Greek Taverna Favorites is set to repeat on my apple music playlist this month. I've rewatched Mama Mia and My Big Fat Greek Wedding at least 2 times each. I'm buying kalamata olives, eggplant and even feta. 😅 Is it obvious that I'm excited about my upcoming trip to Greece? The only reason that my suitcase isn't already packed is because I'm still wearing some of the clothes that I need to take with me. 🧳 😂
I've also been experimenting with Greek cooking in preparation for our adventure in Greece. I figured it would be best if I serve my family Greek food before they have a chance to taste the authentic version. 😂 Much to my surprise, moussaka came up as one of the most popular Greek dishes when I did a google search for traditional Greek dishes. So, naturally, it was one of the first Greek dishes that I decided to tackle at home.
Traditionally, moussaka is spiced beef or lamb cooked in tomato sauce and layered with eggplant and bechamel sauce. 🍆 This dish sounded so good to me - even though I'm not a big fan of ground beef or lamb. And that's saying something. 😅 But to make it a little more Amy-friendly - I swapped out ground turkey for the traditional meat in the recipe.
Don't be intimidated by the lengthy ingredient list for this moussaka. This is most definitely a meal that you can assemble ahead of time. I put my moussaka together and stored it in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, I took it out of the frig, popped it in the oven and 30 minutes later - we were eating.
3 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 3/4" pieces
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons + 3 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 red pepper flakes
1 pound lean ground turkey
14.5 ounce can tomatoes
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
3/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Bake 30 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.
I can hardly wait to get to Greece to find out how my turkey moussaka stacks up against the traditional version. I absolutely loved this version but I'm certain that it won't even hold a candle to the moussaka that we will taste in Greece.
I published my first blog post in July of 2011. 3-4 recipes a week x 11 years = a LOT of blog posts! One would think that I've said absolutely everything there is to say about chicken in that amount of time. 😂 Turns out - I've got more chicken recipes to share and more stories to tell you about chicken -- and lots more trivial information to share about my life.😅 When you love food as much as I do - you've got a lot to say about the food that you eat. 🤷🏻♀️ I guess I was made to be a food blogger.
I've posted a lot of chicken recipes over the years. Mainly because I eat like a pesce-pollotarian. No worries if you're unfamiliar with that term. I just learned it myself -- and I'm one of them. 😅 Pesca-pollotarian is the technical name for vegetarians, like me, who eat chicken and fish but avoid red meat and pork.
If you want to avoid dinner invitations from friends, tell them that you cook for a living and then inform your host that you're also a pesca-pollotarian. 😅 Only your true friends are willing to overlook all of that and take on the task of preparing food for you despite of it. Thankfully, I've been blessed with great friends who have accepted my weird eating habits and willingly cook for me anyway.
Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free - all words that ignite pangs of stress and anxiety in the heart of even the most seasoned host and hostess. Throw in an obscure term like pesca-pollatarian and you're almost guaranteed to be served a single, uncooked carrot for dinner. 🥕😂
Even as a person who has a whole lot of experience in food preparation - I've done my share of google searches while menu planning for guests with special dietary needs. Google is a really good resource but, if you need extra help - reach out to me. I've got lot's of great recipes for all kinds different dietary needs. Especially great chicken recipes like Baked Chicken Drumsticks that are perfect for Tuesday night dinners or to serve at a formal dinner party. They're pesca- pollotarian, dairy and gluten free. You're welcome.
Baked Chicken Drumsticks
3 pounds chicken drumsticks
1/3 cup sliced oil packed sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons herb de Provence
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Bake 55 minutes at 400.
Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
This is one of those cases where the final product didn't photograph nearly as well as I wanted it to. The pictures just don't do it justice. You'll just have to take my word for it that my Baked Chicken Drumsticks were super flavorful and tender or make them and see for yourself. 😉
I learned recently that a Bellini was originally an Italian cocktail made with Prosecco and peach purée. Legend has it that it originated at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. 🍑🍾 I should have known. Venice is one of the coolest places that I've ever travelled to.
The food and the drinks in Venice were just as amazing as I imagined they would be. Linguini with clams, margherita pizza, fresh seafood platters and tiramisu - all of it - incredible.
I'm just a little disappointed that didn't know about the infamous Harry's Bar belini before I went to Venice. (The bar is still open, by the way - I checked. 😉). But now that I know that the birthplace of the belini is in Venice - I think I need to go back and make a stop at Harry's Bar.🥂. Until next time, Venice.
A classic belini is made with peach puree and Prosecco and even though I live in the peach state - I've had terrible luck getting good peaches this summer. So, I decided to swap the peaches out for raspberries and make a raspberry belini. Trust me when I tell you that it was just as deliciously refreshing as it looked.
½ cup raspberry sauce
1-2 teaspoon simply syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 bottle rosé/pink champagne or sparkling wine
Fresh mint leaves
Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint.
The original recipe for this red belini wasn't very sweet. Probably because I chose a dry champagne to pair with my tart fruit instead of a sweet sparkling wine. This may have been the perfect combination for some people but I tend to like my drinks on the sweeter side so I added a teaspoon of simple syrup to my belini. It was just enough to make my raspberry belini the perfect combination of sweet and sour.
I am unashamedly in search of "friends with figs." 😅 You read that right - I'm looking for local friends - with fig trees - who are willing to share their crop of fresh fruit - with a girl who loves figs. I've got a list of insanely good, fresh fig recipes that I cannot wait to dive into. Salads with figs, figs with fresh cheese, stuffed figs, fig crostini and chicken with figs. Amazing, right?
It's only been recently that I've started to explore the wonderful world of figs. Since friends with figs are hard to find and they're almost never available in grocery stores, most of my exposure to figs has been mostly limited to the dried version.
Late summer and early autumn is fig season in Georgia so it's also the perfect time to make some fig dishes. (Even if you have to settle for dried figs.) I think you're going to love this chicken with fig dish. It comes together quickly and it's easy to double or cut in half, depending on how many people you want to serve.
The goal was to wait for fresh figs - but patience is not my strong suit - and my fig cravings took over.😅 So when I just couldn't wait any longer, I broke down and bought dried figs at the grocery store to make this chicken and fig dinner.
Chicken with Figs
8 bone in chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 shallots, quartered
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
8 figs, halved
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Local friends - now that we're in "fig season" in Georgia, keep your eyes peeled for fresh figs. If you happen to see them in a grocery store and you don't buy them all for yourself- let me know where you find them. AND if you have a fig tree in your yard and you need someone to come and share your crop - I'm your girl. I will gladly come and get all your figs.
I am being harassed. Months before I even reached the half century mark, AARP started passive aggressively mailing and emailing me invitations to join their exclusive club. 😅 Seriously, what kind of masterminds do they hire to track the age of every American and then initiate communication at each person at precisely 49 years and 6 months? I suspect that these people are not AARP members themselves. Most days, I can't even tell you how old I am. 🤪
Before you start sending me even more aggressive emails, I acknowledge that there are advantages to joining AARP. Believe me when I tell you that I they have made me fully aware of the services that they offer. As for now, I'm choosing to live in denial about the fact that I'm old enough to join AARP. I do not need that complimentary truck organizer that they're continually dangling in front of me and I don't want the 10% discount on my Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's. 🍳
Please don't misunderstand - I'm loving my 50's. I'm only 16 months into this journey but, so far, so good. Oh, I'm not going into this new decade gracefully or with any sort of dignity but that's the thing about turning 50 - it just doesn't matter anymore. Living this much life has taught me to care a whole lot less about other people's opinions of me. 🤷🏻♀️
Even though I still refuse to join AARP, there are other parts of this 50+ journey that I've chosen to embrace. It's not uncommon for my better half and I to eat at "Senior Hour" since we joined the 50+ club. More often than not, we find ourselves eating dinner at, or even before, 5:00.🕔 I know it sounds absurd and honestly - it's completely ridiculous - but we are the people who will sacrifice convenience just to avoid excessive restaurant crowds. Age has taught me a lot of things but becoming more comfortable in crowds is not one of them.
Inevitably, whenever we try and "sneak out" for an early dinner, one of the kids will catch us by choosing that exact moment to call. 😅 Naturally, they find it hilarious that their parents eat at 5:00. But, you know what? Restaurants hardly ever run out of the nightly special before 5:00. 😂
Fish specials are my go-to restaurant meal. One of my favorites is salmon but I only order it at restaurants that I know for a fact, serve only fresh fish. I've heard that it's best to order fish on Mondays and Fridays, because that's when most restaurants get fresh fish deliveries. I'm not sure if that's true but that advice has always stuck with me.
When I want to make salmon at home, I like to buy it from the butcher. It's a little more costly but I can always count on it being super fresh. 🐟 Double Glazed Salmon is one of my favorite things to prepare it at home. The glaze is simple, sweet and the perfect compliment for the flaky fish. I hope you enjoy - and no judgement if you want to eat it at 5:00. 😂
Double Glazed Salmon Filets
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 skin on salmon filets
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 sprigs thyme
Top with fresh thyme and serve.
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