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Feb 29, 2012 09:13 PM

March 2012 COTM: The Olive and the Caper: Breads; Soups; Salads

Please use this thread to discuss the recipes in the chapters on Breads; Soups; and Salads (pages 118 -213)

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  1. Chickpea soup with garlic, sage and tarragon (p. 162)

    Made this when it was just Lulu and me, and used canned chickpeas instead of soaking dried ones. Very very easy when done this way. Chopped onion, garlic, sage sauted until soft; add the chickpeas and water, bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper lemon juice and puree. Garnish with tarragon. The tarragon was what made this dish, which is otherwise pretty much just a bean soup recipe (Not that there is anything wrong with that - love bean soups). Lulu loved this and asked for seconds. I thought it was perfectly fine but not really special.

    1. The chickpea soup was easy to make.

      I liked the explanations and comments.

      Since I don't know much about GreeK cuisine, geography and customs I found explanations helpful.

      If there r any ppl of Greek heritage chatting? what is veracity of explanations and recipes?

      1. Chicken Stock, Pg. 170

        We make our own chicken stock every week so try to use a recipe from current COTMs if there is one. This stock is particularly satisfying, It's a typical stock recipe using chicken parts (3 whole leg sections in my case) and water, optional onion/carrot/celery, and thyme which I included and threw in a few peppercorns for good measure. I never salt the stock and this recipe doesn't call for it. It was good enough to make a second batch just yesterday using a leftover meaty carcass from a roasted chicken.

        1. Tomato and Bread Salad, Pg. 195

          I jumped the gun on this one and made it pre-March. It's kinda/sorta Panzanella Greek- style. One of the main ingredients is Greek barley rings, a rusk, was unknown to me so I used the recommended alternative, a crusty country bread. I have since learned that the barley rings are easy to make from regurar bread... here's the link:

          So, the salad consists of the tomatoes and barley rings, Kalamata, capers, red wine vinegar, feta, black pepper, salt, EVOO, and shredded basil leaves. Place the chunks of bread on a platter and sprinkle a bit of water over all and set aside for a few minutes. Arrange the olives and capers on the bread, sprinkle with salt and vinegar, add crumbled feta then sprinkle pepper and olive oil over that. Top off the salad with shredded basil - I included minced parsley as well.

          Very nice and tasty salad. Will make again to fill the extra side dish slot or as a... salad.

          1. Greek Village Salad (Horiatiki Salata), Pg. 192

            Didn't Someone have to make a Greek Salad?? All√° fysik√°...! (But of course) and this one was particularly tasty with lots of flavors. I kept to the original concept of the salad and did not use fresh greens. That's the Greek American version says Ms Hoffman.

            My salad included red bell pepper strips, half moons of peeled cucumber, thinly sliced white onion, tomatoes cut into wedges, 24 Kalamata, 1 T capers, crumbled feta, S & P, Greek EVOO, lemon juice and red wine vinegar, and dried Greek oregano. It was the best Greek salad I've ever had.

            20 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              WOW - the best Greek salad you've ever had?! Impressive.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Haha... maybe I should have paired it with that Best Pasta Dish I've Ever Had from the River Cafe...

                1. re: Gio

                  Best Pasta dish ever is soooo hard, but I do remember you had one recently that fit the bill. Remind me what it was? I love the porcini mushroom one from River Cafe, and we're all pretty stuck on Bloke's pasta from Jamie Oliver (in fact, I'm likely going to be teaching a small group of Lulu's friends how to make it and (and maybe that blue-cheeseless version of JP's ceasar salad) and then we'll all sit down for a meal together.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I've seen you mention bloke's pasta more than once; which book is that one in? Any recipe that this group raves or writes about repeatedly always piques my curiosity, so I'll have to do some further investigating!

                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      Erp, sorry - I *am* a bit of a broken record on this particular pasta. Here is a link to the recipe:

                      I usually use penne instead of fusilli, and spicy turkey sausage.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Splendid, thank you! This one will be added to my nearly bursting list of recipes to try.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Thanks Gio! We love pasta in this house, and that one (with the duck bacon recommended by roxlet) sounds so good.

                        1. re: Gio

                          I've made this twice in the past month or so, Gio, and I have to say it is now one of our (top) favorites. Love it.

                    2. re: LulusMom

                      Thanks Gio, this will be the first recipe I'll make out of this book!

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        The greek salad and the tzatziki. Raves all around.

                    3. re: Gio

                      Did the recipe call for red or green peppers, Gio? Every Greek salad I've ever had in Greece, or Crete, had green peppers - and Susannah Hoffman is right about the salad greens.

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Right, green peppers were the peppers of choice but they don't agree with me so I always sub red bells instead.

                      2. re: Gio

                        Greek Village Salad (Hoiatiki Salata) Pg 192
                        I agree that this is a scrumptious little salad. I've made my own tossed together version of greek salad for years now based on what I guessed was in the salad at our favourite greek place, and this is much better than my version.
                        To start with I alwasy emulsified a regular olive oil and lemon vinaigrette and then poured it over the salad, much like I would with any other salad. The result was often fine at first, but as the tomatoes and cucumber released their liquid (from the salt) I ended up with a relatively tasteless dressing that wouldn't stick to anything in the salad. This recipe calls for you simply to add a bit of evoo, a bit more than I would have had in my dressing, and some acid in the form of vinegar or lemon, a bit less than I would normally put into my dressing. The result is a much less watery, somehow better dressed salad.
                        I also liked the addition of the capers and the oregano which definitely jazzed it up quite a bit.
                        Lastly, I usually go for red peppers whenever I use them but I decided to go with green, and they were much better with this salad. My version with red peppers simply doesn't have the same balance as this recipe has because you end up with too much sweetness from the tomatoes and peppers, this way the green pepper adds a slightly bitter note that is offset by the sweetness of the tomatoes, the richness of the oil, the aciditiy of the capers and lemon, the saltiness of the feta and olives, and the slight sweetness of the tomato.
                        Forgive the slight rough shod picture below as my guests were getting a bit hungry.

                        1. re: delys77

                          Delys, I totally agree with your comments about this salad. I have made variations of the Greek Village Salad several times now (but never with tomatoes, which are considered an essential ingredient, so I haven't felt right to review it). Although a simple thing, I think her method of dressing it makes all the difference. I also think the addition of capers is great and something I will do from now on.

                          I am looking forward to making the real thing when really good tomatoes are available, but I've been thoroughly enjoying all different incomplete variations of this.

                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                            Yeah the tomatoes in Vancouver are usually abysmal in Vancouver during the winter, but I was lucky enough to find some pretty good hothouse romas at a local market.

                          2. re: delys77

                            what a beautifully written review! You have a gift for language and i will make this just as you did.

                            1. re: Madrid

                              Oh thanks so much, you have me blushing!

                          3. re: Gio

                            Greek Village Salad Page. 192
                            This is a good recipe. I was very pleased with the results. I followed the directions almost exactly. The tomatoes I have access to now are grape tomatoes - which I quartered. These come in 10 oz. Packages in my market... So I threw in a few more that were leftover from yesterday. This recipe justified my purchase of a Japanese mandolin which I used to slice the onions paper thin. I have a work-related potluck later this month and this is what I'll be bringing. I used red vinegar since that's
                            what I had on hand - but lemon juice would have worked out as well.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Greek Village Salad

                              This was so good, and it held up really well. We had it for lunch and I was able to eat the rest at dinner and it was still just as good (or better!). That's the wonderful thing about salads without lettuce. Next time I'd add olive oil to coat it, rather than just dump in the measured amount because there was a puddle at the bottom of the salad bowl.