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Halloumi with Cured Olives and Thyme

Halloumi with Cured Olives and Thyme

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Halloumi has a firm, squeaky texture and high melting point and tastes like a mild feta cheese. If you can’t find it, look for queso blanco, “grilling cheese,” or bread cheese instead.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more
  • 1 8.8-ounce package Halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat a medium skillet, preferably cast iron or nonstick, over medium. Add 1 Tbsp. oil and swirl to coat pan. Add Halloumi and cook undisturbed until cheese is deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a thin flexible spatula, release cheese from skillet and toss. Cook, tossing occasionally, until a few more sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes (don’t worry about getting all sides browned).

  • Remove skillet from heat and toss in thyme and red pepper flakes. Divide Halloumi mixture and olives among small plates and drizzle with more oil.

Recipe by Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo, Animal and Jon & Vinny's, Los Angeles, CA,

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 230 Fat (g) 21 Saturated Fat (g) 8 Cholesterol (mg) 25 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 0 Protein (g) 7 Sodium (mg) 390Reviews Section

Tag Archives: Emirati recipe

Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan is going on in the UAE, during this month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and when the sun sets they break the fast. It is also time to be more grateful and patience, time for charity. Many families and friends get together to break their daytime fast, that evening meal is called iftar. The meal most often starts with a date and a glass of water then usually soup or salad is served, numerous appetizers (mezze), which includes olives, hummus, and of course cheeses.

My go-to dressing is a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and I think it’s important to buy a high-quality version of it. This often means spending a few extra dollars to get that signature Mediterranean taste.

I typically dispense my olive oil into a glass container and season it with a few sprigs of sage.

It pairs well with salad and for a simple appetizer, you can slice sourdough bread and top it with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper.

Cheesy Recipe Ideas:

Marinated Seared Halloumi Bites


  • Halloumi 35.25 oz (4 each)
  • Lemon Juice 3 oz
  • Olive Oil 2 oz
  • Garlic, peeled, rough chopped .2 oz (1 clove)
  • Mint, rough chopped .2 oz
  • Basil, rough chopped .2 oz
  • Black Pepper, ground .025 oz

1. Combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, basil and black pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.

2. Drain the liquid from the packages of halloumi.

3. Slice each piece of halloumi in half (width-wise), then cut each slice in half into 2 triangles.

4. Mix the halloumi with the marinade mixture, making sure to coat each piece well.

5. Wrap and place in the refrigerator, labeled and dated.

6. Marinate the halloumi cheese overnight (keeping in cold holding under 40F).

7. Remove the cheese from the marinade.

8. Heat a medium non-stick sauce pan over medium-high heat (a flat top can also be used). Once heated, pour approx. 1 oz of canola oil in the pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray.

9. Pat dry each piece of halloumi cheese before placing it in the pan. Place the halloumi in the heated pan.

10. To prevent the cheese from sticking, move the pan around intermittently.

11. Once the cheese is golden brown on one side, flip to sear on the other side.

12. Remove the cheese from the pan once it’s seared and golden brown on both sides.. Place in the refrigerator on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper until cooled below 40F.

13. Garnish with sprigs of mint and basil and serve.

Baked Apple Brie with Caramelized Onions, and Bacon


  • One 14 Ounce Round Brie or 2 or 3 Small Whole Brie
  • 3 Delicious Apples
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans
  • 1/2 Stick Butter Plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 4 Slices Cooked Bacon, Crumbled
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom
  • 1 French Bread Baguette, Sliced
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter, Melted, for the Crostini

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a saute pan. Add the cardamom. Slice apples into thin slices and saute until the apples caramelize, around 10 minutes. Remove apples from the pan and set aside.

2. Add the remaining butter and melt it. Turn off the heat and add the brown sugar, toasted pecans and crumbled bacon.

3. Place the brie(s) on an ovenproof serving platter. Pour the butter/brown sugar mixture over the top of the brie. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and top with the caramelized apples.

4. Serve with French bread crostini

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Place sliced French bread on a large cookie sheet. Brush each piece with melted butter.

2. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove and store in a zip lock bag. May be made the day before serving.

Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

Serves: 6-8, Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 Pound of penne pasta
  • 1/4 Pound of imported Parma Ham, sliced 1/4 inch thick (The Balducci’s Deli associate will be happy to do this for you.)
  • 1 Teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Sticks sweet butter
  • 1 Cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Quart milk (whole milk preferred, but you can substitute with a 2% fat milk), heated
  • 1 Cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 Cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1-2 Teaspoon Drops of Truffles Truffle oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil add in 4 tbs of salt. Cook Penne pasta al dente following manufacturer’s instructions. Drain in a colander and refresh cooked pasta with cold water. Drain well.

2. Cut the 1/4 inch thick sliced Parma ham into 1/4 inch dice.

3. Heat a 1 quart sauce pan with vegetable oil and add in diced Parma ham, sauté slowly over medium heat until you have rendered the Parma ham fat out, remove caramelized dice Parma ham with a slotted spoon and reserve for later.

4. Add 1 stick of butter to the Parma ham fat and when melted stir in Panko breadcrumbs, mix well to incorporate all flavors. Set aside for later.

5. In a 1 gallon sauce pan add in remaining butter and melt add in flour to form a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the roux start to turn a light golden brown color.

6. Slowly whisk in the heated milk and continue whisking for 10 minutes until a smooth sauce is formed and all of the flour taste is gone.

7. Lower the heat to low and start whisking in the shredded cheeses a little at a time to form a cheese sauce. Add in thyme and 1 tsp of Truffle oil (feel free to add more Truffle oil in to get to your taste preference). Add in cooked Parma ham and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

8. Fold in the cooked penne and mix gently to incorporate all ingredients.

9. Grease a 9 inch x13 inch oven safe dish with cooking spray, add prepared Penne pasta into dish and top with prepared Japanese breadcrumbs.

10. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. To finish the dish drizzle the breadcrumb topping with a little more Truffle oil.

This roasted feta with grapes and olives is a salty, tangy powerhouse of an appetizer — with zero effort

This holiday season, you could fashion a cheese plate with a curated selection of pricey items you deliberated long and hard on. Or you could take the safer but no less dazzling route: Grab an everyday cheese you know you like and transform it into a stand-alone centerpiece. With a few drizzles of olive oil, some aromatics, and a sweet and a savory companion, feta is just the cheese to morph into a sultry, molten appetizer.

This roasted feta with grapes and olives is an oven-to-table affair: In the pan it’s baked in, lop up a jagged piece of feta, crisp on top and silky-warm inside a juicy grape and a meaty olive, all draped in a spiced oil. You could embellish further with nuts or honey or lemon zest, or dig in just as it is, friends hovering nearby for their turn. Even better yet, it’s amenable to your whims and pantry. If you don’t like feta, there are options for you.

Feta, a bright, sharp cheese, has acidity that makes it resist melting. When it hits high heat, whether pan-fried, grilled or roasted, it will mostly maintain its shape, but the outsides will blister to a crisp while the insides slump. Similarly, you could use halloumi, manouri, sliced wheels of goat cheese or even dollops of ricotta. But feta needs friends. It’s salty.

Taking inspiration from that festooned cheese board you no longer have to make, we add briny olives and grapes to roast alongside the feta. When roasted, grapes go from sweet to candylike, their outsides caramelize, and their insides turn jammy. Swap in cherries, tomatoes, plums, apricots or pears as you wish — any fruit that will emit juices into the baking dish. The brininess and intense punch of Kalamata olives are a good contrast to the grapes (and we know from Greek salad that feta and olives get along). If you don’t like olives, use capers, shallot wedges, radish halves, chopped preserved lemon or even cubes of dry-cured chorizo — something aggressively flavored to shake up the bite. The bonus to Kalamata olives, though, is that they kind of look like grapes, so you’re never really sure what’s in each bite. Surprise!

The last part of this choose-your-own-adventure warm cheese snack is the aromatics, which help bridge the sweet and salty bookends. Fennel seeds and red pepper flakes infuse the oil with sweet heat, though you could throw in or swap in a hard-stem herb like bay, rosemary, or thyme, or another spice: coriander, cumin or caraway. They all toast in the oven while gently flavoring the oil. Plus, using crushed whole spices adds a little crunch here and there.

While the recipe’s written for just one block of cheese, enough for a small dinner party, it’s easily scaled up: Just find a dish that fits all the ingredients snugly and toss them together. The dish can be assembled ahead and then roasted alongside whatever else is in your oven. If the oven is a little hotter or cooler than the suggested 425 degrees, the elements will still heat up into a great treat. (Just watch to make sure nothing’s burning, and if it is, cover with foil until all the elements are warmed, or move it further from the heat source.) Could you broil it? Yes. Grill it? You bet! With the appetizer handled, you can think about other things, like what’s for dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) seedless red grapes
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) pitted and halved Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 ounces feta cheese (in a block)
  • Good, crusty bread slices, for serving

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle. Oil a small, ovenproof casserole dish or cast-iron pan. Add the grapes, olives, 1 tablespoon olive oil, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and a few grinds of black pepper, and stir to combine.

Step 2

Break the block of feta into four irregular pieces, then nestle them among the grapes and olives. Drizzle with more olive oil, then bake, 20 to 25 minutes, until the grapes are softened and the feta is browned in spots.

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Kalamatiani putanesca (cured pork over greek pasta)

¼ cup Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped green onions
1 small eggplant, diced
¼cup Santorini Capers drained
¼cup Kalamata Olives PDO, pitted
3 ½oz sfela cheese, cubed
10 Organic Mint leaves finely sliced
Sea salt marinated with herbs
pepper to taste
3 1/3tablespoons Kalamata Balsamic Vinegar “Kalamata Papadimitriou”
3 tablespoons tomato paste

For garnish


Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta and cook until al dente

In a large saucepan over medium high heat saute the red and green onions and eggplant in olive oil until tender, approximately 7-9 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and 2-3 ladles of pasta water and let simmer until done. Add additional pasta water if needed.

Place cheese on oven proof plate, drizzle with olive oil and place in oven for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Drain pasta and add to sauce to coat. Add olives, chopped mint and capers, Add the olives and mint leaves to the sauce and stir well…season with salt and pepper.

Serve in deep bowl, garnish with the sfela cheese, mint leaves and a few drops of olive oil.


Halloumi cheese may be substituted if sfela cheese is not available in your area.


To make the cheese, courgette, and honey pie, grease a 25x25cm/10x10in baking dish with butter.

Combine the feta, kasseri (or gruyère if using), halloumi and courgettes in a large mixing bowl. In another small bowl, whisk one of the eggs with a pinch of white pepper and the thyme leaves and add this to the cheese mixture, mixing well.

Tease the kataifi pastry apart and lay half of it in the greased baking dish, easing it up the sides a little. Fill with the cheese mixture. Drape the rest of the kataifi pastry over the top, then whisk the remaining egg with the cream and milk and then pour this evenly over the entire pie. Leave to one side for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Scatter the walnuts over the top of the pie, drizzle everything with olive oil, then put the baking dish directly on the bottom of the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown.

Drizzle over the honey, then return to the oven for 10–15 minutes, or until dark golden-brown. Leave the pie in the tray for 10 minutes before serving.

To make the tomato, rusk and olive salad, combine the red onion and red wine vinegar in a large mixing bowl and leave to soften for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, olives and rusks (or crispbreads) to the bowl, then add the capers, basil, parsley and extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter over the dried oregano and serve with slices of the pie.

Total Translucency

I’m not big on two of the most popular dairy products: milk and ice cream. And no, it’s not a lactose intolerance issue. Oddly enough I do like cottage cheese, an occasional yogurt and sour cream/dips. But my biggest indulgence has always been cheese. I love it for a light snack or enhancement.

For a while I had virtually eliminated cow’s milk totally from my diet during which time I heavily explored other cheese alternatives and was able to obtain favorable substitutes.

It was also during this time that I branched out and tried other animal sources (sheep, goat) for milk and find them preferable in a lot of recipes. I watch a lot of cooking shows and attend a lot of demos, etc. and recently I tried a new cheese which I will be definitely adding to my favorites: HALLOUMI.

Halloumi is a semi-soft to hard, white cheese made either from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk or combination of the two and has a slight saltiness to it from being brine-cured. It’s mainly prevalent in Greece and Middle Eastern cuisine.

What I found most interesting about this cheese was that due to its higher-than-average melting point it is great for frying and grilling. Halloumi browns nicely and completely without any oil.

In talking with the server, the addition of any cooking oil actually breaks down the cheese and causes it to separate a bit. I suppose if that’s what you wanted to do to infuse some flavor that you could try it out to see what happens. However, as an appetizer, I think it’s a definite winner.

Of course, I took to my favorite cooking websites and found many recipes to use but here are a couple of recipes that I think would be great to try during the summer months:

Marinated Halloumi Cheese Kabobs with Herbs

Halloumi, a cheese from Cyprus that’s made primarily from goat’s and sheep’s milk, is similar to fresh mozzarella. Serve this appetizer with oven-roasted potatoes and garlic with rosemary, if you like.


12 ounces (350 g) halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1 medium pepper (any color)
1 medium red onion
4 medium cap mushrooms

1 level teaspoon each of chopped fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and parsley (or similar combination of whatever herbs are available)
1 fat clove garlic
1/4 cup (55 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lime
Freshly milled black pepper

You will also need two 12-inch (30 cm) flat metal skewers.

Begin by cutting pepper and onion into even-sized pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) square, to match the size of cubes of cheese. Then chop herbs and garlic quite finely and combine them with the oil, lime juice and some freshly milled pepper. Now place cheese, onion, pepper and mushrooms in a large, roomy, non-metallic bowl and pour marinade over them, mixing very thoroughly. Cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours, and try to give them a stir round every now and then.

When you’re ready to barbecue kabobs, try the two skewers and thread a mushroom on first (pushing it right down) followed by a piece of onion, a piece of pepper and a cube of cheese. Repeat this with more onion, pepper and cheese, finishing with a mushroom at the end. Place the kabobs over the hot coals, turning frequently till they are tinged brown at the edges, about 10 minutes. Brush on any leftover marinade juices as you turn them.

Per serving (about 11oz/311g-wt.): 730 calories (510 from fat), 57g total fat, 30g saturated fat, 42g protein, 14g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 115mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Serves 4

Distinctive Halloumi cheese pairs with crisp red onions, tender zucchini, zesty lime juice and fruity olive oil in this grilled delight. Halloumi, a goat and sheep milk cheese, doesn’t melt so you can throw it right on the grill. Delicious as an appetizer, add some Kalamata olives and pita bread for a light summer entrée.


1 (6-ounce) package Halloumi cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thickly sliced into rounds
2 zucchini, thickly sliced into rounds
2 limes
Black pepper to taste


Slice Halloumi in half lengthwise then rub all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Drizzle one tablespoon of the olive oil on the onions and 1 tablespoon on the zucchini. Grill Halloumi, onions, and zucchini, turning frequently, until they begin to blacken, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Transfer Halloumi to a cutting board and quarter each piece. Arrange Halloumi, onions, and zucchini on a large platter. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then squeeze limes over the top and sprinkle with pepper. Serve warm.


Per serving (210g-wt.): 250 calories (180 from fat), 20g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 10g protein, 10g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 20mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium

Off the Beaten Aisle: Anchovies

If anchovies gross you out, know this: Compared to what people ate before there were anchovies, they’re practically cake and ice cream.

Because until about the 16th century there were no anchovies as we know them today. That is, small silvery fish that are boned, salt-cured and packed in oil.

Instead, there was garum -- the juice of salted and fermented fish guts. Garum lost favor about 500 years ago when people learned how to make anchovies.

Anchovies, however, are not a singular fish. Most cuisines around the world have their own “anchovy,” most of which tend to be variants of one variety of fish, a relative of the herring.

Easy. They are flavor bombs that lend serious "wow!" to whatever they are added to. And the good news is that the flavor they add isn’t even a little fishy.

Here’s why. After months of salt-curing, the dominant flavors in anchovies come from enzymes and good bacteria, not the flesh itself (of which there is little).

The result is an intense blend of fatty, salty, savory, meaty and even a bit of cheesy flavor.

Even better, when you cook them, anchovies dissolve, leaving behind a massive savory flavor but no evidence that any fish were harmed in the making.

Anchovies are widely used in the cuisines of Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. In Turkey they are so prized they have inspired volumes of poetry, even folk dances.

That is some serious anchovy love.

Even if you don’t like them dumped on pizzas, chances are you’ve eaten plenty of anchovies: They are a critical ingredient for Caesar salad and olive tapenade.

You’ll generally find anchovies alongside the Italian foods or with tuna. Most varieties are packed in oil in cans or jars. Some delis also sell salt-packed anchovies, but these sometimes need to be boned and should always be rinsed.

Many grocers also sell anchovy paste, which is ground anchovies blended with oil and sometimes seasonings. The pastes are fine in a pinch, but whole anchovies tend to have better flavor.

Unopened cans can be stored at room temperature for a year opened cans can be refrigerated for a week or two.

So what should you do with them? Whatever you decide, take it easy. Anchovies are a rich and salty food start with a little and taste.

• Tapenade (olive spread) is a no-brainer. In a food processor, combine kalamata olives, a few anchovies, some capers, fresh thyme, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until mostly smooth, then use as a dip for bread or as a sandwich spread.

• Make a cheater Caesar salad. In a processor, puree mayonnaise, anchovies, lemon juice and black pepper until smooth. Thin with a bit of water, then use to dress chopped romaine lettuce. Add croutons and chicken.

• Make an insanely savory compound butter for steak. In a processor, blend a stick of softened butter with 2 or 3 anchovies until smooth. Place a dollop of this over a freshly grilled steak.

• Or use the same approach to make an amazing garlic bread. Follow the compound butter method, but add a few cloves of garlic to the processor. Spread on bread, then toast as you normally would.

• Make a classic pasta dish: In a skillet heat several anchovies, a splash of olive oil, some garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. When the anchovies have dissolved, add chopped broccoli raab. When the greens start to wilt, toss in cooked pasta and as much grated Parmesan as you can handle.

• Ready for the whole fish? Make panzanella (bread and tomato salad). Toss together chopped tomatoes and cubes of stale bread. Season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic and chopped fresh oregano. Add whole anchovies. It’s delicious.

• Make a marinade for steak or chicken. Blend anchovies, olive oil, cider vinegar, black pepper and garlic, then use to marinate meat.

I keep this pizza simple in order to let the anchovy oil really shine. But if you prefer a heavy duty pizza, by all means pile on the toppings. Don’t want to make your own flatbread? Use the same anchovy oil and toppings on a ball of pizza dough from the grocer.