Mediterranean Night

I unquestionably suffer from a cookbook fettish. I love buying cookbooks, reading cookbooks, seeing cookbooks lying around my house, and, naturally, cooking from cookbooks. It is true, that I am quite fond of improvising and hoping my own creations come out acceptable, but flipping through recipes, well, is somehow quite satisfying.

Accordingly, when I saw the 40% off coupon for Borders in my inbox, I ventured over to downtown and came home with TWO new cookbooks: Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger.

I have to say, I am proud that we tried three new recipes from Ellie Krieger’s cookbook in one night. That is big time. I made the Tabbouleh and the tzatziki without any cries for help, but after I seasoned the shrimp, my dad led the grilling. I pestered him into letting me turn the skewers, take them off, test them…eventually he will have to pass on the responsibility.

The verdict? I had seconds, but the rest of my family was rather skeptical. My mom made my brother cous cous instead of the Tabbouleh, but found it exceptionally good. I even ate it for lunch the next day. Perhaps they just failed to appreciate the Mediterranean feast…


Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp
From: The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat a gill pan over medium-high heat or prepare a grill. Toss the shrimp with the oil, add the salt, pepper, and lemon zest and toss again. Grill until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side

Transfer the shrimp to a plate and drizzle with the lemon juice. Enjoy hot or at room temperature
Tabbouleh
From: The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger

1 cup bulgur wheat
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 2 cups)
½ cup diced red onion
2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the bulgur in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over it stir, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender. Drain any excess water from the bulgur. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, and mint.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and zest, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the bulgur mixture and toss well to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to a day stored in an airtight container. Serve chilled.

Lemon-Mint Tzatziki
From: The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt or ¾ cup plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt
½ large English cucumber, seeded
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If using regular yogurt, spoon it into a strainer lined with paper towels set over a bowl and let drain and thicken for 30 minutes. Coarsely grate the cucumber. Drain it well in another strainer, for a minute or two, pressing out the liquid.

In a medium bowl, stir together the drained or Greek-style yogurt, the grated cucumber, oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic and mint. Season with salt and pepper. This sauce will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator; stir well before serving.

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