Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's GREEK to me !!!!

I'm back !!!!  I hope everyone has had a Great New Year so far.  It's hard to believe that January has come and gone.  I have worked up a couple of recipes that I think everyone will enjoy.  I really like Greek food, lamb in particular.  The roasted leg of lamb recipe is very easy.  It can be cooked in the oven or in a crock pot.  If you use the crock pot/slow cooker be sure to brown the meat before adding it.  This process really enhances the flavor and over-all look of the finished product.
I am going to try to post recipes from different cuisines once or twice a month.  If you have any favorites, just let me know.  E-mail me or send a comment on the blog.  Also, as an idea comes to me, I'll post this as well.  
I am a firm believer that spices and herbs are the most important part of a recipe.  I have found that many people have a very limited knowledge of them.  Check out the first few posts from 2010/2011.  I tried to create a glossary of herbs and spices and approached the information from different angles.  The first one gives a list of 50 spices/herbs along with information about each.  The second post gives you information about which spices goes with which dishes.  Most of these can be found either in your supermarket or specialty stores.  Another good source of bulk spices/herbs is your neighborhood Amish market.  I have also created recipes for a few rubs and some combination mixes for specific cuisines.  For now, it's Greek.  And as always - ENJOY !!!!!
Until next time.......

Spicy Lamb
       1 – Leg of Lamb (4 to 5 lbs.)
          8 – Gloves of Garlic
          1 – Large Onion
          2 – Tablespoons – Parsley
          1 – Tablespoon – Mint
          2 – Tablespoons – Olive Oil
          ½ - can – Cream of Mushroom Soup
          3 - Tablespoons – Soy Sauce
          ¼ - cup – Dry Vermouth
1)    Trim fat from lamb.
2)   Pierce lamb 8 times
3)   Push in the 8 cloves of garlic.
4)   Chop onions and parsley (fine)
5)   Make sauce by sauteing onions, parsley and mint about 5 minutes in oil.
6)   Stir in soup, soy sauce, and vermouth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, let simmer about 5 minutes.
7)   When roast is done, blend liquids from the pan to the sauce.
8)   Serve over thick slices of roast.
Note: Also works with lamb shanks.

Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce
             16oz. – Chickpeas (dried) – (soaked overnight)
                   2 – cups – Onions (chopped/caramelized)
                   6 – Tablespoons – Garlic (minced)
                   ¼ - cup – Parsley (chopped)
                   1 – teaspoon – Sea Salt
                   2 – teaspoons – Coriander (ground)
                   1 – teaspoon – Cumin (ground)
                   Black Pepper (to taste)
                   2 – 3 – Tablespoons – Olive Oil (for frying)
                   5 – Pita Breads (6 ½ inch)
                   5 – Romaine Leaves (torn in half)
                   ¼ - cup – Kalamata Olives  (pitted/sliced)
                   Tzatziki Sauce: Recipe follows directions.
                         1)    Drain chickpeas; puree´ in food processor until smooth.
2)   Move to mixing bowl.
3)   Stir in onions, garlic, parsley, salt, coriander, cumin, and pepper.
4)   Mix well.
5)   Divide and shape the mixture into 40 small patties (1 ¾ X ½ in.)
6)   In a large skillet, put in the oil, Heat to 350°.
7)   Working in batches, fry the patties until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 2 min. on each side.  Drain.
8)   Heat pitas and slice in half to form a pocket.
9)   Assemble. (Lettuce, tomato, and olives)
10) Add falafel patties and sauce.
Note: You can use Cilantro instead of Parsley.  I prefer Parsley.  You can use an Olive Tapenade (chopped olives in oil) in place of slicing your own olives.

                           Tzatziki Sauce

             ½ -cup – Greek Yogurt (plain)
                   ½ - cup – Sour Cream (plain)
                   ½ - cup – Cucumber (peeled/grated/squeezed dry)
                   1 – teaspoon – Garlic  (minced)
                   1 – Tablespoon – Olive Oil
                   1 – Tablespoon – Fresh Mint (finely chopped)
                   1 – Tablespoon – Juice from ½ Lemon
                   1 – teaspoon – Lemon Zest
                   Sea Salt (to taste)
                   Black Pepper (to taste)
1)    In a food processor, combine yogurt, sour cream, garlic, and cucumber; mix well.
2)   Place in a bowl.
3)   Fold in remaining ingredients.
4)   Season with salt and pepper.
5)   Serve with Falafel.
Note: You can substitute chunks of roast lamb for the Falafel.  The sauce can be used with other sandwiches.   
Note:  This dish can be made ahead of time and assembled later.  Refrigerate the Falafel and re-heat just before serving.  Lay out the other ingredients and let your guests build their own pitas.  If you do use lamb in place of the Falafel, make sure that the lamb is cut into bite-size pieces (1 X 1 in.).  After roasting the lamb, cool it and cut into pieces.  Save in the liquid from roasting.  This will keep the lamb moist.  Make sure that the lamb has been well trimmed.  

 I always try to edit every thing I write, but sometimes things slip through.  If you notice any mistakes or if there is anything that just doesn't make sense, especially in the list of ingredients or in any directions, let me know and I will fix it.  In most of my recipes there are things that can be substituted for other things.  If you try something different and it works, let me know.  I'll pass along the info so that others can try it as well.  Sometimes, the simplest accident can be a happy result.