Posts Tagged ‘Appetizer’

The perfect way to celebrate summer’s bounty of tomatoes and zucchini.  Traditionally, domatokeftethes, from Santorini, are a tomato-based fritter that are delightful as an appetizer or side dish. We’ve added some zucchini to the mix but feel free to omit.  The combination of herbs can be adjusted to include dill, parsley, basil, mint, or oregano, depending on taste preference. 

Domatokeftethes, adapted from the Web

4 ripe medium tomatoes, finely chopped and deseeded
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium onion, grated
1 1/2 – 2 cups of self-rising flour (or add 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of AP flour)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh mint or fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients except flour in a bowl. Add enough flour to make a thick batter.
  2. Heat 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil in a nonstick frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop the batter by tablespoonfuls into the oil and fry until browned. Turn once to brown on both sides.  (I pan-fried the batter with less oil.)
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper towels.

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There are few foods we, as a family, avoid.  Meatloaf is as close as it gets.  When I think of meatloaf, I think of the dry, onion-soup-mix-infused, dense slice of “meat” from my youth.  (Sorry, Mom.)  Despite my Mom’s best efforts, I never took to the American classic.  And once I realized ketchup was a component, I vowed never to eat it again.  (Sorry, also very un-American.)  Fortunately for me, my husband shares my disdain for meatloaf and is happy to reserve his beloved condiment for a sandwich or eggs. 

When I came across this recipe for beef kofta, it was promoted as a “meatloaf.”  I angled my cursor for the “X” at the right hand corner of my screen.  But before I could click, I noticed a mouth-watering list of spices in the ingredient list.  With an open mind and a pantry of spices calling to me, I figured it was worth a shot to expose Rice Kernel to something different.

Koftas are meatballs that originated in Persia and spread into India, Southeast Asia, and the Balkan Peninsula.  As far as I can tell, they are typically grilled on skewers or cooked into a curry.  Seasoned with a bevy of immune-boosting spices, there is a flavor harmony that is reminiscent of traditional Indian curries.  Best of all, with plenty of minced vegetables and herbs, these meatballs are moist and succulent without added fat.  They were delicious stuffed into a pita with vegetables (for me) and over brown basmati rice for the boys – with a liberal dressing of tangy, warm, and aromatic homemade curry.

After this successful experiment, maybe I’m ready to give meatloaf a try…. Anyone care to weigh in and offer a delectable meatloaf recipe?

Beef Koftas, adapted from Anton Health Recipes

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic gloves, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach, drained
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric

  1. Combine all ingredients and form into meatballs or thick sausages. 
  2. Baking option: You can bake them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs.
  3. Grilling/Skewer option: Thread meaballs or sausages onto the skewers and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning once.
  4. Simmering option: Please meatballs in curry (recipe below) and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
  5. Serve with pitas or rice.
Curry Gravy


1 tbsp olive oil (or coconut butter or ghee for a more traditional version)
1 onion, fine diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-inch-piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 cups pureed tomatoes, fresh or canned
1/2 cup low-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp curry spice blend
1 tbsp honey, agave nectar or sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional – that’s primarily where our spice came from)


  1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. 
  4. Stir in the tomato puree, coconut milk, water, curry spice blend, sweetener, salt and garam masala. 
  5. Turn the heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until warmed through (aboiut 5 minutes).  If cooking meatballs in the curry, simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.   

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I love egg rolls (or spring rolls, which is what I think I’ve got here) but to be honest, frying is something I leave to restaurants.  Not only is the thought of deep fried, greasy dough not terribly appealing, I don’t want to be saddled with a vat of used oil!  Not a safe kitchen practice with a toddler.  At least not when Mom can be a bit of a klutz.  So I started popping my homemade version into the oven or pan-frying them lightly (as my mother used to do).  The result is delightfully crunchy and light – a great way to add an array of vegetables into any meal or snack time.


Spring Rolls


    For the Vegetables
    1 tsp olive oil
    2 cups of savoy cabbage, sliced thinly
    1 cups of shredded carrots
    1/2 medium onion, sliced
    10 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried black mushrooms soaked for 15 minutes)
    2 tbsp green onions, sliced
    1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tsp sesame oil
    Freshly ground pepper
    Spring roll wrappers defrosted unopened at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes
    Optional, sauce for dipping
    For the Meat
    1 lb ground pork, cooked with 1 tbsp soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp cornstarch OR
    5 chicken tenders, roasted with salt and pepper and pulled into strips



  1. Cook meat.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the cabbage, onions, and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to wilt.  Add garlic and carrots.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Mix in scallion, mushrooms, and cooked meat.  Adjust for seasonings.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of the cooled mixture on the center of the egg roll wrap.  
  4. Fold the bottom up over the filling.                                                          
  5. Fold the two sides over, making it look like an envelop                  
  6. Then roll it up like a burrito.                                                                         
  7. TO BAKE:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the rolls on a baking sheet.  Spray the top of each roll with cooking spray.  Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes then turn them over. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
  8. STOVETOP:  Add 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil to a non-stick pan, placed over medium-high heat.  Gently slide in the spring rolls, frying 4 to 6 at a time, turning occasionally until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place on wire rack to drain and cool.

What’s the difference between a spring roll and an egg roll, you ask?  From what I gather, spring rolls are loaded with vegetables (cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, sprouts), sometimes contain meat (pork), and wrapped in a thin flour skin that becomes delicately crispy when fried.  Egg rolls seem to appear in more westernized Chinese take-out joints and are fried in a thicker flour and egg wrapper.  They’re also larger than spring roll.

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