I'm Just Here To Cook…and Eat!


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Fried Keftedhes (meatballs)

I found another childhood favorite while combing through my Greek cookbook – fried Greek meatballs. My yaya (grandma) used to make these all the time and she taught my mom. I really must ask my mom if she has this recipe as I’m sure my yaya doesn’t remember any more. But this recipe looked amazing, and was! Totally brought back memories of when she would make them.

recipe from Nosthimia! The Greek American Family Cookbook by Georgia Sarianides copyright 2004

ingredients

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 large onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 egg slightly beaten
2 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper
3/4 to 1 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil, for frying

directions

Mix meat, bread crumbs, grated onion, garlic, egg, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Knead all of the ingredients very well, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape 1 tablespoon of meat into a small meatball. Dredge meatballs on flour, then add oil to a large heavy skillet and heat it until it’s almost smoking. Fry meatballs a few at a time, turning them constantly until brown. Serve hot or cold.
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Serve with a salad of tomato, feta and kalamata olives dressed with oregano, salt, pepper and oil. Enjoy!

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Kerkiraiki Patsitsada – Corfu Spicy Veal (or beef) Stew with Pasta

Although it was super hot today, I wanted one of those long cooking, comforting Sunday dinners that takes me deep into my memories of family. So, after a long food shopping trip, I came home and threw the AC on high to stay in the kitchen and cook. My aunt, who I’ve told you about, used to make this amazing stew beef in tomato sauce over pasta. I distinctly remember the smell of this sauce cooking on the stove after coming in from her pool in the yard. It’s one of those smells- coming in from the hot California sun still wet from the pool, entering the air conditioning and the tomato sauce aroma blasting you in the face- that i can remember vividly. Heaven. Of course this is one of those recipes that were a little of this, a bit of that and never written down. I watched her make it quite a few times so have the general idea of how it goes, but found a recipe after combing through my Greek cookbooks and decided to give it a try. Sundays may mean the end of the weekend, back to work it school, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it with a bit of home cooking. 🙂

recipe from Nosthimia! The Greek American Family Cookbook by Georgia Sarianides copyright 2004

ingredients
3 to 3 1/2 lbs boneless beef or veal, cut into large stewing pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
3 cups chopped and peeled fresh tomatoes, with juice, or 1 (28 oz) can peeled tomatoes, chopped, with juice
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
2 cups water
1 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup grated kefalotyri cheese or Parmesan cheese

directions

In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté meat to brown lightly on all sides. Add onion and garlic and stir frequently for 5 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 2 hours or until meat is tender and sauce is thickened, adding water if necessary. Serve over pasta sprinkled with cheese.

Serve with choice of vegetable and of course feta and kalamata olives. Enjoy!

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Memories of a Hawaiian Breakfast

I’ve recently joined Instagram to keep in touch through pictures with my cousins. I bought a papaya in the store and cut it open this morning. I had to take a picture to share with them! It instantly reminded me of breakfast on the beach in Hawaii with my parents and sister. Before going to Hawaii I had never had papaya before. The first morning I saw it on the breakfast menu I thought I had to try it. “Half of Papaya”. It was amazing! I had it every morning for the rest of that trip and then again on our second return. Now I treat myself every now and again at the supermarket when I see them. But I’m going to be honest. It doesn’t compare with the freshness of getting them in Hawaii. But please do try one! It’s delicious and sweet and very good for you. Just cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Then dig in with a spoon. At least that is how they do it in Hawaii. :). Aloha!

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Sushi!

Treated myself to sushi tonight! Rainy day in the northeast, Friday night in, Dateline on tv… Needed to order in delivery! I tried a new local sushi place and a new roll. Atomic Roll: tuna, jalapeño, avocado, mango, wrapped in chili soy paper, served with spicy sauce. Yum!! I know, it’s not something I’ve cooked, but had to share in case you ever see something like this on a menu! You must try it!

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Strawberries in a Savory Dish?

So, I am typically pretty honest, and tell things how they are. I’m going to be honest with all of you, and tell you I tried a recipe tonight which included strawberries in a savory dish. It was not good. I was so excited to find a recipe which featured the strawberry for dinner, and I was so excited to cook it and share it with all you. Fail. The good news is, I did have a nice glass of strawberry infused wine while I cooked! Just mash 4 nice size strawberries in a wine glass and pour in your favorite ice cold white wine!

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So, you’re probably asking “why is she posting such a fail of a dish, with no recipe and no idea of what was made?” Well I pose the question, and challenge, to all of you… Can strawberries work in a savory dish? (Salads not included.) Does anyone out there have any recipes that work? Anyone? Please, share! 🙂


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Strawberry Fields

It’s strawberry picking time in the northeast. So yesterday,with the sun shining and music in my ears, I decided to spend my morning in the fields picking some beautiful strawberries. I’ve never done this before and I had such a great time. Here are some tips from my lessons learned:

1) Wear sneakers or some other supportive shoe. The dirt is uneven and easy to trip out there. I had sneakers on and I still tripped a few times over some large rocks.
2) Sunscreen!! Yes, I forgot this and got burnt even in the early morning hours! The fields are wide open so there is nothing to protect you from the sun.
3) Bring water. It’s hot out there!
4) Ladies, don’t wear a large shoulder bag. You’re constantly bending down picking the strawberries and your bag will fall into you and the plants. Either don’t bring one or wear a small satchel like bag. My nice tan bag ended up placed nicely on the dirt because I couldn’t take it falling into me anymore!
5) It may not look like you’ve picked a lot, but you have. I ended up with over 6lbs!! No idea what I’ll do with all this!

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So, after bringing home all these strawberries, I thought what in the world now. I can only eat so many plain! I pureed some and froze it to make drinks later on. But then I found a recipe for Strawberry Muffins in my food network app and thought I’d give it a try.

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Strawberry Muffins
recipe from Ina Garten, 2012

ingredients
3 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cup milk
2 extra large eggs, beaten
1/2 lbs (2 sticks) undated butter, melted
2 cups diced fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar

directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Stir with your hand to be sure the ingredients are combined.

In a 2-cup glass measure, combine the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, pour the wet mixture into the well, and stir until just combined. There will be some lumps but don’t overmix the batter! Add the strawberries and sugar and stir gently to combine.

Using a 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the muffin cups to fill the liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.

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