Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trying to recapture the Greek magic

On Friday night, DB~ and I had our close friends over. I decided for the 4 of us I would attempt to replicate some of the meals we had in Greece.

I started off with the rusk, using the best available ingredients I could find. I went with a rustic Italian-style bread and "scalped" the top of it so I could place my ingredients on top of it. I made this about 1-1/2 hours ahead of when I planned to serve it, so as to allow the olive oil and tomato juices soak in deeply. Instead of the anthotiro cheese, I went with feta, as I couldn't find the anthotiro anywhere in town (even online at Penn Mac in the Strip District). I topped the cheese with some rinsed capers and greek oregano I brought back from Athens.

The juices saturated the bread, but not as much as in Santorini. It was still great and well-received, but not the exact same as we had it.

I "cheated" and bought grape leaves at Giant Eagle's antipasta section and cut some lemon wedges to squeeze over top for each person's individual tastes.

In addition to a simple Greek salad (greens, onion slices, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and feta with a balsamic/olive oil mix), the main course was lamb kleftiko. Using my Dutch oven, I cut a lamb roast into chunks and browned it. I wedged some potatoes and drizzled them with lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Additionally, I sauted some onions and garlic together and added them in. After all that, I topped the entire pot with tomato slices (approx. 1-1/2 tomatoes) and sprinkled some crumbled feta on top.

The lamb kleftiko was baked at 325 F for 2 hours. A nice base juice developed and the lamb was done well. It turned out well and all of us liked it, but it just wasn't quite the same. Perhaps it has something to do with not having the Parthenon in the background?

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