The Food

My mom’s Pizza

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Today the 13th day of October it is my mom’s name day. It is a typical Greek traditional celebration to celebrate the day of the saint or martyr that you are named after. So today it is my mom’s day and we are celebrating by making the best pizza ever. It is all that my mom’s cooking is all about simple ingredients, simple flavors that they highlight and accentuates the taste of simple ingredients, like feta and tomato. And this is the bottom line of the greek cuisine: simple ingredients brought together in a simple manner. So this sort of pizza is just that. And I call it sort of pizza, because it does not share anything of the typical pizza characteristics, sauce, melted cheese, thin crust. It is on the contrary puffy, with just tomato and feta a non melting cheese. I am making two version the original and still king, my mom’s and mine a more gourmet take on it. So let’s get started.

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A Greek Coffee Named Frappe

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If you are greek, probably you should not read this post. This is about the most common way of Greeks to enjoy the neurotoxin also called caffeine. And as all simple things each one has a way of enjoying it, and even worse a way of making it. Being an unconventional coffee this one imposes a whole new set of layers to personalize it. So again, if you are greek, skip this, you will probably disagree with what I say and How I make it. If you insist in reading please go ahead on your own risk. This is different from all other coffee, because it is made with instant coffee.

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Bruschetta (?) My Way

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Since it is summer, I am more keen in making and creating dishes, that are summery and fresh that combine a large number of various elements: texture, flavors and engage all the senses. This is what I making today. A take on a bruschetta, the italian delicacy that is been around since the 15th century. It was a fun recipe since it is largely similar to the the previous post in regards to the ingredients. It showcases that sam ingredients put together in a different way results in such a different result.As you probably noticed on the title next to the bruschetta is a question mark. Why? Because I think that in the melting culinary pot in america many cuisines were merged, fused, combined and unavoidably either lost their origin meaning or got a load of new ingredients, that changed drastically their appearance and flavor profile.

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My Take on a Classic: Greek Salad

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Greek salad is one the poster foods of greek cuisine. And for a good reason. It combines in a plate all the vegetables that mean summer in Greece; sweet juicy tomatoes, succulent snappy cucumbers, peppery sweet onions, crisp peppers and of course who can leave out the greek briny cheese, also known as feta. All of them held together with the power of olive oil, topped with oregano. A herb that is 100% greek. You find it in abundance in the hills and mountains of the greek country side. The greek salad is not only a delicious combination, but it is also visually appealing. As they say: you eat with your eyes first. And the crispness of the vegetables also engage your ears in the experience. It is therefore a full sense experience. The quintessential greek summer (and not only) dish.

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Summer Food: Swordfish Steak with Zucchini pasta

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Usually around this time I start posting a series of post entitled Summer Food. But, what is summer food? What makes a great summer food plate? It has to be, simple, fresh, not heavy in oils and fats, and most importantly remind you of summer. Being in Boston the summer food time is a little late, but it is here at last, and being in Boston it is a great opportunity to get our hands on some fresh amazing fish. This time some freshly caught (or at least I want to believe freshly caught) swordfish. Served with an unusual type of pasta…

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Five Failed Food Names

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Finishing the first hundred post was amazingly gratifying. The blog evolved over the years, but always stayed true it its values. To kick of the next hundred posts I am starting with a more philosophical approach to food; this time some unfortunate names of the food industry. Food industry has evolved. Evolved significantly. From the hunting to just going to the neighbor to trade goods, to the stores that sell foods to the modernization of the ready made foods. The industrial revolution. The food prices drops, the quantities increases and the competition among vendors grows. And that s the beginning of marketing, the beginning of a new era in the food industry. Targeting special groups, the vegans, the low fat, the high protein, the low sugar and the list becomes bigger and bigger.

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My Moms Cheese Pie (tyropita)

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This is the final recipe that concludes the countdown to the 100th recipe! It is my mom’s recipe that is her most famous dish. She made it thousands of times, for thousands of occasions, and thousands of people. It is based on a traditional greek pie made with various cheeses most notably feta cheese. This is a much better version, not only because it is made from the best cook I ever met (my mom) bt also because it is a much lighter in taste not very overwhelming with cheese. Additionally this is a recipe that can be made pretty much with every type of cheese you have around. Here, however, we stay with traditions the one and only feta cheese.

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My Grandma’s Cured Olives

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This is the fourth significant recipe towards the countdown. In a way it is one more tribute to my island. It is the traditional way we are curring the green olives. And this recipe is from my grandma. The one person that knows how to make them perfect. She is making them every year for more than 50 years. This particular variations in Crete are called tsakistes ( τσακιστές ). This means crushed. You used to take the olives, and crush then with a rock or a small hammer, enough to crack open the meat of the olive. More on why later. They are served with lots of lemon and sea salt. My favorite treat since I was a kid.

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Tempeh Cake

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This is the second very special post. It is one other special recipe that was made for some good friends long time ago and it was promised that will be featured on the blog. Promises in a way work like thermodynamics. They tell you if something is going to happen and in what degree, but not when. Time is the elusive dimension that although very interesting does not belong to this blog. Here we talk food… Speaking of which… This is recipe the was kinda featured before to the blog, but never full. It is based largely on the meatloaf cake that I made before for Kathryn for her birthday. This one is very particular, however. Oaklianna, a dear friend, is among the people that have the intolerance to gluten the wheat protein. Damian, her then boyfriend, had always been vegetarian and never head meat. So the plan for the alternative cake had to find another base. That base is non-other than the best thing that ever happened to soy, tempeh.

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Strawberry Shortcakes

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This is a very special post. For many reasons. For one thing this is the first of the 5 that will complete the 100 recipes on the blog. Very special. It is dedicated to my eternal second home the good old state of Florida. There were the South opened its arm and welcome me. A desert with character and the true meaning of soul food. Also it was created only days after a dream just died and took me back to square 1. Not the first time. But enough with emotions. Let ’s go together and see what makes this desert so special, so incredible and so surprisingly fresh.

Strawberry shortcake is one the most traditional southerner deserts. It combines many of the ingredients of the south, cream, butter, sugar biscuits… Oh yeah it does have biscuits. Although the name itself suggest a sort of a cake, and the recently the convenience and time efficient have actually offered the option of the cake, the real shortcake is a sweet biscuit. The biscuit is from the french word biscuit which is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere, coctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means “twice-cooked”. Originally the biscuits were breads that after baking were cut and baked a second time to harden. A great way to make bread last longer, especially when it is indented for long trips etc. The modernization of the cuisine and the kitchen tools in the 19th century made the second baking obsolete, since now fretted baked bread can be made everyday. The name however, caught on and it is still used. A traditional southerner biscuit is based largely on the british scone. It is a quick and easy way to create the ideal breakfast bread. I don’t think that at this point it really requires a lot of brains to add some sugar and sweeten things a little. From this point on the rest is history. A sweet southern history. So let’s get started.

So here are the ingredients of the southern delight:

Strawberries sugar: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A brandy of sort
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper… What? Black pepper? Oh yeah! it is awesome!

Biscuits: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

For the garnish and plating:

  • Creme fraiche
  • Whipped cream
  • Berries for garnish

Start by washing the strawberries.

Remove the stem with the little piece of hard stem in the core of the strawberry.

And slice them.

I use roughly 1/5 by weight of sugar. So here we have 500 g of strawberries (after subtracting the weight of the bowl)

Cut and squeeze the lime juice.

Add the brandy. Here as you can see I use AppleJack. It is a brandy made out of apples so the fruity flavors get well very well.

Now add the sugar.

Add the pepper… I am not joking! Pepper is very good with strawberries.

And stir them well. Well but carefully. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The sugar will force liquid out of the strawberries slowly dissolve the sugar and become a nice syrup.

While this is happening let’s make some biscuits. Start by sifting the flour.

Why sift the flour? Fro this! Especially when you make a cake type of dough where we don’t really want to mix to much these lumps will never dissolve. It is important step. Please do not skip.

Add the sugar.

Add the baking powder.

Follow with the soda…

And mix the dry ingredients together.

Measure the butter.

Cut it in small pieces.

And add it in the dry goods.

With the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.

Add the buttermilk.

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Mix them until they just come together.

Flour your bench or board.

flip the dough and don’t worry if it is not perfect it will be like that.

Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.

With a cutter or a glass or anything that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.

Like this. Gather there remaining dough and repeat.

I usually get about 12. Like this. I know there is a runner up… I told you I “usually” make 12. Place them close to each other for more even rise. Also since they are butter made they will have a tendency to spread. Putting them close together will prevent them from spreading.

Bake at 375F (190 C).

Unitl they look GBD. Golden, Brown and Delicious.

Cool them before serving. Serving with the strawberries!!!

It is the perfect breakfast by the way.

Before we start we need to whip the the heavy cream. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.

Follow with some sugar.

Add a bit of Vanilla.

And whip. No need for mixer. You need a whisk and a little labor.

In less than a minute you have whipped cream.

And now we BUILD!!!!

Plate!

Split biscuit in half. Yes a fork is better just like on an english muffin.

Add some whipped cream on the plate to hold things together.

Add the bottom part of the biscuit.

Put the strawberries and don’t forget the the syrup. It will soften the hardest biscuits.

Top them with a bit of creme fraiché. Creme fraiché is think rich and a bit sour. It will just brink a little something to the party. Break the sweetness and brink things together.

Top it of with the over part of the shortcake.

More strawberries. Technically you can stop here, but I go one more layer.

To hold it better I add some more creme fraiche.


And more strawberries…. And syrup

Garnish with the rest of the berries.

If you have a pipping bag use it. I don’t I use the old school method with the two spoons. Move it from spoon to spoon until you shape it to what is called a canelli.

Place it on the top of the pile. And garnish with a nice mind leave.

There you have it!

I know I know you need another shot? Here… You eat with your eyes first.

Oh and one more bonus. The strawberries will get a lot of juice out within a day… What to do with it? Mix it in a shaker with ice, some vanilla vodka and some lime juice. Aaaand…

Here you have a pepper berry cocktail like nothing else!

Printable Recipe Card

Strawberry Shortcakes

From Nerd Meets Food | Desserts | American

01:45
01:00
00:45

cal Calories 218kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 5g

chol Cholesterol 21mg

sodium Sodium 299mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 33g

Serving size 118g Calories from fat 71kcal Fiber 1g Protein 3g Sugar 15g
12 servings

Ingredients

  • Strawberries
  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 oz of brandy
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Shortcakes
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • For the garnish and plating
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche
  • 1 cup of whipped cream

Directions

  1. Strawberries:
  2. Wash the strawberries, remove the stem and slice them.
  3. Put them in a bowl and add the sugar.
  4. Cut and squeeze the lime juice.
  5. Add the brandy and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  7. Shortcakes:
  8. Start by sifting the flour.
  9. Add the sugar.
  10. Add the baking powder and the soda
  11. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  12. Cut the butter in small pieces and with the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.
  13. Add the buttermilk and mix them until they just come together.
  14. Flour your bench or board and flip the dough.
  15. Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.
  16. With a cutter that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.
  17. Bake at 375F (190 C) unitl they look Golden, Brown and Delicious.
  18. Whipping Cream:
  19. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.
  20. Follow with some sugar, a bit of Vanilla and whip.
  21. Split shortcake in half with a fork.
  22. Layer shortcake, strawberries and whipped cream.


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