2nd November 2009

    Moussaka

    moussaka

    I’d been craving lamb, and Lisa was in a I-want-lasagna-but-we-just-had-lasagna mood, so moussaka seemed like the perfect bridge between our two wants. This recipe comes from the book Mediterranean Hot and Spicy; the moussaka was certainly hot (after being in a 400F oven for an hour…) but spicy? Not so much. Mouth-watering? Yes. Mouth-burning? No. Just a warning; this is not a recipe you can just whip up when you get home from work; it’s a multi-hour commitment!


    Lisa says:

    I can’t believe you’re just finishing up, I would have been frustrated hours ago.

    Chris says:

    Ha, I actually enjoy the occasional time-intensive recipe; besides, the last hour I haven’t been doing anything but getting hungry while I wait for it to finish baking.

    Lisa says:

    Well I’m glad it’s done now… I’m starvin’, Marvin.

    Chris says:

    This smells awesome… Mmm.. and there’s the lamb I’ve been craving.

    Lisa says:

    Oooh, I love the texture of the baked yogurt top. And the meat is good — not super-duper “lamby”.

    Chris says:

    All the veggies are great; I like the layer of green peppers.

    Lisa says:

    The potato layer is awesome. Whoa — looks like there’s a ton leftover.

    Chris says:

    There is — you could totally cut this recipe in half and just bake it in an 8″x8″ pan and you’d be set for 4 servings.

    Lisa says:

    I guess at some point we’ll be able to report back on how this freezes and reheats.

    Chris says:

    Indeed — we’ll have to whip this out midweek next week. It’ll be nice to not have to work nearly as hard for it next time. :)

    Spicy, Light Moussaka
    Sea salt
    2 large eggplants (about 1.5 lbs). sliced lengthwise, 1/4″ thick
    Olive oil
    1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
    3 large green bell peppers, quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
    1 lb lean ground lamb
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    2 or more pinches of cayenne
    1/3 cup dry red wine
    1/2 cup dried currants
    2 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
    fresh ground black pepper
    2 pinches freshly ground nutmeg
    1 pinch allspice
    1 lb (4 cups) nonfat Greek yogurt
    2 egg yolks

    Salt the eggplant slices, place them in a colander, and let them drain for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat about an inch deep of olive oil in a deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and fry the potato slices until browned but not cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and layer on the bottom of a 9×12″ glass ovenproof casserole dish. In the same oil, saute the peppers over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reserve the oil, measure out 1/4 cup, and return it to the pan. Saute the lamb in the oil, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until no longer red. Add the chopped onion and continue to saute for another 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the cayenne and red wine. When boiling, add the currants and tomatoes. Lower and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne if wanted. Add the nutmeg and allspice and add to the heat.
    Preheat the broiler.
    Wipe the eggplant slices with paper towels and place them on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with the reserved oil and broil about 4 inches from the heat until golden brown on both sides.
    Preheat the oven to 400F.
    Arrange the eggplant over the potatoes, overlapping if necessary. Layer the peppers over the eggplant and top with the lamb/tomato mixture. In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the egg yolks, stirring well. Pour the mixture over the lamb/tomato mixture. Bake for 1 hour, until the top starts to color and the moussaka is bubbly.

    6-8 Servings.

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    posted in Greek, Main Dishes, Mediterranean Hot and Spicy, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

    3rd August 2009

    Greek-Style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters

    greekfritters

    This recipe comes from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook — they make an nice starter, or you could do what we did and served them over a salad with a lemon-dill vinaigrette to make a light dinner. The book recommends a vegan alternative to tzatziki to serve alongside, but not being vegan, we went for the full glory of greek-yogurty goodness. The main impetus for this dish was the zucchini and tomatoes from our garden that were just begging to be eaten!


    Lisa says:

    Ooh, these look awesome. Did you save any of our tomatoes to just eat on the side?

    Chris says:

    Whoops — though it looks like the rest will be ready to pick in the next few days.

    Lisa says:

    Dammit, oh well. Let’s see how these are…

    Chris says:

    I love the herbs. Dill and mint are a good combo.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, they taste really good. Interesting texture…

    Chris says:

    Ha, was wondering if you’d mention that. Not quite exactly what I was expecting. Though when you realize that they’re mostly tofu, it makes sense.

    Lisa says:

    True! Maybe add just a little more bread crumbs?

    Chris says:

    Yep, that may help — whatever, they taste bueno.

    Lisa says:

    …as the Greeks say.

    Chris says:

    Totally.

    Greek-Style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters
    1 lb firm tofu, squeezed to remove extra water (place a heavy dinner plate on top for 10 minutes or so), then crumbled
    1/4 cup ground walnuts
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1 tbsp tomato juice
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp salt
    fresh ground pepper
    1/2 cup bread crumbs, plus 1/3 cup for coating
    1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
    1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    1/2 lb zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove excess water
    1 lb seeded, finely chopped tomatoes, drained to remove extra liquid
    Olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 350F.
    Blend the tofu, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you wish. Scrape into a large bowl and mix in the bread crumbs, dill, and mint — it should have the consistency of a thick cookie dough. (Add more breadcrumbs by the tablespoon if it’s not quite there). Fold in the zucchini and tomatoes.
    Create golf-ball sized balls of the mixture, and drop into the bread crumbs and roll to coat. Flatten to about 1 inch thick.
    Rub a large cookie sheet with olive oil, and as you complete each fritter, arrange so they do not touch. Spray with olive oil, then place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

    Serves 4

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    posted in Appetizers, Greek, Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Veganomicon | 3 Comments

    29th July 2009

    Almost Meatless Potluck: Ful Mudammas Gyros

    lamb-ful-gyros

    A few weeks ago, we were asked by Tara Mataraza Desmond and Joy Manning to participate in a virtual potluck in celebration of their recent cookbook, Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. I like the book’s concept — use less meat in recipes and replace it with novel ingredients to make them healthier without having to completely eliminate meat altogether. We had previously made and enjoyed the Albondigas, so this time we decided to tackle a recipe we’d never made at home before: Gyros!  Rather than solely containing lamb shaved off a vertical broiler, this version uses a few slices of grilled leg of lamb steak, filled out with ful mudammas, a garlicky, zesty Middle-Eastern bean-spread. It’s then topped with cool tzatziki and tomatoes for a great combination of texture and flavor.

    Chris says:

    Hooray for gyros! I’m glad we finally made these at home, I love them.

    Lisa says:

    …and there’s ful in it? I’ve only ever had the stew-version, this should be interesting — it’s the same ingredients?

    Chris says:

    Yep, basically the same thing, but no broth, and the beans are mashed. How is it?

    Lisa says:

    Wow, it’s awesome. The flavors are exactly right.

    Chris says:

    Sweet — it’s really nice in there with the lamb. I like the combination.

    Lisa says:

    Yum, me too. These are great. The tzatziki rules.

    Chris says:

    Well I made it with Fage, your favorite.

    Lisa says:

    No wonder!

    Chris says:

    So — overall… great success?

    Lisa says:

    Great success!

    Ful Mudammas Gyros
    (Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and the authors)
    Tzatziki:
    1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4″ dice (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
    Salt

    Lamb:
    1 12-oz leg of lamb steak
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

    Ful Mudammas:
    1 15-oz can fava beans, drained and rinsed
    1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    Juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tbsp)
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    4 pitas or flatbreads
    Tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)

    Make the tzatziki: Combine the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, and mint in a small bowl and stir until combined. Taste, adding salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate.
    Marinate the lamb: Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and pepper in a large glass bowl. Add the lamb and flip the meat several times to coat in the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    Make the ful mudammas: While the lamb marinates, combine the beans, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Smash the beans with a pestle to form a textured paste. Season with more salt if desired.
    Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the lamb on the hot grill and discard the remaining marinade. Grill for about 4 minutes per side, until the meat reaches medium-rare (about 130F). Take the lamb off the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing very thinly across the grain.
    To assemble, spread about 1/4 cup of the fava bean mixture on each pita or flatbread. Add 3 or 4 slices of lamb, a dollop of tzatziki, and some of the chopped tomato to each. Wrap the pita around the filling, serve, and enjoy.

    4 Gyros

    Thanks again to Tara and Joy for asking us to participate in the virtual pot luck!

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Blogging Event, Greek, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 9 Comments


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