The way some college kids get about keggers, I get about dinner parties.
Especially Greek recreation dinner parties! We miss Greece. We miss Greek eats. So we made some!
The antipasto tray (! so fun, I think my mom got it as a wedding gift or something) of goodies from the Greek store (Aphrodite Greek Imports, for those in the DC area)
The upper right and lower left corners are pickled vegetables (carrots, spicy peppers, and very unique TURNIPS!)
The upper left corner is mixed olives, next to that is feta, under that is Bulgarian cheese that was Gruyere reminiscent, under that is taramosalata (fish roe whipped up with lemony goodness), and finally the lower right corner was DELICIOUS pickled baby eggplants.
Lookit that friggin’ gorgeous crumb.
I used this recipe, and I’d actually been planning to bite the bullet and use all all-purpose flour in the interest of authenticity, but I ran out! So I was forced to add whole wheat (mind you, it was 1 and 3/4 cups out of 6 cups total, but still). And it was THE BEST EVER.
Crusty and coarse but absolutely not dry. This recipe also incorporated some interesting bread techniques: warming the flour in the oven before adding it to the yeast, putting a pan of boiling water under the baking sheet. Anyway, it produced FABULOUS bread!
And to dip it in…. drool. Remember the fava bean teaser from yesterday? Behold the final product.
Adorned with simply paprika and fresh parsley. HEAVEN! IT WAS SO GOOD OH MY GOD!
For the main course, salad for refreshing cool crunch:
And the piece de resistance, what we ate so much of in Greece and desperately missed, STUFFED VEGETABLES!
We used the recipe from, of course, Flavors of Greece (I promise I don’t have a sponsorship deal or anything, I am just completely in love with this cookbook at the mo). The filling was absolutely heavenly, with the flesh from the tomatoes cooked meltingly in olive oil, rice (we used brown which was beautifully nutty), crumbled chickpeas, currants, herbs (including allspice, which added an amazing touch). You broil and peel the peppers before cooking, which made for a better texture in the finished product.
Un. real. They were unreal.
Finally, dessert laid out on the coffee table.
Galaktoboureko! It’s a pastry of phyllo wrapped around a custard of milk, eggs, sugar, and farina (with a bit of lemon zest!) You may have had it in the typical style where it’s made as a layered dessert and cut into slices (like spinach pie, but sweet), but my mom makes it rolled up. It’s taaaaaaaaaaasty!
And a good time was had by all.
Another great thing about this was that EVERYTHING was make ahead. The dip I made yesterday, Mom roasted and filled the veggies yesterday and just baked em today, we made the custard and rolled the pastries yesterday and baked them today, the salad I chopped all the vegetables for in advance and dressed at the last second, and the appetizers we took some help from the sto'!
I think entertaining is the best thing ever, and a lot of people are unnecessarily intimidated by anything bigger than burgers on the deck. But it's easy! Good company, great food, good conversation. All things I loved about Greece, all things I was happy were included in this Greek recreation get together. The best “dinner parties” (a term I have fun using but honestly find genuinely antiquated) are like this one: we were laid back, we hung out sipping drinks and noshing then ate outside on the deck.
You can still keep your chats informal and goofy: at this particular party, the younger members of the group made fun of the older members’ facebook ineptitude.
You know what the best part is? LEFTOVERS! I am eating well all week!