Mediterranean Plate


I know this isn’t the best photography in the world, but its the only decent shot I was able to get of this appetizer plate that I threw together in about five minutes using things we already had in our fridge. And I think that’s the appeal of the whole thing. If you are having company over and you have a well-stocked refrigerator, this appetizer is quick and easy! I am also including a recipe for marinated artichoke hearts, which are tangy and delicious.

Here’s what I have on my plate:

  • Salami
  • Hummus
  • Crostini
  • Olives
  • Marinated artichokes (recipe follows)
  • Stuffed grape leaves [not pictured]
  • Prosciutto drizzled with balsamic glaze [not pictured]
  • Pan-fried haloumi (this is a really cool Greek cheese that you can brown on a nonstick pan without the cheese melting!) [not pictured]

There is no method to the arrangement – I just threw a bunch of things together on a plate. Next time, I think I will put the hummus in a separate bowl to make dipping easier. Don’t forget to include a small bowl for olive pits!

Click here to read the recipe for marinated artichoke hearts and for more suggestions to add to your own Mediterranean Appetizer Plate…


Braised Beef Mock Tenders in Red Wine Sauce

First order of business: please forgive this picture. I took it at night and I realize the lighting is horrible. This, believe it or not, is the best of the bunch. I deemed it “just barely shareable.”

Moving on, we saw some beef on sale at the grocery stores — mock tenders — and bought them because they were so cheap. Sale or not, this is generally a cheap cut of beef. I’d never heard of them before, but it turns out they go by a bunch of other names, like shoulder tender, chuck fillet, petite fillet, chuck clod tender, tender medallions, and beef medallions.  I like to think of them as baby steaks since they’re about 4″ across. They look like this:

And let me tell you, this cut is actually pretty tough if you don’t treat it right. It benefits from a long, slow cooking time and a wet cooking method like stewing or braising. I let it go for a little under 2 hours before it was tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

I am relieved that I didn’t accidentally set my kitchen on fire when I was making this dish. I had gotten everything simmering and and there was an hour of cooking time left when I needed to go pick Matt up from work. So I took a gamble; I set the gas stove on the lowest possible flame, I turned the exhaust fan up to the highest setting, and I ran out of the apartment quickly. I sped like a madwoman on the highway to and from his office and I made it back in record time. Thank god there was no billowing smoke or firetrucks parked outside when we got back. The tenders were happily simmering along as if nothing had happened. Whew! Crisis averted!

Read the recipe and the rest of the post here…