Sunday, August 11, 2013

Two families and a Big Fat Greek Dinner

Tonight we are entertaining another family with our favorite foods from our church culture, Greek. The menu has an impressive variety of our favorite Greek foods including Souvlaki, lamb, Chicken, Spanakopita and Tiropita. Roasted potatoes and a fresh Greek salad (no lettuce) and a variety of snacks including Keftedes (Greek meatballs), Dolmas (stuffed Grape leaves) hummus and pita breads. We searched Omaha top to bottom for so Mythos beer but came up empty handed. We did, however, manage Ouzo so that will be our Greek spirits of choice tonight. I even managed to make some Baklava for dessert with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

The Baumers will be our guests at the insistence of their eldest, Alexa, that we meet as families and share a meal. For their dinner they are going to draw on their strong German heritage and I am sure delight us with some fantastic German cuisine. The bar had to be raised so I bought a nice leg of lamb for kabobs. Kinda of a family culture smackdown. Mike is very competitive but not much.

The recipes:

The salad was a simple combination of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta and kalamata olives and garlic with a dressing of lemon juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil. i seasoned it with mint, oregano, salt and pepper.

Tzatziki was a combination of Greek Yogurt and Sour Cream with garlic, dill and cucumbers that had been shredded (skins on) and expressed of their liquid. A bit of olive oil and salt rounded out the sauce. I made it a few days ahead to get the maximum flavor out of the mix.

The lamb was cut into chunks and marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin for a few hours. I grilled it to medium but held it too warm. Should have turned the oven to 160 cause it continued to cook in the oven. Not as tender as I hoped. It sure was good the next day though. 

The Souvlaki was pork shoulder in the form of boneless ribs, cubed and marinated in olive oil and vinegar, garlic S&P and oregano. I will never make kabobs of any other pork product. They were tender and crazy delicious.

The chicken was brined after I cut each breast in half longitudinally and then  grilled. After it came off the grill I sliced it against the grain and dressed it with lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkled with fresh oregano leaves.

The Keftedes were a mix of hamburger and ground lamb. I  mixed in some milk soaked bread slices, onion, mint and garlic. S&P of course and fried them in olive oil. Served at room temperature.

I made the Tiropitas and Spanokopitas several days before with various combinations of recipes I found on line. There was a bit of variation so I just picked what I thought sounded the best. There was feta and garlic in both of them. The cheese pies had Ricotta and cream cheese as well. I made these and froze them days ahead then baked them frozen at 350 and they were perfect.

I am sad to say I purchased the Dolmas at Whole Foods. They are easy to make but for some reason, one the Greek ladies brought these to a dinner and they were astoundingly good. Very expensive though. $12 a pound is crazy. Only for an occasion like this.

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