole, or for entertaining, cut into wedges and offered as tapas with a selection of Mediterranean olives.

tortilla

4 servings as a main course, 6 servings  as a side
1¼ cups peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 or 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 1/4 cups)
1 packed cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese

Line a plate with paper towels.Place the potatoes in a medium microwave-safe bowl with a lid, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 3½ minutes. Remove the bowl (it will be hot) and shake to loosen the potatoes. Return the bowl to the microwave and cook until tender, about 3½ minutes more. Set aside.If you don’t want to use a microwave, place the potatoes in a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook partially covered for 5 to 7 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and return to the dry saucepan. Set aside. (You need only 2 tablespoons of butter in total if using this non-microwave method.)

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, the parsley, and thyme; whisk to blend.

Place a medium ovenproof, nonstick skillet with a broiler-safe handle over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When it melts and starts to sizzle, add the potatoes in a single flat layer and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes with a spatula and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the potatoes with a slotted spoon to the paper-towel lined plate, leaving the remaining butter in the skillet.

Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and turn the oven on to broil.

Add the onion to the butter and saute over medium heat until golden brown and tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for an additional 2 minutes, until wilted. Return the potatoes to the pan and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Stir quickly to mix all the ingredients together. Cook undisturbed until the edges begin to set, 4 to 5 minutes.

Run a rubber or silicone spatular around the rim of the pan to loosen the sides. Sprinkle the top of the tortilla with the cheese and place the pan under broiler until the cheese is lightly browned, about 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Slide the tortilla onto a platter, browned side up. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

Maple-balsamic Root Vegetable “Fries”

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We think everyone likes–-no, maybe loves, French fries. But we all pretty much try not to indulge—they are after all, salty, deep-fat-fried potatoes. Although we do love what our brother/son Michael says about them, “I love French fries, but how often are you going to cook them? It’s too hard and messy. So there’s something in the very nature of home cooking that keeps us from getting into trouble.”

So true, but here’s an even better solution—our French fry “cheat”, our Maple-Balsamic Root Vegetable “Fries” recipe. Root vegetables are so nutritionally dense, very affordable, and available year round–– for most, the peak season is fall through spring, so they are a great winter ingredient.

What’s great about this recipe is that you can really substitute any root vegetables that you like, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, red beets, yams… The slight sweetness from the maple syrup, the tanginess of the balsamic vinegar, the salt and thyme, give these “fries” such delicious flavor.

fries

4 to 6 servings
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium golden beets, peeled, each cut into 8 wedges
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, celery root, parsnips, beets, and thyme sprigs. Add the oil and mix to thoroughly coat the vegetables.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Pour the mixture on the vegetables and toss to coat.

Arrange the vegetables in single layers on the two baking sheets. Roast on separate racks for 20 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and, using a spatula, flip the vegetables. Return the sheets to the oven, switching their positions (upper rack and lower rack). Roast until the vegetables are light brown and caramelized, an additional
15 to 20 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Golden Baby Artichokes with Lemon Zest

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We have a number of men in our lives who just refuse to eat artichokes—the thistles, the choke, scraping the meager “meat” off the leaves with your teeth—frankly they think it’s too much work for too little reward. Add to this the idea of cooking artichokes scares a lot of people. What do you do with the choke? What are the things that prick your fingers? Why should I bother? Artichokes are intimidating! However, the beauty of these babies is that not only are they easy to prepare but you can eat the whole thing. They are so delectable and satisfying, we dare you to resist our golden sautéed baby artichokes.

artichokes

4 servings
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 pounds baby artichokes (about 9)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 small cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and add ¼ cup of the lemon juice. Peel off all the dark outer leaves of each artichoke until you reach the pale green inner leaves. (You might be tempted to leave some, but they will be too tough to eat.) Cut off the bottom ¼ inch of the stem, leaving the rest intact. With a vegetable peeler, remove the dark outer layer of the stem until you reach a pale green layer. Cut 1 inch off the top of the artichoke. Quarter the artichoke lengthwise and put it in the bowl of lemon water to keep it from turning brown. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pot. Boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. When it is shimmering, add the artichokes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, flipping the artichokes occasionally until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Sprinkle on the remaining teaspoon of lemon juice, the lemon zest, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 1 minute more. Serve hot.