Classic Mediterranean Supper….with New England Ingredients

I came home from teaching today, weary from 2 1/4 hours of driving (construction and road repairs, plus several accidents), a long class, high pollen counts, and dreary weather.  Barbara had a Quilt Guild meeting tonight, so I was on my own for dinner.  Comfort food for me is classic Mediterranean, so I jumped right into it:

  • pan-roasted Padron and Shishito peppers, with Taggiasca olive oil
  • a slice of my whole wheat levain, warmed in hot olive oil from frying the peppers
  • roasted baby beets, sliced and topped with sautéed cashew mozzarella-style cheese and hot orange pepper purée
  • sautéed dandelion greens and arugula
  • several glasses of 2013 Argyros Asyrtiko white wine
  • Turkish black olives

And I feel very much better now.  I am sorry the pictures are limited, but I was too hungry and wanted to eat right away.  The beets were from Hungry Bear Farm in NH, roasted in a hot oven for about an hour; the dandelion greens were local and purchased in the Cambridge, MA, Whole Foods River Street market, and the peppers were from local farms, as well.

The Asyrtiko came from Santorini, via Winebow and Social Wines, where I went after class.  Eileen had arranged to order Argyros wines for me.  Unfortunately, the distributor sent the wrong Asyrtiko; Argyros makes three variations: (1) 100% stainless steel aging, (2) 20% oak barrels, 80 % stainless, and (3) all oak barrel aging.   I wanted the middle one, which I found to be the most balanced and delicious in my tasting in Santorini.  I took one for tonight of the simpler version, but sent the rest back to be replaced with the second variety.

The real surprise is the cashew mozzarella.  When compared to creamy, fresh mozzarella as a cold cheese, it is awful.  Amazingly, however, when broiled or sautéed, it turns rich and crispy and is sometimes better than real cheese.  When paired with beets and the red pepper purée, it was a real winner.

Here are the pictures after the fact:

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cashew-based mozzarella cheese

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