Here’s an excerpt & recipe from Waiting For Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga. Scroll down past the recipe for some information on an exciting online author event from Tuesday, July 17 – Friday, July 20. Summer 1978 … Continue reading
Last October I visited France for the purpose of researching the Champagne region for my latest book. I spent most of my time exploring Paris and the champagne houses of Épernay, gathering information on how to make bubbly in the … Continue reading
Last October I visited France in order to do some research for my upcoming novel, the last book in The Gift Saga. Although my stories are primarily set on Long Island, New York and various locations in Greece, this third book travels to Paris and Champagne as well.
My time in Épernay was an experience I will never forget. I was able to visit and learn about the creation of champagne in the traditional méthode champenoiseat a generations-old family vineyard. I also walked the length of L’Avenue de Champagne, where many of the most famous Champagne houses are situated. Each one was breathtaking in its grandness and unique in atmosphere.
Soupe à L’ail is an easy to prepare traditional French dish. With the other two books in the saga, only Greek recipes were included, ones that had been handed down to me by my mother and grandmother. This time, along with the ones from my own heritage, I’ve added a couple of French ones.
News of the release of Book 3 will be announced soon, but you can count on it to be available for your summer reading. In the meantime, here is one of the recipes tucked between the chapters.
Soupe à L’ail
2 Heads Garlic
2 Quarts chicken broth
1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence wrapped and tied in cheesecloth
1 Teaspoon salt
2 Medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons cornstarch & ¼ cup of water
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Eggs yolks
2 Tablespoons butter
Thin slices of baguette, toasted
Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded
Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Break up the garlic into individual cloves, leaving the skin on. Add the cloves to the boiling broth and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the diced potatoes. After five minutes, remove the cloves, which should be floating at the surface, from the pot. Let the broth continue to simmer.
Remove the garlic from the peels and mash before adding them back into the broth. With a handheld Immersion blender whisk until the solids are pureed.
Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the soup, blending thoroughly.
In a separate bowl whisk the olive oil and egg yolks together. Slowly ladle approximately a ½ cup of the soup into the egg mixture to temper it. Add the egg mixture to the soup and stir. Melt in the butter to finish and add a silky texture.
Garnish with cheese topped toasts.
January 15th was the 5th annual Greek Dinners Around The World. This social media event was the brainchild of Kerri Douglas, publisher of 9MusesNews.com. Chefs, authors, bloggers, and business owners from around the globe hosted dinners, shared memories and showcased … Continue reading
In honor of my upcoming trip to France, what better recipe is there to share than French onion soup? Especially now that the fall season is upon us. Not that it feels like fall at all! I live on Long … Continue reading
I wish that I could say it was Memorial Day and the summer was just beginning. But, alas, the Labor Day weekend has begun. Give me a few minutes while I dry my tears. While autumn on Long … Continue reading
With Labor Day a week away, I thought I would repost a few grilling recipes this week. I love summer food. Everything goes on the grill, from meats and veggies to potatoes and even some fruits like pineapple and peaches. … Continue reading
I love keftethes. As long as I can remember, they were a staple in my home growing up and I continue to make them often for my own family. They taste delicious cold or warm – plain or slathered in tzatziki sauce. Yes, they are fried and, as health conscious as we are today, there are some foods we simply cannot resist. But what if I combined the delicious mixture of herbs and spices and formed them into a patty that didn’t require frying? The result was a hit!
1 pound chopped meat
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, grated
4 slices of white bread, dampened in water (no crust)
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano
¼ cup of fresh mint or basil or combination of both
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
This is the exact recipe for keftethes with one exception. I’ve added ¼ cup of breadcrumbs for a little extra firmness. Otherwise, these patties might be prone to falling apart on the grill. Normally, this mixture of ingredients would be formed into meatballs, rolled in flour and fried. No frying necessary! Combine all of the ingredients, mixing well. Form into hamburger-sized patties and place in the refrigerator to set. Grill and serve on pita bread (preferably lightly grilled as well) and garnish with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a generous amount of tzatziki sauce.
2 cups Greek yogurt
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. paprika
2 Tbs. fresh dill or 1Tbs. dried
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. sugar
2 cucumbers – peeled, cored from seeds and finely grated. Press through strainer to dry. *The cucumber will make the sauce loose and runny if you skip this step.
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk. Chill before serving. Serve with souvlaki or keftethes. It also makes a refreshing dip. Make this a day ahead and the flavors will intensify.
Summer is here and my hibernation is over! It’s time for light summer meals, BBQs on the patio and weekend entertaining. It’s been a long winter here in New York, stretched out by a spring that felt almost as cold as the winter itself.
So what has cheffie been doing? Yes, I know I’ve neglected this blog, but I’ve been busy promoting Book Two in The Gift Saga: Waiting For Aegina and writing the third and last book in the series. Not to mention holding down a day job, running a household and spending quality time with my ninety-five year young dad.
Like the first two books, recipes will be included between some of the chapters, and I’ve been thinking about which ones I’ll share with readers. So far, each of the recipes has been a Greek one, most of them handed down to me by my mother and my yiayiá (grandmother). This time around don’t be surprised to find a French recipe thrown in to set the mood—hint, hint of a new local and adventure for some of the characters.
This recipe for Karithopita, I’ve already decided, will be added to Book Three. It’s delicious, easy to prepare and one of the many recipes my mom had handed down to me. Karithia is the Greek word for walnuts and this cake is loaded with them, doused in simple syrup and cut into individual squares.
Preheat oven to 350º
4 cups coarsely crushed walnuts
1½ cups sugar
3 cups flour
½ cup butter, softened
8 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg yolks and cinnamon together. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg whites to a meringue. Fold into butter mixture. Add the walnuts. Mix together the flour and baking powder before adding it to the mixture. Stir until fully blended.
Butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
While the cake is baking, make the syrup.
5 cups sugar
5 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
Add all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Cut the cake into even-sized squares. Cool to a warm or room temperature. Add the warm syrup, allowing the cake to absorb the liquid.
I suggest letting it sit for several hours or overnight.
It seems that these days many of us are rushing from place to place—especially in the morning. My husband and daughter are dashing to make their train, my other daughter needs to reach her classroom before her students, and I … Continue reading