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A Night in the Mediterranean

An Easy Feast with Aegean Vibes.

It's summer—it's hot—but really, this meal is so good you'll eat it all year round.

Let's start with Hummus. There are seriously so many good versions of this classic right now that it might seem silly to make it from scratch, but it's so easy! So yes, we're including a recipe below.

Next up? Marinated chicken kabobs. We've used thighs, made rich with an overnight soak in yogurt, garlic, lemon and harissa. While we're on the subject of harissa, let's give a shout out to our friends at New York Shuk. Their Fiery Harissa Spice is what we've used in these recipes, along with some of their Za'atar. We love pretty much everything they offer—if you've never tried their Preserved Lemon Paste, grab yourself a piece of salmon, brush it liberally all over and quickly grill it. Yum!

A simple salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and parsley, dressed lightly with lemon and olive oil and a healthy dose of Za'atar lightens things up, and the grilled zucchini (with more of that Fiery Harissa and a squeeze of lemon) rounds out the plate.

Top it all off with a bit of Tzatziki sauce- a simple version made with yogurt, garlic, cucumbers, lemon and a bit more Harissa, and you'll think you've landed on the coast of the Aegean.

Speaking of olive oil, this chocolate olive oil cake is our spin on the delicious one from our friends at NYTCooking, which we've added coffee and a bit of spice to. Top it with a bit of whipped cream or some fresh fruit, and flip on the playlist here.

Our Favorite Hummus

For the Hummus:

    • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1 clove garlic 
    • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
    • 3/4 t. salt
    • 1/2 c. tahini paste
    • 2 T. ice water
    • 2 T. olive oil
    • 2 T. ice water 
 Preparation:
    1. Place the chickpeas in a saucepan with water and bring to a boil, boiling them for 15-20 minutes. This will soften them and make the skins easier to remove, which results in a smoother finished texture.
    2. With the food processor running, drop the cloves of garlic into the bowl to mince them fine, then add the olive oil, lemon, salt and tahini and continue to pulse, scraping the sides, until well combined. Add in ice water and process until pale and creamy. 
    3. Add the chickpeas and cumin, drizzling in the olive oil while the machine is running, and process until smooth and creamy.
    4. Taste and adjust salt and lemon, adding a little water if the dip seems too thick.
    5. Top with a slick of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, and serve with fresh veggies or pita bread wedges.

      Yogurt Marinated Harissa Chicken Kabobs

      For the Chicken:

        • 2 c. plain Greek yogurt
        • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
        • 2 T. Harissa spice blend
        • 2 T. Za'atar spice blend
        • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
        • 1 T. kosher salt 
        • 1 T. fresh cracked black pepper
        • 2 scallions, sliced thin
        • 1 C. parsley leaves, chopped well
        • salt & pepper to taste
        • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5" cubes
       Preparation:
          1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty Ziploc bag, or a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate, preferably overnight, but anything beyond an hour will work. 
          2. When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill (or the broiler), remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade), and wipe off excess.
          3. Prepare the skewers, trying to pierce each piece of chicken twice (this gives the best chance of the chicken actually staying on the skewer during cooking).
          4. Place on the hot grill and drop the flame to medium-low. Grill on each side for roughly 4-6 minutes per side, turning as each side begins to brown. In the broiler, turn frequently, every 3-4 minutes.
          5. When the chicken is done, remove it from the skewers if desired.
          6. Add the salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with lemon wedges and some Tzatziki sauce alongside, and a cucumber, tomato, parsley salad if desired.

        For the Tzatziki Sauce:

          • 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
          • 1 T. lemon juice
          • 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
          • 1/4 t. salt
          • 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
          • 1 T. chopped fresh dill
          • 1 T. chopped fresh mint
          • 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
          • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and grated on a box grater or chopped fine

         Preparation:

            1. Gather the cucumber in a paper towel or cheesecloth, and squeeze out the excess water. 
            2. In a medium bowl, combine the spices, salt and pepper, cucumber, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs, and stir to mix well.
            3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

        For the Cucumber, Tomato and Parsley Salad: 

          • 1 English cucumber, cut into 1" cubes
          • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
          • 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
          • 2 T. lemon juice
          • 3.5 T. extra virgin olive oil 
          • 1/2 t. salt
          • 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

        Preparation:

            1. In a medium bowl place tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. 
            2. In a small jar, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously and pour over salad, tossing to dress the vegetables well. 

         

        Spicy Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake 

        Olive Oil Cake:

          • 3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
          • 1 c .  sugar
          • 1 c. all-purpose flour
          • 1/2 c. espresso or strong brewed coffee
          • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
          • 2 t. vanilla (or 1 t. vanilla, 1 t. coffee liqueur)
          • 1/2 t. baking soda
          • 1/4 t. kosher salt
          • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
          • 1/2 t. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
          • 3 large eggs
          • 9" springform pan and parchment paper
         Preparation:
          1. Preheat oven to 325°. 
          2. Drizzle the bottom and sides of the cake pan with olive oil, using your fingers to coat it.
          3. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, smooth it to eliminate air bubbles and coat parchment with more oil.
          4. Generously sprinkle the pan with sugar and tilt to coat in an even layer, then tap out the excess.
          5. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the coffee to a simmer, then stir in cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne if using, and salt, stirring until well dissolved and smooth.
          6. Whisk the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps.
          7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, olive oil, eggs, vanilla (and/or coffee liqueur if using), and beat for three minutes until well combined. Add coffee and cocoa mixture and beat another minute to blend well.
          8. Gradually stir in flour and baking soda mixture until just incorporated.
          9. Fold batter several times with a large rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottoms and sides of the bowl, then pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with more sugar.
          10. Bake until almost cooked through, center is firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely.
          11. Serve with soft whipped cream, or fresh fruit and a sprinkle of confectioners sugar.

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