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Friday, January 28, 2011

Caroline Grace Crowley

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Athena's Moussaka (Greek Eggplant Casserole)

Athena's Moussaka (Eggplant Casserole) (Recipe from the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Annunciation in Atlanta, GA from a Greek Festival in the 1980s.)

1 large eggplant
salt as needed
4-5 T. cooking oil

Slice into 1/4 in. rounds, don't peel. Salt each round lightly and stack in colander with paper towel and weight for 3 hrs. to extract liquid. Rinse in cold water and dry with paper towels. Brown in oil on both sides-drain on paper towels.

Meat Filling

1 T. butter
1 diced large onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 c. tomato sauce
1 t. sugar
1 T. wine vinegar
3 T. red wine
1 bay leaf crumbled
1 T. parsley chopped
1/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

In large skillet, saute onion and garlic until golden, add meat and brown, breaking up with a fork. Pour off excess fat. Stir in liquids and seasonings. Simmer over low heat until liquid is absorbed.

Bechamel Sauce

1/4 c. butter
3 T flour
1 C. milk
1 C. heavy cream
1 t. salt
1/8 t. white pepper
dash nutmeg
2 eggs well beaten
Romano, grated for topping

Melt butter, still in flour, add milk and cream, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and smooth. Mix in seasonings. Add sauce to eggs, beating well. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture is very thick. Do not boil. Cool.
arrange half of eggplant over bottom of 9 x 12 in. baking dish, spread meat filling evenly over eggplant. Cover with remaining eggplant. Pour bechamel sauce evenly over top, sprinkle with Romano cheese. Bake in preheated 325 oven for 45 min. or until golden. Cool slightly before serving. Serves 8 to 12.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Athena's Perfect Greek Pastitsio

Athena's Perfect Greek Pastitsio

Saute a medium to large onion in 1 T. real salted butter. Add 1 lb. chuck hamburger and stir while browning. Drain fat well. Add 1- 16 oz. can tomatoes drained, and 1/2 6 oz. can. tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, breaking tomatoes up with a spoon. Add a broken bayleaf, 1 tsp. cinnomin and 1 tsp. dried or 1 T. fresh basil and about 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese. Cook slowly 15 min. Taste and adjust. Should be savory and sweet.

Meanwhile make Rigatoni. Boil 9 minutes (al dente) in salted water. Drain well. Season and stir with 1 1/2 T. butter, lightly salt and pepper (white pepper preferred), 1 tsp. dried or 1 T. fresh chopped parsley, 5 dashes garlic powder or 3 dashes garlic salt, 1 T. extra virgin olive oil (preferably Pompeii) and 3 T. parmesan. Taste. Should be delicious even served by itself.

Layer 13 x 9 inch glass casserole with buttered rigatoni. Pour meat sauce over and spread evenly.

Make Bechamel sauce. In a large saucepan, melt 2 T. butter and 2 T. flour and stir for one minute. Add 1 qt. (4 C) whole milk and heat stirring. (If using fat free or skim milk, I have also used part fat free evaporated milk to add creaminess). In a small bowl, whisk 2 medium or 3 large eggs beaten with 2/3 c. of the hot milk mixture in a small bowl and then add back into pan and whisk. Let almost boil. Do not curdle by boiling. Remove from heat and season with 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Pour evenly over meat sauce from edge to edge of 13 x 9 in. pyrex casserole dish. Top evenly with bread crumbs (roll a dried piece of crusted white or whole wheat bread between your palms over the dish)whimsically arranged 4 long sprigs of fresh parsley with stems, and parmesan cheese. This makes an attractive topping as the crumbs brown. If you do not have bread crumbs you may use paprika.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake 350 oven covered 30 minutes, then uncovered another 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in party rectangles. Makes about 8 servings.

Serve with Athena's Greek Salad (recipe to follow later), Greek bread and butter, and tall glasses of iced tea with lemon.//

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