Friday, September 7, 2012

Cooking Around the World: Greece

I've been remiss in posting about our tabletop travel recently. Not that we haven't been cooking - and eating. Just that I haven't posted. Whoops. I need to sift through my photos and recipes for our German feast and dinner from Ghana. But last night we cooked and ate Greek. Loved it! Even before I sat down, the troops were chanting "Red book! Red book!" They were digging in while I was still serving myself. My red book contains our favorite recipes of all time.

In cooking Greek, the most difficult part for me was deciding what to make. A stop at Cornucopia in the afternoon made the decision for me. I smelled the Meyers lemons before I saw them. Then I noticed that they were grown in Big Sur. Local, fragrant, and so voluptuous. I had to have them. Then I flipped through my Greek cookbook until I found two dishes that deserved these beauties.

We started with Greek meatballs: Keftedes. My cookbook reported, "they are always a must on the meze table." Okay, then...and they are served with lemon wedges and chopped parsley. Perfect!

1 pound 96/4 organic, grass-fed beef, 1 T minced garlic, 2 T dried oregano, 1 egg, freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper

Form balls, roll in flour, and fry in a large flat-bottom pan.

 Next I served Avgolemono, a soup that is amazingly simple, but delicious. It's a rice soup, flavored with lemon and thickened with egg. I started with 3-1/2 C homemade chicken stock, added 1/2 C short brown rice, cooking until the rice is tender. In a bowl I place three egg yolks and the juice from 1 Meyer lemon. Whisk the egg yolks until blended. Add in a ladleful of hot broth. Stir to mix. Then add the entire mixture to the whole pot, stirring constantly so that the egg doesn't curdle. Stir in chopped fresh parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

We finished off the meal with a sweet and tart salad of fresh summer nectarines, ripe tomatoes from our High Ground CSA box. Sliced, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was just right.

The only thing missing: ouzo. Next time...

We are headed to Grenada next. And we might make it to Guatemala this weekend. We'll have to see how much other stuff gets in the way of cooking with a purpose. We have Halloween costumes in the making and school projects strewn all over the living room. Things are always in motion at our house.

*Update 9/25/2012: I'm adding this red-book to the meals that my family loves and has designated as red-book worthy!*

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