Friday, April 25, 2014

My big fat Greek dinner

I love the blog, "The World from My Window." And I particularly love Maddie Griggs' accounts of Corfu at Easter. (Read "My Family and Other Animals" if you want to learn more about the magic of Corfu and die laughing in the process.)

And, so it was, I decided to fix a big fat Greek dinner Saturday night. Fortunately, a few friends and family agreed to join us so we wouldn't be eating leftovers until the next food zombie apocalypse.

THIS is what a holiday in your mouth looks like.
I already had the cornerstone to the meal -- the Barefoot Contessa's pastitio recipe. Think FABULOUS meets your mom's shell pasta casserole: A ground beef-ground lamb tomato filling teased with a hint of cinnamon topped with a bechamel sauce amped up with cheese and a hint of more spice -- this time nutmeg. It's a holiday in your mouth.

BISSK Note: Could not, for the life of me, find Kasseri cheese so I used myzithra. We all survived.

BISSK Cut to the Chase: On a scale of 1 (BLECK!!) to 5 (Sigh. This is sublime.), Ina Garten's pastitio recipe gets 5 ouzo bottles right out of the gate.

The remainder of the meal came together with the help of Chef Google. And my sister-in-law who assembled a killer Greek salad.

We had a side of Greek-style green beans, courtesy of The Splendid Table. (Note to self: Wow, you are seriously late to the Table on this one. GREAT website.)

Folks, to be perfectly honest, I was a bit dubious about cooking green beans -- or any vegetable -- for 45 minutes, but the finished product was pretty dang close to some of the best green beans I've ever had -- those from this reedonkulous restaurant, The White House Grill, in a little freeway stop town about 30 minutes east of Bermtopia. (Not that we AREN'T a freeway stop. Hmmm. Home town paradigm shifts just a bit.)


Let me just say, You can't take White House Grill Greek-style green beans to work as left-overs. I've tried -- and nearly decimated my esteemed co-workers with left-over garlic gas. So,  I did cut back on the garlic -- knowing SOME people were going to church the next morning (I do have my filters) and we were fine.

BISSK Rating: On a scale of 1 clove of garlic to 5, it gets 4.5 garlic cloves. And, please, use more garlic if you're not worried about basic human relationships.

And, oh, I made my infallible artisan bread.

Dessert. Dessert. Dessert. I'm not a dessert gal, largely because I am baking-impaired. I can whip up a pretty mean gelato but that's about it. But I soldiered on and Chef Google led me here to The Ultimate Guide to Greek Food (no metric measurements - huzzah!). I made the Greek Easter cookies, which turned out to be the size of air-craft carriers. (I'm sure, with practice I could get them down to the size of a frigate -- I let you know next Easter.) They were served with a dollop of Greek yogurt, oozled with honey and sprinkled with chopped pistachios.

There were no cookies left -- including the four we set aside for our neighbors.

BISSK Rating: On a scale of 1 sesame seed to 5, the cookies -- and overall dessert -- gets a 5.

So, thanks Barefoot Contessa and Chef Google. It was a mighty Easter dinner. Why?

Because I said so.

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