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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Whole Foods

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I was strolling through the Whole Foods market when this display wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano caught my eye. Oh yeah, the “on sale” sign too!

Right behind the Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is an enormous wall of cheeses from around the world, I mean that literally! There are cheeses from all over the world, and I’m planning on trying a few of them in the very near future.

 

The most amazing moment was watching the process of opening of an eighty pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel.

 

It turns out, this is a pretty big undertaking, and definitely takes some time to complete. Once that wheel is cracked open, it’s pretty awesome! I bought myself a couple of big wedges. When I returned home from the store, I placed one in the freezer and one in the frig. I think it’s going to be a pasta night!

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Perfect Scrambled Eggs

 

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scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives

 

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scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives

There’s a technique believe it or not to making Perfect Scrambled Eggs.

Years ago, Melissa and I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and ate breakfast at their famous, Boma-Flavors of Africa, Breakfast Buffet. They are known for their scrambled eggs so, of course, I tried them. They were the most amazing scrambled eggs I’d ever had. The eggs were fluffy, but cooked through, and filled with goat cheese and chives. That’s when I made the decision to practice making scrambled eggs at home.

Beating the eggs for a longer amount of time and then cooking them low and slow is key to making the perfect scrambled eggs. The longer they’re over the heat will determine how you want your eggs to be cooked. Soft and fluffy will take less time than compared to dryer more well done scrambled eggs. My video for this recipe is available on my YouTube channel. www.YouTube.com/Linda Lou Hamel

Prep Time: 5 minutes (whisking the eggs is included in this time)
Cook Time: approx 10 minutes.
Total Time: approx 15 minutes
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick sautèpan, large mixing bowl, whisk

Ingredients:
1 dozen large eggs (cage-free)
1/4 cup of half-and-half (substitute heavy cream or whole milk is fine)
1/4 cup of whipped cream cheese, room temperature (substitute 4-ounces of goat cheese, 4-ounces of feta, or 1/2 cup of any grated cheese you choose)
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper together. Whisk for at least 5 minutes, allowing as much air as possible to be incorporated into the eggs. You want to see foam bubbles forming at the top of the egg mixture.

Preheat a 12-inch sautépan on medium heat. Once the egg mixture is ready to go, turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue whisking the eggs allowing the temperature of the burner to adjust. Add the egg mixture to the pan. As the eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan, using a rubber spatula, forming large soft curds, continue cooking-pulling, lifting and folding the eggs, until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains.

Do Not rush this process, times may vary slightly, approx.10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat before folding in the cream cheese (goat cheese or feta) and fresh chives. Season with a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the eggs to a serving bowl. Best served hot!

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Rotisserie Chicken

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Rotisserie Chicken is a staple in my house. The meals you can pull together, in a pinch, are endless. I’m thinking a cool crisp salad with warm tender chicken on top, YUM! I find it’s a great way to clean out your frig.

In the frig, I’m seeing some seedless green grapes, strawberries, half a red onion, OH, and one of those bags of mixed greens. This is going to work out just perfect. Whenever I”m at the grocery store, I always make sure to bring home a pint of those sweet grape tomatoes. I think I’m obsessed with those babies.

Well,  I need a huge bowl so everyone can join the party. First, the greens, next to the fruit and tomatoes. Wait!, I need something crunchy. I walk to the pantry and what do you know, walnuts, perfect!  A quick chop and right into the bowl with those. Now I’m thinking cheese…,  back to the frig to grab some goat cheese. That soft, creamy, tangy, goodness crumbled all over the top will make this extra special. Now, for the Rotisserie chicken.  I’m adding some warm shredded chicken to the top of the salad. I believe I have a bag of croutons, somewhere,..found them!

A quick and simple lemon vinaigrette dressing to drizzle over the top, a glass of sweet tea and the TV remote. I’d say, this is the perfect ending to a busy day.

 

Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes- Lemon, Balsamic, And Cilantro Lime

 

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Greek Salad With Spanakopita

The Greek salad, also known as the Village salad, is made with no leafy greens or lettuce. Trust me when I say,  “You won’t miss the lettuce!” There are so many flavors, textures, and colors working together to make this salad a winner. It’s healthy, light,  and super satisfying.

While visiting Steve’s mom,  I’d asked her, “if you could go anywhere in the world for dinner, where would you like to go.” Her answer, “Greece!”

For the entree, I made Spanakopita. I bought a beautiful Ciabatta baguette.  I like to pile spoonfuls of the salad on top of slices of the baguette.  I could eat this “village salad” every day and never think twice!

For the dressing, a simple Greek vinaigrette. I made the vinaigrette and served it on the side. The reason for this is, the salad stays crisp and it allows all the ingredients to keep their integrity. If you have extra dressing, store the leftover a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

After the salads were plated, I used a tablespoon to drizzle the vinaigrette over them. The vinaigrette is super flavorful and ties the whole salad together.

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Yields: 12 Spanakopita (Dinner Size)
Equipment:  2 rimmed baking sheet pan
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Prep Time: 30 minutes (for filling)
Prep Time: 30 minutes (for assembling the Spanakopita)
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients For SPANAKOPITA
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
2- 10-ounce boxes of frozen spinach (thawed and all excess water removed)
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of grated fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 large eggs beaten
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces of goat cheese crumbled
7 ounces of feta cheese cubed
2 packages of Phyllo dough sheets (need 24 sheets)
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted melted butter
Seasoned Italian bread crumbs

Directions For SPANAKOPITA:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Thaw the frozen spinach getting as much of the water out as possible. Do this the night before. The picture above shows the spinach sitting in a strainer over a bowl, where the liquid slowly drips into the bowl. I leave the spinach out on the counter overnight because it’s frozen solid. The next day, remove the bowl discarding the liquid. Using my hands, wring out any remaining water from the spinach. If you were going to do this in the same day, I would defrost the spinach in the microwave, then let it cool enough where you could handle it, and squeeze the water out by hand. You could even place all the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out that way. The most important thing is to get as much of the water out of the spinach as possible. Place the dried thawed spinach in a large mixing bowl.

In a large dry sauté pan on medium-high heat, add sweet Italian sausage. Start breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, about 10-15 minutes, add the diced onion, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, freshly grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Continue cooking until the onions have softened, another 5-7 minute. Using a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the grease in the pan, transfer the sausage mixture into the bowl with the spinach. Let the sausage mixture cool completely before adding in the cheese and beaten eggs.

In another bowl, I beat the eggs, Kosher salt, and black pepper together. Add the beaten eggs to the sausage and spinach mixture. Next the cheese. I’m using a good Feta and Goat cheese for this recipe. Add the Goat cheese, grated Parmesan, and Feta cheese to the sausage and spinach mixture. Gently stir together, not to break up the cheese too much. So now the filling is done, on to the Phyllo dough.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lay the sheets out on a flat surface covered with a damp towel. Have the melted butter and breadcrumbs on stand-by.

Unfold 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. Brush the one sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process by laying a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs until 4 sheets are completed

Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 of the filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed as seen in the pictures above. Continue assembling until all the filling has been used.

Place them on a sheet pan, seam side down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until phyllo is golden and crisp. Serve hot.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: Large salad bowl, sharp chef’s knife, and cutting board

Ingredients For GREEK SALAD:
4 pints of grape tomatoes, 3 red, 1 yellow halved
1/2 large red onion sliced thinly in half moons
1/4 cup of whole pitted Kalamata olives then diced
2 hothouse seeded cucumbers ( English cucumbers) cut into half moons then cut half-moons in half
12 ounces of good feta cut into cubes

Ingredients For Greek Vinaigrette:
1- 8-ounce jelly jar with a tight-fitting lid
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
1 clove of grated garlic
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil ( E.V.O.O.)

Directions For Greek Salad:
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the list above. Add the cubed Feta cheese last. Toss gently.

Directions For Greek Vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Shake well before serving.

A good tip for the vinaigrette is (do not store dressing in the refrigerator), to keep the leftover dressing stored in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The vinaigrette will remain good for 2-3 days. Just remember to shake it well before adding it to the salad.

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