All Posts By: NANCY DeLUCIA REAL

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Toasted Sesame Hummus

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods On July 28, 2020 0 Comments

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 3 cups
Serves: 6 to 8 (leftovers can be refrigerated for up to a week)

Tired of the same old hummus? This recipe is made with toasted sesame oil.

Watch everyone’s expression as they take their first bite!

Ingredients:

One 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons Tahini paste
3 tablespoons plain, Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Serrano chile, stem discarded
2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lime
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh sprigs of your favorite herbs (for garnish)

Directions:
1. Place garbanzo beans, Tahini paste, yogurt, garlic, chile, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and olive oil in a food processor.

2. Process the ingredients until they are uniform.

3. Add the lime juice and salt; process and taste.

4. If needed, adjust seasonings and add 1 more tablespoon sesame oil. Process once more.

5. Transfer the hummus to a bowl and garnish with herbs.

6. Serve hummus with corn tostadas, corn chips or your favorite crackers, toasted bread slices, etc.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Summer Cactus Salad – Truly Vegan (no processed ingredients added)

In Salads, Sides On July 2, 2020 0 Comments

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In Mexico, cactus leaves (nopales) are usually combined with ingredients such as tomatoes, chiles & onions. This results in refreshing salads that act as a side dish to meat, poultry and fish.

Nopales (cactus) leaves can be purchased in Latin American supermarkets or grocery stores. Here is our exquisite take on this traditional dish –  Summer Cactus Salad.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 cactus (nopales) leaves (found in Latin American grocery stores or supermarkets)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 of a Serrano Chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped, fresh mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:
1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cactus (nopales) leaves into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Transfer the chopped cactus to a colander set over a bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the chopped red onion, red bell pepper, Serrano chile and mint in a mixing bowl.

4. Rinse the chopped cactus under cold water and drain.

5. Working in batches, transfer about 1/4 of the chopped cactus to double paper towels set on cutting board.

6. Take paper towels and pat dry (cactus will stick to the paper towels).

7. Release the dried cactus  from paper towels and add it to other ingredients in bowl. Repeat with remaining cactus.

8. Add olive oil and lime to salad ingredients and toss. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

9. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours ahead.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Zucchini Chips

In Fun Foods, Vegetables On June 1, 2020 0 Comments

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These zucchini chips are fun to make and fun to snack on! Just slice them and air dry overnight. Broil them in oven and you’re done. They’ll disappear in seconds!

Prep time: 5 minutes for cutting & overnight drying
Broil time: 6 to 7 minutes per side
Makes: 30 to 40 chips

Ingredients:
One 18 X 12-inch baking sheet (you can use a larger one for more zucchini)
parchment paper (to line baking sheet)
3 to 4 zucchini
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt, for lightly sprinkling zucchini

Directions:
1. Line an 18 X 12-inch (or larger) baking sheet

2. On a cutting board, cut and discard zucchini tips.

3. Cut remaining zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices.

4. Place the zucchini rings on parchment-lined baking sheet, lightly sprinkle with salt & let air dry 8 hours or overnight.

5. Line another 18 X 12-inch (or larger) baking sheet and “lightly” oil it with a basting brush.

6. Transfer the zucchini rings (salt side up) to second baking sheet.

7. Turn on the oven “broiler” – this is the overhead element that turns red for broiling or grilling in oven.

8. Transfer the baking sheet with zucchini rings to oven rack positioned 6 inches away from oven broiler element.

9. Broil zucchini rings 6 to 7 minutes per side or until they turn golden brown and crisp but not charred.

10. Transfer the zucchini chips to a platter and serve as a snack or as a side dish.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

Brown Rice Confetti Salad

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Salads On May 5, 2020 1 Comment

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This salad is delicious as a side or as a buffet dish for any celebration. Make it for Mother’s Day – they’ll love it!

Prep time: 15 minutes (to assemble ingredients)
Makes: 3 to 4 cups

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups cooked, brown rice
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled & finely shredded
2/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup chopped, fresh chives
5 to 6 fresh mint leaves, slivered
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
Dash cumin

Directions:
1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. If rice has excess liquid after cooking, drain and discard the liquid.

3. Transfer the rice to a 4-quart glass or porcelain bowl & stir in the olive oil.

4. Let rice cool to room temperature.

5. When rice is at room temperature, stir in remaining ingredients; toss, taste & adjust seasonings.

6. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap & serve later in the day.

7. Brown Rice Confetti Salad can be made early in the morning. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Marinated Eggplant

In Appetizers / Starters, Vegetables On April 29, 2020 0 Comments

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I learned the art of making marinated eggplant from my dear friend, Michelina Codipietro, from Isernia in the Southern region of Molise, Italy. Michelina took away my fears, saying that it was quite easy. This eggplant indeed marinates for 48 hours (it makes itself) and labor is minimal.

A great project for our current “lockdown” and a guarantee that you’ll never buy the readymade version again.

Prep time: 25-3o minutes (peeling & cutting eggplant)
Marinating time: 48 hours
Makes: 2 pint-size mason jars (each pint = 2 cups)

Ingredients:
3 large eggplants, peeled
2 tablespoons salt
4 quarts cold water (16 cups total)
1 quart distilled vinegar (4 cups total)
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cups organic sunflower or safflower oil (for marinating)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed red chili flakes
One 6 to 8-quart saucepot with cover (for marinating eggplant)

Directions for Marinating Eggplant:
1. Working crosswise, cut eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices.

2. Mound 3 slices eggplant on top of each other; cut them into 3/8-inch thick strips.

3. Transfer strips to saucepot, sprinkle with a light layer of salt.

4. Repeat with remaining eggplants, transferring the strips to saucepot & sprinkling with salt, as you go along.

5. When all eggplant strips have been transferred to saucepot, pour the water, vinegar and juice from 1 lemon over the eggplant.

6. Cover saucespot with eggplant, set on a counter and let marinate for 48 hours (2 days).

Directions for Draining & Canning Eggplant:
1. After 48 hours (2 days), working over a sink & wearing cooks’ plastic gloves, grab a handful of eggplant strips and squeeze & drain the liquid completely.

2. Transfer drained eggplant to a 12-cup glass or porcelain bowl.

3. Repeat squeezing & draining remaining eggplant, one handful at a time; transfer to bowl.

4. When all eggplant strips have been drained and set in bowl, add about 1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil, dried, crushed chili flakes (to taste) and mix.

5. Taste the eggplant and adjust seasonings, to taste.

6. Divide the eggplant strips between two pint-size mason jars.

7. Cover with the oil.

8. Make sure you pack down the eggplant, so as not to leave air bubbles.

9. Add more oil until it rises 1/2-inch above top of eggplant.

10. Cover and seal with lids.

Storing Marinated Eggplant:
1. Place the two mason jars of eggplant in refrigerator.

2. Every time you scoop out some eggplant and serve, make sure remaining eggplant in jar is topped with safflower or sunflower oil 1/2 inch above top of eggplant. Seal and refrigerate once more.

3. Eggplant can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 months (always covered with oil).
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real