This is a great way to use up a lot of CSA vegetables, plus it’s delicious! This greek meal tastes equally as well the next day for a picnic lunch – you can even eat it cold! (*Indicates Potomac Vegetable Farm (PVF) produce. For more information about what we are doing with our PVF CSA share, click here.)
This past Friday, before snowpocalypse 2k9, Greg and I had Kim, Rex, John and Sutton over for our monthly dinner party. After making lamb meatballs and tzatsiki as an appetizer for our christmas cocktail the week prior, I had Greek food on the brain, and devised the following menu:
Chilled and Dilled Avgolemono Soup
Simple Greek Salad
Grilled Lamb Skewers
Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes, and Dill
Roasted Garbanzo Beans with Garlic and Swiss Chard
Semolina and Ground Almond Cake
I was able to use a lot of the items from our final CSA box that Kim and Rex picked up for us last week. Red wine and good conversation flowed, and before we knew it, there was a few inches of snow on the ground.
This recipe from Gourmet was my favorite side of the night. It was simple, fresh, and satisfying. I will definitely be bringing this to summer picnics next year.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta (6 ounces)
Toss together oil, tomatoes, dill, zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large serving bowl. Let stand at least ten minutes
Meanwhile, cook orzo in a pasta pott of boiling salted water (1 1/2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente
Drain orzo and toss with tomato mixture. Add feta and toss again.
A very easy recipe, from Bon Apetit, and a good way to use up the greens that come so often in the CSA. I’m sure this would be great with spinach, bok choy, kale, or any other leafy-green. I used Rainbow Chard. The garbanzo beans can be made a day ahead, which saved time on Friday.
- 2 15.5-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (about 3 cups)
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 large shallots
- 3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
- 3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 bunches Rainbow chard, center stems cut out, leaves coarsely torn
- 2 cups low-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour oil over; cover dish with foil. Roast until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. Cover; cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover; add half of chard. Toss until chard wilts and volume is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard. Toss until chard wilts, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season chard with salt and pepper. Transfer chard mixture to large sieve set over bowl and drain. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Drain garbanzos and reserve oil; discard bay leaves. Combine garbanzos and chard in large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons oil reserved from garbanzos. Toss over medium heat until warmed through, moistening with more oil by tablespoonfuls if needed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This recipe, from Cookie, was such a hit at the christmas cocktail, that I had to make it again. During the christmas party, I made tiny meatballs. They all went so fast that I barely had time to eat one. For the dinner party, I formed the meat on a skewer, and grilled it on a Krups panini press (thanks, Grandma!). The resulting product was moist inside, with a crisp, grilled outside – the flavor and texture was spot-on both times. I was particular about where I got the meat from, so I got naturally-raised ground lamb from Whole Foods. I am looking for any excuse to make these again.
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 heaping tablespoons dry bulgur, soaked in 1 cup water until soft (about 30 minutes), then drained
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, grated and drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Mix together everything but the oil with your hands. Form the mixture into ovals about the size and thickness of small hamburger patties.
2. Put the meat on skewers (as shown) and brush it with the oil. Grill or broil the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
3. Serve with tzatsiki, if desired.
This recipe comes straight from Gourmet. I was skeptical at first, but it is actually a light, creamy soup that made a nice starter. I added a bit more lemon juice than it called for because I thought it needed some brightening. This would probably be very refreshing in the summer, though I don’t think it will enter my heavy rotation.
- 4 cups chicken stock, or 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth plus 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup medium-or long-grain white rice
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 scallion green, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
Simmer stock and rice in a heavy medium saucepan, covered, until rice is very tender, about 30 minutes. Purée mixture in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids). Whisk eggs together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot stock mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until soup registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Stir in lemon juice, then quick-chill in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cold. Stir in scallion, dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
A simple recipe from Bon Apetit, I also added some tomatoes, white onion and olives to this. To remove the sharpness of the onion, I soaked it in ice water for 5 minutes before adding it to the salad. A nice, light side to go along with some of the heavier items.
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 16 cups torn romaine lettuce (about 1 large head)
- 1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into 2 1/2×1/4×1/4-inch strips
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 small jar kalamata olives, drained
Whisk oil, juice and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine lettuce; cucumber, green onions and dill in large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Originally from The Glorious Foods of Greece, this is a different and elegant desert that I would highly recommend as a sweet end to a Greek feast. It’s not overly sweet like Baklavah, and the texture is unique and satisfying. I paired it with some apples from the farmer’s market and drizzled those with some of the leftover cinnamon clove simple syrup. The recipe calls for these to be baked in a cake pan, but I decided to make individual servings and it worked out just fine!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups coarse semolina
- 2 scant teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 4 to 5 whole cloves, to taste
- One 1-inch strip lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons brandy
1. With an electric mixer in a large bowl, whip the cup of butter until soft. Add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time and whip until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue whipping for about 5 minutes.
2. Combine the semolina, baking powder, almonds, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Slowly add the semolina mixture to the butter and sugar, beating to combine thoroughly.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degees. Butter a 12- by 18-inch glass baking pan. In a medium metal bowl, place the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the meringue into the semolina mixture, working fast to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. About 15 minutes before the cake is finished baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, add the spices, zest, and brandy. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the syrup is viscous, about 10 minutes.
5. When the samali is baked, pull it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Score it into 3-inch square pieces with a sharp paring knife. Pour the warm syrup over the hot cake and place back in the oven. Bake until the syrup is absorbed, another 5 to 7 minutes, and remove from the oven. Let cool and serve.
Three-Bean Vegetable Moussaka
(Based loosely on CookingLight recipe)
- 4-6 oz feta cheese, crumbled (organic, whole foods)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 15 oz organic ricotta cheese (organic, YES! Organic Market)
- 1 large onion, chopped (farmers’ market)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced (farmers’ market)
- 1 large bunch of green swiss chard (farmers’ market)
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 3 medium eggplants (farmers’ market)
- 1 jar (about 25 oz) marinara sauce (Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil) (if you have the time, make your own simple sauce with 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup EVOO, chopped basil, pepper – simmer for 20-40 minutes, or until slightly thickened)
- 1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained
- 1 can (16 oz) adzuki beans, drained
- 1 can (16 oz) navy beans, drained
- 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Canola oil cooking spray
- Cut eggplant lengthwise, into 1/4 inch slices. Coat with some EVOO, freshly ground salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until cooked through. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (Alternative cooking method: arrange eggplant on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Reduce oven to 375 degrees.)
- While eggplant is grilling or baking, saute onions and garlic in EVOO until soft (about 5-10 minutes). Meanwhile, rinse and chop swiss chard. Add to pan and cook until wilted. Turn off heat, set aside.
- Combine feta through ricotta cheese in a bowl, set aside.
- Shred mozzarella cheese using salad shooter or food processor.
- Rinse and drain beans together in a colander.
- Add sauteed swiss chard to feta mix.
- Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 13X9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 5 eggplant slices over marinara, or enough to cover the marinara with one single layer of eggplant. Top with 1 2/3 cups swiss chard/feta mixture, and 1/3 of the beans. Repeat the layers. Cover and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is browned.
Couscous with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
- 1 cup couscous (bulk, from Whole Foods)
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (trader joe’s)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (trader joe’s)
- Bring water to boil in medium sauce pan with tight fitting lid.
- Add couscous and raisins. Stir, cover and remove from heat.
- Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Immediately fluff with a fork and add stir in pine nuts.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve Moussaka and couscous side by side.