501 Life Magazine | 'A Taste of the Mediterranean'
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'A Taste of the Mediterranean'

Mediterranean-style cooking techniques and recipes that were not only tasty, but also healthy, too, were recently presented to members of the Conway Regional Women’s Council.

The program — titled “Cooking for Health: A Taste of the Mediterranean” — featured an interactive cooking demonstration by Cooperative Extension agents Melanie Malone, Family and Consumer Science/Faulkner County, and Regina Chaney, Family and Consumer Science/Van Buren Country.

Throughout their demonstration, they provided background information on the recipes as well as helpful tips and techniques. They also enlisted the help of council members in preparing the dishes, which class participants were able to sample.

Kellie Dye, a registered dietitian and wellness coordinator at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, provided useful information on eating healthy. She is also a regular 501 LIFE contributor.

Program sponsor US Compounding provided information on its products and services.

Participants were treated to light refreshments with a Mediterranean flair. Door prizes were also given away.

The class was held at the Faulkner County Natural Resource Center.

The women’s council hosts a variety of events throughout the year that are free to members. A self-defense class is planned in September. For more information on the council and upcoming events, visit conwayregional.org/WomensCouncil, call 501.513.5771 or email foundation@conwayregional.org.

Class members were also given several handouts, including copies of the recipes that were demonstrated during the program.

Among the recipes:

 

Turkey Scaloppini with Capers and Lemon

 

8 turkey breasts (cut into 1/8-inch rounds, 3 oz)

Salt, to taste

White pepper, to taste

Flour for dredging, as needed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons capers

Gently pound each turkey slice with a meat mallet. Season with salt and white pepper and dredge in flour. Sauté the turkey in the olive oil until golden brown. Remove and hold in a warm place. Deglaze the pan with the wine; then add the lemon juice and capers. Return the turkey to the pan to coat with the sauce and reheat. Serve two slices with a portion of the sauce. Makes 4 servings.

 

Baklava

 

3 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 pound package phyllo sheets, thawed

1 1/2 cups light, unsalted butter, melted

Syrup:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup honey

1/4 lemon, peel only

1 clove

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the walnuts, sugar and spices and set aside. As you work, keep the sheets of phyllo covered with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. Place one sheet of phyllo on the bottom of a jelly roll pan (12-by-16-inch). Brush the dough lightly with melted butter. Repeat this process until there are eight sheets of phyllo in the pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture onto the phyllo sheets. Place four more sheets of phyllo on top of the nuts, brushing melted butter between each sheet. Place another 1/3 of the nut mixture on the dough. Layer the remaining sheets of phyllo on top of the nuts, brushing melted butter in between each sheet. Brush the top sheet with butter as well. Cut the pastry into 2-inch squares, making sure not to slice through the bottom layer of phyllo dough. Leaving the bottom layer uncut will allow the syrup to soak in more efficiently. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top layer of the phyllo takes on a light golden brown color. While the dough bakes, prepare the syrup. Combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove the clove and lemon peel. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately pour hot syrup over the baklava. Before serving allow the baklava to stand at room temperature until cooled. Slice through the bottom layer of phyllo dough and serve. Makes 48 (2-by-2-inch) pieces.

 

Roasted Summer Vegetables

 

1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise then cut into 1/2-inch

slices

2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick

4 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks

1 large onion, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced

2 artichokes, quartered, trimmed and par-boiled (optional)

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of water or stock

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tablespoons of ground cumin

3 tablespoons of dried oregano

Black pepper to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste

Salt to taste

1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in a large heavy, shallow baking pan; toss together and bake until tender (about 1 hour), shaking pan occasiona
lly. Resist the temptation to stir the vegetables, as they will turn to mush.

Let them caramelize for the best results. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature with marinated roasted red peppers, a big slice of feta or manouri cheese and a slice of rustic bread. Makes 4-6 servings.