A Tsikoudia Cocktail: Bloddy Mario (Mar-yò)

The tsikoudia cocktail bloody mario made with raki (tsikoudia) and tomato juice

One of the most classic cocktails in the history of bar drinks is the Bloody Mary. It is a divine combination of ingredients not regularly found in cocktails and spirits that compliment the flavor and the textures. What are those ingredients? It is tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce with the clear and neat spirit of Vodka. It is one of the very rare savory cocktails that are combined to give a fulfilling taste. Vodka being clean taste companies with everything sweet, sour and salty.But it is not the only spirit that can be used. Tequila for example has many qualities that make it savory. We actually did the salsa shots a while back that identifies and compliments that particular quality of the Tequila. The substitution of Vodka with Tequila is actually called, brilliantly, Bloody Maria. Today we are combining another savory drink the Tsikoudia (raki) that is also savory and combines excellently with flavors like tomato and cucumber. The name of it? Bloody Mario, the Cretian nickname of Maria.

Read More

The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria

Family Meal

If you follow the international food scene, probably you have come across the name Ferran Adrià. He is the chef of the restaurant "elBulli" that was the epicenter of the new gastronomic movement. elBulli (Catalan pronunciation: [əɫ ˈβuʎi]) was a Michelin 3-star restaurant near the town of Roses, Catalonia, Spain, run by chef Ferran Adrià. The small restaurant overlooked Cala Montjoi, a bay on Catalonia's Costa Brava, and was described as "the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet." The restaurant played one of the most important roles in the movement of molecular gastronomy. And yet the when you get his cookbook you are in for a surprise. The person who dazzled the world with the most elegant and sophisticated play of textures and flavors is presenting a very humble cookbook.

Read More

Food for Lovers

Food image regarding an extreme case of spicy food not appropriate for date.

First date. Always makes you both nervous and excited at the same time. And always the same questions comes up: Where to go,what to do, what to say, how long to stay… But eventually no matter how you see it, it seems that dinner, either as "just dinner" or as an event that follows or precedes something else (eg drinks or movie), is the most popular first date choice. And for a good reason too. It has several advantages: brings you close, you get to spend time doing something familiar to both and has a very specific duration 1-1.5 hrs. Deciding, however, on dinner as first date does not mean that you are done. Now actually comes the tough part. Where to go, what to eat, what to say. I am not a date coach or a dating expert. I am a foodie. Over the years I developed a set of rules that makes dining-out from a necessity to an experience.

Read More

Sweeteners: Know your Sugar(s)

Sugar types: Raw sugar, partially refined, refined, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar.

The white substance that it's flavor has been coded on our DNA as the most desirable flavor, the last few years it has been blamed for every dietary disease. I am talking of course about sugar. The crystallized molecules of sucrose, that carry with them not only the sweetest flavor, but also the most densely packed energy. Energy that once was essential for survival, now is converted to undesirable fat in our waist and hips. In the vast world of diets, and nutritional information, many alternatives have been suggested as a healthier sweetness source. I am not talking about the aspartame, or the Splenda. Those chemical options taste horrible. I am talking about raw sugar, molasses, brown sugar and many more.

Read More

Culinary Metrology

Conversion table

On cooking the primary reason for success is inspiration, in baking is measuring. By that of course I don't mean that measuring is not required in cooking, but deviation from the original ratio of ingredients can be forgiving. And equally when baking inspiration is a key but deviating from the recipe ratio even for very little, will immediately cause inconsistencies in the outcome or even complete failure. So at the early age of baking and cooking the ratio and dosing of the ingredients became very significant and the cooks or the housewife will employ their homemade measuring device that will ensure that the quality will be consistent. Nowadays one more parameter became important temperature! In the modern kitchen, there are so many ways to measure something that you must have PhD in metrology. Join me to navigate to the wonderful world of metrology. No PhD required.

Read More

Greek Christmas Cookies: Kourampiedes

DSC_9422

Every country or nation that has more than 50 years exposure to Christianity will have a special dessert that made exclusively around the Christmas time. Greece is no exception, and since it had embraced christianity for almost 2000 years the number of desserts for the occasion is huge. However, the one that is closer to my heart, because is delicious and also is what my grandma used to make every christmas, is the Kourampies (κουραμπιές, koo-ra-byies) that is a crumbly almond cookie dusted in powder sugar. Simple ingredients, humble cookie and big flavor. Although the Christmas reference of the cookie for most of the people comes from the white dusting of sugar, that resembles the snow, for me it is more the relation of the humble beginnings the cookies with the humble beginnings of the Messiah.

Read More

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique - Review

I used to say and I still do, that cooking in all its glory is 30% ingredients and 70% technique. The best ingredients can be transformed to crap with bad techniques and mediocre ingredients to gold with great technique. Imagine tiling your floors. You have no technique, but you did buy the best tiles at the store. How do you thing this will end up? Well not good... Same goes with other aspects of cooking, like let's say mixology. You start with the best spirits, nice shiny expensive tools, but you have no idea how to properly make a cocktail, or even worse you think you know, but you don't. Well, you need a guide for that. I know what you are thinking right this moment: 'Another bar book? Again?". Yes, but this is not the first time I write about bar books and try to convince you that this is the best one. All I have reviewed are amazing. Then what makes this one unique? Three things, the author, the content and the photographer.

Read More

Apple Pie Cocktail: Apple Pie in a Glass

DSC_9352

With every fall, a very regular reoccurrence is the craze with pumpkin and the accompanying spice mixture dabbed as Pumpkin Spice. There is however another fruit that is equally (if not better) than pumpkin, but because we access it year around, we tend to neglect it. It is the apple. Although varieties like, fuji, gala and macintosh are available year around there are some of them like the honeycrisp, are only available for a small window between later September and early November. That is the regular season for the apples, and we have to honor them along side Johnny Appleseed, the man who solely is responsible for the spread of apples across America. Let's make a cocktail to celebrate the apple season.

Read More

Greek Delight: a Masticha Cocktail

DSC_9285

There is a great Greek dessert that is called Greek Delight. It is actually more widely known as Turkish Delight, since it originated in Turkey. Some people still dispute that which is reasonable. After 400 years of culinary overlap recipes did exchange back and forth and many dishes lost origin. We can, however, give the credit to the Turkish for the development of this delightful dessert. Actually the Greek name of the dessert is loukoumi, very close to the turkish that is loukoum. Greeks though will keep calling it Greek delight just because. The delightful dessert is a gel made with corn starch, sugar and a flavoring. It is then covered in a mixture of powder sugar and cornstarch to prevent the pieces from sticking with each other, and on your fingers. The flavors predominant in Turkey are rose and pistachio. In Greece it is mastiha and rose. Mastiha is a unique spice produced at the island of Chios. In the past I have made another cocktail flavored with Mastiha and even a cheesecake. Here I make a cocktail inspired by the flavors of the Greek Delight (Mastiha and Rose). This cocktail merges the flavor of Masticha and Rose in one unique combination.

Read More

The Best Bagels in New York: Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

P1010897

Bagels were brought to the United States by immigrant Polish-Jews, and became a thriving business in New York City. It started as an item exclusively oriented towards the Jewish population but soon enough it took over New York City. Why not? It is portable, fast to make, easy to eat with one hand and you can combine it with everything, from peanut butter and Nutella to smoked salmon and capers. Next to hot dogs and pizza, the bagels complete the trinity of the New York iconic foods. As it is expected similarly to the other two foods, there are hundreds of stores around the city that are competing in making the city's best bagel. The Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (BB&CC) is probably the best. I am not saying that the rest are not good, I am just saying that this is the best! Hands down the best.

Read More