Friday, July 27, 2012

5 Star Makeover July 2012: Greek Meze Round-up



This month our challenge was...

Light Mediterranean dishes are wonderful in the summertime, Greek cuisine being one example.   Pick a classic Greek Meze, such as hummus, or spanakopita, or dolmades, and make your own version of it.   Or create your own unique meze infusing your culinary style with the classic Greek ingredients or flavors.   


Pull up a chair and savor the creative spins our team put on these classic Greek Dishes.


Enjoy...


Apple Fritter, Greek Yogurt Ice Cream, & Caramel Sauce
Tanantha from I Just Love My Apron




Mediterranean Stuffed Mussels
Kelly from The Pink Apron




Pan Seared Ocean Perch with Greek Orzo & Red Pepper Lemon Emulsion
Kym from Free Spirit Eater




Mini Barley Flatbreads with Tomato Confit & Homemade Farmer's Cheese
Trixie from Tasty Trix




Mediterranean Eggplant Rolls
Priscilla from She's Cookin'




Gorgeous Greeks & Their Honey Glazed Shrimp
Deana from LostPastRemembered




Inside Out Melitzanes Imam Baildi - Eggplant, Sesame & Fig Stuffed In Tomato
Maya from Foodiva's Kitchen




Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs with White Beans Two Ways
Laz from Miami




Greek-Style Pierogi
Natasha from 5 Star Foodie




Lamb Feta Party Bites
Angela from Spinach Tiger




Black Onyx Cocoa Ice Cream in Baklava Cups
Alisha from The Ardent Epicure




Loukanika - Greek Sausage with Orange Peel & Hint of Ouzo
Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!




Souvlaki Cups with Horitaki Salsa & 3 Tzatziki Sauces
Joan from Foodalogue




Fried Feta Cheese with Fig & Brandy Jam
Marisa from Cook's Book




Shrimp Saganaki
Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz


Spanakopita Puffs
Faith from An Edible Mosaic



Hummus Trio: Spicy, Tomato Za'atar, Black Bean
Victoria from Mission:Food




Mediterranean Tomato Jam
Vicki from At Home with Vicki Bensinger




Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
Jessica from Cajunlicious




Grilled Salmon Dolmades, Pine Nut Lemon Sauce
Lori from Tastes With The Eyes






You have to agree...this collection of cooks is damn amazing!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs with White Beans Two Ways



This month our challenge was...

Light Mediterranean dishes are wonderful in the summertime, Greek cuisine being one example.   Pick a classic Greek Meze, such as hummus, or spanakopita, or dolmades, and make your own version of it.   Or create your own unique meze infusing your culinary style with the classic Greek ingredients or flavors.   


Oh joy...


Lawyer - "In the 12 years we've been together I've never seen you cook Greek food?"


Kitchen Hack - "Nope."


Lawyer - "In fact, I've never seen you eat Greek food."


Kitchen Hack - "Nope."


Lawyer - "So what the hell are you gonna do?"


Kitchen Hack - "I'll do what I always do."


Lawyer - "Make something up?"


Kitchen Hack - "Yup"


If you are looking for a classic Greek dish, well, wait for the round-up right here on Friday.  I am sure my group members will dazzle you with some classic renditions.


I chose to work with two Greek Meze from our list...
  • Keftedakia (little meatballs)
  • Gigantes (white beans)
This dish is basically me playing with my food...


Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs with White Beans Two Ways


The "Dots" are a balsamic reduction.

Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs
  • Wagyu Beef Ribeye - (Expensive but worth it)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Coals
  • Hickory plank
  • Rice flour
  • Whole egg
  • Cuban cracker meal
  • Peanut oil
This is a "pure" meatball.  No fillers.  Salt is all the binding agent you need.

  1. Cube the meat.  Generously season with sea salt.  
  2. Cover and fridge for 2 hours.
  3. Grind once - using the coarse grinding plate.
  4. Season with black pepper and oregano.
  5. Grind again - using the small fine grinding plate.
  6. Shape into meatballs.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Put in freezer.  10 minutes.
  7. Fire coals.  Allow the coals to heat up and fire to die down.
  8. Lay the meatballs on hickory plank.  Put hickory plank over coals.  
Lil' Smokey Doing Work!
  1. Cover and smoke for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Allow the meat to cool to room temp.
  3. Cover and fridge overnight.
  4. Remove the meatballs 20 minutes before frying to come to room temp.
  5. Dip in flour, egg, and Cuban cracker meal.
  6. Fry to golden brown.
In essence what you get is a fantastic hickory smoke aroma with a crunchy exterior for textural contrast.

White Bean Puree
  • Dry White Beans - (Rinsed, sorted & soaked overnight)
  • Chicken stock
  • Yellow onion
  • Yukon gold potato - (Peeled & cubed)
  • Star anise pods - 2
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Fresh oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Sea salt
  • Ground white pepper
  1. Cook together onions & potatoes.  Give them a good sweat.  No real color achieved.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cook until desired bean consistency is achieved.
  4. Remove the star anise, cinnamon stick & bay leaf.
  5. Strain and reserved some of the cooked white beans.
  6. Check for seasoning.
  7. Re-season with sea salt & white pepper if needed.
  8. Puree until smooth.
  9. Strain through a fine mesh strained.
  10. Serve with a drizzle of good GREEK olive oil.  C'mon I wanna be in theme!
White Bean Saute
  • Thick cut bacon - (Diced)
  • Leek - White & light green parts only - (Sliced, cleaned in water & dried)
  • Plum tomato - (Peeled, seeded & diced)
  • Reserved cooked white beans
  • Fresh oregano
  • White truffle oil
  1. Saute bacon until brown and crisp.  Remove from pan.
  2. Saute leeks in the bacon fat.
  3. Add the white beans.
  4. Add the bacon.
  5. Add the tomato.
  6. Do not overcook.
  7. Remove from the heat.
  8. Add fresh oregano.
  9. Season with salt & black pepper.
  10. Serve with a generous drizzle of white truffle oil.
Now, I know 99.9% of you nice folks...do not read blog posts.  Inevitable someone will leave me a comment saying that this is not a classic Greek dish.

Inevitably I will think you to be a douchebag.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!