09 May 2010

Sunday Savories: Patatosalata

Apparently, with the coming of spring, all I want to do is make Greek-style foods. This one was taught to me by Maria, the woman who owned the cafe I worked at for a year in the UK, Cafe 306. Maria was a crazy, nosy Greek lady who INSISTED (loudly, shouting, in fact) that I call my parents on the day of the London Underground bombings in 2005. Even though I was in Manchester, Maria insisted, saying: "Your family is American. To them, it's all the same."

And, much like when she pushed veg on our customers, she was right. It's why Maria was allowed to be pushy with everyone - she was pretty much always right.

Maria's Patatosalata
8-10 red or yellow waxy potatoes
3/4-1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (I do more like 5)
Roughly chopped fresh basil to taste
sea salt

Scrub the potatoes, but leave the skins on. Boil them in hot water for approximately 10-15 minutes - you want them done, but still pretty firm. Pour cold water over them until they are cool, then chill them. Ideally, chill for at least an hour (this keeps the skins on).

While the potatoes are cooling, roughly chop as much basil as you like - I usually do quite a bit.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper with a whisk.

Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Toss with the dressing and cool for another 15 minutes, minimum. Best if left for another hour.

This is the most refreshing, light, delicious, easy potato salad I've ever made and it's a staple for our summer foods.

02 May 2010

Sunday Savories

I'm starting something new! To add to the relative strangeness of what I blog about on this platform, I'm adding in Sunday Savories. This is to serve a dual purpose - to highlight something that I make that I know that I love AND to provide a platform for people to share their own recipes. I know that I get tired of my own cooking every once and a while, and things like this always add to my repertoire when other people share.

Also, honestly, I made this recipe up last night and I don't want to forget it.

Greek-Style Orzo Pasta (Salad)

The reason that this is called a pasta (salad) is because, when hot, it's pasta - probably a good side dish, since it's not quite full enough for me to make it a standalone meal. But, when cold (which I'm eating right now), it might even be better and is a delicious pasta salad.

12 oz. dried orzo pasta (this would be delicious with rice, too)
Approx. 2 cups of greek yogurt (unflavored)
4 large-ish cloves of garlic
8 oz. fresh spinach (frozen would probably work)
Appprox. 4 oz. of feta cheese
10-12 kalmata olives (less, more, whatever)
Lemon juice to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil

Cook the orzo - about 5-6 minutes past the rolling boil.

While the orzo is cooking, pull out a large sautee pan. Coat the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil and heat up. When it's hot, throw in your chopped garlic, then TURN THE HEAT DOWN TO MEDIUM. Seriously, garlic burns fast.

Start throwing your spinach in, stirring regularly. You want to wilt the spinach at first, not cook it proper.

Because I wasn't sure of consistency, I started pulling out the spinach when it was as wilted as I want and putting it in a bowl, then putting more spinach in. After cooking 8 oz (a bag) or as much as you want, throw the rest of the spinach in the pan on LOW. Slowly stir in the yogurt (non-greek would probably work, but not be as lovely texture) and KEEP stirring. Also stir in the crumbled feta. Put in some olive oil to keep things moving (just a little bit, or it'll get too oily) and salt and pepper a SMALL amount.

Stir into the cooked orzo, checking that the orzo is coated but not swimming in the "sauce." You might add another dollop or two of greek yogurt, might add some more olive oil. At this point, put a generous squirt or two of lemon juice on top and stir in (maybe 1/3-1/2 of a lemon's worth?). Stir again.

Chop your kalmata olives (or do this before, but I always forget) and stir in. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to settle. Taste.

Simple, but SO. GOOD.

What have you been cooking?