Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy Mediterranean Wednesday

 I love Mediterranean food! The fresh flavors and healthy ingredients fit right for my active lifestyle. I've been to Europe seven times but only to Italy and France. Someday I hope to visit Spain and Greece as well! Following a Mediterranean diet has so many so many health benefits. Consuming heart healthy olive oil, whole-grains, fish, and lots of green vegetables mixed in with some red meat and of course, red wine, help to lower your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I found this recipe awhile back in Real Simple magazine. I usually pick up this magazine when I'm traveling and always end up ripping recipes out. They are usually really easy to make and consistently turn out well. The second recipe is a morning or snack muffin recipe using whole grains and blueberries. If you haven't tried whole wheat pastry flour yet, go out and buy some! It will make your baked goods light and feathery therefore tasting richer than if done with just whole wheat flour. I used frozen blueberries since it's winter but if you can find fresh use those. I absolutely love blueberries! They are one of my favorite fruits. I keep the frozen ones on hand all year so I always have them to bake with, toss in salads or put on cereal/oatmeal. Ciao!




Crispy Chickpea Pita 
*adapted from Real Simple Magazine





Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • plus 1/2 cup whole parsley leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 4 pitas or pieces flat bread, warmed
  • 1 8-ounce container hummus, any flavor
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice, chopped parsley, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and toss.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the whole parsley leaves, tomatoes, and the remaining oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Divide the bread among 4 plates and spread with the hummus. Top with the chickpea mixture, onion, and hot sauce. Serve with the parsley salad, and top with yogurt.




Kemp's "You-Won't-Believe-They're-Whole-Wheat" 
Blueberry Muffins






FOR MUFFINS

  • 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (about 7 ounces)

FOR TOPPING

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • EQUIPMENT:

     
    a muffin pan (preferably nonstick) with 12 (1/3- to 1/2-cup) muffin cups

MAKE MUFFIN BATTER:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter muffin pan.
  • Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk in zest.
  • Whisk egg in another bowl, then whisk in milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (batter will be dense). Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups.

MAKE TOPPING:

  • Stir together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over batter in cups.
  • Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then unmold onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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