Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Greek Cooking Class/Demonstration

Tuesday night we were able to hold the first cooking class of our four-part series of classes, after having to reschedule the first two due to weather. After an equipment glitch (which put Lana a few minutes behind schedule) things started cooking. I want to thank the folks who attended, some old friends and customers and some new. Mitchell and I sure enjoyed talking with everyone and I hope you learned a thing or two and had your questions answered. For me learning how to cook and prepare eggplant made the class worthwhile. You don't know how many recipes I avoided because of eggplant!

From all indications things went well, people were happy and the food was delicious. All of the dishes prepared seemed to be very healthy, made with fresh vegetables, EVOO ("ingredients" offers a few types of olive oil including an unfiltered olive oil which is a bit pricey but tastes wonderful), fillo pastry and lots of garlic. I guess the least healthy was the use of butter (which Lana says has to be use, oh well) and the dessert (but we need dessert). As promised below are the recipes from Tuesday's class.

Eggplant Spread

4 medium eggplants
1 clove, garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Bread or crackers for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Place the whole eggplant in oven. Bake 1 hour or until soft, turning occasionally. Remove when eggplant is soft and wrinkled. Let cool.

Remove the peel, cut in half and remove the seeds. Chop in a large bowl. Add garlic. Whisk slowly adding the oil and vinegar. Continue until both the oil and vinegar are completely blended.

Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours before serving with bread or crackers.

Honey Diamonds

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk

Cream butter, add sugar gradually, beating until mixture is light in color.
Combine eggs and honey and beat until think, add creamed mixture and blend well.
Sift flour three times and add soda, salt and cinnamon. Add flour mixture alternating with milk to creamed mixture, beating well after each. Pour into a greased 8 by 12 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. This was delicious. It is very important to sift flour and then measure.

Greek Salad

1 cucumber, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small onion, cut into thin strips
4 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and cut into small wedges
1 green or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into thin strips
10 kalamata olives, chopped
4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, metal bowl, combine all ingredients, tossing gently.
Pour dressing over salad ingredients.

Greek Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 TBLS red wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBLS white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 TBLS crumbled dried oregano
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients thoroughly.
Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes for flavors to marry.

Use 1/2 of this recipe for the about salad.

Spinach Pie

3 lb. spinach
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped dill
2 cups Greek Feta cheese
1 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 stick butter (to grease fillo pastry)
about 12 fillo pastry sheets
3 eggs

Clean spinach, cut and put in a saucepan. Heat until steaming, but do not boil. Remove spinach from pan, set aside in a strainer to drain. Put olive oil in the same saucepan and add the remaining greens and saute. Add spinach. Remove from heat, add the cheese and bread crumbs, then mix and stir in 3 beaten eggs. Fold mixture into well-greased fillo pastry sheets, 6 on top and 6 on bottom. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

There you have it. Everything tasted wonderful and was fairly easy to prepare. Although "ingredients" does not carry many of the spices used in these recipes, we do carry all of the tools needed from knives for chopping to stainless steel mixing bowls for preparing and serving.

Next week I will post the Polish recipes. Thank you.