Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 29, 2012 09:12 PM

March 2012 COTM: The Olive and the Caper: Birds; Wild Game; Sauces and Toppings

Please use this thread to discuss the recipes in the chapters on Birds; Wild Game; and Sauces and Toppings (pages 406 - 487)

If you are reporting on a recipe that has not yet been reviewed, please hit the reply in this box. If you are discussing a recipe that has been reviewed in this thread, please hit the reply in that post. That way the discussions will be grouped together.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Clay Pot Chicken, p. 417

    This is a simple to execute recipe even on a work night. I do not have a clay pot, my Le Crueset was too small and I ended up making this dish in a Calphalon shallow pot. You cut peeled eggplant (I did not see the need to peel and did not) in cubes, peel lots of garlic, pit olives and quarter two chickens partially removing the skin. I halved the recipe and used one chicken with some skin removed as instructed, one eggplant and half the garlic but the full amount called for thyme, salt and bay just because I got distracted and forgot to reduce. Next you toss together eggplant, garlic, olives, oil, and half of the thyme and salt in a cooking vessel. Arrange chicken skin side down on top and sprinkle with remaining thyme and salt, pepper and crumbled bay leave. Cover the pot and cook in preheated to 450F oven for 50 minutes (I cooked for about 30 minutes); uncover, stir, flip the chicken quarters skin side up and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon zest and serve. I served with orzo and liked the combination. It was not a spectacular dish but interesting enough to make again and I will make it again with a number of changes. The most annoying was the crumbled bay leave – you could not tell it apart from little bits of eggplant skin to remove it; it did not soften a bit and was not pleasant. Next time I will add the whole leave and pull it out when the dish is done. I find that cooking chicken breasts and wing parts that are attached to the breasts at such high temperature dried them out and a bit of skin did not help, even worse – most skin bits were flabby... Those of you who are fortunate to have a clay pot might have completely different experience. I would love to hear how the dish turned in a proper cooking vessel and whether I should consider buying one. Probably not as the goal is to downsize unless it is a small gadget or an essential utensil

    What I loved and why I want to make it again is the brilliant use of eggplant, olives and garlic – the mixture created an amazing sauce, velvety smooth and flavourful. The dish did not scream “GREECE!” to me but I am willing to do it all over again with a few modifications. Next time I will definitely up the spices the way I accidentally did, use skinless thighs and cook them covered for as long as it takes – maybe 40 minutes for 8 thighs or even less. The purpose of removing the lid was to crisp the skin but because lots of flesh was exposed to hot oven air and not protected by the skin, it got dry and unappetising. I am wondering about the need for such an aggressive heat during the initial cooking – I loved the way eggplant turned out and mingled with the garlic and olives but would the same magic happen at a lower heat?

    2 Replies
    1. re: herby

      Clay Pot Chicken with Eggplant, Garlic, and Green Olives, page 417.

      I did this dish in a Romertopf clay pot (one chicken, everything else more or less halved). I pulled the skin off the breasts (as I like white meat and no skin), but left most of it on the thighs and legs (as Mr. NS likes dark meat with skin!). The recipe calls for 50 minutes at 475º covered, and then and additional 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. Although I started the clay pot in a cold oven, and let it make its slow climb to 475º, the chicken was still quite done at 45 minutes. Consequently, I only let it brown uncovered for a few minutes.

      I enjoyed reading herby's take on this recipe, describing the vegetables melding into an amazing sauce. I should have looked at it that way! As it was, I saw them as a bit soupy and overcooked, because my expectation was to have nice chunks of eggplant to eat alongside of the chicken. I got big Greek olives, so I halved them. We did enjoy the taste of this dish, especially with the big chunks of garlic and the lemon zest on top.

      1. re: herby

        Clay Pot Chicken with Eggplant, Garlic, and Green Olives, p. 417

        herby's description of the eggplant and garlic led me to try this dish a couple of days ago, taking into account her issues with it. I used one medium-to-large eggplant, around 12 cloves of garlic, 4 skinless chicken thighs, and the full amount of herbs and olives. I cooked it in a covered stainless casserole for 30 minutes, then stirred and cooked for 25 more minutes covered, but dropped the heat to 450. I had unaccountably neglected to get lemons, so unfortunately had to skip adding the zest at the end. After tasting, I thought a bit of acid would brighten it (as I'm sure lemon zest would), so I added a sprinkle of red wine vinegar.

        I liked the way the mellow roasted garlic flavor infused the broth, chicken, and eggplant. My eggplant was meltingly soft, but even with the olives and vinegar, the dish didn't have quite enough complexity for me (again, I'm sure the zest would have helped). There was a ton of liquid by virtue of cooking it covered and in hindsight, I though it might have been a good idea to take out the chicken and let the liquid reduce on the stove, as I had used a burner-safe pot to cook it.

        I wanted to doctor the leftovers a bit, so I chopped some canned tomatoes and sauteed them and their juices in a bit of olive oil, then added a splash of white wine and let it reduce a bit before adding the leftover chicken, eggplant, etc., along with a couple of handfuls of baby arugula that needed using, and covered the pan until the arugula wilted and everything was hot. I also stirred in a bit of fresh dill right at the end. This ended up being delicious, much more balanced and complex. I think the tomatoes and wine added a lot.

      2. Sauteed Chicken with Shallots, Tomatoes, Capers and Sage pg. 411

        This was a nice skillet-braised chicken recipe. Nothing earth shattering, but tasty and pretty easy. I modified this a bit by using all chicken thighs instead of a cut up chicken. I also salted the chicken liberally prior to sauteeing it. as I always prefer to do it that way and due to the warning about possible underseasoning in these recipes (thanks, llm!) I also substituted white wine for red wine since that's what I had open in the fridge and with only 1/3 cup, I didn't think it would make a tremendous difference.

        Anyway, the chicken and a bunch of shallots (halved if large-- I had some monsters that I quartered) go into the pan to be browned in olive oil. She specified 1/4 c olive oil, but I prob used less than this. Once browned, wine, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes (canned in my case), capers, sage and S&P are added. This is brought to a boil and covered for 15 minutes. She then specifies to turn everything over, raise heat and cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes. I shortened the overall time since I was using only thighs and probably needed 12 minutes covered and another 5 minutes uncovered. At this point I adjusted for salt and pepper. Tasted good but A LOT of fat in the sauce. I took the chicken out and skimmed off some fat that I could with a spoon, but given the chunkiness of the sauce, it was hard to skim off.

        The final result was very nice. Tasty and satifying-- the capers added a nice briny kick and the large quantity of shallots ( 4 large) was a nice change from the usual onion. I must say that this didn't taste Greek to me, but maybe that shows how little I know about Greek food.

        I will likely make a version of this again. I might add kalamata olives if I make it again. I think they would fit right in and complement the capers. I would also continue to use less oil and probably drain out the excess chicken fat after browning the chicken to make the final result less oily. I also think the sage didn't really come through much (I used fresh). To be honest, this didn't bother me because I'm not the hugest fan of sage. I think lots of other herbs could be added as well-- I always think of oregano as the stereotypical Greek herb, and I think it would taste great here.

        5 Replies
        1. re: greeneggsnham

          Sauteed Chicken w Shallots, Tomatoes, Capers and Sage - p. 411

          Though I haven't made this dish for a couple of months, it is a dish from this book that I've made on a few occasions since first trying it in Nov 2010. I thought I'd add my recipe notes here in case they are of use to others.

          This recipe delivered on all counts and produced a delicious, flavourful dish with a rich-tasting sauce that gave the appearance of being cooked for a much longer timeframe. Changes I made to the recipe were the substitution of canned Italian tomatoes for the fresh (which were flavourless from the supermarket this week) and, I also added 2 tsp of fresh, chopped garlic. I cooked with 4 bone-in, skin-on chx breasts and had to extend the simmering time to account for the fact that these breasts were massive. This worked out well as it allowed the sauce flavours to further develop. I served this over some steamed brown rice. Yum!

          I've also added olives (both green and black) to this dish and we've enjoyed this addition. When serving over rice, we've topped w some crumbled Feta too.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Very helpful notes. Thanks so much.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Thanks for the report. I think adding garlic is a great idea. Will have to try that next time. And I think there will be a next ime for us. Like most braises, the leftovers of this have been great!

            2. re: greeneggsnham

              Sauteed Chicken with Shallots, Tomatoes, Capers and Sage, Pg. 411

              My turn for the sauteed chicken. Heeding all the amendments, deviations, and comments of those who went before me I made this recipe with "everything but the kitchen sink": Less oil, 4 large bone-in chicken thighs, 8 large halved shallots, 4 slivered garlic cloves, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/3 cup Balsamico, 2 chopped tomatoes, 10 pitted Kalamata olives, 1 t salted/rinsed/drained capers, 1 t crumbled dried sage, 1 t dried Greek oregano, 1 t each S & P. I cooked each phase a few minutes longer than the stated times in the recipe.

              The finished dish was absolutely delicious. Well seasoned with distinct flavor notes coming through with each bite. Admittedly there was more oil than usual floating around the dish but I simply pushed it aside and reminded myself of the good health qualities of the organic first cold pressed extra virgin Greek olive oil I used... We both enjoyed this tremendously and will make it again.

              The chicken was plated with another helping of the Tzatziki with a side bowl of Cauliflower Salad found on page 198. I kept dredging florets in the chicken sauce. Terrific.

              1. re: Gio

                My turn for this and I have nothing much to add apart from we enjoyed it very much. I used two skin-on, free-range chicken breasts and only one TBS of oil, which was plenty if you cook the chicken skin-side down to start with. The cooking time was about right and I didn't add salt as the capers were salted. I served with purple sprouting broccoli dressed with oil and lemon and a tiny bit of chilli, and some crusty bread for the delicious sauce.

            3. Chicken Neo-Avgolemono p. 409 (half recipe)

              Let me preface my review by sharing that I do not know what a traditional avgolemono sauce tastes like. Greek cuisine is brand new to me. My husband tends dislike lemony flavored dishes, so I took a chance with this one.

              Saute chicken pieces (we used 3 chicken thighs) in oil until browned. Add lemon juice, shallots, rosemary and salt & pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook (turning) until the chicken is cooked through. Set the chicken aside and make a sauce by adding white wine, then add lemon zest, mint and spoon over chicken with chopped egg.

              The chicken was nicely browned and moist and the savory, lemony (but not too much so) sauce added a nice touch.

              The next time, I would use less oil. Even though only 1 T was used, because the chicken releases its own fat, it was a little much. I think I’ll try 1/2-3/4 T oil and see how it works. I would also watch the shallots more diligently. My shallots ended up quite dark and I ended up piling them up on the side during cooking to prevent them from burning to a crisp. I’m not sure how much the chopped boiled egg added to the dish, but it certainly didn’t distract. Easy to pull together after work.

              1. Sesame-crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce, p. 416

                Despite a kitchen disaster mid-way through this dish which may have contributed to problems with the sauce, I really liked this chicken. The chicken came out moist and the skin crisped up fairly well. The sauce was great with it.

                The oven is preheated to 450F and the chicken is rubbed inside and out with a mixture of sesame seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. The chicken is the placed in a baking dish just large enough to hold it snugly and covered. The chicken roasts until it begins to turn golden, about 55 minutes.

                I used a 9" glass pan and about 25 minutes into roasting, it shattered. Fortunately, the pizza stone caught most of the glass shards, but we had to interrupt the cooking process to transfer the chicken to a new pan and collect the shards. From the sounds of it, I also lost quite a bit of the chicken juices when the pan exploded.

                After 55 minutes, the chicken is uncovered and the pan juices go into a saucepan. The juices get set aside to cool so the fat can be skimmed off and the chicken goes back in the oven to brown and get crusty (the book says 10 minutes more, but my chicken needed 15).

                While the chicken rests and the the chicken fat is skimmed off, tahini and capers are added to the chicken juices. I needed a bit more water, probably thanks to the exploding pan issue. The sauce is whisked and then brought to a boil and whisked again. While this was happened, the BF was cleaning up some of the glass shards that had cooled. He cut himself and I went to see if he needed help and when I came back the sauce had separated. I tried to get it back together, but at that point just wanted to eat, so instead of a sauce, we had more of a grainy tahini butter. It was still good, but not ideal!

                14 Replies
                1. re: TxnInMtl

                  Wow, sorry about the exploding pan. I'm glad no one was seriously hurt. But, thanks for reporting on this recipe. I'm very interested in trying it!


                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                    Eek for the exploding pan! I'd totally missed this one so I'm glad you pointed it out. It sounds like an interesting dish which I'd like to try.

                    1. re: TxnInMtl

                      A dish based on Sesame-crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce, p. 416

                      I made a dish that was inspired by this recipe, but is rather different. Still, it was really good, so I thought I'd report back to you on it anyhow.

                      I had a large, skinless but not boneless chicken breast to work with. So I put the chicken into a ceramic pie plate, mixed 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp tahini, and 1/4 tsp salt together, spread the mixture over the chicken, then sprinkled it with 1 tbsp sesame seeds. I roasted it at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until the thermometer registered 160. (It took longer than I thought it would).

                      My, was that tasty! The chicken was perfectly moist and the lemony, seedy tahini coating was delicious. I suppose I could have garnished it with capers, in keeping with the recipe, but it didn't really need it. Served it with roasted butternut squash and roasted fennel.

                      Happily, no pans exploded! And someday I'll make the real recipe, since that one sounds great too.

                      1. re: TxnInMtl

                        Sesame-crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce, p. 416

                        Made a half recipe of this last night using four smallish chicken thighs. I roasted them covered at 450 for 28 minutes, then drained off the pan juices, and returned the un-covered chicken to a hot oven for an additional 15 minutes, meanwhile I started to assemble the sauce. The gorgeous smooth sauce was ready maybe three minutes before the chicken, so I set it to rest. Mistake! Sometime in those three minutes the sauce seized and separated. It still tasted fine, but gosh did it look like a curdled mess. Oh was I mad--throwing pot holders around the kitchen mad!

                        Anyway, taking this experience w/ TIM's, I'd emphasize that this is a sauce that cannot rest. Still if you like sesame chicken, do try this dish, or various takes on it, because the flavor combination really is very tasty, even if the sauce seizes!

                        1. re: qianning

                          At least they were potholders and not pots, qianning!

                          Thanks for the tip, though. I hadn't noticed this recipe, but it sounds good, and I've got tons of tahini here, and I can never think of things to do with it.

                          1. re: qianning

                            That's so frustrating about the sauce, but it's somewhat comforting to know it wasn't just me!

                            1. re: TxnInMtl

                              TIM: definitely not just you.....compared to your travails, though, i got off lightly.

                              NCW: Mr. QN concurred with your sentiments potholders vs pots & pans.

                          2. re: TxnInMtl

                            I completely missed this--glad you were able to savage the dinner. Wonder what happened with th dish. Scary!

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Okay, I know it's a typo, but I did laugh out loud at 'savage the dinner'! Take that, dinner!

                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                We haven't done a Viking cookbook yet! I laughed too.

                              2. re: TxnInMtl

                                Sesame-crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce, p. 416

                                I was inspired to make this by Karen and qianning. Over the weekend, Mr. MM bought two jumbo packs of supposedly boneless, skinless chicken thighs for something I was making. Unfortunately, they were skinless, but not boneless. Not his fault. The package really did say boneless. I was put in the hectic situation of having to bone out about 20 thighs pronto. Which I did. We set aside four thighs for a later meal. What I was absolutely sure of, was that I did not want to have to bone out those last four thighs. I had enough of that yesterday. So I went looking for a dish, and naturally turned to the COTM. When I saw that Karen had made this with skinless, but not boneless, breasts, and qianning had made it with thighs, I decided this would work for me.

                                So the chicken thighs were tossed with lemon juice, sesame seeds, olive oil, and salt, and put in a pan covered with foil, and baked at 425 for 20 minutes. At the end of this time, I drained all the liquid from the pan into a small saucepan, and put the chicken back in the oven, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, I heated the pan drippings and whisked in the tahini and capers. Served the chicken with the tahini sauce over, with some potatoes on the side, and a simple salad of greens with vinaigrette and a dab of feta.

                                So this was quite good, and pretty simple for a nice weeknight meal. Mr. MM, who does not normally care for capers (he gets them anyway), said that he liked them in this dish. The capers provided most of the salt for the sauce, and the tahini is a strong flavor that was not overwhelmed by them. Having made the dish this way, I think I would continue to do it the same way, rather than doing a whole chicken. That's a bit unusual for me, since I typically would prefer to cook a chicken whole. But this really worked, so I'm inclined to stick with it.

                                1. re: TxnInMtl

                                  Sesame-crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce, p. 416

                                  I decided to make this as my final recipe (for a while, anyway) from this COTM, as it sounded good, despite the various mishaps associated with it. I made a half-recipe and opted for boneless, skinless thighs, which went into an oven-proof skillet. Since there was still plenty of fat on the thighs and the pan was covered, I thought skinless would work ok, but they probably would have benefited from the skin's protection: after 30 minutes at 450 (too long, but the thighs were pretty large), the chicken was obviously overcooked. Since I did want to brown it a bit, I popped the thighs back into the oven anyway for 5-6 minutes while I made the tahini-caper sauce, which turned out great (very similar to the tarator sauce we love on lamb). But even the sauce couldn't save the dish--the chicken was tough and rubbery from the overcooking.

                                  I served this w/Thai red rice, roasted carrots w/pomegranate molasses, and brussels sprouts.

                                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                                    SESAME-CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN TAHINI CAPER SAUCE - p. 416

                                    Admittedly, I'm a little late to the party but over 3 yrs later, I'm finally getting around to trying this (seriously, where does the time go, I remember this COTM like yesterday!!). The cooking gods must have been shining upon me today. No shattered baking dishes, no separated sauce, just one delicious sesame-crusted chicken with that tangy-caper sauce that just takes this dish from good to great IMHO. This was a whole new way to roast a chicken for me (covered @ high heat) and a fresh new way to season the humble bird. We loved everything about this dish. I served steamed rice with scallions, black olives, feta and a drizzle of oregano-infused evoo and a Greek salad alongside.

                                  2. Tzatziki, p465

                                    So yeah, tzatziki. Not the most innovative of dishes, which I've made loads of times. Which means I didn't have high hopes of this version - but I was wrong! This was probably the best tzatziki I've ever made.

                                    Easy, peasy prep. Chop 2-4 cloves of garlic with 3/4 tsp of salt. I used three smallish cloves. Stir into 1.5 cups of plain yogurt - in my case a mixture of Greek Cypriot-style yogurt and Turkish yogurt (which is imo the best). Add finely chopped, peeled, deseeded cucumber, chopped mint, black pepper and a TBSP of wine vinegar. This last ingredient I think is what really made it for me. I've never added vinegar to tzatziki before but it resulted in a perfectly balanced dish, with a hint of acidity from the vinegar. I also liked that the cucumber was chopped rather than grated. It also wasn't salted and drained, just squeezed a little.

                                    A lovely refreshing dip that I can't wait to make again. I served it as part of a mezze, with some houmous, butternut squash dip (Ottolenghi recipe), pickled peppers and those tinned Greek beans in tomato sauce (gigantes) which I love.

                                    35 Replies
                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      gg, I'm so glad to read your review. We LOVE this Tzatziki which has been our "go-to" tzatziki for a while now. I totally agree that somehow, the red wine vinegar transforms a good dish into a great one. We picked up some pinot noir vinegar in the fall and have been using that recently with wonderful results. We love this tzatziki so much that I make some at least once every two weeks.

                                      I've pasted a link to a thread where I'd recommended the recipe to someone here as I also attached a photo of the pressed Greek yogurt I use in case someone here can read the label for me. Also, I've attached a pic of the O&C tzatziki. I'm making some tomorrow so will post a fresh pic here too..


                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        I'm glad it's not just me that thinks this is stellar. It reminds me a bit of the moment I discovered the Vietnamese Fried Rice in the Pham book - how can a few simple ingredients taste so good?

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          Have you tried the beet tzatziki, Breadcrumbs?

                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            I'm actually making it today gg!! I roasted my beets this morning and one of the large ones has been set aside for this dish. I'll be back to report later on.

                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              Stay tuned for my beet tzatziki report, which I'll be posting in bit...

                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              So as I mentioned above, I made this again today. Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed the dish. Tonight I served it along w the Lamb Kebabs in this book and it was great to contrast it w the Beet Tzatziki the author suggests serving w that recipe. I've reviewed our experience w the Beet Tzatziki below and I must say, once the taste test was complete, we preferred this tzatziki on its own (w pita) but the Beet Tzatziki won out as the perfect accompaniment to the Lamb. Both tzatzikis are winners in our books!!

                                            3. re: greedygirl

                                              Thanks for the great review, and for bringing this one to my attention! I was planning on making it the other day but then went with my standby tzatziki due to all of the recent misses that I've been having in the book. The red wine vinegar is why I skipped over the recipe in the first place. I'm happy to hear that it works so well in the dish. I'll have to give it a try soon.
                                              A bit off topic, but what is this ottolenghi dip that you speak of? Can't recall seeing it in Plenty, but it sounds lovely!

                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                It's a recentish Guardian recipe - here's the link:


                                                The recipe makes a ton - I sent my friend home with some because he loved it so much and we were never going to get through all the leftovers.

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  what type of potato do you use? I looked up charlotte and it seems like a yellow fingerling?

                                                  1. re: Madrid

                                                    I haven't actually made the potato recipe, but a charlotte is a waxy potato often used in salads.

                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                    Great, thanks! It sounds superb. Did you use the date syrup?

                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      I did - found it at a wonderful local shop which sells just about everything you'd ever need.

                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                  My favorite Greek cookbook also uses red vinegar. I have bought some Greek red vinegar for this purpose, and I love the result. The Greek vinegar is less acidic and maybe a tad sweeter? Also is wonderful in a smoked eggplant dip.

                                                  1. re: smtucker


                                                    What is your favorite Greek cookbook?

                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                      smtucker, I made tzaziki that you posted on the other thread and it is wonderful. Was going to make it out of this book but after comparing ingredients changed my mind and made yours:)

                                                      1. re: herby

                                                        That version is from The Periyali Cookbook by Holly Garrison. If you can find a used copy, it is a wonderful book. It is a "restaurant" book though which feels different to me that Olive and Capers.

                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          Thank you! I will look for it. Any other gems in this book that you love?

                                                          1. re: herby

                                                            To be honest, every recipe I have made from this book has been repeated. It may be my favorite cookbook ever. If I had to pick only 10 books to own as a cooking resource, this book would be the first chosen.

                                                            1. re: smtucker


                                                              Just went on Amazon to check out The Periyali Cookbook by Holly Garrison and wasn't able to glean too much info about this book. What makes it your favorite? Can you elaborate on some of your go-to recipes out of this book?

                                                              I really don't have a Greek cookbook in my ever expanding collection and would be open to adding the right one to my library. The closest thing I have to a Greek cookbook is my Sephardic Cookbook that is a collection of Rhodesli recipes (Rhodesli as in from the Island of Rhodes).

                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                DKennedy, I ordered used copy of this book from Abe's for under $2 plus shipping - tzatziki rcipe alone is worth the cost. Maybe we will get a thread going - cooking from the books most of us have not head about or somethng along these lines:)

                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                  This is one of my favorite cookbooks because I love the food I make when using it!

                                                                  I am a big meze lover and have made all the recipes [that don't include shellfish] in the first half of the book. As I mentioned before, we make these dishes over and over and over because they are good.

                                                                  I haven't spent as much time on the "entree" portions of the book since that isn't my favorite part of the Greek cuisine.

                                                                  I have no recollection of where I picked up this book, but it was because we already liked Greek food, especially the meze. To buy all the items we liked in a restaurant was far too expensive so I decided that we could learn to make them at home.

                                                                  Hope this helps.

                                                        2. re: smtucker

                                                          I purchased the Periyali Cookbook. I made yogurt out of sheep's milk yogurt and then made the tzatziki. It is delicious indeed. Like you, I will reserve the sour cream for special occasions. Thanks for making us aware of this.

                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                            You are most welcome!

                                                            I have been meaning to post a list of my favorite recipes from the book. This will give me a little more incentive after this "in real life" project is finished.

                                                        3. re: greedygirl

                                                          Tzatziki p. 465

                                                          Thanks for bringing this to our attention. A simple and refreshing version. The vinegar does brighten up the sauce.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            Two bests out of this book posted today (this and Gio's report on Greek Salad). I know what I'll be making when my husband gets back in town.

                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                              Tzatziki, Pg.. 465

                                                              There's nothing I can add to all the glowing reports of this Tazatziki recipe except to add our accolades too. I increased the FGBpepper amount a tad and used fresh dill instead of mint. We loved this version with the vinegar. I served it with the rice and lentil pilaf on page 237 and grilled and oiled country bread fingers.

                                                              ETA: The Recipe, if anyone is interested:


                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Tzatziki, pg. 465

                                                                I can just add my endorsement to the wonderful tzatziki. I used dill and mint and smashed up the garlic and salt in the mortar and pestle instead of the cutting board. I made this and the beet version and loved them both.

                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                Tzatziki, p465

                                                                Greedygirl describes the process well above. I made this tonight and it was quite good. [Not quite as good as my usual version.]

                                                                I used dill instead of mint and white pepper instead of black. My yogurt was Stonyfield which I drained for five hours.

                                                                Was a delicious accompaniment to the Ground Lamb Kebabs [page 391.]

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Tzatziki, page 465.

                                                                  After all these positive reviews, I couldn't pass this one by. Details are well described above.

                                                                  I had leftover Beef Kapama from the other night, and decided to use it in Greek-ish tacos. I made the tzatziki to accompany, with several other taco additions. I made approximately a half recipe. It's hard to tell what a "small cucumber" is; I used half of an English cucumbet, and a combination of mint and dill.

                                                                  I thought this was delicious; I had some difficulty not just eating it all with a spoon! Without a doubt one of the best tzatzikis I have eaten. I enjoyed the process also, I did the salt and garlic, and then the herbs, with a mezzaluna, which I found much more rewarding than any kind of electric chopper or processor (which I am prone to rely upon)!

                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    Tzatziki, p. 465

                                                                    Add another fan to the roster. I used two cloves of garlic, and both dill and mint. My cucumber was the standard American type with higher water content, so I elected to grate, salt, and drain it before squeezing. I used it to top fresh salmon and mushroom burgers (a Jacques Pepin recipe), which was a good match; and the leftovers went on top of leftover St. Patrick's Day colcannon (mashed potatoes and greens) fried into cakes for my lunch today.

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      Tzatziki [Two ways--traditional and beet], p. 465, 467

                                                                      I've had this cookbook a few years and the traditional tzatziki is one of the recipes I had used a few times. Like others, I love this version. I made it again yesterday b/c I knew one of our guests hates red beets and I definitely wanted to try the beet tzatziki. So I made both.

                                                                      I used chopped mint and four cloves of garlic in in the traditional version; chopped dill (and one garlic clove) in the beet version. Per breadcrumbs's tip, I grated my beet (using a Microplane cheese grater) and did like the resulting texture. I served these with warm pita triangles along with our dinner of lamb in filo and lentil-rice pilaf.

                                                                      Both were excellent, but I really loved the beet tzatziki--and love the color. And, lo and behold, the red beet hater tried it, liked it even better than the traditional, and even took some home.

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        Tzatziki Pg. 465
                                                                        This makes a lovely thick sauce for dipping or topping meats such as kebabs. Really nice flavour and I love her technique of mining the garlic with the salt. I added a bit of pepper, a bit more salt, and a bit more acid. Tasty!

                                                                        1. re: delys77


                                                                          I wish I had used the grater for the cucumber like I usually do. And I wish I had remembered to run out to the garden to see if any mint was growing because I totally forgot until the last minute and then it was too late. I have some left and I'll do that today and try it again. And I wish I had taken it out of the fridge sooner, it was just too cold. Really liked the technique with the garlic!

                                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                            I've used dried mint in a pinch when I didn't have any fresh and it still comes out good.