Fusilli e Arugula Pignoli

Contributed by Michelle Karam

Luscious grains. Vibrant fruits and vegetables. Smooth velvety cheeses. Deep rich Olive Oils.  Sensory overload? No, just 2297950the abundant cuisine of the Mediterranean.  Not only is this cuisine a feast for your eyes and seriously delicious, but it turns out after all it’s provides those that follow it with some of the highest life expectancies around the world.  This is a lifestyle and a diet that provides all of the pleasures but none of the guilt!

So what exactly are the regions that this cuisine hails from? Traditionally it’s from Greece, but as it’s popularity has emerged you’ll find recipes from parts of Italy, Spain, Portugal, southern France and even Turkey, Morocco and the Middle East.

The warm sun, the fragrant sea, the azure sky… a taste of the Mediterranean. These recipes are a little bit of all of that. Now that’s a lifestyle that I wanna live.

 Ingredients

½ cup pignoli (or pine nuts)

4 cloves garlic

1 bunch arugula

1/3 cup olive oil

Coarse sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound fusilli

Directions

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

 

In a skillet pan toast the pignoli nuts.  The nutty aroma from oils will begin to be released. Toast to a warm golden brown.

 

Then add pignoli nuts & garlic to the blender to form a paste.  Add the arugula and olive oil and pulse into the pignoli mixture.  The perfect texture you’re going to be looking for will be gritty and grainy, keeping the integrity of the pine nuts.

 

Add the fusilli to the water and cook until al dente.  Drain pasta and add Arugula Pignoli mixture and give it a stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

The simplicity of this dish is perfectly Mediterranean all the while keeping that balance of healthy, astonishingly easy and fresh.

Northridge, CA: Valley Greek Festival 2013

Happening all Memorial Day weekend, the Northridge Valley Greek Festival by St. Nicholas Orthodox Greek Church.  Click to see our album on Facebook.  Read more about the sights, sound and tastes of the festival.

Pistachio Baklava

Greek Easter Tradition: Koulourakia

Koulourakia (Greek: κουλουράκια, IPA: [kuluˈracia]) is a traditional Greek dessert, typically made at Easter to be eaten after Holy Saturday.

They are a butter-based pastry, traditionally hand-shaped, with egg glaze on top. They have a sweet delicate flavor with a hint of vanilla. Koulourakia are well known for their sprinkle of sesame seeds and distinctive ring shape. In fact, the word is the diminutive form for a ring-shaped loaf or lifebelt. These pastries are also often shaped like small snakes by the Minoans, as they worshiped the snake for its healing powers.

Now the pastries can be shaped into braided circles, hairpin twists, figure eights, twisted wreaths, horseshoes or Greek letters, although they are still often shaped into a snake style. They are commonly eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea. Like all pastries, they are normally kept in dry conditions in a jar with a lockable lid.- (Wikepedia)

About Baba Ghanoush

 Some parts of the Levant, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer; in Egypt it is mostly served as a side-dish or salad. It is made of aubergine with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables blended in. It is normally served with a dressing of oil and pomegranate concentrate. It is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed aubergine, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice and topped with olive oil. Cumin and chili powder can be added. A similar dish is known as mutabbal in the Levant. In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 minutes. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil.[3]

(In Photo: Syrian Style baba Ghanoush)

It is eaten in Turkey, where it is called patlıcan salatası (meaning “eggplant salad”). And, in Greece, it is called μελιτζανοσαλάταmelitzanosalata (meaning “eggplant salad”). An Israeli variation of the salad is made with mayonnaise.[4] There is also Bulgarian eggplant salad/spread, called Kiopolu Кьополу.

Indian Baingan Bartha is a dish similar to baba ghanoush. It is similarly prepared by grilling eggplant over open charcoal flame to impart a smoky flavor to the flesh. It is then cooked with an assortment of spices, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. It is commonly served with breads like Paratha, Roti, and Naan.

In West India, yogurt and chopped onion are added to roasted eggplant along with various seasonings. The dish, typically served as a side, is called Bharta.(Wikepedia)

Melina Kanakaredes of CSI: NY Shares Her Favorite Greek Food

Greek Celebs Share Their Favorite Greek Foods:

The lovely Melina Kanakaredes is very definite: her favorite Greek dish is Dolmathes me Kima – stuffed grape leaves with meat, topped with avgolemono sauce.  A fave of Olympia Dukakis is Grilled Octopus. It’s a classic image that comes to mind when many think of Greece: sitting under an umbrella by the seaside, with ouzo or wine and a plate of freshly grilled octopus. It’s delicious, and you can create the same atmosphere at home.

MelinaKanakaredesBlog

Credit about.com

For more info please visit: http://greekfood.about.com/od/discovergreekfood/tp/stars_picks.htm