Feta-Stuffed Sliders with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Makes 6 to 8 servings as main dish; 12 to 16 as an appetizer

Makes 6 to 8 servings as main dish; 12 to 16 as an appetizer

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup (5 ounces) plain, thick yogurt, preferably Greek-style
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), stirred until smooth
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Sliders:

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup grated onion
  • 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 11/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 11/2 pounds ground beef, 75 to 85 percent lean
  • 2 ounces feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground sumac for serving, optional (Sources, page 000)
  • 5 pita breads, cut into quarters for serving

Directions

Make the yogurt sauce by stirring together the yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and mint in a small serving bowl until well blended. Thin it with 1 tablespoon cool water to make 1 cup. Taste for lemon juice and salt and set it aside to let the flavors develop until ready to serve. (You can make this up to 1 day ahead and store it in the refrigerator overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.)

To make the sliders, bring a teakettle of water to a boil. Put the bulgur in a large mixing bowl and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it to swell and absorb all the water, about 15 minutes. Add the onion, cumin, salt, paprika, and cayenne to the bulgur and stir to combine. Break up the ground beef into the bowl and gently mix with a rubber spatula or your hands to blend it thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a baking sheet. Break the feta cheese into marble-sized pieces to have enough for each slider. Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to portion the ground beef mixture. Dampen your hands and shape the portions into balls, and use your thumb to press the feta into the center. Shape the balls into 3/4-inch patties about 21/2 inches wide and space them on the baking sheet. You’ll have 18 to 20 sliders.

Bake the patties until they are walnut brown, 15 to 17 minutes and remove them with a metal spatula (the bulgur tends to grab a little bit). Alternatively, pan-fry them in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat or grill them over a preheated medium-hot charcoal or gas grill for 3 to 31/2 minutes per side.

To serve the sliders, sandwich each one inside a pita triangle with a sprinkle of sumac and a spoonful of the reserved yogurt sauce.

Scotty's Honey Mustard Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Honey
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Gourmet Rice Vinegar
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Finely Chopped Garlic

Amounts all to taste!

Keep tasting as you make it to see how you like it.

Directions

In a bowl throw in a big blob of honey, depending on how many people are coming.
Combine the rice vinegar then the mustard and olive oil, then a good pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and a lot of the chopped garlic.
Mix with a whisk really well to break up the honey...
Then toss with your lettuce/salad.

Scotty's tips for a great salad

Always grate the radishes and the carrots.
Always seed the cucumbers and then slice very thinly!
Slice the sweet onion very thinly too!
It is important not to let just one flavor over-ride any of the others.

Steamed Vegetables Recipe

Adapted from the website “101 Cookbooks”

A sampling of seasonal vegetables flaky sea salt to finish: good olive oil, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, shallot oil, butter or cheese

Wash your vegetables well, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. You can leave peels on or not, according to your personal preference. 

Organize them according to needed cooking time. 

For example:

  • Slower-cooking vegetables are sweet potato, potato, winter squash, beets and carrots.  These usually cook through in about 10 minutes.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower cook through in 6-7 minutes.
  • Faster-cooking vegetables include asparagus, fava beans (inner pods), snap peas, and zucchini.  These cook through in just 3-4 minutes.

Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a skillet large enough to accommodate the diameter of your steamer. The water should not be so high that it makes contact with the vegetables when the steamer is placed in the skillet - do a quick test if needed, and remove some water if needed.

The goal here is to have your vegetables perfectly cooked and ready to serve just before you sit down. And, ideally, all of the vegetables finish cooking at the same time. Here's how you do it. Roughly ten minutes before you're ready to serve, place the slow-cooking vegetables over the simmering water, covered. Let them steam there until they're about 2/3 cooked, about 6-7 minutes. Test, and cut into any root vegetables toward the end to make sure they're going to be cooked through. Broccoli and cauliflower only need 3-4 minutes, so add those next . And the faster cooking vegetables, like snap peas and asparagus, just need a kiss of steam to brighten, barely a minute. Add those last. 

You'll have to make slight adjustments based on the sizes of your vegetables, but this is the general idea. Cook them until they're bright, just tender, and taste good to you.

Arrange the steamed vegetables and serve along with a drizzle of good oil - toasted sesame, shallot, olive oil, herb, etc. With a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

A few tips:

While steaming with water is most common,  try using miso broth, vegetable broth, vegetable dashi, or tea in place of water. Each imparts a different scent and flavor to the vegetables.

Arrange your slowest cooking vegetables in the bottom of the steamer, working up to the quickest. Another time saver is to get your densest, slowest cooking vegetables started in in the bottom tray, while you prep the quicker cooking vegetables for the mid and top baskets. Keep the lid on.

Pasta Ratatouille

This recipe used at the Market is from OSU Food Hero Website.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 cup swiss cheese, shredded

Directions

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté about 4 minutes.

Add bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant. Cook about 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and seasonings. Continue to cook another 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Serve over pasta.

Top with Swiss cheese.

Apple Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

Serves 4-6 as a starter salad

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, stemmed, washed well and dried (about 4 packed cups)

  • 1 Fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced; may substitute any sweet apple, strawberries, blueberries, what ever sweet fruit is in season

Dressing

  • ¼ cup finely diced raw bacon

  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Pinch red pepper flakes

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Placed the spinach and fruit in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress.

  2. In a small nonstick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until half done, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is barely tender and bacon is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.

  3. In a small bowel, whisk together mustard, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt and oil and then stir into pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over spinach and apples. Toss until salad is coated with dressing. Serve immediately.   

Merlyn’s Mystic Italian Dressing Makes 3 cups

The Italian Roast Rub is excellent on chicken and pork slow roasted to a succulent perfection.  But don’t stop there! This recipe will bring a lot of flavor to your everyday salads.

For a creamy version substitute sour cream and/or mayonnaise for the canola oil and olive oil.  If you want a lower fat version make another substitution and use nonfat yogurt for the sour cream. It makes a great vegetable dip, chip dip or even baked potato topper!!

Ingredients:

Fresh Garlic – 5 toes minced or crushed 

Merlyn’s Mystic Italian Roast Rub – ¼ cup

Red Wine Vinegar – ¼  Cup

Balsamic Vinegar – ¼ Cup

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 cup

Canola Oil – 1 cup

 
  1. Combine the garlic, roast rub and vinegars in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
  2. Whisk together and allow to sit for 5 minutes (if you have a wand blender I recommend using it instead of the whip)
  3. Combine the oils in a measuring cup.
  4. As you whisk the herb vinegars slowly add the oils. The slow addition of the oils to the vinegar will help the flavors blend even though they will separate after sitting.
  5. Store in a shaker jar or dressing carafe with a tight fitting lid to simplify service.

Although Merlyn’s Mystic Italian Roast Rub does  need to be refrigerated to keep the flavor at it’s peak for an extended length of time, removing the rub a few hours before it is to be used will allow the extra virgin olive oil to soften as it reaches room temperature and make it easier to work with.

Fresh Asparagus Salad

Try blanching or grilling some fresh asparagus then, while it is still hot, toss with a little of the dressing. Chill and serve as the salad course with Some fresh spring lettuce greens and/or your choice of a variety of toppings: Fresh strawberries, Fire roasted morel mushrooms, Roasted red peppers, Parmesan cheese, Fresh diced Heirloom Tomatoes,  Toasted spring garlic slices, Slices of fresh pear or Grilled fresh peach...the sky is the limit!

SPRING ROLLS

  • 1 package large dried rice wrappers (also called "rice paper")

  • 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, sliced or cut into bite-size pieces, and tossed in 2-3 Tbsp. fish sauce (OR substitute 1 cup cooked small or medium-sized shrimp - fresh, canned, or frozen, tossed in 2 Tbsp. soy sauce) - If Vegetarian, substitute baked tofu or flavored wheat gluten

  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)

  • 1 cup fresh sweet basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large

  • 1/2 large cucumber, sliced into matchstick-like pieces

  • 1 carrot, grated

  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts

Except for the rice rolls, place each of the above ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

Fill a large bowl half full of hot water (but not scalding, as you will have to dip your fingers in it). Place bowl and wrappers on a clean working surface, such as a cutting board.

Take out one of the rice wrappers and place it in the bowl of hot water. You may have to gently press the wrapper down into the water. The rice paper will soften in approximately 30 seconds.

When the wrapper is soft enough to eat (these rolls do not require cooking), remove from water and place on the clean working surface.

Working always horizontally, place slices of the chicken (or tofu/wheat gluten) toward the end of the wrapper. Now add some of the cucumber on top.

Now add a little carrot, fresh coriander, basil, and bean sprouts. Begin to roll by folding the bottom portion of rice paper over the ingredients. Continue by lifting the right side of the wrapper and folding it over the ingredients. To complete the roll, fold top side down, OR roll the spring roll forward until all the end of the rice paper. Try to keep your folding/rolling as tight as possible. The ingredients should appear at one end to create an "open" type of fresh roll. To secure the roll, simply dip your fingers in a little water and wet the end flap, then press to seal. Place upright in a bowl (like a bouquet), or on a platter. Serve with hoisin sauce and/or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (available at most large supermarkets in the Asian section, or in Asian/Chinese food stores). Or serve with my Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe). These fresh rolls pair well with a cold lager, or a glass of chilled white wine. ENJOY!

While most Western versions of peanut sauce are made with peanut butter, this Thai peanut sauce recipe starts with real peanuts - and you'll taste the difference! At the same time, it's super easy and quick to make. This peanut sauce can be used for a variety of purposes, from a dip for veggies to a sauce for chicken or beef satay. Or use it to make a yummy cold noodle salad. A very easy and delicious peanut sauce recipe!

PEANUT SAUCE

  • 1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce

  • 2 tsp. sesame oil

  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar

  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (If vegetarian, use vegetarian fish sauce or regular soy sauce)

  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste OR 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice

  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.

Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you'd prefer it sweeter, add more sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature as a dip with fresh veggies, with chicken or beef satay, fresh spring rolls, or other Asian finger foods. Or mix with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad. Enjoy!

Note: This sauce will thicken as it sits - just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator (keep up to 2 weeks, or freeze).