Greek: Moussaka

Moussaka – (Mousakas)

I did not use meat in my Moussaka.  I roasted the eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced, in a hot oven drizzled with olive oil for the final dish. To me, it was too greasy sautéed.
INGREDIENTS
• 1 kg aubergines (large or/and elongated variety)
• 160 ml vegetable oil (about 1 teacup)
• 1 large onion, finely sliced
• 450 gr. minced beef
• 1 glass white wine (not retsina, but aretsinoto)
• 350 gr. fresh tornatoes, 1400 gr. tomatoes, drained of some of their juice and chopped
• teaspoon ground cinnamon
• teaspoon ground allspice
• salt and black pepper
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 25 gr. grated parmesan, kefalotiri, or Gruyere cheese
• some chopped parsley

Bechamel Sauce
• 80 gr. butter
• 80 gr. flour
• 600 ml warm milk
• salt and white pepper
• 30 gr. grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
• 2 egg yolks

Topping
• z 60 gr. grated Parmesan,Gruyere or kefalotiri cheese
• 4 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs
METHOD
Moussaka should be baked in the oven. Use a roasting container, eitber square or oblong, approximately 25×25 cm or 39×28 cm. It is recommended that you spread the work involved over two days for your convinience; one can easily cook the meat the day before, witbout the Moussaka suffering at all. Do not do the same with the aubergines; they should be fried on the day.

Aubergines
Top and tail the aubergines, without peeling them. Rinse them, cut them lengthways in 75-mm thick slices and immerse them in salted water, for 30 minutes.Take them out, squeeze gently, rinse, then squeeze them again. Drain them in a colander and pat dry. Fry them in hot vegetable oil until they become pale golden on both sides; you can either deep-fry them, which is easier but they absorb a lot of oil, or shallow-fry them. In either case, drain them on absorbent paper on a flat platter before serving, so that most of their oil will dribble away.

Meat
Sautee the sliced onion in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, until it looks glistening. Add the meat and sautee together, stirring, until all the lumps are broken down and the meat starts to change colour. Pour in the wine, add tomatoes, sliced finely, the spices, salt and pepper and the oregano. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time in case it sticks. Then mix in the grated cheese and parsley.

Bechamel Sauce
Melt the butter and, away from the heat, gradually add the flour and stir to amalgamate. Return to the heat and gradually add the milk and seasoning, stirring continuously. Simmer for 9-10 minutes, stirring, until it has thickened considerably. Withdraw the pan from the heat, let it stand briefly, then add the cheese and the egg yolks. Stir to amalgamate them. Do not let the sauce boil after this. It should by now be a thick bechamel, to enable it to sit on top of the meat mixture and form a kind of crust.

To assemble, cover the base of the roasting dish with half of the fried aubergines, then spread half of the meat mixture evenly on top of them and cover neatly with the remaining aubergines. Spread the remaining meat and sauce evenly over the top and cover neatly with the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle the grated cheese all over the top, and the breadcrumbs. Moussaka from Macedonia may contain a layer of thinly sliced roun potatoes which have been fried first. Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas no.4/ 350 grades F/ 180 grades C, for 1 hour, untit a golden crust is formed all over the top. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving, in order to be able to cut it more easily. To serve, cut into square or oblong-shaped pieces, about 8 cm thick. It should be quite dry by then and the pieces should ideally stay intact.

Greek: Spanakopita

Spinach pie with cheese – (spanakopita)

INGREDIENTS
• One pack of very thin filo pastry (obtained from a specialist deli)
• 1 Kg / 2 lb of spinach, either frozen or fresh
• 1 kg / 2 lb of fιta cheese
• 250g / 1/2lb of butter or margarine
• 2 cloves of garlic or garlic power

METHOD
If the spinach is raw, cook and slice thinly. If frozen, defrost. In either case, mix the feta cheese with the spinach to make a mixture, adding the chopped garlic. Spread some butter on an oven tray. Open the filo package and place each thin pastry (it is as thin as paper) on the tray, buttering each one using a brush. After you have done 8 filo slices, place the spinach/feta mixture and spread over the entire oven tray, covering the 8 pastry slices. On top of this, place the remaining pastry slices, buttering each one of them as well. Notch the last one creating 2 inch (5 cm) on a side, squares. Place in a medium heat oven and cook till brown.

Greek: Sour Cream Cake

Sour Cream Cake (Kiek)
INGREDIENTS
• 1/2 lb butter
• 2 cups sugar
• 5 eggs
• 3 cups cake flour
• 3 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 tsp vanilla

Syrup:
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 3/4 cup water
• 1 lemon wedge

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare syrup:
Boil syrup ingredients 10 minutes and let cool.

Prepare Cake:
Melt butter and cool. Then cream with sugar and eggs. Add mixed flour( baking powder,soda) alternately with milk and sour cream to the batter. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake in a 350F oven about 35 minutes or until tested done. Pour cooled syrup over hot cake. Let cake cool completely before cutting.

Baked Feta

Here is what Robert and Rae made for Greek Night:

Baked Feta

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 lb Feta Cheese Slices
2-3 Clove Garlic Crushed/Diced
1 A Little Olive Oil
1 Large Onion Sliced
1-2 Pinch Pepper To Taste
2-3 Pinch Salt To Taste
4 Large Tomatoes Vine tomatoes, sliced

Directions:

* Cut feta into eight slices.
* Slice tomatoes, crush and dice garlic.
* Cut tinfoil into four squares the size of a dinner plate.
* Place a few slices of tomato on the foil, then some onion, then two slices of feta, pop on top some more tomato, sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
* Repeat the process with the other three foils and close to make scrunchy parcels.
* Place them in a pre heat oven of 200 F and cook for 20 mins.
* When opening be extra careful as lots of hot steam will escape.
* Serve with crusty bread and spread and or eat.
* Very tasty cala!

Greek Baked Fish

Greek Baked Fish #76684
recipe by evelyn/athens

This fish dish has bold, Mediterranean flavours. It is also gorgeous to look at. Accompany with a good white wine and lots of crusty bread, cause the sauce is unbelievable.

4-5 servings
1 hour 20 minutes 40 mins prep

2 lbs fresh black grouper fillet, cut into approximately 1
1/2 inch pieces (or other fillet of your choice)
2 (16 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, juices drained
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons small capers, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup white wine
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place the fish pieces in a metal baking pan.

Season lightly with salt.

Combine all the remaining ingredients, except the wine and olive oil, season, and distribute on top of fish.

Pour the wine and olive oil over and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the fish flakes.

Notes:
[From CR]
This is what I cooked for Greek night and it was very tasty. I would cut the onions smaller than they asked and I
used cut up tomato instead of crushed. It was yummy good.

[From Sean: I think she also cut the oil a lot!]

Greek Pasta Salad

Here’s the salad Kelly made, taken from the Moosewood cookbook “Moosewood Cooks at Home.”

We thought this was really good and will make it again.

Ingrediants:

  • 1/2 pound pasta shells
    (we used some curly shells, but anything will do)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes (we skipped the eggplant!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (14 oz can)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 celerey stalk, sliced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fressh dill (2 teaspoons dried) – I think we cut this in 1/2 as it seemed like a lot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated or crumbled feta cheese
  • greek olives

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil. Cook the psata shells, uncovered, until al dente, and then drain. Rinse them under cold water until cool, and drain again.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the eggplant. Cover and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat. Stir in the salt, garlic, lemon juice, and water. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, until the egg-plant is almost tender. Add the diced red bell peppers, and if you are using dried herbs, add the dill and oregano. Simmer a few minutes more, until peppers are cooked but still have some crunch.

While the eggplant and peppers are cooking, place the artichoke hearts, cucumbers, tomatoes, celerey, scallions, fresh dill, and fresh oregano in a large salad bowl. Add the cooked eggplan and peppers. Stir in the pasta and toss well. Add salt and pepper and mroe lemon juice or olive oil to taste.

Note: This salad can be refridgerated to serve later, but the pasta may absorb the flavors and need an additional dash of lemon jioce and olive oil just before serving.

Falafel and Cucumber Sauce

Here’s one of the dishes Kelly and I made. We modified the cucumber sauce by using this recipe and the one from our Greek Night in our Florida cooking club a few years ago. I found this on the web at allrecipes.com.

This was really good and we will definitely make it again.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1/2 cup fresh parsley
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 egg
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 dash pepper
* 1 pinch cayenne pepper
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup dry bread crumbs
* oil for frying
*
* 1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
* 1/2 cucumber – peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don’t use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
2. In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.
3. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.
4. In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Greek Night

Our cooking club met for Greek Night, and we all shared some wonderful food a good conversation. M. showed off his memory skills by reciting, from memory, the 1st Chapter from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. He does such a fantastic job with these “readings.”

I’ll be putting in the recipes on-line as they come in.