Ideas for Greek-themed dinner party?
Need menu suggestions for dinner party for monthly "gourmet club" meeting -- my turn to host. Appetizers, salad, entree, dessert. TIA
Grilled leg of lamb, marinated in olive oil, garlic, herbs, mustard, then butterflied.
Grilled Greek salad. Think I got the recipe from CH.
Stuffed grape leaves, skordalia dip with pita triangles, lemon-oregano chicken skewers.
Grilled Haloumi cheese served on ripe tomato rounds.
Baklava. Greek yogurt drizzled with honey & berries. Grilled fruit (pineapple or mangos, peaches) with ouzo.
If you have access to a wood burning fireplace, go on line and find instrucitons for Gigot a la Ficelle. It realy amounts to rubbing a leg of lamb with garlic, herbs (I used rosemary) and olive oil, tying a piece of butcher's twine around the bone and hanging it from the mantelpiece in from of the fire. Fantastic. Several guests last weekend said it was the best lamb they have ever had. Took about two hours but only needed to keep the twine wet and baste occasionally. The momentum of the twisting keeps it winding and unwinding with no real assistance needed. Also stunning from a visual and olfactory point of view.
Yes, you are definitely right! There are shortcuts, however, if you want to seek them out and cut down on some of the work, even if sacrificing some of the authenticity.
For instance, you can make baklava rolled up like a coil, instead of layered. Much easier.
Grilled, butterflied leg of lamb is about as easy and tasty as you can get, tho.
You don't even have to butter each layer. I've used a very simple method told to me by a Lebanese chef. Lay down one box of phyllo on a buttered dish, then spread the filling and lay another box of phyllo on top. Cut into diamonds and pour the full amount of clarified butter over the the baklava that you would normally use then bake. The butter seeps into the layers. I've done it and it comes out beautiful and so easy to might be temped to make it more often.
This is one of my standard dinner parties: first course, a variety of Middle Eastern appetizers including hummos, baba ganooj, tabbouleh, fatoosh, cucumbers in yogurt, kalamata olives, sliced tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, etc, plus pita---you can be as elaborate as you have time for. Second course: a big moussaka and a big dish of spanakorizo (rice and cooked chopped spinach 1/2-1/2 with salt, lemon juice, and cinnamon). You can skip the salad after having had appetizer salads. Dessert: homemade baklava and coffee. Offer some exotic fruit sorbet if you want a choice. You can do every bit of this in the couple of days before so it makes a great company meal and people love it. I like to serve this buffet style.
When people tell me they haven't had greek food before I always invite them over for dinner. I alway serve the same thing:
Dolmades as appetizers(I prefer without meat myself but either way is good)
Grilled or roasted leg of lamb(garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and copious amounts of lemon)
Roasted potatoes(roast in the lamb fat with some lemon)
Greek salad(cucumber, tomato, red onion, feta cheese, kalamata olives, red wine vinega or lemon juice, olive oil)
Vasilopita(most people ahve never had this so I always make one - no coin or egg involved)
Spanakopita(I make this in a sheet pan so it goes together quick and easy)
Baklava(don't like this myself but people always want to try it. Again quick and easy to throw together)
Fresh fruit - this time of year I'd put out figs myself
Greek coffee - have someone read the grounds, Fun even if you really don't know what you're doing! Everyone can put their creative hats on peering into the cup to see what thye can see
I guess I don't find them that hard to make. I've been making them since I was a very little girl and helping my mom and yiayia with them. But yes, I can see where they might be time consuming, especially if you've never rolled them before.
However, the freeze well and can be made ahead as can the spanakopita, the baklava(freeze before baking!) and the vasilopita. I always rub my lamb the day before and let sit over night so that's done ahead a well.
If this dinner club fuctions like mine and eveyrone makes a course, i'd stick with the dolmades since no one person has too much work. Otherwise, i'd maybe go with tarama or even saganaki as an appetizer. Grilled Haloumi wouldn't be a bad option either(I love hummus myself but don't put it out when I've been asked to create a traditional greek menu of family favorites).
i'd be a happy camper if all you served were taramasalata (with pita, or...maybe not...just a spoon) and spanakopita! ;-)).
oooh, and i'd be especially happy if you made the shrimp-feta-tomato-ouzo dish with noodles (similar to this, but looser than this, served over noodles: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em... . mr. alka would kiss you if he had roasted or braised lamb!
Gyros, prepare all the wraps, make individual oval shaped patties of lamb, pork and beef mix in all your herbs, have the tzatziki sauce and the hummus for them to add themselves. And then have lots of fresh vegetables, like tomato, lettuce, red onion, mint, fresh parsley to name a few. Your guests can put them together or you can pre wrap, then let them add the sauce. Love these things.
oops just saw you said you were having a dinner party. Perhaps these could be made into a small appetizer? Oh now wouldn't that be cool!
re: chef chicklet
chef c, you just gave me an idea for a gyro dip!
alton brown's gyro meat recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... , cooked, crumbled, blended with...
tzatziki, then layer...
finely chopped red onions (soaked in lemon juice),
chopped ripe tomatoes,
peeled & minced cukes,
all layered like "mexican" dip."
serve with toasted pita wedges.
weep when guests eat it all and leave you zip! ;-).
another (silly) idea:
layer all the above in timbales or custard cups, to turn "out" for a fancy appetizer.....
apps: Skordalia or tzatsiki dip; stuffed grape leaves; herbed olives
entree: grilled, butterflied leg of lamb or grilled whole fish, either with fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil
sides: meatless moussaka, green beans with tomatoes
dessert: Galactobouriko if you want to bake, otherwise, grilled fruit drizzled with honey.
Peel 6 russet potatoes and cut into 6-8 wedges each. Put in large roasting pan with juice and zest of 2-3 lemons, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1/2 cup white wine, salt, peper, 1/2 cup olive oil and 6-8 finely minced garlic cloves. Bake covered for about 25 mins and then uncover and bake 20 mins more at 400. Delcious!
I do the spiniach pies as individual triangles folded up like a flag. They are labor intensive, but can be done ahead and frozen, either unbaked or baked.
I love the idea of greek salad on a pick. Take a half slice of deseeded cucumer (perferably hothouse ones with the skin) a grape or cherry tomato and and a piece of feta cheese. Serve with an oregano spiked italian (vinegerette or creamy) salad dressing.
I would definetley do the butterfield lamb.
There is also a nice book called The Olive and the Caper that your library might have.
Another Greek inspired dish I make often, usually for company, is grilled Swordfish with greek salsa. The fish part is very simple - marinate swordfish steaks in olive oil, S&P, oregano, garlic powder & greek seasonings if you have it. I just put them on a sheet pan in the oil mixture, cover & refrigerate for a couple of hours, flipping the fish once.
The salsa is something I came up with, inspired by a Cuisine at Home issue a few years back. I take grape tomatoes, halve them , then salt and let drain in a colander for an hour or so. Then mix with copious amounts of fresh chopped Italian parsley, oregano, basil, or thyme, whatever combo I happen to have on hand. But the parsley, IMO, is a must. Then add chopped Kalamatas, crumbled feta, olive oil & lemon juice to moisten, and finally lots of f.g. pepper. It keeps for a few days, but best at room temp. Delicious with all kinds of meaty fish, and chicken as well. It's one of our favorites.
It's all served over lightly dressed (oil & lemon juice) greens like arugula, my fave and couscous around the sides. Makes a pretty presentation too.