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Healthy Simple Lunch!


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Melitsanosalata, Heirloom Tomato Salad, Eggs, Roasted Peppers, Non-Dairy Cheese – Monterey Jack Flavour

Delicious, healthy lunch! Segragate in containers and take to work.

Melitsanosalata Recipe:

Roast an Eggplant by cutting in half lengthwise, placing cut side down on a cookie sheet or other flat pan, drizzle olive oil on top – enough to cover the top and have some dripping down the side. The amount of olive oil depends on the size of the eggplant. Spread the eggplant around as the cut side also needs olive oil. Shouldn’t be much left in the pan. Roast on middle rack in 350° oven until done. Should be easy to press down. Usually 30 – 45 minutes, depending on size of eggplant. Remove from oven, let cool. Don’t touch! Once cooled, remove skin by leaving the eggplant in the pan and peeling the skin off – carefully.

Place in bowl. With a sharp knife, cut lengthwise strips and then cut cross-wise. Using a fork with the knife, keep cutting cross-wise until eggplant is chopped up. (5 min.).

Add approximately 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. Tahini, 1 tbsp. or more, olive oil, 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice. Amounts depend on the flavour you would like to achieve and the size of the eggplant. Mix up well.

Add finely chopped – garlic, green onions, and parsley. Mix well and serve!

If you like, add roasted red peppers and/or tomatoes. In place of parsley add basil or cilantro.

Either salad can be made any way that suits you!

Heirloom Tomato Salad:

Tomatoes cut up how you like them
1/2 Ripe avocado cut up
Kalamata Olives – optional
Green onions diced small or red onion
Cilantro chopped up
1 small garlic clove finely chopped
Artichoke Hearts in a jar – chopped into small bite size pieces
Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Add cucumber, celery, basil, parsley, peppers, whatever your taste buds would like!

No salt necessary as the olives contain salt. Onions provide a bite and with the garlic an umami flavour!

Yes, there is garlic in both salads but there is also parsley and lemon juice and the acidity from the tomato. Don’t worry. If taking to work, you may have to rinse your mouth or drink mint tea.

Boil an egg – water in a pot, add egg, bring to boil for approximately 4 minutes and then turn off. Do not remove pot. Leave on stove for at least 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Remove the shell. Cut into four and sprinkle with black pepper and paprika. For lunches, I boil several eggs and keep the unused ones in the fridge with the shell on – no cracks! I remove the shell before going to work as removing the shell releases an odour that you don’t want in your office. If you are eating outside or in a airy lunch room, go ahead and peel the egg at the office.

Roasted red peppers – Confession … I now buy a jar (from Greece) at the Greek Store (Kalamata Grocery). I used to make roasted peppers all the time but it does take a lot of time.

Daiya Monterrey Jack Cheese is pretty good as a side cheese for lunch or a quick snack.

More lunch ideas coming up soon!

Melamakarona – Greek Christmas Cookies


My favourite cookies … I began making these cookies with my Yaya (Greek grandmother) and Mom when I was a little girl.  Although they are traditionally dairy-free, they are not gluten-free.  This year I am taking a leap of faith and making them with a gluten-free, cake & pastry flour … will post results – good or bad!  These cookies can be made up to two weeks in advance, stored in the refrigerator, in a tin, with wax/parchment paper between the layers.  This recipe makes lots of cookies – up to 6 dozen – and they disappear quickly, which is why I make two batches.  One batch two weeks before the 24th and one the week before!  If possible make these with a friend/family member … They do take a while to prepare and company always helps the time go by … 🙂

Melamacarona:
6 Cups Cake & Pastry Flour
1 Cup Crushed Walnuts (crushed to a flour consistency)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Grated Orange Rind
4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon (or more)
3/4 Tsp. Ground Clove (NO more)
Pinch of Salt … 1/8 Tsp. (or less)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

1 1/2 to 2 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Warm (Room Temperature) Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Brandy
3/4 Cup Sugar (Berry Sugar)

Mix “liquid” ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly begin adding dry ingredients until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Form cookies by rolling a small amount in your hand and shaping into a short, plump, sausage looking lump. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. When all the cookies are rolled, delicately pinch the ends and squeeze gently toward the middle of the cookie. Now you will have a somewhat diamond shaped cookie. With the fork tines gently flatten the tops of all the cookies – only the top, not the whole cookie. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350° oven.

Set out wax paper (or parchment paper) sheets on the table. Crush 1 to 2 cups of walnuts and sprinkle over the sheets of paper.

Consistency of crushed walnuts.

Consistency of crushed walnuts.

Syrup:

1 Cup of Fragrant Honey
1/2 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (my Canadian addition)
2 Tablespoons Brandy
1 1/2 Cups of Water
1 Whole Navel Orange, small one – sliced
1 Whole Lemon – sliced
4 Sticks of Cinnamon
10 Whole Cloves
4 Whole Nutmeg

Bring the liquids (including syrups), to a boil and immediately remove from heat.  Add in the orange/lemon slices and whole spices.  Cover and simmer on low heat for at least 1/2 an hour and no more than 1 hour.  Must be quite warm for cookie dipping!  When cookies are ready to be dipped, with a slotted spoon remove the fruits & whole spices.

Walnuts:

Crush 1 1/2 cups of Fresh Walnuts in a food processor.  Sprinkle liberally over several sheets of wax paper.  I spread the wax paper, overlapping each piece, over a 4 x 4 foot (1.1 x 1.1 metre), square section of my kitchen table.

Once cookies are removed from the oven and have cooled for 2 – 3 minutes, dip them in the syrup ,

Simmering syrup - remove oranges, lemons & whole spices before dipping cookies!

Simmering syrup – remove oranges, lemons & whole spices before dipping cookies!

roll them over, remove and place on walnut covered sheets of wax paper. Sprinkle more crushed walnuts over all. When cooled arrange on a serving dish with more crushed walnuts under and atop the cookies (use the walnuts left on the wax paper).  Save remaining walnuts and syrup (in separate containers) to use on other desserts – Apple Crisp, Honey Cake, Walnut Cake or as a topping for Sweet Potato Pie!

Melamacarona!

Melamacarona!

That’s it … Enjoy!

ps. after all this work, when clean up is done … have a brandy with tea and a cookie. You deserve it! 🙂

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