Monday, December 28, 2015

Friends and Food and Wine and Fun

Negroni
Classic Cocktail--the Negroni
Food and wine and cocktails and music and friends. That's all you need for a happy and hip New Year's Eve party. Get ready: Send out the invitations; remove the Christmas decorations, but leave the lights, even the ones on the tree. Make sure you have enough stemware, ice, napkins, assorted glasses, mixers and basic liquor. Vacuum, put away the clutter and get your party playlist done. Now, what to serve for the food portion of your event.

I've got just what you need--a few easy to prepare hand-held taste treats from Food & Wine magazine. You'll want to read up and compile your shopping list in preparation for your end-of-year, new-year-chasing friends & food & wine event. I've reviewed some of their recipes for what I believe are stand outs with ease of preparation. See what you think.

Hogs in a Blanket
Not the usual Pigs in a Blanket, these yummy mouthfuls are prepared with puff pastry and Andouille sausage.

Avocado Toast and Oaxacan Sesame Sauce
Wow! A mouthful to say and much easier to prepare than you might imagine. All of the ingredients are easy to find at any grocery store.

Avocado-Hummus Dip
I love how the F&W folks describe this as a "mash-up" of hummus and guacamole, and I love that they use crudites for dipping. That's a plus for those of us on gluten-free or low-carb diets!

Soppressata Bundles
Genius roll-ups using deli meat. Awesome filling. Make them ahead!

Now, the cocktails. I'd stick with two classics: The Negroni and the Champagne cocktail. Add a few bottles each of a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Champagne (or any nice sparkling wine) and that's all you need.







And now...for the FUN. Click on over to Buzzfeed for 20 Insanely Simple Party Games. G-rated and pretty easy to grasp. Some are loads of fun, even for that one friend who always sits alone and observes.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Quiche Cuteness...the Recipe

Want the recipe for those cute quiches? Of course you do! Here's the recipe for Spanakopeta Egg Muffins, a.k.a. Crustless Quiches. Easy. Delicious. Goes with everything...and cute.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This is my gift to you. Print it. Share it. Give it as a gift. By all means, of course, cook this recipe and enjoy it with your family and friends.

Quiche Cuteness


See, very cute, right? And they're delicious...and easy to prepare...and transportable...and healthy...and gluten-free...and low-carb...and so on. Check back for the recipe. You'll want to make these Spanakopeta mini quiches for a quick grab-and-go meal or for breakfast during the busy holidays. This is one way to get kids to eat their breakfast. Pack it up with some fruit, and they can eat it on the way to school in the morning. They're like gorgeous little souffles--interesting, beautiful and delicious.






Friday, December 4, 2015

National Cookie Day


Leftover pumpkin pie dough, when mixed with patience and love, makes for excellent cookies.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Guerilla Gardening to Feed Strangers



A favorite TED talk of mine. This man is amazing. Warning: There is some "blue language." There is, more importantly, a lot of passion.

To learn more about Ron Finley, visit the TED blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

6-Year-Old Salad Chef

You're never too young to help in the kitchen.

I remember my husband and I at a pre-Thanksgiving pie baking evening in our kitchen with our granddaughter Corley--she had so much fun that she was inspired to dream big with an idea for starting her own pie-baking business...at 8 years of age! That's when dreams seem possible and when we (the adults) have so many opportunities to teach and reach young hearts and minds. We started with Corley seated on the counter next to a sink filled with collards back when she wasn't old enough to say, "collards." She helped my husband Dewey remove the tender leaves from the tough stalks and she learned when a tomato was ripe but firm-- ready for a salad--and when it was mushy and past using in anything except making a sauce.


When Corley's sister, Olivia, was about 6 ...and a half, she helped me prepare one of my favorite salads--a mixture of green vegetables, capers, Pecorino-Romano cheese and vinaigrette. She shaved the cheese and helped to make the dressing.

video



video

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Copper Cookware

Making Bechamel for Pastitsio in one of my favorite copper pots.
Treasured for the stylish good looks and for best and most even heat conductivity, copper pots continue to be one of the most popular cooking utensils among professional and home cooks. Those of us who cook at home probably have stainless steel pots with copper lining the exterior--a much better price point and easier to use and maintain than true copper pots.

I remember researching which set of pots to buy and coming across a comment from someone who probably wanted the pots primarily for show. True or not, that was my assumption. She'd posted a comment which was very negative, saying the the pots "turned" as soon as she used them. Well, yes, copper will do that when you heat it. Ahem!

Which Set to Buy:
If you're looking to buy copper lined pots, here are a few options to consider:


Maintenance:
While they are a great investment, copper pots can be expensive and they do require maintenance. I gather them all about every 3-4 months and use copper cleaner. Sometimes I use this more organic method. It requires a little more elbow grease, but it's worth it for making your kitchen investment look (almost) brand new.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Confessions of An Addict or Potato Lovers Unite!

Yes, I'm talking about potatoes again. It's an "on again" "off again" romance that I've finally learned to manage. You see, potatoes are clingers. They love you and they never leave, always hanging on, typically on your hips and tummy. I realize this and have learned that:

  1. I don't have to eat ALL of the french fries JUST because they're on my plate.
  2. I don't have to have potatoes (or any other starch) at EVERY meal.
  3. If there we have leftover Potatoes Dauphinoise...I WILL EAT...EVERY...LAST...SCRUMPTIOUS BITE. Now I send the leftovers home with others.
  4. I can eat all I want at one meal and not eat potatoes again for another month or two. Easy...once you've become a reformed potato-ist. (sniff!)
  5. A really good steak doesn't always need a potato by its side.
  6. A really good salad CAN be as satisfying and as pleasing as a potato dish. Really.
Potatoes Dauphinoise Despina's Way

Potatoes Dauphinoise. Sexy, right?
The classic recipe for Potatoes Dauphinoise doesn't have cheese; most recipes today include cheese and sometimes garlic. I believe that the garlic is too much. I prefer the simple and elegant tastes of sweet cream and buttery potatoes punctuated by the addition of salt, pepper and a bit of fresh rosemary. You can try this recipe from Food.com, or you can try mine...or you can go wild and try both.

My recipe is simple. There is no recipe!

You'll need potatoes (Yukon Gold is what I typically use), salt, pepper, heavy cream, butter, rosemary.

Oven preheated to 400F. Rack in the center.

Mandolin ready and potatoes peeled.
Butter, cream, salt, pepper and chopped fresh rosemary assembled.

A round ceramic or glass baking dish like a tart or pie pan.  (Any other ceramic or glass baking dish will do, but I prefer the round shape.)

Slice potatoes thinly on the mandolin. Watch your fingers. (Better to lose a bit of potato than to sacrifice a bit of your finger for a bit of a potato. You follow?)

In a large bowl, toss potatoes gently with the rosemary, salt and pepper. How much? Sprinkle in the salt the way you would if you were using it on your plate at the table. Pepper? Until you see a few specks on all the potatoes. Same goes for the rosemary, but keep it light.

Layer the potatoes in a swirl, dot with butter, top with another layer, dot with butter and repeat until your dish is 3/4 of the way full. Pour in cream until it almost covers the top potato layer. Bake for about 1 hour. We want a golden-brown color on top and all of the potatoes to be tender. A toothpick or sharp paring knife inserted in the potatoes will tell you when they're ready. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Whatever you serve with this dish, I consider the lesser dish--the side dish--so let it be roasted chicken, a grilled rib-eye steak or a pork roast. I don't care. I care about the UN-side dish.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Eat

By mettabebe (Thich Nhat Hanh at festival in Da Nang) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has a series of small how to or mindfulness essentials books. My favourite is "How to Eat," which brings the concept of mindfulness to today's busy lifestyles table. Using short meditative entries, Thich Nhat Hanh guides us to a slowing down, a place of being aware of our own breathing and a state of gratitude, as he does in "Each Spoonful Contains the Universe." He encourages us, as we bring each spoonful to our mouth, to "be aware that this food is the gift of the whole universe," and that the earth, the sky and other elements have cooperated and collaborated to bring this one tiny mouthful to our table. Humbling. Gratitude inspiring!

Similarly, when I've observed the fasting tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church (in which I was raised), I reach a point where a simple boiled potato becomes a cherished and anticipated meal. Served straight from the pot in which it was cooked in salted water; peeled and garnished with a turn of the pepper mill, each mouthful is a treat and a gastronomic festival of purity and of gratitude and mindfulness.
Boiled potatoes, zucchini & Kale dressed with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil

We've come so far and so quickly to this point of high technology and internet communications. Perhaps it's now time to swing the pendulum a bit in the opposite direction. Slow down. Allow yourself to be hungry. Grow your own food if you can, or know where it came from and who grew it. Cook your own food--cook it simply, with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Enjoy the food--bite by slow bite--and offer gratitude for the beautiful bounty of simplicity, community and collaboration.

Namaste.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stewed Vegetables...Really?

Really! This is the stuff of my childhood. I tell people that I grew up Vegeterian (with the exception of a weekend chicken or pork dinner) and never knew it. Dinner on most nights was a stewed vegetable accompanied by Feta cheese, bread and Kalamata olives.The juice in the bottom of the pan was how we got our vitamins, and dunking bread into that juice was a very tasty way to get nutrients into our growing bodies.This is authentic Greek home cooking shared with you by an authentic Greek home cooking-grown person, and this is how it goes:
Stewed Green Beans

Gather up some good produce. Sometimes you use frozen. It's okay. The food police does not know where you live. Takes these, for example

  • Fresh vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, artichokes, lima beans, peas)
  • Tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • Tomato Paste 
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Parsley (flat leaf for more flavour)
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Olive oil
Size up the quantity of the vegetables and decide on a pot to cook them in. Make sure it has a lid and make sure that you have a little bit of time to work or play near this pot while it's stewing away. You'll have to stir and taste and season along the way, so plan accordingly.

Wash and prep your veggies, Chop up a big onion. This adds flavour and sweetness, so don't be stingy. Peel and chop a clove or two of garlic. Do this ahead of when you'll need it to release the medicinal properties, which need time to awaken and stand at attention. Go Google it--I'm not lying.

Heat the pot. Pour in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil and the chopped onions. Add salt, stir and cook until soft. Stir in the garlic and veggie(s). A little more salt, a bit of pepper and the herb(s).

Stir, bring to a boil and lower the heat to reduce cooking to a simmer. Cover with lid.

Now you do something else--laundry, pay bills, watch television, return phone calls, read a book. Do anything, as long as you do it close to the pot. No napping, no gardening and no running to the grocery store. You'll need to stir occasionally, you'll want to add a bit more water once or twice throughout the cooking process, you'll have to taste and adjust the seasoning...nothing too difficult. You can do this!

To serve: If you want to serve this up as an authentic Greek dinner, you'll want plenty of Feta cheese and bread on the table.

Bread & Cheese Etiquette
Feta: Don't crumble it up and top your plate with it. That is NOT Greek. The idea of having Feta at the Greek table is to eat it the way we eat pickles in the West. Take a big piece of Feta from the serving dish, place it on your plate and pick it up with your fingers. Take a little bite with each forkful of stewed food (or cut off a piece with your fork) and enjoy it all in your mouth. You do this any other way and you're identified as an outsider immediately!
Bread: It can be French, Italian, Greek--whatever--as long as it's crispy on the outside. Cut it into large slices or pull it apart, but DO use it to dunk into the soupy sauce. This is a vehicle for carrying that goodness to your mouth. Yes, by all means, dunk! It's the right thing to do. It would be a shame to waste stewed veggie juicy-ness by leaving it on your plate. You know what to do. Do it!

Cooking this way is dangerous. I repeat, d.a.n.g.e.r.o.u.s. Yes! No cups or teaspoons or tablespoons in the ingredients list. You just use what you've got. No exact time for this to be ready. You pay attention--listen to the pot, use your nose. Yes, the nose knows--stews smell differently when they're starting out, when they're almost done and when they're about to become one with the bottom of the cooking pot, a.k.a. burn. If you mess it up, you'll adjust and improve next time. You use what appears to be an excessive amount of oil, and this makes you doubt yourself, but have faith. Persevere. Have a glass of wine and go with the Greek vibe. Opa! Live dangerously! This is the safest risk you'll ever take.

Okay! I get it. A little guidance for your first venture? Here you go. This one is so easy, I even taught my youngest granddaughter (at age 8) how to prepare Greek Green Beans last summer.

Greek Green Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium or large sweet onion (like Vidalia)
3 lbs green beans (any variety) washed and prepped
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with juice (use more if you like)
1 bunch of Italian parsley (also called flat leaf)
1/4 t. each of salt and pepper (taste halfway through and add more if you like)

You should have everything ready--all chopping and measuring. Heat the pan, add oil, stir in onion and cook until it's softened. Stir in beans with the salt, pepper, parsley and tomatoes. Add enough water to cover the vegetables...plus 1-2 cups more. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and go do something else, but...that's right--stay close and keep an eye on things for about 1 hour.

Here's another list of ingredients. Follow the same directions as for the beans.
Collards stewed Greek-style.

Greek Stewed Collards
My husband's children still ask for this dish as adults. When they were much younger, they didn't eat many vegetables, but they always enjoyed a bowl full of these stewed greens, so I never worried about nutrition. This is a powerhouse of flavor and nutrients.

2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (with juice)
20 cups of cut and washed collards (be sure to press down collards when  measuring)*
1 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about two cups)
5 large cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
*Pull or cut leaves away from the stalks. Toss the stalks in your compost bin.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Clean Summertime Eating

Who...wants...to...eat...in....the...hot...summertime? Phew! Made me hot and tired just thinking about it! In the middle of a blazing hot workday, I'm not inclined to begin thinking about firing up the stove to stir risotto for an hour or standing over a hot grill for steaks and burgers. Surrounded by pop-up produce stands during this time of the year, I'm certainly not contemplating sauces and lots of preparation time in the kitchen. I'm thinking CLEAN...BASIC...FAST...REFRESHING. I'm in the mood for simplifying my life and my eating.
Heirloom tomatoes from local hydroponics farm. Local sweet potatoes.

WHAT IS CLEAN EATING?
A quick internet (or Pinterest) search can help you out here. Clean eating takes time, requires that you eat whole foods and that you source them close to home. The idea is that you know where your food comes from, how it was grown and that it comes to your kitchen as fresh as possible. No processed foods, no G.M.O. foods and no junk to mix it up with. Example: Green beans or asparagus steamed or boiled until they are al dente; seasoned only with salt and pepper. A boiled potato. A farm fresh tomato. Radishes fresh from the dirt, which is washed off with water from a garden hose. How does that sound? Oh, and because it's all the way at the bottom of this post, I'm letting you know about a wonderful video of Guy Clark singing his song, "Homegrown Tomatoes".

ONE STEP AT A TIME
While the Clean Eating movement is gaining in popularity, it's difficult to make a shift from where you are. So how do you do it? How do you make to move? During our hot summers, it's easier than you might think to get started with clean eating.

Step 1--REAL SEA SALT
Remove salt from your kitchen. Replace it with real sea salt--Celtic or Grey Sea Salt which is salt dried by the sun. This means that you'll have to buy a special salt grinder, but they're available...even on amazon.com  These special salt grinders are ceramic (not metal). The moisture that's left in the naturally dried salt will corrode the metal grinders. Nutritionally, and for your best heart and blood pressure health, real sea salt is the best first step you can take.
Step 2--CANNED TOMATOES & ROTEL
Discard, give away or use up any processed foods.The only canned food in your pantry should be canned tomatoes. Okay, maybe also Rotel original, which is an awesome recipe booster and is mostly tomatoes. Yes, Rotel, which was raised to its proper place of saintliness by Roy Blount, Jr. in Garden & Gun Magazine.
Step 3--KISS COOKING. Yup, Keep It Simple Stupid, is most appropriate in the summertime kitchen. Steam it. Boil it. Eat it raw. Spare the seasonings. Use only lemon juice and a really good olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh-from-your-garden herbs. Have you ever had a ripe and juicy homegrown tomato? Have you ever tasted a Yukon Gold potato that's barely cooled down enough to handle and dusted lightly with salt and pepper? I have, and I consider these flavors to be the essence of what the good earth gives us freely. SO amazingly delicious, laid out in their naked simplicity.
Sliced cherry tomatoes grown organically, local sweet potatoes and simply prepared turnip greens.

Step 4--COOK REAL FOOD. You may have to go back 100 years or more for this. We've covered up the flavor or good food for so long, it may be difficult to find someone who can show you how to boil an egg or a potato; how to cook turnip greens without fatback; how to handle a hot potato or how to assemble a salad bowl full of vegetable goodness without using low-fat salad dressing or lite mayonnaise or even without having to open a can or a box to dress it all with.
Greek Zucchini Salad--A bowl of goodness for clean summertime eating.


Step 5--LEARN MORE. Spend a little time with the folks at the produce stand. Get to know them, where they grow your food, how they are working to garden organically. Read about hydroponic gardening. Who knows, maybe you'll try it out on a small scale one day. Ask a neighbor or elder in your community about container gardening. It's not too late. Next summer you may be picking your own cucumbers and high-octane-sweet cherry tomatoes!

We don't have to jump up and become Clean Eating advocates, but simplifying our food preparation and making an honest effort to buy locally grown (and organically where possible) produce will keep us cooler and give us time to read the new (old) Harper Lee book, "Go Set A Watchman", in the cool air-conditioned comfort of our living rooms.

RECIPE:
Greek Zucchini Salad
(adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart)

I use this as a side dish and find that it holds up well enough to serve again for lunch the next day...maybe with a few slices of tomato and a piece of cantaloupe on the side.

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini cut into small cubes
salt
pepper
½ c red onion finely chopped
4 T chopped fresh dill
2 T fresh lemon juice
4-6 T extra-virgin olive oil (use only 4 T, if you prefer a fresher flavor)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese


Mix everything in a bowl and serve. Will hold up well and can be prepared hours ahead. Can also be prepared with cucumbers instead of zucchini.This is not traditional Greek cooking; it's Greek because of the typical Greek flavor combinations.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Healthy Picking

Spring arrived...and there was arugula salad on the table. Source ingredients locally and from trusted growers, opting for organic produce where possible.Mastering the art of healthy cooking is easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Prep horseradish sauce the night before.
  2. Make arugula salad.
  3. Grill one large steak--medium rare.
  4. Serve*
*with rolls (optional)

Arugula Salad:
8 cups arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or shaved using a veg peeler)
pinch of sea salt
few grinds of black pepper
Dressing:
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. extra virgin olive oil

Toss arugula with dressing and top with cheese. Add more cheese if you wish. I promise it won't spoil the salad.

Grilled (or pan-seared) Steak:
1 large New York Strip or Rib-eye seasoned liberally with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
2 pats butter and 1 T olive oil (if using a pan to cook)

Cook to medium-rare, using your preferred method. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice on the diagonal.

Horseradish Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Duke's mayonnaise
1/4 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup prepared horseradish.
1 T chopped fresh dill

Combine everything except dill. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Just prior to serving, stir in fresh dill.

Monday, March 2, 2015

French Toast Madness

French Toast and it's variations--Lost Bread, Pain Perdu, Pain Dore (or Golden Bread)--and even Bread Pudding, in my book, are all about the same thing--bread soaked in a custard and cooked. With the pudding, we use the oven to bake slowly until it's puffed up into a golden-brown cloud of deliciousness. For the variations on a theme of French Toast, we fry slowly in a heavy skillet or non-stick pan. Ultimately, if you have a good recipe and a little time and patience, you end up with a golden-brown pillow of custard, which is supported by the crust of the bread. This is where the similarities end and where the differences begin.

The custard for bread pudding is sweetened and sometimes plumped raisins are stirred in. When the cooked pudding has cooled enough to handle, you spoon a generous portion into a bowl and top it off with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

French toast, on the other hand, is made with an unsweetened or very lightly sweetened custard. Once out of the pan, it's given just the right amount of authentic maple sugar and a bit of butter for clean-plate club consumption.

French Toast Bread Pudding
I'm a big fan of Ina Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa. She's smart, creative and practical. How? A great example is a recipe that she developed for French Toast Bread Pudding. Now that is easy!

French Toast-cake (pancake)
My own creative solution uses bread torn into large chunks and soaked in the custard. Once the bread's absorbed most of the custard, I pour the whole thing into a buttered skillet, cook one side and flip it like an omelette. Once the second side is golden-brown and a little crispy, I look for the French Toast-cake to puff up a bit and I slide it onto a large serving plate.

The French Toast-cake puffs up like an omelette.


Ingredients:
Your favorite recipe for French Toast
Patience
Well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a good non-stick pan
Butter, to taste
Maple syrup, to taste

A little butter and authentic maple syrup are the only toppings to French Toast-cake perfection.


Use your favorite French Toast recipe, but make sure that you use large chunks of French bread or something similar. My version of French Toast looks a lot like an omelette, but tastes like a souffle of French Toast! Easy AND mmmmmmm!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Kicking Mule

I'm not a heavy drinker, I don't crave alcoholic beverages and I don't have that 5 o'clock somewhere daily habit, but I do enjoy a glass of wine or a refreshing beer now and then. Occasionally, I enjoy a Maker's Mark bourbon over ice and a splash of tap water. When Dewey (the husband) and I are eating out I often feel like starting off our dining adventure with a cocktail, but I find myself struggling to decide which cocktail. In the last few months the decision has been an easy one. "I'll have a Mule--a Moscow Mule!"

The Mule is a classic cocktail . It's part vodka, part lime juice and part ginger beer, which, for the unschooled, is just like ginger ale, but better--much better. The Granary in Mt. Pleasant (a.k.a. Charleston, SC) has the best Moscow Mule anywhere, according to my San Francisco friend, Daniel. He says that it's "very herbal" and refreshing. They (the Granary) say it's made with vodka, house limeade, housemade ginger beer and that will be $7, please. At The Boathouse in Hilton Head, South Carolina, my friend Joyce and I had 3 each!!! The bar at this laid back location calls their version The Hilton Head Mule. It's made with Tito's vodka (try it if you haven't, you'll like it...a lot), Blenheim ginger ale and fresh mint. I say there's simple syrup in there, too, which is how I make mine. When I'm feeling spunky, I like to make my Mule kick, so I add a 1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger and a few muddled mint leaves. Come to think of it, after the 3 Hilton Head Mules I may have been a little muddled too, so prepare yourself.

Have you ever sipped on a Mule in a copper cup? No? Well, you're in for a refreshing treat. Order up at your next outing to a nice bar and they'll serve it in the proper vessel. It will make you feel both rustic and elegant at the same time, if that's possible. The classic Cosmo (a.k.a. Cosmopolitan) comes in an elegant martini glass. Easy to feel elegant and hip. Order a
Gimlet and you'll be presented with yet another elegant and classic glass. Very Mad Men and hip, to be sure.

The official Mule cup is not so pretty. While that simple copper cup is not so elegant and may make you want to break into a Polka, somehow it manages to make you feel elegant, too. It does so because it's like what we say about people, it's not what's on the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts. So, if that's true, then the Moscow Mule cup makes you feel elegant because of how elegant it is on the inside, not on the outside. Are you confused now? Wait, there's more. There's also the conflicting reports of how the Moscow Mule became such a popular drink in the 50s. What I've heard is that it was a smart marketing move to sell more vodka. Booze News gives an excellent version of the story, and it comes with a recipe so you can make your own at home.

Heading to Atlanta this weekend. I'm thinking that a Mule is in my not-too-distant future. Unless it's a Dark & Stormy (the national drink of Bermuda), which, according to Hollis Gillespie, is the drink to enjoy at a bar. She says so in her travel column for PASTE magazine. I've been following her on twitter lately. She is hilarious and engaging. Maybe I have a new favorite? Even though it doesn't come in a copper mug?

For an authentic Dark & Stormy, make sure it's Gosling's and that it's BLACK rum.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wing it! A Super Bowl for the Super Bowl

This year, Super Bowl arrives on Sunday, February 1, 2015, during which time this TV super-watching event is accompanied by the eating of chicken wings. Mix it up a bit this year and pass a super bowl of Greek Chicken Wings as the ultimate accompaniment to your Super Bowl viewing. 

Wings:
50 chicken wings
salt & pepper
juice of one lemon
1 t. dry oregano
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. Texas Pete hot sauce*

In a large bowl, combine the wings with other ingredients and toss to coat. Cover and allow to marinate for a couple of hours. 

* The hot sauce is optional and the amount you use can be increased according to your preference.

The sauce is ready in a jiffy.
On a very hot grill, cook the wings until they are crispy and light brown in color. If grilling is not in your plans, place the wings on a rack on top of a baking sheet and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 425F oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Putting the wings on a rack allows air to circulate around them and create as much crispiness as possible--a plus with chicken wings. As an additional option, you may wish to deep-fry the wings. If you choose to fry the wings, pat lightly with paper towels prior to cooking.

Place the cooked wings in a large bowl, pour in the sauce and toss to coat the wings thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Sauce:
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 T. dry oregano
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped red or yellow onion
pinch of salt and of pepper
Optional: 1 t. Balsamic vinegar (to add extra zing)

Shake it all up in a jar and you're ready to wing it, Greek style. You may want to play this video while you're shaking the jar. Just a suggestion. Entirely optional.