Kitchen Liberation Organization's
1997 Valentine's Dinner

Greece


Saganaki (Flaming Cheese)

Cut the cheese into 3 wedges; place in shallow heat proof serving dish. Brush cheese with butter. Set oven control to broil and/or 550 degrees F. Broil cheese with top 4" to 6" from heat until bubbly light brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Heat brandy until warm; pour over cheese. Ignite immediately. Squeeze lemon over cheese. Cut wedges into halves. Serve with rye bread.


Dolmathakia Lathera or Sarakostiana (Vegetarian Stuffed Vine Leaves)

To prepare fresh leaves: Boil water with a little salt. Plunge the leaves into the boiling water; let boil for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a strainer for a few minute. Transfer to a plate.

To prepare preserved leaves: Plunge the leaves into a bowl of boiling water; let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of cold water to rinse, and transfer to a strainer. This is necessary to remove the salt used to preserve.

Mince the onion - do NOT puree. In a large bowl mix rice, onion, herbs, half the olive oil, salt, pepper, and half the lemon juice. Line the bottom of a wide saucepan with extra vine leaves.

Stuff the leaves: Lay a leaf down with the stem closest. If there is any stem nip it off. Place a teaspoon of filling just above the stem area. Fold the stem edge of the leaf over the filling, and the fold the sides in. Roll into a sausage shape. Repeat until filling is used.

Arrange the stuffed leaves in circles in the saucepan, packing them tightly. Pour the remaining olive oil and lemon juice over the top. Place a small inverted plate on top of the leaves to keep them in place, and pour the hot water over. Remove the plate. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 50 minutes, or until tender. Serve hot or cold with yogurt.


Pita Bread (Pocket Bread)

In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, salt, yeast and sugar. In 1 quart saucepan over medium heat, heat water and salad oil until very warm (about 120 to 130 F).

With mixer at low speed, beat liquid into dry ingredients; beat until just mixed. Increase speed to medium. Beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. Stir in enough additional flour (about 2 cups) to make a soft dough.

On floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed. Shape into ball. Place in greased medium bowl, turning over to grease top. Cover; let dough rise in warm place, away from draft, until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough, turn onto floured surface. Cut dough into 6 pieces. cover, let rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile lightly sprinkle 3 ungreased cookie sheets with cornmeal.

On lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a 7" circle. Place 2 circles on each cookie sheet. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place 45 minutes or until doubled in height.

Preheat oven to 475 F. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until pitas are puffed and golden brown. Serve pitas immediately with favorite filling.

To serve later: Cool five minutes then place warm bread in plastic bags to keep moist and pliable. To reheat: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap pocket breads in foil and heat 10 minutes or until hot.


Hummus (Chick Pea Dip)

Drain the peas, put everything in your food processor . Puree. To serve spread some on a plate (about 1/2" thick or so) drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on some red pepper.


Baba Ganouj (Eggplant Dip)

Wash eggplant & pierce at intervals with a fork. Set on a baking dish & broil close to heat for 20 minutes. Peel & sprinkle quickly with half the lemon juice. Cool & chop finely. Using a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir into eggplant & refrigerate. Serve trimmed with parsley, green peppers & green onion.


Revithia Soupa (Chick Pea Soup)

Wash and soak chick-peas according to package directions. Drain and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 15 minutes. Remove husks by rubbing chick-peas between thumb and forefinger. Rinse well and drain. In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté onions and peas stirring with a wooden spoon, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and stir over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add bay leaf, garlic, salt, pepper, & 6 cups of water to start. Cover and bring to a boil, simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or longer until peas are tender. Add more water it necessary. Remove from heat discard bay leaf and stir in lemon juice.


Domatosalata (Tomato Salad)

Rinse the tomatoes and cut them in half. Slice in thin quarters. Soak the onion in salted water for 5 to 10 minutes and then drain (reduces sharpness). Place all vegetables in a bowl. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano. Top with slices of feta and black olives.


Anginares Avgolemono (Artichokes with Egg & Lemon Sauce)

Clean the artichokes. Have a bowl ready filled with cold water, a bit of salt, and 1/2 the lemon juice. Peel the outer leaves of the artichoke until you reach the tender ones (approximately 3/4 of the artichoke will go). Then cut off the head of the artichoke, halfway down, leaving the heart with a short collar of tender leaves. Scoop out the hairy "choke", being careful to not trim any of the tender heart underneath. Now cut the stalk, leaving only 1-1/2" attached. Peel the outer woody surface, leaving the white part only. Also trim the base of the artichoke of its tough green surface. Rub the artichoke all over with the other half of the lemon and drop into the bowl. This is done to prevent discoloration.

Saute the onions and carrot in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and the juice of 1/2 the lemon. When this comes to a boil add most of the dill, the artichokes, salt, & pepper. Add more water if necessary so that th artichokes are almost covered. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 35 minutes, making sure you are left with a thick, buttery sauce. Add the spring onions for the last 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand for five minutes before adding the avgolemono sauce, otherwise the egg will cook.

Avgolemono Sauce: Beat the eggs with a tablespoon of water for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Beat in the cornflour mixture. Beat in 5 Tbsp of liquid from the artichokes, 1 Tbsp at a time. Pour the sauce over the artichokes and rotate the saucepan. Do not stir as this will break the artichokes. Return the saucepan to a very low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking gently. Sprinkle remaining dill on top.


Psari a la Spetsiota (Baked Fish from the Island of Spetsai)

Clean, rinse, & drain the fish. Oil a roasting dish with a little of the oil. Place the fish in it and season all around and inside with salt & pepper. Place the basil inside the fish.

Prepare the sauce in a separate bowl by mixing the remaining olive oil, garlic, wine, parsley, tomatoes; season with salt & pepper.

Spoon the sauce over the fish and sprinkle with half the bread crumbs. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the fish over carefully, baste it all over with some of its sauce, and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Continue baking for an additional 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes.


Moussaka (Eggplant & Lamb Casserole)

Top and tail the eggplant. Rinse them and cut into 1/4" slices, and immerse in salted water for 30 minutes. Take out, squeeze gently, rinse, and squeeze again. Drain in a colander and pat dry. Fry in hot vegetable oil until they become pale golden on both sides. Drain on absorbent towels on a flat platter.

Saute the onion in 2 Tbsp oil until it looks glistening. Add the meat and saute together, stirring, until all lumps are broken down and the meat starts to change color. Add the wine, tomatoes, and spices. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the grated cheese and parsley.

Bechamel Sauce: Melt the butter and remove from heat. Gradually add the flour and stir to amalgamate. Return to the heat and gradually add the milk and seasonings, stirring continuously. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring, until it has thickened considerably. Remove from heat and let stand briefly; add the cheese and egg yolks. Stir to amalgamate.

To assemble, layer half the eggplant in a roasting pan. Spread half the meat mixture evenly on top, and cover with remaining eggplant. Spread the remaining meat on top. Top with the sauce. Sprinkle the grated cheese all over the top, and then the bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until a golden crust has formed on top. Let stand 5 minutes.


Melopitta Siffnou (Cheese & Honey Pie)

Prepare the Sesame Seed Pastry: Mix all ingredients until blended; press firmly and evenly against bottom and side of a 9" pie plate. Bake in 475 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Prepare filling: Beat cream cheese in large mixer bowl on medium speed until creamy. Add remaining ingredients; beat until light and fluffy. Pour into baked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees until firm, 40 to 50 minutes. Refrigerate until serving time.


Chocolate Baklava with Fudge Sauce (Honey & Walnut Cakes)

Start by making syrup. Cook the first 4 ingredients in a large sauce pan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat & boil gently 20 minutes. Cool. Discard cinnamon.

Combine walnuts, almond extract, & 2 cups syrup in large bowl. Add more syrup if necessary to make moist mixture that sticks together. Reserve unused syrup.

Cut Phyllo sheets in half crosswise. Brush 1 sheet with butter (keep remainder covered with wax paper & damp towel). Place 2 Tbsp filling on short end. Fold long edges over filling. Roll up jelly roll fashion, starting at short end with filling. Arrange seam side down on greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining Phyllo sheets. Space pastries 2" apart.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake pastries until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Brush top of each pastry with some reserved syrup to glaze. Cool.

To make fudge sauce, melt butter & chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water. Slowly mix in sugar alternately with milk. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, place pastries on dishes. Spoon fudge sauce over & top with extra walnuts. Makes 40.