Week 5- Greece

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This week was a wonderful week. It was the most relaxed I have felt so far in this class. I was in a completely different group, the items were split up completely randomly, I was interested to cook any of the recipes so it didn’t matter to me which ones I drew, we all completed all of our assigned dishes, and I really enjoyed most of the foods that were put up today. All in all, a great day!

I drew moussaka, yogurt and cucumber and garlic dip, nut pastries, and a fresh fruit plate.

The moussaka was basically an eggplant lasagna type of dish. First the eggplant was sliced into ¼” rounds, skin on, sprinkled with salt, and left to sit for an hour. While that was resting, the ground lamb was sautéed and then cooked with tomatoes and spices to make a sauce.

Let me pause here to say that I am so glad that I have been able to taste and work with lamb so much this quarter. Previously, we had tried to prepare it once at home, and it stunk up the house AND didn’t taste good. So far in lab, I haven’t minded the taste of it and the smell of it gets covered up by all the other cooking odors going on.

While the meat sauce was cooking, I was also preparing a simple béchamel sauce. Once the three components were prepared, it was time to assemble the dish. The eggplant was dried off, and then layered in a deep baking pan with the meat sauce and béchamel. This order was repeated twice and then sprinkled with the remaining grated cheese. Into the oven it went for about an hour, and then left to set up for 15 minutes. It tasted very good, actually, although the recipe said that it served four and it easily could have served eight. This is especially true if you were serving a Greek salad or other side dishes. Somehow I managed to forget to take a picture of the moussaka, probably because we just left it in the pan and didn't plate it since it didn't have time to fully set up before tasting. So picture bubbly, slightly browned cheese and that is what the moussaka looked like in the pan. Here is a picture of the delightfully refreshing Greek salad, though.

The yogurt and cucumber dip was surprisingly good, too. It featured plain yogurt, so I wasn’t quite sure if I would care for it, but the cucumber and garlic really made it an enjoyable experience. I would still eat it in small quantities and next time would make sure to mince the garlic even more finely, but overall I appreciated the dish.

The nut pastries were a different story. I should have tasted another groups version of this dish, because in the end I realized that I had accidentally put more sugar in than the recipe called for. I realized this when I was putting together another recipe and it called for sugar. I had already used all the sugar I had pulled for the nut pastries. This is probably why they turned out so sickeningly sweet. I have a pretty much insatiable sweet tooth but the nut pastries I prepared were so sweet that I literally could not eat more than one bite. Next time I will look at the recipe more closely. It was definitely a learning experience. Chef said that they looked great, though.

One of the other dishes that I really loved was the bean soup. Oh my goodness, this soup was amazing. My team prepared it with beef stock and one of the other groups prepared it with chicken stock. The chicken stock version did not even come close to the beef stock version. I just kept going back to taste it again and again. I will definitely be making this at home!

I also was pleased with the different cheeses that were put out for us to taste. The one was much too salty for my taste, but I could see it being good with sweet grapes or apples. The other two cheeses were delicious. One was a sheeps milk cheese and the other was a goat cheese. They were very different in texture and taste, but both thoroughly palatable.

I can’t wait to see what fabulous food we cook up next week! We are still going to be in Greece and I am really looking forward to tasting some more delightful dishes. This section has made me want to travel to Greece. So much so that I Google Earthed the country and spent quite a bit of time looking at photos.


FuzZyCram said...

You're so hot! I love you!

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