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Archive for January, 2010

According to Cook’s Illustrated this month the top 3 olive oils are from  Spain and Greece!

I remember Greek olive oil growing up-it was really potent! I had a great Aunt Mary who made moussaka and it was always drenched in Greek olive oil.  It was quite inedible because it was served at room temperature (allowing it to be a bit congealed) and it was always some gigantic piece that would serve a family of 4. Yuck!  It took me years to acquire a taste for moussaka;  I was in my 20s.

The trick with moussaka is that you must slice the eggplant, salt it and let the brown liquid ooze out for a few hours.  It really makes a difference, in fact it makes it edible!

Eggplant Moussaka (ala Tess Mallos-The Greek Cookbook)

Serves 6-8, Cooking Time 2 hours, Oven temperature 350 degrees

1 eggplant

  • cut in slices, salt and let drain in colander
  • oil each side
  • place under broiler, turn when brown-do both sides

Meat Sauce: place all ingredients below in pan and let simmer for 30 minutes

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (are you kidding-more like 10!)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (what a surprise!)
  • salt and pepper

Cream Sauce (let it be known, this cream sauce goes on everything!)

  • 3 tablespoons butter (that’s all)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (try closer to 1/2 cup to make it good)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Melt butter in saucepan, stin in flour and cook gently about 2 minutes.  Add milk and bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Let sauce bubble gently for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in spice, cheese , salt & pepper. Just before spreading on moussaka, stir in egg.

Assembling:

  • Grease an oven dish (13 x 9 x 2)
  • Layer eggplant and meat (2 times)
  • spread cream sauce on top
  • Sprinkle with cheese
  • cook for about 1 hour
  • Let stand 10 minutes, so that you can cut it into squares to serve(it’s illegal to not serve moussaka in squares)

Yassou!

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So many people ask me about 2 things: Greek food and real estate. Since one is an avocation and the other a profession, I have plenty to say about both! But for the time being let’s focus on food-Greek food!
My families hail from Kythera, a small island south of the Peloponnese and Kalamata, you know the olive people. Most of what I experienced as a kid was the food from the island. I recently discovered a cookbook “The Greek Cookbook” written by Tess Mallos who hails from Kythera (now living in Australia.) I’d love to meet her; I’m sure we’re related. I have tried many of her recipes and they are very good.
So when the typical non-Greek thinks of food they think lamb, grape leaves and feta cheese. Fortunately the Greek culinary experience goes beyond those staples.
And so like Julie and Julia, I have decided I will work my way through Tess’s cookbook, albeit not so maniacal as Julie, certainly not dedicating my month’s earnings to food and eating every night at 11:00 pm (like the Greeks.) But follow me on this journey; we may find some incredibly interesting food groups that have gone undiscovered.

Greek Girl in the City

To Know Greek Food is to Love Greek Food

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