blue moon (2)

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Last OPA Of The Year ©

Now don’t any of you be running away because of the length of this post? There are recipes at the bottom of it. That you don’t have to read now.
Some of you have asked in the past what is in some of the stuff I make and talk about so I included the recipes in the post.
This Saturday is the big BBQ I have every year and the last gathering I host here for this year.
It kicks off 11 straight days of food, music and lots of fun.
My freezer is full to the rim and I am all ready.
Well I’m all ready until I am almost finished and I find out that I forgot something. The pre bbq starts on Thursday Night, where we will all go out and watch the festivities start with fireworks at the Greek community center. I have included pictures of last year’s party there.
I will be trying to get pictures at my place this year I have asked several people to bring cameras.
This year I am going to host it outside. With the family bbq’s success it only seems like the best thing to do.
It’s an interesting collection of people that will be mixing it up. Most would never know each other if it wasn’t for me. They travel in different social circles and never get to meet such people. There will rich people rubbing elbows with people on welfare, politicians and voters, waiters/waitresses and restaurant owners, Tech people and so on.
Most have met before at my bbq and have continued their friendships after. This year I have invited another 20 so it could get big. I may invite a couple of cops to deal with the neighbors. LOL
Instead of saying what I am cooking the recipes below should give you an idea.
Yeah I know mrhaney I will be making you hungry again.
This year though after blogging and meeting many of you here I honestly wish many of you were coming, but who knows there is always next year. We could have a bloggers bbq. I’m gonna stop this post here, damn recipes killed me. Oh and I will be posting the recipes on my side bar later on if anyone ever wants to copy them.

Have a nice day.


......zorba1 splash2

Spanakopites - Spinach Pies
Makes 32
1 medium onion --chopped
2 green onions --thinly sliced
2 tbs vegetable oil
10oz frozen chopped spinach --thawed
12 oz low-fat cottage cheese
8oz light cream cheese --softened
1/2c feta cheese (about 2 oz)
1/2tsp dried dill
1/4tsp black pepper
1 large egg16oz frozen phyllo --thawed
1/2 c butter --melted
In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook onions and green onions until tender and golden. Remove skillet from heat.
Drain spinach and squeeze dry.
To onion mixture in skillet, add spinach, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese, dill, pepper and egg. Mix well.
Remove half of phyllo sheets from package; keep remaining phyllo wrapped with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Brush bottom and sides of 13x9" baking pan with some of the melted butter. Working quickly place 2 sheets of phyllo in baking dish, pressing phyllo against side of dish. Lightly brush with butter. Repeat layering and brushing until first half of phyllo is gone.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread spinach mixture evenly over phyllo in baking dish. Unwrap remaining phyllo and place 2 sheets over spinach mixture, letting edges hang over sides of dish; brush with butter, making sure to moisten edges. Repeat layering with remaining phyllo and butter.
Gently roll edges of phyllo that are hanging over pan inward to form an attractive border. Bake 45 minutes or until crust is golden and filling hot. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes for easier serving.

Tiropites - Cheese Pies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 tbl spoons oil
1/2 spoon oregano dash of salt
Mix ingredients; knead for about 2-3 minutes; adding flour to until it doesn't stick to the hands -separate into 3 equal parts

a couple of chopped green shallots (can replace with 1/3 white onion)
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
2 cups feta cheese , crumbled
1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup whole milk or better still, half & half
3 eggssalt, pepper, thyme
Beat eggs.
Mix all other ingredients; heat in pot until cheese starts melting; allow cooling to room temperature; then mixing in eggs.

Roll out the 3 dough balls-so that each one is a bit bigger than your baking pan (use 8x12 in.)-the amount of dough, for that size will give you the right thickness
Place the first layer on the greased pan, with ends hanging over the pan rim -add half the filling follow on with the second dough layer -add the rest of the filling.
Finish off with the last dough layer; fold the dough layers together.
Pluck a few holes, making sure you go through the second layer of dough.
Bake for 3/4 hour at around 400F.
Enjoy, with a simple tomato and cucumber salad.

Dolmades - Stuffed Grape Leaves
Yields 75
16 oz Grape leaves
3/4 c Extra virgin olive oil
3 Onions; more if desired (shredded or minced finely)
1 3/4 c Rice
1 Lemon, juiced (or more, to taste)
Dill; very finely chopped
1 3/4 c -Hot water
3/4 ts Salt
1/4 ts Pepper
Sauté the onion with half the oil.
Add the rice and let cook for a few minutes.
Add the dill, the hot water and salt and pepper.
Boil for about 5 minutes.
Let it cool.
Steam the grape leaves and rinse with plenty of water in a colander.
Wrap the rice mixture with the grape leaves.
This is the most difficult and time consuming part, although after you are through it a couple of times you enjoy it the most.
You want to make them small in size (about 1-2 inches.)
Do not hesitate to cut big leaves in half.
Discard the central stem of these leaves and if you can reduce (with a sharp knife) any other tough stems it would be good.
You want to wrap the rice very tightly.
You place the rice in one end, fold from the short end and the two sides and then roll while pushing the rice downwards to pack it really tight.
You have to do it a couple of times to understand.
If they are not tightly packed they will unroll later.
Also be careful to wrap them totally, do not leave any holes.
You arrange the dolmadakia in a casserole, tightly.
Make more than one layer.
Add the lemon juice, the rest of the olive oil and 1 1/2 cups of hot water.
Cover them with a plate or something to keep them in place.
Let them simmer for 35 minutes.
Serve them cold, with strained yogurt.

Tzatziki - Garlic Cucumber Dip
1 1/2 c Strained yogurt
2 medium cucumbers
4 large Garlic cloves (or more)
4 tbs Olive oilA little vinegarSalt
Grate the (peeled) cucumber or chop finely.
Salt it & squeeze out and discard the liquid.
Add to it the peeled (minced or grated) minced garlic, the vinegar, yogurt and stir the mixture.
Finally, add the oil. If you want, sprinkle with paprika and garnish with olives.

Main Courses
Serves 4-6
2 lb Lamb shoulder; or if you don't like lamb, Sirloin tip: pork shoulder;cut in 1 1/2" chunks
2 c Red wine; dry
2 Garlic cloves; minced
1 ts Oregano; dried
2 ts Lemon rind
1/4 c Olive oil
Place the meat in a large bowl.
Pour in the wine and sprinkle minced garlic and oregano.
Place the lemon among the cubes of meat and drizzle with olive oil.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
Shake or stir the mixture several times during the marinating period.
About 30 minutes before serving, drain off and discard the marinade.
Thread the chunks of meat onto long skewers, brushing with a little olive oil.
Over medium coals, barbeque the Souvlaki until it's done the way you like it.

Serves 6-8
3 large eggplants
1 kg. Potatoes
1 onion, finely chopped1 kg.
Ground beef
1/2 cup white unresinated wine
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium ripe tomatoesParsley, finely chopped
Salt, pepper
Olive oil for fryingBéchamel Sauce
Wrap eggplants in aluminum foil and bake in a moderate oven until soft.
Wash and peel the potatoes, slice them and fry them lightly.
Heat the oil and sauté the onion with the ground beef.
Add the wine and the tomatoes, which have been peeled and put through a food mill, the parsley, salt and pepper and let the meat sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
Arrange the potatoes on the bottom of a baking pan salt them and pour the meat sauce over them.
Cover with the eggplant, sliced and salted.
Top with a layer of Béchamel Sauce
Bake the Moussaka in a moderate oven (350°F) for 30-40 minutes.
NOTE: According to the traditional recipe, the eggplants are fried instead of baked.
This makes for a heavier dish.

4 cups hot milk
8 Tbs. flour
3 Tbs. butter or margarine
salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg
Melt butter in a small pot.
Add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon.
Turn the heat down very low and add the hot milk, little by little stirring constantly to keep the flour from forming lumps.
Let the sauce thicken, stirring continually.

Lamb - Arni
6 servings
3 lb Boneless lamb shoulder
3 tbs Olive oil for pan browning
6 c Canned / fresh chicken broth
1/2 c Olive oil
2 c Orzo paste
1 1/2 c Peeled/chopped yellow onion
2 large Ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 ts Dried dill weed
1/4 c Chopped parsleyJuice of lemon
In a stove-top Dutch oven brown the boneless lamb shoulder in the olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add enough stock to come halfway up the side of the meat and simmer, covered, until very tender, about two hours.
Remove the meat from the pot and set aside, covered, to keep warm.
Remove the fat from the stock in the pan and add more stock if necessary to make up four cups. Remove the stock from the pan and set aside.
Heat the Dutch oven again and add half cup olive oil.
Add the orzo pasta and toss for a minute.
Add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is clear.
Stir in the tomatoes, dill weed and parsley.
Return the meat to the pot along with the 4 cups of stock.
Cover and simmer until the broth is absorbed and the pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.
NOTE: if the dish is too wet when the pasta is tender continue to cook for a few more minutes with the lid off to reduce the sauce.

8 servings
1/2 c Butter
8 tbs Flour
4 c Milk
4 ea To 6 Egg Yolks
1/4 ts Nutmeg
Salt, White Pepper

8 oz Macaroni (2 c raw); cook and drain
1 tbs Olive oil
1 oz Butter
1 1/2 lb ground beef
2tbs Tomato paste
3/4 c Dry Red Wine
1/2 ts Nutmeg
Salt, Freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 ts Cinnamon
1/2 c Dried breadcrumbs
1 1/2 c Grated Kefalotiri OR Parmesan Cheese
1 large Onion; finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350.
Melt 1 oz of butter in lg. skillet and sauté onion until soft and transparent.
Add the meat, cook until browned.
Mix tomato paste with wine and add to meat.
Continue cooking, adding nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
Cook about 15 min., take off heat, cool and mix in half the breadcrumbs and half the grated cheese. Set aside.
Do not allow meat to "bulk", keep it separated.
Cook the macaroni in boiling water with oil until soft. Drain and set aside.
Make crema.
Stir in 1/4 c.cheese.
To Assemble: Grease a baking dish (LIKE a LASAGNA PAN) and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs. Spread half the cooked pasta over the bottom of the dish and sprinkle it with 1/4 c reserved cheese.
Spread all of the meat over the pasta.
Pour half the sauce over the meat and spread the rest of the pasta over it.
Sprinkle it with 2 TB of cheese.
Pour the rest of the sauce on top and smooth with a spatula.
Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and breadcrumbs and bake in the preheated oven 50-60 minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
Serve with Greek salad and lots of chilled retsina wine.

Serves 30
3/4 c Walnuts; finely chopped
3/4 c Pistachios; finely chopped
1/2 c Almonds; finely chopped blanched and lightly toasted
1/2 c Sugar; superfine
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 1/4 lb Butter
thawed 1 pk Commercial phyllo sheets
2 1/2 c Sugar
1 3/4 c -Water
1 Orange's rind finely grate
1 Lemon's rind finely grated
5 Whole cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
1 c Honey
Combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan well with butter.
Separate 25 phyllo sheets from package.
Place under a smooth, damp towel to prevent drying.
Wrap remaining phylo well.
Freeze for future use.
Place one phyllo sheet in pan.
Trim to fit.
Brush generously with melted butter.
Repeat procedure until there are 5 layers of buttered phyllo in the pan.
Sprinkle with 1/4 nut mixture.
Repeat this procedure two more times, ending with phyllo.
Drizzle any remaining butter over top.
Bake in 350 degree oven 1-1/2 hours or until golden brown.
Remove baklava from oven.
Using a sharp knife immediately cut long, diagonal lines from corner to corner, forming an "X". Follow these guidelines to cut baklava into serving-size diamonds.
While still hot, pour cooled syrup over baklava.

Combine sugar, water, orange and lemon rinds, cloves and cinnamon stick in saucepan.
Bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes to thicken syrup slightly.
Remove from heat.
Discard spices.
Stir in honey.
Cool at room temperature.
Pour over hot baklava.
Allow to stand overnight before serving.

Galaktobouriko - Milk Pie
6 c Milk
1 c Fine semolina
3 1/2 tbs Cornstarch
3 c Granulated sugar
1/4 ts -Salt
6 Eggs
1 ts Vanilla extract
opt1 tbs Butter
12 Commercial phylo sheets
3/4 c Butter; melted & hot
1 c -Water
1 Lemon or orange (peel only)
2 tbs Fine brandy or cognac (opt.)
In a heavy-bottomed, 3-quart saucepan, bring the milk gradually to a boil- don’t scorch.
Meanwhile, sift the semolina, cornstarch, 1 cup of the sugar, and salt together and gradually add to the boiling milk, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Cook slowly over med. heat until mixture thickens and comes to full boil, and then remove from heat.
Beat the eggs on high speed of an electric mixer.
Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until very thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes, then add the vanilla.
Stirring constantly, add eggs to the hot pudding.
Partially cover the pan and allow to cool.
Butter a 9 x 12 x 3-inch baking pan and cover the bottom with 7 sheets of the phylo, brushing butter generously between each and making sure that a few sheets come up the pan sides.
Pour the custard into the pan over the phylo.
Cover with the 5 remaining sheets, brushing butter between each and on the surface.
With the tip of a very sharp knife, score the top phylo sheets into square or diamond shapes, being careful not to score as deeply as the custard.
Bake on the center rack of a moderate (350 F) oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until crisp and golden chestnut in color and the custard is firm.
Meanwhile, boil the remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar with the water and lemon or orange peel for 5 minutes.
Add the brandy or Cognac, if desired, and set aside.
Remove the galaktobouriko from the oven and set on cake rack.
Spoon the hot syrup over all of it, particularly the edges.
Cool thoroughly before cutting and serving. Store in the refrigerator.

16 servings
1 lb Commercial raw Kataifi dough
1/2 c Margarine, mixed with some sweetener, melted
1½ c Finely chopped blanched almonds
3 1/2 c Granulated sugar
ground cinnimmon
1/2 c Orange juice (optional)
2 c Water
1/2 c Liquid sweetener
2 tbs Lemon juice
Open the raw Kataifi dough to the air for 10 to 15 minutes.
Spread half the pastry evenly over the bottom of a 9 x 12 x 3-inch baking pan and brush with half the margarine mixture.
Combine the almonds, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and orange juice in a small bowl. (The orange juice will make the mixture like a paste that can be spread with a knife.)
Spread the almond mixture over the Kataifi and cover with the remaining dough.
Brush with the remaining butter and bake in a moderate oven (350F) for 40 minutes or slightly longer, until golden on top.
Meanwhile, boil the remaining 3 cups sugar with water for 5 minutes.
Stir in the sweetener and lemon juice, bring to a boil and keep hot.
When done, remove the pastry to a rack to cool in the pan, and then spoon the hot syrup over the pastry.
Cover with a dry towel and allow to cool thoroughly.
When cool, cut into square or diamond shapes of any desired size.
Dust with additional ground cinnamon just before serving on dessert plates.

Kourabiedes - Greek Cookies
1 c Sweet butter
1/2 c Powdered sugar
1 Egg yolk
2 tbs Brandy or Cognac, (optional)
1 ts Almond extract
1 ts Vanilla extract
1 ts Baking powder
2 1/4 c Sifted cake flour; (or more)
3/4 c Ground almonds; toasted
1 lb Powdered sugar; sifted
In electric mixing bowl, whip the sweet butter until it is fluffy and white.
Continuing to beat on medium speed, gradually add the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, egg yolk, and flavorings.
Meanwhile, sift the baking powder with the flour and gradually add to the batter, mixing by hand and working the flour thoroughly into the mixture before adding more.
Mix in ground almonds.
Knead until a soft, buttery dough is formed that will stay together when a little is rolled in the palms of your hands.
Break off pieces slightly larger than a walnut, and then roll into balls, half-moons, or S-curves. Place on cookie sheets allowing an inch between each.
Bake on the center rack of a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden colored, not chestnut.
Remove from the oven and cool a bit, then carefully lift each Kourabiedes cookie and place on a generous layer of sifted powdered sugar.
Immediately sift more powdered sugar over to cover Kourabiedes.
Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before lifting and rolling to be sure they are evenly coated. May be served in individual fluted paper cups.

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