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Friday, April 17, 2009

Sunday


When I was a child, almost every Sunday was spent with family. Around 1 or 2 pm, family would gather either at our house or Aunt Tassie and Uncle Johns. Sunday was family time. Stores were not open on Sunday during my childhood. Everyone would make something and we would spend the afternoon eating together.

The radio was almost always on a Greek radio station. They would broadcast during certain hours. I didn't understand the words, but Aunt Lula would sing right along with the songs. My cousins, Stasi, Vicki, and I were the official salad dressing testers. At that time, it was usually ice berg lettuce. Sometimes, I still like the crisp iceberg lettuce as a base for my salad. It reminds me of my childhood days. I had never heard of any kind of salad dressing but olive oil and vinegar. That is what was used on the salad. A pinch of salt, or two? This was an important decision for us girls to make. We took our job seriously. :) We were ready to eat!! Foods were Greek, although to me they were just "normal" foods. I had never had green beans cooked in anything but tomato sauce and onions when I was little. As an adult, I enjoy them so many different ways. Potatoes, Greek style, were one of my favorite ways to cook them. Lemon, oregano, chicken broth (or water), olive oil, salt and pepper. That's it! Baked until tender. This is one of my comfort foods. There is still, to this day, an unwritten competition as to who makes the best: Aunt Lula, Uncle Vic, or anyone else brave enough for the challenge. Of course, in my family, no one is too proud to admit that theirs are the best!!!

While the meal was being prepared, there was always a plate of Kalamata olives, Feta or Kaseri cheese, and hard crusty bread for a snack. Green olives, peppers, and other appetizers. Dinner (I called it "lunch") would last for at least a few hours. Sitting at the table, talking and talking. We always had good times and laughter.

Most everything is a pinch of this and a pinch of that when I cook. Here is a basic recipe for Greek Style Potatoes:

"Patates"

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
Juice of two lemons (I like my potatoes with a lot of lemon)
1/2 stick butter or margarine (My choice is butter)
1 Cup water or chicken broth to cover the bottom of the baking dish. If you are baking a chicken, use some of the drippings
1 tsp oregano
1 medium onion, quartered
I also put lemon pepper on them just because I like it!!
sea salt probably 1 or two tsp and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F

Put cut potatoes and quartered onion in a baking dish - I think they taste better baked in a stainless steel pan

drizzle olive oil over the potatoes

Put "pats" of butter on potatoes
sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, pepper, lemon pepper and oregano to taste. I don't use too much oregano on the potatoes.

Bake at least 40 minutes, turning and basting with the pan juices, until they are tender when pierced with a knife. Mine usually bake for about an hour. Add more water or broth to the pan if more liquid needed. You can up the heat to 425 to get them brown to your liking.

Add more broth or water to the pan to keep juice on the bottom of pan. (This is good on top of them after they are cooked).

Serve with additional lemon juice if desired, and top with sea salt.


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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
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