How To Not Become Overwhelmed by The Excellence of Other Bloggers & Vegetarian Moussaka

I’m navigating the blogging scene. As a personal creative outlet and as an accompaniment to my forming Personal Chef business, I must research other bloggers and their craft, in order to learn to appear like I know what I’m doing.
So far so good.
I’m learning photography and all kinds of hip stuff from Movita and Lan. Not that they are the only talented people with probably  great cameras out there, but one can only concentrate on so many research subjects at a time. Excellence must be studied in order to fully appreciate how much work is involved. And these ladies make it seem easy! Then there is Poppy, the first blogger that clicked “like” on my first blog posting. She is teaching me about the diligence involved to make a blog successful.
Thank you, Poppy.

I’d love to have a dinner party with these ladies, everyone bringing a dish or three. And their cameras. But they are very busy (reading blogs makes one kind of involved in the author’s life). Lan is doing pre-honeymoon preparations, Movita is going into Nutcracker mode, and Poppy keeps finding creative and delicious ways for Vegans to be able to deal with being Vegans. I’m just teasing, Poppy. Your enthusiasm and the skill in your craft are eminent and you must tell me how you manage to keep the weight off while cooking so many wonderful things.

I’m roasting some turkey thighs right now (cover your eyes, Poppy!) for a future post, so until that is done, I’ll post the recipe for my Vegetarian Moussaka  (you can uncover them now). I’d love to learn how to make vegan Bechamel…

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This was the only recipe I ever got a bad review on, by a customer who had come by and bought some of this Moussaka for himself and his wife during the pre-Easter fasting period (Greeks like to use these 40-day-long fasting periods that fall on their religious calendar just before Easter, Christmas, and the 15th of August, for periods of healthier eating, detox, or actually fasting because they feel they have to).
When I had packaged his two portions of Vegetarian Moussaka for him to take home, he repeatedly asked me whether I was sure it contained no meat. I assured him that since I myself was involved in the cooking process, I could testify that no, this special pre-Easter Moussaka, contained absolutely no meat, but that it did contain milk and eggs and cheese.

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This did not concern him. I explained how soya granules absorbed the flavors of whatever you gave it to absorb and what with the wine, herbs, spices, and vegetables the soya was sauteed with, it may resemble the flavors that ground meat was normally cooked with, but of course will not taste of the meat itself.
“Of course,” he replied.

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So he left, and other customers came and left the shop; the moussaka was doing quite well that day, and I wished as I always did when something went well, that I had made more. As I was packaging the last three pieces of the Moussaka and some salads, the phone rang, and I answered it cradling the phone between my shoulder and my ear, while I kept packing the food up.
“Hello! Anke’s Kitchen. Can I help you? (in Greek)”
“You lied to me!(ψέματα μου είπες)”, an enraged voice coming out of the phone and made me wish my hands were free.
“Who is this? What are you talking about? (ΤΙ;)” as I quickly tried to hurry packing the food, salads and desserts into the carrier bag. The waiting customer has realized something is wrong.
“I’m sitting here with my wife who is an expert and she knows! She can tell! (Ξέρει! Ξέρει!)”
“Ποιός ξερεί τι; (who knows what?!)”
“This vegetarian meal you sold us! Do you think we are fools?! Foreigners! We take our fasting seriously! You can’t just sell us this and think we won’t notice! MY WIFE KNOWS! YOU CAN’T FOOL HER! THERE IS MEAT IN THIS DISH! (blablabla in Greek)”

At this point I don’t know what to say. Do I insist and explain, making him, the honorable customer, wrong? Do I up the level of my voice that will also certainly make my present customer flinch and insist that NO, it is SOYA GRANULES!?
Before I had the chance to decide, he yells a final “WE WON’T BE BACK!” and hangs up loudly causing me to almost drop the phone.
I must have looked pale because my waiting customer looked concerned and asked me whether I was alright. I explained what had just happened and how it was the most bizarre complement that I have ever received.She thought it was rather amusing.

“Are you fasting?” I ask her as I filled the bag with the final four pieces of egg-less desserts, taking care that none of the packages leaked cinnamon flavored sugar syrup.
“Oh yes. We find this time of the year very beneficial for eating lighter, healthier, and less. Not because we don’t like meat.”
“I see”, I said as I heaved the carrier bag over the counter with that day’s fasting provisions, hoping it wouldn’t break.

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Vegetarian Moussaka

serves 8

4 medium sized eggplants, sliced about 1/2″ (1cm) thick
2lbs (1 kilo) of potatoes, sliced 1/2″ (1cm) thick
2lbs (1 kilo) zucchini or mixed types of squash, slice 1/2″ (1cm) thick
olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

For fake meat filling:
1 cup dried soya granules
3 cups hot water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium sized onions, chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1lb (1/2 kilo) vine ripened tomatoes grated, OR 5 tablespoons tomato paste diluted in  1 1/2 cups of water, OR 14.5oz (411g) can of chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups (1/4 liter) of dry red wine
2 teaspoons dried oregano, or 1 handful fresh oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For Bechamel Sauce:
1 double batch as listed here (Faith has done a wonderful job here describing, as well as photographing, the Bechamel making process), plus:
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
two pinches of coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, or Gruyere cheese
Breadcrumbs (for sprinkling)
a few small pats of butter

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1) Place sliced eggplant slices in a colander and rub them with salt (I use sea salt for everything). Leave them be for about an hour so they can sweat out whatever bitterness they may contain. Rinse, then pat dry.

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2) Pour the soya granules in a bowl after you have rubbed salt on the eggplant slices and cover with  the hot water. Let soak it soak while you prep the remaining ingredients. Afetr soaking, drain and squeeze out excess water. It will have the consistency of cooked rice, but it will not get any mushier by extra cooking, as rice would do. It will soak up flavorful goodness later, so squeeze out as much water as you can.

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Making the fake meat filling:
Saute the onion, celery, carrot, and pepper in olive oil, in a largish casserole dish, until the onions are glassy.
Add the soaked, drained, and squeezed granules. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick.

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Add the red wine, the tomatoes, and the spices. Lower the heat and let simmer until the most of the liquid had evaporated, stirring occasionally. Set aside when done.
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In a pan, fry until golden, then drain on paper: the potato slices, the zucchini (or mixed squash) slices, and then the eggplant slices.

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After they have cooled a bit, layer them into a baking dish, starting with the potato, then the eggplant, then the zuchini and/or squash slices. I divided everything into two baking dishes so that I could freeze one before baking, for some gloomy time in the winter when I want to be reminded of summer.

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Spoon a thick layer of soya /veggie mix onto the fried slice layers

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Make the double Bechamel batch by following Faith’s  instructions, then add the nutmeg, white pepper, garlic powder, a little more sea salt, and eggs. Mix well with a whisk, then pour the sauce over the soya/veggie mix, making sure you leave just a tad of room so it doesn’t run over the edge while baking. Sprinkle with grated cheese, breadcrumbs, and small pats of butter.

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Bake in a 360F (180C) Oven for about an hour, or until the top of the Bechamel is browned and bubbly. Let stand until almost room temperature. Serve in large slices, or wedges. It will all hold together if it has had a chance to cool, otherwise you risk a baking dish full of swimming ingredients.

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Do a little like Zorba and dance a little Sirtaki.

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Putting The Garden To Bed & Carrot Cumin Soup

Last night Mr Fabelhaft and I behaved in bed. We did not play tug-o-war with the sheet and comforter because we wore pajamas. But I did find myself being soothed as I realized that the anguished guttural sound I was hearing was coming out of my own throat. The picture I was seeing in my dream was that of a tomato. I don’t remember anything having to do with this tomato; whether it was hunting me, or I it, or whether I was drowning in its juices. All I know is that it’s over. The bale garden has been put to bed for the coming winter.

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Those bushes still protruding from the bales are basil plants that will wilt when the regular nightly frost hits. In the meantime enough basil must be picked and frozen.

First we had to take everything off the vines that could still ripen indoors. Then the plants got cut back and yanked.

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Some of these semi decomposed bales will go into the raised beds for next year. Others will be used as mulch around flower beds. What’s left over gets mixed with the compost and becomes the Most Amazing Growing Compound. I’m curious what kind of rogue vegetable will shoot out of it next year.

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Not that there isn’t any work left to do.

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Maybe that’s what that dream was telling me.
That I should cook something far related from tomatoes.
Something fall colored.
Something that would look cool on a Halloween dinner table.

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Carrot Cumin Soup

serves 6

1/4 cup (50 ml) olive oil
1lb carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 medium sized onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves of garlic, cut in half
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons almond butter (peanut butter is also good, but use only 2 tablespoons)
full fat Greek yogurt  (for dolloping)
toasted black sesame seeds (for sprinkling)
cold pressed pumpkin seed oil (for drizzling)

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Saute the carrot, onion, and potato chunks in the olive oil over medium heat.

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After blending and pounding the spices and seeds in a mortar , add them to sauteing vegetables. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt, then just cover everything with water.

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When everything is thoroughly cooked, blend with an electric blending wand until smooth.

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Lastly, when you have turned off the heat under the pot, but the soup is still hot, blend in the nut butter. Don’t worry if the nut butter is slightly crunchy. This will add a nice texture to the soup. Adjust seasonings, add more salt if necessary.

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan on medium heat, until they give off a nice aroma. Remove from heat immediately.

Before serving the soup, give the yogurt a quick whip with a spoon or fork for maximum dolloping effect.

Serve soup with small dollops of yogurt, sprinkled with the sesame seeds, and drizzled with the pumpkin seed oil. Serve with a crusty bread, a salad of your choice (beets with skordalia?), and a nicely chilled semi-dry white wine. We had ours with a wonderful Gewurztraminer from the newly discovered Victorianbourg Wine Estate which lies along the Niagara wine trail.
Enjoy!

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September & Fried Green Tomatoes

September is glorious, no matter where I’ve lived. The heavy heat of summer is gone, the days are still warm and lovely, and the nights a pleasure to sleep through. I’m a big fan of wide open windows, curtains blowing in breezes, and the sounds of country living.
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In the northern States and in Austria, fall colors are telling us that summer will soon be over, and that we should probably start collecting firewood. In Mykonos, the masses of charter tourists are gone and are replaced by hip independent travelers who can travel when the kids can’t. In Kalamata, where every kind of tourist season has ended, and the beaches are marvelously empty, many locals start wearing their fall boots, even when the weather still calls for bikinis. I would normally say their new fall boots because Greeks are very fashion conscious people, but what with the ongoing financial crisis, they probably have to make do with older models.

Mr. Fabelhaft and myself are taking advantage of our lovely outdoor deck as much as we still can. We were sitting out there, having an early evening glass of wine, when I reminisced how I used to have this weird obsession with living in really old, whitewashed, Mykonian houses. These were usually single roomed, rectangular,  very thick walled structures, with small windows that helped control the temperature. In the summer the houses were cool, and in the winters they helped keep the interior warm.

View from inside Pigados, 1987.

View from inside Pigados, 1987.

They often had small unused fireplaces in a corner that were once used for cooking. Rarely did they have formal bathrooms.

I preferred these houses out in the middle of nowhere. My excuse was that I had grown up in suburban New Jersey and was therefor used to living at a distance from the downtown happenings in NYC. In Venice, California, I had been at a distance from downtown, LA (even though Venice was pretty damn cool itself), so of course, on Mykonos, my living out in some fields, or near the light house, was totally justified.
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Often these houses lacked some kind of basic utility. In one, there was no electricity, but it did have a nice clean well I could haul water out of (and warm in a black bucket in the sun), for my daily ablutions.
In another, I had electricity but no well. That was solved by a cleverly built tank that was built on to the top of the house. It was filled by having one of the four noisy and leaking water trucks that roamed the island  come by and drive down my dirt road to do its job.

In this house, the water tank was hidden in the curved structure attached to the house. It was adorned with arches, which also served as steps to the top of the house.

In this house, the water tank was hidden in the curved structure attached to the house. It was adorned with arches, which also served as steps to the top of the house.

The best house of all that I lived in back then, belonged to a Mykonian fashion designer named Yiannis Galatis. He was also well known at the time for trying to preserve these gems of Cycladic architecture.

It was a  small home built onto the side of a steep hill, composed out of single roomed rectangular structures, either on top of, or next to each other. There was a beautiful downward sloping garden and a lovely entrance gate.

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Between the white sugar coated cubes (that’s what they always reminded me of) was a small courtyard with a fireplace and two perfectly placed pine trees (they smelled so GOOD) between which I could hang my hammock.
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The view, of course, was unadulterated Mediterranean-ness; the sea, the island’s hills, stone walls and fig trees, a few houses scattered amongst the fields of dried grass. One of my favorite afternoon nap locations.

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Mr. Fabelhaft poured me another glass of wine and asked me what we’ll be cooking the next day. I turned my head to see what the garden dictated.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy (If You Like) Pink Sauce

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This dish is far from Greek, but it would fit beautifully on a table decked with appetizers, mezes, and tapas. Fried tomatoes can accompany ouzo as well as a steak, and when leftover and cold, make filling and delicious vegetarian sandwiches. If you eat them on their own (which I also highly recommend), make more.

Serves 4

4-5 medium sized roundly shaped very green tomatoes (you want to avoid any ripeness as this will only lead to mushiness)

1 1/2 cup of buttermilk OR 1 cup of thick Greek yogurt (I prefer full fat) with just enough milk to make it just a tad runnier – about 1/4 cup

2 cups of cornmeal

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground sweet red pepper
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)

oil for frying

Cut the tomatoes into 1/2″ (or 1cm) slices. Place them in the bowl with the buttermilk or yogurt/milk mix and let them marinate for at least a half hour.

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While they are marinating, mix the cornmeal with the spices.

Dredge the tomato slices through the cornmeal mix, then fry to golden brown in medium to hot oil. Drain on paper, cool to almost room temperature, then serve with the spicy (if you like) pink sauce.

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Spicy (If You Like) Pink Sauce

3/4 mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
small amounts of your favorite spicy red pepper sauce
(you’ll know best what amount suits you best – if at all)

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Blend all ingredients except hot pepper sauce together well. Serve with Fried Green Tomatoes, using hot sauce as an added garnish where desired.

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Flat Roofs & Tomatoes

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We’re slowly reaching the finish line here in Tomato-land. A cool night last night reminded us that it will all soon be over. We will stop eating tomato salads for lunch and dinner, we will stop making stuffed tomatoes to eat with our lunch salads and dinner salads; no more beeftekis baked with tomato slices, no more fresh tomato sauce with roasted veggies, no more green pickled tomatoes, but most of all, no more boiling down and processing, and no more drying.

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There’s still quite a few kilos of loaded plants out there in the collapsing bales, but the tomatoes will be picked soon, I’m sure, to finish ripening on the dining room table downstairs…. and yes, be processed. Those will be The Last.

The end is near.

The end is near.

I never made dried tomatoes while I was in Mykonos. I never even met anyone else that did either (not that this means anything), but for some reason Mykonian flat roofed houses seem to come to mind when I dry tomatoes. Probably because they are ideal for this job. Guaranteed sunshine, a dry atmosphere, and a steady northwind to keep humidity and rot away. Too bad I can’t beam ourselves and our tomatoes over there for a quick drying session. We’d hook up with some old pals, and just hang out a bit. Back in the day, some of those pals also used those flat roofed houses for other activities which did not make me very popular with the locals. Because of the strange behavior of my friends, I’m sure my neighbors thought I was a real hussy. I think it was probably a good thing that my Greek wasn’t very fluent then.

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Working with tourists was an exhausting business. Seven days a week, day in day out, morning and evening, often going on until late at night. To a Greek, the shop closes when the last customer leaves. This meant we sometimes had to draw straws as to who would stay awake to close up the shop. We just had to party on and keep the vibrations going because that was how money was earned. Tourists came to relax, blow off steam, or just frolic in their irresponsibility, and we who worked all summer long had to provide the services and the atmosphere they thrived in and paid for. The only time we could sleep was on the beach between shifts, or wherever we lived, but it was always just a few hours snatched here and there, and never enough. So sometimes one had to get inventive.

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Homemade Tomato Sauce (simple unstrained method)

For this process you will need a water bath canning system and mason type jars with rings and lids. Or a pot tall enough to boil the jars in, completely covered in water. I did this the first time I canned in a water bath. I threw some knives into the bottom of the pot for the jars to stand on so they wouldn’t directly touch the bottom and possibly explode. After you try this once, you end up purchasing a regular canning system.

Collect your tomatoes and wash them, scraping away any dried leaves or dirt. In a food processor, chop them, then pour them into a large pot. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate them. This method may take more time, but you will also end up with less tomato skins in your sauce. Personally this doesn’t really bother me, but some people it does. These same people will then also have to strain their tomato sauce to make it pure and seedless. I’m not one of those. I buy that kind.
Cook your tomato sauce on a medium to slow heat until it has reduced by at least 30%. I like to cook mine until it is reduced  by more than half. This creates a thick and flavorful sauce, but it also takes about six to seven hours of simmering.

When your sauce has reduced enough, put it on a slow simmer on a back burner while you sterilize your jars, lids, and rings. Before I seal my jars, I like to wipe them down with alcohol. Something like Grappa is perfect, but never rubbing alcohol which is a poison!

Fill your jars with sauce, seal them finger tight and process at a boil for 15 minutes.

Set them on shelves and admire them.

Dried Tomatoes

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We have a ton of plum tomatoes. Both red and yellow. When they are dry, I layer them in the jars, cover them with olive oil, and they look very lush.

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If you don’t have a flat topped roof on a Cycladic house in the Aegean or somewhere in southern Italy or Spain or Mexico, you will need an electric food dryer. We got ours two years ago from my sister-in-law and have been thanking her every time we use it. Thank you. Thank you.

Slice your plum tomatoes in half, scoop out the jelly-like seed stuff, and place the hulls skin side down, on the drying racks. Turn it to about 135F, or whatever setting is recommended for that model for fruit and vegetables, and leave it alone for seven to nine hours. Towards the end, check them every so often so they don’t get too dry, otherwise they resemble sour chewing gum. Let them cool completely with the top off, so as not to cause condensation, then layer them in jars. Cover completely with olive oil.

Savor in the winter with crostini, vegetarian sushi, pizza,…

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Labor Day & Meatballs

ImageIn the spirit of Labor Day (the American version of how May the first is celebrated in many other parts of the world – except that here it is always on a Monday) and it being an Official Holiday, I have decided that except for playing around on the internet, maybe watching a movie, or reading, I will do nada. No work. Labor Day also marks the official Last Weekend of Summer, which I have spent being productive for the most part by dealing with our garden’s bounty. Originally the weather forecast had been for heavy rain which I thought was highly appropriate for a planned day on the couch in pajamas. As it turned out though the forecast was wrong, which makes it just a tad harder to ignore the unweeded flower bed. I’m giving willpower my best shot, and am pleased to say that I am winning and still happily ensconced on the couch.

Since I won’t be canning or drying vegetables, or preserving fruit, I’ve decided to learn my way around this new blogging thing I have started. Truth be told, I’m not very familiar navigating this site, often going through a hit-and-miss procedure before actually accomplishing some task I need to perform. I’m also learning about the blogging community, the many wonderful blogs out there, and the how the sharing and support of each other ultimately makes us all prosper. That is a wonderful philosophy and one that is easy for me to adapt to. So in spite of doing much research (kind of like working), I am still on the couch, and reading. 🙂

In celebration of this lazy day and the many parties that have been held in this country all weekend long, and in spite of the fact that many recipes on the web are seemingly about how the grill will soon disappear off their owners’ decks, I will not post a grill recipe, but one for a favorite party snack while the grill is still warming up. I also like to eat these as a main dish with various salads, or cooked in a tomato sauce, or in the oven, or formed into a patty with a slice of tomato on top and roasted (beefteki), or placed in a loaf pan, around some lightly boiled veggies and a hard boiled egg, calling it meatloaf…

Greek Meatballs  (Beefteki & Meatloaf Base)
serves 8

1.5 lbs  of mixed ground beef/pork/lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup of unseasoned bread crumbs, or 1lb of stale white bread that has been soaked in water and squeezed out
1 handful each of fresh parsley and mint, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a few dashes of coarse sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2/3 cup of water (if breadcrumbs are being used)
oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. You can also “knead” the mix with the dough hook on your standing mixer. Everything should be well incorporated and soft. Let stand for 1/2 hour.

Form the meat mixture into walnut sized balls. Roll in flour and fry in hot oil until golden brown in color. The perfect meatball should be light and crispy on the outside, and light and almost fluffy on the inside. If too hard and dry, add a few more drops of water the next time you make them.

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These are so good, and one always tends to eat much more than one should, so when I make them, I try to make only about 6 per person, then freeze the rest of the meat mix in patty shapes which I will roast for a meal on another day (with slices of tomato on top for extra juicy deliciousness), or freeze in a meatloaf form for the same reason.
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The Garden Dictates Roasted Summer Vegetables

ImageWe are into our third summer of hay bale gardening. It is also our biggest vegetable garden to date and it is keeping us very very busy. Once we discovered how much easier cultivating veggies in hay bales is compared to conventional gardening (in soil), we just kept planting more and more every summer, not really thinking too much about the work involved in processing all this food that will all ripen at about the same time. We are at maximum production now with 30 bales, plus 12 bales worth of organic growing compound created from last years bales and used in raised beds, and a potato patch using another 6 bales worth of composted material from old bales. At some point, every single horizontal surface started to fill with ripening tomatoes. After making 20 jars of that awesome pickle recipe using three different kinds of veggies, we realized we may not eat any more than that but food baskets for Christmas started sounding like a really good idea. Image
We don’t go out to eat this month. When we do cook, we look to see which vegetable we have the most of. I feel guilty when we buy veggies like sweet corn, that we didn’t grow. I have dreams of inventing new squash recipes. This is a three day holiday weekend and so far I have made dried tomatoes, boiled down tomatoes, and am working on preserving a 1/2 bushel of peaches that my Mr. Wonderful has found on sale. We toy with the idea of making pepper jelly. No not really.
The garden dictates all culinary activity.

I first heard about hay/straw bale gardening through some article on the internet. Basically one plants seeds or seedlings directly into semi decomposed hay (or straw) bales. No soil preparation like tilling and hoeing and weeding and nourishing. The beauty of the bales, is that other than letting them sit around to decompose, you have no other  job other than keeping them watered, and keeping pests in check. They are self-nourishing “containers” that one can place anywhere – a driveway, a balcony, a rooftop, or as in our case, a very non-draining garden.  At the end of the season the bales can be either thrown into the compost pile creating some amazing soil for the following season, or you can use them as mulch.

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(This was our first bale garden trying out if it really works)

I’ll go into further detail about this type of gardening later in the season when it is time to suss out where next years’ bales are coming from. In the meantime, its back to cooking, canning, drying,  and preserving.
The garden dictates.

If you are overwhelmed with the array of wonderful summer vegetables available right now and want to make something in a large amount that you can munch on for a few days (great at room temperature!), or freeze until another day, this recipe can absorb anything that’s being grown now, especially tomatoes, zucchini, various squash, eggplant, and some of those fresh herbs that are also in abundance right now.
I’ve never been able to make a small amount of this dish. 
Feel free to add anything else; beans, peppers, corn. Avoid broccoli or cauliflower as their flavors tend to overwhelm the subtleties of everything else.

In Greek they call this recipe Μπριάμ (Briáhm). I don’t know where the name comes from nor what it means… I’m assuming it means the same as Ratatouille; a mix of everything.

Mixed Roasted Summer Vegetables or Μπριάμ (Briáhm)

serves 10

6 -8 medium sized pieces of various squash type vegetables (zucchini, acorn squash, etc), cut into large chunks (about walnut size, or slightly bigger)
2 onions, thinly sliced
8 small potatoes or 4 large, cut into walnut sized chunks
1 large green pepper, cut into thin slices
1 large eggplant, cut into smaller sized chunks
5 large tomatoes, sliced into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil & a little extra for drizzling
1 handful fresh mint, chopped
1 handful fresh oregano, chopped
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F (170C)

In large bowl, combine everything except the tomato slices, making sure that the oil and the herbs cover all vegetable pieces. It’s actually best to use your hands for this.
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Pour the oiled and seasoned veggie chunks into an adequately sized baking dish and cover everything with the tomatoes slices. Drizzle some olive oil over these slices.

Bake for 1/2 hour, then increase heat to 380F (185C) and bake for another 1/2 hour or more.
Potatoes should be done and all vegetables should have a golden crispy edge.
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Allow to cool a bit. Serve with fresh bread, crumbled feta cheese, or parmesan gratings. A chilled dry rosé or white would be a perfect pairing with this Mediterranean country-style dish.