Posts tagged ‘Greek Cooking’

October 8, 2011

Lemon & Garlic Marinated Olives

Lemon & Garlic Marinated Olives

I tend to serve way too many appetizers when we have guests for dinner. I remember a Barefoot Contessa show where she said to only serve 2-3 starters and her examples were really simple.  A little cheese and crackers, some olives, maybe some mixed nuts… to me it didn’t seem like enough. We recently had 16 guests for dinner and in usual form I had lots of things to nibble on before dinner. With that many people I think you need to offer an assortment and this time I think my quantities we pretty good. My gauge is whether they eat their dinner… too many starters equals no room for the main course. I made these marinated olives as part of my spread and everyone enjoyed them. It’s an easy recipe that you need to make the day before. That’s one less thing for you to do the day your guests arrive. They look beautiful, too!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups of mixed olives (nicoise, kalamata, greek olives – you pick, just make sure they aren’t already seasoned)
  • 10 strips lemon peel from one lemon (removed using vegetable peeler)
  • Juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 long sprigs fresh rosemary cut in half
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 large cloves garlic – sliced
  • Red pepper flakes – a healthy pinch
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Fresh cracked pepper – very coarse ground

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Put in the refrigerator overnight to marinate. I find it’s helpful to put them in a container with a lid so you can periodically shake the container around. Serve in a pretty dish. Delicious when served alone, with cheese and crackers or even as part of a Greek meal.

* You could easily cut this recipe in half. It makes a fairly large quantity… nice for a holiday party.

September 11, 2011

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Kebabs

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Kebabs

When I was a little girl, my grandparents lived in Manhattan. I’ll never forget Thanksgiving one year when I was about 10 years old. My parents and I went into the city for the holiday… you know the best meal of the year? Turkey, stuffing, all the great sides and pie… stuffed till you can’t move. You know… that holiday! Imagine my dismay when my grandfather announced we were going to the Greek restaurant in their neighborhood for dinner. What?! Greek food for Thanksgiving? I might have even cried. Even at that young age, I knew the importance of the Thanksgiving feast.

Greek food is a favorite in our house. I’m sharing this story because quite often when I make Greek food, I crack up thinking of my disappointment. At 10 years old, the words “pass the spanakopita” aren’t singing to you on Thanksgiving. This rosemary lamb does sing when matched with a greek salad, creamy tzatziki & grilled eggplant slices all stuffed into a warm pita. It’s a feast I’m happy to receive… just not on Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4-6)

  • 2lbs boneless leg of lamb – cut into cubes, fat removed
  • 4 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Put the lamb in a large bowl. Toss all the remaining ingredients into a food processor, run until smooth. Pour over the lamb and combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the grill. I use metal skewers. If you use wooden skewers, you will need to soak them in advance. Skewer the lamb and discard the marinade. Grill turning on all sides for about 7-9 minutes for medium/medium-rare.

Here’s a peek at what our Greek dinner looked like:

* There are so many things you can serve with this lamb. A greek salad is a must, and I love the combination of the grilled eggplant with the lamb, but feel free to grill-up your favorite veggies. Red peppers and red onion slices would be delish. This would be equally yummy served simply with roasted potatoes or rice. My tabbouleh would also go perfectly.

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