Mediterranean Small Plates and Cooking with Chilies


My two latest books will be published in August 2022, featuring Mediterranean small plates, that is, tapas, meze, antipasto, hors d’oeuvres and all those little foods we love to plop in our mouths. Also coming out in August is my book cooking with chilies with recipe from around the world where fiery capsicum cuisines are popular.

Tomato, Fig, Avocado Salad for a Memorial Day Party

Memorial Day gets short shrift on the culinary front. There is no traditional dish that Americans make for the day, and the rule of thumb seems to be anything goes. In some parts of the country it’s still too chilly for an outdoor barbecue. So with the anything-goes as the operative idea this tomato, fig, and avocado salad–although more likely to be pulled off in California than elsewhere–is a great salad to accompany grilled chicken. The Nabulsi cheese called for in the ingredient list can be found in Middle Eastern markets. You can also use a non-crumbling Mexican white cheese sold in most supermarkets or Armenian string cheese. Just make sure the cheese is somewhat bland as you don’t want it to dominate.

Tomato, Fig, Avocado Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Californian
Serves: 3
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups diced French baguette
  • 2 ripe medium tomato, each cut into eighths
  • 2 ripe Black Mission figs, quartered
  • 2 ounces Nabulsi cheese or any dense white Mexican cheese, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat then cook, tossing, the bread until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow platter or casserole, arrange the tomato and figs attractively. Sprinkle the cheese, bread, avocado, and dill on top. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, vinegar, and salt and serve.


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Melange of Vegetables, Simply

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Fūl Mudammas – A Levantine Arab Meze Par Excellence

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Lamb and Grapes Delights

Leave it to the Greeks to combine lamb and grapes. At first blush you might scratch your head, but then you realize it's a great idea. This combination also looks very pretty. The recipe requires lamb shanks which is one of my favorite cuts of lamb … [Continue reading]

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