Grilled Sardines

Fresh Sardines are hard to find, but frozen ones are available at fish markets and some grocery stores.

Ingredients:

One package frozen whole sardines, there’s usually 12 in the pack, each are about 6″ long or fresh ones if available.

For sauce:
Juice from one large lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch dried chilli flakes

If using frozen fish allow to thaw.
Take the sardines and rinse in cold water, if you would like to keep the heads on that’s fine, I like to cut the heads off at the gills and discard the head.
With a sharp knife score the body of each fish 3-4 times about 1″ inch apart for each score. Place fish on one layer on a tray.
Prepare the sauce by combining all the other ingredients and mix well.
Pour half of the sauce all over the sardines and mix sardines well to coat with hands. allow sardines to marinade to 30 minutes.

Prepare BBQ for grilling by preheating for 5-10 minutes on medium to high heat. Brush grates with oil.
Slowly place each fish on grill and careful not to let flame catch on fish. Grill fish by turning once 3-4 minutes per side. Fish is ready when meat easily flakes off with touch of a fork. Once ready place fish in serving platter and drizzle remaining sauce on the sardines.

Serving combinations include:
Crusty Bread
Cheese
Olives
Beans
Red wine such as Pinot Noir

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Grilled venison

Growing up my Dad was a hunter, we got used to wild game. My family always knew where our food came from, either from dads hunting, the market, or the farm. Not did I only aquire a taste for wild game but I also realized that hunted animals living wild eat their natural diet, not a factory farm. You could easily use this recipe for beef, lamb or pork but try a game meat if you can hunt (pardon the pun) down a supplier. Look for a high end butcher shop.

Ingredients:

Venison, elk or moose (chops or steaks)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
One lemon
Sea salt
Cracked pepper
Olive oil
Dry red wine (Chianti preferred) decanted
Pinch per steak of dried sage or oregano
Pinch per steak of crushed fennel seed

Put chops or steaks in a tray to marinade, add olive oil, and other ingredients except for the wine, salt and lemon, try using your hands to rub in the minced garlic into the meat fibres. Allow meat to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes. If preparing chops hours ahead of time refrigerate meat until ready to cook but allow to come to room temperature 30 minutes before hitting the grill.

Light a propane or charcoal BBQ at high heat for 5-7 minutes. Using a cloth oil the grill. Just before cooking now add a splash of wine and salt to each steak then add the steaks to BBQ, cook meat about 3 minutes per side until desired donness is achieved. Medium to medium-well is probably best. Transfer cooked meat to heated plates or a clean tray and squeeze of lemon juice to taste and a drizzle of olive oil if preferred. If not serving straight away cover meat with foil until ready to serve but keep warm.

I think the best way to enjoy grilled meat is with a glass of red wine, a side salad or steamed or boiled greens, kale chips and other steamed veggies. Hit the salad or veggies with red wine vinegar, lemon and oil as this will compliment the meat.

Enjoy, try it out and leave a comment

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My drinks today

Today was a very difficult day, I’m my parents oldest Son. We lost my dad on Sunday, we had a memorial and banquet afterwords.. everything worked out great; Dad would have wanted it this way for us to drink, eat, and celebrate his wonderful legacy.

Only a list of my drinks today in order since I woke up this morning:

Orange juice, Greek coffee, water, metaxa, Greek coffee, water, water, water, metaxa, metaxa, water, metaxa, red wine, metaxa, metaxa, coffee, water, water, metaxa, red wine, water, red wine, metaxa, red wine, raki and water now before bed time.

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Octopus Salad

My thoughts on octopus

If you never tried octopus, you should try it with this recipe which is very easy to make. This is an appetizer or as they call it in Greek a meze. This meze could eaten with bread or pita and you could enjoy a red wine or an Ouzo or even moonshine Raki. Try to get a hold of some very spicy garlic. You can buy fresh octopus from a fish monger or frozen octopus at most grocery stores. Cooking octopus this way will make it very tender and its very nutritious.

1 large octopus about 1lb-1.5lb.
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup red wine vinegar divided
1 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp capers
10 Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
Pinch dried chill flakes

If octopus is fresh go outside and slap on a stone or on the pavement to tenderize before cooking. If frozen thaw in a colander and put in a clean sink, wash octopus with lots of cold running water and table salt. Allow octopus to drain for about one hour after washing.
In a large pony add a drizzle of olive oil, bay leaf, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup cold water. Put octopus in pot and bring to a boil, as soon as you see it boil, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover pot and alow to cook for 2 hours. To check octopus tenderness poke it with the tines of a fork in the thickest part and fork pierces easily then it’s ready. Drain cooked octopus and allow to cool. Now make the dressing; In a preferably medium size glass container mix all the rest of ingredients together. Cut octopus into 1/2″ pieces and drop into dressing. Allow flavours to meld together and then serve or refrigerate for up to one week.

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Chicken Avgolemono soup (classic Greek egg-lemon soup)

Cold outside, you have a few sniffles? This soup will fix everything. This is my moms recipe with a few minor tweaks. This is the kind of soup that is a meal in itself, eaten with bread no need to add anything else. You could double the recipe and use an entire chicken.

Ingredients

4 chicken backs or other chicken pieces with plenty of bones (wings, drumsticks, breast etc)
6-8 cups water
2 large carrots
2 ribs celery including leaves
1 onion
1 potato
1 lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup long grain rice
Flat leaf parsley chopped
2 cloves garlic minced (optional)
Tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper put on a tray and broil 6 inches from heat for about 5 minutes per side. Fill a large stock pot with at least 6 cups of cold water and add the potato, celery, carrots and onion, bring to a boil and add the just broiled chicken pieces. As soon as water comes to a boil, lower heat to lowest simmer, cover and allow the soup stock to simmer for about 2 hours.

When soup stock is ready, strain stock through a fine strainer into another pot, take the strained veggies; carrot, celery, onion, potato – give them a rough chop and drop into the strained soup. Put the soup stock on the burner and turn heat to medium. Take the chicken pieces and strip away all the meat and discard the skin and bones. Add the rice and meat to the soup and allow to simmer for 30 minutes meanwhile prepare the egg-lemon froth: in a small bowl, beat the eggs for few minutes, juice the lemon and combine with beaten eggs and add the garlic. Take ladle full of liquid from soup and very very slowly add to the bowl of egg lemon mixture but continue to beat the egg-lemon with the broth and it’s important to add hot broth slowly so the eggs do not scramble, add another ladleful of broth and continue to to beat the egg-lemon- broth mixture. Turn off the heat of the soup and add the egg lemon into the pot, salt and pepper and parsley.

Serve soup immediately and have olive oil available at the table for drizzling, along with crusty bread for dipping into soup

Enjoy and merry Christmas

Thanks very much for reading my blog

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Turmeric Potato Wedges

3 large russet potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes (yams)
1 tbls ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves smashed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Wash and scrub potatoes well, cut all potatoes in half lengthwise and then again cut the halves in half lengthwise, cut the quartered potatoes again if potatoes were really big, you should be able to get at least eight wedges out of one potato. In a very large bowl add the olive oil, salt, turmeric, cracked black pepper and smashed garlic cloves, mix well to flavour the oil. Preheat oven to 400. Toss the cut potato wedges in the bowl of turmeric flavoured olive oil. Make sure to mix well so that all the potatoes are coated in oil mixture, spread potato wedges on two cookie sheets and bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until they are ready. After 15 minutes in the oven carefully turn them around. After potatoes are ready toss into a bowl and add more sea salt if desired. These potato wedges are to be enjoyed on their own, as there will be be a contrast between the sweet potatoes and the russets. No need for ketchup or ranch dressing. A drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of a lemon can be an option at the table or on individual plates.

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My top cooking films

I love to watch movies about food, but even though I love documentaries, I am not including them here in this list.

1. Sideways
If you love red wine as I do then you will love this film. Picking up chicks, getting drunk, touring wineries in Napa Valley.

2. Big Night
Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, Issabella Rossallini. I love Italian food, the Timpano is a highlight, the arguments, the cheating, the music and the roasted suckling pig, this film is not to be missed.

3. Politiki Kouzina
The American name of the film is: A touch of spice. The movie is set in Greece and Turkey, a bit of a love story, some history, food and the deportation of Greeks from Istanbul in the 1950’s.

4. Julie and Julia
I have a thing for Amy Adams and Meryl Streep as Julia Child is really well done.

5. Ratatouille
It’s a cartoon, but it’s really awesome film.

6. Ramen Girl
Interesting film about and American girl in Japan who eventually strives to become a ramen noodle chef even though communicating is difficult.

7. Chocolat
Set in Paris in the late 50’s and a village that is very traditional where chocolate confections are taboo.

8. Like water for Chocolate
Award winning film set in Mexico, the main character loves to cook and falls in love with someone she is forbidden to marry.

9. Tortilla Soup
Chef father widower has three beautiful adult daughters. Very fun film with lots of twists and turns.

10. Under a Tuscan Sun
I loved the book, the movie and I love Diane Lane in a film that is so wonderful in many ways.

11. Moonstruck
A New York family, Jewish, Italian and the first time I saw a toad in-the-hole. A romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison. It stars Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis.

12. Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs
Another cartoon that was a lot of fun and a message that even kids could understand.

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