Friday, October 30, 2009

Greek Stuffed Peppers with Orzo, Roasted Caponata and Baklava "Purses"

Since I admit to being the junkie I am, I sat and watched the Food Network most of the day(in the background, while I was working, Jess).  Just looking for inspiration, while I wound up watching my "kitchen porn" buddy Giada.  Giada, I mean this in the most complimentary way of course, but seriously, the cleavage Honey.  Anyway, I found her stuffed peppers and Caponata and the baklava.  I do not claim to be better than her by any means (but my cleavage is not bad for 45), I simply am not capable of following a recipe, and I know what I and my family like.  One of my other downfalls is I ALWAYS cook too much.  I will hightlight my changes so you can see what I've done and notes about changes I made.  So my sweet neighbors are having dinner delivered to them tonight.  Here's what's for Dinner Tonight, Sonya! 

Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers

1 (28 oz) can Fire Roasted Italian tomatoes, drained
2 Zucchini, grated
1/2 C Percorino Romano, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly gound black pepper
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp dried oregano
4 C chicken stock (I'm not a huge fan of broth)
1 1/2 C tri-colored orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow & orange)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Break up tomatoes in a large bowl.  Add zucchini, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano.  Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes.  Orzo should only be partially cooked.  Using a fine mesh sieve, transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Spray your baking dish with our buddy Pamela and transfer the warm chicken broth to the baking dish.

Slice the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs.  If necessary, cut a thin clice off the bottom so peppers will sit upright.

Fill the peppers with the orzo mixture and place side by side in baking dish.  Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for  45 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle the tops of the peppers with the remaining cheese and continue baking for about 15 minutes until the cheese is golden.
Enjoy, serves 6.

Roasted Caponata

1 (14 oz) can diced Fire Roasted tomatoes with juice
2 Zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds
2 Summer Squash, cut into 1-inch rounds
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise, and cut into1-inch, half moons
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 Youkon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Grey salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
4 to 6 slices sourdough bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted on grill

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour canned tomatoes into 3 1/2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with our buddy Pamela and spread to cover the bottom.  In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients except the bread.  Toss to coat.  Pour the vegetables over the canned tomatoes in an even layer.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake until the edges of the vegetables are golden, for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Serve alone as a side, or over toasted sourdough bread.  Served over bread, it can be a great vegetarian main course.  Enjoy, Serves 6 to 8.

Baklava "Purses"

1/2 C almonds, toasted
1/2 C walnuts, toasted
1/4 C chopped dried apricots
1/4 C plain bread crumbs
2 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, divided
3 Tbls honey
12 sheets phyllo dough

Special equipment: 2 mini-muffin tins + I used a small tamper (my finger doesn't fit so well in that tiny tin)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the almonds, walnuts, apricots, bread crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt in your awesome, probably Cuisinart Food Processor (I had to use my crappy one).  Run machine until the mixture is very finely chopped.  It smells amazing! Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, add 2 Tbls of the melted butter and all of the honey, stir to combine. 

On a dry work surface place 1 sheet of phyllo (keep the rest covered so it doesn't dry out).  Brush lightly with melted butter.  Cover the first sheet with the second, repeating the process until you have used 6 of the sheets.  Cut the stacked phyllo rectangle into 12 equal pieces (cut lengthwise into 3 pieces and widthwise into 4 pieces).
Gently press each piece into the mini-muffin tin cups. Press 1 Tbls of the nut mixture into each of the phyllo cups.  Gather ends and twist to make a purse.  Continue with the rest and begin with the second set for your second muffin tin.  Bake until the edges are golden for about 20 to 25 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, remove from tins and transfer to a serving plate.  Do not leave unattended or your husband will a mysterious tummy ache.  Makes 24 "purses"

Print this Recipe


  1. Leslie, these both look delicious. The purses are really unique in the blogging world. I'll have to give them a try.

  2. Leslie, Congratulations on your daughter getting hitched! What an exciting time for you and your family!

  3. ooooh...lots of lovely food here. A friend made stuffed pappers for me once & it was really delicious. Looks very impressive too. Love the wrapped baklava too

  4. I love baklava. I've just never seen them before in this style.


I'm so glad you stopped by and I can't wait to read your comments. I will stop by your blog shortly!